A High Time On The High Line

Having only been to New York City in the company of non-gardeners, I  have caught only glimpses here and there of the horticultural wonders to be found in the Big Apple.  To be so close to a vast array of beautiful public gardens and unable to visit them at my leisure has been torture for me.  (Don't even ask how it affects the Head Gardener ... )  When we were there back in January, it wasn't quite so painful, the gardens being covered in snow.  On our recent sojourn there in October, the roadside plantings on the taxi ride from LaGuardia to our hotel were just donning their fall colors, making me even more determined to visit at least one garden this trip.  Fortunately, my friend and travel companion Bonnie understands my obsession, since she has a sister who is similarly obsessed.  Our destination on a pleasant Saturday morning was the High Line, a former elevated railway that has been turned into a public park.  

Have I ever mentioned that the HG and I are seriously directionally impaired? Never ask us to read a map or give directions ... we will invariably send you in the direction the opposite of that needed.  Unfortunately, Bonnie shares that impairment, so we must rely on the kindness of strangers to get where we're going when we're together. With the help of our taxi driver and fellow visitors to the city, we arrived at last at the 14th street elevator, which took us up to the High Line.  Here's what we saw that day.

I love this plant but I'm not certain what it is.   It's certainly Aster-like: would my East Coast readers let me know if that's correct?  Update: based on the High Line plant lists and reader input, I believe this is Aster tartaricus 'Jindai".

I love how the paving was designed with grooves for plants to run or reseed.

I thought my Ex-Asters at home were floriferous until I saw these!

ID, please?  I love the shocking pink blooms/fruits!
Just one view of what's going on below the High Line.

I was much enamored of the random underplantings of Autumn Crocus beneath taller perennials and shrubs. Every time I saw them, they brought a smile to my face.  

Benches and chaise longues are placed so visitors can relax with a book, sip a latte, or talk with friends as they take in the view of the river.  More genius. 

This is something I can grow and I think it actually flowers more for us here in Texas! Lespedeza is on my wish list.

One last plant ID, if y'all would?  This was growing in the beds planted along the water feature, as seen below.  

I thought this was a brilliant way to include the  sight and sound of running water. Water runs along gravel pavers and recirculates  through the grating.  

This pocket planting in a corner along the railing was one of my favorites.  The view across the street also pleased.  Enlarge the picture and you should just make out the word "Posto", as in Del Posto, the abfab restaurant collaboration of Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich. 
I have to stop here and tell y'all a humorous anecdote about this restaurant sighting.  Our first night in NYC, we had hoped to go to Mario Batali's Babbo but were unable to get reservations.  Del Posto did have room for us and we were treated to an absolutely fabulous dining experience from the moment we walked in until the moment we left.  It was the single most expensive meal we've ever eaten and it was worth every penny!  Because we arrived at night, we had no clue that the restaurant was just across the street from the High Line.  When Bonnie and I discovered that on Saturday, we took pictures and she sent one to her husband Danny, who was back at the hotel watching football in the company of the Executive Producer.  Their response: "Don't go in!"  So we didn't.  We went next door instead and had a late lunch at Colicchio and Sons, where we had the two best cocktails ever!  

This is my favorite planting:  I loved the juxtaposition of fall color against a typical NYC backdrop of buildings and billboards.
These folks are waiting in line to be part of the Social Soup Experiment hosted by Friends of the High Line.  

We only saw a small part of the High Line that day but I came away with one big impression.  The most amazing thing about the High Line to me was not the plantings, but the way the park brought people together and created a community.   There was a palpable sense of camaraderie and delight that makes me smile even now, weeks after my visit.  I look forward to my next visit!


Thank you for the virtual visit. I'd love to get there some day!
I wish I could help you with the plant IDs, but they are new to me, too. I think that first, aster-like one might be a Kalimeris. Someday, I've got to see the Highline. It looks great, and I agree with you about the wonderful juxtaposition of plants and skyscrapers.
Alison said…
Thanks for this great post! I've never been here, even though I lived on the east coast for most of my life till 3 years ago. I love those grooves in the concrete for plantings. I'm afraid I don't know any of the unknown plants.
Gail said…
I so want to go! It looks marvelous. Thank you for sharing...I agree the juxtaposition of plant and NY skyline is wonderful. gail
Woo-hoo! I've never been to the High Line, but now I so want to go. Thanks for the pics and the info. Sounds like a wonderful trip.~~Dee
I've been dying to go there. I'm so glad you got to see it. Looks like it's well worth the effort.
Fairegarden said…
Oh how wonderful! I am so glad you found the High Line and had a buddy to share the experience, even the great meals and drinks! Thanks for sharing your fun trip with us.

Kathy said…
NYC intimidates me, but the High Line would be worth getting up some courage for.
Cindy, MCOK said…
Any time ANY of y'all want to go, count me in! I adore New York City.

I think the plant in the first picture is indeed Aster tartaricus 'Jindai' since it's on the official plant list for the High Line. http://www.thehighline.org/pdf/11_1103_Section%201%20Master%20Plant%20List.pdf
StoBlogger said…
Such lovely pictures! I've never seen an Autumn Crocus--the color is spectacular. The trip to the Big Apple sounds fabulous.
Rose said…
What a beautiful place! What I love most about this is the idea of such a garden growing in the middle of an urban setting. I have never been to NYC--now I'll have to add the High Line to the list of must-sees like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.

I was surprised to see Lespedeza growing at the Chicago Botanic Garden a year ago--I'd love to grow it, too!
Wally said…
I've heard of the High Line. I love what you said about it creating a community. Funny, just earlier today I was reading something about the loss of a sense of community in my part of the world and New York was mentioned as an example of what can be done.
Anonymous said…
The fourth photo showing the plant with the star-shapted seedpods looks like Clerodendrum trichotomum. I hope you can find one!
LindaCTG said…
Fab trip! And I was about to say clerondendrum too, after my brief foray into identifying one.
Cindy, MCOK said…
Sto, the Autumn Crocus made me gasp out loud each time I saw them.

Rose, there's so much to see and do in NYC, it's hard to choose but The High Line is definitely worth a visit.

Mac, Downtown Houston created an area called Discovery Green which is bringing people back to the area. The garden areas aren't extensive but I saw some lovely native plantings.

Lisa & Linda, Clerodendrum trichotomum is on the planting list. I think I had that at one point but never got it to bloom. It tends to run invasively here, too. I believe I'll enjoy it in other gardens!