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Winter Blooms in NYC

While most people look to spring as the season when flowers start blooming in NYC, some plants don’t care that the weather is cold. And as it happens, both Madison Square and Stuyvesant Cove Parks are home to a few…and the ones in Stuy Cove are, of course, native species.

Zizea aurea, or golden Alexander, a native perennial that can be found across the entire East Coast, from Canada to Florida. It generally prefers moist conditions in woodlands or prairies, and grows in Stuy Cove. Last winter, it flowered continuously!

Madison Square Park features witch hazel and hellebore which both flower in the winter. However, even though they’re only about six blocks apart, there are different environmental considerations for Madison Square Park and Stuyvesant Cove, says Stuy Cove park manager Liza Mindemann.

“We’re a little more exposed because of the river so we have to choose carefully.”

One of the challenges of helping plants thrive in the park isn’t necessarily due to the climate. “Native plants are highly adapted to very specific soil profiles and conditions that can be hard to recreate in an artificial setting,” she said. “We have pretty generic garden soil but because we have this altered habitat, it is possible our plants are a bit more vulnerable to extreme conditions. We do focus our planting choices on hardy, durable and more adaptable varieties because of our setting and because we are a public park, though, and the well-established plants should do just fine even in the extreme cold for this reason.”

You can read the rest of this article on the T&V website here.