Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Central Park Spring Walk

After a rooftop garden appointment on the Upper East Side (where espaliered peaches were blooming) I veered west into Central Park's early spring. This Saturday's forage walk and picnic will be my first here in 2019 and I wanted to see what was growing where - every spring is different. Right now, the season belongs to Cornus mas - cornelian cherry. It is an eastern European species of dogwood, and blooms in balls of yellow between the much earlier witch hazel and the imminent spicebush.

My walk took me from East 75th Street up to the top of the park - 35 blocks, three-and-a-half miles, with all the zigzagging. These weeks belong to city-cab yellow. Manhattan forsythia blooms a week before Brooklyn's.

In the North Woods invasive lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) blankets the ground in places, its tiny bulbs and leaves smothering the natives that might try to raise their shoots above ground.

And in sunny spots purple dead nettle (purple dead nettle) is in bloom.

The spicebush (Lindera benzoin) buds are opening (spicebush will feature in the picnic's dessert on Saturday - you will find the recipe for these delicious olive oil loaves on p386 of Forage Harvest Feast - and you can buy your dried spicebush berries from Integration Acres; it is the best spice you have never used).

And another notorious invader has just emerged: Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica). As the shoots grow taller and green, they resemble asparagus but they taste like sorrel married rhubarb.

1 comment:

  1. Spring has truly sprung down there! We are expecting a mix of rain and snow on Friday, sigh....I know Spring is on the way but it sure takes its sweet time up here!


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