Gardener Story: Gregory Cznadel

Old Brooklyn

Welcome the “Home for Abused and Abandoned Plants.”  This is the name Gregory Cznadel has given to his garden. He enlarged the original property when he purchased .6 acre of land at an auction in 2006. He is a National Wildlife Steward and his goal is to turn his property into an arboretum and nature preserve. 

Greg’s garden is also a learning center where he has inspired adults and children with little known facts about wildflowers and the science of dendrology. He is currently designing tags for the wildflowers including mythological stories, medical uses and poems to the wildflowers. A poem he loves to share is Forget-me-not by Janett Dengo that tells us remember to stop and smell the roses (1st verse):

Bluish are the petals of this bloom

Growing beautifully near my grave

I am unable to touch or smell it

Buried below the soil like a slave,

Friends constantly share flowers and bushes with Greg. Some they are ready to throw away because they are plants that have a tendency to overpopulate, and others that they wish him to have as a reminder of themselves.  The spring wildflower garden, which is in its infancy, is in honor of his sister Nancy who died of Lymphoma several years ago.  She lived in Amish country and was always his mentor when it came to plants.  He loved going for walks on her forty acre farm and forest, having her quiz him on trees, wild flowers, and mushrooms.  The Ginger, Mayapples, Colt’s Foot, Soloman’s Seal, and Jack in the Pulpit, are reminders of her.

Two hand built stone walls greet you as you enter this nature preserve.  A sign and bird feeder hang on the trunk of a dead tree informing you this is a certified wildlife habitat.  As you walk through the garden you will come across a pear, apple, corkscrew willow, Ginko, and maple trees. Greg’s favorite tree is the River Birch, with its beautiful peeling bark.  Three birches stand in the middle of the field around a small pond.  There is also a lengthy rock garden leading to a path with Rose of Sharon on either side.

Of course, no Home for the Abused and Abandoned would be complete without an abandoned  sink  with flowing petunias or a wishing well complete with a bucket full of panseys. Even part of a light fixture from the old administration building at the zoo holds his columbine and Gladiolas.

Admission to the garden is free.  The exit toll is a smile.