Tom knew that I liked flowers. And he figured that the New York Botanical Gardens would have flowers. So on November 20th, 2010, he whisked me away to this tucked-away gem in the Bronx where he was plotting and praying for the ‘perfect’ proposal. Only a twenty minute ride on Metro North, we get off at the Botanical Gardens stop, buy our tickets, and hop onto the tram that takes us all around the gardens. As we’re on the tram, we notice that there aren’t quite as many flowers as we were expecting; it’s mostly just shrubs and greenery. First stop: the Rose Garden! And, it’s one of the last day’s it’s open. Tom thinks to himself, “OK, this is perfect. Rose garden. Gazebo in the middle. This is good.” We hop off and start walking…and walking…and notice that there’s only about 5 roses still alive – not quite as picturesque as he had hoped for. Actually almost a bit depressing. This is how the Rose Garden looks in its prime:
Next stop, the greenhouse, with the special exhibit of Japanese Chrysanthemums. Beautiful, uniquely-shaped flowers in pinks, reds, yellows, some the size of soccer balls! Now this was cool. Tom leaves me for a bit to let me enjoy the unique creations, and steps out (I later find out) to ask the security guard: “Hey man, I’m about to propose to my girl. Is there a good place you’d recommend?” The guard replies, “The rose garden! Definitely, the rose garden!” Tom thanks him and turns back around. He debates doing it in the greenhouse, but it’s way to crowded and just too lab-like. We mill around the windy paths, shrubs, and greenery a bit more. And it seems like every exhibit we see on the map and come to by foot, is closed and opening at a later date. At this point, I’m nervous for him as I’ve figured it out and want to make it as easy as possible for him!
Finally, we get to a footbridge with ducks swimming beneath (the Gardens call this the “Wetlands”; it’s basically a swamp). Normally, this would be a high-traffic area, but there’s a moment and it’s perfect – we divinely have the whole bridge to ourselves and Tom gets down on one knee.
We wouldn’t change a thing about that day, wouldn’t have asked for more roses in the rose garden, wouldn’t have asked for more exhibits to be open. Proposing in the middle of November at the New York Gardens may not have been the most ideal if you have a girlfriend that likes flowers. But it made for a good story, and was perfect for us.
Grace Yen is a merchandise planner for Polo Ralph Lauren and is the founder of ModernFiori, a floral arrangement boutique.