What's going on at the park...


Updated: 2 days ago

Summer is here in full tilt and the park is blooming with color and booming with people. Now more than ever, Crawford Park is a sanctuary and a safe place for friends and family to meet outside. Hopefully everyone is using safe social distancing while they are enjoying the landscape: the real fruits of the Friends of Crawford Park’s labor.

What’s growing great this time of year at the park?

Karl Foerster Feather Reed Ornamental Grasses -

I love this very columnal grass because it grows so straight and proud and provides year-long architectural interest. And unlike other ornamental grasses, Karl Foerster's seeds are sterile so they are not invasive - it can grow 60” tall and spreads about 24” wide. Here it is in the center of the parking lot planting area.

Crepe Myrtles -

Crepe Myrtles are commanding some attention this month. I grew up in South Georgia and these ornamental trees were all over the place. I love their smooth bark and wide variety of colors. Edna Crawford, the original owner of this land, loved them too. You can see two original ones flanking each side of her solarium doors on the left side of the mansion. There are also newer trees planted near the pavilion and sunken garden.

Although these trees are not native, they do attract and feed a lot of birds. Right now, their blooms are feeding the hummingbirds and be sure to check out the action in December - February when the tree’s blooms turns to seed and satisfy a slew of birds.

Purple Coneflowers -

The Friends planted the purple pow-wow wildberry coneflowers in the parking lot last fall and it is loving it. This first rule of gardening is to select the right space for the right plant and while the coneflower can tolerate part shade it is flourishing in this sunny location. We planted them with black eye susan and some shasta daisies to flood the areas with color from late spring to late summer. They will drop their seeds and multiple. We are going to take some seeds to see if we can’t propagate more for next year but leave most of the flowers intact so the birds will chow down. We should have some pretty fat birds at the park!

Planning for Fall

And while we are all enjoying the colors of the summer, the Friends are also working on what can be done this fall. We have plans to expand the parking lot plantings this fall as well as bring back some turn of the century charm to Edna Crawford’s Sunken Garden, with more phlox, bearded irises, lady’s mantle and delphinium. We have always wanted to add a birdbath fountain in the middle of the sunken garden and thanks to a generous donation and advances in solar powered water pumps, that is in the works!

Edna Crawford's Sunken Garden while she was residing here. Date of the photo unknown.

We are also wanting to plant more trees along the perimeter of the park, especially behind the new parking lot area and in the space where all these invasive vines were cleared but now people’s backyards are more visible to park goers. For their privacy and the park’s seclusion, more trees are going to be added.

Donations are needed

All these plans take money to implement. Donations are always needed to keep us growing. We can’t host any of our amazing Music at the Mansion shows right now, so we have posted text to donate signs throughout the park. But you don’t have to text us- you can just click here to donate now.

No gym, no problem

The Town of Rye is working hard not only to maintain and improve the park, they are also helping facilitate a bunch of outside exercise classes. For more information go to Crawford Park's Facebook page for all event info:

Yoga, Zumba, Strength Training and Art Classes are all being hosted inside the pavilion.

Please note that the Town of Rye is responsible for park rentals, these are not sponsored or fundraising events for or by the Friends. We are a non-profit gardening group that beautifies the park.

There is a saying that a garden takes three years to grow. The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps. The Robert Morabito Memorial Garden is only a year and a half old and we are happy to report that it has taken root and is being well maintained.

The Robert Morabito Garden honors a man who spent 14 years as Supervisor to the Town of Rye and was a huge champion of Crawford Park. Before his untimely death in January 2018 Bob gave his annual donation to the Friends of Crawford Park, with a note saying “Keep up the good work. Park looks great.”

Laura Klein, president of the Friends of Crawford Park, contacted three of Robert Morabito’s dearest friends, Chris Cohan, Mike Borrelli and Raymond Sculky and they collected over $5000 from Bobby’s friends and family. The community support was wonderful and in the fall of 2018 the garden was planted.

Designed by landscape architect Chris Cohan, the garden has become a sanctuary for many park goers. Just last week, I watched a little girl pose in front of the beautiful Annabelle hydrangeas - her tiny beauty was flanked with white pom-poms and dark green leaves. Earlier this year, the serviceberry trees came to life as one of the early bloomers of spring while daffodils and bluebells provided a colorful tapestry below. The teak bench, at the center of the garden, provides a focal point and place of respite.

Friends of Crawford Park remain committed to the entire park and this new memorial garden’s ongoing maintenance and success. We recently added more Japanese forest grasses and foam flowers to the center of the garden as well as annuals for color.

We sincerely thank all who gave and helped bring this garden to life! We hope you will visit the garden this summer, sit amongst the plants remembering Bobby and how he loved Crawford Park.

I love this time of year. The ground is too cold to plant in the park so that gives the Friends of Crawford Park time to let our roots grow deeper. This is the time of year when we send out our end of the year appeal and it is like Christmas every time I collect the mail and see your donations come in. And it isn't just the monetary support that I appreciate, it is also the feeling of affirmation. People love the park and they trust that the we will use our donations wisely. We are an all-volunteer organization, made up of caring members of the community. All the money that we raise, goes back to the park. We plant trees, shrubs, flowers and even grass.

This year we are going to reseed the wildflower garden, and return it to its full glory. We are going to continue to plant in the new parking lot area next to the mansion, so we will have year long blooms and seasonal interest. We will host great music events and finally repair the walking path! We have a lot of work to do and a few more of you have raised your hand and offered to volunteer in 2020. We look forward to working with you and becoming Friends.

If you haven't donated yet, it is never too late. Click here to donate online or mail your checks to Friends of Crawford Park, 7 Rye Ridge Plaza, PMB 105, Rye Brook, NY 10573.


The Friends of Crawford Park is an all-volunteer, 501(C)(3) organization whose purpose is to continually enhance and maintain this jewel of the community.

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Photo Credit: Diana Lee Angstadt


T: +1-914-417-9151


A: 122 North Ridge Street
     Rye Brook, NY 10573 USA