Posts Tagged Common Snowdrop

Vernal Equinox 2018

Vernal Equinox 2018 . . .

Snowdrops on the First Day of Spring
(NYC 03 20 2018)

Spring began at 12:15 p.m. EST in New York City.
Kind it was one of the most important astronomical alignments of the year coincided with the noon lunch hour. A quick stroll along the west side of Manhattan found the sun shy behind an overcast white sky above the steel gray flow of the Hudson. I found the season’s pastel color above the softening browns of the ground: white common snowdrop and the purples and golds of feral Crocus vernus.

Crocus vernus
(NYC 03 20 2018)

Happy first day of Spring.

— rPs 03 20 2018

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Media Encounter

Media Encounter . . .


Say “Chickweed.”
(Stellaria media, NYC, 02 2017)

Bright white drops like elongated undyed eggs of Easter. The first Galanthus nivalis were sighted in an otherwise fallow Manhattan flowerbed on Sunday, February 19. Blooms succulent and upright enough; they must have appeared several days earlier. Someone may need to go out more.

Out there, the sky a mix of overcast patched with blue, the grounds have remained cool and damp since the last freeze’s thaw. There is, on the level, vibrant green to be seen wild, growing.

The excitement for me this time out stems from my encounter with the media, pun intended. Happy sight it is to see the immigrant Stellaria media chickweed spreading about in loose communities at the base of planted pines. The tannic, more acidic soil of the evergreen does not seem to be minded by Stellaria of the West Village.

Pine Base Stellaria (NYC, 02 2017)

Pine Base Stellaria
(NYC, 02 2017)

Spring a month in advance, already, looks into the camera:

Say “Chickweed.”

— rPs 02 24 2017

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Taxicabs and The Easter Egg Effect

Taxicabs and The Easter Egg Effect . . .

Snow Drop on Sunday

Snow Drop on Sunday

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.

Taraxacum Two-Step NYC (01 2015)

Taraxacum Two-Step
NYC (01 2015)

Bright, warmer than the season’s usual early winter face: January on a Sunday afternoon remained mild.

Groundsel Epiphany NYC (01 2015)

Groundsel Epiphany
NYC (01 2015)

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.

Croci Afternoon NYC (03 2015)

Croci Afternoon
NYC (03 2015)

Spring has arrived in the western side of Manhattan.

– rPs 03 31 2015

Postscript: The Easter Egg Effect, The High Line edition –

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Anniversary Flower

Anniversary Flower . . .

Common Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, flowers on the vernal equinox, 2014..

Common Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, flowers on the vernal equinox, 2014..

March departs Manhattan’s hills and buildings like a lamb leaning into a strong wind, still chill, under a blue sky.

A single Common Snowdrop bloom, white, brightens a nearby bed of graying evergreen boughs. The sight, a month later than such encounters during previous years. A sign, pictured here on March 20th, a sure sign of Spring starting. The vernal equinox, punctuated by a flowering plant.

A modest anniversary also passed with the arrival of this Spring. Wildflowers of the West Village completed another cycle of four seasons –

Happy Fourth Anniversary, Wildflowers of the West Village . . .

– rPs 03 31 2014

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Before the Snow

Before the Snow . . .

Life, as in its daily living and responsibilities, has intervened between me and my heretofore regular forays into the urban natural world. I have been devoting more time to earning a living, which by its very nature prevents me from experiencing the city’s wilder life fully and freely, even though it continues to exist off the grid, figuratively, whilst on the grid, literally, of Manhattan.

My wife did take a rare personal day this past Thursday, so I did as well. After some mutual fun and adventure, I set off alone to enjoy the last hour of light before nightfall. I wandered down to Hudson River Park where I was rewarded with solitude, as a cold rain and wind had arrived, the vanguard of what may have turned out to be the final snowfall on this side of the year.

Inclement weather is the secret ingredient to a solitary outing in the city, and this one provided me with the opportunity to walk upon the compact damp tundra of the park’s grass and assume some of the odder observational poses of the nature lover – extended bends of the knees and stretches of the neck – without public embarrassment.

There was much to see. The steady rain had coaxed a lot of life from the slumbering ground of the winter season. Rich, pastel green patches of lichens covered many of the tree trunks and onion grass had sprouted around their bases. Along the edge of one small rise of ground I also found what I was most searching for – the first full blooms of the year; a patch of white feral croci of the family Iridaceae.

First flowers of 2013: feral Croci. (photo taken 03 07 2013)

First flowers of 2013: feral Croci. (photo taken 03 07 2013)

A few yards farther on, I found a single small Common Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris, in flower.

Common Groundsel at the base of a tree. (photo taken 03 07 2013)

Common Groundsel at the base of a tree. (photo taken 03 07 2013)

Near the end of my little hike, and the available natural light, I walked along a thicket of hedges and found one more hardy variety, a confident sign of spring: the Common Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, huddled at the base of some bushes.

Common Snowdrop in the bush. (photo taken 03 07 2013)

Common Snowdrop in the bush. (photo taken 03 07 2013)

I had only my smartphone available for photos on this brief, damp, and dimly lit outing, so the quality herein is not up to my usual standard, but the idea hopefully has been conveyed . . .

Once again there are wildflowers in the West Village.

– rPs 03 09 2013

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The First Wildflower of 2012

The First Wildflower of 2012 . . .

Common Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) push up through the leaf litter at the Jefferson Market Garden. (photo taken 02 06 2012)

The New York region’s weather has resembled the middle of March for all but a few days of this 2011-2012 winter season. One of the effects of modest precipitation combined with moderate temperatures has been an odd kind of eternal spring.

I took a lunch hour stroll through the West Village on Monday, February 6, in part to enjoy the light and air of this gentle weather. Days like this allow me to contemplate one of my favorite outdoor aesthetic combinations: the weathered grays and tans of bare trees backlit by a silver sun, blue sky, and white clouds. Such views, like the air itself, are the cleanest of the year. The quiet beauty can purify the eyes in a city overloaded with coded manmade imagery.

During my walk, I sighted the first blooming wildflower of 2012 growing along the edge of the Jefferson Market Garden near the corner of Greenwich Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas. The species: Common Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, which I described last year . . .

“This pretty little flower is an herbaceous perennial member of the family Amaryllidaceae. A naturalized immigrant from Europe, the Common Snowdrop sprouts from a bulb that sends forth two deep green lanceolate leaves and a thin scape that holds a single lobed flower on a pedicel. An individual bloom hanging from its scape very much resembles an antique lamppost supporting a white glass light fixture.”

The beauty of this bloom springs eternal. The difference, this year, is the remarkable earliness of its emergence: nearly a month sooner than last year. Good timing! The flowers can serve as a symbolic sign of celebration for the NY Giants winning Super Bowl XLVI.

Meanwhile, will this mild winter correspond to an equally mild summer? Let’s see . . . Let’s hope!

Common Snowdrops sing early during this 2012 "spring eternal" . . . (photo taken 02 06 2012)

– rPs 02 07 2012

Postscript: The Jefferson Market Garden stands out as one of the West Village’s most distinctive green spaces. Visit their website by following this link:

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The First Wildflower of 2011

The First Wildflower of 2011 . . .

Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis): the first wildflower of 2011 blooms in the underbrush of Hudson River Park. (photo taken 02 28 2011)

My television viewing habits are limited mainly to cable channel shows about outdoor sports and the relatively new genre of reality series set in wilderness or survival settings. Of these, Man vs. Wild starring the indomitable Bear Grylls is my favorite. He is a daring host with British wit and his locations are often breathtaking in themselves.

One of the episodes for the show’s new 2011 season was set in the highlands of Western Scotland. As Grylls rock climbed up cliffs, captured trout from pristine pools, and made shelter and fire from peat moss, I was taken by the vast, damp landscape of rugged rock and close-cropped heather green. Ironically, the next afternoon, I visited Hudson River Park and witnessed the coalescing of an atmosphere similar to the one I had seen on television the night before. The day was cold, damp, and windy. A steady gale swept whitecaps all over the surface of the lead grey river. The grass lawns of the park had become bogs of ground-hugging green saturated with snowmelt. The wind groaned, and I joked with myself: “I could develop a new series of my own here – Swegman vs. Urban Wild!” On cue, for a span of just a few minutes, the sky opened, a beam of electrum setting sunlight illuminated the park, and the sharpness and clarity of the light casting shadows on the lawn brought forth one of those transcendent moments where nature and the city intersect, making something more than one or the other.

That day also marked the first time in nearly two months that the park had been free of snow. Along the edges, and on the margins, plant life was already taking advantage of the thaw.

Common Chickweed ringed the bases of some trees.

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media) rings the base of a tree in Hudson River Park. (photo taken 02 28 2011)

Tufts of Onion Grass sprouted from the lawn edges.

Onion Grass (genus Allium) sprouts along the edges of Hudson River Park. (photo taken 02 28 2011)

Common Greenshield Lichen coated the trunks of many trees.

Common Greenshield (Flavoparmelia caperata) coats a tree trunk in Hudson River Park. (photo taken 02 28 2011)

Fate found me without a camera, so I planned a return. On the following Monday, the final day of February, I did. Camera in hand, I crossed the West Side Highway, expecting to document the first minor green expressions of the new year’s growing season. On the park side, flanking one of the entrances and well out of easy view, I found something more, quite an unseasonal sight: flowers, in bloom! A small colony of Common Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, glowed bright white above the wet brown leaf litter.

This pretty little flower is an herbaceous perennial member of the family Amaryllidaceae. A naturalized immigrant from Europe, the Common Snowdrop sprouts from a bulb that sends forth two deep green lanceolate leaves and a thin scape that holds a single lobed flower on a pedicel. An individual bloom hanging from its scape very much resembles an antique lamppost supporting a white glass light fixture.

The shape of an individual Common Snowdrop is very urban, quite like an antique street lamp. (photo taken 02 28 2011)

Common Snowdrop I have learned lives and blooms in time with its name: from January to May. This species beats the only other early wildflower I have so far seen in Manhattan, Siberian squill, by a full month. The flower’s Wikipedia entry states the Common Snowdrop contains a chemical, galantamine, which has been found useful for Alzheimer’s disease. Beyond that, this bloom is refreshing to behold after months gripped tightly by ice and snow, and it now holds the distinction of being the first wildflower of the West Village for 2011.

– rPs 02 28 2011

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