Tucked away off Hudson Street around the historic Church of St Luke in the Fields is St Luke’s Gardens, a warren of small green spaces linked by paths which is home to dozens of species of migrating birds and butterflies, blossoming cherry trees in spring, a rose garden, century-old maple trees, and wooden benches for contemplating it all.
These 3 acres of walkways, lawns, and rare plants form one of the more distinctive gardens in the city, in part thanks to the warm microclimate created by the gardens’ southwest orientation and the heat-retaining brick walls surrounding them. Over the years 100 types of birds have been spotted here, as well as 24 types of moths and butterflies, drawn to the berries and flowers planted here.
Enter by the south gate adjacent to the church and follow the paths to secluded areas. One is a small lawn, surrounded by trees and shrubs selected to attract the birds and butterflies. Around the corner from there is an alleyway, planted with 22 cherry trees that blossom in pink and white in mid-April. There are benches throughout, the perfect place to contemplate the greenery and enjoy a coffee or a book.
The gardens are part of the Episcopal St Luke’s School and Church, built in 1820 and the third-oldest church in New York, dedicated to the physician evangelist, in recognition of the Village’s role as a refuge from yellow-fever epidemics. One of the founding wardens of the church was Clement Clarke Moore, a gentleman scholar of biblical Hebrew and Greek who also penned Twas the Night before Christmas.