The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wave Hill, the High Line and Wagner Park All in One Day in October

Wave Hill's Flower Garden

Another View of the Flower Garden

The Entrance to the Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory

The Wild Garden

The Aquatic and Monocot Garden at Wave Hill

The Gansevoort Woodland on the High Line

The Washington Grasslands

The Diller-Von Furstenberg Sundeck

The Chelsea Grasslands

The 10th Avenue Square

Rhus glabra on the Sundeck

The Hot Border at Wagner Park

Leonotis leonurus and a Bright Orange Cuphea Make Great Companions

Maude, Tovah and Laura Enjoying the Hot Borders

Last Sunday, three gardening friends and I did a fearless day trip from New Hampshire to NYC and back to visit public gardens in the city. We left at 5:45 am and arrived at Wave Hill, the public garden in the Bronx, at about 10 am. The weather threatened but ended up being very cooperative. The view from the Pergola Overlook across the Hudson River to the Palisades was spectacular. We spent a lot time examining the plant combinations in the Flower Garden. We also visited the Wild Garden and the Aquatic and Monocot Gardens before having a nice lunch on the terrace at the Wave Hill House.

Next, we drove down the Henry Hudson Parkway to the High Line, the recently opened New York City Park, in the Meatpacking District in the Lower West Side of Manhattan. The High Line is a park built on an elevated 1930's freight rail structure. The planting design is inspired by the self-seeded volunteer plants that began to establish themselves after the train made its final delivery in 1980. There are more than 200 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees in the park. The garden was designed by Dutch planting designer, Piet Oudolf. Oudolf is world famous for using grasses in his designs and was the perfect man to take on this project. We spent much of our time there analyzing the way in which one perennial or grass slowly interwove into the next forming a very natural looking tapestry.

Our final stop was Wagner Park, the Lynden B. Miller designed public garden in Battery Park City at the very tip of Manhattan. Some of us had never seen the Statue of Liberty which prominently held court in the Upper Bay where the Hudson River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The lighting could not have been more beautiful. Wagner Park, like all Lynden's gardens, was meticulously maintained. There were two borders with contrasting hot and cool color themes. Our favorite gardens were the hot borders which were ablaze with a stunning combination of Leonotis leonurus paired with a bright orange cuphea.

We were back on the road by about 6 pm and in our beds by 10:45 pm. It very busy and inspiring day that was totally worth the effort.


  1. Michael,
    Sounds like a great day. Next time see the Battery Bosque garden over on the east side of Battery Park, also with plantings designed by Piet Oufold.

  2. James,
    We did visit the Battery Bosque and it wasn't looking its best. I don't think that it receives the level of maintenance of the other three public gardens and looked a bit neglected by comparison. Perhaps we caught it at a week moment. Your recent post on the High Line was excellent. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Those are some of the best & most complete pictures of the High Line I have seen. Have you found the High Line blog? I've got a post on Wave Hill coming up later in the month. I was there in November of 2007. I thought it was lovely, more like an English garden than any other garden I'd seen in the US. I'd love to see the High Line. But the 5-hour flight kills me. Jordan

  4. Jordan,
    Thanks for your kind words about this post. James Golden at View From Federal Twist had an excellent post (better than mine, I think) about the High Line on October 23, 2010. Check it out. Wave Hill is a gem and one of my favorite public gardens. I feel the same way about all those great gardens in the Pacific Northwest I keep reading about!

  5. I wish people would stop posting pics of the High Line. It is my new mecca. Incredible. An one thing I've been thinking a lot about liately is sumac. On campus there is a large swatch of gorgeous red sumac, and right outside my building a few specimans awash in rainbow color. Clearly, I need more sumac. I've got a 'tiger eyes' in the middle of my garden that I hope will get tall soon and be a small tree. Piet has it figured out.

  6. Benjamin,
    They built it so you would come! Wave Hill has a magnificent sumac in the Wild Garden which is pictured above.



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