They put the “garden” in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens!
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s chief horticulturist dubbed a small stretch of Lefferts Avenue the Greenest Block in Brooklyn on Wednesday, and all it took was four years of backbreaking labor, according to one green-thumbed resident.
“We are so happy,” said Dr. Zorina Frederick, a member of the Lefferts Alliance Community Togetherness Block Association. ”After four years of entering this competition, last year we came second, we almost got it, and this year we came first!”
A small army of spade-wielding green thumbs representing more than 150 blocks went head-to-head to for a chance to score the Botanic Garden’s prestigious gardening award in a year marked by dry spells, sudden deluges, and long periods of hot and cold temperatures, according to Brooklyn Botanic’s director of horticulture.
“The competition was friendly — and fierce,” said garden honcho Mark Fisher. “Maintaining these street-side gardens this year took a lot of hard work.”
But the Lefferts Avenue block between Bedford and Rogers avenues stood head and shoulders above their tree-tending rivals, according to Fisher, who officiated a ceremony attended by Borough President Eric Adams on the block in recognition of the Prospect Lefferts gardeners.
“The top entrees were stellar, but one contender ultimately stood out,” said Fisher.
A panel of 20 judges visited each and every competing block throughout the summer before naming their winners on Wednesday, who were judged on a variety of horticultural practices, including sustainability, use of native plants, and quality of tree beds.
The Lefferts Avenue block’s impressive street-side greenery belied its lack of street-side plumbing, and resident green thumbs were forced to lug buckets of water, along with mulch and other supplies, up and down the street to feed their thirsty plants, according to one resident.
“They have to take water from one end of the block to the other,” said Francisca Leopold. “It’s a good thing they have good husbands, because they’re no use to nobody when they’re going inside at the end of the day.”
But the Lefferts Avenue gardeners didn’t just grow plants, they grew friendships too — the real fruit of a community garden, according to one resident.
“We started sharing ideas and knowledge, and helping one another, and what we found was that in doing this we built a stronger community, not just of gardeners, but of neighbors, and that is what today is all about,” said Doug Bruha.