Category Archives: Battery Park City Parks


It’s a rainy, chilly patch of spring and I don’t mind. It reminds me of Irish weather—the bit of it I experienced in person last summer and the rest that I’ve been reading about for most of my life. As a gardener and a gazer-upon-gardens, I’m drawn to the beautiful depth of a moody landscape. The colors of plant life as well as of rocks and water reveal themselves endlessly against the gray skies and mists of a rainy spring. There is so much that is missed in the straight-up light of unfiltered sunshine: so many different shades of green, for instance, and the pinks, purples, and gray-blues of early flowers that have a richness quite apart from the stereotypical candy colors that advertisers would have us accept as emblematic of spring.


Rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, dianthus… 

This week a friend invited me to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s plant sale. I’d never been but almost turned her down, thinking mainly in terms of crowds and traffic and boring things I had on my to-do list. I went and discovered that what friends had been telling me for years was true. Picture a lawn bordered by BBG’s famous cherry trees, their blossoms floating down on a wealth of non-Home Depot plants: native plants, herbs, small trees, annuals. In a large tent were garden vegetable plants, cacti, succulents, and small potted herbs. It was crowded, bordering on chaotic but somehow in a gentle way. People were pausing to look closely and read detailed descriptions of care and planting instructions. Gardeners from the very old to the very young, from every walk of life and ethnicity wandered about in half-dream states. The lines were long but everyone waited their turn. It rained off and on and nobody cared. I had come thinking I’d just look and came home with a comfortable armload that includes two different kinds of lavender and three different kinds of dianthus from tiny flowers on up.


The look of May moodiness: Lady’s mantle at BP City Park.




HK Gardener Goes Downtown

Follow the Hudson River bike path all the way south through the series of parks and gardens that make up the Battery Park City Parks and the reward is a small circular garden rich in plant and animal life. I found myself there one recent morning and couldn’t leave. I’d almost forgotten that I had my camera in my backpack and was grateful for the chance to capture a little of this stunning array of foliage and flowers filtered through the soft morning atmosphere. These days I really want to know how a garden bed is put together in a way that works aesthetically and environmentally. Here’s a garden that to my mind succeeds in both.

Circular garden

Datura and nicotiana flowers.


Foliage and flowers, highs and lows, shade to full sun, spills and spills…


Drifts of Japanese anemone intermixed with Russian sage against a blue-green-gray cloud of variegated ornamental grass.


The wildlife.


The other side of anemone patch has a completely different look to offer.


White hibiscus and nicotiana—beautifully timed blooms.


The pond at the center of the circular garden.


More wildlife.


The sunny side of the circle.