Early Spring at The Battery 2018

Early Spring. This may sound funny, but until I took Dr. Iversen's Herbaceous Perennials course at Farmingdale State College, I did not know that there was an early, mid and late season for every season, and that you could break these periods into months as follows:

December 21-January 21: Early Winter
January 21-February 21: Mid-Winter
February 22-March 21: Late Winter

March 21-April 21: Early Spring
April 21-May 21: Mid-Spring
May 21-June 21: Late Spring

June 21-July 21: Early Summer
July 21-August 21: Mid-Summer
August 21-September 21: Late Summer

September 21-October 21: Early Fall
October 21-November 21: Mid-Fall
November 21-December 21: Late Fall

You can lay these dates directly over the horoscope, with the Mid-season dates being the Fixed signs (Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio), the Early season dates being the Cardinal signs (Capricorn, Aries, Cancer, Libra), and the Late season dates being the Mutable signs (Pisces, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius).

Although perennial bloom times vary depending on environmental and biological conditions, you can roughly categorize the bloom time as occurring in one of these slots. Bloom period can be brief (for example, a Crocus only blooms late winter and begins to fade in early spring), or prolonged, depending on the specific nature of the plant. After the flowers fall off, seeds are formed and sometimes these seeds become fruit that we can eat, and sometimes seeds are made to blow in the wind, or be eaten by birds. Sometimes we don't want a plant to seed because we don't want it to spread, but other times, we want the plant to spread around the bed, so we leave the seeds as they are. It depends on the individual plant you are dealing with, the garden space you have, and your vision for your garden.

In Piet Oudolf's naturalistic design style, plants are allowed to merge with each other and seed to a certain extent. But once a certain species takes over at the expense of another, and thus threatens the overall design, we as gardeners have to reign in the dominant species, either by removing excess plants, or by removing seed heads before it spreads.

The following are images from Early Spring (March 21-April 21, 2018) at The Battery. The snow is mostly gone for the year, the first wave of bulbs are tired, and a new round of growth is occurring: tulips, Virginia bluebells, magnolias, cherries...it feels as though winter is finally over.

Pier A

The Bosque, Castle Clinton and the line for the Statue of Liberty Ferry

Scilla mischtschenkoana

Narcissus cyclamineus, Hyemalis eranthus, Scilla mischtschenkoana

Narcissus cyclamineus

Narcissus cyclamineus, Scilla mischtschenkoana, Hyemalis eranthus

Helleborus x hybridus

Chionodoxa sardensis

Helleborus hybridus with Chionodoxa sardensis and Crocus sativus (Saffron Crocus) foliage

Tulipa 'The First' Kaufmanniana Hybrid

Narcissus cylcamineus

Freedom Tower

Chionodoxa forbesii 'Blue Giant' with Allium and Geranium 'Dilys' foliage

Statue of Liberty

Pier A

Chionodoxa forbesii 'Blue Giant'

Tulipa turkestanica

View of the Memorial to Americans lost in the Atlantic Ocean

Magnolia loebneri 'Merrill'

Anemone blanda 'White Splendor' (closed in the morning)

Anemone blanda 'White Splendor' (open with the sun)

Mertensia virginica  and Narcissus cyclamineus

Jeffersonia diphylla 

Jeffersonia diphylla

Erosion and compaction from people stepping on the edges of the perennial beds lower the soil level. Each spring, workers at The Battery loosen the existing soil with spading forks, add soil to the beds and then rake in the new soil.

The work bike!

Adding soil

Polygonatum falcatum emerging at last

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'

Trillium sessile and Crocus sativus foliage

Fritillaria elwesii on a windy morning

Corydalis solida, and Anemone blanda 'White Splendor' in the Carousel Beds

The Woodlands

Bee keepers at the Battery

Hyacinthus 'Festival Blue,' Muscari armeniacum, Hydrangea quercifolia (in the background), emerging Nepeta subsessilis foliage in the foreground

Tulipa and Muscari armeniacum in the Peter Minuit Plaza


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