Now in its fourth season, the “new” Herb Garden is an artful embodiment of many of the Campaign’s objectives: encouraging sustainable horticulture, animating the south Garden, and drawing together visitors from communities throughout the city and beyond with an abundance of beautiful, unusual, and nutritional plants.
This season, corn in particular is being grown to stunning effect. The six varieties in the Herb Garden include ‘Red Stalker’, featuring red-purple stalks and husks, and the Peruvian maíz morado, which can grow to 15 feet tall and is the main ingredient of chicha morada, an intensely blue drink praised as a superfood. Other grains in the garden include teff, used to make Ethiopian injera, and plumed pearl millet.
More summer highlights are vitamin C–rich hibiscus flowers (of Red Zinger tea fame) and an unusual artichoke cultivar, the bright purple ‘Opera’.
This is only a small fraction of the plants found in the Herb Garden, and the full display is as diverse as the borough in which they thrive. Chosen for their adaptability to an urban environment, these plants demonstrate how to maximize productivity in small spaces while offering practical and beautiful models for city gardeners.