8 Yrs. . . .
Happy 8th Anniversary, Wildflowers of the West Village.
– rPs 03 22 2017
Postscript: You can revisit the view that instilled an ever growing idea in March 2010: https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/03/22/welcome/
Bloomsday 2015 . . .
“Under the upswelling tide he saw the writhing weeds lift languidly and sway reluctant arms, hising up their petticoats, in whispering water swaying and upturning coy silver fronds. Day by day: night by night: lifted, flooded and let fall. Lord, they are weary: and, whispered to, they sigh.”
– Excerpt from “Episode 3 – Proteus” of Ulysses by James Joyce
Re-Joyce. Today is Bloomsday.
– rPs 06 16 2015
Postscript: I again refer to my definitive narrative on the significance of Bloomsday to Wildflowers of the West Village: “Bloomsday” https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/06/16/bloomsday/
Taxicabs and The Easter Egg Effect . . .
Wildflower City Firsts With Full Effect
A colony of dandelions as yellow as taxicabs scattered themselves on a browned hillside. Taxicabs, ironic in the color meets Latin cadence of Taraxacum, the official. Taraxacum Taxicabs.
And groundsel, another daisy Asteraceae and an active commuter, stood firm and flush in full yellow bloom.
Bright, warmer than the season’s usual early winter face: January on a Sunday afternoon remained mild.
A foot of snow covered the scene one week later. A sky grey like actual polished lead hung the air heavy with damp deep cold riding a wind that scoured.
Two and a half months of brown, white, and blue with an emphasis on the white has taken another form in the sustained full sun of March. A very few Galanthus nivalis have appeared. Cautious egg white snowdrop heads shaped like ornamental streetlamps peer from leaf litter soaked with snow melt. Puddles in undeveloped areas, lots and parks, have formed shallow ponds of perhaps a quarter acre in surface area up to one foot in depth.
And on Palm Sunday, Passover and Easter just days away, egg yolk yellow spoke an internal smile set in eyes of palest purple: the croci, feral for the most part in fact. City spots here and there overnight decorated with wild plant life: a park corner, a tree pit, grassy curbsides. The random and sparse spread produced The Easter Egg Effect in my own wildflower city hikes set on random and at the speed of meditation.
Spring has arrived in the western side of Manhattan.
– rPs 03 31 2015
Postscript: The Easter Egg Effect, The High Line edition –
Anything but Plain . . .
One immigrant wildflower of the West Village arrived on the western hemisphere with the earliest of the European colonists. The presence of this plant along the margins of their settlements inspired neighboring natives to call it White Man’s Footprint. Lawns and sidewalk cracks everywhere today sport the bigfoot oval leaves and stubby green spikes of the common Broadleaf Plantain, Plantago major.
Another relative in the Plantain family is, to my eye, one of the most attractive of the naturalized wildflowers. The bloom of this plant is neither colorful nor large, and it is not rare or secluded. What it does possess is the slender grace of its basic form, the geometry of its flowering, which combined provide the primary source of its beauty.
The species I praise so highly is the Ribwort Plantain, more commonly known as English Plantain, Plantago lanceolata.
The leaves of this perennial plant are, as its Latin name states, long, narrow, and pointed; a spike unlike its curvy broadleaf cousin. Clusters of these form a tight rosette that can be either prostrate or bushy, depending on the surrounding environment. The leaves tend to grow more thickly and upright in consistently moist areas.
The flowers top tall, smooth stalks that spread outward on a slightly curved trajectory. A brownish spike resembling an inverted sugar cone shoots out miniscule white stamens that look like a lit sparkler frozen in time.
The sight of one of these plants always reminds me of Albrecht Durer’s intimate watercolor: “Das Grosse Rasenstuck” (The Great Piece of Turf). The blooming English Plantain creates a pretty still life wherever it grows, the reason why I love this plant so, and why my lawn will always be left to nature.
– rPs 09 28 2012
Postscript: view an image if “Das Grosse Rasenstuck” by following this link: http://www.artofeurope.com/durer/dur21.htm
Seaside (Goldenrod) Still Lifes . . .
I took a walk along the Hudson River shortly after completing my preceding post – “The Quest for the Goldenrod” – and discovered the pilings of Pier 45 and Pier 46 are supporting numerous boughs of Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) gone to seed. The sight of these graceful stems sporting cranberry-tinted leaves tipped with fluffy ash gray cypselae, the distinctive seed parachutes of Asteraceae family members, provided me with several new studies for future still life drawings. Here are a few of my favorites:
The above images are similiar in composition to the scene that inspired my post “Wildflower Art: The End of Summer” back in September. The progression of the fall season is now well underway and each of the three compositions display the emergence of warm color and worn texture, signs of another waning wildflower growing season in the West Village of Manhattan.
– rPs 10 31 2011
Wildflower Art: The End of Summer . . .
There is a beauty in the forms and colors of nature that can rarely be equaled by conscious human efforts. Take for example the following composition:
Here a single stem of Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) stands fully budded, gracefully curved, flanked by two strands of Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum) already beginning to bloom. The two pilings encrusted with barnacles at the top and the slate gray strip of sea wall along the base frame the photo in an artful way, perhaps, and add contrasting cool colors, certainly, yet it is the natural symmetry of the living things growing together that held my eye long enough to inspire me to photograph the scene. The image was taken beside the Hudson River near Pier 54 as the sun was setting on September 17, 2011.
Both wildflower species I found rooted on the western edge of Manhattan are bellwethers of autumn, which begins in just a few days. Signs of summer’s passing are already visible in the fine details of the big city picture: the tangled undergrowth of courtyard gardens has begun to thin out; brick walls are beginning to show through the ivy; a few tree top leaves are tinged with savory sanguine color. What I discovered on an evening stroll is an especially vivid living symbol of that temporal change in progress: the city and nature intersected, composed by coincidence in a symmetric, aesthetic way emblematic of the season. Separate elements, which when combined transcend the individual and fulfill a working definition of . . . (wildflower) Art.
— rPs 09 18 2011