The Greening of Shomrei, Parts 2 and 3

Shomrei Emunah took one of its first steps toward becoming a greener community earlier this year, when four small metal compost buckets were purchased for the Shomrei kitchen (See The Greening of Shomrei Part 1). The compost buckets are used as waste containers for vegetable and fruit scraps resulting from Kiddush and MESH meal preparation. Initially, when the metal buckets were full, they were emptied at the outdoor compost bins maintained by Linda Ariel and me on our respective properties.

As the quantity of Shomrei’s vegetable scraps increased, two residential compost bins were no longer large enough to handle Shomrei’s composting needs, thus bringing us to The Greening of Shomrei Part 2: On-Site Composting. For those who are new to composting, the word “compost” is both a noun and a verb. A simplified explanation: When vegetable and fruit scraps are left to decay, they eventually break down into a substance called compost (noun), which looks like soil and has many nutrients for growing plants. The process of collecting the scraps, putting them in some sort of outdoor container, putting other plant material (like leaves) into the container to speed up the process, and allowing the scraps to decay is called composting (verb). Shomrei now has an on-site outdoor composting container. The composting container is fairly simple: a 3 x 3 x 3 foot black plastic cube with ventilation, to enhance the composting process, and a lid to prevent critters from getting into the box. The metal compost buckets are now emptied into Shomrei’s own outdoor compost container. Hopefully, after a few months, the scraps will decay enough that compost, the soil-like material, will be produced and can be put back into Shomrei’s gardens to produce hardier and more beautiful plants.

Which brings us to The Greening of Shomrei Part 3: The Rejuvenation of Shomrei’s Gardens. This actually started 3 years ago, when Shomrei received a grant of 100 daffodil bulbs from the Daffodil Project, an initiative encouraging individuals and groups to plant daffodils in commemoration of the Holocaust. David Haimes, Linda Ariel and I planted the bulbs, with assistance from the Preschool students. For the past two years, Shomrei has also received grants of tulips and daffodils from May in Montclair, which David, Linda and I planted.

In the process of planting the bulbs, I noticed that Shomrei’s shrubs and trees needed pruning and/or removal. Linda Ariel and I did some pruning and removal of ivy around the big fir tree on the front lawn, but it was obvious that professional help was needed. Tree and shrub maintenance is important not just for aesthetic reasons, but also for the safety and security of the building. American Tree Experts and SavATree pruned and removed many of the shrubs and trees. One of the trees that was pruned was dangerously close to breaking windows on the side of the building. The tall shrubs (now removed) near the Park Street entrance, blocked the windows and were potential hiding places for trespassers. This tree and shrub work made it possible to see the building behind all the greenery.

Despite the zinnia, marigolds, and plants from Rabbi Julie’s installation that brightened the Shomrei landscape after the daffodils and tulips faded, the landscaping in front of Shomrei Emunah still needed help. Fortuitously, I learned from Shirley Grill that we have a professional landscaper right in our Shomrei community! Liza Friedman, owner of DC Freeman Landscaping, is a Shomrei member with two children in the JLC. She was very enthusiastic about helping us, with a proposal for removing the existing shrubs and replacing them with reasonably priced, low-maintenance shrubs, grasses and perennials. Shortly after Thanksgiving, after Liza’s busy summer and fall seasons passed, she transformed Shomrei’s landscape. Liza and her crew were even able to replant all the tulip and daffodil bulbs that were displaced by the landscape work. The front landscaping already looks much neater and attractive. I am looking forward to watching the plants grow and thrive. Thank you to Liza Friedman for transforming Shomrei’s front landscape!


If you are interested in participating in the greening initiative, please contact me at email hidden; JavaScript is required, or (201) 981-7055.

3 thoughts on “The Greening of Shomrei, Parts 2 and 3

  1. Sharon, several years ago, you took on a limited project of planting yellow tulip bulbs. And then you saw the potential of what could be. With your vision, energy, and green thumb, you have transformed Shomrei’s outdoor landscape into a beautiful, environmentally sound space.

    Thank you!

  2. So grateful to all of you for keeping Shomrei looking gorgeous and helping the environment too!! Thank you!

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