Bamboo screen in Roosevelt Park

Is bamboo a grass?

Bamboo is a fast-growing giant grass that is native to southeastern Asia.  Its beautiful bright green delicate leaves cascade over slender branches, and it comes in cane colors of green, purple, olive-green, blue-gray, golden yellow, and black. Although most bamboo grows in tropical or subtropical regions, the species that grows in Roosevelt Park is hardy and tolerates subzero weather.

The music of bamboo

As the wind rustles bamboo leaves, it makes a sound that some people find conducive to meditation. The presence of this beautiful evergreen flowering perennial provides one more reason to relax in Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Where can you find bamboo in Theodore Roosevelt Park?

We have an attractive bamboo privacy screen near the Museum of Natural History’s west entrance at Columbus Avenue and West 79th Street.

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.

Sedum on Central Park West

We have planted sedum in the gardens near Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.

Flowers from fall to winter

Sedum plants have massive heads of clustered pink flowers that later turn mauve. They will last well into the winter months.  This plant grows the best in full sun, and looks the best when planted in masses.

Sedum is tough and adaptable; thick, sturdy stems will support flower heads, even when covered in several inches of snow.  The plant is fairly maintenance free, slow to spread, and extremely drought tolerant.

Butterflies in Roosevelt Park

Sedum attracts butterflies – just one more reason we choose to plant it!


Nobel Laureate William Faulkner

faulkner-nobel-monumentWilliam Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897, and he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949. Faulkner’s name appears on the Nobel Monument in Roosevelt Park.

Faulkner was born in Mississippi, and he joined the RAF during World War 1. He later studied at the University of Mississippi, where he published work in the student newspaper. He dropped out before earning a degree.


Time in New York City

Faulkner moved to New York City in 1921, and he worked in a bookstore. If he ever visited the Museum of Natural History, he would have walked through the park that eventually became Theodore Roosevelt Park. Faulkner returned to Mississippi in 1922.


Panicle Hydrangea

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.




Hydrangea Macrophylla

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.

Fall is coming!

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.

New garden at Columbus Ave and 81st St.

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.