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.
Hibiscus moscheutos ssp. palustris, the swamp rose mallow, is a year-round star of the wetland plantings on the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck. It is hard to miss in the summertime, thanks to its huge (up to six inches) saucer-shaped pink flowers. Although each flower only opens for one day, the plant continues to produce blooms throughout the season. It has stand-out leaves, which spread to the size of a large hand and have a smooth, velvety texture. These large leaves and flowers give the swamp rose mallow a tropical feel, but it is a great New York native, with many cousins native to warmer climates. This fast growing herbaceous perennial can reach more than six feet tall, and grow almost as wide, producing a shrub-like habit. Where it has space it can spread easily and colonize large areas.