The Highline is buzzing
I visited the Highline again today. I tried to get there very early, before the crowds, and I ended up sharing it with a couple of handfuls of fitness folks, some sleepy couples, one or two commuter walkers and loads of bees.
It seems to me that the Highline might be the NYC pollinator answer. This is a park that is planted with local flora, of a significant variety of bloomage timeframes. The biggest burden to bee populations, I recently came to understand, is that in agricultural areas the crops are a monoculture and the natural bee populations are starved out because they have nothing to support them for most of the year. When the crop needs pollination, there is such a glut of production all at once that bees have to be trucked in.
Governor Cuomo has established a Pollinator Task Force in New York. In the announcement, it is mentioned that “Pollinators contribute substantially to the State’s economy by providing $500 million worth of pollination services to New York annually”. The least we can do in return is give them the living wage of foodstuffs including enough variety to support them.
Think about this. Let’s plant our highway medians and our vacant lots and our edges of all of our vast mowed properties with plants that provide the buffer and feeding to support bee colonies over a full year’s span. Let’s stop calling things “weeds” and recognize their value to pollinator population, to beauty, and to diversity of our environment. Let’s stop blanket poisoning to eliminate the often striking and truly useful “weeds”. That’s what the Highline seems to be doing, with compelling and interesting plants blossoming now and the bees merrily buzzing back and forth, and different plants coming into blossom in a couple of weeks, in August, even deep into the fall and early winter. The sound of the name of some of these currently blooming plants is nearly as good as the sight and the smell. Sicilian honey garlic, spreading sedge, Ace of Hearts redbud, Gipsy Queen clematis , Jean’s Appalachian Snow dogwood, Blue meadow sage and Amethyst Falls American wisteria to name a few. Pictures are located on the highline website, or go to the Highline if you can. It’s never the same, and always worth the trip.
Remember this in your garden, or in your container pots on your balcony or landing, or local community garden plot – it’s not just about a beautiful garden, but a lovely, lively and functioning garden. By blooming as early and as late as possible, and through the summer, we feed the bees, who then feed us.
Think, and be greener,