Masses of tropical and subtropical plants fill the Courtyard with many shades of green punctuated by bright color. Orchids abound, along with a variety of leaf textures and patterns: Norfolk Island pine, tree ferns, large fishtail palms, smaller fan and Areca palms, and ferns.
Early images of the Courtyard show the profusion of plants placed by Isabella Stewart Gardner, filling the north side of the courtyard and creating a network of green that obscured the courtyard. Small trees and tall palms anchored Courtyard corners and many smaller plants lined the paths and surrounded the mosaic. The Courtyard was revealed to visitors in the surrounding cloisters. Today this luxuriant atmosphere is recreated in the first display of the New Year.
The Courtyard features plants that are actively growing and constantly changing. Courtyard images include plants that are representative of each display, but plants will be added or replaced over the life of the display.