Colorful opening to garden season

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The sun was shining in a bright, blue sky. The air was warm. It was a perfect day to be outdoors and a perfect time to open the season for the Armstrong Court Community Garden.

“It’s an amazing day to be out in the garden,” Patty Sechi, president and founder of Greenwich Community Gardens, said at Saturday morning’s opening. “Everyone is so eager to get out there after the winter we just had. We are so excited. Everyone who is a gardener knows as soon as you can get your hands in the soil again, all is well.”
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The official opening, complete with oversized ceremonial key, was preceded for the first time this year by a parade. A few dozen marchers welcomed the season, many wearing their favorite gardening hats and with children in tow dressed as bumblebees, butterflies and even dragons.

And after that, everyone got to work. Preliminary garden cleaning after a long winter began last weekend, but more had to be done. Woodchip paths had to be refreshed, soil added to garden beds, holes in fences repaired and leaves raked and removed. (more…)

Armstrong Court Community Garden open for the season

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The Greenwich Community Garden at Armstrong is officially open for the season.

“We do everything using organics practices to make sure we are keeping chemicals and toxic things out of our food supply. Everything we are doing is in raised beds with organic soil,” said Mike Gilbert, the director of Armstrong Court Community Garden.

This is the 7th year that this 15 thousand square foot garden is open to the community. People grow everything from veggies to flowers in the plots.

“There’s people from all over the world in this community. A lot of people like to grow things that hey remember format heir home country,” said Founder and President Patty Sechi.

Officials say there is a population in Greenwich that is considered “food insecure” meaning they don’t have fresh food available to them. (more…)

HABITAT HEALTHY

Nearly three years ago, in July 2012, I wrote a column about the Armstrong Court Community Garden. I had met up with Patty Sechi, the garden’s guiding force, at Armstrong Court on the Fourth of July. Armstrong Court is a 144-unit Greenwich Housing Authority development in Western Greenwich’s Chickahominy neighborhood.

Patty-Sechi

Sechi, a graphic designer who grew up in Wilton, is founder and president of Greenwich Community Gardens, a non-profit organization incorporated in 2011, that oversees the Armstrong Court Community Garden. She has been an avid gardener since cultivating her first garden when she was nine. A Greenwich resident for nearly 30 years, she lives up the street from Armstrong Court in the Chickahominy neighborhood where her husband has deep generational roots.

She is an advanced CT Master Gardener and a Ct Master Composter intern.

When Sechi showed me around the Armstrong Court Community Garden in July 2012, I remember noticing a sign as we entered the garden that indicated the Greenwich Audubon had designated it as a “healthy habitat.” (more…)

Community garden gets approval

2011

An effort to transform a small portion of Greenwich’s open space into a community garden got another approval last week when the Board of Selectmen gave it a unanimous blessing.

At their July 25 meeting, the selectmen approved a lease with the town that will allow this project to go forward. The garden, if it makes it through the town approval process, would be located at 129 Bible Street, which is part of the Montgomery Pinetum property. That property, which was once the controversial proposed site of a cell tower, was deeded to the town to be preserved as open space and the Garden Education Center is already located there.

The project is being pushed by the Greenwich Community Gardens Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 that already has a thriving garden at Armstrong Court, which just marked its fifth anniversary. Patty Sechi, executive director for the organization, was not at the meeting but her contribution was certainly noted.

“That garden has proven exceedingly successful in utilizing what had been a garden many years ago but had lay dormant ever since,” First Selectman Peter Tesei said at the meeting. “Patty galvanized community resources, non-profit garden clubs and even Whole Foods Markets and transformed a piece of property under the aegis of the town Housing Authority into something truly inspiring and beneficial. This proposal, I think, has the opportunity to exceed the one at Armstrong Court in its benefit to the community.”

Selectman David Theis said he was excited by the idea.

“As a lifelong resident, I find this is keeping with the spirit of the community,” Mr. Theis said. “This is a place for everyone to fit in and make their lives more enjoyable while enriching the community at the same time.”

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The selectmen’s support was no surprise, though, since this was not the first time this project had come before them. Earlier the selectmen had approved municipal improvement status for the project. Now the project has advanced to the point where the lease may be brought to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), which has final say on all town leases.

According to attorney Rick Margenot, who is representing Greenwich Community Gardens Inc., the lease would be for 10 years, with one right to renew for 10 more years that would be subject to town approval. He said there is also a mutual termination clause in the lease that allows for the town to ask the group to leave the property if it sees fit.

“We don’t intend to tie this property up forever for cheap,” Mr. Margenot said. “If the town decides it needs it for another use it can come to us. This is written to incentivize us to do a good job and be an example of how to maintain town property.” (more…)