Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fashion Week

Last Saturday I began a new semester of my plants 2 class (evergreen plants). Before the course begins, I need to figure out where each class will take place. This is always complicated. Each park must have 14-16 new species to show the students and in the weeks that follow class 1, I must also have five to ten plants from the preceding weeks to use for quizzes. Finally, I like to vary where we have class, so students can see different design styles.

Bryant Park is a good spot for plants 2; there are four different hollies (Ilex glabra, I. x. meserveae, a variegated I. aquifolium and I. crenata), a dwarf Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Glauca Globosa'), Cherrylaurels (Prunus laurocerasus) and Common Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), to name a few. Also, the park is compact and little time is wasted by walking long distances.

On my way to Bryant Park Saturday, I felt pretty good. Hurricane Hanna was on her way, but it looked like there was a chance we would wrap up class before she finally landed in New York. I had also checked out the park a week ago and was able to ensure all the plants I intended to teach were still there (you never know when a tree will die or be removed or transplanted).

And then I actually got to the park.

It is fashion week in New York in case, like me, you didn't realize it. In addition to the Ilex, Buxus, Prunus and Picea, there were Manolos, Guccis, Puccis and Pradas. Fashionistas and bloggers were camped at the coffee kiosks and workers - I guess they'd be fashion roadies - were running around with cables and walkie talkies. We did a pretty good job of covering the required material, though a bit of trespassing was necessary. We had to sneak behind some metal partitions that blocked access to the mixed border lining the north side of the lawn (where the tents had been erected) in order to get to the Picea, a Yew (Taxus cuspidata 'Capitata'), a Yucca (Yucca filamentosa) and the most tongue-twistingest plant of the course, Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera Aurea' (Gold Threadleaf Falsecypress). Amazingly, no one seemed to care; security personnel donning badges walked past us several times, utterly nonplussed by our presence. I almost took it personally; evidently we offered absolutely no threat to fashion. On the bright side, I think we were the only people in the vicinity who weren't very, very, very hungry. And our feet didn't hurt.

And yes, we also got to see La Lohan herself. While we were inspecting a leaf on an inkberry (I. glabra), we became distracted by what had to have been about 2 dozen photographers all surrounding Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson. I had never seen the paparrazzi in action before. It was a little hard to comprehend, honestly. Our class (and some very nice specimens of inkberry) are pretty much right behind that mass of people.

So, I guess my point is, if you like fashion and you like plants, now is a good time to check out Byrant Park.

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