Archive for Wildflowers: Blue

Summer, Solanum

Summer, Solanum . . .

Solanum nigrum, Manhattan. (08 2015)

Solanum nigrum,
Manhattan.
(08 2015)

New York City wakes to the light of August and the news of fifty days and counting when temperatures have held at 80 degree Fahrenheit or more.

Humidity feeds the air and makes the air felt. The act of breathing becomes an even damper labor requiring calories if on a run to survey wildflowers along Manhattan’s banks of the Hudson River.

Inland, the islands holds tree pits colonized like a kind of microcosm of monoculture. Within squares sprout Galinsoga, Lady’s Thumb, Yellow Sow Thistle, and Marestail.

Marestail, Conyza canadensis, Manhattan. (08 2015)

Marestail,
Conyza canadensis,
Manhattan.
(08 2015)

Not so much the Asiatic Dayflower. Commelina cummunis, which appreciates seasons of high water and a more modest light.

Asiatic Dayflower does not take to prolonged direct sun exposure. (08 2015)

Asiatic Dayflower does not take to prolonged direct sun exposure.
(08 2015)

This season being dry, and hot, one of the most common sights are of tiny black tomatoes hanging in sparse clumps from vigorous stems and ovate green leaves supporting also tiny flowers that resemble sunnyside eggs shaped into five petals arranged as a star.

Solanum nigrum, the Nightshade. August in the Nightshade, or . . .

. . . a Summer, Solanum, with some others remains the steady news of the day.

– rPs 08 26 2015

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Cinco de Mayo and the Mayapple

Cinco de Mayo and the Mayapple . . .

Mayapple (NYC, 2015)

Mayapple
(NYC, 2015)

Cinco de Mayo seems a good time to celebrate the consummate wildflower of May: Podophyllum peltatum, the Mayapple.

Shaded, wooded areas are the best places to seek out the Mayapple. Perennial colonies, each borne on a rhizome, now display the distinctive palmate leaves supported by stems bearing a single bud beneath, which will bloom white and mature into a fruit that always appears like a little treasure in the woodland.

Another regular now in flower is the Virginia Bluebell, Mertensia virginica. Shaded hillsides and groves in Manhattan’s Central Park become carpeted by this variety at this time of year. Specimens found in the parks and neighborhoods of the west side of the island are less dense, yet display just as intense a range of pink buds blending into true blue bell blossoms. The view is gorgeous, yet short lived, this being an ephemeral plant brief of life cycle.

Virginia Bluebell (NYC, 2015)

Virginia Bluebell, NYC
(2015)

NYC Wildflower Week is fast approaching and the city is in full bloom. Uncut park lawns are dressed in many, often immigrant, wildflowers: the purples of Red Deadnettle and Viola, the yellows of Dandelion and Lesser Celandine, the white of Garlic Mustard. Photo examples of these standard bloomers may be found throughout Wildflowers of the West Village.

Disfrutar de las flores!

“You Wanted Color”
pencils on paper
(04 2015)

– rPs 05 05 2015

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Wildflowers of Waikiki

Wildflowers of Waikiki . . .

Frangipani blossom (Plumeria) set in the Hawaiian Airlines logo

Frangipani blossom (Plumeria) set in the Hawaiian Airlines logo

Hawaii begins borne by flowers. “Aloha” is the aroma and sight of flowers around necks, pinned behind ears, hanging from trees. Gardens, lawns, and copses all in bloom as a collective fragrance carries on a mild warm breath off Pacific seawater.

Here are some views from an October 2014 visit to O’ahu . . .

Waikiki 10 2014

Hawaii 2 10 2014

Hawaii 3 102014

Hawaii 4 10 2014

Hawaii 5 10 2014

Paradise Close . . .

Bird of Paradise 10 2014

– rPs 10 31 2014

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Still Life Set in a Cityscape

Still Life Set in a Cityscape . . .

Butter & Eggs by the Stump

Butter & Eggs by the Stump

The City Still Life, continued: Ideas or Ideals?

October brings a new, almost kinetic view: warmer colors spread in the foreground as the backdrop of sky, like the temperature, reflects colder hues. Bright, or subdued, autumn’s more visible variety can shift one’s attention and shape it toward color composition. Hikes along a river lined by trees showing ever less chlorophyll have fueled thinkers too numerous to list anywhere but in some form of comprehensive Encyclopedia Autumnus.

One subject: The City Still Life, con Flores, im Herbst (“with flowers, in Autumn”) often pops up besides the trees that can no longer leaf. The stump, the rooted gravestone of a neighborhood tree, low to the ground, overlooked, left alone, or still in line to be removed, centers a wild space that may be encircled by plantains beaded by rain, nightshades gathered in miniature copses, or scatterings of less dispersed species:

Chicory, Chicorium intybus

Chicory in October

Chicory in October

Mallow, Malva neglecta

Mallow in October

Mallow in October

Yellow Toadflax (Butter & Eggs), Linaria vulgaris

Yellow Toadflax in October

Yellow Toadflax in October

Conscious tree cutting and removal always depresses me, more for the fact the tree cannot be left to compost where it comes to lay. A green space more sustained by itself by letting it be would better reflect its organic natural history. Spaces may be shaped, that is understandable. May it also be comprehended that a city park curated as a rotating clean slate may not be ideal when applied in a universal, as in monolithic, manner? Stumps add character and the distinctive wild space equivalent of a still life set in a greater landscape, or cityscape.

– rPs 10 07 2014

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September’s Best

September’s Best . . .

Composition in Pink and Blue (Smartweed and Asiatic Dayflower)

Composition in Pink and Blue
(Smartweed and Asiatic Dayflower)

The City Still Life

New school years, new sporting seasons, new beginnings all commence as the summer season comes to an end. September, always a pretty time of year, often full of optimism, perhaps these qualities explain why this period, at least in the moment, moves along fast enough to earn the term: fleeting.

The city sprints at the electric pace. Nature, reflected in every tree, pigeon, and squirrel in the urban arena, offers a chance to pause and look and, sure, smell the flowers. The scale will be smaller. Built up areas do not offer much in terms of broad natural landscapes, so a painter’s eye must focus more on the smaller canvas. The untended flower pot, the tree pit, the unpaved edge of a parking lot supports the depth and diversity, native and immigrant alike.

Wildflowers, having enjoyed the majority of the growing season, continue to form random still life arrangements of multiple species in combination even if the sweet pastels of spring may have turned more weathered and tangy. The mid-Atlantic region tends to dry out at the end of the summer except when a hurricane passes through every few years. The sporadic showers that do fall provide temporary refreshment that rejuvenates the color and vigor of the blooming plant. A walk in the rain, then, offers a reflective opportunity to see the best September has to offer.

Nightshade in the Rain

Nightshade in the Rain

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Jewelweed 09 2014

New York Ironweed (Veronia noveboracensis)

New York Ironweed 09 2014

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed 09 2014

– rPs 09 17 2014

Postscript: This is the 100th post on this blog! Thanks for visiting . . .

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Wave Hill Revisited

Wave Hill Revisited . . .

Wave Hill in Summer (photo taken 08 24 2014)

Wave Hill in Summer
(photo taken 08 24 2014)

Each season shares its quality of being in expression through plant life. Any green space reacts to and evolves over a temperate calendar year. Flower colors vary, as does the scale, texture, and even shape of this or that plant’s leaf or stem.

Wave Hill in the Bronx sets just such a scene for close looks at cultivated plant life in process. There are 28 acres in The Bronx covered by a flowered pattern as if a giant picnic basket blanket has been spread, supported by bedrock bluffs, summer green, looking over a gorge bottomed by a variegated aquamarine river, its surface roughened by strong currents.

Beyond the artful gardens soft wildflower edges do have a place here. Plant patches now offer a sharper, drier tone of color with some lingering favorites from earlier in the summer: the yolk yellow and china blue Asiatic Dayflower and Lady’s Thumb, its flowered head not unlike an elongated pink mulberry, stem uptight.

Here are a few Wave Hill wildflowers in bloom this August:

American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

American Pokeweed 08 2014

Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis)

Asiatic Dayflower 08 2014

Common Mullien (Verbascum thapsus)

Common Mullein 08 2014

Goldenrod (genus Solidago)

Goldenrod 08 2014

Marestail (Conyza Canadensis)

Marestail 08 2014

White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)

White Snakeroot 08 2014

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) and Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum) were also spotted on a bright and dry Sunday afternoon. Such variety brings new views every time one revisits Wave Hill, another must destination for the wildflowers of the west of New York City.

Wave Hill Entrance (photo taken 08 24 2014)

Wave Hill Entrance
(photo taken 08 24 2014)

– rPs 08 26 2014)

Postscript: Wave Hill’s website http://www.wavehill.org/

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Wave Hill

Wave Hill . . .

View From Wave Hill

View From Wave Hill

We had the pleasure to spend some quality west side time at Wave Hill in The Bronx during their Arbor Weekend at the end of April. What is Wave Hill? I’ll let their mission statement speak:

“Wave Hill is a 28-acre public garden and cultural center in the Bronx overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. Its mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscapes, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.”

Wave Hill offers a complimentary hourly shuttle service from the end of the 1 Train at 242nd Street to the public gardens and back. The ride takes fewer than five minutes and leaves one at the front gate of the property. Within this expanse of preserved land reside trees, both deciduous and coniferous, flower gardens, greenhouses, an art gallery, a café, and a gift shop with adjacent restrooms. The layout is bright and spacious, with lots of flagstone and brick and wood chip trails: everything a New Yorker cramped into a studio might want from a weekend, or weekday, visit.

Wave Hill Entrance

Wave Hill Entrance

The initial view is especially breathtaking: the Hudson River Palisades; an exposed, sheer rock cliff capped by an unbroken line of trees stretching as far as one can see along the New Jersey side of the fjord. (More on this point can be found below in the Postscript)

Up close, along the margins of the grounds full of tended native and ornamental plants, one can find some of the region’s familiar wildflower stars of spring:

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

Garlic Mustard (Allaria petiolata)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

And something new, too: While we waked across one of the sloping meadows near the Glyndor Gallery, we also found and photographed a first for Wildflowers of the West Village:

Whitlow Grass (Erophila verna)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

(photo taken 04 27 2014)

This member of the Brassicaceae family, the mustards, sports numerous flowers consisting of four paired white petals. The blooms rise on ruddy stems from a small basal rosette, which forms a very tight, tiny bush that is quite attractive.

We encourage anyone with an interest in flowers, trees, gardening, or landscape architecture to visit Wave Hill, and to return again and again as the seasons pass and offer more and different views of this green west end of The Bronx.

– rPs 04 28 2014

Postscript: The riverfront that gives the great view from Wave Hill is under threat from a proposed office tower on the New Jersey side. I encourage all those who wish this undeveloped land to remain in its original, natural state to visit the following website and perhaps even sign the accompanying petition to Protect The Palisades:

http://www.protectthepalisades.org/

VIEW UNDER THREAT! The Palisades in Spring

VIEW UNDER THREAT!
The Palisades in Spring

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