Monday, July 27, 2009

The Highline in late July

It's wonderful to love New York all over again.

I think the Highline is spectacular. In another rainstormy day, during the peak of which, inbetween some echinacea and a sea of grass, my instant, $6 umbrella died an undignified death, we looked at late summer blooms and got soaked by hard rain and steamed by hot sun.

Designed by landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations with planting design by Piet Oudolf, and with architecture firm Diller Scofidio and Renfro...I really want to see a plant list. Thank you, Mr Oudolf.

The signature concrete planks or ties with grasses and perennials popping up inbetween. The sumac of the first picture warmed my heart, as it is so clearly a tribute to what grew here when the railroad was abandoned, and photographed by Joel Sternfield, whose work surely inspired the massive private cash injection into this old landscape.

Iris. What iris??? [Iris fulva, or copper iris. Thanks, NYCGarden!]

And what is this below? Just coming into bloom, from a distance, I thought...noooo, it can't be, not chrysanthemums: because the mound is that sturdy, about 3 feet broad and tall. Is it a sort of coreopsis? Anyone? I know it not at all. Exciting. [Red helenium...thank you Quiltcat!]


Looking south from near 20th Street

North up 10th Avenue.

Over that mystery, late summer perennial again.

Sigh. Just gorgeous. Panicum grass left and fore.

Rudbeckia and Gehry.


Is this a fescue? It's below the Standard Hotel, in the greener, birch treed part of the park.

I was happy to see calamintha, below, growing wildly. Good luck when that starts self-seeding.

Grass at the hotel's foot. Calamagrostis?

And the descent to Gansevort Street.

Can't wait to go back.


  1. Lovely. I love the sense of repetition and movement built into this one, without any trace of the usual easy clichés these sorts of gardens could potentially fall prey to. Well balance and harmonious.

  2. Your "iris" - could be a Maltese Cross lily. Safrican I think.

  3. On closer inspection, probably not.Just by the way, Maltese Cross lily also known as Aztec Lily, Jacobean Lily - or Sprekelia formosissima

  4. That was just stunning. One day I must come to New York - and I never thought I'd ever say that and mean it! Is there some sort of guide to these wonderful oases of plants?

  5. What gorgeous pictures! I love the railroad tie effect, and the plants seem to like it, too. I didn't know a lot of the flowers that you identified, but i'm pretty sure the mystery red one is a red was tickling my memory, so i looked at echinaceas and rudbeckias and finally remembered "helenium"!

  6. I was going to offer rather weakly a variety of mexican hat, ratibidia, but alas I think Quiltcat is right!

    I'm pretty sure that gorgeous iris is a native NA iris, a copper iris or IRIS FULVA.

    I'm glad it looks wonderful to your eyes. I have yet to be, and look forward to it if for nothing else but the textured hardscape and plants.

  7. And then was a certain beautiful dress, rendered rather friendly by the downpour...

    "and with the horses prancing through the fields,
    with my knife in my jeans and the rain on the shield;
    I sang a song for the glory of the beauty of you
    waiting for me
    in your dress of (white) blue"

    Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
    (I thought that appropriate for a garden post... ;-) )

  8. I can't wait to see the Highline.

    I've never seen sumac berries that close, because I grew up believing it was poisonous(in a similar rash-inducing way to poison ivy). However, friends here in the hills are harvesting it for tea...

  9. TEOH - ja, it was quite inspiring.

    Hello Hen! My first thought was moraea, but I was fairly sure they would have used only natives...Frank says Copper Iris.

    Rachel - yes, one day you must come to New York! We'll show you the bits that aren't Times Square. And that's a lot of bits.

    Thank you so much Paula...well identified!

    Frank, ditto...I love knowing what they are.

    Beence, you had a knife in your jeans :-)? yes, er, the white dress. Second time I've been rendered vulnerable by a sudden New York downpour.Thank you...x

    Hi m.heart...the poisonous one is quite diferent, with white berries, not the distinctive red cluster. The white ones are apparently worse than poison ivy: Rhus vernix, or Toxidendron vernix. also have red stems to the leaves, for ID when not in fruit.

    Sumac is a wonderful Middle Eastern spice, crushed to a powder, nice and lemony. good in yoghurt, on hummus, with meat and dried fruit concoctions.

  10. love this post above all other high line posts. pure high line poetry. have some i need to edit from a sundowny eve a few weeks ago...maybe you can id the fleurs for me?


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