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Letter: Planet Manhasset Gardens Become Reality

I felt compelled to write in after reading the article titled, “Women’s Club of Flower Hill Helps Organic Gardens Grow”. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Planet Manhasset Committee under the Manhasset SCA, our schools have three flourishing vegetable gardens. We are so grateful to the Women’s Club of Flower Hill for their generous donation to our efforts. It was my distinct pleasure to host their Annual Luncheon at our home.

When I approached the Planet Manhasset Committee over a year ago with my dream of starting these gardens I learned that the idea had been floating around for a while. Timing is everything and once we presented the idea to the SCA and the school administration we were met with great enthusiasm and support.

Our committee consists of very talented and dedicated ladies, Merilyn Donnelly (HS Co-Chair), Connie Parsons, Zari Ginsburg and Iliza Bartels. Due to their creative efforts we have members of the community, teachers, school employees, Life Skills students, Girl Scouts, Jr. Coalition Against Breast Cancer, Green Club and other  students all working together to see that the gardens serve as an educational tool as well as a means of providing fresh organic vegetables to EOC’s food pantry.

The Nicholas Center for Autism in Port Washington worked together all Summer with Merilyn Donnelly at the Secondary School Garden. The gardens were tended with expert care and thrived beautifully as a result.  

I want to thank the committee from the bottom of my heart for embracing this idea. I also want to thank the School Board, Mr. Cardillo, Dr. Schlanger, Dr. Kendall, Mr. Geczik, Mrs. Curry, Ms. Viscovich and Mr. O’Brien for their support. Mr. Markarian and Ms. Manieri and the custodial staff at both Munsey Park and Shelter Rock Schools have been so helpful. They installed outdoor spigots, built a shed for us and on and on… Mr. Pfaeffle’s beautiful raised beds are admired by all who pass them at the Secondary School. Shelter Rock School also has terrific raised beds thanks to Mr. Bartels. A special thank you to Anne Albano. She is an employee at the HS and dedicated so much time this summer giving lots of TLC to the plants. She is a very capable gardener and we learned so much from her.

The gardens also enjoyed lots of care and attention from families who signed up to “adopt the garden” for a week at a time this summer and we are grateful for their help! The volunteer coordination process was made easy by Karen Barnes who set up “Sign up Genius” for us on our website.

I look forward to another rewarding year working together with this wonderful group. Considering all the stress our school district was under last year, the gardens remind us that we have a terrifically talented and supportive community. Our goal continues to be to provide an opportunity for all who are interested to nurture and learn the wonderful lessons that tending a garden can provide.

To learn more about Planet Manhasset and the gardens please visit and click on Planet Manhasset.

Angela Classi