There are purple petunias, pink begonias and magenta New Guinea impatiens in front of Maureen Facey and Marian Facey-Boone’s home on Lincoln Road in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn.
But an unassuming fern is the perennial that the sisters, twins, are most proud of.
The ferns in their garden, they say, were first planted at their old home in Starrett City, Brooklyn, under the watchful eye of their mother, an avid gardener who has since died. When Ms. Facey-Boone, 50, moved to Lincoln Road more than a decade ago, she brought the ferns with her.
The green thumbs that the sisters inherited –- and the ferns they moved across Brooklyn –- were recognized on Wednesday when their block, Lincoln Road between Rogers and Bedford Avenues, was named winner, for the second time, of the Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest, an annual competition administered by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Awards are also handed out for top commercial block, greenest storefront, window box, street tree bed and community garden.
The winners of the competition, now in its 18th year, are selected based on a variety of criteria, including creativity, colorfulness and resident participation. All three were evident on Lincoln Road: trees were in bloom, bushes were neatly trimmed and potted flowers dotted nearly every stoop.
Nearly 200 residential blocks from across the borough competed this year, said Robin Simmen, director of GreenBridge, the horticultural program at the botanic garden that oversees the competition.
And Lincoln Road, she said, was a standout among even the strongest competitors for the variety of flora that line the block’s brownstones.
“It’s like the Garden of Eden,” she said, turning to admire the scenery.
This stretch of Lincoln Road also won the award in 2009, and it earned top honors again because it improved the level of participation among residents, Ms. Simmen said.
Tolonda Tolbert, president of the block association, said about 75 of the 80 houses on the block displayed greenery this year, up from about 60 in 2009.
Ms. Tolbert, 43, said the participation increased in part through events like “Wine and Dirt,” which she held on her stoop in May to encourage people to pot plants for the summer (the drinks may been an incentive for some people).
She also praised the block’s “green team” — volunteers who kept plants watered and pruned throughout the year while residents were on vacation or elderly residents had trouble maintaining their gardens.
“It’s really about setting up a culture of ‘I’m taking care of something,’” Ms. Tolbert said.
Ms. Facey said that winning was gratifying, but that the greenery and spirit of the block were most important.
“When tomorrow comes,” she said, “we’re still going to enjoy our plants.”