The area that is now the Greene Acres Garden was once brownstone homes. These homes burned and were demolished sometime in the 1970s. The area between the row of three mulberry trees and the back wall was a garden worked by Santos Cosme, who was famous throughout the neighborhood for his tomatoes, his house of pumpkin vines, and his charm. Santos is memorialized in the cross painted on the back wall of the Garden. The rest of what is now the Garden was very briefly a community garden sometime in the 1980s. The raspberry plants near the Paulownia tree are thought to be remnants of this garden.
A view from the roof of 347 Greene, from early in the winter of 2001.
In 2000, members of the environmental group Time's Up wanted to use their energy and enthusiasm to get a community garden started. They contacted the NY Garden Trust, who pointed them to the lot at Franklin and Greene. In the spring and summer of 2001, Time's Up members and an increasing number of neighbors cleared the lot and began plans for lanscaping a garden. Mugwort weeds were brought down to reasonable levels, rubble and trash was removed, and the fence through the mulberry trees was taken down. In the fall of 2001, stones were placed surrounding the big Paulownia tree and wooden frames were made to house plots. Landscaping ideas and bylaws were discussed at meetings.
The spring and summer of 2002 brought our first season of planting.
Who Owns the Garden?
The Garden is owned by the New York Garden Trust which is part of the New York Restoration Project. The project, under the leadership and funding of actor and singer Bette Midler, purchased 114 community gardens which were on the auction block by the city, to make sure that they stay gardens in perpetuity.
The Garden also gets donations and help from the NYC Parks and Rec Green Thumb Program and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Early September 2003 taken from inside the Greene Ave gate.
December 20, 2003, during path construction taken from inside the Greene Ave gate.