Plant(s) of the Week: Golden Bunch Crocus and Dan Fenton Holly

As the weather warms, some of the season’s first spring bulbs are popping up along 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 with you two of our gardeners’ current favorites.

This week, temperatures are rising as High Line Gardeners and Spring Cutback volunteers continue to trim back dried grasses to make room for spring growth. It’s the perfect time to stop by the park to appreciate the early-spring bulbs and to enjoy the last of some of winter favorites. With that in mind, we are presenting two Plants of the Week.

Golden Bunch crocus, Crocus ancyrensis ‘Golden Bunch,’ pictured above, is one of the first spring blooms to emerge. Like their cousins the woodland crocus, Golden Bunch is grown from a “corm,” a bulb-like storage organ present in certain types of plants. Although the parts of the plant above ground die as the season progesses, energy is stored in the corm and protects the plant during its dormant time of year. When the weather warms in the spring, the corms send up their shoots and flowers, heralding a new growing season. Crocuses are small plants, measuring only a few inches tall, but they bring cheerful color to any garden at a time when very few other plants are green or in bloom, making them very popular with gardeners.

On the High Line at West 14th Street

Dan Fenton holly brings color to the forested area of the Chelsea Thicket, on the High Line between West 21st and West 22nd Streets.

Our second Plant of the Week is Dan Fenton holly, Ilex opaca ‘Dan Fenton,’ a wintertime favorite with waxy evergreen leaves and bright red fruit. As we mentioned previously with another relative, Red Sprite winterberry, many hollies are dioeciuos, meaning each individual plant is either male or female. Despite its name, Dan Fenton holly plants are female. To ensure a bountiful fruiting, High Line Gardeners have planted Ilex opaca ‘Jersey Knight,’ in close proximity for pollination.

On the High Line between West 21st and West 22nd Streets

Download the March Bloom List for more information on plants of interest.

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