Tag Archives: Morningside Park

Morningside at Dusk


I’m only now coming to fully appreciate what a treasure Morningside Park is. For a park with what seems like fairly minimal maintenance, there is a surprising diversity of plants to discover in it. There’s also a wide diversity of conditions in the park, from more sunny borders, to woodland areas, to rock faces, to grassy slopes, to walled in beds. It’s a good place to study plants that will survive with minimal care and in endless competition with weeds. It also gives unique perspectives, as you are level with the canopy on Morningside Drive, which allows a great appreciation of the maple blossoms right now (its yellow plays off the colors in all the greens, yellows and reds of new foliage), before descending into the park and down through the sloping paths.

The park isn’t going to win awards, overshadowed as it is by its world-renowned neighbor, but every time I walk through I realize that there are some gardeners working their magic. Little vignettes appear that are too interesting to be results of chance. Although sometimes I think someone is just throwing stuff in the woods and seeing if it comes back; as my knowledge of trees and shrubs grows, I’m always stumbling across a new one duking it out in the jungle. And some choices are baffling. Like why is a lovely combination of yellow magnolia and a variety of pink cherries hemmed in by the basketball court and fenced off completely from the sidewalk? And why is there a random grouping of 3 shrubs featuring both a white Viburnum carlesii (with strong hits of pink) and a huge red flowering quince? But then there’s a really lovely blushing white crabapple growing out of the rock with white bleeding heart beneath it and I’m captivated.














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Narcissus of Morningside Park

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Spring comes to Morningside


I got into a heated argument on the subway with an acquaintance the other night when he stated that spring didn’t start until April. This was after he said the Frick was full of paintings of horses. I had to pretend that some people getting on the train accidentally separated us so I could calm down. What exactly do people want from spring? Trumpets? Well the magnolias’ fuzzy buds are close to bursting so they’ll get their heralds soon. The crowd of robins perched on them today seemed to share my excitement, making a total racket accompanied by some twitchy bluejays and a flock of cedar wax wings. Had there been more sun I would have lingered, but I also appreciated the solitude of an overcast day.

That is until a cheerful gardener interrupted my snowdrop reverie (ie. taking 5 million pictures) to ask if I knew what they were and then when I got all excited told me I should go into horticulture. If only. Although he couldn’t tell me anything about the two different galanthus varieties in the garden (my guess is Galanthus nivalis and Galanthus elwesii), he could help me identify the small trees with budding yellow flowers – cornus mas. Confirmation of one of last year’s speculations. Walking home, I felt buoyant.

It’s always the little things for me. Even as I imagine rivers of crocuses lining the paths I walk, just one bunch is enough to catch my attention and draw a smile. The complimentary bread at Buttermilk Channel on Wednesday night was a warm popover with honey, which delighted me because I had made oatmeal ones the other morning as a treat. But sometimes it seems that resting my happiness on these things is an avoidance tactic, a way to save myself the disappointment that potentially comes from bigger investments in relationships and skill building. I don’t know. I don’t mind spending time by myself, but as one set of friends settles down to have families and another set aggressively dates, I occasionally feel out of place. On the other hand, it’s nice to share their excitement, especially as they make efforts to understand my own regarding the progressing season. Spring lends itself to such tumult.

The real Harlem Shake

A sweet story that reminds one of the power of the judicial system to be a force of good (or, how a gay couple found their son in a subway station)

A misty english cemetary

Very english spring flowers (that primrose is something else. I’m telling you, if I lived there I would be a crazy primula/galanthus collector. And the helebores… dear lord.)

Probably going to watch this movie tonight (Oma & Bella)


My floral kryptonite

The perfect marble chair

Hoisin glazed brussels sprouts

This film about Vivian Maier has the potential to be amazing



(two exceptions to this set; there are snowdrops in Morningside but both pictures here are from the Conservatory Garden)





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Weekly Links: Snow storm!


Nothing like an East Coast snow storm to remind you how much better Alberta snow is. Can bad weather ever be non-apocalyptic here? NYC was spared this time luckily, especially because Kim is here visiting and 3 feet of snow would have seriously hampered our plans. And I admit, watching the students frolic around campus in it late Friday night was pretty heart-warming.

We had a good week. Mumford & Sons at Barclay’s Center on Wednesday (leaving was nightmarish but otherwise its pretty nice), Sleep No More on Friday (epic set design, so-so narrative), and Roberta’s for pizza on Saturday (with a pit-stop at Beurre & Sel for some cookies). We had this brussels sprouts dish with raw shaved sprouts, sunflower seeds, and pancetta in a buttermilk dressing, topped with toasted sprout leaves which was good. But the revelation was The Bee Sting pizza with soppressata, chili flakes, basil, mozzarella and… honey. Honey. Oh my god it was so good. We contemplated getting another one, but we’d already had waffles that morning so it seemed dangerous. Dad, you better get experimenting! I think you need a pretty runny honey and definitely use a very plain uncooked tomato sauce so that the honey is just complimenting and upping the sweet notes of the tomatoes and meat. Yum. We also picked up a loaf of bread while we were there and it had a solid crust on it.

Another epic surfing video

Fantastical Queens movie theatre

Carrot and sunchoke salad with buttermilk dressing

Hot yogurt and barley soup

Sarah Raven’s video on how to make a very British hand-tied bouquet (Did you know Sarah Raven is married to the grandson of Vita Sackville-West and they live part-time at Sissinghurst? Apparently the documentary following their overhaul of the garden is quite good.)


The poor trees and shrubs looked close to breaking with the weight of the snow. I’m sure the damage will become evident once it all melts.



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Weekly Links

The black locust trees are perfuming the streets around Morningside Park this week. I think I missed this period last year when I went home, so I’ve had several weeks worth of new blooming shrubs and trees to try and google. I really need to buy a fieldguide.

In other exciting news I’ve baked the season’s first strawberry rhubarb crumble, some thrown together chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter and chocolate cake! I’ll post the mocha cream cheese frosting next week. It’s pretty fab.

Exploring abandoned Ellis Island

Love these whimsical photo/art pieces from Alexandra Valenti

Bon Appetit did a series of Paris-related blog posts a week ago. Check out Dorie Greenspan’s pastry recommendations and shops that sell Bordier butter (which is legendary). I also love Pascal Bellevaire’s demi-sel croquant à la fleur de sel de Noirmoutier. La Grande Epicerie de Paris might have both.

In praise of the misunderstood quince!

Training a wisteria tree – Wisteria can be nasty stuff if you let it go so this seems like a safer way to incorporate it into the garden.

Knotweed cupcakes – I’ve spent quite a bit of my time in central park pulling up wisteria and knotweed so I was happy to see knotweed being used for something good.

Someone could buy me some of these botanical prints for Christmas?

Ingrid Michaelson’s a cappella cover of We Found Love

Who ever is in Vancouver next should check out the chocolate shop Beta 5.

Cool aerial photography

Smitten does ice cream sandwiches!

Phillip Oliver has been going through his favourite roses alphabetically. I really liked the B’s.

I’m hoping to check out Margaret Roach’s garden this Saturday. She has a lot of gorgeous plants such as this stylophorum diphyllum (celandine poppy).

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Spring Sweets

I hauled my textbooks over to the park this afternoon to get some reading done. Of course, I couldn’t help but take some pictures while I was out. Morningside Park is truly at its best in the spring, where thousands of bulbs have naturalized, and then there’s my Conservatory Garden. Every breeze carries with it the heavy scent of muscari and fading magnolias and the robins are everywhere, poking around. The tulip show isn’t quite on yet, but the narcissus have reached their zenith. With another week of hot weather they’ll be on their way out.

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Weekly Links: Spring

It’s been a long week but at least the weather has been nice. I’ve spent a lot of time in the park, soaking in the sun. We also had a lovely dinner at Cafe Sabarsky in the Neue Galerie. The food is good, but the atmosphere is the real draw. Dining in a well appointed drawing room, with a huge urn of camellias blooming over the mantle and a sweet vase of primulas on the table, plus a sideboard filled with old fashioned delights such as plum cake, is a sure-fire way to beat the windy, damp nights of March.

I went to get a restorative chai latte yesterday afternoon and they were blasting The National. Several hours of Spotify later, I’ve found a few new favorite songs. Particularly Green Gloves, and the comparably quirky Wake Up Your Saints. It also reminded me of the great Q session they did last year. Rylan isn’t released anywhere I don’t think, but it’s a beauty.

New chocolate shop!

Shintaro Ohata’s sculptures popping out of paintings

Cute video about the history of Keep Calm, Carry On

Camellias! And more citrus. I love that iris slipped in with the ranunculus and narcissus.

For dad: How to grow carrots

States are banning factory farm whistleblowers – dislike

Poppies and Posies flower studio and some footed arrangements

A 1900s-era bulb show = a fabulous mish-mash of colors. Just imagine the smell of that conservatory…

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