Horticulture

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Author: 
Erika Harvey
High Line Gardener John Gunderson advises Spring Cutback volunteers on the proper technique for cutting back the grasses during a volunteer orientation session on February 15.
 

In just a few days, we will begin what has become one of our favorite traditions since the High Line opened as a public park. Spring Cutback – it’s a six-week operation that involves hundreds of hours of hard work to trim back the park’s 100,000 plants to make way for the new growing season.

Spring Cutback is the biggest horticultural undertaking of the year – one that took us more than 1,200 hours to complete last year. With the recent opening of the new section of the High Line, this will be the first spring where we have one mile of parkland to prepare for spring. We can’t do it alone, so we have recruited more than 300 members, supporters, neighbors, and friends from our community to help us complete this monumental task.

The volunteers recently completed their orientation session, where they were introduced to the unique challenges of maintaining a park in the sky. Follow us after the jump for a recap.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Corsican hellebore is a hearty evergreen that produces pale green flowers in late winter.
 

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that took root on the elevated rail tracks after the trains stopped running. The High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — 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 with you one of our Gardeners’ current favorites.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
The woodland crocus is one of the first spring bulbs to pop up. Keep an eye out for these tiny purple flowers. Photo by Cristina Macaya.
 

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that took root on the elevated rail tracks after the trains stopped running. The High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — 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 with you one of our Gardeners’ current favorites.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
We need your help cutting back the High Line's plants to make way for new spring growth. Submit your volunteer application by Monday, February 13. Photo (upper right) by Joan Garvin. Other photos by Friends of the High Line.
 

The first signs of spring are already popping up along the High Line. To make way for new growth, we are now turning our attention to the biggest horticultural undertaking of the year: High Line Green-Up Spring Cutback.

Beginning in March, the High Line Gardeners will be working quickly to sheer back the grasses and perennials by hand, using pruners, scissors, and the help of volunteers and staff.

Spring Cutback is a monumental task – one that took us 1,200 hours to complete last year. This year, we have twice as much work to do. The High Line doubled in length when the new section opened last June, giving us one mile of parkland with more than 100,000 plants to prepare for spring this year.

We can’t do it without the help of volunteers like you. We hope you will join us!

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Pussy willows are named for their soft cat fur-like blooms that herald spring.
 

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that took root on the elevated rail tracks after the trains stopped running. The High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — 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 with you one of our Gardeners’ current favorites.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Pallida witch hazel produces vibrant yellow flowers early in the year. Photo by Joan Garvin.
 

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that took root on the elevated rail tracks after the trains stopped running. The High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — 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 with you one of our Gardeners’ current favorites.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
This particular cultivar of witch hazel blooms in the winter when most other plants are dormant.
 

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that took root on the elevated rail tracks after the trains stopped running. The High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — 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 with you one of our Gardeners’ current favorites.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
The first snowfall of the year was an opportunity to take some great photos of the High Line. Photo by Joan Garvin
 

The first winter storm arrived in New York City on Saturday, blanketing the High Line with a light coating of snow. Our maintenance and operations staff arrived before dawn to begin clearing the pathways, making the park safe for visitors to enjoy the High Line’s winter landscape.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Present throughout the park, ‘The Blues’ little bluestem is a wispy grass that produces fluffy silver seed heads that remain beautiful through the winter months.
 

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that took root on the elevated rail tracks after the trains stopped running. The High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — 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 with you one of our Gardeners’ current favorites.

Author: 
Kate Lindquist
On the Falcone Flyover, visitors can walk through lush foliage at canopy-level during the warmer months of the year. Current mulching efforts will mean healthier and more robust plants this upcoming summer. Photo by Iwan Baan
 

We are always looking for unique ways to minimize waste, cultivate sustainable operations, and keep our discarded plant material closer to home. That is why we are excited about a new opportunity for closed-loop recycling with the introduction of our own organic mulch below the Falcone Flyover, on the High Line between West 25th and 26th Streets.

The Falcone Flyover contains an elevated walkway that carries visitors through a canopy of sumac and magnolia trees. Below the pathway, a gently rolling topography creates soil depth to accommodate shrubs and trees, but it is also prone to erosion.

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A new experiment is underway to prevent the erosion and increase the soil’s fertility. Using a test area, the High Line Gardeners recently introduced an application of organic mulch created from discarded plant material from the High Line, with the goal of increasing use of compostable material on-site and reducing the frequency of visits to off-site composting locations in the future.

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