Photo: Allison Meier/Flickr
As spring approaches, the once disused railroad trestle will soon be blooming again. Although the High Line sees nearly five million visitors per year, it’s specifically designed to be at peak beauty during its busy spring and summer months.
The High Line’s planting design is “inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the out-of-use elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after trains stopped running.”
Stretching from 14th Street to 34th Street on Manhattan’s west side, there is a focus on native species — meaning the park isn’t going to be picture perfect all the time. Designer Piet Oudolf planned a combination of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees that survive throughout the year, prioritizing hardiness and sustainability. Through systematic tweaks, landscapers are able to provide textural and color variation with modest cost and upkeep.
Oudolf hoped that his work would “keep [the park] wild.” Nearly half of the plants used are native to the United States and most are sourced from a 100-mile radius of the park. Many of the species on the High Line are self-seeded grass, trees and other plants that were already growing on the abandoned tracks.
This system keeps the park efficient. Its green roof allows for maximum water retention. The irrigation system has automatic and manual capabilities and kicks in when the greenery needs it most.
Needless to say, the sweet spot is coming.
Chelsea Thicket is a two-block-long pathway surrounding 21st street that winds through a miniature forest. It should start bustling by mid-April. Besides blooming florals, dozens of bird species will start to frequent the dense dogwoods, bottlebrush buckeye, hollies, and roses.
The grass on the 23rd Street Lawn is likely to be green and lush. It stays nice through the seasons, but its surrounding steps will see more and more picnickers and sunbathers as the weather warms up.
We can also look forward to the Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover, the area between two massive former warehouses at West 25th street. The three-block stretch is home to a grove of bigleaf magnolia, sassafras, and serviceberry trees at canopy level.
Despite what Anthony Weiner has to say, the High Line isn’t only for German tourists.