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Sensory Garden Opens at Planting Fields

Sensory Garden Opens at Planting Fields

Planting Fields Arboretum State Park in Oyster Bay has opened a new Sensory Garden, the first of its kind on Long Island. The $1.3 million garden is a space where visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy multisensory experiences.


A new $1.3 million Sensory Garden and Entrance Pavilion at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay opened July 9. The Sensory Garden is a unique space where park visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy multisensory experiences, including sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound. The project was a partnership between the state and philanthropist Peter Tilles and the Planting Fields Foundation.

The 3,500-square-foot garden is designed to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Visitors of all ages and abilities can wander along wide paths and easily reach out to touch the plants on raised planters. The Sensory Garden is designed to stimulate all the senses with aromatic plants, colorful flowers, tactile leaves, tasteful herbs, and water features and wind chimes. In addition to the garden, the new Entrance Pavilion provides much-needed covered space for groups of visitors to assemble before visiting the 409-acre park, as well as for classes and demonstrations.

Peter Tilles, major donor and member of Planting Fields Foundation, said the Sensory Garden “will provide a new experience for the entire community, especially the physically challenged. Making these experiences available to a new segment of the community will create new visitor participation and enjoyment of the entire Planting Fields Arboretum. My wife, Dori, and I are delighted to have been a part of this collaboration, which will provide an outdoor environment accessible to all.”

The garden will engage people of all abilities. "Its stunning design is a welcome addition to Planting Fields," said New York Senator Carl Marcellino. "The sounds, sights, textures, scents, and tastes will stir visitor’s imaginations and will be a destination for the entire community."

Planting Fields Arboretum State Park is the former Gold Coast estate of the W.R. Coe family, and includes Coe Hall, the family’s Tudor Revival residence. This National Register property includes more than 400 acres of rolling lawns, gardens, woodlands, and nature walks. The Camellia Greenhouse displays the largest collection of camellias in the northeast, and the Main Greenhouse has extensive collections of hibiscus, orchids, succulents, and seasonal displays.

The new garden and entrance pavilion are part of Governor Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 program, a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020.


Main photo: Planting Fields held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new additions on July 9.
Courtesy Long Island State Parks


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