Posted July 13, 2022 in Articles
Author: Beachwood Buzz
The community at Wiggins Place of Menorah Park proudly celebrated its communal garden at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 12. Resident, donor, and avid gardener Donna Yanowitz cut the ribbon alongside Jim Newbrough, Menorah Park president and CEO, and Mayor Justin Berns, amidst family, fellow gardeners, and guests.
Donna Yanowitz cuts the ribbon with Jim Newbrough and Justin Berns.
Lois Klein, of blessed memory, and Donna Yanowitz contributed to the establishment of the garden space. Donna, through the Bennett and Donna Yanowitz Family Foundation at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and Lois, through the Lois and Bernard Klein Wiggins Place Fund. According to Brian Sokol, Menorah Park chief development officer, Lois loved gardening and wished for the funds to be used to enhance Wiggins Place after her passing. “How pleased Lois would be to see this beautiful garden,” Brian said. “Thank you, Lois, for your foresight.”
Community gardens in the U.S. are growing faster than ever. For example, the number of garden plots in city parks has increased 44% since the non-profit group Trust for Public Land started keeping track in 2012.
“Gardening is a fun, meaningful activity. Plus, the gardens continue to beautify the environment for all of our tenants and visitors,” Jim said. “We are so proud of this latest enhancement to our campus and hope everyone takes great pleasure in either planting and enjoying their garden harvests or enjoying the beautiful scenery it provides.”
“Wiggins Place is a treasure in the Beachwood community,” added Mayor Berns. “May you continue to enjoy this garden with happiness.”
Cheerful artwork and a painted stone walkway, created as a labor of love by Tony Ciuprinskas, maintenance manager, and Emily, his daughter, guide gardeners and guests to the garden entry. The duo shared their artistic talents to bring added smiles to the space.
Wiggins Place gardeners include Donna Yanowitz, Archie and Reva Leitzman, Dr. Sidney Cohen, Shirley Chessin, Art Glassman, Leo Katz, Enid Kirtz, Yona Reisez, and Helene Weiss.
Shirley Chessin loves everything about gardening. “I enjoy being outside and I love seeing things grow,” she said.
Shirley and her husband lived in Florida, where she used to grow flowers. Since moving to Wiggins, her favorite plants to grow are tomatoes. “They're so versatile and I enjoy making homemade tomato soup, so that was my obvious choice,” she explained.
“What I really love about gardening is the satisfaction of seeing plants grow. The growth and beauty are amazing,” she added. ”And being outside, I love being outside.”
Dr. Sid Cohen (left) and Art Glassman (right) both have backgrounds in gardening.
“I've been gardening ever since I became a homeowner,” Art said. “There is nothing better than eating a fresh tomato.”
When he was in practice as a surgeon, he would come home, walk back to the garden, and pluck a ripe tomato to enjoy as he walked in to greet his wife, who was the family gardener at the time.
It’s no wonder that the two joined forces to form #TeamTomato. “Sid and I just do tomatoes, about four plants,” Art added. “We decided to partner to make sure the plants receive good care.”
The duo began growing tomatoes about two years ago, which encouraged more residents to join in and sparked interest and growth toward this expanded space.
While there are certainly physical and mental health benefits to gardening, as well as the promotion of nutrition and ecology, Sid and Art appreciate a more immediate pleasure: “We thoroughly enjoy the fruits of our labor,” Art said.
Gardening has been a part of Donna Yanowitz’s life since before she was married. “I used to go back to my hometown in Duluth, MN, clean out my parents’ garden, and get it planted for the year,” she recalled. Additionally, Donna planted about 30 plots of flowers in her home garden in Pepper Pike.
“When I came to Wiggins Place and found out they had gardens, I knew what I had to do,” she added. “It’s my favorite activity. I can get my hands dirty and I love digging in that soil.”
Gardening has always been about the aesthetic, which is why Donna prefers to grow flowers. “I can buy my fruits and vegetables at the market, and I love flowers,” she said. At Wiggins Place, she has planted snapdragons, delphiniums, marigolds, and impatiens. Donna also grows orchids in her apartment, which gets plenty of natural light.
Her harvest is sometimes bountiful enough to share, so Donna enjoys setting flowers at the Wiggins Place front desk for others to enjoy. “The mission of the flower is just to look beautiful,” she emphasized. “You cut it and it enhances the beauty of your home.”
The most satisfying part of growing flowers is playing a role in bringing new life to the ground and watching it grow. “You put something in the soil, a little, tiny thing, and you water it, take care of it, and get something beautiful out of it.”
Original Article: https://www.beachwoodbuzzmag.com/