Gardening

Every Saturday from April to November, JHBG garden volunteers work on one of our 19 different garden spaces from 10 AM to 1 PM. We supply gloves, tools, plants and water and you clean and green the neighborhood.

With the support from Con Edison, in 2018, the Jackson Heights Beautification Group had its largest gardening program ever.  We held over 40 gardening events!  Not only did we meet every Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM from April to Thanksgiving (32 times) we also held a few Sunday events and some school day events working with school groups and local girl scout troops.  While we have a dedicated group of about 10 people who come out every Saturday, each week we are also joined by an ever-growing group of gardeners including many students from our local middle schools, IS 230 and IS 145, local PTAs, and girl scout troops.

We started the year with over 20 volunteers attending the NYC Parks Green Thumb Grow Together Conference at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.  While it may be too cold to plant in March, our gardeners plan for the upcoming season, connect with other city gardeners and learn tricks of the trade from other city gardeners.

 

Each year on the first Saturday in April we hold our garden planning breakfast where volunteers plan out the projects for the upcoming year.  This year we had over 30 people come together and over pancakes the group selected 13 different projects they wished to accomplish.  This was our most ambitious schedule ever and our volunteers not only completed but went beyond the initial 13 projects.

 

Our biggest effort this year was along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway between Broadway and Northern Blvd.  We held 8 large events to tackle this big project.

 

Given the warm winter and litter, the rat problem had gotten out of control in the spring of 2018.  So, in the spring, we not only picked up the garbage, but we also held a Rat Academy for residents and business to learn how to deal with the rat problem.  We even raffled off 28 ratproof trashcans.  All summer long we had a volunteer pick up garbage around the area almost daily.  We coordinated with both Community Board 2 and 3 to have increase sanitation collection.  In addition, we had a volunteer work almost daily to pick up the garbage.  The rat population is down by 90%.  The rat population is down by 90% and we continue to monitor the problem.  This fall we are replanting the tulip garden that had been lost due to the rat infestation.

This year with the help of JHBG Graffiti buster, Jim Riccio, and girl scout troop 4545 the Jackson Heights Beautification Group painted over a block of graffiti and replaced it with a garden inspired mural.

2018 was the second year JHBG farmed the space on the west side of the BQE at 64th and Northern Blvd.  In 2017 it was a trash strewn lot (see photo on the right), but thanks to the hard work of a lot of volunteers and the continuing efforts of Rosa and Angel Naranjo, this year it was a vibrant flower and vegetable garden with a bountiful harvest.

Most of the day to day work around the BQE was done by Rafael Rodriguez who volunteers 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.

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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.

2018 Spring Gardening Schedule/Calendario de jardinería de primavera 2018

Jackson Heights Beautification Group meets every Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM from April to November and work on projects all around Jackson Heights.   We supply the gloves, tools, plants and water, just show up and dig in.  Check out our website for more details at www.JHBG.org.  We are gardeners, so we work rain or shine.  For more information e-mail: info@JHBG.org.

El Jackson Heights Beautification Group se reúne todos los sábados de 10 AM a 1 PM de abril a noviembre y trabaja en proyectos en todo Jackson Heights. Suministramos los guantes, las herramientas, las plantas y el agua, solo aparece e indague. Consulte nuestro sitio web para obtener más detalles en www.JHBG.org. Somos jardineros, así que trabajamos llueva o haga sol. Para más información, envíe un correo electrónico a: info@JHBG.org.

4/14 –   BQE Cleanup – meet at 35th Ave. & 69th Street. (JHBG Composting Center)

4/21 —  IS 145 and 34th Ave. median – meet in IS 145 parking lot at 79th Street and 34th Ave.

4/28 —  IS 230 – meet at 73rd Street and 34th Avenue.

5/5   —  PS 148 – meet at 89th Street and 32nd Avenue.

5/12 —  PS 149 & Food Bazaar @ Junction Blvd.  meet at 94th Street and 34th Avenue.

5/19 —  PS280 – meet at 94th Street and 35th Ave.

5/26 —  PS 69 – meet at 78th Street and 37th Ave.

6/2   —  Leverich Cemetery – meet at 72nd St. and 35th Ave. behind the Animal Hospital.

6/9   —  HISTORIC WEEKEND – enjoy the gardens.

6/16 — BQE Clean up – meet at 35th Ave. and 69th Street

6/23 — IS 145 – meet at 79th Street and 34th Avenue.

6/30 — BQE – Northern Blvd. & 64th Street

The Jackson Heights Beautification Group volunteers garden each Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM from April to November at our 18 different green spots around Jackson Heights.  Everyone is welcome to join, we need your help to make the community bloom!  Just check the website to see our locations and drop by to help.  JHBG brings the tools, gloves, plants, and water for all the volunteers.

We have a planting schedule in the spring and the fall and during the summer we work to maintain all our different spaces:

1) 64th and Northern (farm on other side of BQE) – newest space
2) 69th and Northern (sunflowers by the gas station entrance ramp)
3) 69th Street and 34th Ave. (farm on hill by BQE)
4) 69th Street and 35th Ave. (composting and storage location)
5) 69th Street between 37 & 35th Ave. (garden by railroad track)
6) 69th Street and 37th Ave. (tulip garden)
7) Leverich Cemetery (35th Ave. and 71st St.)
8) IS 230 (34th Ave. and 73rd St.)
9) IS 145 (34th Ave. and 79th St.)
10) PS 69 (37th Ave. and 77th St.)
11) Post Office (37th Ave. and 79th St.)
12) Street Trees along 37th Ave.
13) PS 280 (35th Ave. and 93rd St.)
14) PS 149 (34th Ave. and 94th St.)
15) Food Bazaar (34th Avenue and Junction Blvd)

16) PS 92 (34th Ave. and 99th Street) 

17) New planters at 90th Street and Roosevelt Ave (triangle under the train station) 

18) Planned next space- 35th Avenue and 64th Street (see photo below of current condition).

 

Fall 2017 Schedule:

I am working on the fall gardening schedule.  Here is what I propose.  I am waiting for confirmation from the schools.

September 2 – Post Office – 37th Ave. & 78th St.
                    9 – 69th Street at 35th Ave.
                   16 – PS 92 – 34th Ave. & 99th St.
                  23 – PS 149 – 34th Ave. & 94th St.
                  30 – PS 148 – 32nd Ave. + 90th St.
October        7 – IS 145 – 34th Ave. & 79th St.
                    14 – PS 280 – 35th Ave. & 94th St.
                    21 – PS 69 – 37th Ave. & 77th St.
                   28 – Leverich Cemetery – 72nd St. & 35th Ave.
     Tuesday 31 – Halloween Parade 5 PM on 37th 
November   4 – Food Bazar – Junction Blvd. & 34th Ave.
                     11 – 64th St. & Northern Blvd.
                     18 – 69th St. & 35th Ave.
We garden Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM until Thanksgiving.
We are gardeners so we work rain or shine.

Spring Planning Breakfast:

Each spring we hold a planning breakfast where people eat pancakes and propose gardening spots to work on.  Once the schedule is set, we have a group of about 10 – 30 people who meet each Saturday morning from about 10 AM to 1 PM.  Jackson Heights Beautification Group supplies the plants,  tools, gloves, and water.

Street Trees along 37th Avenue

Jackson Heights Beautification Group volunteers plant and water many of the street trees along 37th Avenue.  A dedicated team of volunteers have been installing tree guards around new trees and planting tree gardens around the trees.  The life of a street tree is difficult and we need to work to keep these trees healthy.  We have removed the paving stones around most trees so the roots can have acess to more air and water.  We break up compacted dirt and add mulch all in an effort to keep these trees healthy.

Leverich Cemetery – Started in 2014

64th Street and Northern Blvd.  Started in 2017

69th Street — Our first garden started in 2010

PS 69 – Started in 2015

IS 145 – Started in 2016 but big re-hab done in Spring of 2017

PS 280 – Started work in 2015

PS 149 – Started work in 2014

69th Street Finca (Farm) – Started in 2015

69th Street and Northern Blvd. — Started in 2016

JH Post Office  — is maintained by JHBG, becuase if not it looks like the photo above.

Garden at 69th Street and 37th Ave

Tree workshop along 37th Avenue

69th Street and 34th Avenue, before and after.  Started 2014

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Street Trees along 37th Avenue

Jackson Heights Beautification Group volunteers plant and water many of the street trees along 37th Avenue.  A dedicated team of volunteers have been installing tree guards around new trees and planting tree gardens around the trees.  The life of a street tree is difficult and we need to work to keep these trees healthy.  We have removed the paving stones around most trees so the roots can have acess to more air and water.  We break up compacted dirt and add mulch all in an effort to keep these trees healthy.

We have a planting schedule in the spring and the fall and during the summer we work to maintain our 16 different spaces:

We hope to add planters at the 90th Street triangle soon.

Each spring we hold a planning breakfast where people eat pancakes and propose gardening spots to work on.  Once the schedule is set, we have a group of about 10 – 30 people who meet each Saturday morning from about 10 AM to 1 PM.  Jackson Heights Beautification Group supplies the plants,  tools, gloves, and water.

SpringPlaning (2)

 The event will help continue to restore the Leverich Cemetery on 35th Avenue.

This small family burial ground, hidden behind homes and businesses along Leverich St and 35th Ave, in Jackson Heights, Queens, is all that remains of the colonial homestead established by Caleb Leverich in the 17th century, in what was then the Trains Meadow section of old Newtown, Long Island.  Caleb was the son of English minister William Leverich, who immigrated to America in 1633.  The Leveriches became a prominent Newtown family and their old homestead, originally built by Caleb in 1670, stood nearby the burial ground until it burned down in 1909.

When the cemetery was first used is unknown.  Nineteenth-century historian James Riker recorded the 33 headstones that were present in the cemetery in 1842; the earliest was that of Caleb’s grandson John Leverich, who died in 1780.  The cemetery appears to have fallen out of use during the mid-1800s, around which time the Leverich homestead seems to have passed out of the family. Although the cemetery was abandoned as family members moved out of the area, the plot was excluded from the development that sprung up around it in the early 20th century.

City property records still identify the site as the Leverich Family Burial Ground, but there is nothing left to distinguish it as such.  All of the headstones have disappeared, there are no signs identifying it as a burial ground, and the site is tangled with brush and debris and strewn with rubbish. The cemetery has not been completely forgotten, however; many of the surrounding business- and homeowners know that the site is an old graveyard and some have attempted to clean up and protect the area.  When I visited the site in October 2010, the owner of one of the adjacent homes said that he and other neighbors had some of the debris hauled off and that they had installed the gate at the site’s entrance, which is in an alley behind neighboring businesses.  A neighborhood woman holds the key to the gate, and comes each day to feed the cats that seek shelter there. A family descendant, Tom Leverich, has researched and written about the burial ground, and local preservationists and community groups have also expressed concern for the site and an interest in preserving it.

The Leverich burial ground and family home on old Trains Meadow Road in the 19th century (Beers 1873)

Each Spring we hold a planning breakfast to set the gardening agenda for the season.  We invite everyone to come forward with their gardening projects.  The group then descends on that block on the predetermined Saturday to complete the project.  JHBG provides the gloves, tools, dirt, mulch and plants.  You provide the labor.  Yes, you can live in a small apartment and still garden every weekend without having to keep a shovel in your apartment.

Some of our programs are:

  • Working with street trees along 37th Avenue
  • Maintaining the garden in front of the 37th Avenue Post Office
  • Cleaning and greening along 69th Sreet from 37th Avenue to Northern Blvd.
  • Started and maintain the garden by the Food Bazaar on 34th Avenue and Junction Blvd.
  • Working with local schools including
    • PS 69
    • IS 230
    • IS 145
    • PS 280
    • PS 149
    • PS 92
  • We have worked Web_Sum11x17with New York Restoraiton Project giving away free trees.
Yes, a tree spring tree giveaway season

Yes, a tree
spring tree giveaway season


Adopt a Tree: You may have noticed that trees along 37th Avenue have little signs identifying them as having been adopted. If you want to adopt a tree, we will supply flowers—all you have to do is keep the tree clean and watered. This has turned out to be a wonderfully successful program. Thanks to all who have made it so!  Each year we loosen the dirt around many street trees.  We remove bricks and add mulch.

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Rafael Rodriguez is our full time gardening volunteer.  He has planted thousands of daffodil and tulip bulbs around Jackson Heights.  He has been working on improving the area along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Clean Streets

Tree workshop along 37th Avenue 88th to Junction Blvd