Visiting this wooded shoreline on the quiet waters of the Long Island Sound is like a trip into the past, a glimpse of what this most populous of cities may have looked like before it was flattened and choked by the urban grid. It is one of New York’s best botanical secrets.

The plants growing in the woods and beside the water here are lessons in local ecology and sustainability; natives and invasive plants co-exist, with indigenous populations of spring ephemerals increasingly vulnerable to noxious invasives (a USDA classification) such as Japanese knotweed, day lilies, garlic mustard, mugwort, and field garlic (all edible, which is handy for foragers), and more. Here is our spring tour of Hunter Island, March through May. . .