When I looked at my last High Line post I realized that I implied that there was to be a “late spring” post to follow.
Can you guess what happened?
A.k.a., weeks – I mean, weeks – of rain. And cold.
And then suddenly, summer.
So no, there was no “late spring” visit.
But I had two awesome summer visits.
Though I’m thrilled with the phenomenal success of the High Line since it opened five years ago, it’s been a bit more challenging to just take a leisurely stroll during the busy tourist season. I’d all but given up going during the summer months, yet I missed seeing the park during what is arguably the height of its season.
So I planned my visits for two separate weekdays – one early in the morning, the other in the late afternoon – and was pleasantly surprised to see that these were still relatively peaceful times on the High Line in summer.
Here are the highlights of those visits:
I love how the designers chose plants with seed heads as interesting as their flowers. And how those seed heads are not cut down after the plants finish blooming, but rather, left up through the season to provide a different – yet equally pleasing – aesthetic.
After years of seeing the lawn roped off for “repairs”, I finally got to walk through it:
For some reason I was more aware than ever of the architecture of the railway – in such sharp contrast with all the lush summer colors and greenery:
And I never fail to notice – and appreciate – the “new” architecture – walkways and seating – as cleverly executed as the plantings. I even managed to snap a few “people-less” photos:
But ultimately, it’s all about the plants. And after a long, long winter and spring, walking amid the trees, shrubs and flowers at their peak was a total treat.
I love the use of cool, muted colors:
And bright, vibrant hues:
The trees – fully in foliage – provide lovely pockets of shade throughout the park:
And finally, some summer “highlights”:
As a student of landscape design I have long been a fan of Piet Oudolf. It would be impossible to encapsulate his theories of planting design in a single post, but these pictures – which I was so thrilled and lucky to get – really capture some of the more stellar qualities of his work.
The way he uses large drifts of plantings that weave together, for a tapestry-like effect:
His landscapes have been described as “painterly” – wouldn’t you agree that this planting looks almost pointillistic?
Oudolf is also known for working with – not against – his surroundings. This photo of flowers reaching for the sky – much like the buildings in the background – is one of my favorites:
And finally – one of the hallmarks of any good landscape design is the use of plants that look beautiful over several seasons. These sedums do just that so beautifully. You can see how – even in one glance – this perennial goes through multiple, subtle shades of pale and dark pink. This is such a critical component to creating an experience that is so vibrant as you walk through the park:
Labor Day (eek!) is this weekend, so I’ll be planning a fall visit soon. What’s been your favorite High Line season so far?