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Town Blooms with Family's Help

The downpours on Tuesday may have dampened other people's days but James McArdle III could not have been happier. "The plants really needed the rain," he said gesturing to the abundance of greenery in the outdoor garden at McArdle's Florist and Garden Shop that has been in his family for four generations and this year is celebrating "100 years of putting the Green in Greenwich."

In 1910, James III's great-grandfather, James Bernard McArdle and his great -randmother Mary started McArdle's Seed Co. on Greenwich Avenue/ After James' passing in 1918, Mary took on the business herself, while raising their children. "It's pretty impressive considering a woman during those times didn't get much respect. For her to take the bull by the horns to really continue the business was pretty monumental," McArdle said.

In subsequent years the James' that came after (James Benedict Sr., Jim Jr. and James III respectively) all graduated from Cornell with degrees in horticulture and worked in the store, which by 1963 had absorbed MacMillan's Florist and moved to its current space at 48 Arch St.

In an April 2, 1975 interview with Mildred Rosenberg of the Friends of the Greenwich Library, James Sr. discussed James III's potential at only age seven: "He seems to be starting out in the same direction. He's so enthusiastic about the operation of the business."

That enthusiasm translates today into specializing in modern floral designs as well as container, organic and edible gardening maintained by a 25 person year-round crew. "We're all about bringing color into people's lives," he said. "We're still in business because of the customer and we're grateful for the community that we've had the chance to be active in for 100 years."

Today, McArdles is celebrating its centennial by donating 100 trees to organizations in Greenwich. "We're working with the Boys and Girls Club to teach kids how to plant some of the trees and some of these kids are the recipients of those trees," he said.

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