Gardener Story: John Young

Old Brooklyn

When asked if he is a gardener or a conservationist John Young paused before answering. “I suppose a little bit of both” he said.  A trip to this 1840 homestead during Garden Walk Cleveland will not only give  visitors a chance to walk the same garden paths that John Young’s family has used since 1918, but they will also have a chance to enjoy Emerald Valley-fifteen acres of pristine woods. Mr. Young intends to preserve this valley in its natural state for him, his family and others to enjoy in the heart of Old Brooklyn. The valley eventually winds down to the confluence of the Big Creek and the Cuyahoga River. It includes one unnamed stream and seven springs.

Tended garden beds are marked with rock and sandstone, but the backdrop of oak, beech and maple trees as tall as any in the city as well as the wildflowers, nuts and leaves at the edge of the valley is what makes this garden a must see.

Mr. Young has built a bridge between conservation and development on this acreage. By preserving the heritage of his family and maintaining the natural habitat where Old Brooklyn began, he believes that he can raise an awareness of how important balance between nature and progress is. Standing at the edge of the woods, it is hard to remember that you are fifteen minutes from downtown Cleveland.

In this his second year of participating in GardenWalk Cleveland, Mr. Young hopes that his visitors go away with an appreciation of this little corner of the world.  “After all,” he said, “we should not hide a thing of beauty but share it with others.”