Aug 142017

Hydrangea Paniculata

Native to China and Japan, this tough, deciduous shrub grows to a height of 15 feet and a width of 8 feet or more and looks spectacular when grown in mass plantings and hedges.

New York City can get cold

Of all the hydrangea varieties growing in Theodore Roosevelt Park, Hydrangea paniculata is best able to tolerate low temperatures. Although most hydrangeas prefer partial shade, the hydrangea paniculata tolerates full sun in northern growing areas.  This shrub prefers loamy, well-drained soil.

Blossoms on 81st street

Hydrangea paniculata flowers will bloom all summer long.  They form pyramid-shaped clusters, 6 to 8 inches long, of creamy-white blossoms that turn pinkish-purple at maturity.

Panicle hydrangeas grow in several gardens along the northern end of Roosevelt Park, at 81st Street between Central Park West  and Columbus Avenue.




 August 14, 2017  Comments Off on Panicle Hydrangea
Jul 312017

What determines the color of hydrangea flowers?

Hydrangea grow in many of the gardens in Theodore Roosevelt Park. Their colors range from indigo blue to purple to bright pink. Hydrangea macrophylla, a plant that is native to China and Japan, produces different colored flowers depending on the soil pH.

Acidic or alkaline soil

 When the soil is acidic, meaning the pH is below 7, Hydrangea macrophylla produces flowers that are closer to blue. Hydrangea growing in alkaline soil (pH above 7) produce flowers in the pink and lilac color range.

Long-blooming flowers

Hydrangea Macrophylla will bloom until late autumn, and they can grow six feet tall. These plants can do well in full sun or partial shade. Look for these beautiful flowers in our gardens at the 81st Street side of the park, near Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, and in front of the Hayden Planetarium and the Bull Moose dog run.

 July 31, 2017  Comments Off on Hydrangea Macrophylla
Jul 282017

Big and beautiful

Red lily

Oriental lilies have massive, trumpet-shaped blossoms, up to five inches in diameter, growing on tall, graceful stems. These plants can be top-heavy, so they need support. We plant lilies among Knock-out roses; the lilies grow through the rose stems and do not require staking.

Adding color to the park

Blooming from mid-summer to early fall, blossoms come in orange, peach, purple, yellow, pink and white.




 July 28, 2017  Comments Off on Oriental lilies
Jul 272017

Astilbe in Roosevelt Park

Astilbe added to the gardens

Nestled among fern, hosta and hellebore, astilbe bring a bright splash of scarlet to the gardens in front of the Hayden Planetarium and the Bull Moose dog run. Rhizomatous, perennial flowering plants, Astilbe grow well in the shady, wet soils of these gardens.

We planted the astilbe in Roosevelt Park this month, and they will bloom until late summer. Stop by and take a look!

 July 27, 2017  Comments Off on Can you name this plant?
Jul 132017
mann on Nobel monumentThis month marks the 80th birthday of Roald Hoffman, one of the Nobel Prize winners whose name appears on the Nobel monument in Roosevelt Park. He was was born on July 21, 1937.

Time in New York City

Hoffmann was born in Poland. After surviving the Holocaust, he moved with his mother to New York City. He studied at P.S. 93 and P.S. 16 in Brooklyn, and he graduated from Stuyvesant High School and Columbia University.

Chemistry and Poetry

Hoffmann received a PhD in chemistry from Harvard in 1962, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1981, sharing the prize with Kenichi Fukui.

He taught chemistry at Cornell University, wrote books and scientific papers, and participated in a television series, “The World of Chemistry.” Hoffmann published his first poem in 1984. He later published six collections of poetry, “The Metamict State,” and “Gaps and Verges,” “Memory Effects,” “Solition,” “Catalista: Poemas Escogidos,” and “Roald Hoffmann Izbrannie Stichotvorenia.”


 July 13, 2017  Comments Off on Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann
Jul 112017

What summer flowers can you see in Roosevelt Park?

Violet Lily

Purple Hydrangea

Have you noticed the multitude of flowering cultivars currently in bloom in our gardens?   The park’s colorful summer bloom surpasses spring’s display.

Astilbe, lily, hydrangea, blue nepeta, roses

If you live or work on the Upper West Side, enjoy the colors in your backyard. Red, pink and purple astilbe; orange, red, peach and yellow lily; green, white, pink, violet and indigo hydrangea; blue nepeta; and red, yellow, red and pink roses are all blooming in Theodore Roosevelt Park this summer.



 July 11, 2017  Comments Off on Summer color
Jul 102017

It’s never too soon to plan for fall!

While our visitors are luxuriating in the summer warmth and enjoying the current blooms, gardeners must plan ahead. The Friends of Roosevelt Park have purchased 3,500 flowering plant bulbs for our fall planting.

What are the most colorful flowers on the Upper West Side?

Expect four weeks of color with the addition of Spanish Blue belles; white bell-shaped snowflakes; white winged snowdrops; yellow, white and golden yellow daffodils; red, yellow and purple tulips, and lilac-pink alliums.

 July 10, 2017  Comments Off on Fall is coming!
Jul 072017

Sigma Delta Tau volunteers help us create a new garden

On June 24th, 2017, Theodore Roosevelt Park held one of its largest volunteer events of the year. More than 100 volunteers from Sigma Delta Tau, a national sorority, visited the Upper West Side to join Partnership for Parks personnel, GreenLife Interns, and NYC Parks & Recreation gardening staff in cleaning, weeding, and creating a new flower garden at Columbus Avenue and 81st Street.

Hundreds of new flowering plants

The Sigma Delta Tau volunteers donated hundreds of new plants, including heuchera, hosta, hellebore, hydrangea, mahonia, anemone, and Japanese forest grass. Volunteers also weeded extensively throughout the park. In addition to being one of the largest volunteer events this year, it was one of the most productive.

What is Sigma Delta Tau?

Sigma Delta Tau is a national sorority with more than 60,000 members. They are committed to empowering women, and as observed last week, dedicated to beautifying parks.

 July 7, 2017  Comments Off on New garden at Columbus Ave and 81st St.
Jun 262017

New Summer Plants

We have added a stand of pink wax begonia and annual vinca at 81st street and Central Park west, and it will remain until October, when it will be replaced by a new tulip bulb planting.

Wax begonia

Wax begonia are herbaceous, compact, mound-forming perennials, native to tropical regions, which make them ideal for growing in Theodore Roosevelt Park during the warm New York City summers.


Annual vinca, also called periwinkle, is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant, spreading herbaceous annual, native to Madagascar. These compact, showy plants grow to a height of 12 inches and spread to 18 inches wide.

See them before the fall

Begonia and annual vinca produce beautiful flowers until October, and thrive in partial shade and organically-rich, well-drained soil. Visit the park to see them while they’re here!

 June 26, 2017  Comments Off on Red Begonia and Blue Annual Vinca Planting
Jun 142017

Mohonia at Roosevelt Park

Summer plants on the Upper West Side

We have scheduled a massive planting at Theodore Roosevelt Park. Starting June 14th and extending to the end of the month, we will install hundreds of beautiful flowering plants in Bull Moose Dog Run, and in the Columbus Ave. and 81st Street gardens.

Can you identify these 8 species?

Look for cherry laurel, hydrangea, mahonia, crepe myrtle, hosta, hellebore, heuchera and anemone. These spectacular specimens will paint our gardens with splashes of purple, lavender, pink, green, white, caramel, chartreuse and yellow. Come back to see more photos as the summer continues!

 June 14, 2017  Comments Off on 8 reasons to visit Roosevelt Park this summer