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A Channel Gardens #TBT

By The Center Magazine StaffApr 22 2021

Nothing at Rockefeller Center quite beats the view from Fifth Avenue through to 30 Rock. But the promenade itself is worth celebrating—because for decades, the Channel Gardens have hosted themed installations ranging from Easter lilies to greenhouses. For this Earth Day, we dug into the Rockefeller Center archives to unearth some of these memorable botanical installations.

Rockefeller Center’s Victory Garden—one of many planted during World War II—features red cabbage, parsley, broccoli, onions, Swiss chard, carrots, and more in the Channel Gardens.

On April 9, 1950, Irene Ann Bell touches a display of Easter lilies and yellow tulips in the Channel Gardens—one of seven displays featuring flower bulbs from the Netherlands.

On June 27, 1968, a Hawaiian Garden, sponsored by the Garden Club of Honolulu and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, features hales, tikis, tree ferns, feather kahilis, and more.

On April 9, 1970, Rockefeller Center employees Colette O’Mahony (left) and Eileen McGrath (right) dress up in historical fashions to celebrate the opening of a garden honoring the 100th anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s charter.

In 2013, colorful flowers filled the gardens for the Mums the Word installation.

In 2015, the Channel Gardens became a warm-weather paradise with the Tropicale installation. The dragonfly even appeared in legendary photographer Bill Cunningham’s On the Street column.

On May 4, 2016, visitors sit among the Spring Splendor installation, surrounded by exotic floral arrangements and decorative shrubbery.

The current spring installation in the Channel Gardens, designed by Brooklyn-based Future Green Studio, features more than 500 white and pink Easter lilies and more than 1,000 tulips in five different colors, as well as daffodils, Spanish bluebells, hyacinths, English daisies, and pansies.

The Channel Gardens, located between Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Plaza, is free to visit and open to the public every day.

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