Horticulture

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Author: 
Andi Pettis
Sideoats grama in midsummer. Photo by Friends of the High LineOn Friday evening and early Saturday morning this past week, New Yorkers were treated to a larger-than-life moon, or “supermoon.” Photo by Mike Tschappat

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.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Veronicastrum virginicum. Photo by Friends of the High LineVeronicastrum virginicum, or Culver’s root. Photo by Friends of the High Line

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.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
The High Line's Northern Spur Preserve in different seasons. Photo by Steven SeveringhausSeasonal flora on the Northern Spur Preserve. Photo by Steven Severinghaus

We are so often delighted by High Line Photographer Steven Severinghaus 's ability to capture the changing seasons in the park’s gardens. There’s no better vantage point from which to observe the transitions of the foliage and blooms than from the perch above the Northern Spur Preserve, a sentiment Steven no doubt shares. This quadriptych that Steven created shows the Northern Spur Preserve, located on the High Line at West 16th Street, through a reverse of seasons – winter through summer.

See more photosof the park at its peak in the summer season.

Author: 
Marek Pundzak
Shenandoah red switch grass in the summer. Photo by Friends of the High LineShenandoah red switch grass (Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’) is accented by airy reddish-pink panicles in the summer. Photo by Friends of the High Line

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.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
The High Line in summer. Photo by Juan ValentinThe High Line's gardens are lush with blooms and green growth in the summer. Photo by Juan Valentin

There's nothing like a brutal, overlong winter to make one appreciate a summer garden. On those days when the sun is hot and you're tempted to hurry by beautiful blooms, remember this. And this. And that mid-April snow-ice-storm that brought our long-awaited #CrocusWatch2014 to a harsh and unceremonious end.

Treasure the miracle that is the summer garden.

Author: 
Christian Barclay
Gardener John GundersonGardener John Gunderson has been with Friends of the High Line since 2011. Photo by Friends of the High Line

While the High Line is meant to look like a wild landscape, it requires an extraordinary amount of work to maintain the plant life. The horticulture team is responsible for maintaining the park’s more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees. In our first Staff Spotlight, we’re focusing on John Gunderson, a gardener who’s been with Friends of the High Line for three years.

Author: 
Marek Pundzak
Sea lavender (Limonium platyphyllum) in bloom on the High Line. Photo by Friends of the High LineThe lovely sea lavender (Limonium platyphyllum) is in bloom on the High Line. Photo by Friends of the High Line

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.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
EnlargeGraceful Cattail. Photo by Gene Daly

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.

EnlargeSeeds of the graceful cattail. Photo by Friends of the High Line

Swaying over the children splashing in the water feature, across from the visitors reveling in the sun on the deck chairs, the graceful cattails are blooming on the High Line. A marginal wetland species native to Europe and Asia, Typha laxmanii is monoecious, meaning both male and female reproductive parts are present on each individual plant. There are actually two sets of tiny, densely packed flowers on each stem. The yellow-brown flowers near the top of the stem are the male flowers, one or two inches below these are the yellow-green female flowers. Once the pollen has fallen from the male flowers onto the female flowers, the male flowers shrivel and fall away from the stem. The female flowers are left to mature into the familiar fuzzy brown cattails, which are actually the seed-bearing fruits of the plant.

Typha laxmanii is known as the graceful cattail for its small stature and fine texture. Other species of cattail can grow up to 10 feet tall – very impressive for plants growing at the edge of a majestic lake, but rather unwieldy for the High Line’s small wetland planting or an urban garden. Typha laxmanii grows only to 3 feet, making it a graceful choice indeed for backyard ponds or rain gardens. These cattails will thrive in any sunny spot where the soil is regularly saturated and never quite dries out – perfect for the poorly drained areas that are usually a problem spot in gardens.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Gene DalyBeautiful variations in color, from pale pink to bright violet, have appeared among the High Line’s Hummelo hedgenettle (Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’). Photo by Gene Daly

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.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
EnlargePhoto by Eddie Crimmins

There are an amazing variety of beautiful grasses growing on the High Line. Little bluestem is an unexpected, cooling blue-green in midsummer. The flowers of purple love grass explode into airy fireworks, and then break away and float down the High Line like tumbleweeds in late summer. Switchgrass – with its autumnal burgundies and mauves – gives depth of color and texture to the late fall and winter landscape. These are just a few examples of the dazzling range of colors, textures, and forms that the grasses lend to the park’s landscape. However, there are two species of grass on the High Line in particular that hardly ever get acknowledged. Lolium perenne, perennial ryegrass, and Festuca arundinacea, tall fescue, are the hardworking turf grasses that make up the High Line’s 23rd Street Lawn, and this week we give them their due.

Turf grasses are plants that are specially bred to optimize each species’s natural qualities. Most lawns contain a mix of these species in order to get the benefits of each one. For instance, the Lawn on the High Line is made up of a blend of approximately 20% perennial ryegrass plants and 80% tall fescue plants. Each of these species serves its own purpose in helping to keep the Lawn green and lush in the particular conditions of the park’s environment.

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