A sturdy trellis for the raspberries was milled and constructed by Dave Hayes, NPS Resource Management Team Leader, from a historic oak that overlooked the vegetable garden for the entirety of Franklin Roosevelt’s life.
Gardening in Today’s Climate
Excessive heat and drought posed challenges for plants and people. Water conserving methods, such as timed soaker hoses, were used to keep crops productive. Pace and hydration were key to keeping gardeners safe. Organic methods that take a holistic approach to garden health helped buffer the garden from crop stresses caused by extreme weather.
Following an infestation of onion maggots in young transplants and consulting with Cornell Cooperative Extension, the gardeners applied New York native entomopathic nematodes to all garden areas. These microscopic creatures parasitize the larvae of many soil-born garden pests, and populations are persistent. NPS horticulturists will stay in touch with Cornell Researchers about this relatively new research application.
Interpretation through Social Media
This season, the garden got a big boost from NPS Interpretive Ranger Elizabeth Walden. Elizabeth visited the garden during harvest on Tuesdays, photographing the produce and interviewing staff, volunteers, and visitors. From these visits, she created fun and educational posts for the park’s Facebook site, expanding public outreach and helping to spread the Roosevelts’ legacy of the importance of equal access to nutritious and locally grown foods. Click here to read Elizabeth’s final Facebook post of the season.
The horticulture staff continues to strengthen community partnerships. Food security programs at Dutchess Outreach have evolved to meet expanding needs in the region. The FDR Hyde Park Foundation has provided support for these programs through Home Garden produce donations and raising awareness of the benefits of the Mobile Fresh Market.
Other program-expanding partnerships included Nubian Directions, a City of Poughkeepsie Youth Employment Program; and Living Resources, an organization that supports and empowers individuals with disabilities or other life-challenging conditions to live with dignity, independence, and happiness. Both of these partnerships bring energetic volunteer support to the garden and help the NPS work towards goals of accessibility for the community. Poughkeepsie Day School and the Culinary Institute of America continued to be great educational partners for shared learning both in the park and on their campuses.
For the second year in a row, NPS horticulture staff partnered with Vassar College Office of Community Engaged Learning (OCEL) in the Vassar OCEL Fellows program. Vassar OCEL identifies, recruits, and pays a stipend to student Fellows who are best matched to the NPS community horticulture program. Hailey Osika designed an educational kiosk for small space garden exhibit, took a leadership role in garden volunteer support, introduced other Vassar students to the park and its volunteer programs, and became an integral part of the staff with significant contributions to work in all areas.
This year the horticulture staff launched a successful campaign to increase volunteer participation. Ten new repeating volunteers were added to the existing ranks, and volunteers logged 920 hours in the garden. While these numbers represent a significant amount of labor for the program, they don’t begin to describe the talent, energy and outreach that volunteers contribute.
The Landscape and Garden Division of the Roosevelt Vanderbilt NHS thanks the Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park Foundation for their continued support of the Home Garden Restoration. Their support ensures the interpretation of an important legacy of the Roosevelt family in Hyde Park and allows us to connect our community and visitors to their stories.