After a gap of eighteen years I finally made it back to NYC and boy how it has changed! The week I visited was the run up to hurricane Sandy and the city was bracing itself for the arrival of the terrible storm. By the time it arrived, I was safely on the plane home but sad to leave a lovely city behind. I walked miles and miles each day to see everything that was on my extremely lengthy list. At the very top of the list was the High Line of course and it was every bit as good as I had imagined. Noel Kingsbury joined my good friend Joany Pope and myself as we meandered along for a couple of hours chatting, looking at plants and taking hundreds of photographs. The planting looked wonderful, the rich autumn colours of the Rhus and Asters contrasted perfectly against the heavy, dark grey sky. It was so interesting to see how the New Yorkers were using the HL walking, relaxing, learning and playing. What an amazingly successful park it has been and I can only hope that it will give other cities the confidence to create similar parks in run down areas, where all hope has been spent!
During my stay in the US I ventured south out of Manhattan to Philadelphia, to visit some clients for a fantastic lunch in their local food market. After lunch I met up again with Noel Kingsbury at the Philadelphia Horticultural Society and together we drove out of the city to visit an extraordinary garden – Chanticleer. Noel was there to lecture, so while he sat and prepared his talk I wandered around the gardens. It was a warm, sunny fall afternoon and I really did not know what to expect. I knew that this was no ordinary garden, in the same way that Dixter is so special here in the UK. After a while I realised why this garden has gained its reputation. Long vistas framed by mature trees and shrubs contrast with intimate areas steeped in atmosphere and surrounded with stunning plants. Homemade seats with other features such as the divine metal boxes that house the plant lists, give this garden a very magical feel. The planting is relaxed and natural with wonderful use of trees, shrubs and grasses. As the sun set and Noel’s talk was due to start I finished my stroll around the garden safe in the knowledge that I will definitely return!