We were busy gardeners in 2018, with 35 events. We meet every Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM from April to Thanksgiving. We have a dedicated group of about 10 people who come out every Saturday and we are joined by others gardeners each week including many students from our local middle schools IS 230 and IS 145, local PTAs, and girl scout troupes.
We started the year with over 20 volunteers attending the NYC Parks Green Thumb Grow Together Conference at the Borough of Manhattan Community College run by our JH neighbor Carlos Martinez.
Each year on the first Saturday in April we have our garden planning breakfast where volunteers plan out the projects for the upcoming year. We had over 30 people and set an ambitious schedule for the year with group projects at 13 different locations.
Our biggest effort was along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway where we had groups of volunteers work on 8 different dates including the addition of a mural along 65th Street done with the aid of Jim Riccio’s graffiti removal and Lisa Koss and girl scout troupe 4545 for the artwork. This was the second year we farmed the space on the other side of the BQE at 65th and Northern Blvd. thanks to the hard work of Rosa and Angel Naranjo, who have turned the area into a large vegetable garden. Most of the work around the BQE was done by Rafael Rodriguez who volunteers daily to maintain the area. There is now a hill of flowers across from the construction site of the new elementary school PS 398. The hill of flowers was planted and maintained by master-gardener and neighbor Lucia Kerrigan.
We spent four Saturday mornings at IS 145 PTA with the help of PTA President and JHBG Board member Martha Sanchez we continue our work on their large garden. This project started last year as a memorial garden for the former Principal Dolores Beckham but has grown to a revitalization of the entire garden that surrounds the school.
JHBG’s first school garden was PS 149 and this year we returned 4 times. We had the help of a neighbor and first-grade teacher Tracy Laumenede and her class we planted bulbs and trimmed bushes.
One of our newer schools is PS 148. With the help of PTA President Ana Maria Leon and her volunteers, we have transformed the schoolyard into a garden.
While PS 280 does not have a large garden, it has very enthusiastic parents who have come out and helped us in rain and shine. With the help of Carmen Marca and Principal Lisa Hidalgo, we have turned the small area into a garden.
One of our most special places is Leverich Cemetery which is now starting to look like a garden. This year with the help of local girl scouts we worked at the cemetery on 4 different dates.
We also maintain the small side garden at IS 230 and many students from IS 230 come out and volunteer with us.
Due to construction at the schools were we only able to work at PS 69 and PS 92 once, but we will return once the construction is completed.
With the help of neighbor James Pirone and the hot dog vendor Luis Vasquez and Food Bazaar, we are able to maintain the garden at the end of the Food Bazaar parking lot on 34th Avenue and Junction Blvd.
This year we added a Japanese Maple tree to the garden at the 90th Street 7 train triangle and a big shout out to Angel Naranjo for building the large planter and to vendor Mario Dutan for keeping the plants watered all summer long.
This year we dipped into Elmhurst and worked on the Veteran Hall garden thanks to the connection made by James McMenamin and Jennifer Ochoa of the Elmhurst History and Cemetery Preservation Society. This is a beautiful space and we hope to work there again next year.
We also worked with St. Mark’s Church to help them build a raised bed. Thanks to Cathy O’Connor, Lucia Kerrigan and Dorothy Moran for all the work they do to keep the luscious garden beautiful.
Special thanks to John Bankson for his help on cleaning up 69th Street as well as for his talents in putting together our poster.
We did this with the support of funding from Con Edison and thank Al Harris for all of his help in gaining the funding.