I am such a city girl. I was always meant to live in a concrete canyon. I adore buildings and get misty-eyed when I see the Manhattan skyline. And it's no wonder because I am more than a little allergic to green growing things. I itch when I lie in the grass so I don't do that anymore and I once got something that looked and felt like poison ivy from trying to water English Ivy plants on my desk at work. Now I ask you, who has to slather themselves with Benadryl just to go to work because they were no closer to plant toxins than the house plant on their desk?
So I have come to love gardens other people tend to and I appreciate these patches of green whenever I come across them. They come in different varieties, these urban gardens, and I shot a bunch of them on my phone to share with you. This one above is Central Park near Strawberry Fields.
Hey! It's not a concrete canyon. It's alive!
I'm walking along a side street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and there are strawberries growing in a strawberry patch. Nobody is looking, nobody is staring, nobody shouts for their friends to come over and see this. But this is extraordinary. Even in a town that is in full bloom now , you really can't beat finding strawberries.
Dr Seuss Plant
I have no idea what this thing is, but I know it's pretty cool. It's this feathery kind of bushy thing with these explosions of lavender shoots that burst out the top like some kind of floral fireworks. "Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon." They remind me of the plants Dr. Seuss used to fill his stories with.
As you probably can guess by now, I have no idea what these are called. I didn't plant them, I didn't see any signs. I just think these are pretty neat. They have these cool red flowers on the top that remind me of snap dragons but they stand really tall like lilies. No smell but they are kind of agressive looking, like dragons' heads.
Again, I have no idea what this is either, but it reminds me of a group of kids talking in the playground at recess. They would all be dressed alike, like at a private school, and looking out to see what everyone was saying about them. This lovely item was planted along Riverside Drive. There aren't lots of them, just a few stunners like this one.
These little sweethearts were near the Chattys. They seem aloof, disinterested, almost asking you to ring them. The bells aren't very big, but you can imagine them with the softest sound and those large, flat leaves making some kind of clapping sound. A very musical plant!
I have no idea what this one's called, but I did see a thing on the news this week that said they are extremely toxic. I wasn't really paying attention so I missed the part of the story that said "toxic to whom?" But once I knew that, I imagined them drawing you in with the promise of something so wicked, you can't pull away. The dots of color inside these flowers are only on the down side and the color is really intense.
This is just one small corner facing Riverside Park. I left in the cars so you could see what I see. Even though this is planted and the flowers are not wild, whoever planned this little spot must have wanted a jungle. There are probably a dozen varieties in this small parklet.
There are parks everywhere in Manhattan but this one's a little gem. There is an old fashioned gazebo at the end of the walkway to the left and if you cross the street, you can swing. It's not a park with fancy gym equipment or sprinklers or concession stands. It's just another pocket of greenery with some really tall trees. The double decker tour buses stop right near here and they drop off tourists who want to see who is really buried in Grant's Tomb. The answer? President Grant and his wife, but there's still debate about whether he's all there or not. I don't get into that debate.
This one's a secret. It's one of those things if you know it, great, but if you don't, that's just fine. I like to have my coffee here in the morning because that's a fountain on the left and the sound of the water is really soothing. Sometimes I just step out here to clear my head and even though the plantings are pretty regular, the effect is more calming than that jungle. Thousands of Law and Order and three Gossip Girl episodes have been filmed here.
So I can't take credit for the planting, the weeding, the watering, or the planning. I did take the pictures though!