Monday, April 4, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York. I am glad to report that our city is finally showing some signs of springtime. No, the tulips are not yet blooming along Park Avenue, but there are lots of flowers showing off in Central Park. After this morning's light rain ended, and after I managed to take care of some required errands, I had a light lunch and headed over the Park with my camera to see what was going on.
Many of the flowers were emerging from a protective blanket of autumn leaves. I quite like the notion of one season helping along another.

After the rain, lots of birds were out looking for delicious afternoon treats. Can you see the brilliant red feathers of the cardinal in the following photo?

Well, I thought you could! Now see if you can find the American version of a robin redbreast in the next photo.
You all did brilliantly! Let me reward you with this beautiful forsythia veil. The lake is just beyond.

Just to remind us that Central Park is in the middle of Manhattan, I let my camera have a look above the lake to show you some of the skyscrapers along the southern edge of the Park. The subdued light does not do justice of the gentle green glow that budding leaves are giving to the tree branches.

There are lots and lots of hellebores in bloom. Some are white, some are in delicate purples, and some are in deep, deep purple tones. They all like to keep their heads bowed.

The new leaves of this tall willow tree are a delicously delicate shade of green.

Ah, here we come to the entrance to my favorite spot, the Shakespeare Garden.

All sorts of miniature daffs are making a statement.

This area has a wonderful mixture of shapes, textures, colors that goes on all year long. I encountered a Park gardener there today who showed me where primroses will soon be joining the mix. He also said that he'd be planting oxlips, too. I told him that I'd just learned about those pretty little oxlip flowers this week (from Celia who writes the Purple Podded Peas blogs.)

Here are more of the showy little daffs!

And here's another indication of the mixture.

And here's a bright eyed showoff of a flower. I could not resist taking a close up view.

In a recent posting I took a photo of this slope when just one or two daffs had the courage to reveal their petals. Now you can see the entire host.

Birds were not the only ones looking for a late lunch. This little fellow was kind enought to pause mid-snack while I took his picture.
The gardener told me that he's seen more blooms every day. This tree was just beginning to get into a springtime fling.

I love to walk around the Park's pathways, because a walking pace lets me see more and lets me stop and take even longer looks. However, some folks prefer to hire a carriage. You can see the top of a church on Central Park West peeking over the wall at the western edge of the Park.

I was glad that I had a toasted cheese sandwich before setting out for my walk. All the same, it's good to know that refreshments are available. One of the signs on this cart proclaims Nuts 4 Nuts.

I began this post with some blue flowers, and found these hyacinths as I left the Park. The delicious scent tipped me to the presence of hyacinths long before I actually saw them.

Tomorrow I will return to work, carrying with me refreshed by what I saw outdoors today. I hope that each of you are also finding time to experience early spring.


  1. It's so good that you can get out into the country without leaving your city! I'm always amazed at these views of Central Park because it seems like no city park I've ever visited. Like you, I love the particular green haze that settles around the trees as the new leaves are just about to burst out of bud - the best time of year!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest tour of Central Park. The park "has a wonderful mixture of shapes, textures, colors," and you have captured that mixture most delightfully. Were I close enough, I would love to just watch from a bench.

  3. was that a magnolia I spotted? i think they are my favourites. I shall be having a toasted cheese sandwich for lunch - yum!

  4. Frances, what a lovely walk round Central Park, especially today when it's grey and murky here and I have lots to do. Seeing your robin photo made me laugh because we were taken aback when we visited your city to see how much bigger the American robins were than the tiny ones who come to sit on the gardener's spade here. A good start to the day - thank you!

  5. Frances, another interesting tour. I love to see the scillas, daffodils, hellebores that grow there, it might almost be a walk in Springtime England! And oxlips, I think that is a larger version of what we call the Cowslip.

    When the trees first have that lovely lacy green mantle, you feel that Spring is really on its way. As Pondside said, it is marvellous to find all this in the city. Thank you for taking us into the park!

  6. Lovely photos Frances, I have always loved the Red Cardinal, and was so lucky to finally see one,in the garden, when I was visiting relatives in Rochester. I loved all of the spring flowers and how lovely to be guided to the hyacinths by their scent.

  7. Thank you Frances - so good that we can keep in touch via your blog.

  8. I've experienced spring from scotland to dorset in england this week and back to carcassonne, such a difference but all equally lovely. You are so lucky to have that beautiful park nearby, the scent of the hyacinths must have been divine !

  9. Dear Frances,

    I think you must have done that blog just for me!
    Incredible in the middle of your amazing city, there is a slice of the country. I love spring.

    How beautiful Central Park is and that horse and carriage... No. No I won't cry.... Every day over the last five, I have thought what I might have been doing if we had made it over (big sigh.) Instead, I've started the insurance claims. Pah!

    It was the right decision. I would never have been well enough. And thanks to your blog, I feel as if I am there, in spirit at least.

  10. What a view of the park with the sky scrapers! I sometimes find it hard to believe that NY actually exists, untravelled as I am. I do love your cardinals and wish we had them over here, such a lucious shade of red. Happy to see you have spring at last.

  11. Frances, I am quite surprised to see that nature in NY is actually at the same pace than it is over here. That was a wonderful walk with you through all the spring colours. Have a good week!

  12. There's nothing like the delicate colours of spring to set eyes darting and cameras clicking. Not to mention itchy feet wanting to carry us out into the softening air.

    Central Park is your world and a beautiful world it is. Views of churches and skyscrapers beyond the greenery don't do any harm either, they make the whole more interesting. The juxtaposition of nature and city life makes both environments shine even more.

    Enjoy your spring walks, dear Frances.

  13. I'm reminded of Spring as described in Frances Hodgson Burnett's Secret Garden. Your flowers are well ahead of ours here. Will you have time for some painting of these pretty scenes?

  14. I did that walk many times in the 70's, when I was homesick for my Peak District farm and you have brought back many memories for me.

  15. So, so beautiful.. My fave pic is the one of the park and Manhattan. It's so amazing that in the midst of such beauty just beyond is the hustle and bustle of everyday life. How nice to have a piece of heaven in your own back yard.

  16. Your lovely spring images look all the more miraculous for being surrounded by those giant buildings.

    I just spotted the red cardinal, I have only ever seen them once, many years ago in Connecticut. I sometimes get asked to paint them for Christmas.

    Hope the days continue to be frost free and warm.

  17. The Fence against the tree looked
    like a giant Dragonfly ,remembering
    that Dragonfly lady at the castle
    pond ,who was also an ecentric NYC guide.

  18. Wonderful to see so much new and colourful life bursting forth in the middle of such a busy city - what a welcome breath of fresh air.

    I wonder if you New Yorkers may in fact see more spring flowers than a lot of us country dwellers - we have the few in our gardens but are surrounded by acres of green. I'm not knocking it though - fields are pretty good for me!

  19. Dear Frances,
    Oh, how wonderful with all the spring flowers. I think Central Park is quite amazing! I am so glad it is finally spring and I am glad to see that it has arrived in New York as well!
    Have a wonderful week in the sunshine!
    Ingrid xx

  20. FABULOUS that you found all these on New York turf!
    Who knew?
    I must look harder next visit to Central Park...
    Remember the guy who led tours foraging in the park for edible plants?
    Perhaps he still does it?
    You make NYC seem so serene...sigh
    Merci indeed

  21. Frances, I have been so busy this week that I have missed you. Hadn't seen you'd posted. Wonderful again, as ever, love the picture of the wooden structure, all grey and geometrical. Spring is coming to us too. I have mowing to do this afternoon.

  22. You have changed my whole view of New York - and I'd never even heard of a bird called a cardinal.

  23. Yeah! Spring is here! The cardinal is a beauty...I would like to be able to take pictures of birds too.... I hope that I will be able to post some of the flowers I am starting to see over here too! Thank you for the stroll through the park! One of these days I need to visit that extraordinarily beautiful place!

  24. Dear Frances,

    Lovely photo's of Central Park. I hope to visit myself someday. I have heard so much about it. It must be lovely to have such a wide space full of trees and flowers on your doorstep. I am glad spring has arrived in NY as well.

    Have a lovely new week!

    lieve groet, Madelief x

  25. This was a very nice walk in Central Park and your pictures are lovely. We saw Central Park last fall and the colors were glorious but I think spring gives a new perspective. Every time we go to New York we walk in Central Park but we have not seen it all yet – what a lovely park. Thank you Frances for coming to my blog.

  26. Thank you for the lovely stroll through Central Park. Yes, that does appear to be a magnolia. I have never seen a cardinal in real life. How lovely. Your flowers are ahead of ours here in Western Canada (Edmonton, Alberta).

  27. Hello Frances.!

    What lovely pictures you have shared with us from the walk around Central Park, pretty spring flowers, and the Hyacinths too must have had such a heady glorious scent, a favourite of mine.

    Saw a red robin here taking a dip in the bird bath yesterday, unfortunately too late with my camera.

    Miss you Frances, pleased that I can still stay in touch with you by blogs and mails.