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Author: 
Erika Harvey
The Northern Spur Preserve from fall, winter, and early spring, to now. Photos by Steven Severinghaus

While winter was a little longer than most of us would have liked, watching the transition of seasons this spring has been a real pleasure.

We loved this series of photos of the Northern Spur Preserve, on the High Line at West 16th Street, that High Line Photographer Steven Severinghaus has captured over the seasons. This GIF shows the mesmerizing transformation that takes place from autumn to this moment (full-blown spring!). Watch the snow melt before your eyes, giving way to early spring bulbs and new green growth. If only this year's winter could have gone by as quickly!

Enjoy more lush spring photos in the High Line Flick Pool.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photo by Steven SeveringhausWisps of Mexican feather grass gently wave in the spring breeze. GIF by Steven Severinghaus
 

If you’ve visited the High Line recently, you’ve probably noticed that the once-tall dried grasses that characterize the park’s winter landscape have been trimmed back to the ground. This annual “haircut” for the park is called Spring Cutback and the tremendous task takes High Line Gardeners and volunteers four weeks to complete.

Not all of the High Line’s plants are trimmed back during Spring Cutback. The park’s woody perennials, shrubs, and trees may be pruned at other times of year, but they are not trimmed back aggressively as the park’s grasses are. One species of grass that does not get cut back at all is Mexican feather grass, Nassella tenuissima. This slow-growing perennial is left intact making it the only dried grass you’ll see on the High Line right now.

This entrancing GIF by High Line Photographer Steven Severinghaus captures the beauty of Mexican feather grass at this time of year. The dense bunches of dried thread-like blades look almost like hair as they wave in even the slightest breeze. In the background, it’s possible to see the trimmed-back stumps of other varieties of grass. Soon Mexican feather grass – and its wild grass brethren at the High Line – will transition to shades of vivid spring green.

Learn about more plants of interest by viewing our monthly bloom lists.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photo by Mike TschappatThis GIF shows the Northern Spur Preserve, on the High Line at West 16th Street, at three different times during the late winter and early spring seasons. Photos by Melissa Mansur
 

It’s difficult to believe that Spring Cutback is nearly finished! Later this week High Line Gardeners and volunteers will wrap this nearly four-week endeavor.

The first spring bulbs and green shoots are tentatively breaking the soil and soaking up every available drop of sunshine. As the cold weather starts to subside – and we promise it will – the High Line’s landscape will transform into full-blown spring glory.

This GIF, comprised of photos by High Line Photographer Melissa Mansur, allows us to look into the increasingly green future of the Northern Spur Preserve. This small offshoot, or “spur,” on the High Line once connected the active freight railway with the Merchants Refrigerating Company, a massive cold storage facility. Now, like the rest of the High Line, the Northern Spur Preserve is home to a wide variety of plants. The varieties chosen for this section of the park are especially meant to evoke the wild landscape that took over the High Line after the trains stopped running. You’ll find a variety of asters, sedges, catmint, and phlox.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photos by Melissa MansurThis GIF shows the High Line at West 20th Street at three points during the spring season: before Spring Cutback, after Spring Cutback, and later in spring as new growth takes over the planting beds. Photos by Melissa Mansur
 

After the winter that we’ve had, tomorrow’s 50° F (or 10° C) will feel almost balmy. Regardless of the temperature, the spirit of spring has already begun to infuse the city and our staff with fond thoughts of the season ahead. Behind the scenes here, High Line Gardeners are prepping their buckets, shears, and wheelbarrows for the beginning of our largest horticultural task of the year, Spring Cutback, which kicks off next week.

Author: 
Maeve Turner
Photo by Juan ValentinThe Grace smokebush, Cotinus ‘Grace,’ is a beacon of fall as the landscape shifts into winter mode. Photo by Juan Valentin

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

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