“We were surprised and shocked by the generosity of the donors. This garden is part of our community, it helps bring people together. It’s the greatest thing that ever happened to us. We appreciate everything.”
Yvonne “Eve” Bryant
Bradhurst Garden Group
Bradhurst Garden has stood for more than 30 years on the site of a former concrete building. And despite the tireless efforts of the community garden group and interested neighbors, the annual upkeep was too daunting a task.
Accessibility to a shady, cool area to gather in this Hamilton Heights garden was desperately needed, but the project was too much for one person or group to improve on their own.
That changed on July 27-28 when more than 25 green industry professional and community volunteers came together as part of Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Communities initiative to revitalize this beloved garden, a long-time green oasis and source of fresh fruits and vegetables for neighborhood residents.
The project – valued at $30,000 – transformed the garden’s accessibility and was the first step to restoring the 5,000 sq. ft. garden to its deserved standing in the community.
“I grew up here and I love the peace and serenity it brings me and my family,” said Leanne Williams, president of the Bradhurst Garden Group. “My uncle, Papa Joe, helped build this garden and created a place to bring people together in the community. It’s our pride and joy and now it’s better than ever.”
“A well-maintained green garden that brings cooling relief is vital to this highly populated neighborhood, but over the years it had fallen into disarray,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Bringing the community gardeners’ vision to life is possible only through collaboration of individuals, businesses and community grants. Our professional volunteers love sharing their expertise and giving back to neighborhood parks and gardens.”
Project EverGreen volunteers worked in partnership with NYC Parks Green Thumb to renovate, improve and expand access to the garden. Improved accessibility was critical to the garden as it has been relying on plywood flooring to form its outdoor gathering space. Gardeners were also awaiting the renovation so they could restore their prized vegetable gardens where they grow a variety of fruits and vegetables to feed the community.
The specifics of renovation included:
- Installed pavers to create new, accessible patio and path from front to back of the garden
- Pruned trees and bushes
- Installed more than 150 native perennials and shrubs
- Mulched the updated planting beds
- Removed brush and debris
- Built a new garden pergola
“We were surprised and shocked by the generosity of the donors. This garden is part of our community, it helps bring people together,” said Yvonne “Eve” Bryant, treasurer of the Bradhurst Garden Group. “It’s the greatest thing that ever happened to us. We appreciate everything.”
Lead donors for the project were ConEdison and Mt. Sinai Health System and the partner donor was the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Green Thumb Community Garden Initiative.
Industry volunteers and donors included Artisan Gardens, Cast Lighting, Mike Darling Construction, Plant Detectives, SRW Products, Totalscape Design and Turfs Up Radio. Their professional, donated volunteer time is estimated at $15,000.
This was the seventh GreenCare for Communities project in New York City since 2014. Previous projects have included Liberty Island (2014), Neighbors of Vega Baja (2017), Clinton Community Garden (2018-19), Jackie Robinson Community Garden (2020), Carolina Community Garden (2020) and Wishing Well Community Garden (2021).
Parks, lawns, landscapes and maintained green spaces help to mitigate temperature increases in communities and significantly reduce energy use and cooling costs. Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Communities initiative has made a significant impact. Since 2008, Project EverGreen and its partners have renovated community parks and public green spaces totaling more than 200 million square feet of living green space.
Through its nationwide base of professional volunteers, Project EverGreen has connected people, plants and their communities to maximize the health of grass, plants and trees, which in turn sequesters carbon and cleans the air. The initiative supports healthy green spaces in neighborhoods and cities, enabling maintained green spaces to function as the lungs of the city and offsetting the negative effects of a warming environment.