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 500 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.
I love it when plants are interesting in vast ways. Look at Tradescantia ohiensis 'Mrs. Loewer,' for example. Last December, fellow gardener Kaspar Wittlinger wrote about Mrs. Loewer, saying that it "holds on to its color for the coldest months of the year." Now, at the end of May, she is drawing attention again with beautifully simple, three-petal, soft purple flowers appearing out of long cascading leafy bracts. Each flower lasts only one day, being replaced by new blooms impatiently waiting for their turn as a tightly packed, swollen bud cluster.
In full sun,
Tradescantia ohiensis 'Mrs. Loewer' will bloom liberally for a period of time and will look a bit unkempt. Here at the High Line, it is a desirable trait because of our naturalistic design. In some shade, she will not bloom as much, but will keep a tighter form.
In the Commelinaceae or Spiderwort family, Tradescantia ohiensis 'Mrs. Loewer' is a North American native cultivar pollinated by a wide range of bees. The genus name comes from John Tradescant and his son, Junior, gardeners to King Charles I.
'Mrs. Loewer' is not susceptible to any serious problems, but deer, rabbits and box turtles will feast on her. Unless those guys make it to the Hudson River Overlook at West 15
th Street, she is safe!
Tradescantia ohiensis 'Mrs. Loewer' can tolerate part shade to full sun. It grows best in full sun.
WHERE TO SEE THIS PLANT
Hudson River Overlook at West 15th Street
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