Photo by Barry Munger.
Friends of the High Line's Deputy Director of Horticulture talks about planting on the High Line, working with Field Operations and Planting Designer Piet Oudolf, and creating a maintenance plan for the new landscape.Where were you before coming to Friends of the High Line, and what drew you to the High Line project?
I was at the Horticultural Society of New York as the director of a community horticulture program called GreenBranches. We worked with the community, transitional work crews, and local designers to install, maintain, and program public gardens in underserved neighborhoods around the city.
I was drawn to the High Line as one of the most intriguing projects in urban gardening I could ever imagine. What was unique about the landscape that grew on the High Line after the trains stopped running?
It's a fascinating example of how plants just work themselves out. A diverse mix of grasses, asters, mosses, shrubby colonizers and weed trees gradually took hold in mere inches of railroad ballast mixed with decomposing dust and soil. Seeds and pollen were deposited on the Line by the train cars that once ran along it, and by birds, wind, and the occasional trespasser. The plant species that were most adaptable to harsh weather, urban pollution, and total neglect grew into the beautifully-wild space that was the found High Line landscape, as the world went on unknowingly just below.