Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Again, Time to Get High

I'll try to keep my fawning at bay as I post some new info from the High Line (although my obsession is well known)... but sometimes I just can't resist. I recently plugged through some of the recent High Line Blog posts, and particularly appreciate the short lived 'What will grow here?' - which aimed to investigate some of the horticultural aspects of the HL, and I guess was weekly, even though it only lasted a couple of said week in mid-year. A tough call for a horticulturist to sit inside blogging at the height of summer indeed. Some highlights, from Melissa Fischer, the High Line horticulturalist:

:: Eupatorium rugosum (aka White Snakeroot) - image via High Line Blog

The first post discusses a trip to the Greenbelt Native Plant Center - where some of the plantings were being grown for Section 1... "...our exciting challenge will be to see the plants through their transition from ideal nursery conditions to the more rugged micro-climates of the High Line. Thirty feet above the street, the temparature can be up to ten degrees warmer or colder than on the ground, high winds often sweep off the Hudson River, and the sun beats down in some areas while others are fully-shaded by buildings that hug the Line."

"With this in mind, it’s interesting to consider the High Line planting plans, created by designer Piet Oudolf and Field Operations. With their intentional intermixing of species found on the High Line after its abandonment (such as the White Snakeroot pictured at top) and numerous other selections chosen for their bloom time, seed heads, foliar textures, and seasonal color like this Saliva nemerosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ the High Line planting scheme is, at once, wild and intentional."

:: Salvia nemerosa 'Rhapsody in Blue' - image via High Line Blog

One interesting phenomenon is the use of the the 'indigenous' vegetation found on the High Line prior to development - which in one of those modern horticultural switcheroos uses plants and seeds collected from the site that are propagated off-site and brought back to the site for final planting. A follow-up post, perfect for those of use with the desire for planting-on-structure techno-nerdiness offers some in-progress construction photos of the waterproofing, drainage mat, gravel substrate, and other rooftop drainage flashing and other structures.

:: images via High Line Blog

Picking these apart a bit, this is pretty typical rooftop layering - providing a solid, well drained base to allow water to dissipate quickly, as well as, in this case, plenty of soil depth for some of the intensive vegetation and grasses that are planned for the final installation. Areas of drainage are wrapped in filter fabric to allow water passage but retain aggregates. Another interesting detail is how the railroad tracks are 'floating' prior to soil installation, which you can see in the next section of photos backfilled to finish grade.

:: image via High Line Blog

Another post from September shows some active planting and highlights the craning of vegetation, on-site layout of plant schemes, and installed vegetation within the cracks of the reinstalled train tracks. I still wonder about the train tracks and why these were put back in place - although there was some great pics of a rail-lounger... which I imagine will be up there somewhere... check these out.

:: images via High Line Blog

And to wrap it up, Tropolism featured some year end photos from Friends of the High Line from their year end newsletter of the current construction - where you can see these horticultural endeavors in action. Tasty.

:: images via Tropolism


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