Archive for Wildflowers: Blue

Veterans

Veterans . . .

Butter & Eggs after rain on Veterans Day, 2015.

Butter & Eggs after rain on Veterans Day, 2015.

Wildflowers, those exposed to so much stress in urban environments, may be presumed to have wrapped up blooming activity by November. Not so along the western edge of Manhattan. Cool wet days under breezy white sky have in succession invigorated lawns and edges alike on the island of Manhattan. The lush green beds support a casserole of multicolored leaves.

The gold of the Ginkgo and Weeping Willow complement the burnt orange of the Sugar Maple, the evergreen and yellow variations of the Norway Maple. The flutter of the individual Black Locust, tiny in comparison to that of the London Plane Tree and Black Oak, dry leaves when stiff the size of a desert plate.

My favorites of the blooming foliage include the fiery tones of the American Sumac, the intricate stylish spades of the living fossil, the Tulip Tree, and the full spectrum splendor of the Liquid Amber, the Sweetgum.

Standing, blooming in their way on the trunks of such trees, one can find lichen in full vigor:

Lichen 11 11 2015

Mushrooms like the Amanita reside in the leaf litter:

November Amanita 11 11 2015

Wildflowers, the second wind of sorts, numerous veterans, though perhaps plain or small or scattered, bloom now in great variety and number. Goldenrod, Galinsoga, Lady’s Thumb, and the Dandelion all still flower here and there. Others encountered during a run in the park may include:

Chicory, Chicorium intybus

Chicory 11 11 2015

Mallow, Marva parviflora

Malva parviflora 11 11 2015

Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris

Mugwort 11 11 2015

Nightshade, Solanum

Nightshade 11 2015

Peppergrass, Lepidium

Peppergrass 11 11 2015

White Snakeroot, Agaratina altissima

White Snakeroot 11  2015

November Rain, a fine song title, and a pillar source of life for a strong stand of West Village wildflower veterans.

– rPs 11 11 2015

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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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