It was back to the Bronx, not the Botanical Gardens this time but to another garden overlooking the Hudson River; Historic Wave Hill.
Early Saturday morning my friends and I met at Grand Central Station stocked up on coffee, scones and sticky buns and hopped aboard a Metro North Train to Riverdale. Once there it was a short shuttle bus ride to Wave Hill, where we spent the day walking among the beautiful botanical gardens that surround the newly renovated Wave Hill House.
As you walk through the old mansion gates of Wave Hill you veer to your right and then make a left entering upon a wide lush expanse of lawn. Your eyes and body are drawn directly to the beautiful vine covered Pergola where one can sit and enjoy the picturesque views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades. As you leave the Pergola, on your left is where the pathways and trails through the gardens and greenhouses start, taking you all around the 28 acre public gardens.
We started in the lavish Flower Garden, where I honestly thought that there would be very few flowers in bloom this late in the summer but was happily surprised by the variegated beauty that lay before me and it seemed like spring never ended. Almost every flower had a bee in its flora bonnet except for one, that had a huge black hornet busily doing its hornet thing, lucky for me, and that I did not really observe until I saw it through the view finder. I gently pressed the shutter and then very quietly and quickly backed away. Butterflies were flitting around from flower to flower completely and complacently oblivious to my lens, their antennae delicately probing and their paper like wings absorbing the warmth of the morning light. I was blown away by the variety of flowers and the many shades of yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, and pink a variable Crayola Crayon box of colors, and a mixed heady fragrance tickled your senses with each gentle breeze that blew.
In the Herb and Dry Garden there were small peppers that were the same size and shape of a Christmas tree light, in an egg-plant purple hue and I always assumed that pomegranates grew on trees and so was surprised to see the tiny blushing red buds growing on a bush at my feet!
The Alpine House gardens where the succulents live and thrive were my favorites. I love how these hearty plants grow with independent abandon climbing, crawling, hanging and creeping over the stone pots that hold them. They come in all different shapes and sizes: sharp and smooth, twisted and curved, curly and straight, prickly and pointed, plump and thin, wide and narrow, long and short. One plant with blue dragon like scales grew right through the garden wall.
The Aquatic Garden was a spectacle of reflections and a cool oasis after a walk through the dessert plants. Again color was dominant here too; with watery plants the color of rhubarb and emerald floating next to strawberry and peach hued lotus blooms. The scene was calm and meditative and made it very hard to believe that you were still in New York City.
Sun flowers seemed to be everywhere and I loved capturing them back lit by the sun. There was one burnt orange flower that with the sun directly behind its delicate petaled head, gave the illusion of a powerful fiery star burst against the blue sky.
When the sun was at its highest we took refuge inside the Wave Hill Manor House where we had a quick lunch of sandwiches and salads at the Cafe’. After our meal we continued our tour to a large wooden gazebo nestled in the Wild Garden where my friends sat chatting in the shade as I continued my botanical crawl looking for more plant life to photograph. I enveloped myself in a stand of tall green stalks, found tiny dark pink flowers sitting on crooked stems, a single plump Mulberry that had sprouted ahead of its siblings on a lone branch, a row of blue berries hanging from curled leaves and a cluster of brown-orange berries sparkling in the bright afternoon light.
When I was done I made my way back to my friends and we decided to call it a day, actually we called it a wonderful day, and boarded the shuttle which took us back to the train station in Riverdale.
As we waited for the train’s arrival we noticed people fishing and sunning themselves along the water’s edge and wondered how they got there. We walked down the platform and found an opening that led us across some old tracks no longer in use, which we crossed and found ourselves on the banks of the river. One of my favorite photos of the day was of my lovely friend Olga Kildashova sitting on the rocky shores of the Hudson River next to the rail road tracks which I’ve entitled: White Russian on the Rocks.
Relax and take a walk through a summer’s garden.