Photography: A Look at the Four Seasons at the High Line


With 100,000 plants to tend over one mile of parkland, and more than four million people stroll through the park, our gardeners worked hard to keep the High Line’s landscape thriving this year.

Join us after the jump to take a look back at four seasons of horticulture highlights at the High Line.

winter Photographer Joan Garvin captured the giant pussywillow, Salix chaenomeloides blooming during a snow storm in January, 2012.
grasses This photo by Steven Severinghaus shows the Mexican feather grass, Stipa tenuissima, growing between the pathway’s tapered planks in the early spring. During the colder months of the year, the High Line’s grasses add soft texture and visual interest to the landscape. As temperatures start to warm up, you can spot the first hints of green springing up amongst dried grasses from last year’s growing season.
cutback In March we kicked off our biggest horticultural initiative of the year: Spring Cutback. During this eight-week effort, our gardeners and volunteers work side by side to trim back the park’s plants in order to make way for new spring growth. This photo shows the team at work on the Northern Spur Preserve. Photo by Friends of the High Line
crocus As the dried plants from last year’s growing season were cut back, the first signs of spring popped up, like these woodland crocuses, Crocus tommassinianus. Photo by Friends of the High Line
pussywillows Toward the middle of the spring, the fuzzy catkins of giant pussy willow trees, Salix chaenomeloides, emerged in the Chelsea Thicket, the densely-planted area on the High Line between West 21st and West 22nd Streets. Photo by Mike Tschappat
photographer Local and visiting photographers alike come to the park to take photographs of plant life and nature set against the cityscape. Photographer Mike Tschappat captured this photo of a plant enthusiast snapping photos of the pussy willows in the spring.
green corps This year we launched our first-ever High Line Green Corps, an alternative spring break made possible by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. For one week in April, ten local teens worked together with our gardeners and learned what it takes to care for a park in the sky. Photo by Joan Garvin
lilac Bursts of color and fragrance, like the blooms of Cutleaf lilac, Syringa x laciniata, pictured here, popped up along the High Line in the spring. Photo by Joan Garvin
blue moon Blue Moon wild blue phlox, Phlox divaricata ‘Blue Moon,’ alongside the High Line’s Art Deco railing. Photo by Beverly Israely
garlic Twistedleaf garlic, Allium obliquum, is a distinctive springtime bloom. Photo by Beverly Israely
lawn Persistent rain and unprecedented attendance meant that restorative measures were necessary at the High Line’s 23rd Street Lawn. Photo by Beverly Israely
You could spot butterflies, bees, and other pollinators all year long at the park. Photo by Melissa Mansur
raspberry Creeping raspberry, Rubus calycinoides, cascades over the wall at the Gansevoort Street stair. Photo by Melissa Mansur
sundeck Austin Kennedy captured the sumac trees and dried seedheads of the spiked gayfeather, Liatris spicata, along the lower level of the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck in the late summer.
yellow flowers Steven Severinghaus snapped this photo of the sweet black-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia subtomentosa, peeking over the High Line’s railings in late summer.
irrigation lines This spring and summer, drip irrigation was installed along the entire length of the High Line. Previously irrigation existed in select areas throughout the park and most of the watering was done by hand. Photo by Friends of the High Line
harlequin The beautiful blue and magenta colors of the Harlequin Glorybower, Clerodendrum trichotomum. Photo by Steven Severinghaus
rail yards In September we held a ceremonial groundbreaking on the High Line at the Rail Yards to signal the start of construction on the final stretch of the elevated railway. The majority of the self-seeded landscape will be preserved as part of the park’s design. The design team has created an interim walkway that will wend through the existing landscape of prairie grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers. Photo by Liz Ligon
maples Foliage along the High Line began to change in September. Pictured here are the three-flowered maple trees, Acer triflorum, in the 10th Avenue Square. Photo by Mat McDermott
asters Purple asters, one of the High Line’s iconic autumn blooms, in October. Photo by Rich Li-Chi Wang
asters An autumnal landscape on the Northern Spur Preserve evokes the self-seeded grasses and wildflowers that grew up after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Photo by Steven Severinghaus
foliage On the High Line near West 14th Street, you could find brilliant red foliage on the High Line’s sumac trees contrasted with clumps of purple asters and dried grasses in mid October. Photo by Steven Severinghaus
tracks Pictured here are the original tracks on the third and final section of the High Line at the Rail Yards. With support from UNIQLO, we opened up the rail yards for two weekends of walking tours in October. Photo by Juan Valentin
monkeys The High Line’s landscape was largely spared when Hurricane Sandy hit in late October. Our gardeners had worked hard to stake trees and prepare the park’s plants prior to the storm. Photo by Melissa Mansur
empty park This photo was taken the day after Hurricane Sandy swept over New York City. While the landscape and architectural features were intact, electrical, and mechanical systems for the park were heavily damaged during flooding. Photo by Melissa Mansur
winter berry Temperatures may be colder, but winter remains at great time to visit the High Line. The varying textures of dried plant stalks and seed heads are punctuated with winter blooms, bright berries, and hearty evergreens. Photo by Friends of the High Line

Learn more about what’s in bloom throughout the year. Download our monthly bloom guides.

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