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A Garden Center By Any Other Name

It’s all in the family at Milena’s

Some families have weekly dinners, or go on yearly vacations. Other families run a business together. When it comes to Milena’s Garden Center and Garden City’s Basso Family, it’s the latter.

When John Basso was 18, he emigrated from Argentina found an old house on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park, and turned it into a nursery in April 1997. He named his business after his daughter, Milena. Flowers are associated with femininity, he feels, so the name was a perfect fit for his nursery.

Milena, now an adult, has even helped expand the family business.

Milena decided that if she was going to be a part of the family business, she should have the proper knowledge in what her business provides. She is a graduate from New York School of Flower Design and a student at SUNY Farmingdale’s Ornamental Horticulture program.

“I provide the customers with my horticulture knowledge,” she explained.

One of the most popular services that Milena’s Garden Center provides is landscape-planting service. “Everyone always wants a tree or a shrub installed,” said she.

The store is made up of three divisions: the garden center, the planting design, and the florist section, which was added in the past year and is run by Milena.

Basso decided to expand the family business and added the florist division of the nursery, where she creates custom floral arrangements. She specializes in various events including Communions, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet 16s, birthdays, bridal showers and weddings.

The store offers landscape irrigation, design and installation of brick, stone and slate walkways, patios, driveways, and retaining walls, trimming and pruning of shrubs and tress.

Besides Milena, John Basso keeps his business running with the help from his family members: his brother Oscar, the manager, his parents Lina and Carmelo Basso, and his wife, Josephine Basso.

The store’s biggest sellers are the wax begonia flats in the summertime. “Each season has their own popular item,” said Milena. “It depends on the season and the time of year.”

In the springtime, the shop offers annual flats such as marigolds, petunias, and begonias.

During Christmas time, a popular service Milena’s Garden Center provides is blanket and wreath decorations. Lina Basso decorates the wreaths with beautiful handmade bows.

She makes 1,200 bows every season.

“I’ve never seen bows like my grandmother’s,” said Milena Basso. “Nobody makes bows like her.”

Milena’s Garden Center is at 2000 Jericho Tpke. in New Hyde Park and open every day, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Sundays, where they are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 516-616-5165.