Plant of the Week: Shooting star

Every year at the High Line, visitors congregate on the Sunken Overlook at 10th Avenue Square in order to experience the sights and sounds of New York City. Peering through the glass windows, visitors are subjected to an expansive view of the urban streetscape, as a river of brake lights flows rapidly uptown. Views like this demand your attention at the High Line, as they are a part of what makes this park truly unique. However, if you are visiting during the spring and would like to experience some the park's natural wonders, take a moment to direct your attention just south of this location, where you'll be able to catch a glimpse of one of the High Line's most beautiful plants. Meet: Dodecatheon meadia, common name, shooting star.

Exhibiting a variance of delicate white, pink or magenta petals that cascade nearly 20" over a bright green basal rosette, Dodecatheon meadia puts on a display like no other plant on the High Line. Observed from a distance, their umbels of reflexed flowers appear to be suspended in midair, creating an illusion of a 'shooting star' falling from the sky.

With a name that comes from the Greek word dodeka meaning twelve and theos meaning god, much emphasis has been placed on the short bloom time of this perennial; as the clusters of flowers suddenly die back in late spring. So if you're lucky enough to spot a 'shooting star' on the High Line this spring, take a moment to appreciate it before it's gone until next year.

PLANTING TIP

Native to parts of Eastern and Central North America, in zones 4-8, Dodecatheon meadia can be found in a number of different regions; from prairies and wooded areas to alpine ranges at higher altitudes.

Appropriate for rock gardens that contain moist and well-drained soil, Dodecatheon meadia prefers a shaded area where it is protected from the afternoon sun.

DESIGN TIPS: Leave enough space between clusters of plantings in a design scheme. This will create numerous focal points through your garden and disperse bumble bees and other pollinators during its bloom time. Dodecatheon meadia is also considered to be deer and rodent resistant, so feel free to include them in your perennial garden.

WHERE TO FIND THIS PLANT

This plant is located between the Northern Spur Preserve on 16th Street and the 10th Avenue Square on 17th Street; just outside the Northern entrance of the Chelsea Market underpass.

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. Every week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

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.


TD Bank is the Presenting Green Sponsor of the High Line.

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