Near the 77th Street entrance to the American Museum of Natural History, fragrant Spanish Bluebell brightens Roosevelt Park’s garden beds with bell-shaped, lavender-colored flowers.
Spanish bluebell reproduces by seed and rhizome and naturalizes well beneath the shade of deciduous trees, such as the cherry trees in Roosevelt Park. Bulbs develop into blue-green clumps of sword-like leaves, eventually spreading to 18 inches or more in width. Small flowers hang from upright flower stems that rise above the foliage. Spanish Bluebell flowers come in several colors: lavender, pink and white
Spain, Portugal and the Upper West Side
Although Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) is native to Spain and Portugal, this winter-hardy, shade-loving bulbous perennial also does well in New York City. Stop by the park and enjoy the flowers!
Hellebores (Helleborrus sp.) produce the earliest flower blooms in Theodore Roosevelt Park. Rose-like flowers, with five petal-like sepals, bloom in March and continue blooming until May. The garden beds fronting the Hayden Planetarium include a variety of colorful Hellebores, whose flowers can be shades of green, yellow, white, and purple.
Immigrants from Europe and Asia
Native to mountainous regions of Europe and western Asia, Hellebores are low-clumping, spreading, evergreen perennials that prefer partial to full shade in fertile, well-drained soils, such as those in Roosevelt Park.
Healthy, hardy plants
Hellebores are disease-resistant and the foliage remains attractive throughout the year. Hellebores are hardy and most species will grow well in USDA hardiness zones 4-9 (New York City is in hardiness zone 7b).
The tulip (Tulipa) is an upright herbaceous perennial bulbous plant in the lily family, growing from 4 to 24 inches in height. Native to Central Asia and cultivated in Holland, tulips are one of the most beloved and recognizable flowers in the world.
Flowering from early April to May, tulips have no rivals for providing springtime carpets of pure, intense, vibrant color. Gorgeous blooms, usually one flower per stem, are available in almost any color except blue and black.
Tulip gardening in the park
It’s difficult to get tulips to produce blooms year after year. At Roosevelt Park, we maximize tulip flower bloom by choosing sites with well-drained soil in full sun, we plant bulbs deep, (8”) in late fall, water-in bulbs after planting, and purchase bulbs that naturalize well (Darwin hybrids and species tulips).
Tulips will tolerate light shade, but the flower bloom will not be as spectacular, nor will the flowers bloom as well the following spring. Tulips grow poorly in heavy shade.
Full sun allows the greatest amount of carbohydrates to translocate in the flower bulb, providing necessary nutrients for flower bloom the following spring. Leaves should be allowed to remain on the stems until turning yellow (about 8 weeks).
NYC is good for tulips!
Tulips require a chilling period of 12 to 16 weeks at soil temperatures around 40 degrees F. and therefore do not grow well in warm climates. Tulips thrive in New York City weather.
How long should tulips last?
The majority of tulip bulbs in Roosevelt Park were planted last fall. With the right growing conditions, tulips can bloom for three or more seasons, so we expect our current tulips to bloom at least until 2019.
Have you seen the flowering cherry trees, now in spectacular full bloom in Theodore Roosevelt Park? An absolutely jaw-dropping display of marvelously formed, delicate pink blossoms, cascading over bent branches. Pink petals float through the air, carpeting the walkways.
Beautiful blossoms are well-suited to New York City
Flowering cherry trees grow well at Theodore Roosevelt Park and have few rivals for sheer beauty. Cherry trees need full sun and well-drained soil for optimum health, and their location in Roosevelt Park provides these conditions. Flowering cherry trees are grown throughout New York City, including in Central Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and New York Botanical Garden.