Annual Shearing of the Heather signals spring in Fort Tryon Park Annual heather shears signals the spring in Fort Tryon Park - Manhattan Times News

> A tartan clad bagpipe player led a procession of local residents ready for a dose of spring weather this past Sat., Apr. 14 through purple-hued beds of flowers for the Shearing of the Heather at Fort Tryon Park. The picturesque three-acre spot, tucked just inside the entrance and appropriately called The Heather Garden, is perched high above the Hudson River and boasts the largest collection of heaths and heather plants on the East Coast. "It's just a beautiful place," said Mary Matwey, President of the Northeast Heather. "It's just a beautiful place," said Jennifer Hoppa, Executive Director of Fort Tryon Park Trust.

Society, who brought a dozen volunteers from Upstate New York and New Jersey to help the parks gardeners trim the colorful shrubs, which stimulates new growth and ensures spring and summer blooms. The mild winter left the garden in "fantastic shape," Matwey said, and a yearly shearing is all that is needed for the hardy perennials to flourish.

"This is all it takes, spring trimming and you

The sturdy nature of the garden takes approximately 2 ½ hours, Matwey said.

the plant along with its beauty and ability to bloom year round was a factor in its being chosen as a centerpiece of the garden by the park's designer, Frederick Olmstead JR., Hoppa said. The heaths and heather compliment the landscape by hugging the rock outcroppings and they do not grow high enough to obscure the majestic view of the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades, Hoppa added.

The inclusion of bagpipe player John Truman from the Scottish Pipe and Drum band was a nod to the shrubs association with Scotland, where it grows abundantly on the rugged moors and thrives in places where other plants wither. In Celtic lore heaths and heathers, whose colors range from white to all shades of pinks, purples and reds, symbolize beauty, admiration, solitude, protection and purity.

York City, a celebration of Scottish heritage.

After the procession, lingering event goers, chatting and taking photos, while children played about, making for a perfect spring day in the lush garden. p> Fort Tryon Park, which is home to 400 different types of plants, trees and shrubs, was recently rated the best in the city by the Daily News.

Neighborhood newcomers, Leana and Kieryn Phipps, brought are Miran, 3, who was fascinated by the bagpipe player. "He loves music, he loves flowers, and it's a beautiful day," Phipps said. The couple said the park was a big draw in their moving into the area.

For more information about The Heather Garden and events in Fort Tryon Park visit their website at www.fortryonparktrust.com.

History and photos

of purple-toned flowers beds for heather shearing at Fort Tryon Park. "It's a beautiful place," said Mary Matwey, President of the Northeast Heather Society, who brought a dozen New York and New Jersey state volunteers to help parklanders cut out colorful shrubs, which stimulates a new growth and ensure the flowers of spring and summer. Soft winter left the garden in "fantastic shape," Matwey said, and a year-round cut is all that's needed for perennial plants that are resistant to bloom. "This is all you need, a cut spring and you do not have to complain to them for the rest of the year, "Matwey said.

Shearing the entire garden takes about 2 and a half hours, Matwey said. the plant along with its beauty and its ability to flower all year long was a factor in having been chosen as the centerpiece of the garden by the park's designer, Frederick Olmstead JR., said Hoppa.

scrub and heather complement the landscape as they embrace rock outcrops and do not grow tall enough to darken the majestic view of the Hudson River and the Palisades of New Jersey, Hoppa added.

Despite its hardness , the desiccant winter winds coming from the river and the low temperatures are enemies of the air bust in bloom, which is a member of the evergreen family.

"They like to be covered in snow," said Neal Mackey, a gardener in the park, who estimates it tends to twenty varieties of heather in the garden. "It may be difficult to grow up here," he said.

The inclusion of bagpiper player John Truman of Scotland's drum and pipe band was a nod to Scotland's growing bushes where they grow in abundance on steep moors, and thrives in places where other plants wither.

Saturday, April 14 was also Tartan Day in New York, a celebration of the Scottish heritage. After the procession, attendees of the event were chatting and taking photos, while the children played around, for what looked like a perfect spring day in the lush garden.

Fort Tryon Park, which is home to 400 different types of plants, trees and shrubs, was recently named as the best park in the city for a walk through nature by the Daily News.

Newcomers, Leana and Phipps Kieryn, brought their son Miran, 3, who was fascinated by the bagpipe player. "He loves music, loves flowers, and it's a beautiful day," Phipps said. The couple said the park was a big draw in their move to the area. "Any event that happens here we like to leave," he said.

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