Spring Cutback

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Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Liz LigonNew York City Department of Parks and Recreation Borough Commissioner Bill Castro shears a tall patch of grass to cheers from Executive Director Jenny Gersten, Borough President Gale Brewer, and volunteers. The Borough Commissioner and Borough President stopped by on Wednesday to mark the official end of this year's Spring Cutback. Photo by Liz Ligon

We've reached the official end of Spring Cutback 2014! After four weeks of hard work by staff and volunteers, this massive horticultural endeavor is complete.

We were concerned about the lasting effects of this frigid and tenacious winter on the High Line's landscape. However, there is at least one advantage of a tardy spring. "Delays in spring weather mean that we can witness the bulbs break ground," said Senior Gardener Maeve Turner. Unlike previous years, when new growth would lie hidden beneath the yet-to-be-cut dried grasses and shrubs, this spring's belated blooms will emerge in our neatly trimmed beds.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Mike TschappatOn Monday, more than 20 volunteers came out to help the High Line Gardeners tackle the densely planted Chelsea Grasslands. Photo by Mike Tschappat
 

We're approaching the end of Spring Cutback, an annual endeavor to trim back more than 100,000 plants along the High Line to make room for new growth. This week staff and volunteers began to tackle several densely planted areas, including the Chelsea Grasslands, which stretch from West 17th Street through West 20th Street.

See more photos from the third week of Spring Cutback below.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Friends of the High LineDespite the steely gray sky, we relished the opportunity to get our (gloved) hands dirty during Wednesday's all-staff Spring Cutback.

We’ve completed our second week of Spring Cutback, reaching the halfway point in our effort to shear back more than 100,000 plants along the High Line. As we trim the dried shrubs and grasses of our winter garden, we make room for the green growth of spring.

See more photos from this past week below.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Liz LigonThe sight of all these bright green buckets dotting our planting beds means winter is on its way out. Photo by Liz Ligon

On Monday we began to trim back the dried grasses and striking seed heads that added beauty and texture to our gardens this long winter. This annual horticultural endeavor, called Spring Cutback, takes four weeks and involves our entire staff, as well as hundreds of volunteers. It's hard work, but there's no better way to greet spring than plant-by-plant on a park in the sky, New York City humming in the background.

See more photos from the first week of 2014 Spring Cutback below.

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: 
Thomas Smarr
Photo by Mike TschappatCutting back dried stems and leaves allows fresh growth to flourish in your garden. Photo by Mike Tschappat
 

We celebrate our gardens year-round at the High Line, paying special attention to the beauty of untouched perennials in the autumn and winter, and preparing for the burst of growth in the spring and array of colors throughout the summer. Here are some ways we prepare the gardens in spring.

Author: 
Erika Harvey


Our new video series My High Line highlights the many uses of the High Line, and the people who call it their own.

The inaugural video portrait features Gammy Miller, a High Line Volunteer and long-time resident of the West Village.

Join us after the jump to discover her High Line.

Author: 
Kate Lindquist
We did it! Despite the unseasonably cold weather, two snowstorms, several days of rain, and yesterday's hail shower, we completed this year's High Line Spring Cutback in record time. These horticulture enthusiasts from REI were among the 80 volunteers who helped get the job done. Photo by Liz Ligon

We have just completed the fourth and final week of High Line Spring Cutback!

The High Line’s plants are not trimmed back at the onset of cold weather in the fall. Instead the landscape is left intact to provide structure, beauty, and habitat throughout the winter. As spring arrives, Friends of the High Line staff and volunteers work together to cut back the plants to prepare for the new growing season. This horticultural effort, called High Line Spring Cutback, takes place throughout the entire month of March.

See photos from our last week of Spring Cutback after the jump.

Author: 
Kate Lindquist

Earlier this week, High Line Photographer Beverly Israely captured this interesting shot of the hollow stems of the Equisetum hyemale, or giant horsetail. This wetland species grows along the water feature on the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck, between West 14th and West 15th Streets.

As one of the park’s neighbors and a member of Friends of the High Line, Beverly has been working to build a portfolio of photographs that celebrate the High Line’s myriad textures and changes in the landscape's color and form over the four seasons.

With Spring Cutback nearly complete, you will find unusual textures along the High Line’s landscape. The High Line’s wild grasses, shrubs, and flowering perennials have been trimmed back to make way for the new growing season, and that means over the next couple of weeks, you’ll see the landscape transform itself, as fresh green growth pops up all along the park.

Learn more about the High Line’s planting design.

Share your photos with us in the High Line Flickr Pool, or tag @highlinnyc on Instagram or Twitter.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney
It’s alternative spring break week at the High Line. Pictured here are the teens participating in this year’s High Line Green Corps, an education and job-training program by Friends of the High Line. Photo by Beverly Israely

Sixteen-year-old Winona Kay Holderbaum was amazed the first time she visited the High Line. “As a little girl, I used to pass by the overgrown bridge with my father, and I always wondered why no one could go up there,” she says.

Winona is one of ten teens selected from among 90 applicants for this year’s Green Corps program. Since January, the teens have been spending their afternoons at the High Line, earning a paycheck and receiving valuable job experience in fields like urban ecology, horticulture, and sustainability. This week is the teens’ spring break, and they’ve been working daily at the park, helping the High Line Gardeners and High Line Educators complete Spring Cutback.

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