Bayside Historical Society to hold 2022 Gardening Day

Bayside Historical Society Gardening Day
Photo courtesy of Bayside Historical Society

The Bayside Historical Society (BHS) will be holding a Gardening Day at Fort Totten’s Bayside Castle on June 11 from 10 a.m. to noon. Those interested in attending can register for free on the Bayside Historical Society’s website.

The Bayside Historical Society holds Gardening Day twice each spring. Gardening tools and supplies will be available on site courtesy of BHS. It encourages people from all levels of experience to come, from greenhorns to green thumbs.

According to Garden Committee Chairperson Anne O’Connell, the gardening program was established in 2019 with a spring garden cleanup. Around 30 participants were part of this, including staff and members of the Bayside Historical Society, interested community members and Bayside High School Key Club. The garden was maintained and planted throughout that summer and fall by a group of volunteers. By 2021, members of the Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) volunteered to water the garden on a weekly basis. Additionally, a beehive was set up in the back garden by a beekeeper.

The Bayside Historical Society has been holding monthly gardening events this year since Earth Day (Apr. 22). Additionally, they have a gardening team that meets for one hour on Monday evenings from 7 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday mornings from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

“This is a great opportunity for families to spend some time volunteering in their community,” O’Connell said. “This summer, we are collaborating with Browne High School to provide a Summer Urban internship for students in their agriculture department.”

“The gardening program was initially started to enhance the surroundings of the Castle, home of the Bayside Historical Society,” O’Connell said. “It has evolved into an opportunity to provide a learning environment for our education program with potential for developing a garden to support pollinators, planting an herbal garden and a future ‘Victory Garden’ similar to those planted by families during WWII. Farming and gardens are a component of the history of northeast Queens, so gardening at the Castle supports our mission of dissemination the history of our neighborhood.”

The castle on Fort Totten Park was originally built in 1887 when it was used as an officers’ mess hall and club by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers. It is recognized as a designated landmark in New York City and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The castle became the home of the Bayside Historical Society in 1984. Shortly after the BHS began operating there, it worked to restore the castle.

The Bayside Historical Society was founded in 1964 with the goal of collecting, preserving and disseminating information concerning the history of Bayside and its adjacent communities. It also advocates for the preservation and protection of Bayside’s most historic structures and distinctive neighborhoods through the landmarking process and strives to develop a broad constituency of like-minded preservation and educational organizations to protect the historic integrity of the communities and collections.