For the second year in a row, the members of the Highland Park Children’s Garden and its Junior Garden Club entered their produce in the agricultural competition at the annual Queens Farm County Fair. Their eighteen entries included tomatoes, peppers, string beans, carrots, raspberries and flowers. To our delight, the Highland Park Children’s Garden received four awards; first place for the “other potted string beans” category, second place for their yellow cherry tomatoes, and third place for hot peppers. They also received honorable mention for a flower arrangement composed of flowers grown in the garden. The kids, who were treated to a field trip to the County Fair, were very excited to see the blue red, green and white ribbons.
The Highland Park Children’s garden is located on Jamaica Avenue and Ashford Street and is believed to be the oldest children’s garden in the United States. The garden was once part of the Johannes Schenck estate which included a Dutch – style farmhouse. In 1905, Parks purchased the Schenck estate and removed the farmhouse in 1940. The garden now serves as a community garden, providing local families a place to grow fresh organic produce. It also plays host to The Forest & Highland Park’s annual Garden Month event and Strawberry Festival.
The Junior Garden Club is a seasonal Saturday morning program, coordinated by Josephine Scalia, Landscape Projects and Environmental Education Coordinator for the Forest & Highland Park Administration and instructed by Nancy Moore. The Club, which is funded by the Independence Community Foundation, engages youth in the fundamentals of organic gardening through multi-disciplinary activities including writing, math, and science.