Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
Now that spring is in its prime, it’s safe to plant your garden for the season! Luckily, a garden center has been growing in Broad Channel for the past year, which offers everything you need. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a first-timer looking to give it a try, Lisena Garden Center & Nursery can offer expert advice, plus the products and plants you need to create your dream garden.
The Lisena family knows landscaping. After all, they’ve been in the business for more than 40 years. Lisena Landscaping started in 1975 by Giuseppe Lisena, who had arrived from Italy just three years earlier, and the business has remained in the family since. Lisena Landscaping’s headquarters are located Ozone Park. The full-service company, owned by Freddy Lisena, offers landscape design, installation and maintenance. In April 2015, Lisena planted a seed in Broad Channel with its first retail space.
At Lisena Garden Center, located at 125 Crossbay Boulevard by the Broad Channel Athletic Club, you’ll find whatever it is you need to plant your garden or spruce up your backyard. The Garden Center offers a wide range of live plant materials including flowering annuals and perennials, shrubs, trees, fruits, vegetables, herbs, plus organic fertilizers, soils and mulches, gardening tools, synthetic grass and things like pumpkins for the fall and Christmas trees in the winter. They also offer design consultations with designer Margaret Fox-Johnson, who works with clients in store or on-site to help develop a perfect garden plan. Most importantly, Lisena Garden Center offers great customer service. “We pride ourselves on the customer service aspect. We really try to make the center a place where people can visit and we can provide as much information as needed on picking out plants, caring for them and how certain items will work in their landscape,” Manager Fernando Morales, said. “We know there’s a lot of other nearby places that people can go to get plants, even at supermarkets, but they’re not showing the care and attention that we are and we offer high quality products.”
Even though Lisena Garden Center may be new to Broad Channel, Lisena’s presence is not. Lisena helped redo the Broad Channel Athletic Club’s field for the first time in 2002. They then came back to expand and tune up the area in 2006. At the end of 2014, the BCAC once again reached out to Lisena to inquire about services for field maintenance. “That got us here looking at this area. Someone had tried to do a garden center at this location before, so the location was already gated off, so we figured why don’t we give this a shot?” Morales said. “Retail was something we thought about doing in the future. We didn’t realize it would happen this soon with the opportunity at the BCAC, but we took it and we’re seeing where it takes us.”
Since it opened, Lisena Garden Center has not only served the community, but it has also given back to it through various beautification projects. “For the second year in a row, I planted the ‘Welcome to Broad Channel’ sign by the bridge,” Morales said, adding that Lisena donated the material and service for this project. They also beautified the center median in front of the BCAC on Crossbay Boulevard. “When you’re coming from the north, this is the entrance to the town, so we want to make it as pretty as possible,” Morales said. Lisena has also teamed up with the Broad Channel Beautification Committee and has donated products that were used along other medians on the boulevard. Morales said that Sophia Skeans of the Rockaway Artists Alliance also reached out to them. Lisena helped fix up the area around the T7 building in Fort Tilden and provided centerpieces and party favors at the RAA’s annual gala and will be working with the RAA on future projects. “We donate our time and material just to help the whole community bounce back and get it going,” he said. “We’re not just here setting up shop. We never had much of a presence here since we work more northward, so we’re trying to get out there and meet new people and show them that we do care about the community. It’s important to take pride in where you live and work.”
Morales says business has been good for the first year. “It’s good and getting better. It makes me happy to see customers returning and saying that everything they bought last year did well. We’ve been putting in a lot of hard work and it’s good to hear good feedback so we can keep improving,” he said. Morales says there are plans to engage in even more projects in the future, such as a garden project with the BCAC’s summer camp and they’re open to working with other community groups as well. Recently a Farmer’s Market has come to the area, which complements the garden center. The Farmer’s Market offers produce, baked goods, honey and more and will set up near the BCAC and Lisena every Saturday.
Lisena Garden Center is located right by the BCAC. Parking is available in the lot. They’re open from spring until Christmastime. The current spring hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 8 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Call 718-607-5413 or check out lisenaland.net for more info.