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Photo by Rowa Lee

High Line Gardeners & Volunteers Complete 2016 Cutback Season

By Emma Leavens | April 4, 2016

Another Spring Cutback on the High Line has been completed—and in record time. Our team of 15 gardeners completed this tremendous undertaking earlier than ever with the help of 175 volunteers who contributed more than 690 combined volunteer hours. With the unseasonable warmth of this spring, the gardeners and volunteers worked around bulbs in bloom and uncovered new growth while removing the remaining material from last season. This made way for a particularly graceful, colorful transition into the spring season on the High Line.

This year, the gardeners took on the ambitious additional challenge of storing, chipping, and composting all of the plant debris on site to recycle that organic material back into our High Line ecosystem. Recycling over 4,000 cubic feet of Cutback plant debris into our plant beds as mulch, compost, and compost tea enables last year’s growth to foster the health of our gardens this year. This process will mimic the natural decomposition of plant life—and subsequent nutrient uptake by new plants—that would take place in a wild landscape.

Along with the nutrients that will soon be returned to the plant beds, because of Cutback our plants now have more access to sunlight, which will soon result in more vibrant colors and textured foliage in the park. Congratulations to our incredible team of gardeners, and thanks to all our volunteers—including groups from Google, The High Line Hotel, REI, Related and TD Bank—for their hard work and dedication over the past month. We also invite you to read a Q&A with High Line volunteer Bridget Gramling to learn more about the volunteer experience.

Below, check out several of the photo highlights from cutback, followed by a gallery of our hardworking gardeners:

Meet the Gardeners:

Senior Gardener John GundersonRowa Lee

Gardener Erin EckRowa Lee

Senior Gardener Kaspar WittlingerRowa Lee

Gardener Maryanne StubbsRowa Lee

Gardener Marek PundzakRowa Lee

Senior Gardener Orrin SheehanRowa Lee

Gardener Nathan BartholomewRowa Lee

Gardener Rachel HokansonRowa Lee

Gardener Taryn CunhaRowa Lee

Gardener Tim KerinsRowa Lee

Gardener Guilherme GoncalvesRowa Lee

Seasonal Gardener Sue TropioRowa Lee

Seasonal Gardener Yuki KanekoRowa Lee

Seasonal Gardener Matt VermeulenRowa Lee

Horticulture Intern Ayinde ListhropJulienne Prevete

REI is a Supporting Sponsor of the High Line Volunteer Program.

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Friends of the High Line raises 98% of the High Line’s annual budget.
Owned by the City of New York, the High Line is a public park maintained, operated, and programmed by Friends of the High Line, in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.