Monday, October 18, 2010

Battery Conservancy

I had a very good day, surrounded by water. First, with a special guest pass, on an off-limits Governors Island beach, about which more another day, and then at the tip of Manhattan, in the Battery Conservancy where the genius of the planting is evident in mid October, or fall in these parts. Above, my friend, the bird. I haven't looked him up yet, but he was very tame, and is probably passing through. I liked him.

Under the tall plane trees the perennials, planted in masses, are looking wonderful.

A lot of persicaria, and restrained use of grass, which is so often overdone.


Tricyrtis (toad lily) - foreground - is used very well, sometimes in full sun.

Agastache rupestris?

Anemones in full-blown glory.

Right on the water, and the air was very nippy.

Persicaria with asters.

Pink anemones!

White anemones!

More white anemones! Hey, I was having fun.

The lines of this park are very good. Exceptionally good.

And back at the entrance, nearest South Ferry where you catch the free ferry to Staten Island, next door to the little, old, pretty Governors Island ferry building.

It's hard to imagine this all in another season, and yet, in spring, it has a whole other character, complete with bluebells. I am not sure how many people appreciate the depth of thought that went into the planting. The bones are the bones, yes, and give you the feeling of the place but the flesh on the bones is some kind of wonderful.

This is a good place to be. The tourists walk right around it and don't go in. There was one group of black kids, one businessman eating his sandwich, one homeless guy sleeping, a German couple, an Asian couple taking pictures of flowers, a Muslim man praying, a corgi-walking local, and a Brazilian who asked me to take her picture. And me.


  1. By the looks of it a good place to be
    indeed! Thank you for taking us along.

  2. I appreciate the depth of thought that went into this planting! even if only because you pointed it out.
    Thank you so much for this inspiration. I am working on my garden and this is just the boost I need right now.
    & I can see you had a very fine day indeed.

  3. I think those rose-orangey ones are penstemon

  4. That might be a female goldfinch.

  5. the goldfinch comment is from me. hit the wrong button . . . it's late.

  6. I think it's salvia, though it wont enlarge enough for me to see clearly so can't say which one.I could look through my books, but I'm sure Mr. Google can do it faster!

    And if I were a tourist I'd spend a day there!

  7. Oh, thank you for sharing this. The stretch between South Ferry and World Financial Center is one of the best places in Manhattan. We visited in May and there were mass plantings of huge white peonies (a variety I hadn't seen before) in full bloom in Battery Park. It was gorgeous.

  8. What a stunning park, I wonder who is responsible for the beautiful layout and planting?

    My guess on the red flowers is a wacky form of penstemon?? Mine are still flowering away.

    Next time I visit NY this is on my list of places to visit.

    Lovely post, thanks!

  9. The orangish flower is Agastache rupestris (or one of the many crosses). The foliage should smell of anise. Gorgeous pics, Marie.

  10. Isn't it a Piet Oudolf deisgn? I love his stuff.

  11. I just found the coolest link:
    A database of all the plants used in the Battery. Search is available by blooms, height, moisture requirements etc.

  12. About the mystery flower, I would be inclined to think it's an agastache - one of the many hybrid crosses with rupestris in its heritage. I think there's a cultivar called 'Desert Sunsert' or something similar. The scent of the foliage should be a dead give-away - agastache will smell of anise or something minty, salvia will have its distinctive musky scent, and penstemon no discernible scent. I would tend to discount penstemon in that color range because they would not be especially perennial in our humid summer climate. Maybe you'll have to force yourself to go back and reconnoiter a second time!

  13. Yes, it is Piet Oudolf:
    Most inspiring!

  14. Good sleuthing, everyone. Thank you for the links,too. Yes, it is a Piet Oudolf Park, I should have given more background and was lazy - it's all in the linked post (spring).

    And Paul and Klaus, Agastache rupestris! I have to go and stand in the corner for that one. I've just written about agastache so it should have leapt to mind. Thank you! The interesting thing about it is that it has to cope with significant, though high, shade. Thank you.

    Frank, MIT and Belinda, my thoughts also wandered along penstemon-salvia lines.

    Melanie, I think it is a goldfinch!

  15. tres interesting ! look forward to another trip in Spring.

  16. Susan - in time for the bluebells.

    Frank, I know - I hereby fire me.

  17. How did you get that special Governor's Island pass and if you ever get another one, can I come with?!

  18. Ellen - I was on semi-official business, taking pictures of Christina Kelly, who is an artist-in-residence on the island this year, and that's how I scored the pass. It only admits one, unfortunately...they're quite strict.


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