Breathing New Life Into New York City’s Bradhurst Garden

Project EverGreen's GreenCare for Communities initiative transforms Bradhurst Garden in New York City.

Green Care For Communities Nyc Project
Project EverGreen

Bradhurst Garden has stood for more than 30 years on the site of a former concrete building in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of New York City. Despite the tireless efforts of the community garden group and interested neighbors, the annual upkeep was too daunting a task. The lack of shady, cool areas to gather was a major drawback to the accessibility of the garden and to tackle these pitfalls the community needed much more than one person or one group.

Thankfully, that all changed on July 27-28 when more than 25 green industry professionals and community volunteers came together as part of Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Communities initiative to revitalize this beloved garden, a longtime green oasis and source of fresh fruits and vegetables for neighborhood residents. With values at $30,000, the initiative set to work on upping the accessibility offered at the garden as a first step towards restoration of the 5,000 sq. ft. community beacon.

“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.”

Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen, said that a well-maintained garden brings vital cooling relief to highly populated neighborhoods such as Hamilton Heights. “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.”

The garden has been relying on plywood flooring to form its outdoor gathering space and 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 volunteers at Project EverGreen worked in partnership with NYC Parks Green Thumb to renovate, improve and expand access to the garden.

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

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. As the Bradhurst Garden Group watched the transformation unfold, they were gracious for the efforts made by everyone involved.

“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.”

Other donors and industry volunteers 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.

The Bradhurst Garden is the seventh GreenCare for Communities project in New York City.