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Pioneering NYC Community Gardener Percy Heron (1908 - 2002)

  • Subject: [cg] Pioneering NYC Community Gardener Percy Heron (1908 - 2002)
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 22:31:20 EST


This message, sent by former NY Parks Greenthumb Director Jane Weissman, 
celebrates  the life of Percy Heron, community gardener.

Adam Honigman
--- Begin Message ---
  • Subject: CYBERGARDENS: Sad news: Percy Heron (1908 - 2002)
  • From: BPCPC1@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 10:55:20 EST
News from the CYBERGARDENS mailing list 

New York's community garden community was saddened to learn of the passing on 
Monday, February 4, of Percy Heron, 94, of the Lakewood Avenue Garden of 
Eden.   The funeral took place yesterday.

Percy was 76 in 1984 when he and his wife, Ella -- currently 84 -- got 
permission from Parks & Recreation GreenThumb to garden on a corner lot near 
their home.  This lot had been an eyesore for years and today it is a 
beautfiul and treasured community open space in which many neighborhood kids 
have grown up.  It was the odd year (funding usually determined this) that 
Percy did not hold a summer carpentry program for local kids.  He had a 
wonderful gentle authority laced with wry humor that everyone responded to.

The garden is just two short blocks from where Officer Byrne was killed while 
on a drug stakeout in the late 1980's.  At that time, this South Jamaica 
neighborhood was rife with drugs and crime, a personal tragedy for people 
like Percy who had made this community his home since 1949.

Percy and Ella attended (nearly) every GreenThumb GrowTogether conference and 
were regular attendee at the Green Guerilla quarterly potluck dinners.  Percy 
loved to bake and often arrived at GT with a cake in hand. 

Percy's and Ella's efforts did not go unnoticed.   The garden received many 
Mollie Parnis Dress Up Your Neighborhood Awards from the Citizens Committee 
of NYC, was featured in National Geographic's April 1995 special Earth Day: 
25 Years Old report, and was part of the City Farmers photographic exhibition 
at the Museum of the City of New York in 1994.  Most recently (1999), the 
garden was one of the 114 that former Mayor Giuliani attempted to sell at 
unrestricted auction.  The sale was stopped by an injunction issued by the 
Brooklyn State Supreme Court and the garden was transferred to Trust for 
Public Land (TPL) and will remain a permanent open space to grace the 
neighborhood, provide food for residents, and cheer the spirit of all who 

-- Jane Weissman

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If you have any questions about or problems with this mailing list, 
please send e-mail to the list moderator dave lutz at 
This list is operated by the Neighborhood Open Space Coalition and 
Friends of Gateway. Visit http://www.treebranch.com on the web to 
learn more about organizations sponsoring mailing lists and/or web 
sites concerning the environment, open space, and related urban 
issues in New York City.

--- End Message ---

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