Bloomsday 2020

Bloomsday 2020 . . .

White Clover, Trifolium repens
(NYC 06 2020)

Bloomsday, the novel 24 hours by James Joyce celebrated on this day, may have to be a virtual communal experience this year. No grand public readings, straw hats, bowties, or summer dresses celebrated under a bright blue and white sky.

One may still go out in the fine weather to the park to smell the clover, perhaps the most Irish of wildflowers. Spend some time there, distanced safely on a park bench, or on a blanket spread on the ground, book in hand held by the odyssey of Leopold Bloom.

Pink Clover, Trifolium pratense
(NYC 06 2020)

Happy Bloomsday, 2020.

(NYC 06 16 2020)

— rPs 06 16 2020

Postscript: You can read WWV’s original Joycean odyssey here:
https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/06/16/bloomsday/

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May Flowers of Manhattan

May Flowers of Manhattan . . .

Yellow Flag
(NYC 05 2020)

City wildflowers have never lifted my spirits more than during this month of May. Morning walks home from my essential worksite have cleansed my mind, filled my lungs with fresh air, and filled my eyes with life worth living. Views in bloom I hope will be the main lasting memory I keep of this chequered pandemic time.

Here are a few thousand words worth of photos to convey the magnificence of this May in Manhattan:

Wild Columbine

Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis
(NYC 05 2020)

Shepherd’s Purse

Shepherd’s Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris
(NYC 05 2020)

English Plantain

English Plantain, Plantago lanceolata
(NYC 05 31 2020)

And last, and perhaps most iconic: the always cheerful Common Dandelion

Common Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
(NYC 05 31 2020)

All the above and more can be seen now during a walk through the city’s many green spaces. Grab a mask, and go . . .

The Green Path
(NYC 05 2020)

— rPs 05 31 2020

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Earth Day 50

Earth Day 50 . . .

The Globe by Kim Brandell on Earth Day 50 Morning.
(NYC 04 22 2020)

Ten years ago on Earth Day 40 I walked in Central Park and wrote of the lovely clear spring day it was and how nature and the city seemed to be in ecological balance.

Ten years later we find New York City like the rest of the world locked down in the midst of a global pandemic. The weather is the same, even more intensely clear and crisp, but the human activity is mostly absent.

My everyday life has me fall under the category of “essential (healthcare) worker” who also happens to work the night shift. My morning commute home, a healthy walk rather than a horrid subway ride, today took me through Central Park to revisit the view of a decade ago, which remains the same except for the spikes of several new supertall condominum towers stretched along the width of Central Park South.

Viola sororia, bi-colored form, claims a crack near Columbus Circle.
(NYC 04 2020)

My strongest impression is that the high blue sky clear of jet vapor trails and streets devoid of the numbing hum of peak vehicular traffic have given the city, in fact the entire planet, a pause to catch its natural breath. It’s as if the Earth is itself a meta unicellular creature exclaiming: “Thank you for ceasing to stress me with all that bad gas. Here is a perfect spring day as a reward.”

Earth Day 50: ironically the most beautiful Earth Day I have so far witnessed. May it not be the last.

The Lake in Central Park.
(NYC 04 22 2020)

— rPs 04 22 2020

Postscript: Time Does Fly. Read about Earth Day 40 here: https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/04/22/earth-day-40-on-the-fly/

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10th Anniversary

10th Anniversary . . .

Inspiration: The springtime view of Scilla siberica in bloom that began Wildflowers of the West Village.
(NYC 03 22 2010)

Ten years ago today I took some time to write a few paragraphs after a walk in Hudson River Park. The subject, one that had interested me since childhood, the wildflowers one encounters along the way.

“Wildflowers of the West Village will be an ongoing document, beginning with the 2010 growing season . . .”

A decade since spent exploring New York City’s wild flora, both native and immigrant (NOT invasive, imho), has given me monthly material enough even when internal inspiration may have been lacking. The walks and runs I have taken have at times rejuvenated my body and mind and imtroduced me to fellow like-minded lovers of nature. WWV has even received a bit of media notice from the likes of West View and The New York Times.

I have long described my love of creative writing as exploring the infinity found within the fixed space of the page, and likewise, so I have found the seasonal variety of wild plants established along the Hudson River side of Manhattan.

And as no writing enjoys life without readers, may I thank you all for taking the time to visit. I have endeavored to create an ongoing lasting document and resource for anyone interested in what has and what comtinues to grow wild along the margins of this great city of New York.

Here’s to ten (10!) more years of Wildflowers of the West Village.

Continuation: Scilla siberica
(NYC 03 17 2020)

— rPs 03 22 2020

Postscript: Read the post that started it all here: https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/03/22/welcome/

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Mild Winter Early Birds

Mild Winter Early Birds . . .

Forsythia in February!
(NYC 02 12 2020)

You can tell a winter season is a mild one when the mourning dove wakes you with its morning call as early as the middle of February.

Rain rather than snow with plenty of sun in between has brought early flowering greens along with the songbirds. Leap year adds an additional day to the second month of the year, and what’s become clear is this one has been warmer just as Punxsutawney Phil predicted. A brief walk in the park or down a garden block encounters:

Bittercress

Cardamine hirsuta
(02 28 2020)

Chickweed

Stellara media
(NYC 02 23 2020)

Grounsel

Senecio vulgaris
(02 28 2020)

Birds and blooms already in February may forshadow a healthy 2020 growing season for New York City, and a hot one, too.

— rPs 02 29 2020

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Reason for Hope

Reason for Hope . . .

First Snopdrop Sighting:
Galanthus nivalis
(NYC 01 31 2020)

January is either a damp cold colored brown, white, and gray during a walk outside, or the sky above is a transluscent blue lens magnifying sun and wind into a bright frigid bluster.

Life greets first losses of the year especially hard. Hard to lose a personal hero, Neil Peart, who was quite clear and correct in the title track from the Rush LP Presto: “I generate more heat than light.”

Peart was an avid cyclist and birder in between life as a recording artist and author. He inspired (the “heat” to create). Role models as such it follows I am an avid cyclist and documentarian of urban flora, indiginous and immigrant, in between life as an author.

Sad, too, to lose one who makes us laugh (Monty Python’s Terry Jones) and who’s sheer elevation of life lifts us (NBA and Oscar winner, Kobe Bryant).

Saying goodbye, letting go, tasks in life always never easy. The reason for hope in all that can be found; it emerges like a snowdrop from the remnants of last year’s leaf fall. The first flower of the year near month’s end is like a lawn bathed in January sun. Bright and alive, the thaw, temporary perhaps, but a reminder new life follows from the former; everything continues.

Winter Season Variety:
Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris, and others.
(01 2020)


— rPs 01 31 2020

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Ever Greens

Ever Greens . . .

Xmas Moss
(NYC 12 2019)

Brown, white, and gray dominate an outdoor day explored after Solstice past. A setting reminiscent of Poe’s bleak December can get cultivated along the Hudson when the cold rain falls heavy and straight on a still, chilled day. The poet did know the local atmosphere; he wrote the poem here on the west side of Manhattan, after all.

The living color contrast to be found like an ornament nestled deep within the tree are the ever greens, the lichen and the moss. Both plants savor the cold damp days of December and decorate the more sober wood and stone. Their colors are barometric, the verdant reflects well on the health and vigor of the local air and water.

Welcome news, for those who reside here, or visit often to soak up the season’s songs and lights.

Yule Lichen
(NYC 12 2019)

Season’s Greetings . . .

— rPs 12 30 2019

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Bed Time

Bed Time . . .

Underfoot: colors as savory as those on a Thanksgiving table.
(NYC 11 2019)

The still damp days of October are long gone, as are the bright autumn leaves illuminating the trees. The deep freeze and stiff winds of November have brought down the golden crowns and where rake or leaf blower hasn’t reached there lies a bed of brown oak and others where a few hardy perennial remnants remain nestled in bloom.

One is the bright green of onion grass:

Genus Allium
(11 29 2019)

Another is the rich brown of the boletus mushroom:

Genus Boletus
(11 29 2019)

The overall palette resembles the colors on a Thanksgiving table. Savory to contemplate before the sun makes an early exit.

Up Above: the brown, white, and blue season has returned.
(11 29 2019)

— rPs 11 30 2019

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Hudson View: “Usher Ulalume”

Hudson View: “Usher Ulalume” . . .

Mallow, Malvaceae
(NYC 10 2019)

The morning commute made in mist, the grey above and down to the ground drawing all its fire into tree leaves gone gold to red. The lower edges remain green for the last in the return of the damp season switched on following after the dry bluebird skies of August and September.

Dew on the rejuvenated grass sports oak, beech, and elm leaves. The locust trees add a crown of yellow as gold as ripe corn. The gold coins of the ginko are to follow, later, into Thanksgiving.

The scene now on the ground with turf and leaf are fungi. Large mushrooms stand confident in the muted morning light.

Vigorous Fungus
(NYC 10 2019)

October brought to you by the letter M? Add the Mallow, the cheeseplant, Malvaceae, continues to bear its gorgeous pale stripes. Find the flowers nestled beneath the spread of clustered leaves held by long petioles.

City never silent still during some stretches blends into a symphonic whole rather than chaotic scramble. By the fence, in the park, the sound of the hardball hitting the grass, often heard here, ceased after the Yankees bowed out in early October. The same sound now drops when the fruit of the Osage Orange, Maclura pomifera, lands in the grass.

Colloquial: “Monkeyball”
(10 30 2019)

The view beyond, the shallow fjord of the Hudson, presents like a line from “Ulalume” or the grounds of Usher as documented in description by Edgar A. Poe.

Hudson View: Usher Ulalume
(NYC 10 2019)

— rPs 10 30 2019

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Autumnal Apiaceae

Autumnal Apiaceae . . .

Queen Anne’s Lace: Family Apiaceae
(NYC 09 2019)

Fall arrives late this year, the 23rd of September, on a sunny day as hot as July.

Although it doesn’t quite feel like it, day and night are in balance. Tomorrow begins the speedy transition to shorter days and fall season temperatures.

Meanwhile, the plant world remains green, for now, and the late season palate of white predominates among those still in bloom. The most visible examples are the broad umbels of the wild carrot, Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota.

Living bouquet can be found in bloom throughout the NYC area along fences, beside lamp posts, and even sprouting from the spaces between the stone walls lining the Hudson River.

Lamp Post Bouquet
(NYC 09 2019)

— rPs 09 23 2019

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