Saturday, September 26, 2009

Summer Travels - Part 1: The High Line

Over the course of the summer I was lucky enough to do quite a bit of travelling, in the course of which I was able to visit several wonderful gardens. My first trip in June took me to New York City where I visited my dear friend The Voguette ( Thanks to her I discovered the High Line, a stunning new park in Chelsea on Manhattan's Lower West Side. Truly unusual, this park consists of an old elevated railroad track and thus forms a long, narrow band of greenery that floats above the urban grit of its surroundings. The plantings are innovative, sleekly modern and yet lush and beautiful - And according to the website of the Friends of the High Line, the community organization behind this laudable project, 161 of the 210 species planted so far are native to New York. The project was inspired by the wild vegetation which had taken hold of the tracks after they had been abandoned, and therefore the pronounced use of native plants makes sense not only from an ecological point of view but also in terms of style. To this I have to add that I am generally somewhat wary of planting schemes heavily reliant on native plants, not because I do not belief in the merits of preserving local, well-adapted flora and limiting invasive species, but because such plantings all too often seem to end up looking dull and monotonous. The High Line, however, could not be further from this, offering not only abundant greenery but also beautiful flowers and plenty of interest to the botanically discerning. However, instead of any more exuberant descriptions, I will let some pictures speak for this gem of a park. I apologize for the low picture quality; unfortunately, most of these pictures were taken on my phone due to my camera's absurdly short battery life.

These are just some of the highlights; I took many more pictures, many of which unfortunately turned out really badly. There were beautiful orange cone flowers, for example, but the camera on my phone does not deal well with orange at all. Of the pictures that turned out decently I might add a few more over the next days. For now, I should probably get back to my Arabic homework...

However, if you want to know more about the High Line, be it about its history or about its entrances or opening hours, you can visit the website of the Friends of the High Line at Also, stay tuned for an extensive post about the Promenade Plantée, a similar but slightly older project in Paris, France.

Welcome to Journeys and Jonquils!

I have been playing around with the idea of creating a blog for a while now and finally decided go for it. As an avid gardener who finds himself restricted for most of the year to a garden of potted plants on the window sills of his room in a college dormitory in chilly New England, I all too often feel something that can only be adequately described as horticultural withdrawal. Apart from rather costly shopping excursions to the local flower shop this results in an ever-increasing collection of garden-related literature and frequent self-motivated research on horticultural traditions and innovations the world over. I also have a tendency to take an inordinate amount of pictures of plants, gardens, and anything horticultural whenever I travel - Often to the slight dismay of friends and family, who seem to think that six pictures of the same bud of a 'Souvenir de Malmaison' rose bush are somehow excessive. It should therefore only make sense that I find a productive use for these activities, and hence I shall embark on this blogging business. Hopefully I will manage to find the time for regular, informative, and perhaps even entertaining updates...and plenty of pretty pictures as well.