Young Garden – New York, NY. 1960-1970.
Image 19: Young Garden – New York, NY. 1960-1970.

In big cities like New York City, many people live in apartment buildings. Some are fortunate enough to have a small space in which to grow a garden, often located on the roof or balconies of the buildings. These gardens usually require planters and pots since they are not grown directly on ground soil.

1. How is this urban garden different from the one pictured on the postcard on the next page? Make a chart to compare and contrast the elements.

2. Who do you think uses it? How do you think they water the plants?

3. What problems or special considerations would a rooftop gardener have to consider?

Postcard of City Park – Fort Worth, Texas. 1908.
Image 20: City Park – Fort Worth, Texas. 1908.

This garden, seen in this image from a postcard, was created in the early twentieth century (1900-1950). During this time, cities in the United States were rapidly expanding with buildings and industry. Public parks and gardens were often built in cities to make them more enjoyable places to live. These parks were often used by people to escape from the buildings, industry, and busy life of cities.

1. Why do you think gardens were thought of as places to escape? From what were people during this period trying to get away? Do we still use gardens and parks as places to retreat today?

2. Is there a park like this where you live? If so, how is it similar or different? Who visits it?

3. Do you think cities still benefit from parks today?

4. Send us a postcard of a park or garden near you! Take a picture of a garden or park where you live and share it with us on our Flickr page (find it on or by mail:

Smithsonian Gardens/ P.O. Box 37012
Capital Gallery Building, Suite 3300, MRC 506
Washington, D.C., 20013-7012