After the winter that we’ve had, tomorrow’s 50° F (or 10° C) will feel almost balmy. Regardless of the temperature, the spirit of spring has already begun to infuse the city and our staff with fond thoughts of the season ahead. Behind the scenes here, High Line Gardeners are prepping their buckets, shears, and wheelbarrows for the beginning of our largest horticultural task of the year, Spring Cutback , which kicks off next week.
For the High Line’s planting beds, Spring Cutback truly ushers in the new growing season. Dried grasses, architectural stalks, and seed heads that have weathered the sleet and snow of the winter season are trimmed back to make room for new growth. This lively GIF, featuring images of West 20th Street taken by High Line Photographer Melissa Mansur , shows the magical progression of the High Line’s landscape that takes place during this time. (If you weren’t already looking forward to spring, this GIF should change that!)
In the late winter shot, the landscape is dominated by the dried remnants of switch grass, Panicum virgatum; sideoats grama, Bouteloua curtipendula; and prairie dropseed, Sporobolus heterolepis, all varieties of prairie grasses. After gardeners and volunteers sweep through with Spring Cutback, trimming back the grasses to the ground, as shown in the second image, the first pops of green start to emerge around the bare train tracks and short stumps of last year’s plants. Mountain mint, Pycnanthemum muticum; daffodils, Narcisuss species; and sweet black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia subtomentosa are some of the earliest plants to pop up here, although their blooms will come later in the season. In the last image, spring is in its full lush glory. The train tracks begin to be obscured once again as blue-petaled threadleaf bluestar, Amsonia hubrichtii; Pink Delight meadow sage, Salvia pratensis ‘Pink Delight;’ and now-leafy sweet black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia subtomentosa convert the bright spring sun into vibrant foliage and blooms.
Stay tuned for updates about Spring Cutback on the High Line Blog, the High Line’s Facebook  page, and @highlinenyc on Twitter  and Instagram . Share your stories and pictures of Spring Cutback using the hashtag #SpringCutback.