Photo of the Week: Winter Seed Heads

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Author: 
Amelia Krales
Photos by Juan Valentin The seed heads of plants past their prime are beautiful in their winter state. The High Line’s perennials are intentionally left by our gardeners to overwinter naturally, and won’t be cut back until spring. Photos by Juan Valentin

The landscape design of the High Line is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that took over during the decades after the last train rumbled by in 1980. Planting designer Piet Oudolf’s design concept for the High Line selects shrubs, trees, flowers, and grasses for their four-season interest, color, and texture. This time of year, you’ll notice an important aspect of Piet’s four-season vision: stiff stalks, architectural seed heads, and dried grasses create beauty and interest in the winter garden.

In these three elegant images High Line Photographer Juan Valentin singled out beautiful examples of plants that have gone to seed and photographed them portrait-style. From left to right, smooth sumac, Rhus glabra, swamp rose mallow, Hibiscus moscheutos ssp. palustris, and Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight,' have lost their bold hues but are striking in their winter incarnations.

Winter hours on the High Line are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, but stay tuned to @highlinenyc on Twitter during inclement weather for updates.