The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has announced the winners of the 2023 Greenest Block in Brooklyn. East 25th Street between Avenue D and Clarendon Road in Flatbush has been selected by an expert panel of judges, including Brooklyn Botanic Garden staff and local horticulture professionals, as this year's winner. Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn Botanic Garden President Adrian Benepe, and representatives from the winning residential and commercial blocks celebrated at a press conference today.
“It’s that time of year again... the Greenest Block in Brooklyn winners are out, and I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible work happening in neighborhoods across the borough,” said Reynoso. “Once again, Brooklynites have shown out in full force, greening block after block and celebrating our city trees for all that they do to beautify Brooklyn and combat climate change. Thank you to Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the many Brooklynites who participated, and a huge congratulations to all the winners and participants!”
This year’s contest included 119 blocks from across Brooklyn. The Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest is unique in the field of gardening competitions with its focus on public greening and ecological stewardship. The competition emphasizes block-wide gardening, making the contest more about civic participation than beautification.
To mark Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s 2023 theme, The Power of Trees, the contest’s organizers asked gardeners to consider street trees and their place in urban ecosystems when greening their blocks. Greenest Block participants learned about the ways people can help trees, including proper mulching, use of compost and watering.
“This year we were thrilled to see blocks from across many parts of Brooklyn participate in the Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest and work hard to make their street trees and other plantings shine," Benepe said. "After record-high temperatures in June and July, trees are not just a nice adornment to city streets; they are essential to cooling urban heat islands and fighting climate change. City trees do a lot for us, but they don’t have it easy. The residents of the winning block and many others that participated in this year’s contest are important stewards of their neighborhood’s trees."
The residents of this year’s winning residential block, East 25th Street between Avenue D and Clarendon Road have taken home first-place wins in 2016, 2011, 2006 and 2004. They took this year’s tree theme to heart; nearly every tree on the block bears the name of the child that helps care for it. The block organizers also used QR codes that can be scanned for further information about the street’s trees. The determination and hard work of the block’s residents is apparent in the beautiful plantings that adorn every front yard and in the extensive attention given to the trees and pollinator plants.
“We are humbled by this award and express our sincere gratitude to Brooklyn Botanic Garden and their partners,” said Carol Reneau, co-chair of the garden club of the 300 East 25th Street Block Association. “This greening is important to us on East 25th Street not only for aesthetic benefits and practical reasons, but because it is a driving force as a community builder. The simple act of greening has allowed us to share plants with strangers, mentor neighboring blocks, repurpose spaces, and make requests of our elected officials to improve the environment, and has even worked as a conduit transforming neighbors into life-long friends.”
The Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest is free and open to all residential blocks, commercial blocks and community gardens in Brooklyn. The contest promotes city greening, streetscape gardening, street tree stewardship and community building. For more information, visit bbg.org/greenestblock.