A Garden of Hope at Christopher Columbus Park

Hope is springing up in the classic rose garden at Christopher Columbus Park.

Early this spring, Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP) Horticulture Co- Chairs, Robyn Reed and Terese O’Connell, discovered that most of the hybrid roses did not make it through the winter. Faced with a nearly barren space and not planning to replace the roses until the fall, Robyn came up with the idea for “A Garden of Hope.” She and Terese, an experienced horticulturist, began working on a plan and designed a vibrant cutting garden planted primarily with a riot of colorful annuals. As the garden comes into full bloom, flowers will be cut for bouquets for local health care facilities and for individuals needing TLC and a touch of hope.

In order to follow safe distancing rules, a very small team of FOCCP Horticulture members including Robyn Reed, Terese O’Connell, Meredith Piscitelli, and Pauline Cuoco worked in the garden planting seeds, seedlings, bulbs, and some perennials. A river of stepping stones entering the center garden, circling the center arbor, and exiting the space was installed. The original team with the addition of Lew Gaffen takes turns watering the garden, a daily necessity as the delicate plantings take root.

How soothing to watch a garden grow! Be prepared to see: lantana, tickseed, dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, African daisies, lavender, carnations, Mandevilla, Rudbeckia, Dipladenia, salvia and various butterfly attracting wildflowers.

In its twenty years of existence, FOCCP has been dedicated to providing a vibrant and welcoming space to locals, visitors, and the public at large. During these challenging times, the importance of a park for respite and renewal as symbolized by The Garden of Hope is even more vital.

Photos Courtesy of Meredith Piscitelli and Terese O’Connell

The Garden of Hope and all of the many FOCCP projects are only possible because of member support. Unfortunately, given the current circumstances, this year we are seeing a sizable drop in new memberships and in renewals. We can’t do this without your support. Please consider becoming a member ( or a sponsor ( Together We Are Part of Something Bigger! Thank you and enjoy your Park!