Posts Tagged Manhattan

Wintry Resistance

Wintry Resistance . . .

Goldenrod Over Ice
(NYC 01 17 2018)

Flanks, standing in review over the tidal river Hudson that breathes good cold air into the street grid fibers of Manhattan, the city even shaped like a lung where reside still a few scattered remnants of the previous growing season.

Flags, of a kind, wintry, resistant to the emphatic articesque change, stand beside the rise and fall flow of fractured ice.

Winter: Here, where the Wildflowers of the West Village remain.


Balance and Grace in Spite of (NYC 01 2018)

– rPs 01 17 2018


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Ornaments . . .

Asteraceae Xmas Ornaments
(NYC 12 24 2017)

The winter dress of the season’s Asteraceae retains the same daisy’s face, a face now tanned by age, sharp and crisp, tipped by a spread of star points.

Ornaments, now, the seeded wildflowers strung along a path beside the Hudson River. Holiday flower faces in some places as thick as an evergreen, festive, festooned with . . . ornaments.

Solstice Ornaments.

Holiday(s) Ornaments.

The wild flowered winter holiday season in New York City.

— rPs 12 29 2017

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The End of November

The End of November . . .

Asteraceae Gone to Seed
(NYC 11 26 2017)

One of the aspects to appreciate most during the growing season’s latter half is the evolution of the predominate color. The tired greens of September give way to the splendid yellows of October that age into the russet spread seen by the end of November.

Wildflowers on the ground have mostly gone to seed by this time. The leaves up above that remain rustle in the tannic tones of the oaks. Here is where the color action remains.

Deciduous leaves often lumped under the generic descriptive “brown” resemble many of the cooked dishes on a plentiful table of Thanksgiving. The same kind of variety is actually present within that one color. One can see tan, rust, ochre, and many more. If, by the end of November, one cannot find a plant in bloom at their feet, pause, and look up . . .

November Splendor
(NYC 11 27 2017)

. . . where the plant world meets the sky.

— rPs 11 30 2017

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Teasel Season

Teasel Season . . .

Thistle Season For Teasel
(pencil on paper)
(NYC 10 2017)

I have been drawn, pun there yet unintended; I have been drawn to draw, sketch, the crown of the teasel this season.

family Caprifoliaceae

Along the way, to consistent degree in scope and scale, still bloom the:


(NYC 10 2017)

Lady’s Thumb

Lady’s Thumb: A Wild Buckwheat
(NYC 10 2017)

White Snakeroot

White Snakeroot
(NYC 10 2017)

Seaside Goldenrod

Seaside Goldenrod
(NYC 10 2017)


(NYC 10 2017)

Autumn Highlights Here, Now.

– rPs 10 24 2017

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Complements (In Autumn)

Complements (In Autumn) . . .

Inpatiens capensis
(09 2017)

September, mostly sunny, suddenly warmer, humidity hung to the air. All the plants of the city respire as we do, perhaps a bit labored.

Stressed with the start of another brief, eternal fall season, fast in the city, so much possibilty, very busy, and outside of all that, around the outdoor spaces, still in bloom.

Funny to find on an evening walk two of the most attractive signatures of the season, the impatient yet deep orange jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) and the stout yet laced purple mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum). Colors, partnered together in time, complements on the color wheel of the annual solar cycle.

The kinetic jewelweed can cover its loose bush in orange blooms all primed to pop when disturbed.

The artful mistflower, of a blued purple most pale, posseses a triangular leaf patterned and haired, tailored and well groomed.

Conoclinium coelestinum
(09 2017)

The color of the jewelweed like nectarine, mistflower like lavender. Such gorgeous pairings can be seen untended and free beside some New York City trailways now, after the Autumn Equinox.

– rPs 09 25 2017

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50 and Thoreau

50 and Thoreau . . .

Thoreau’s Wildflowers
(NYC 08 28 2017)

Thoreau’s Wildflowers
344 Pages, 6 x 9 ¼
ISBN: 9780300214772
Hardcover; 217 b&w illus.

When your personal collection of years add up to fifty, most since youth spent observing, noting, sketching, and writing on the subject of wildflowers, there comes still the unexpected, the miraculous appearance of wildflowers in unexpected places.

Two species in bloom, side by side, where I stood in the Morgan Stanley Gallery West. Two species preserved, pressed, by Henry David Thoreau.

There, in the Morgan Stanley Gallery West, two wildflowers, not of Manhattan, yet in Manhattan, and me there to study as I have in situ the native and immigrant wild flowering plants along the Hudson River.

Connection made.

“This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal” is an exhibit on view at the Morgan Library and Museum” until September 10.

Morgan Stanley Gallery East, the opposite wing, opens dedicated to “Henry James and American Painting”. Here one panel of the latter frames a view of three poppies, each in a stage of bloom, rendered by Elizabeth Boott Duveneck, artist wife, friend of painter Frank Duveneck, friends both of James. Her dark colors and the narrow verticality of the frame give the flowering an added effect.

Thoreau’s connection to wildflowers is more overt, as this exhivit reveals. His journals and plant species collection is notable, noted, worthy of a collected writings, which now has been published:

Thoreau Wildflowers
344 Pages, 6 x 9 ¼
ISBN: 9780300214772
Hardcover. 217 b&w illus.

Product details worth repeating. The book in hand holds a handsome object, textured paper jacket, illustrated in excess of 200 precise pen and ink portraits of the Concord plants studied and rendered by Thoreau through preservation and writing. Barry Moser, the artist, here has illustrated these pages with great pacing and eye appeal.

The editing, by Geoff Wisner, traces Thoreau’s journal entries along a clever chronological order by month rather than individual year. The book’s window of start to finish begins with March entries and ends with a scattered few in frigid February. We read far fewer posts from “February” than other months. The effective editorial path this book follows serves to support Thoreau’s prodigious, primarily self-read expertise in botany. The book has for me inspired new looks at Manhattan’s familiar flowering faces knowing the total in the end here at Wildflowers of the West Village is as it was for Thoreau and his place and time rendered in the very fine Thoreau’s Wildflowers published by Yale University Press.

The photo takes the place of a collection of pressed specimens for me. Storage, even archival, is a premium in Manhattan. The words: words of description, of documentation, on occasion of poetry and opinion, are a performance ground to play, experiment, seek out new metaphors, pursue the coinage of new words, logical and poetic, neologisms based on a solid history, with ethics, originality, and clear purpose persistent.

Not a manifesto, just how I go, now to continue beyond fifty (50!), adding years, collections of months along the West Side of Manhattan, where urban wildflowers, places and times where nature and the city intersect, inspire still the want to look and to know and to write for readers.

Ray Angelo’s essay, “Thoreau as Botanist”, completes the introduction and holds a cadence all its own. He makes clear Thoreau’s consistent interest and studied growth in the regional flora over his time. Sounds familiar, even to a contemporary author of fish stories who has read, even studied, Walden, as well as his first, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.

At essay’s end, Angelo asks:
“. . . What grand work of prose this insistent pursuit of botany was meant to nurture?”

I submit as answer: all of his other work in between the saunters into the fields of flora.

Wildflowers of the West Village: Where Nature and the City Intersect . . .

Philadelphia on the Fly.

Small Fry: The Lure of the Little.

Coincidence, perhaps, but I am honest when I say my own worded path had set its stone before such connections were made. I admit, long on my list, I entered the world of Thoreau’s work later than many. I can claim a fresher read than those who “read it in high school” at the least. An exhibit, ever new, can motivate one into thinking over specifics, or a broader subject, or perceived connections. For me, connection remains the accurate, relevant term. Perhaps a combination of passions – art, word, water, and wildflower – enjoyed, even loved, since childhood, can, when combined with persistence, write long passages in the manner of Henry James, or even precise florid prose on flora, all carried on a current, like a wave, and in a life lived somewhat parallel, at least in patches.

The life of Henry David Thoreau, celebrated for many qualities, one of which was his appreciative and valuable study of regional wild flora. We read Thoreau’s Wildflowers” and find a connection to a life learned of, read of, lived with from time to time as I do continue with the Wildflowers of the West Village.

Eclipse, The Pond:
A view Thoreau could appreciate
(NYC Eclipse 08 21 2017)

– rPs 08 30 2017

Postcript: View the Morgan Library’s current exhibits here:

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A Midsummer Day’s Blues

A Midsummer Day’s Blues . . .

Blue Flower Bathed in White Sun
(NYC 07 2017)

I continue to contend the sun as a star may have shifted more to the white, so strong is its midsummer light; it’s that bright.

Light, the favorite food of the perennial Plant, capital P, fills one fan found now on open lawns and streetsides as urban as the hyperdeveloping West Village. This immigrant citizen is the blue daisy of summer days: Chicory.

This blue Asteraceae, Cichorium intybus, had been in Europe a wildflower used for a bitter green and, later, its roots roasted and ground as a complement or addition to coffee once that sweetbitter bean had been introduced conversely through colonization.

Find chicory today, in bloom now, sometimes see it sprinkled like pale nonpareils on a lawn.

Chicory Nonpareils
(NYC 07 2017)

Chicory bathes in full sun as the summer’s other signature blue petals open in the shade, each one for just a day, and given the hot intensity of the seemingly white sunlight, sometimes just for a morning; a bright one, but a good one.

Commelina communis – Asiatic dayflower

Dayflower With Visitor
(NYC 07 2017)

A midsummer day’s blues are in full bloom about the west side of Manhattan.

— rPs 07 18 2017

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