Posts Tagged New York City

11 Years (But Who’s Counting?)

First Flower of 2021: Common Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis

“Wildflowers of the West Village will be an ongoing document, beginning with the 2010 growing season” . . .

So began Wildflowers of the West Village on this date in 2010. Last year’s 10th anniversary was overshadowed by New York (and the rest of the world) locking down at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, that crisis still remains, but the outlook is much more positive, and today is a bright and sunny day in the city, the first full day of spring, full of new wildflower beauty that cannot be contained.

A short Sunday morning walk in the neighborhood reveals:

Bittercress, Cardamine hirsuta

Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris

Mouseear chickweed, Cerastium fontanum

Red deadnettle, Lamium purpureum

The diversity of species and range of shape and color punctuating the newly greening grass is affirming to behold, just one of the reasons a little blog about wildflowers in of all places, New York City, has lasted for over a decade, but who’s counting?

— rPs 03 22 2021

Postscript: Visit the post that started it all here: https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/03/22/welcome/

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February Flats

The Flat Face of February Flora
(02 26 2021)

Snow melts to reveal lawns like tundra, spongy cold underfoot, and full of hardy basal rosettes, flat green faces waiting for spring when once again wild plants may rise to stand up straight.

Meanwhile, as soon as some sunshine sustains on the earth, there are poking through the cracks the early bloomers like the red deadnettle, Lamium:

Lamium Soaks up the Sunlight
(02 26 2021)

Spring’s start is less than a month away. The wildflowers of the West Village are getting ready.

— rPs 02 28 2021

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Snow Blooms

Snow Aster
(NYC 01 20 2021)

The asters of autumn have long gone to seed. The parks sport the brown and tan tones of skeletal plant stems, dried leaves, and fallow edges now, within winter’s center, dressed also in white from a January snow.

— rPs 01 31 2021

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2020 Hindsight

Groundsel Star: Senica vulgaris
(12 2020)

The year 2020 comes to a close. One thinks, in hindsight, this was one best skipped, until one pauses and realizes life, all life, including blooming plants, has continued as usual. Our human lives in civilization shall, too, and may even return to some kind of normal, maybe even this next new year.

Deadnettle Alive: Lamium purpureum
(12 2020)

Farewell, 2020 . . . Here’s to 2021!

— rPs 12 31 2020

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Looking Up

Contrast Enhances Color
(NYC 11 2020)

I looked down for inspiration in October. I looked up and found it, again, in November.

The fall season progresses, and as the tree’s leaves thin out, the colors of those that remain on the branches appear even more vivid due to the open space, the contrasting blue, or white, or gray sky above.

Years ago, as a new Romantic poet in his senior year at university, I was first struck by this perceived increased intensity of the foliage as the season aged. I had a daily walk up a hilly avenue lined by mature trees to reach my morning classes, and on one sunny day I looked up, and a poem appeared fully formed:

My Perfect Autumn Day

Blue and gold days

Have come to call.

Gilded trees, warm,

And clear, cool air;

I stare, this morning,

At a mighty mosaic.

We call this fall,

My perfect autumn day;

I say, each leaf is a coin,

Pure gold for my pocket.

If this season were a vault,

I would lock it,

And save them forever.

The poem retains the memory, the treasure, of that day. The same can be done with words now, added and aided by the convenience of the smartphone camera.

Looking up, one can see the gold of the birch, gingko, locust, and Norway maple against a bluebird sky. The white cloud of a rainy day allows the same yellows to glow in place of the sun.

“Still” – Abstract Expressionism
(NYC 11 30 2020)

The blue above also enhances the reds of the oak, and the full spectrum of the sweetgum, known also as liquidamber, and the savory tans of the London plane tree, whose overhead spread can resemble a cathdral when planted in rows . . .

Plane Tree Cathedral Vault
(NYC 11 200)

. . . . Which reminds me of a stanza from another poem composed on another autumn walk:

The tall plane trees sigh.

A broken spot of blue

In the gray and white sky

Grows as it goes by.

The fall is a wonderful time to spend time outside. Inspiration can be found, or recalled. The truth of a little poem, written so long ago, may very well be that each and every one is a perfect autumn day.

— rPs 11 30 2020

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First Signs of Fall

First Signs of Fall . . .

White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima, has honeybee company.
(NYC 09 2020)

There is a distinct chill in the air as the monochromatic green has begun to be edged with more ocherous colors.

Crisp air. Fall leaves.

The Autumnal Equinox occurred in New York City today at 9:30 a.m. EST.

Some of the first signs of fall are already in bloom. The rich color of jewelweed can be found around shaded areas near the water just as white snakeroot, one of the hardiest, most ubiquitous of the season’s wildflowers, lines park paths and other green edges of the city.

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, holds all the colors of autumn in a single bloom.
(NYC 09 22 2020)

Happy first day of fall.

— rPs 09 22 2020

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August Harvest

August Harvest . . .

A summer salad of Asiatic dayflower, Galinsoga, and Lady’s Thumb.
(NYC 08 31 2020)

Family and friends have begun to share photos, and salads, from their gardens as the month of August comes to a close. The wild patches of Manhattan’s west side have also reached their peak of productivity.

A morning walk, or a stroll to watch the evening sun set behind the Hudson, will also be accompanied by a diverse harvest of native and immigrant wildflowers in full bloom and fruit. This salad bar of sorts includes:

American Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana

(NYC 08 17 2020)

Bittersweet Nightshade, Solanum dulcamara

(NYC 08 31 2020)

Broadleaf Plantain, Plantago major

(NYC 08 31 2020)

Butter and Eggs, Linaria vulgaris

(08 08 2020)

Chicory, Cichorium intybus

(NYC 08 2020)

Common Black Nightshade, Solanum nigrum

(NYC 08 17 2020)

Common Mallow, Malva neglecta

(NYC 08 17 2020)

Galinsoga, Galinsoga parviflora

(NYC 08 17 2020)

Lady’s Thumb, Persicaria maculosa

(NYC 08 17 2020)

Marestail, Conyza canadensis

(NYC 08 31 2020)

There is quite a selection to see. August’s harvest is here.

— rPs 08 31 2020

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Reason for Hope

Reason for Hope . . .

First Snopdrop Sighting:
Galanthus nivalis
(NYC 01 31 2020)

January is either a damp cold colored brown, white, and gray during a walk outside, or the sky above is a transluscent blue lens magnifying sun and wind into a bright frigid bluster.

Life greets first losses of the year especially hard. Hard to lose a personal hero, Neil Peart, who was quite clear and correct in the title track from the Rush LP Presto: “I radiate more heat than light.”

Peart was an avid cyclist and birder in between life as a recording artist and author. He inspired (the “heat” to create). Role models as such it follows I am an avid cyclist and documentarian of urban flora, indiginous and immigrant, in between life as an author.

Sad, too, to lose one who makes us laugh (Monty Python’s Terry Jones) and who’s sheer elevation of life lifts us (NBA and Oscar winner, Kobe Bryant).

Saying goodbye, letting go, tasks in life always never easy. The reason for hope in all that can be found; it emerges like a snowdrop from the remnants of last year’s leaf fall. The first flower of the year near month’s end is like a lawn bathed in January sun. Bright and alive, the thaw, temporary perhaps, but a reminder new life follows from the former; everything continues.

Winter Season Variety:
Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris, and others.
(01 2020)


— rPs 01 31 2020

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Ever Greens

Ever Greens . . .

Xmas Moss
(NYC 12 2019)

Brown, white, and gray dominate an outdoor day explored after Solstice past. A setting reminiscent of Poe’s bleak December can get cultivated along the Hudson when the cold rain falls heavy and straight on a still, chilled day. The poet did know the local atmosphere; he wrote the poem here on the west side of Manhattan, after all.

The living color contrast to be found like an ornament nestled deep within the tree are the ever greens, the lichen and the moss. Both plants savor the cold damp days of December and decorate the more sober wood and stone. Their colors are barometric, the verdant reflects well on the health and vigor of the local air and water.

Welcome news, for those who reside here, or visit often to soak up the season’s songs and lights.

Yule Lichen
(NYC 12 2019)

Season’s Greetings . . .

— rPs 12 30 2019

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Hudson View: “Usher Ulalume”

Hudson View: “Usher Ulalume” . . .

Mallow, Malvaceae
(NYC 10 2019)

The morning commute made in mist, the grey above and down to the ground drawing all its fire into tree leaves gone gold to red. The lower edges remain green for the last in the return of the damp season switched on following after the dry bluebird skies of August and September.

Dew on the rejuvenated grass sports oak, beech, and elm leaves. The locust trees add a crown of yellow as gold as ripe corn. The gold coins of the ginko are to follow, later, into Thanksgiving.

The scene now on the ground with turf and leaf are fungi. Large mushrooms stand confident in the muted morning light.

Vigorous Fungus
(NYC 10 2019)

October brought to you by the letter M? Add the Mallow, the cheeseplant, Malvaceae, continues to bear its gorgeous pale stripes. Find the flowers nestled beneath the spread of clustered leaves held by long petioles.

City never silent still during some stretches blends into a symphonic whole rather than chaotic scramble. By the fence, in the park, the sound of the hardball hitting the grass, often heard here, ceased after the Yankees bowed out in early October. The same sound now drops when the fruit of the Osage Orange, Maclura pomifera, lands in the grass.

Colloquial: “Monkeyball”
(10 30 2019)

The view beyond, the shallow fjord of the Hudson, presents like a line from “Ulalume” or the grounds of Usher as documented in description by Edgar A. Poe.

Hudson View: Usher Ulalume
(NYC 10 2019)

— rPs 10 30 2019

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