Native plants and wild birds at the High Line in New York City

Walking the High Line

No trip to New York City is complete without walking the High Line. At least not for a plant geek and nature lover. The High Line is a green space created along the 1.45-mile-long out-of-use railroad on the west side of Manhattan. It was designed to reference the self-seeded landscape that grew where railcars no longer traveled.NYC High Line Garden Therapy

While it looks effortless and wild, the plantings have been meticulously chosen for hardiness and sustainability. The mix of grasses, perennials, shrubs, and trees shows a textural and color variation that changes throughout the seasons.NYC High Line Garden Therapy

I have looked at many photos of the High Line and did not see any that looked even remotely like what it looked like in late September when the early fall flowers were bursting open and most of everything else had gone to seed.NYC High Line Garden Therapy

Vivienne Gucwa of NY Through the Lens was my tour guide for the day. Vivienne is a world-renowned photographer who lives in Manhattan and views the city as no one else does. She had the opportunity to photograph the final section of the High Line to be developed before its transformation. She beautifully captured the untouched railroad tracks as you can see here.NYC High Line Garden Therapy

The railroad is now completely developed with plants and art, with a backdrop of both old and new buildings. Some of which you may recognize. NYC High Line Garden Therapy

The High Line is a natural and sustainable space that offsets the concrete jungle that populates Manhattan. It functions as a green roof that provides habitat and food for urban wildlife. NYC High Line Garden Therapy

Birds and bees could be seen enjoying the space,NYC High Line Garden Therapy

as could a bunch of other critters like these bugs. Edited: it’s always fun to discover new insects and thank you to everyone who helped to identify these as milkweed bugs. They look very similar to boxelder bugs, but since these are on flower pods, my best guess is milkweed bugs.

Insects and native plants enjoying New York City's High Line

The pathways recycle water by allowing it to drain into adjacent planting beds. I saw parts of the garden being watered, but the native plants are established and I would guess they don’t need much additional irrigation. Although there was a little splash fountain to cool off. NYC High Line Garden Therapy

The High Line was just packed with people enjoying a coffee and some fresh air. It is clearly a very well used, and well loved, urban green space. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to walk it. NYC High Line Garden Therapy

About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Michele
    MicheleNovember 6,17

    I think those are milkweed beetles rather than box elder bugs. Beautiful pictures!

    • Stephanie Rose
      Stephanie RoseNovember 6,17

      Thanks Michelle! I haven’t seen either of them before and I appreciate the help identifying them!

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