Northern Spur Preserve: Ramp revealed!

 northern-spur_north

 [View looking north at the Northern spur over 10th Avenue.]

Work is quickly progressing at the Northern spur, a horticultural preserve located on a portion of the High Line that juts across 10th Avenue, just north of Chelsea Market.  The landscape at the Northern spur is designed to recall the self-sown landscape that grew up on the High Line after the trains stopped running. The High Line’s landscape team planted over 7,500 native grasses and perennials in early November, before the soil froze.

Construction crews are now beginning to install non-slip, brushed-aluminum grating panels along a ramped structure that will provide access to and from the lower level. At the mid-point of the ramp, a cantilevered overlook will offer visitors views of both the preserve below them, and of the city beyond.

ramp-detail

[Detail: A brushed-aluminum ramp provides a non-slip walking surface between the lower and upper levels of the High Line.]

Continue reading

(Return of) Photo of the Week

construction7

[The planting team hard at work on Section 1, getting perennials into the ground last fall. Photo by Barry Munger.]

Planting on the High Line!

High Line grasses and perennials arrived onsite at 6am this morning. Friends of the High Line Deputy Director of Horticulture Melissa Fisher is working on the installation of the plants along with the High Line construction and landscape team including: SiteWorks, Kelco Landscaping, Inc., The Plant Group, planting designer Piet Oudolf, and landscape architects Field Operations.

[Grasses and perennials arrived on site at 6am this morning. Once unloaded, all plants were sorted, counted, and prepped for topside installation.]

[Plants are craned up to High Line level for unloading.]

[Equipment is brought up to High Line level for use by the plant installation team.]

[Planting designer Piet Oudolf’s signature planting layout was inscribed into the soil and numbered. Sorted plants are located according to a detailed map.]

[Perennials are placed in-between reinstalled rail tracks.]

Dispatches from the Nursery

13_0311_hamamelis-pallida.jpg

[Gay Kepple from Millane Nursery, tagging the tented Hamamelis Pallida for a planting area on the High Line]

Sierra Bainbridge and Maura Rockcastle at Field Operations, the landscape architecture firm leading the High Line design team, have been traveling to plant nurseries around the east coast in search of native plants for the High Line. Planting is projected to begin this spring. Sierra explains what the trips are all about:

“We’re scouring native plant nurseries throughout the region, searching for many of the native trees and shrubs proposed for the High Line.  Some of the native material we have found is a little smaller than planned, which only means it will have more time to naturalize and grow into its new environment.

Our first tagging trip was on February 28, to the north fork of Long Island. There we tagged the first tree for the High Line, the Koelreuteria paniculata (Goldenrain tree) for the area around the stair entrance to the High Line at 14th street. Because the planting beds have very shallow depths, we are planting lots of smaller trees and shrubs so that they will fit and acclimatize to the conditions on the High Line as they grow. We measured a few pre-dug Koelreuteria rootballs to ensure they would fit into the shallow depths of their planting bed, but we ended up choosing trees that are still in the field. We saw a lot of other great plants that day, but we went only for the lovely Koelreuteria.”

2_tagging-the-first-tree-for-the-high-line-koelreuteria.jpg

[Sierra, left, tagging the first tree for the High Line, with Annette Wilkus from SiteWorks, the planting contract manager. ]

1_tagging-koelreuteria-3.jpg

[Tagging the Koelreuteria paniculata]

3_measuring-root-ball-depth.jpg

[Measuring the rootballs]

Continue reading

Gardens Inspired by Nature

On Tuesday night we had our first membership event: a lecture with the High Line’s planting designer, Piet Oudolf. You may have seen Piet’s beautiful work in the gardens at Battery Park City, Millennium Park in Chicago, or at other sites elsewhere around the world.

presentation-small.jpg

Piet discussed his theory of planting design, which he describes as “inspired by nature”. He then took us through the planting design plan for the High Line. The planting beds will vary based on the landscape design; some areas will be planted to feel more like a meadow, some a prairie, some woodland, and so on. This variation is based on the different microclimates that developed naturally on the High Line after trains stopped running on it. Piet also uses perennials that require less maintenance, and will look good throughout all four seasons.

‘Brown is also a color’: Planting Design Piet Oudolf Accepts Death

Another one of Piet’s presentations is on our website.

Photos from Tuesday’s presentation are after the jump.

Continue reading

“Brown is also a color”: Planting Designer Piet Oudolf Accepts Death

oudolf.jpg

The New York Times ran a weekend profile on Dutch planting designer Piet Oudolf, who is now at work on plans for the High Line. The Home & Garden piece paints Piet as somewhat of a revolutionary in his holisitic approach to plant life cycle. He claims,“The skeletons of the plants are for me as important as the flowers,” and picks plant species for their structural integrity, even in the leafless dead of winter.

The garden of Piet’s farm house in Hummelo, in the Dutch countryside, is the designer’s laboratory. Pictures of Hummelo can be seen here (PDF), taken from a presentation Piet gave to Friends of the High Line last year.

James Corner, the principal of Field Operations, who’s working with Piet on the landscape design for the High Line, said, “He’s like a really good chef. He knows his ingredients in a much deeper way than an amateur. He’s a master of the medium.”

Looking out over his perennial meadow, Mr. Oudolf articulated it this way: “You look at this, and it goes deeper than what you see. It reminds you of something in the genes — nature, or the longing for nature.” Allowing the garden to decompose, he added, meets an emotional need in people.

“You accept death. You don’t take the plants out, because they still look good. And brown is also a color.”

A Landscape in Winter, Dying Heroically (New York Times)

Slide Show: Artfully Planned Decay (New York Times)

Piet’s Web Site, with a 360 degree panorama of Hummelo

Piet has also written three fantastic books with beautiful photographs. The most recent is called Planting Design: Gardens in Time and Space. (Amazon)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.