Tag Archive | "gardening"

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do July 25 to 27

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The Montauk Project, Chris Wood, Mark Schiavoni, Jasper Conroy and Jack Marshall, performs at Swallow East in Montauk on Friday, February 28. Photo by Ian Cooke.

The Montauk Project, Chris Wood, Mark Schiavoni, Jasper Conroy and Jack Marshall, performs at Swallow East in Montauk on Friday, February 28. Photo by Ian Cooke.

By Tessa Raebeck

From fast-growing local bands to slow food snail suppers, there’s plenty to do on the East End this weekend. Here are some highlights:

The Montauk Project is playing at Swallow East in the band’s hometown of Montauk Saturday, July 26 at 8 p.m. The local beach grunge rockers, who were born and bred on the island and are steadily gaining more recognition by music critics and enthusiasts alike, released their first full-length album, “Belly of the Beast,” in March. The band, which consists of East Hampton’s Chris Wood and Jack Marshall, Sag Harbor’s Mark Schiavoni and Jasper Conroy of Montauk, will be joined by hip hop/rock hybrid PUSHMETHOD, who were voted the best New York City hip hop group of 2013 by The Deli magazine.

Eastern Surf Magazine said of the East End group, “The Montauk Project is far tighter than every other surf-inspired East Coast rock band to come before it.” Swallow East is located at 474 West Lake Drive in Montauk. For more information, call (631) 668-8344.

 

Also on Saturday, People Say NY presents an open mic and art show at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton, starting at 8 p.m. In addition to featured grunge pop artist Adam Baranello and featured performer Danny Matos, who specializes in spoken word and hip hop, performers of all ages are encouraged to participate.

According to its mission statement, People Say NY “brings art back to the fundamentals, so we can remind ourselves why artists and art lovers alike do what we do.”

The night of music, comedy and poetry has a sign-up and $10 cover and is at the Hayground School, located at 151 Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton. For more information, visit peoplesayny.com or check out @PeopleSayNY on Twitter and Facebook.

 

In celebration of the release of the “Delicious Nutritious FoodBook” by the Edible School Garden Group of the East End, Slow Food East End hosts a Snail Supper at the home of Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, located at 39 Peconic Hills Drive in Southampton. The supper will be held Friday, July 25, at 6 p.m.

Guests are asked to bring a potluck dish to share that serves six to eight people and aligns with the slow food mission, as well as local beverages. Capacity is limited to 50 and tickets are $20 for Slow Food East End members and $25 for non-members. The price includes a copy of the new cookbook. Proceeds from the evening will be shared between Slow Food East End and Edible School Gardens, Ltd. Click here to RSVP.

 

Some one hundred historians will converge upon Sag Harbor to enjoy the Eastville Community Historical Society’s luncheon and walking tour of Eastville and Sag Harbor.

The day-long event starts at 8:30 a.m. with a welcome at the Old Whalers Church, located at 44 Union Street in Sag Harbor, followed by a walking tour at 9:30 a.m. to the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, the Sag Harbor Custom House and the Sag Harbor Historical Society, which is located at Nancy Wiley’s home. A shuttle bus is available for those needing assistance.

From 11:15 a.m. to noon, guests will visit the Eastville Community Historical Society Complex to see the quilt exhibit “Warmth” at the St. David AME Zion Church and Cemetery. A luncheon catered by Page follows from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Old Whalers Church in Sag Harbor.

 

The Hilton Brothers, "Andy Dandy 5," 2007, 36 x 48 inches, pigment print. Image courtesy Peter Marcelle Project.

The Hilton Brothers, “Andy Dandy 5,” 2007, 36 x 48 inches, pigment print. Image courtesy Peter Marcelle Project.

The Peter Marcelle Project in Southampton will exhibit the Hilton Brothers, an artistic identity that emerged from a series of collaborations by artists Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg, from July 26 to August 5.

Their latest collaboration, “Andy Dandy,” is a portfolio of 20 digital pigment prints. The diptychs combine Mr. Makos’ “Altered Image” portraits of Andy Warhol with images of flowers from Mr. Solberg’s “Bloom” series.

“Andy wasn’t the kind of dandy to wear a flower in his lapel, but as ‘Andy Dandy’ demonstrates, sometimes by just altering the image of one’s work or oneself, a new beauty blooms,” the gallery said in a press release.

The gallery is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment.

Sag Harbor Elementary School Teacher Travels to Malawi to Visit School for Orphans

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Students at the Jacaranda School for Orphans in Malawi. Photo courtesy Jacaranda School.

Students at the Jacaranda School for Orphans in Malawi. Photo courtesy Jacaranda School.

By Tessa Raebeck

Hundreds of art supplies, dozens of books and one Sag Harbor Elementary School teacher are on their way to a school for orphans in Malawi Thursday, July 17.

Science teacher Kryn Olson will spend three weeks at the Jacaranda School for Orphans in the village of Che Mboma, near the city of Limbe in the south of Malawi, a small, landlocked country in southeast Africa.

Sag Harbor Elementary School science teacher Kryn Olson.

Sag Harbor Elementary School science teacher Kryn Olson.

Ms. Olson, who pioneered the outdoor gardening program at the elementary school, is visiting Jacaranda to work with the children there on a gardening program they’ve started. She’s been researching the types of greens that would be successful in Malawi’s tropical climate and could flourish in African soil.

“It’s going to be an experiment, but exciting,” Ms. Olson said in a recent interview. “They have a very successful program they’ve been working with on gardening and so, they want to have me come and just see how we can join forces and work together on learning and developing what they have.”

The family of a young girl Ms. Olson has been mentoring over the last several years is friends with the owner and developer of the Jacaranda School, Marie Da Silva.

“They invited her to come out and see what I do here,” Ms. Olson said. After Ms. Da Silva visited Sag Harbor, she and Ms. Olson decided to work together in expanding Jacaranda’s garden—and uniting their students as pen pals.

Ms. Olson said Sag Harbor children wrote letters to the kids in Malawi she will carry with her on her trip, and then she will bring the Jacaranda students’ letters back to Sag Harbor. After the first exchange, the students will begin emailing back and forth regularly.

“They can’t stand it, they’re so excited,” Ms. Olson said of her students in Sag Harbor. “It’s really a beautiful thing. There was such a level of humility, but smart humility.”

“They were very excited about being able to write somebody in another country,” she added. “They realize that they live another life, so they were just curious. It was just kids talking to kids; it was beautiful. It wasn’t about depth, it was: Tell me what your country looks like. What animals live there? Do you have a brother or sister?”

Born and raised in Malawi, Ms. Da Silva, who has lost 15 members of her family to the AIDS pandemic, including her father and two of her brothers, came to the United States to work as a nanny and lived in New York City for 19 years. In 2002, she returned to Malawi and, after seeing how many children in her hometown were left out of school, she founded the Jacaranda School for Orphans, operating out of her family home. She used the money she earned working as a nanny to scrape together supplies and teachers’ salaries.

“When she nannied,” Ms. Olson said of Ms. Da Silva, “she really researched the schools and watched how the children were being raised here. She felt that education here was profoundly different. She wanted to expose the children to things she learned here. So she took those concepts back to Malawi with her.”

Twelve years later, the school has 400 students, its own campus and is the only entirely free primary and secondary school in the country. It provides the orphans with a free education, scholarships to high school graduates, uniforms and school supplies, clothes and shoes, daily nutrition, medical care and counseling, AIDS awareness activities, arts programs, agriculture activities and home support in the form of renovation of students’ houses, monthly financial support to the most impoverished children and construction of boarding houses for students in child-headed families.

Ms. Da Silva was recognized as a Top Ten Hero by CNN in 2008.

“It’s really an incredible thing that she did,” Ms. Olson said. “She not only feeds them, but she gives them medicine and funds their education. She has also now sent six kids to college, which is unheard of.”

In addition to bringing the pen pal letters and her school gardening expertise to Malawi, Ms. Olson is also bringing boxes of gifts to the Jacaranda School.

Sag Harbor students raised funds to donate two cases filled with art supplies—hundreds of water color tablets, reams of paper, colored markers and other materials—and “an enormous amount of books,” which will be shipped over on a boat.

“We’re trying to double the size of their library,” Ms. Olson said.

In addition to the books donated by students and their families, Ms. Olson is bringing a suitcase with all her favorites, including Eric Carl classics and “Goodnight Moon.”

Ms. Olson will also help the Jacaranda School enhance its garden, which currently grows carrots, tea and other vegetables.

“What they raise they sell to help support the orphanage,” she said. “And they also really are working at making sure the kids understand that it’s about learning how to be sustainable and how to take care of themselves and not taking things for granted.”

The produce that isn’t sold is used to feed the children.

“She wanted to teach them how to survive in the world,” Ms. Olson said of Ms. Da Silva.

Landscape Pleasures Offers an Insider’s Look at Southampton’s Ever-Changing Gardens

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The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is one of the homes featured on the Parrish Art Museum's Landscape Pleasures garden tour this Sunday, June 8. Photo by Doug Young.

The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is one of the homes featured on the Parrish Art Museum’s Landscape Pleasures garden tour this Sunday, June 8. Photo by Doug Young.

By Tessa Raebeck

Like a piece of artwork or a writer’s manuscript, a garden is never truly finished. As with all art, gardens can always evolve, changing with the seasons and naturally growing out of plans and designs, developing over time in a never-ending evolution.

Gardening is the art of the Earth, providing the willing and creative with another means of finding beauty in the mundane.

“All I know is, I don’t paint with a trowel or garden with a brush,” the late Robert Dash said in a video by P. Allen Smith Classics filmed in 2011, two years before his death, when asked about the connection between gardening and painting.

“They inform one another in ways that are very mysterious. It’s how the trowel is wielded or how the brush is wielded that informs the canvas or the Earth and there are no rules. And the only way you know how to do something in either of those arts is by doing it,” he added.

Mr. Dash, an artist, writer and gardener who died in September at age 82, “believed very much in gardens taking their time and developing over a period of time,” said Jack deLashmet, co-chair of Landscape Pleasures, which will honor Mr. Dash this year.

Hosted by the Parrish Art Museum, Landscape Pleasures includes three lectures by gardening and landscape design experts on Saturday, June 7, followed by a day of tours of some of Southampton’s most historic and remarkable gardens on Sunday, June 8.

The 2-acre Sagaponack garden of Mr. Dash, the Madoo Conservancy, which is open to the public, is included among the private estates on Sunday’s tour.

Established in 1967, the internationally known organic garden is a testament to Mr. Dash’s belief in the ever-evolving landscape. The grounds offer a tour across history, featuring Tudor, High Renaissance, early Greek, English, French and Asian influences.

Mr. Dash’s horticultural wisdom—and his commitment to the garden as a canvas that is ever changing and organic—will be celebrated and expanded on this weekend.

“We’ve always had excellent speakers,” said Mr. deLashmet of the annual garden tours, who believes this year’s Landscape Pleasures is the best yet. “The theme is the never finished garden, that gardens really evolve—and everybody will have a slight take on that,”

On Saturday, southern landscape design architect Paul Faulkner “Chip” Callaway, “an absolutely entertaining speaker,” according to Mr. deLashmet, will present, reflecting on his experience creating nearly 1,000 gardens, concentrating on period restoration work and designing historically relevant gardens.

Following Mr. Callaway, Martin Filler, the architecture critic for The New York Review of Books, and renowned for his more than 1,000 articles, essays and books on modern architecture,  will celebrate the contributions of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, the Listerine fortune heiress who was a patron of the arts with a dedicated interest in gardening, landscape design and the history of gardens.

A friend and confidante of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Ms. Mellon redesigned the White House Rose Garden. She died in March at the age of 103.

One of the world’s premiere garden designers, Arne Maynard, is the final speaker Saturday. Known for his large country gardens in Great Britain, the United States and across Europe, Mr. Maynard has the special “ability to identify and draw out the essence of a place, something that gives his gardens a particular quality of harmony,” according to the Parrish website.

Continuing the celebration of the changing nature of gardens, the self-guided tour Sunday features properties with rich histories behind them.

The garden of Perri Peltz and Eric Ruttenberg, an 1892 property originally called “Claverack,” is rarely open to the public.

Although it has evolved, the owners are always mindful of their home’s deep history; the original outhouses, bucolic buildings housing poultry, dairy and the stables, were, in a move that is sadly rare on the East End, married together and allowed to remain.

Designer Tory Burch will open up her home, a 1929 red brick Georgian House and 10-acre garden known as Westerly that is one of Southampton’s grandest estates.

“A great story about both restoring and finding old plants,” according to Mr. deLashmet,  Bernard and Joan Carl, the owners an 8-acre estate called “Little Orchard,” restored original plantings while also bringing in new gardens.

“We did not want to be beholden to the past just for the past’s sake,” Ms. Carl told the Parrish.

The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is an American style garden flanked by a new Palladian villa. The landscape offers a modern interpretation on standard ideas of gardening, with fruits and vegetables, an herb garden, and a vase decorated with poetry made by Mr. Dash.

As the late Mr. Dash once said, “Gardening is very much like setting a table—and if you can set a good dinner table, you can be a good gardener.”

A two-day event, Landscape Pleasures begins Saturday, June 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For a full calendar and more information, call (631) 283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.

Hidden Private Gardens of the East End to Open this Spring

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The view of the pool in George Biercuk and Robert Luckey's garden in Wainscott. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

The view of the pool in George Biercuk and Robert Luckey’s garden in Wainscott. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

By Tessa Raebeck

While many East End residents lamented that winter lasted far too long this year, George Biercuk of Wainscott enjoyed his garden.

“It has something in bloom all year long,” said Mr. Biercuk, who shares his garden with his partner, Robert Luckey.

“There is enough structure in the garden that it holds together as a garden even in the winter,” Mr. Biercuk said Friday. Be it freezing or beautiful out, “there is always something in bloom.”

The four-season garden is one of six being featured in the Garden Conservancy’s Suffolk County Open Day Saturday, the first of six daylong tours across the county this summer.

On Saturday, visitors can view any or all of six private gardens in Wainscott, East Hampton and Stony Brook.

On Sayre’s Path in Wainscott, the Biercuk and Luckey garden is easy to find, with bright, yellow daffodils in full bloom lining the property along the roadside.

In designing his space, Mr. Biercuk, who grew up experimenting with planting and attended a horticultural program at Southampton College, and has a self-described natural affinity for gardening, sought “a very natural garden.”

“So that it’s low in maintenance,” he said, “that I don’t have to worry about every leaf and it’s not a pristine garden, like a very formal one. Because the garden should be fun.”

The couple planned the garden slowly, improving the soil a bed at a time, planning out every curve and season.

“I started with the plants that were supposed to be dwarf so that I could get more in,” he said. “And it’s growing better than I imagined.”

Totally designed, dug and planted by Mr. Biercuk, the garden is complemented by a pond-like pool, a waterfall and stonework designed by Mr. Biercuk and implemented by Richard Cohen and Jim Kutz of Rockwater Design & Installations in Amagansett.

The entire property is an acre, but the lush foliage tricks the eye into thinking it’s a much larger estate.

Dianne Benson's home in East Hampton, part of the Suffolk County Open Days private garden tour. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

Dianne Benson’s home in East Hampton, part of the Suffolk County Open Days private garden tour. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

“I have real estate people come in here and walk around and go in the back, which is probably a half acre, maybe a touch more, and go, ‘How many acres are in the back here?’” said Mr. Biercuk. “Because of the way its planted, you cannot see the whole thing—and that’s what I wanted.”

“Whenever I go walk some place, I always take a different route and I come back a different way, because you always see things differently,” he added.

Looking out from the kitchen, Mr. Biercuk can see the waterfall flowing into his pool, flanked by evergreens and rhododendrons.

“It’s one cohesive space,” he said. And through the crisp chill of January or the sweating sun of July, it stays that way. The plants rotate, but the greenery never fades.

Day lilies and peonies pop up in June, with the day lilies running through the summer.

“I have them staggered with different bloom times, so they pop up all over the place,” he said. “I use varying foliage also, so there’s always color.”

The azaleas come in the early summer, followed by clerodendrums trichotomum in August, “which has incredible fragrance,” an essential part of any garden, he said.

“And then when the flowers are finished, it gets this wonderful berry-like substance—red and purple—like the old fashioned juices,” he said. “That lasts through the fall.”

Fuchsias Mr. Biercuk has had for 30 years get planted out again in August, brightening the backyard with vibrant oranges.

“You can go find them and put them in the ground in May and have them blooming, but I like waiting for things,” he said.

Angel wing begonias, some of them nearly 7 feet tall, are planted in the fall, as are some perennials.  Begonia Grandis, a “hardy begonia” comes into flower in late August and lasts into the fall.

In the winter, evergreens, rhododendrons, holly and pieris fill the property, as well as hamamelis, or witch hazel.

This time of year, “we’re entering into the height,” Mr. Biercuk said, adding that his favorite rhododendron, the Taurus, blooms a deep red in the springtime.

“Hopefully, they’re going to be in full glory next Saturday,” he said.

The Suffolk County Open Day of private garden tours is Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 or 4 p.m., depending on the garden. Following Suffolk County Open Days are May 17, June 21, July 12, July 19 and September 6. For prices, participating gardens and more information, call 1-888-842-2442, email opendays@gardenconservancy.org or visit gardenconservancy.org/opendays.

Beautiful Gardens Don’t Have an Off-Season

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web dirt

by Jenny Noble

Sandy soil. Hungry deer. Unpredictable  winters. Welcome to Zone 6B.  What can we  expect from land that used to be a swamp? Despite the odds, some gardens manage to look so lush and effortlessly beautiful, so very Martha Stuart, while  others look more, well, Grey Gardens. The difference? The off season. For a really healthy garden, there is no “off season”.  Before summer weeding and watering, there’s a whole year of carefully tending the garden.

Keeping your garden on terra firma all starts with soil; conditioning, protecting  and aerating are essential. But before spending a lot of money on it, really know your soil. Send  soil samples to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and they’ll test the structure and pH of soil for free.  “If its water logged, clayish, too sandy, too hard, etc…it needs to be amended,” says Dave Green of Ray Smith & Assoc. Ideally, soil should be crumbly, rich in organic matter, draining well and holding nutrients.  

In the chemical vs. organic debate, chemical fertilizers seem like the obvious choice because they’re  cheaper, work faster, and spend millions in advertising telling you so. While the quick shot approach of throwing down Miracle Grow is tempting, a healthy garden has more to do with knowledge and patience than miracles. Organic methods such as composting, “build healthier soil slowly versus jackin’  them up on steroids,” says Ken Olson of The Laurel Group. Chemical fertilizers feed nutrients, but don’t improve the actual texture of the soil the way compost does. And even if one doesn’t take into account the pollution that seeps into our ponds and bay, chemical fertilizers expose children and pets to harmful toxins.  Olson also points out that “Organic material may be  more expensive to start with, but over time, they improve the quality of the soil and you spend less money on fertilizer”.   

Manure, if carefully cut with compost so it won’t burn,  is an especially good fertilizer for vegetables. “Cock-a-doodle-doo” (that would be chicken) fertilizes, works as a pre-emergent weed barrier and is less aromatic than cow manure.  For more obscure but effective fertilizing methods, check out worm castings (worm poop), sea weed compost and fish emulsion. Dried blood fertilizes and also keeps deer away.  Bone meal makes a good  fertilizer for bulbs. To raise the pH of sandy soil, making it less acidic, use lime. To lower the pH, use  aluminum sulphite. Again, testing soil first is  crucial.

Because solid snow doesn’t insulate the ground throughout the winter out here, we need  to compensate for the erratic freeze-and-thaw weather pattern. Phil Bucking of Sag Harbor Garden Center recommends “putting soil to bed nicely by covering it in a soft, thick blanket of mulch that keeps the temperature consistent and protects the roots all winter. Then add a second layer in the spring to keeps weeds from coming up”. An alternative to mulch is  hay, which is cheaper but contains fewer nutrients. Pine needles also make good cover for acid loving plants. Left over Christmas tree branches can be laid over perennial beds for insulation. 

While a thick cover of leaves left on the ground can “kill” soil by trapping oxygen and light, leaving some leaves  on the ground helps  protect soil as well. A light layer of leaves can provide  insulation and nutrition whereas soil that’s blasted bare tends to erode.

When aerating a garden, “think like a farmer” says Sam Panton of Terra Design. “They till the soil, build trenches to trap water, which then freezes, expands and breaks up the soil”. This keeps soil  loose and breathing all winter.

Plants, like soil, also need to be put to bed nicely for the winter. Wrappping  perennials, shrubs, hedges and evergreens in burlap can help protect them from windburn and breakage from heavy snow. Another form of protection is to apply an anti-desiccant such as “Wiltpruf” whose liquid wax coating seals the leaves so they don’t dry out. Think of it as plant Chap Stick.

Pruning is also essential to a robust summer garden. While a garden can generally be cleaned up and cut back in the fall, prune only selectively until springtime. Almost all flowering plants should be pruned just  after they flower. And with perennials, waiting until  tender leaves appear makes it much easier to tell which branches are really dead.

Regarding deer, once you’ve ruled out an impromptu hunting spree, pick up Vincent Drzewucki, Jr.’s “Gardening in Deer Country” which is filled  with advice that feels tailor-made for Sag Harbor. For bulb-loving squirrels,  put  hot pepper wax on the bulb (It’s not sadistic, they just avoid  them.)

A nice shortcut to a productive garden?  Start indoors. Herbs and decorative plant roots can be established in early spring and then transferred  outdoors when warm enough.

Finally, the only thing as important as taking care of what you have, is selecting the right plants to begin with.  It’s much easier  to pick a plant that’s  right  for  the terrain than make the terrain right for the plant. Pick plants that are not only native, but that will thrive in your backyard. One landscape designer emphasized that “a healthy  garden should mimic nature”.  Who knows? Maybe some day it’ll even be part of it.