The two-acre Wildflower Island, a refuge within the greater Teatown preserve, is home to roughly 280 species of wildflowers, trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses, sedges, and rushes.
Visiting the Island from April through September offers the experience to enjoy the ever-changing display of colorful blooms and rich natural fragrances. Learn from the expertise of our Volunteer Guides as they lead you through this unique sanctuary’s winding trails. Each season reveals nature’s many wonders of the moment and offers a special glimpse of the timing of the plants from bud to flower to fruit.
Visit Wildflower Island
Due to the importance of preserving this delicate sanctuary, the island is only accessible on Open Gate Days or by guided tour.
April – September
Reservations are required and can be made by calling Teatown reception at (914) 762-2912 x110. Children 12 and over are welcome. Private tours on weekdays can be arranged for groups of 6 or more. Dogs are not permitted on the island.
$4 members / $7 non-members
Open Gate Days
The gates of Wildflower Island are open—come stroll the winding paths and enjoy the beauty of Teatown Lake from a different perspective.
Open Gate Days Spring 2019 (open 11am-1pm):
July 14, August 18, September 15.
Conservation of Wildflowers
Wildflowers and all other species of flowering plants in our forests, meadows, swamps, and lakes are incredibly important for our region. They provide food for pollinators and other organisms, are host plants for insect larvae, and provide shelter for animals. As an added bonus, their vibrant colors and unique flower structures are wonderful viewing experience for visitors.
Many of the wildflowers native to our region are now under extreme duress due to the cumulative effects of human development, invasive species, and overabundant deer populations. The impact of these threats are clear: many of the species on the island can no longer be found in local forests. Land managers and scientists are currently working to mitigate these threats, and sanctuaries like Wildflower Island are essential demonstrations of what a healthy forest looks like.
Visitors can also enjoy the Fern Walk, a corner of the island where a number of these plants flourish in the shade, and a small swampy area, home to several kinds of graminoids and wildflowers that like to get their feet wet.
A Walk in the Woods
with Leah Kennell
Join Leah Kennell, Curator of Wildflower Island, as she shares stories about some of the spectacular wildflowers on the island.
What’s in Bloom this week?
Each week, Wildflower Island guides investigate every corner of Wildflower Island in search of what is in bloom.
Want a more in-depth look at the Bloomlist? One of our Wildflower Island guides keeps an ongoing blog with interesting information and findings during a weekly search through the island. Click here for the blog.
Click below for a gallery of wildflowers spotted in bloom this week. All photos generously provided by Bonnie Rogers.
The Island’s History
Wildflower Island did not begin intentionally. In 1924, Gerard Swope, Sr. dammed Bailey Brook to create what has become Teatown’s most iconic lake, leaving an elevated knoll of land above the water line. This “island” has remained isolated from the Teatown “mainland” ever since. In 1970, Warren Balgooyen, Teatown’s first naturalist, landed a canoe on the island and discovered “a treasure chest of floral jewels.” He and Marjorie Swope began to cultivate the island garden, and Jane Darby became the first Wildflower Island curator.
Teatown’s preserve faces rising pressures from deer browsing, invasive species, and other disturbances that threatened once-common woodland wildflowers like lady’s slipper orchids, trillium, and wild columbine. But Wildflower Island– virtually inaccessible to deer and less vulnerable to invasives – has become a sanctuary for such species, some of which were transplanted from the larger preserve to ensure their survival. Recent years have seen a dramatic decline of many native wildflowers in our woodlands, leaving Wildflower Island to represent the forest that once was.