MORRIS-JUMEL MANSION

There's always something new at Manhattan's oldest house

A recap of the year so far!

When the season gets going I have a million things on my mind.  I'm watching the temperature and getting all the pruning done while plants are still dormant, I'm planning where to move plants, which to start from seed, which to fertilize, and much more.  Unfortunately, this blog has suffered from my own multi-tasking, but I'm finally here to give you all an update on the goings on at Roger Morris Park!

We've had a couple of really lovely garden events this year, including a nature walk led by naturalist extraordinaire Gabriel Willow.  We witnessed the garden go silent of bird song after a hunting kestrel entered the yard; we found a lone and lost robin's egg; we talked about pollinators and native plants... it was a fun and informative way to explore the park!

garden walk.jpg

Another successful evening was spent a few weeks later releasing thousands of hungry ladybugs all over the garden.  I was so happy to teach children and adults about the "good bugs" we encourage to stick around and help out, especially this year, as it's been a tough year for fighting aphids!  The ladybugs have been working hard, and I see their efforts everyday this year.  

One of my favorite developments this year was the thorough tree pruning we were lucky to receive!  Master arborists from Almstead Tree Care came and danced amid the tree tops and removed dangerous and heavy limbs from our big oaks, elms and locusts.  While it's always hard to see trees removed, it's good to remember that trees have a life span, just like people, and we just happened to be witnessing the end of two very sick and declining elm trees.  We're lucky to have so many beautiful trees in the park currently in the prime of their lives, and we have young trees that we can watch mature and add to the landscape in years to come!  

I hope to see you in the garden soon!  There are many ways to enjoy the grounds, from garden events to yoga, to a picnic with friends.  Come say hi if you see me popping up amongst the plants!  

A Summer Overview!

I have been remiss in updating this blog, if only because the summer season is truly the busiest in a garden.  Here's a quick summary of the happenings during our hottest months!

-Garden Camp for children was a great success with 12 young enthusiasts.  We learned about the flora and fauna of Roger Morris Park, planted a beautiful bed of annuals, constructed our own field guides, learned to identify insects and their roles in the garden, were introduced to some early settler agriculture by wool spinning and corn crafts, and much, much more!  There was always time at the end of the hot days for a run or two through the sprinklers, too.

-Weeding and reseeding of our lawns is an ongoing project started in late summer.  Most seed mixes include an assortment of annual and perennial grasses, and you may have noticed different rates of germination in the sunken garden, the oak lawn and the other seeded areas.  Fingers crossed we can establish some good healthy roots before winter comes!

-Our garden was represented at the big 250th Birthday bash!  Our gardener and some invaluable volunteers distributed info about ongoing projects and accepted donations for next year's expenses.  The biggest purchase needed in 2016 will be a drip hose irrigation system for the rose and perennial beds around the park.  Without in-ground irrigation watering during the hot summer months is a sisyphean task, and drip hoses would make all the difference in the world!  If you're interested in donating to the fundraising goal please feel free to go to the "Donate" page on this site and specify you'd like to help out the garden fund.  Thanks a million!

Learning to identify...even the weeds!

What makes a weed?  Many plants we consider weeds were brought to the US as ornamental plants or crop foods.  Others came invasively from unintentional sources.  Still others are actually native plants that have opportunistically found their ways into our gardens. Whatever their origin they're simply something every gardener will have to deal with year after year, but I think they're interesting!  Here's some examples of weeds I found at Roger Morris park recently.  

To every season...

It can be a fun challenge to notice every new change in the garden, especially if you're a frequent visitor.  I thought it would be neat to take regular photographs from the same location throughout the year to remind us all of the moments we've enjoyed and the circle of seasons we find ourselves in.  Can you spot all the subtle changes?  

The Rose parade is here!

Any visitor to Roger Morris Park knows that roses are a big part of this garden!  We are in the process of making a full garden inventory, so visitors next year will know where to look for their favorites.  Right now some are labeled, others not, some are antiques, others modern, but as they bloom we will all learn more about them, plant by plant.  Here's what we've seen in flower so far:

It may be cliché, but please do stop and smell the roses this season.  You'll be glad you did.

Mulch much?

If you've been in the park recently you've probably noticed a mountain of mulch on the north end of the garden.  The smell and sight of mulch is familiar, but what is it really for?

Mulching serves several purposes.  Firstly it helps keep soil moist, especially in a garden without much water access.  It slows down evaporation after rain and makes our gardener's job with the hoses a lot easier.  Secondly, it can suppress weed growth by blocking sunlight to seeds and seedlings under its layer.  Finally, we like mulching at Roger Morris because of aesthetic reasons.  It provides a nice uniform backdrop to the stunning flower displays all over the garden.  We hope you enjoy the sprucing up of beds you see over the next couple of weeks with our spring mulching!

What's blooming?

When spring finally comes to NYC it seems like there's a new plant or flower emerging by the minute.  It can be hard to keep up with what's coming and going, and every day feels like a surprise.  Here are a few of our favorites so far, all photos taken at Roger Morris Park.  Come visit and find your favorite!


65 Jumel Terrace, New York, New York, 10032

(212) 923-8008

Morris-Jumel Mansion is a proud member of the Historic House Trust of New York City
and partner of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.