Much to his surprise, John Robinson of Mineola, won the Jonathan Green “Show Us Your Lawn” contest for the month of June after 24 years of not having the time to care for his grass.
The nationwide contest, which is held monthly from April 1 to Oct. 31, chooses the best photo of a lawn tended with Jonathan Green products.
Robinson, 72, was sent a letter marking his triumph along with a $50 gift card to Hicks Nurseries in Westbury, and now has the opportunity to win the $500 grand prize.
Robinson’s wife, Angela Robinson, submitted photos of their lawn to the contest during the first week of May without Robinson’s knowledge.
“She sent them in, and then she said, ‘Guess what? You’re the winner.’,” said Robinson in an interview. “I was very shocked because, well, it’s a competition. There’s a lot of good people out there that take care of their lawns. It feels really nice to win.”
A monthly winner is chosen after the closing of each promotional month to win a $50 gift card to purchase Jonathan Green products at the winner’s local Jonathan Green retail store, and a grand prize winner will be chosen from the list of monthly winners by Nov. 30. Seven finalists are eligible for the $500 grand prize.
“We have a great partnership with Jonathan Green,” said Eleni Roselli, the director of marketing at Hicks Nurseries, in an interview. “We sell a lot of their products, so we’re happy to provide these gift certificates to the winners, especially somebody local, because people in our local community are most likely our customers.”
Robinson utilized Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal Soil Food, Jonathan Green Sun & Shade Grass Seed, and Jonathan Green Green-Up Lawn Fertilizer, all purchased from Hicks Nurseries, and refused to use weed killer.
“We didn’t like to put weed killer down because she [Angela] wants our grass to grow the way it was,” said Robinson. “My wife would go out and pick up weeds and dandelions, so it’s both of our work. As soon as I won, I said, ‘Nobody deserves it more than the both of us,’ because we did the work, along with tender love and care.”
Staff members from Hicks Nurseries also assisted him in advising how to use the products and how to tend the lawn.
“One of the things we’re most proud of is the expert staff that we have here,” said Roselli. “They’re here to help our customers succeed in their lawn and garden and we’re here to answer their questions, and we just want them to succeed, so we’re very happy to hear that coming from our customers.”
Although Robinson’s landscaper was not optimistic, Robinson was able to turn his brown, weeded lawn into a plush, dark green lawn.
His landscaper was stunned by the transformation, said Robinson. “He said ‘I can’t believe it; it’s like night and day, your lawn. I can’t believe for what I used to cut here and for what I come here to do now,’.”
He added, “I had one lady who walked by while I was watering the grass outside, and one day she asks, ‘Why do you water the grass? Isn’t that fake?’ She thought it was turf because it was so dark green and straight. I said, ‘No you can put your hand down and feel it, it’s real grass,’.”
Robinson worked at Big D in Williston Park for over 30 years before it closed, and in 1997 opened his own business, John’s Variety. He sold the store in October 2019.
“When COVID hit, there wasn’t much to do and I got a little bored,” said Robinson. “I did work around the house, and then I said it’s time to go back into business.”
Robinson now owns a wholesale business called JVS Variety Inc, where he sells merchandise to local mom-and-pop stores.
It was during the pandemic that Robinson also picked up the hobby of tending his lawn.
“I used to enjoy my lawn before I opened by business, and then I just couldn’t take care of it,” said Robinson. “When I had John’s Variety I worked long hours, seven days a week, and we were always on the go. I had to buy almost 1,400 pounds of dirt, cultivate it, seed it, and work on getting a lawn that I lost for 24 years being in the business.”
Jonathan Green, a sixth-generation family business, is a leading supplier of grass seed, soil enhancers, fertilizers and organic lawn and garden products. According to Jonathan Green’s Family Saga, his legend began in 1881 when Green, an avid bowler, began experimenting with different grasses to improve the playing surface and quality of bowling green turf.
For more information about the contest, the history of Jonathan Green, and Jonathan Green products, visit Jonathan Green | Quality Grass Seed & Lawn Care Products.