When you're the smallest city park in the world, it doesn’t take much to suffer an epic natural disaster—perhaps a skateboarder who veers wildly off track, or a even a German Shepherd who couldn't make it to the next hydrant.
But Portland, Oregon’s Mill’s Ends Park—just two feet across in diameter—seems to have endured some sort of foul play: Oregon Public Broadcasting recently reported that the sole tree of the petite park, on a median on Naito Parkway, had been removed. "Someone yanked it out," said Mark Ross, of Portland’s Department of Parks and Recreation, to OPB.
Its name is as evocative as the place itself: Lotusland, the eccentric botanical garden in Santa Barbara, California, designed and developed by Ganna Walska, a glamorous, Polish-born opera singer, celebrity, and socialite. Walska, who acquired the 37-acre estate as a private retreat in 1941, was ahead of her time in her use of mass plantings. The result: hundreds of weeping euphorbias and golden barrel cacti that leave an impression of untamed primordial beauty. In the 1970’s, she auctioned off her million-dollar jewelry collection to finance the cycad garden, consisting of unusual cone-bearing plants. Lotusland is full of novelties: otherworldly cacti, whimsical topiary, and brightly flowering aloes and other succulents, not to mention a fern garden, a theater garden, a Japanese garden, and an all-silver-and-blue-gray garden. Per her wishes, Walska’s extravagant creation was opened to the public only after her death—and remains a California legend.
First there was the High Line, an elevated park that brought new life to a rusty, unused-for-decades elevated subway rail on Manhattan’s west side. Well now there’s an idea floating around that would turn the whole concept upside down, literally. A subterranean park created from the long-abandoned Williamsburg Trolley Terminal, on Delancey Street in NYC’s Lower East Side. The station hasn’t been in service, or even used, since 1948.
The brain child of Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, this park—the Lowline—would be the first of its kind, and one of the very few green spaces on the LES. The first reaction people have, aside from fascination, is the more rational, “But how the heck are you gonna get plants to grow underground, away from the rays of the sun.”
I just got back from the classic American family vacation in Yellowstone National Park and, honestly, I can’t wait to go again. In just a few days, we saw wolves, egrets, elk, mule deer, golden and bald eagles, and at least a thousand bison.
But, enough about the wildlife. Let’s talk about Mickey.
No, this isn’t a backdrop from Avatar. These so-called Supertrees are the centerpieces of the first phase of Gardens by the Bay, the city’s $805 million, 250-acre waterfront park. The “trunks” of the 18 soaring trellises (which reach up to 164 feet) will be dripping with Brazilian bromeliads, orchids from Ecuador, and other exotic flora. More highlights: 10 themed gardens, two glass-enclosed biomes, and an aerial walkway from which to take it all in.
Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent.
Opening May 16th, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s new entrance along Washington Avenue is no garden-variety visitors center. Nestled into a hillside in the northeast corner, the 20,000-square-foot building aims to be a seamless extension of the 52-acre landscape, which could have amounted to an empty promise in the hands of a lesser firm. But the New York–based husband-wife team of Weiss/Manfredi delivers.
Over the years, I’ve found one of the best ways to know a city’s best-kept secrets is to talk to its artists. I recently connected with one of Montreal’s rising stars—award-winning filmmaker and musician Daniel Isaiah, who's signed, appropriately, with music label Secret City Records.
This fall, after many of the 3.7 million annual tourists have packed their cameras and left Yosemite National Park, the National Parks Service will begin culling young trees to open up views of the iconic granite faces and dramatic waterfalls that ring the valley.