Many of us are busy connecting with family and friends now during the holiday season. The plants we focus on – momentarily – are holiday centered evergreen trees, poinsettias and amaryllis. But soon, this will pass and we will be left with a many week void between holiday greens and seed starting. If you need a garden fix between now and Super Sow Sunday, consider visiting the High Line in New York City or Longwood Gardens.
First? A little Longwood Gardens secret. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, due to the draw of the stunning holiday displays created by colorful lights littering the branches of the brilliant old trees throughout the gardens, coupled with the holiday decked out – huge – Longwood Conservatory, Longwood is slammed with people before Christmas. And hey, that makes me happy. I’m happy about people digging gardens.
But if you prefer a quieter time in the garden and if you crave winter beauty, consider visiting Longwood between Christmas and January 8. The crowds are less, while the plants and light show are the same. It’s also a great way to extend the holiday with family. Bundle up and enjoy. Throughout the winter, the Conservatory at Longwood will transport you to the beauty and bloom of summer. Go online to purchase timed tickets before you go.
Second and possibly better given my taste in gardens, I’d suggest visiting New York City’s High Line during the winter. I was lucky enough to walk the entire length of the High Line with two amazing women before Thanksgiving.
The High Line is a rail bed that was elevated for traffic safety in the 1930’s. It runs along the west side of Manhattan. As shipping moved to trucking and killed much of the commercial train traffic, the High Line was abandoned. By the ‘80’s, New Yorkers began attempts to dismantle the entire High Line. Luckily, a few forward thinking individuals saved the structure and have created a park, of sorts, on it running over a mile.
There is so much to be said about the High Line, but for now, I just want to suggest a winter visit to this garden. The High Line does not rely on season for it’s unique beauty.
Since the majority of us inhabit urban centers rather than in rural areas, it is ever more important to provide access to open areas and natural beauty in our crowded cities. The High Line provides a blue print. Walking the High Line, you’re treated with cutting edge design of all forms. You experience an intersection of the natural and industrial worlds brought together in a poetic manner. Plants that line the former rail bed inspire regardless of temperature, as they contrast with our history of industrialization.
My friend told me before we stepped up to it, that the High Line wasn’t about plants. And she’s right. While I did enjoy the plantings, it’s more about design, innovation and community. Spaces throughout the High Line are meant to drive gatherings, provide unique vistas of the Hudson and fresh visual perspectives on old and new buildings that are afforded by the elevation.
The High Line is a garden where urban life is exercised. Yes, the plants are beautiful. The design stunning and right on. But at heart it is a symbol of interconnectedness plant life, human life, metal, glass and masonry. It’s a garden where people and ideas thrive first.