Last summer I visited New York City. A place known for its bustling streets, business, and high-rises. But less known for its beautiful gardens. The High Line is a raised railway that last saw use in the late 1980s. For many years it was abandoned and weed-filled, known as a post-industrial landscape. But it’s plant diversity over the years became a welcoming sight. When the idea to turn this area into a park the plant communities we’re not forgotten. Piet Ouldolf is the brainchild of a new plant design process that involves plant communities of multiple kinds of plants. The layering and mingling evoke a wildness not seen since the Englands romance gardens of the 1800s.
As I walked this 1.4 mile long path, I was continually surprised by the variety of plantings and the natural systems they aim to imitate. In one area you have a prairie with grasses, echinacea, verbena. Then you have a the shade of a forest floor and tall trees. In another area, water forms a concrete stream gently flowing alongside a swale of wetland greenery.