One of the premiere botanical gardens in the United States, the New York Botanical Garden spans some 240 acres in the borough of the Bronx, in New York City.
The Garden was founded in 1891 on part of the grounds of an estate ('Belmont') formerly owned by the tobacco magnate Pierre Lorillard, after a fund-raising campaign that was spurred by Columbia University botanist Nathaniel Lord Britton, who was inspired to emulate the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, near London.
With 48 different gardens and plant collections, many named for famous figures or wealthy benefactors, sightseers could easily spend a day admiring the serene cascade waterfall, wetlands and a 50-acre tract of never-harvested oaks, American beeches, cherry, birch, tulip and white ash trees — some more than two centuries old.
Garden highlights include an 1890's-vintage, wrought-iron framed, "crystal-palace style" greenhouse; the Peggy Rockefeller memorial rose garden (originally laid out by Beatrix Farrand in 1916); a Japanese rock garden; a 37-acre conifer colllection extensive research facilities including a propagation center, 50,000-volume library, and a herbarium archive of hundreds of thousands of botanical specimens dating back more than a century. At the heart of the Garden are 40 acres of virgin woodlands which represent the last stretch of the original forest which covered all of New York City before the arrival of European settlers in the 17th century. The forest itself is split by the Bronx River and includes a riverine canyon and rapids, and along its shores sits the landmark Lorillard snuff-grinding mill dating back to the 1840's.