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From the Mayor: Bronxville's Three Garden Clubs Beautify the Village

By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville

June 26, 2024: As summer is so clearly upon us, I reflected back on Spring in Bronxville and its incredible beauty. In my mind, it is the prettiest season in our hometown.

As I walked in our iconic Memorial Day parade, I was struck by how beautiful our Village is on so many levels.

I realized that the key to what makes it so special is the volunteer efforts of our citizens.

As we followed along the parade route, every beautiful plant and flower I saw was a donation from one of our three garden groups: Boulder Ledge, The Working Gardeners or the Bronxville Beautification Council. Over 60+ residents volunteer their time and talents to serve on the three Bronxville beautification committees.

Please know we are also so grateful for the unsung efforts of so many other residents who are quietly behind the scenes helping to improve our village as it really does take a village.

This column gives me an opportunity, not only to say a heartfelt thank you on behalf of a very grateful Village, but also to give the history and background of these venerable groups to those who may not know their geneses.

Boulder Ledge Garden Club

-The Club was officially recognized by the National Council of Garden Clubs in 1968 and immediately embarked on an extensive project of creating a map of specimen and historic trees throughout the Village and labeled each

-At the time of the refurbishing of the Village Library, Boulder Ledge contributed generously to the landscaping fund

-Original membership of 40 who paid annual dues

-Meet about 10 times a year to listen to speakers on various gardening topics

-In the early years, garden therapy was an important component to the organization with members making and decorating wreaths for the Montrose VA hospital and facility so residents and staff could enjoy the spirit of the season

-Boulder Ledge has taken care of Bicentennial Park located at the corner of Pondfield Road and Meadow Avenue since 2010 by planting and pruning the garden for everyone to enjoy as they walk by or take a little rest

-Entirely with member donations, they hired landscape designers to create the current beautiful layout and installed a fence parallel to Bolton Gardens.

-In 2019 and 2020, answering an entreaty from Village government, their significant fundraising resulted in a donation of $18,000 to replace trees in the Village downtown area

-Visits to the Botanical Gardens and other gardens of note to help replicate in the Village

Bronxville Beautification Council

Founded in 1982, The Bronxville Beautification Council’s mission is to, “enhance and maintain the natural and man-made beauty of Bronxville Village with an emphasis on the downtown business district.”

The impetus was a concern that our business district streets were looking rather, “shabby and unkept.”

Started as a purely volunteer effort, it remains so to this day. The scope of the BBC mission has grown since its official incorporation thanks to your donations and your generosity now beautifies our entire downtown business district and the close environs.

The following are just a sampling of the projects funded by your donations with the assistance and partnership of the Village’s Department of Public Works:

-The explosion of daffodils on the railroad banks and the perfusion of tulips that soon follow are all thanks to the BBC

-Not only did they plant the flowers on the railroad hillside, they added the interspersed ivy and created an organic mesh system to shore up the soil from erosion and assisted in financing a needed irrigation system

-The very tranquil Leonard Morange Park abutting the train station has become an oasis of calm and is lovingly cared for by the BBC with beautiful pots surrounding our benches and historical monuments

-The true gateway to the west side of the Village , the fountain oval, was the inspiration of BBC cofounders Alice and Burton Pollen, to create a defining welcome to the Village with gravitas, beautiful shrubs and now exquisite day lilies

-All the beautiful planters in the central business district that add a pop of color to break up the concrete stretches are funded by donations to the BBC.

-In addition to planting , the BBC works with an arborist and our own DPW team to check on the health of our downtown tree stock and suggests pruning and feeding when needed to prolong the life of our street trees

-When appropriate, the BBC also acts as an advocate on issues related to the aesthetics of the Village in cooperation with Village government

The BBC could not do any of the above without your help as it does not receive any outside funding or taxpayer dollars, being entirely dependent on private donations.

As an independent nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization, your support is fully tax deductible. In addition to the mailed annual appeal letter, In Memoriam and In Recognition of Bronxvillians past and present can be gifted for items including memorial trees and bench installations.

To learn more about this treasured organization and perhaps donate online, visit www.bronxvillebeautificationcouncil.org or mail a gift to, BBC PO Box 127, Bronxville, NY 10708.

The Working Gardeners of Bronxville

The Working Gardeners of Bronxville is the oldest of the gardening organization in Bronxville. It was founded in 1925 by well-known author and acclaimed gardener and horticulturalist Louise Beebe Wilder, a gardening columnist for the New York Times. Her important mission along with 16 Village neighbors was to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening.

The Working Gardeners have a tradition of public service. In 1948, at the request of the Mayor and Trustees to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Village, the Working Gardeners were asked to organize the funding and planting of Dogwood Hill. Then in 1961, the Village acquired a property at 5 Garden Avenue, below Dogwood Hill, to build the Village tennis courts and asked the Working Gardeners to assist because of their “past experience and knowledge.” The idea of service to the Village has continued to this day. To commemorate the Village’s centennial in 1998, the Working Gardeners produced a short movie, featuring Village gardens and plantings, which was presented to the Village Trustees and aired on local television. Members regularly take leading roles in Village beautification.

They meet once a month from Fall to Spring to hear speakers on various gardening topics. The membership of approximately 25 garden enthusiasts pay annual dues. One of their famous endeavors was the snow crocus bulbs project. The club purchased snow crocus bulbs, bagged them with planting instructions and gave them to the Bronxville Library. Members attended the Children’s Hour at the library and explained how to plant the bulbs at home. In 2021, they planted an American Elm Tree on the property of Village Hall dedicated to the memory of a long time beloved member Anna Longobardo.

All of the above beautification efforts would not be possible without the incredible expertise and cooperation of the Village’s stellar Department of Public Works staff.

The level of partnership, coordination and friendship among the BBC, the Boulder Ledge Garden Club, the Working Gardeners and the DPW staff has allowed the Village to maximize beautification by stretching every donation dollar while maintaining a beautiful village with a minimum burden on the property taxpayer.

I thank all for their hours of volunteer time, the generous donations and the very professional Village staff that makes the Village such a garden spot. One of our seniors told me the other day while out on a walkabout that she felt like she lived in her very own botanical garden!


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Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.

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