Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Garden Grows in Ridgewood

By Richard Bocklet
Contributing Writer

Flower gardens add attractiveness, warmth and beauty to the properties on which they grow—the also have an affect on individual blocks and entire neighborhoods. Even without a lawn, concrete space can be delightfully decorated with the addition of planters, rich soil and a plentiful variety of flowers and shrubs to suit every taste and mood.

On a block of classical brownstone residences dating back to l903, Eufemia Patron has set quite the example for gardening enthusiasts and observers alike at her home on 68th Road in Ridgewood. With the enthusiastic approval of her landlord Luis Tello, three summers ago, she started the garden with petunias, balsam, zinnia and yellow lilies, among others.

She remembers her house in Mindinao, the Philippines, and the big garden with twelve birds thriving in the tropical climate there. “I thought it would be impossible to have a beautiful garden in New York City,” she mused, “but with an on-going investment between $200 and $300, my garden blossomed. I use the same soil season after season - from April through November – and give care, attention and ten-minute daily watering.”

And Patron definitely gets a positive reaction from people passing the house and stopping by to admire her garden. “Every day people stop, look at my garden and smile and that makes me so happy.”

Passersby are not the only ones pleased with Patrons green thumb. Landlord Tello is pleased to have such a creative tenant. “I drive her to Home Depot to get the flowers, plants and other supplies for the front and back gardens,” he declared. “She maintains everything in such good condition. I encourage her to keep gardening,”

A year ago, she introduced a pair of affectionate, playful cockatiels to her apartment. On nice days she incorporates their cage into the garden. And her love of gardening is shared with friends all over the world. On birthdays and special occasions she sends e-mail greetings decorated with pictures of her ever-expanding horticultural display.

Offering a word of advice to her neighbors, the local gardener from far away says, “I recommend a garden to everyone,” she said beaming. “Growing flowers will make you happy.”

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