October 3, 2011

Green Brooklyn: Texture

On my walks to and from the subway in Brooklyn, I began noticing the variety of plantings in the small yards in front of large houses. There were many different hedges, some the usual privet, but also all sorts of conifers. I loved the one above, with its small cones at the center of sprays of needles, little faces ringed by linear ruffs.

Two kinds of plants intermingle, rounded leaves punctuated by the lines of needles. The hedges were often raised above ground level, planted in brick structures, creating orderly built gardens which offered their details to my eye as I walked past.

The creamy white edges of this variegated holly emphasize the spiky shapes of the leaves, dramatically forbidding with the sharply pointed arcs.

I was surprised to see the tropical-looking yucca growing in a small square of garden along the sidewalk. What I most loved about the plant are the delicate strings floating off the tough pointed leaves, writing elaborate letters in air.

And even in Brooklyn there is lichen. I love seeing the surface of a city tree covered with the cool green texture of this hardy little algae/fungus hybrid. It reminds me of my Vermont walks, and makes me appreciate yet again the resilience of life.


  1. Isn't it amazing and wonderful the way foliage naturally makes such incredible patterns. And of course, vegetation in the city is phenomenal as well. I was once assigned from working in the wilderness to an office in the city, and during my first trip to work I kept looking for the last glimpse of wild plants. Never did get that last glimpse: they were growing in the sidewalk in front of my city office....

  2. I love your paintings and I love your photos! Please tell me what kind of camera you're using...

  3. Erik, it is amazing how many things grow in the city, where you least expect them.
    Amy, thanks. I use an elderly, in digital years, Nikon Coolpix 8700.

  4. How poetic seeing writing done by the yucca.

  5. I love to see what people grow in the city — esp. when space is at a minimum and they have to make a conscious choice. Always interesting and esp. if you can look at it up close as you did.