Garden in the Sky

On a recent tour of the rooftop garden of The Waldorf Astoria New York, I learned some creative ways to make the most of the end of the growing season. Chef David Garcelon took me to the 20th floor and out onto the rooftop on a lovely fall afternoon. So many fresh ingredients are packed into the garden space in waist high boxes for easy picking. Though it still looked leafy, green, and plentiful, Garcelon told me plants were dwindling and the season was coming to an end. Still he had great plans—you can follow too—for making the most of what remained. He recommends packing the last of the lavender leaves with sugar to impart the fresh herb’s flavor for use all winter long and pulling a sprig of lemon verbena to flavor a pitcher of ice water. The highlight of the roof is the four beehives, swarming with the busy bees when I walked up, which produced a record 350 pounds of honey this season. The bees aren’t fans of heat, so the cooler temperatures this summer encouraged ample honey production. The garden supplies Guerlain Spa with honey for specialty treatments, including the Urban Island Escape ($325, 80 minutes), and the kitchens with fresh ingredients for limited-edition dishes thought up on the spot. Garcelon’s favorite use of honey at the hotel is the housemade honey ice cream, which has a distinct, yet not too rich or sweet, honey flavor.

For more on honey, check out Haute Honey and we have a honey-packed feature in the pipeline for 2015.