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What's in Bloom

Early May, 2019

Photos by Jeffrey B. Evans

(except where noted).

Nature is carrying on despite the many cold days and what feels like almost constant rain.  Throughout the Park, the clouds of white petaled, flower-laden Crabapples (Malus) dominate the landscape to our delight.  They will soon be replaced by the white blossoms of Hawthorns (Crataegus).  The blossoms of the Hawthorns appear after the leaves so the look is quite different from the Crabapples which are all blossoms. The largest collection of Crabapples is north of 87th Street, in the Peter Pan Garden, on the North lawn and on and near Mayor’s ‘Lawn.’ 



Malus sp.

Peter Pan Circle

Photo: Pat Nadosy


Branzam Apple

Malus xBranzam

Peter Pan Circle (NE corner)

The understory Redbud trees with their branches clothed with tiny bright purple or pink flowers will soon leaf out and blend into the green background.  


Redbud with Saucer Magnolia on the left

Cercis canadensis and Magnolia soulangeana

Upper Peter Pan

The pink flowered Saucer Magnolia on upper Peter Pan and our two yellow Butterfly Magnolias (Hillside Lawn and Doctor’s Berm) are also just losing their blooms.  


This is the time to see the difference between the Flowering (Cornus florida) Dogwood and the Kousa (Cornus kousa) Dogwood.  The Flowering Dogwoods, 'the artistocrat(s) of native flowering trees' (Michael Dirr), are in bloom now in white or soft pinkish oranges. The flowers (petals are really bracts) seem to float on their layered branches on both the sides of Playground Walk.


Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida

West Side of Playground Walk (Long Berm)

There are two large Grey Dogwoods in the park, the most spectacular of which leans over the stairs south of the 86th Street entrance.  These trees are decades old and were traditional park plants back in the 1930’s.  The 1938 NYC Department of Parks plant list for Carl Schurz Park included Gray Dogwoods.


Gray Dogwood

Cornus racemosa

86th Street entrance south side

Photo: Pat Nadosy

Soon the Kousa Dogwoods will follow the Flowering Dogwoods. Though the flowers are similar in appearance, the Kousa is so heavy with large flowers that it can often look like a hoop skirt. 


This is the season of viburnums; the Korean Spice Viburnums (Viburnum carlesii) with fragrant, snowball flowers will be followed by the Double File viburnums (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosumMariesii’) with their distinctive horizontal branches and double rows of white flowers on each branch. The most stunning are along the 87th street path.


Korean Spice Viburnum

Viburnum carlesii

North Woodland Hill


Doublefile Viburnum

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum var. ‘Mariesii'

Peter Pan Garden

On a warm day you will smell the lilacs before you see them. There are lilacs along Playground Walk, in Upper Peter Pan, at the 89th Street entrance to the park.



Syringa vulgaris

Throughout the park

The peach colored multi-petaled blooms of our low growing quince have been a feature just inside the 87th street entrance, but the surprises now are the two red flowering quinces tucked in the beautiful rock garden just below the Large Dog Run.


Red Flowering Quince

Chaenomeles speciosa

Rock Garden north of the Large Dog Run

The Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera) has delicate, bell-shaped blossoms that hang from its branches every spring.  These flowers range in color from pure white to pale pink.  They later yield to light green fruit with a fleshy skin that surrounds a large pit.  The fruit is an unusual shape, with four wings or ridges of skin running vertically as if the fruit had been divided into four sections. 


Carolina Silverbell

Halesia tetraptera

Large Dog Run

Photo: Pat Nadosy

In some parts of the park, the classic spring flowers, Virginia Bluebells, are settling in and spreading happily.  In other places, they are not comfortable so are sparse.  We will continue to plant them to find the best homes.


Virginia Bluebells

Mertensia virginica

Peter Pan Circle

Photo: Pat Nadosy

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