Saturday, April 16, 2011

New York blossom explosion

I'm sure you heard it. A rushing, a popping in the inner ear, a deep silence, a vacuum, then a sudden infusion of pollen-light scent. In the warm weather we had toward the middle of this week, the buds of the Callery pears and early cherries received the message: Open. Now.

As we walked down Bergen to the F, the white blossoms hinted at what was to come. In Brooklyn it was a white sky, bleak day, and I was not particularly looking forward to Central Park, our destination after an appointment on the Upper East was chilly, and the light was horrible for pictures.

What a difference a subway ride makes. The Upper East Side, of which I make some fun, was warmer, and sunny. There was actual blue sky, and their Callery pears were at least a day ahead of ours.

And then we walked east, crossing Lexington again, Park, Madison, 5th, and saw in the park, blossoms ahead. We drifted towards them.

Tall, old cherry trees, smothered in pale pink flowers. I can't wait to be told which cherry this is. They are at their absolute peak and I can't say that I have ever seen anything as lovely. I was in this spot just two weeks ago and I had no idea of what was to come. I have never seen these trees. You think you know a place and then you stand there on a different day and realize that for the one life you lead the park leads more. 

Quite drunk, we walked into The Ramble. Ellen's post on Garden Bytes about knotweed not being ready early in the week had made me thinking about those two warm days inbetween. I just happened to have a paper bag and a sharp knife in my possession.

But more about that later. Very interesting. Several pounds of knotweed later I managed to look up and notice the sweet, wild flowers in the woods. The litter-free woods, I might add.

Above Mertensia virginica, Virginia bluebells. 

I am in love with the little trout lilies (Erythronium americanum), spread under the trees, en masse, their shy heads and understated beauty making it impossible for me to consider eating their tubers, which apparently taste very good. I just couldn't do it. Knotweed, on the other paw, is a horrible (but delicious) weed.

Out of The Ramble and heading south to where I had assured Vincent organic hotdogs were sold, we crossed the bridge over the water where the chartreuse leaves of willow are just beginning to appear

Up a hill to more cherries.

And nearing The Plaza, the closed skating rink, and hot dogs, a crabapple preparing for the next act.

Organic beef and chicken and apple sausages on potato rolls.

Followed by a quick nip across to Wholefoods at Columbus Circle.

...where spring is very organized.

At Wholefoods we picked up hot cross buns, a bunch of daffodils ($2, in water, and billed as 'local'), and then ducked down into the the subway and took the A train home, a Central Park sax player's tune still in our ears.

For beautiful blossom pictures visit The Frenchman.


  1. It was so nice it stirred up Vancouver memories - and Vancouver is the queen of cherry blossoms.

  2. It's unbelievable. Enjoy while it lasts. All that loveliness and then hotdogs at the end of it.

  3. My only ever visit to the States was New York in April. The blossom in CP is one of my abiding memories!

  4. Why are your pictures often better than reality?

    Ah, cropping? Oh perhaps it't just your eye.


  5. Beence from BC - Have you seen the BBG in cherry time?

    Hen, yes, quite. xxx

    blue hands - the best month, perhaps!

    Jane - I beg to this case reality far outshone the pictures. It was magical, like being in a movie about spring in Central Park. Of course, right now it is howling a gale and freezing, and I wonder whether the petals will survive :-( I could, if you like, do a post on the seamy side of New York. It's perhaps a question of what you choose to focus on. Like the little, silent boy on the subway ride home who seemed to me to be in fear of his father. He had a burn scar on his hand, and I thought the worst. What could I do?

    Perhaps that is why I photograph blossoms xox

  6. Marie, I realized last night that you have made me see NYC with different eyes, and perhaps my city, too. When watching the many shot-in-NY TV shows, I find myself looking at the backgrounds to see what's blooming! Too weird. Often it's more interesting than the plots! thanks.

  7. Wow, wow and wow!! The Japanese cherries flowering in white/palest pink on bare wood are the big-deal prunus (if you're into sakura matsuri or hanami): Prunus x yedoensis, from "Edo", the old word for Tokyo. The "x" is because they were already growing in Japanese gardens when the Latin name was recorded, and not wild mountain cherries, therefore already hybridized by some ancient Japanese cherry-blossom-lovers!

  8. Forgot to say that the common name of P. x yedoensis is the Somei-yoshino cherry. (And I agree with you about BBG vs. Vancouver, as an ex-Vancouverite. The difference might be that Vancouver has a nearby ocean and mountains, which do help the cherry blossom fan club establish its supremacy!)

  9. yeah, local, they picked them from the orderly circle ;)

    The cherries, they reminded me of my childhood fascination with postcards of the DC Basin in springtime.

    trout lilies, yes i found those too (sometime this week...)

  10. Amazing what a difference a few days can make for the knotweed. Were you furtive? Did VInce stand watch while you harvested?

  11. I agree, your photos always look amazing! Thanks again for sharing the lovely sights of spring in NYC. I have been debating about a new ornamental cherry tree - Yoshino or Kwanzan but now Yoshino seems to be the one. Did I understand correctly all the photos of cherry trees were that of Yoshino?


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