Garden Photo of the Day

A walk up the High Line in New York City

Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Last week I had a chance to take a stroll up the High Line in New York City, and I can’t believe I waited this long! For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the High Line is a public park and walkway built on a set of freight lines elevated above street level on the West Side of Manhattan. Since it was built/planted (starting in 1999), it’s become a major draw and tourist attraction, too.

Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

I started at the lower end and walked up, but I have no idea how far I got before turning around. The walk was full of happy, relaxed people, either walking and talking or lounging on benches, patches of grass, or stadium seating overlooking the street below. The plantings were SPECTACULAR.

Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

I was in complete love by the time I left, and I can’t wait to go back. These photos don’t do it justice (lots of sunlight=bad photos), but will give you a small sense of the space/experience. Enjoy! And let us know if you’ve been, and what you liked about it.

***Who’s coming to the meetup here in Connecticut this August? Check it out HERE.***

Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais


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  1. carolinac 06/24/2013

    Does anyone know what the tall yellow flower spikes are called?
    They are so interesting.

  2. user-1020932 06/24/2013

    even though i am a bumpkin, i always enjoy seeing city gardens especially those public ones in what seems to be difficult if not impossible spaces.
    carolinac, i think those are Eremus (foxtail lilies) i have tried those without success, i don't know why they won't flourish for me and they are not inexpensive and of course one wants a bunch of them.

  3. dirtgirl1949 06/24/2013

    What glorious photos of a stunning public space that is obviously well utilised by all. We have some amazing public spaces here in Sydney maintained by the Sydney City Council and our mild climate ensures they get put to good use. Thanks for sharing these photos, next visit to NY I will check out this very special area.

  4. CMB2023 06/24/2013

    I had the pleasure of walking the High Line for the first time one week ago. The plant combinations blew me away. The design is by Piet Oudolf. For much better photos and more information about this gorgeous place go to

    It is well worth doing the whole walk and I think would reward successive visits over the seasons. The seed heads from earlier blooms were as eye catching as current flowers. The trees are also wonderful. Right now the amelanchier are heavy with berries.

    Those tall yellow flower spikes are Eremurus. I have planted the much larger white ones and find they need to have excellent drainage and lots of water too. They seem to take awhile to get established and were much better the second year.

  5. bsaylor 06/24/2013

    For carolinac: eremurus (foxtail lily).

  6. wGardens 06/24/2013

    Thank you for calling our attention to this. Fabulous. I must check it out!

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/24/2013

    What a wonderfully worthwhile endeavor! It certainly had design and landscape input from the best of the best if Piet Oudolf was involved. I wonder if any of those fabulous chalk artists are ever invited to do a drawing on a part of the walkway space. That would add another pop of visual interest...ha, not that the plantings need any help in attracting a crowd.

  8. Annesfirst 06/24/2013

    We have visited the High Line in various seasons and always found it breathtakingly beautiful. Most of the plants are natives. It is difficult for a camera to capture the feeling of being in a garden so high up, eye-to-eye with some amazing architecture. When you are finished, go downtown to Battery Park to see more of Piet Oudolf's work, where the gardens stretch along the shoreline and create a synergy with the ocean breeze. Nearby and also worthwhile is a monument to the victims of the Irish potato famine, a huge stone "cottage" with a roof-top garden that is very beautiful in spring and big enough to walk on. Don't forget to take your camera!

  9. GrnThum 06/24/2013

    Wow! This is really nice. I left NYC in 1987 and had no idea this was in the works. What a wonderful use of space in a neighborhood that really needed some help 25 years ago. Very cool.

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/24/2013

    Thanks for sharing these pics of a great way to add more green space the the city. The next time we are in New York it will be on the docket. I am surprised at the varied plant palette. I expected something much simpler, like grasses and sedum only.

  11. tractor1 06/24/2013

    I <3 NY!

  12. Quiltingmamma 06/24/2013

    Beautiful, thanks. As mentioned, much more plant diversity than I would have thought. I have been hearing about this over the past few years. It is a great way to revitalize an area and green it up. Thankfully cities are understanding the need to add green. Paris has a raised walk too, if anyone is in the area. Toronto has a big focus on green roof plantings, and one of the Fairmont Hotels there plants their roof with vegges for the menu and even keeps bees there.

  13. DebSilber 06/24/2013

    My husband and I walked it last year and it was delightful. I like the idea of re-visiting it in other seasons. Thanks for sharing it with us, Michelle!

  14. oldsquaw 06/24/2013

    I finally made it to there on May 31st, 90 degree heat and at midday. My son was here from CA. and this was on the list. I loved it. The allium were blooming. Nothing wilted in the heat which really amazed me. There was a breeze.

    I too want to return often to see the different plants in bloom.

  15. Aarchman07030 06/24/2013

    The High Line is Brilliant. Piet Oudolf uses native species to evoke the feeling of walking along an abandoned industrial railroad bed--which is what one is actually doing--yet the plantings are actually wonderfully complex: hardy, beautiful, and interesting in absolutely every season and every climactic condition. Walking the High Line on a cold, rainy, December day is no less beautiful, fascinating, and inspiring than it is in a sunny, June morning.

    Credit has to be given as well to Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the architects of the park. The construction details and art installations are extraordinary. DS+F approached every aspect of the park with the intensely thoughtful, poetic and deeply humanistic values that inform all of their work--the overwhelming success of the High Line is testament to their success.

    I also want to add my voice to UCMG2000's shout-out to the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park--designed by 1100 Architects, Brian Tolle and landscape artist Gail Wittwer-Laird. Like the High Line, the IHM physically elevates the visitor and provides a radically altered perspective on one's surroundings. I was somewhat skeptical of the enthusiastic reviews the memorial had received--what could possibly be so interesting about a little, tilted plane strewn with weeds and scattered boulders? In actual fact, I don't think I've ever been so deeply affected by a 'garden installation' in my whole life. It is SO worth a visit from anywhere.

  16. MizScarlet 06/24/2013

    Great use of space. Thanks for sharing.

  17. sheila_schultz 06/24/2013

    Walking the High Line has been on my bucket list since the first time I read about the amazing space, now I really can't wait! Thanks, UCMG2000 for adding to the list... 2 more reasons to go to such an exciting city!

  18. appaloosa 06/24/2013

    Why do some of the benches have slanted areas at one end?

  19. ancientgardener 06/24/2013

    How wonderful to have this lovely area in the midst of a busy city. I had never heard of it so thanks for sharing. I will probably never get there at my age, so this was my opportunity to see/learn something new. I would love to weed and deadhead as a volunteer. Beautiful!

  20. CTpat 06/24/2013

    We were in NY in mid-April and walked the High Line at the end of a day on our feet--but even at a brisk pace and with not much blooming yet it was lovely. They were working on expanding it, which was worth seeing in itself. There seems to be a lot of apartment construction going on very close to the High Line, probably in part because it is there. I hope it doesn't mean the current beds will get shaded out.

  21. user-1020932 06/24/2013

    i just visited the High Line website and if i wasn't blown away before,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,i am now.

  22. cwheat000 06/24/2013

    Thank you, thank you Michelle, for opening my eyes to this wonderful public garden. It has been so long since I have been to the city, that I didn't know about it. I spent most of the morning looking at more of Oudolf's work. His work definitely speaks to me. It is near to impossible to match or recreate the beauty of a natural landscape. His gardens come as close as I have seen. They evoke a unique feeling.

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