Monday, November 14, 2011

Battery Bosque by mobile phone

Although construction has virtually cut off direct access to the Piet Oudolf-designed Battery Bosque from the Financial District at the southern tip of Manhattan, you can still get to it from either end, most pleasingly via the Gardens of Remembrance (also designed by Oudolf), a contiguous walking parkway that extends the New Perennial-style plantings around the Battery waterfront. Finding myself downtown with time to spare a few days ago, I stopped by to see how the plantings are doing after a summer and fall of unusually severe weather.

Rather well, it appears. Here are some pics I took with my mobile phone camera.

Trycirtis - Toad Lily

Chasmanthium latifolium

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium 'October Skies'

Amsonia hubrichtii

Salvia uliginosa

Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Rosea' with Trycirtis

Trycirtis - Toad Lily

Sesleria autumnalis and Hydrangea quercifolia

Symphyotrichum again, with switch grass and much construction in the background

Silphium terebinthinaceum, Eryngium yuccafolium, Symphyotrichum

View along Gardens of Remembrance toward towers of Jersey City, World Trade Center site off to the right

The Bosque and Gardens continue to be well maintained and a credit to the care of the Battery Conservancy and its staff. The construction is unfortunate but necessary, I suppose, and once it's complete the Bosque will regain the openness it originally had. I continue to be amazed that herbaceous perennials can maintain form and structure so well in this exposed coastal environment.


  1. You are a lucky fella to be able to stroll Battery Bosque when you've downtime methinks.

    So much association with the big apple from the flying Dutchman, and all the better for it.

    Is it really the 17th Nov? Looks well for late in the year. Are you having mild weather there in the eastern states?

    By the way, the picture second from bottom is a particularly good photo.

  2. Rob, Photos were taken on Nov. 4, but still quite late in the season. Oudolf knows how to pick his plants, and the Bosque staff know how to care for them! Since the Great Early Snow and Ice Storm, we have had quite sunny and mild weather, more appropriate to this time of year. I suppose I am lucky to have ready access to NYC, though the grass is always greener. Your life in the Dordogne seems very appealing. BTW, I finally got GI and was able to see Nicole de Vesian's garden, which I love. As I predicted, I got GI about a month after you mentioned the article.

  3. Ha...that's so funny...I just thad that same thought (I swear, before I read your comment above!). All the while, looking at those photos, I just kept thinking that THIS is what good plant selection is...and I did wonder about the maintenance...Amsonia can become a floppy octopus of a mess without a good trim after flowrering...someone obviously knows what they are doing! I'm amazed at that huge patch of never see them planted in such generous amounts...oh, if we all had room to be so bold in our gardens :-) Or, in my case, brave enough to limit the varieties to a simpler palette!

  4. Did you see Charlie Rose was talking about the Highline last night? I missed it, but maybe it's on PBS online....

  5. Scott, the Conservancy has a Director of Horticulture and several staff members, so this garden gets far more attention than the typical NYC park. Yes, they definitely know what they're doing.

  6. Benjamin, I didn't see it and when I looked it up on the web, I found it. But you apparently have to buy it on a CD. I guess Charlie needs his cut.

  7. Unbelievable that the plants made it through that weather. Thanks for the quick pics James. Being on the West coast I don't get to see what's happening with Oudolf's gardens through the seasons. This allows me a little check in. So fond of the feeling in that space.

  8. Sara, I think the water moderates the temperatures, which helps keep these plants going much longer than they do in my inland garden (western New Jersey), where the temperatures are several degrees lower, particularly at night.

  9. An interesting idea. Two very different approaches. It would be interesting to explore their differences and their similarities, how they arose in reaction of the prevalent cultures of their times, and what their contributions mean in the long term.

  10. Is William Wigandia showing a crack of interest in taking Oudolf seriously? Golly ;)

    I've read a matter-of-fact theory (somewhere - I forget where or from whom) that what Oudolf and his peers have been doing is in essence just an extension of what Jekyll did. Same motivation, different plants and longer season of interest. But I'm not sure if I buy it. Yes, yes - I'll be very happy to read your long-winded essay comparing and contrasting the two, James! Let me know when you've got it. Yes, yes.

  11. I don't know that I want to touch that one, Peter. But what you say is interesting too. I'd love to hear where you read about that, if you remember. As I recall Jekyll was very clear that she was painting with plants. I suppose the painting metaphor is one that comes easily, and one can say Oudolf is doing a different kind of painting. But gardens aren't paintings so I guess we have to do deeper. Certainly Oudolf is more grounded in close observation of qualities of plants other than color, even more than color, and in the ways they grow in "nature." Sounds like I'm winding up for a long-winded comment response, so I'll stop now.

  12. J und O are on the same page, just as anyone who can manipulate plants (gasp) to arrive at an excellence beyond the usual parameters of trades-manlike plant assembledge. (gasp again)

  13. You have a way with words and memorable phrase making. Bur J and O do have differences, probably mostly because they made gardens within the context of their different times. Which is saying the obvious, I suppose, if not taken further, to explore how those times were different.



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