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Lynden B. Miller, Principal

photo of Lynden MillerLynden B. Miller is a public garden designer in New York City and director of The Conservatory Garden in Central Park, which she rescued and restored beginning in 1982. Her work includes gardens for The Central Park Zoo, Bryant Park, The New York Botanical Garden, Madison Square Park, and Wagner Park in Battery Park City as well as many smaller projects in all five boroughs and beyond, including waterfront gardens in Red Hook, Brooklyn, improvements to Union Square Park and the 97th Street Park Avenue Mall, renovation of the “Gateway to Harlem” Broadway Mall at 135th Street, Loeb Plaza for Hunter College, and the 67th Street Armory.

She has designed and enhanced the campus landscapes at Princeton University, Stony Brook University, and Columbia University, where she continues to work on new projects. Most recent projects include the Bayard Cutting Arboretum Garden Walk, the Chelsea Cove Entry Garden at Hudson River Park, the British Garden at Hanover Square, and the reinvigoration of the Heather Garden at Fort Tryon Park.

For more than twenty-five years, Mrs. Miller has focused her work on the improvement of parks and gardens from the Bronx to the Battery, from Rockaway to Staten Island. Based on her belief that public open spaces with good well-maintained plantings can change city life, she has taken an entirely new approach to public horticulture by creating rich plantings that provide four seasons of interest for New Yorkers. Well-planted public places such as Bryant Park have had a huge impact on the surrounding neighborhood, attracting many visitors which has drastically reduced crime and raised real-estate values. She has carried this message all over the United States and Canada as well as to cities around the world, and has written a book on this topic, published by Norton Publishing in 2009 and awarded the 2010 American Horticultural Society Book Award, titled Parks, Plants, and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape.

As former co-chairman of the advocacy organization New Yorkers for Parks, she has led efforts to improve parks in under-served communities in all five boroughs. In response to the consistent lack of city funds for park maintenance, she was instrumental in developing an innovative program, the Neighborhood Parks Initiative, which placed 30 additional gardeners in the highest need parks in the city. Through her efforts the Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy became partners with NY4P in the initiative.

After 9/11, she obtained a gift to the city of a million daffodils as a living memorial to those who died. Working with the Parks Department, ten thousand volunteers planted them in all five boroughs of the city. In the spring of 2002 they bloomed to raise the spirits of New Yorkers and beautify parks everywhere. The Daffodil Project continues each year with over 3 million daffodils planted to date.

Mrs. Miller was trained as a painter and studied horticulture at The New York Botanical Garden before beginning her garden design career. She is on the board of directors at The Central Park Conservancy, The New York Botanical Garden, and Metro Hort, a professional horticultural organization. Mrs. Miller is an adjunct assistant professor at New York University and an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University, teaching classes on successful public space and advanced planting design.

In 1999, Smith College honored Mrs. Miller with its distinguished Alumnae Medal, describing her as “one who uses the beauty and enchantment of public gardens to instill new pride in communities and change the personal and public experience of urban life.”

[About Public Garden Design]