"Wave Hill House was built as a country home in 1843 by jurist William Lewis Morris. From 1866-1903 it was owned by William Henry Appleton, who enlarged the house in 1866-69 and again in 1890. A publishing scion, Appleton brought to Wave Hill such pioneering natural scientists as Thomas Henry Huxley. Huxley was astounded by the site, declaring the Palisades across the river one of the world's greatest natural wonders.
Theodore Roosevelt's family rented Wave Hill during the summers of 1870 and ‘71, when the future president was a youth of 12 and 13. Teddy's time here significantly deepened his love of nature and love of the outdoors that would later prompt him to secure the preservation of millions of acres of American parkland.
Mark Twain leased the estate from 1901-1903, setting up a treehouse parlor in the branches of a chestnut tree on the lawn. Of winter at Wave Hill he wrote, I believe we have the noblest roaring blasts here I have ever known on land; they sing their hoarse song through the big tree-tops with a splendid energy that thrills me and stirs me and uplifts me and makes me want to live always."
Part of the New York City Parks Department, "Wave Hill is [now] a 28-acre public garden and cultural center in the Bronx overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. Its mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscapes, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts."
Visit Wave Hill later in March and you will see the heralds of spring Chionodoxa sardensis (a very early blooming bulb) and Helleborus sp. (Victoria's favorite spring perennial). You will also be able to see the winter forms of many different species and varieties of trees.
"A trail winds through the Herbert and Hyonja Abrons Woodland, which wraps around the outer edges of Wave Hill. These 10 acres of second-growth forest and meadow are being rehabilitated with native plants. Featured plants include black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), yellowwood (Cladrastis lutea), shadbush (Amelanchier species) and native ferns and wildflowers."
Although if you visit in summer, you will be treated with not only an exquisite flower garden but also the charming herb garden - pictured below.
"The stone foundations of a former greenhouse reflect and retain the sun’s warmth, and provide these connected garden areas with a strong architectural continuity. Narrow beds and paths invite close observation. Ornamental, culinary, and medicinal herbs from around the world make their home in the Herb Garden. Highlights include mints (Mentha species), pomegranate (Punica granatum), teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) and bay laurel (Laurus nobilis). Silver plants predominate in the Dry Garden, where a selection of plants from warmer and drier regions of the world include ornamental sages (Salvia), lavenders (Lavandula), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and Euphorbias."
Quotes and images taken from the Wave Hill website.
West 249th Street and Independence Avenue (front gate)
Bronx, NY 10471-2899
Closed Mondays except Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day
Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas
April 15-October 14: 9am–5:30pm
October 15-April 14: 9am–4:30pm
$4 Students and Seniors 65+
$2 Children 6+
Target Free Days
Tuesday: Free all day during off-peak months (November–April, July & August)
Tuesday: Free 9am to noon during peak months (May, June, September, October)
Saturday: Free 9am to noon year-round
Parking (effective May 1, 2008)Onsite: $8 per vehicle
Nearby offsite parking is free with continuous, complimentary shuttle van service.