What's in Bloom

Early April, 2019

Our forty Cornelian Cherry Dogwoods (Cornus mas and Cornus officinalis), our three Japanese Flowering Apricots (Prunus mas), and our five Star Magnolias (Magnolia stellata) are in full bloom.  The two pink flowered Star Magnolias are on Upper Peter Pan lawn; there are two white flowered cultivars at the edges of Hillside Lawn and one near Flagpole Lawn.  The beauty of the Star Magnolias is not just the delicacy of the flowers, but the fact that not all the blooms burst at the same time.  We have a succession of blooms over a period of weeks before these trees leaf out. The flowers of our other early flowering  spring trees, like the Japanese Flowering Apricot, seem to come into bloom all at once and then fade all at once.

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Star Magnolia

Magnolia stellata

Hillside Lawn at the Esplanade

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Star Magnolia

Magnolia stellata

Upper Peter Pan Lawn

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Weeping Japanese Flowering Apricot

Prunus mume pendula

Peter Pan Circle

There are masses of golden yellow forsythia bushes throughout the park, primarily just inside the 86th Street entrance, behind the Peter Pan Circle, and along East End Avenue.  As Michael Dirr says, it sometimes seems that this is “the only flowering shrub on the planet.”  Although this shrub is named for William Forsyth, a Scottish botanist who was a founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society, we do not say forsythia with a long i!  Based on landscape plans from the 1980’s we assume we have the old-fashioned cultivar Forsythia x intermedia, known as Border Forsythia. Pruning these old fashioned forsythias is a tough task, but if we did not prune, our bushes (especially those ringing Peter Pan) would obstruct many of our best East River views and would become a tangle of branches as they were 17 years ago when we started to ‘tame’ the Park.

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Forsythia

Forsythia

Throughout the park

Midway along the woodland path on the north side, Andromeda (Pieris japonica), an evergreen shrub with shiny green leaves, imitates a waterfall with its bell-shaped flowers dripping in pendulous clusters from pink stems.  A white flowered cultivar is at the bottom of the hill and a cultivar with reddish flowers is at the top of this hill.

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Japanese Pieris or Andromeda

Pieris japonica

North Woodland Hill

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Japanese Pieris or Andromeda

Pieris japonica

North Woodland Hill

The Hellebores or Lenten Roses (Helleborus) are reviving after a tough winter. 

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Lenten Rose

Helleborus

South Woodland Hill

Photo: Susan W. Bernstein

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Lenten Rose

Helleborus

North Woodland Hill

Last and most impressive, are ‘A host of golden daffodils;…Fluttering and dancing in the breeze…’ (William Wordsworth

‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’). We are fortunate to have planted myriad daffodils over the years, as well as receiving hundreds of bulbs from The Daffodil Project founded in 2001 to help lift the spirits of New Yorkers after September 11th.

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Daffodils

Narcissus

Throughout the park

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A bounty of beautiful bulbs and Lenten Roses

Tulips, Daffodils and Chionodaxa

(Tulipa, Narcissus, Chionodaxa)

The most brilliant displays are north of the 87th Street entrance to the park and along the woodland hills.

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Daffodils

Narcissus

North of the 87th Street Entrance to the park