Sunday, May 18, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on a bright and sunny Sunday in May.

It seems like a good time to do a little review of some signs of Spring that I have recently been seeing around the City.

Every year I try to take a photograph of the beautiful tulips that fill the median spaces along Park Avenue.  The following view was taken specially for Merisi.

Over in my own upper west side neighborhood, we also had some pretty tulips blooming right in the middle of Broadway.

I've been making weekly visits downtown to the Union Square Farmers Market, and some of those days were very overcast, even a bit drizzly.  Mr. Gandhi did not seem to mind the lack of bright sunshine in this quiet little green garden area. 

Not very far away, there was much more hustle and bustle.  Because of our lingering chilly weather, there are not many fruits or vegetables for sale yet.  However, lots of flowers and herbs have appeared to inspire folks to try their luck at urban farming on a roof or window sill.

For other folks who lack even small patches of earth and sun, there are plenty of cut flowers on offer.

Lots of color schemes, some flowers with fabulous scents, too.

These hyacinths attracted many admirers.  The open "doughnut hole" shows that some admirers took hyacinths home.

My eyes are always drawn to the mosaic patterns of flat containers of colorful plants that one farmer arranges.

Back in the last century, Union Square had fallen into disrepair and was not a pleasant or very safe place in which to spend time.  The establishment of the Farmers Market really helped to transform the entire park.  What was once a scary comfort station building has this year become the site of a cafe.

Seating is also available outside in an area adjacent to where the farmers show off their plants.  Before long I do want to sample the cafe's fares.

Here are more varieties of flowers to tempt the passersby.

More interesting color combinations.

Some flower lovers have already taken slices out of this cake.

Lilacs and peonies are often displayed together.

Some of the flowers are displayed in the bright midday sun.  Others keep their heads cool under little tents.  I like the variations in the colors that the shadows create.

It is definitely iris season.  I saw mostly purple iris.

Somehow, this one peony had decided the had arrive to burst forth into petal grandeur.  I wondered how long the other buds would stay closed.  I was reminded of how one popcorn kernal starts the popping process.

Back indoors, I also wanted to show you all that I have finished another fair isle scarf.  Its colors are somewhat reminiscent of those in a persian carpet in my apartment.  I also think that inspiration for one color band of this design might have arisen during my Lenten chocolate fast.  It now reminds me of dark and white chocolate and caramel.

Here's a close up view.

I always enjoy playing around with colors.  Sometimes I am aware of why I am choosing a particular palette; sometimes I am not!  

Thank you all for visiting and for taking time to leave comments.  I am going to try to be better at replying to you all.

Happy Spring from New York City!


  1. Frances, I think your knitting is a bit like the lovely flower displays you've shown us.

  2. Your fair isle scarf looks beautiful Frances! The fair isle pattern and colours are really pretty.

    I enjoyed the photo's of NY in spring too. Great tulips!!

    Happy week,

    Madelief x

  3. I can never get tired of enjoying spring flowers! New and new species, "bursting" one after another - colourful wonders, making us feel better!
    What a lovely place - it must be a huge delight to visit it and to buy some flower from there!
    Your scarf looks so soft and beautiful,it promises cosy autumn days!
    Happy Spring, Frances!

  4. Your scarf is lovely.Great colour combinations.Thank you for sharing the flower photos with us.Barbara

  5. Flowers and yarns - a positive abundance of color!
    What bliss.
    Spring is, well maybe, finally here.
    Such fun to see photos of our outing to Union Square.
    And how much I long to try out the new swanky restaurant there.

  6. Hi Frances,
    How great to see your farmers' market and all the beauty it has to offer. I'm glad you have one not too far away from you. As you know I go at least once a week to mine here in London.
    Have a wonderful week ahead!
    xoxo Ingrid

  7. I've only had two tulips flower in my garden this year. Thank you for supplementing them so wonderfully.

  8. What a wonderful shot of colour - really brightens up the cityscape. We all need growing things in our lives too.

  9. I love your beautiful flower en springpictures of NYC! Memories....

  10. Gorgeous displays of flowers and I can imagine the perfume from the buckets of hyacinths. Great blast of colour , so cheerful and inspiring, no wonder you go and visit this lovely market.
    Today I have been gardening, planted a new peony. My sister gave me a huge bunch of lilac from her garden , it smells lovely in my hall. I have been planting pots with geraniums for summer colour. Sweet peas also planted, hoping they do well. We are enjoying a week of sunshine, everything is growing so quickly.
    Your knitting is beautiful, you have such an eye for colour and pattern and create with such skill. So enjoyed this post.x

  11. The sheer abundance of flowers is staggering, Frances. Riches! I love how you consider the flats as cakes with slices out - must remember that! Your urban surroundings are rich in colour and plantings at this time of year.

  12. Hello Frances,

    Union Square reminds us very much of a combination of Borough Market and Columbia Road Market in London. Both in rejuvenated areas of the city and both now filled with life, especially at a weekend. It is so good to see rundown areas have new life breathed into them, often at little cost just needing some imagination.

    The colours and scents must have been overpowering. Such a rainbow of shades and the way the flowers are displayed form such intricate and enticing patterns. How can one fail to be tempted to buy?

    And your own patterned scarf is so delightful. We rather like the idea that you do not set out with a preconceived idea, you just let serendipity take its course!

  13. Hello lovely Frances!

    Isn't it amazing how one can chose to portray one's city in anyway one choses? You, this weekend, have opted for a stunning tapestry of flower displays. I can only imagine how delightful it must be for you to savour these colourful moments after the harsh winter you have experienced.

    And your fair isle knitting, as others above have commented, is so beautiful. The colours are reminiscent of a Persian carpet; warm and rich. Clever lady; you have such an eye for colour.

    Warmest wishes from France,


  14. That cafe looks amazing!! As does the knitting.

    I'm also so excited about things warming up. The grass and the flowers have woken up my soul a bit.


  15. Lovely to see the flowers in Ole New York again...
    Beautiful patterns in your knitting!

  16. Isn't it heartening when an area is regenerated - especially with flowers. We have had a similarly run down area near us brought back to life with a weekly farmer's market.
    Another lovely visit to your patch Frances!

  17. Oh, thank you, Frances, you are wonderful!
    Beautiful the Park Avenue tulips, once again a great show! Alas, the Broadway show's a winner, too. In fact, i dare say my favorite, this year!

    I always love to stroll alongside you, you have such a good eye for special sights and details. Can't wait to hear more from the Union Square cafe!

    Wishing you all the best, warmer spring weather included,

  18. I love your fair isle scarf, the colours do remind me of different kinds of chocolate too...delicious shades! I loved your pictures of spring in NY - such wonderful tulips! - and the farmers' market. So many colourful flowers to enjoy...I am imagining I can smell those beautiful hyacinths!
    Happy week, Frances.
    Helen xox

  19. Beautiful pictures, Frances! I find myself admiring the arrangements out local nursery creates. Something about masses of flowers . . . I once visited a huge commercial greenhouse and there were primroses as far as the eyes could see -- well, perhaps I exaggerate. But it made me want to lie down and roll in in all that Spring. (I restrained myself.)

  20. Oh so lovely with this market..looks really nice!
    Thanks for your sweet comment on the blog...
    Have a great week!
    Warm hug,

  21. I would love to spend time at that Farmer's Market, what a feast of colour for the eyes, and with a camera in hand I could keep busy all day.

    A lovely post to brighten a rainy day, thank you Frances :)

  22. dear frances,

    i love wandering with you when you carry your camera, capturing your individual vision of manhattan. and i love your knitting, you are such a talent, it is not so easy to make colors work in fair isle. well done!

    i wish i could make it to the city before the fall, lunch at the union square cafe, knitting in bryant park! i hope to meet again someday :)

  23. Frances, your scarf is magnifico! Some day I would love to visit that farmers market. You do seem to have much to feast upon.

  24. As always, such a lovely walk around New York with you Frances. The colour combinations in your latest scarf are truely delicious! Sorry I've not replied to some of your latest comments - life seems to be whizzing by of late but I will catch up soon. Promise!

  25. A wonderful display of everything that is good about life and colour and markets and your enormous talent.

    I don’t know what I admire more, the farmers’ flowers or your intricate works of needlecraft art.

  26. Such a beautiful and colourful post - as always Frances. I see you too are enjoying the Spring flowers, always such a great pleasure after the monochromes of a long winter.

    I am spending rather a lot of virtual time in New York as my daughter-in-law gave me the box set of 'Sex and the City' for Christmas and I love the clothes, the shoes, the sheer fabulousness of New York. Great bonding material, too.

  27. i love your blog, and precios photgraphs

  28. Beautiful Spring flowers - this time of year I think is the best as there is so much going on in the great outdoors.
    I love a good plant market - there is always room for one more plant.....

    Nice knitting too of course!
    Best wishes

  29. If I was a cat I would purr. As always my friend, a joy to read, and the colour, your art work. Sheer heaven!

  30. Lovely photos and so too your artknitting.
    The floral photo's make me feel as if we don't live a fast walk from Union Square as your documentation makes it new for us.
    I am glad the city put out free tables for the use of we lunchbag
    citizen's and now with New York
    University students mostly away for
    the summer it is actually quiet.
    Good wishes,
    Mike & Kitt

  31. A second look at those banks of tulip islands down Park avenue...very cheering ;))