I’m still engaged in the long process of catching up on developing and scanning a backlog of film dating back a few years. There are lots of plant and garden related images within this pile that I had forgotten about. It is bringing up old thoughts, ideas, memories.
For instance, looking at this image taken in NYC last August has me thinking about unusual gardens. I found this one attached to an auto body/detailing shop on the Bowery. I had to stop and capture it for my memory.
Gardens like this are some of my favourite. They are a surprise. They are little gems that lie tucked within the overlooked nooks and crannies of the city. Blink and you will miss them. They are not beautiful in the traditional sense. They are dismissed. They are not celebrated within the glossy pages of horticultural magazines. There are no unusual/rare/designer plants here. The pots are ugly/handmade/crude; they were not purchased in contemporary shops. They are messy. They are dirty. They are not special.
They are brilliant. They are magic. They make the city come alive.
Our off-time on a recent trip to New York City was spent wandering around soaking everything in and taking pictures. I didn’t go out of my way to visit specific gardens or community gardens this time, but naturally found some along the way.
One of the community gardens I came upon was the LaGuardia Corner Gardens located in Greenwich Village between Bleecker and Houston Streets. I have come across this particular garden on past trips and have even taken some photos of it. I had a rough idea of where it was located and was pleasantly surprised when we stumbled upon it on our last day.
I’m not sure what it is about this garden that had me hoping to find it again. Maybe it’s the location, which is particularly interesting as the garden sits smack dab in front of a supermarket with a fence around it.
There are several community gardens in New York City that are a good twenty years in the making. Through the years the landscape and socio-economic standing of the communities that surround them have changed, often times from poor to rich and from rubble to fancy metal and glass contemporary structures. As a result, these gardens and their gardeners always have an interesting story to tell.
The history of LaGuardia Corner Gardens is your typical community garden story beginning with local residents digging a garden on barren, unused land, then fighting to keep the garden alive amidst a changing neighborhood.
While I was taking photos, a woman came up to me and mentioned that a rooster had been spotted poking around in the garden the day before. She didn’t know where he came from or if he was still there. This exchange and information sharing is one of the things I enjoy most about photographing gardens. If you hang around long enough looking like you belong, someone is always bound to come by, eager to reveal the garden’s secrets.
Sure enough, as we made our way around the perimeter we eventually spotted him darting about, stopping now and again to take a bite out of a plant. I wonder if he is still there and how much of the garden remains!
I had a heck of a time identifying this flower, Tatarian aster (Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’), last night. Thanks to everyone who chimed in to help out. For some reason I refused to believe it is an aster. But really, what else could it be?
I took this photo a few days ago on the new High Line Park in New York City. They’ve posted an October bloom list on their site that confirms my identification. I will do a full post about my visit soon, once I have a chance to dig through the millions of photos I took.