NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Deborah Young planted her first seed at three years old.
“My parents are from North Carolina. Most of the Black folks that came up here during the Great Migration came from agro families,” she said.
Young turned her interest in plants into a profession when she opened Seasons, a nursery and garden center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
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Seasons serves as both plant shop and community gathering place. Indoor and outdoor gardeners browse among flowers, pots, tools, fertilizers, and wind chimes. Locals drop by to catch up on the news of the neighborhood.
For many visitors, the biggest draw is Young herself, whose sharp wit and keen insight have made her a local celebrity.
“I’ve been in Bed-Stuy for 60 years, so sometimes people just come in and say hi,” Young said. “And then, they meet other people, and then, they start talking about plants, and then, the next thing you know, they’ve developed relationships with each other.”
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At Seasons, Young aims to foster a learning environment.
“We don’t just sell you the plant. We tell you how to take care of the plant,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people come in and tell me, ‘Oh, I have a black thumb. I kill everything.’ And I’m like, ‘Everybody has a green thumb. You just have to learn about the plants. You were never taught.'”
Young takes pride in her unexpected botanical offerings. The ponytail palm has long, hair-like leaves. The carnivorous pitcher plant catches prey in its deep cavities. As a defense mechanism, the touch-me-not plant folds in on itself when touched.
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For Young, engaging with plant life has restorative effects.
“I think it’s important that we have something to help us keep our balance and keep us centered, especially in these crazy times. And gardening will do that for you. Growing will do that for you.”
358 Stuyvesant Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11233
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