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Updated: Aug 28

With Board Member Angela Cusato’s Charitable Gift,

A New Water Feature Springs to Life; Dedicated to Jaxe, her German Shepherd

Rye Brook, N.Y. -- Crawford Park will soon be even more beautiful and tranquil. A new fountain, made possible by a gift from Friends of Crawford Park Board Member Angela Cusato, will soon begin flowing in the park’s Sunken Garden.

The water feature fulfills the vision of Friends Founder Eleanor Herman, an artist and avid gardener who painted a picture of the Sunken Garden with a fountain in the center oval. Until now, the fountain remained only in the picture. As an active member of the Friends for the past five years, Cusato was inspired by Herman’s artistry to make the fountain a reality in the park.

“The fountain concept immediately struck me as a special and missing piece of the park ‘bones’ based on the founder's vision, which was often times discussed at Board meetings,”said Cusato.

The fountain, a solar-powered, bubbling birdbath, will be activated this spring. “Thanks to Angela’s generous donation, a beautiful, calming water feature will serve as the centerpiece of the Sunken Garden—a blooming niche for quiet reflection and a soon-to-be oasis for the many birds that live in the park,” said Friends of Crawford Park President Laura Klein. “It looks like the fountain was meant to be because it has been on our wish list for the garden for years,” she added.

As a board member and volunteer, Cusato says her relationship with the Friends “puts me in my happy place.” She intends to dedicate the fountain to her 3-1/2-year-old German Shepherd Jaxe, her faithful companion during walks in the park.

The Rye Brook estate of the late Edna and Everett Crawford, now known as Crawford Park, was donated to the Town of Rye in 1974. The Friends of Crawford Park is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 organization created to enhance and maintain this jewel of the community.

Individuals and businesses wishing to donate to the park’s ongoing beautification and walking-path restoration may contact the Friends through its website:

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Planning for Spring

I confess what gets me through these dark, cold winter months is the promise of spring and all that it offers. So planning, aka dreaming, of what the Friends can accomplish once the weather warms up is extremely motivating.

These efforts are all made possible through the funds that you, my friends, generously gave us. We had a tremendous response to our end of the year appeal this year - thank you to those who gave.

If you haven't donated yet but want here.

Outdoor Seed Sowing Now?

Although there is a ton of snow on the ground while I’m writing this, there are plenty of seeds that can actually benefit from the being left outside to shiver and peel off those hard outer layers. I stumbled upon an entire subculture of gardeners that are obsessed with winter sowing and I am a getting sucked in as well. I currently have 21 containers with seeds buried beneath the snow in my backyard.

Great candidates for winter sowing include all the perennial flowers that set seed in the fall and propagate naturally in the spring. These include black-eyed Susans, purple coneflower, milkweed, butterfly weed and delphinium. Like the crazy plant lady I am, I went around deadheading some of my favorite seed-bearing perennials at Crawford Park this fall and have potted them up and am waiting to spread their pollinating power back in the park this spring.

If you want to learn more about winter seed sowing check this out.

Tree Highlight - The Mighty Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern red cedars, the native, old wood giants in the park, are well loved by many a park goer - this includes birds as well as babies. It is such a beneficial tree, especially this time of year because its blue berries are an important source of food for more that 50 bird species - most notably the Waxwing Cedar song bird, who is actually named after the tree. And it provides refuge for a wide variety of animals including rabbits, foxes, raccoons and more.

And our old grove, albeit just a few trees residing near the mansion, is especially charming because its base support multiple tree trunks and they invite you in to take it all in: it’s furry bark and heavy aroma was the perfect hide-and-go-seek place my boys would used when they were small.

They are tough trees that have been here longer than all of us and since some species can live 500 years, they will hopefully continue to give visual pleasure, give bird’s food and shelter for centuries to come.

Asking for a Friend -

Many of you who frequent the park may know George Hogben. He lives in the caretaker’s cottage on Lincoln. He is the most kind-hearted, helpful, generous person I know.

He has sat through many of our Friends of Crawford Park meetings and has helped us get several trees and shrubs to the park with his handy pickup truck. Well, he needs our help now.

Words cannot express how I am feeling about this. If you know George - you love him and you would want to help him too. Click here to hear his story.

Thanks again for your interest and support, we are looking forward to growing together this Spring. If you want become an active member of our group. Please email us at Our next monthly zoom meeting is Thursday, February 11th at 7:30pm.

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