Plant of the Week: Chinese Astilbe

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.

Astilbes, as a genus, are well known among gardeners as some of the rare, hardy flowering plants that thrive in shade. The Chinese astilbes, however, have a surprising tolerance for sun. On the High Line, our Astilbe chinensis 'Visions in Pink' grows in full sun in the Washington and Chelsea Grasslands. June through July, plumes of pink flowers draw the eye up from mounds of intricately cut foliage. By August, those plumes have gone to seed and dried into cone-shaped seed heads. This time of year, especially under snow fall, the shapes of those seed heads are like tiny versions of iconic winter evergreens. On the High Line, the astilbe seed heads mimic the conical American hollies and eastern red cedars growing in the park between West 20th and West 22nd Street.

WHERE TO SEE THIS PLANT

On the High Line between Little West 12th and West 14th Street, and between 17th and 19th Street.

Download our March bloom list.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects – become a member of the High Line today!

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