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Theodore Roosevelt Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, November 26, 2003


Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

Last winter, Parks & Recreation set a goal to plant one million new flowers this year throughout New York City and on November 24, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined the Parks Department's Master Gardeners and neighbors of Theodore Roosevelt Park to celebrate this achievement. The lucky one millionth flower of 2003, an Anemone with purple petals and a yellow center, was successfully transplanted into her new home Monday morning. This flower, and her Anemone sisters, shared the bright sunlight with a cluster of Coral Bells, a flower that has bronze-purple foliage and small white flowers that bloom in late spring.

"This year, parks all over the City saw a bumper crop of colorful annuals and perennials as volunteers, non-profit partners and our own designers and gardeners banded together to usher in a horticultural renaissance," said Commissioner Benepe.

Manhattan's Master Gardeners designed the new garden in Theodore Roosevelt Park as a "class project" to showcase their new skills. Master Gardeners John Tweedle and Peter McWhinney joined Master Gardener students Bryon Holt and George Grateron to plant close to 300 plants and flowers in the park. In addition to the Japanese Anemone and Coral Bells, Astilbe, Fern, Redtwig Dogwood, Lentin Rose, Plantain Lily, Lungwort and Meadow Sage spread their roots in the park. Ronnit Bendavid Val, Horticulture Manager of Theodore Roosevelt Park, lent her expertise to the project.

The Master Gardener initiative is a Parks & Recreation training program for horticultural staff to learn advanced botany, urban garden design, turf maintenance, and other subjects to help keep New York City's parks green and healthy. Thirty-five employees have graduated from the program since its inception two years ago and another twenty students will graduate in the spring.

Over the past two years, Parks & Recreation has added 28 Greenstreets, installed 100 new playground gardens, 22 greeting gardens, added a blooming calendar to the Parks' website, and expanded the "Daffodil Project," a citywide initiative to create a living memorial for September 11, 2001. Parks Landscape Architects and Construction Managers have also developed numerous gardens and green spaces as they reconstruct and enhance playgrounds and parks across the City.

Among the community members who helped celebrate the end of the 2003 planting season in Theodore Roosevelt Park were: Barbara Adler, Executive Director of the Columbus Avenue Bid, Monica Blum, Executive Director of the Lincoln Square Bid, James Bourdaghs from the Broadway Mall Association and Lisa Guggenheim from Community & Government Relations of the American Museum of Natural History.

Parks & Recreation First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh, Manhattan Borough Commissioner William Castro, Manhattan Chief of Operations Nam Yoon, Manhattan Deputy Chief of Operations Margaret Peeler, Chief of Forestry and Horticulture Fiona Watt, Deputy Chief of Forestry and Horticulture Bram Gunther and Outreach Coordinator for Partnerships for Parks Tony Killeen also lent their support at the event.

Flowers bring natural beauty to our urban metropolis, but they can also improve our health. According to scientific studies, horticultural vistas have calming properties. Scientists have found that simply viewing a garden can quickly reduce blood pressure and pulse rate and can even increase the brain activity that controls our positive moods. Hopefully, the new garden in Theodore Park and the one million new flowers that have been planted this year will bring smiles to the faces of New Yorkers and tourists across the city.

Written by Jocelyn Aframe


The Daily Plant will take a needed vacation this week, observing a day of rest after Thanksgiving and returning on Monday, December 1. Happy Thanksgiving!


"Loveliest of lovely things are they,
On earth, that soonest pass away.
The rose that lives its little hour
Is prized beyond the sculptured flower."

William Cullen Bryant


Directions to Theodore Roosevelt Park

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