Royal Square's 'secret garden' teeming with tulips

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch

Hidden in the heart of Royal Square — behind several York City businesses and parking lots — rows and rows of tulips bloom. 

It's what urban gardener Annalisa Gojmerac calls York's "spectacular secret garden."

She hopes it's not too secret. The garden has a sign welcoming Yorkers to gather among the flowers, berries and vegetables growing on the once abandoned lot. 

For those unfamiliar with the Royal Square Garden, May's First Friday and the weekend events to follow are a great chance to get out and see one of York City's hidden gems, Gojmerac said. 

The garden will be open on Friday, May 3, as well as Saturday, May 4, during Collusion Tapworks' Spring Flea, and Sunday, May, 5, during Cinco de Mayo festivities. 

"It's another place for people to hang out," Gojmerac said. "It's a beautiful natural space that is welcoming for families." 

The tulips were donated by three local Lowe's locations: East York, West York and Hanover. As with all of the plants that grow in the garden, including berries, a plum tree and horseradish, there are no pesticides used. The unusually cool spring has allowed the tulips to stay vibrant further into the season than expected, Gojmerac said.

But the garden, now a rainbow of flower beds surrounded by locally painted murals, did not always look so pleasing. 

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About four years ago, Parliament Arts Organization, a city-based nonprofit community arts collective, received funding from an undisclosed donor to beautify the area. Through a collaborative volunteer effort, Yorkers turned a lot of fallen trees with a barely visible sidewalk into a garden used for poetry readings, yoga classes and more, Gojmerac said. 

The Royal Square Garden is proof that "nothing in York is lost forever," she said. 

"You can have a terrifyingly abandoned space and you can labor in it — over time, it can become magnificent," she said. 

— Rebecca Klar can be reached at or via Twitter @RebeccaKlar_.