Ralph Hancock

The Rockefeller Rooftop

It was on this day in 1893 that the Welsh landscape gardener, architect, and author, Ralph Hancock, was born.

Hancock created several famous Gardens across Wales, England, and the United States.
One of his most famous works is the rooftop garden at the Rockefeller Center in New York.
Hancock designed his rooftop garden in 1934. It was cutting-edge at the time.
In the interview, he said,

"The days of penthouse gardening in boxes are over and miles and miles of roof space in every metropolis in this country remain to be reclaimed by landscape gardening."

Hancock's rooftop garden was called The Garden of Nations, and it featured gardens for eight different countries around a central, old English tea house and cottage garden. Hancock's Garden of Nationsrequired 3,000 tons of earth, 100 tons of natural stone, and 2,000 trees and shrubs. They were all delivered by the service elevator or by a man using a block and tackle pulley system on the side of the building.
The 11th floor Garden of Nations opened on April 15, 1935. Nelson Rockefeller was in attendance as well as students from Bryn Mawr College. The young women arrived wearing costumes from the various nations, and there's a beautiful photo of Nancy Nichol wearing a kimono in the Japanese garden.

This post was featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

helping gardeners find their roots,
one story at a time
Ralph Hancock
Ralph Hancock

Leave a Comment