Oak Leaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea quercifolia (oak leaf hydrangea)

Among the most magnificent shrubs in Theodore Roosevelt Park are the hydrangeas, paniculata, macrophylla, and quercifolia. Hydrangea quercifolia, also called oak leaf, is a flowering, upright, broad, rounded, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub native to the Southeastern portion of the United States. At maturity, the oak leaf grows to a height and width of 6 to 8 feet.

Fall Foliage

Leaves are large (8 to 12 inches), coarse-textured and lobed. In spring and early summer, this plant produces panicles of greenish-white flowers that change over time to light pink and brown color as the flowers age.  In fall, the large, oak-like leaves can turn beautiful shades of burgundy, red, orange and yellow. The bark of the stems is a cinnamon color. It exfoliates and remains attractive throughout the seasons.

Adapting to the Upper West Side

Hydrangea quercifolia is well-suited to the growing conditions in Roosevelt Park. The oak leaf hydrangea is low-maintenance and fairly drought tolerant. It can grow under direct sun for limited periods, but prefers dappled sun and partial shade. In our park, we mass oak leaf with paniculata, macrophylla, hosta, sedum, heuchera, and anemones. Plants fill in and shade the garden beds, allowing little room for invasive weeds.

oak leaf hydrangea


Giving Tuesday

Help Keep Roosevelt Park BeautifulGiving Tuesday

Before the Friends of Roosevelt Park began contributing to the maintenance and management of the park, conditions had deteriorated dramatically. The park was neglected, with litter, bare dirt and dead plants. Now the park is an attractive place to visit. Help keep it that way! Your donation will help maintain the gardens we have created, and to add plants to our beautiful neighborhood park.

100% of every dollar you donate to Friends of Roosevelt Park is applied to the park. There are no salaried administrators. Friends of Roosevelt Park is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your gift is fully tax deductible.

Use the button below to donate online. You can use your credit card or your Paypal account.

You can also mail your gift to:

Friends of Roosevelt Park, Inc.
6 W. 77 St., 8C
New York, NY 10024

Chubb Insurance volunteers

Chubb Insurance volunteers improve five gardens

Twenty-five volunteers from Chubb Insurance Company spent a day working with our gardeners to clean, mulch, rake leaves, weed, and plant perennials in Theodore Roosevelt Park. Volunteers worked in five garden beds, spreading three cubic yards of mulch from Central Park West along 81st Street to the western section of the Bull Moose Dog Run.

Looking forward to perennials in the spring

The Chubb volunteers donated and planted dozens of hellebores with green and purple sepals; white, pink and lavender flowering creeping thyme; purple glove thistle; red coral bells; bright yellow day lilies; pink sedum, and gray-green lady’s mantle. These perennials will bloom from early next spring through late autumn.


GreenLife Interns

GreenLife interns help keep our park beautiful


Interns raking leavesGardening in the rain

GreenLife Interns braved the cold and drizzle last Saturday to rake, bag and store hundreds of pounds of dried leaves from the 14 lawns and 37 gardens in Theodore Roosevelt Park.

GreenLife Interns have been a familiar sight at Theodore Roosevelt Park for years. These young men and women work tirelessly to ensure the lawns and gardens are kept weed-free and beautiful throughout the year.

Learning job skills

This strenuous labor benefits both park patrons and the interns, who learn valuable skills that can help them in their future careers. GreenLife Interns learn the fundamentals of horticulture: plant identification and planting skills. They also gain experience in working for an employer and being part of a team of coworkers, and they learn the importance of arriving to work on time and acting professionally.



Veteran’s Day

The Veteran Honored by Roosevelt Park, NYC

Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the top of hill that they captured, Battle of San Juan, 1898.Theodore Roosevelt, the namesake of Roosevelt Park, was a veteran of the Spanish-American war. In 1898, he formed The Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry group, and led them to victories at Kettle Hill and San Juan heights in Cuba. In 2001, Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in the war.

On July 4, 1903, President Roosevelt gave a speech to veterans in Springfield, IL. He told them, A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled, and less than that no man shall have.”


The GreenLife Internship Progam

Celebrating 15 Years of Paid Internships

GreenLife Interns working in Roosevelt Park

The GreenLife Job Readiness paid internship program in Theodore Roosevelt Park is celebrating 15 years of horticulture and work-life skills training for local high school students. Launched in 2002 through generous support from The Rudin Foundation, GreenLife was conceived by Friends of Roosevelt Park and then-City Councilmember Gale Brewer, currently Manhattan Borough President.

High school students prepare for careers

Each year, the program sponsors six to eight sophomores and juniors from The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers to work in the 10-acre park space surrounding the American Museum of Natural History on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The students commit to participating in the program four days a week during their summer breaks in July and August, or on Saturdays in the spring or fall. Under the supervision of a New York City Parks Department gardener, they learn essential gardening skills, including planting bulbs and seeds, raking weeds and mulching. In the process, they are exposed to such valuable work-life disciplines as punctuality, dependability, teamwork and other experiences that will help prepare them for future careers.  As an added benefit, the students are eligible to take after-school courses at the American Museum of Natural History for free.

“A paid summer internship that provides crucial life skills in a beautiful setting is a win-win situation,” explains Peter Wright, president of Friends of Roosevelt Park. “Each season, these dedicated students get to see the fruits of their labor and with the added benefit of knowing their contributions have been integral part of what makes Roosevelt Park a green oasis.”

How are GreenLife interns selected?

Students are selected through written applications, teacher recommendations, and a week of work in early spring in the park as part of their course work. During the school year, participants sign up for only one season at a time. More information is available through the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers.

Dickinson W. Richards

Dickinson Richards on Nobel MonumentNobel Laureate Dickinson Woodruff Richards

Dickinson W. Richards was born on this day in 1895. He is one of the Nobel Prize winners honored on the Nobel monument in Roosevelt Park.

Time in Manhattan

Richards attended medical school at Columbia University in the early 1920s, and became a doctor in 1923. He later worked at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, and Columbia University.

We like to think he may have taken walks in Roosevelt Park, which was called Museum Park at that time.

Nobel Prize for Medicine

In 1956, Dickinson W. Richards shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with André Frédéric Cournand and Werner Forssmann. Their prize was for the development of a cardiac catheterization technique and research into a variety of cardiac conditions.

Liriope Muscari

Loriope Muscari Silver Sunproof 533 x 300

Why is Liriope Muscari also called Silvery Sunproof? The name comes from the light yellow stripes on the leaves, and the fact that the plant can tolerate full sun, although it does better with partial shade. Liriope Muscari also features bluish purple flowers in the summer and fall.

Silvery Sunproof is a hardy plant that can tolerate dry conditions and cold weather. Other names for this plant include Lilyturf and Monkey Grass. It’s used in Roosevelt Park mainly as a groundcover edge.