PlantTherapy: Pure, Concentrated Color & Mr. Abdul

PlantTherapy: Pure, Concentrated Color & Mr. Abdul

Maxwell Ryan
Sep 15, 2005

Over the weekend I spotted beautiful bouquets at the Hodgson Farms stand at the Greenmarket. They have been selling in NYC for 19 years now, and you can find them on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Union Square.

They had gladiolas, buckets of them - and they were disappearing fast.

Dahlias, another seasonal favorite had already sold out by noon. But there were still beautiful combinations of snapdragons and zinnias, as well as strawflower bouquets.

These, along with the mountain of potted chrysanthemums, provided a great opportunity to bring home some outdoor color. Even though NYC can procure flowers year-round, local and fresh is a great combination. If you are looking for powerful color in a small package, you can still get these bouquets through October.

Not an hour later I was wandering by a fenced lot in Brooklyn that by my estimation was like all others and didn't deserve more scrutiny than a passing glance. And then, resting on the cool cement, I met one Mr. Abdul who spoke no English.

But with his cane as interpreter he deftly pointed out that I was not looking at a mere fenced lot with vines. They were squash and goya vines, his pride and joy. Beyond that, he also had tomato, pepper and eggplant, all growing discreetly within the rocky lot with parked cars, both seeming to struggle to become the dominant force.

A relative of Mr. Abdul's came out to check on him and informed me that he has been very sick and recently back from the hospital, but he always must spend his days outside enjoying his plants and tending to them slowly. When the cold weather sets in, the cars and rocks will have a small victory as Mr. Abdul's secret garden will all but disappear. But hopefully it will reappear in good time to be discovered again by those who stop to notice. Matt N.

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