I had never heard of Untermyer Gardens before this article in the New York Times. Or had I? I have certainly seen the Greystone train stop before, and often wondered what necessitated such an evocative name. And the more I thought about it, the more I was sure I had heard of him before. So I queried the Mertz Library’s digital collections. Given Greystone’s proximity to the Garden, I was hoping for tales of institutional cooperation , stories highlighting Samuel’s horticultural prowess. And while I found those, there are only hints at the magnificence of Mr. Untermyer’s palatial gardens. Here’s what I found.
According to Garden publications, Samuel Untermyer was an Annual Member of the NYBG from at least 1919 up until his death in 1940. Other entries in the Garden’s Journal document his ongoing horticultural efforts by way of his many donations of plants and seeds to NYBG, including a Strobilanthus dyerianus in 1919 and three Rex begonias in 1922. And there is one brief mention of his garden in the context of an article about a very special tree, just down the road from him. It left me feeling a little unsatisfied. I guess the only thing for it is a field trip to Greystone Station. Perhaps the ghosts (if there are any) will have more details! ~AR