Archive for Wildflower Related

2020 Hindsight

Groundsel Star: Senica vulgaris
(12 2020)

The year 2020 comes to a close. One thinks, in hindsight, this was one best skipped, until one pauses and realizes life, all life, including blooming plants, has continued as usual. Our human lives in civilization shall, too, and may even return to some kind of normal, maybe even this next new year.

Deadnettle Alive: Lamium purpureum
(12 2020)

Farewell, 2020 . . . Here’s to 2021!

— rPs 12 31 2020

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Looking Up

Contrast Enhances Color
(NYC 11 2020)

I looked down for inspiration in October. I looked up and found it, again, in November.

The fall season progresses, and as the tree’s leaves thin out, the colors of those that remain on the branches appear even more vivid due to the open space, the contrasting blue, or white, or gray sky above.

Years ago, as a new Romantic poet in his senior year at university, I was first struck by this perceived increased intensity of the foliage as the season aged. I had a daily walk up a hilly avenue lined by mature trees to reach my morning classes, and on one sunny day I looked up, and a poem appeared fully formed:

My Perfect Autumn Day

Blue and gold days

Have come to call.

Gilded trees, warm,

And clear, cool air;

I stare, this morning,

At a mighty mosaic.

We call this fall,

My perfect autumn day;

I say, each leaf is a coin,

Pure gold for my pocket.

If this season were a vault,

I would lock it,

And save them forever.

The poem retains the memory, the treasure, of that day. The same can be done with words now, added and aided by the convenience of the smartphone camera.

Looking up, one can see the gold of the birch, gingko, locust, and Norway maple against a bluebird sky. The white cloud of a rainy day allows the same yellows to glow in place of the sun.

“Still” – Abstract Expressionism
(NYC 11 30 2020)

The blue above also enhances the reds of the oak, and the full spectrum of the sweetgum, known also as liquidamber, and the savory tans of the London plane tree, whose overhead spread can resemble a cathdral when planted in rows . . .

Plane Tree Cathedral Vault
(NYC 11 200)

. . . . Which reminds me of a stanza from another poem composed on another autumn walk:

The tall plane trees sigh.

A broken spot of blue

In the gray and white sky

Grows as it goes by.

The fall is a wonderful time to spend time outside. Inspiration can be found, or recalled. The truth of a little poem, written so long ago, may very well be that each and every one is a perfect autumn day.

— rPs 11 30 2020

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First Signs of Fall

First Signs of Fall . . .

White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima, has honeybee company.
(NYC 09 2020)

There is a distinct chill in the air as the monochromatic green has begun to be edged with more ocherous colors.

Crisp air. Fall leaves.

The Autumnal Equinox occurred in New York City today at 9:30 a.m. EST.

Some of the first signs of fall are already in bloom. The rich color of jewelweed can be found around shaded areas near the water just as white snakeroot, one of the hardiest, most ubiquitous of the season’s wildflowers, lines park paths and other green edges of the city.

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, holds all the colors of autumn in a single bloom.
(NYC 09 22 2020)

Happy first day of fall.

— rPs 09 22 2020

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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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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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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 radiate 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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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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Bloomsday 2019

Bloomsday 2019 . . .

Trifolium pratense

Bloomsday on a Father’s Day Sunday, 2019 celebrates quite a packed, stacked, and weighty day for the wildflowers situated in sutu within a peak perlod of . . . bloom:

Chicorium

Chicory
(NYC 06 2019)

Malva

Mallow
(NYC 06 2019)

Brassica

Wild Mustard
(NYC 06 2019)

Solanum

Bittersweet Nightshade
(NYC 06 2019)

Circium

Canada Thistle
(NYC 06 2019)

ReJoyce and Enjoy!

(NYC 06 16 2019)

— rPs 06 16 2019

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

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