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Author: 
Andi Pettis
Autumn moor grass. Photo by Friends of the High LineAutumn moor grass (Sesleria autumnalis) forms upright clumps that lend an almost formal element to the High Line’s naturalistic aesthetic. Photo by Friends of 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 one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Sideoats grama in midsummer. Photo by Friends of the High LineBouteloua curtipendula, or sideoats grama, is distinguished by tall stems lined with drooping awns that arch gracefully over the rest of its foliage. Photo by Friends of 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 one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Johnny Linville. Photo by Friends of the High LinePhoto by Friends of the High Line

“Sometimes you forget you’re 30 feet in the air. It’s kind of magical.” This is how Johnny Linville spoke of how he experienced the High Line when he began working here as a gardener in 2009. Five years later, Johnny’s sense of magic in the park was as strong as ever. It is with a heavy sense of loss that we announce his passing on August 1, 2014.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Veronicastrum virginicum. Photo by Friends of the High LineVeronicastrum virginicum, or Culver’s root. Photo by Friends of 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 one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
EnlargeGraceful Cattail. Photo by Gene Daly

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.

EnlargeSeeds of the graceful cattail. Photo by Friends of the High Line

Swaying over the children splashing in the water feature, across from the visitors reveling in the sun on the deck chairs, the graceful cattails are blooming on the High Line. A marginal wetland species native to Europe and Asia, Typha laxmanii is monoecious, meaning both male and female reproductive parts are present on each individual plant. There are actually two sets of tiny, densely packed flowers on each stem. The yellow-brown flowers near the top of the stem are the male flowers, one or two inches below these are the yellow-green female flowers. Once the pollen has fallen from the male flowers onto the female flowers, the male flowers shrivel and fall away from the stem. The female flowers are left to mature into the familiar fuzzy brown cattails, which are actually the seed-bearing fruits of the plant.

Typha laxmanii is known as the graceful cattail for its small stature and fine texture. Other species of cattail can grow up to 10 feet tall – very impressive for plants growing at the edge of a majestic lake, but rather unwieldy for the High Line’s small wetland planting or an urban garden. Typha laxmanii grows only to 3 feet, making it a graceful choice indeed for backyard ponds or rain gardens. These cattails will thrive in any sunny spot where the soil is regularly saturated and never quite dries out – perfect for the poorly drained areas that are usually a problem spot in gardens.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Gene DalyBeautiful variations in color, from pale pink to bright violet, have appeared among the High Line’s Hummelo hedgenettle (Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’). Photo by Gene Daly

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.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
EnlargePhoto by Eddie Crimmins

There are an amazing variety of beautiful grasses growing on the High Line. Little bluestem is an unexpected, cooling blue-green in midsummer. The flowers of purple love grass explode into airy fireworks, and then break away and float down the High Line like tumbleweeds in late summer. Switchgrass – with its autumnal burgundies and mauves – gives depth of color and texture to the late fall and winter landscape. These are just a few examples of the dazzling range of colors, textures, and forms that the grasses lend to the park’s landscape. However, there are two species of grass on the High Line in particular that hardly ever get acknowledged. Lolium perenne, perennial ryegrass, and Festuca arundinacea, tall fescue, are the hardworking turf grasses that make up the High Line’s 23rd Street Lawn, and this week we give them their due.

Turf grasses are plants that are specially bred to optimize each species’s natural qualities. Most lawns contain a mix of these species in order to get the benefits of each one. For instance, the Lawn on the High Line is made up of a blend of approximately 20% perennial ryegrass plants and 80% tall fescue plants. Each of these species serves its own purpose in helping to keep the Lawn green and lush in the particular conditions of the park’s environment.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Friends of the High LineThe foxtail lily, Eremurus stenophyllus, is an iconic late-spring bloom at the High Line. Photo by Friends of 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 one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Friends of the High LineIn addition to being an important crop, purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) is a particularly handsome plant. Photo by Friends of 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 one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Beverly IsraelyThe wild legacy of the High Line's landscape is on full display in the summer, when the planting beds are a frenzy of green . Photo by Beverly Israely

The High Line was made by nature when the trains stopped running, and designer Piet Oudolf and the landscape architects of James Corner Field Operations paid tribute to that self-seeded landscape in one of their original design tenets for the High Line: keep it wild.

The plantings on the High Line are meant to change. They mimic the dynamics of a wild landscape. Plants out-compete one another, spread or diminish in number. They drift in the environment to where they can best fill their niches, and their individual seasonal cycles become part of a whole picture. Over the last five years, the work of the High Line gardeners has been to facilitate and enhance the natural processes of growth, change, and movement in the landscape, and at the same time maintain the integrity of the original design by Oudolf and James Corner Field Operations.

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