Posts Tagged Jewelweed

Violet and Vermillion

Violet and Vermillion . . .

Violet and Vermillion: Great Lobelia and Jewelweed (09 2015)

Violet and Vermillion:
Great Lobelia and Jewelweed
(09 2015)

The late summer harvest comes in swaths of white and gold tones. The drive to anywhere sees fields full of Goldenrods and Queen Anne’s Lace. The view comes punctuated by one detail important to tell. Out there, on the road, and even down here, within the city, New York City, there does exist a general wilt of plants along the open expanses where a vehicle or pedestrian passes. Dry days have been set in a long row.

Near the rivers, the adjacent greens retain a flusher state, a fuller color especially where trees, mature, uncut trees, offer shade. Spots where trees stretch out a patchy canopy buffer a cooler, damper shade below. Along edges of light and shadow one may find the most wildflowers underbrush. Yellow Thistles do bloom through arid, weathered, rose bushes. Galinsoga fills fallow flower boxes projecting from the base of town house windows uptown and downtown. Along the park’s green, other, varied, color combos call.

“This is New York!” one neighbor bellows with all politeness. More mellow is the Mugwort stating the same line in the manner a flower communicates its quiet beauty. When in bloom the wild plant you are looking at speaks for this same city just as well. The plant “I” does live here, just as much a neighbor.

More of what “This is New York!” is, is the city where wind off water shushes through branches, places where the Wildflowers of the West Village reside. A blade’s edge of Manhattan faces New Jersey, offers in scattered portions a green face north at The Cloisters and Tryon Park down to Riverside Park down to Hudson River Park all the way to the very tip of The Battery. Where one sees this green from afar, one can up close find wildflowers in the extended, greater, West Village of Manhattan.

Hedge edges bear sights, life, to witness. Plants bloom in organo-color with a variety often appearing in compliment to Charles Blanc’s meticulous starred wheel.

Purple and Orange . . . Violet and Vermillion

Great Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica, an American native, shares open space in some number with the annual Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis. Color complements: violet Lobelia set on pedicel attached to a rising stalk raceme; vermillion Impantiens gems hung from thin stems in a more rounded bush of thin leaves akin to Nasturtium. Both, too, do bloom with lobes of three. Great Lobelia’s look like a sharp tongue, Jewelweed’s resemble an ear. Number, form, color set and matched, as the US Open, all played out on a background of aged deep green, summer’s end time.

– rPs 09 18 2015

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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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Tired Green, Full Fruits

Tired Green, Full Fruits . . .

Tired Green: faded Lamb's Quarters in Hudson River Park. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

Tired Green: faded Lamb’s Quarters in Hudson River Park. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

1. Tired Green

The final leg of a recent bus trip was made easier by sharing the ride with poet CA Conrad. He boarded the Greyhound in Philadelphia on his way to an autumn artist’s residency at the Macdowell Colony. I was headed back to my West Village home. This coincidence gave us the opportunity to reminisce over our early days and share recent news. While doing so, I mentioned how I have always enjoyed this time of year marked by “the tired green of late September.”

Conrad never holds back in conversation. As a poet, he values each spoken word. He noted that poetic phrase of mine, which I have been savoring in my mind ever since.

By doing so, I have been practicing one of the techniques that has become synonymous with Conrad’s writing process. He calls it (Soma)tic Poetics: exercises involving the poet suffusing his or her self with a singular theme for a set period of time. These exercises can take various forms such as eating only orange foods, or wearing only blue clothes. For me, I began contemplating tired green foliage, to see what insights the plants’ form and color might reveal.

My use of the word tired stems from the physical wear and tear a plant undergoes during the hot sun and scattered thunderstorms of summer. Native and immigrant urban wildflowers have to endure even more stress and the color, the tired green of late September, reveals that to my eyes. The bright lime and avocado shades of May transform into a grayish pallor that also shows the underlying yellows, often edged in brown. Though not yet ready to burst into color and fall, the near future season of transition for the leaves is visible.

Some hardier species do remain in bloom. One that sports showy white petals above its aging leaves this time of year is Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense).

Horsenettle in bloom in Hudson River Park. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

Horsenettle in bloom in Hudson River Park. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

Tired the green may be, but there are still fresh, colorful wildflowers to be found throughout the urban landscape.

2. Full Fruits

Yes, this is Manhattan! The view from Fort Tryon Park. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

Yes, this is Manhattan! The view from Fort Tryon Park. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

My wife and I visited the annual Medieval Festival in Fort Tryon Park on the last Sunday of September. Located on the far upper west side of Manhattan, this park sits on a high bluff overlooking the Hudson River and the Palisades, which form a true fjord. The views are breathtaking and wild, hard to associate with the conventional image of Manhattan, although the park is located on the latitude of 190th Street.

Flanking the paths of Fort Tryon Park we discovered a variety of late wildflowers such as Asters and Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis).

Jewelweed in bloom in Fort Tryon Park. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

Jewelweed in bloom in Fort Tryon Park. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

Prevalent, too, were the fruits of many species, such as the Common Nightshade (Solanum ptychanthum), its stems supporting what look like tiny black tomatoes. Most vivid of all was Common Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana). A patch of these plants resembled a wildflower vineyard lush with thick drooping clusters of burgundy and purple berries. A sign this summer, now retired, cultivated an excellent growing season.

The full fruits of Common Pokeweed. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

The full fruits of Common Pokeweed. (photo taken 09 29 2013)

– rPs 09 30 2013


You can learn more about poet CA Conrad by visiting his own blog (and purchasing and reading his masterpiece, The Book of Frank). Click on his name under the Blogroll . . .

Learn more about Fort Tryon Park by visiting the website of the Fort Tryon Park Trust:

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