By Mara Certic
Linda Silich is a founding member and full partner at Groundworks Landscaping, along with Kim Hren and Andy Silich. She spoke with us about some autumnal activities going on at the nursery this month.
This weekend and next, you’ll be hosting a spooky “Trail of Terror” at Groundworks. When and why did you decide to host an interactive Halloween-y activity?
For the trail of terror, this is the second year. The main reason we decided to do it is that we wanted to do something fun for the community and everybody was complaining that they were tired of going up the island. So when we opened the nursery last year—we just took it over; Groundworks has been in existence for 14 years and then we just took over the garden center. I thought it would be a really cool thing to have events by the pond, and then call it different things. So we had “Music by the Pond” and then “Yoga by the Pond.” And we did a lot of those things pro bono, we didn’t really charge for it. And so in fall, we thought let’s make it fun, instead of just selling pumpkins. We had a couple of good, strategic people who love Halloween. I personally was never a big fan of it, but now that we do this… it’s fun. Kim and Andy and I talked it out and we charge $10. We wanted to keep it affordable for the community, the point isn’t to make money, it’s really just to cover our costs.
Where do you find the ghouls and goblins that roam around the Trail of Terror?
We have about 30 to 40 people that all volunteer. We use two acres [away] from the road and decorate the trails all around the garden center. I’m the tour guide, I think I’m Little Red Riding Hood. I was the tour guide last year, it seems to be my gig—I was a tour guide in college, too. The most accurate way to say it is that we max out at 20 people per group. A crew will go every half hour or 45 minutes—it’ll depend on the group—and there are different stations throughout the two acres that you’ll go to. So it’s not just like walking through the garden center. That’s another misnomer, a lot of people are like “How scary can you decorate the garden center?”
The Trail of Terror is recommended for those over 13. Is there anything for the younger set?
Well a lot of people said this all is great, but why don’t you do something for the little kids. So we’re doing the fall festival for kids the same day. So the fall festival is more for face painting, etc., but the big thing we’re doing, which no one else has done out in the Hamptons, is that we’re bringing pigs out here and we’re going to have Sue Wee Flying Pig races. They’re very cute. There will be races on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a company upstate, they bring the track, they bring the pigs, they chase after Oreos. It’s totally cool and it will be something totally different. And that’ll also be $10. You know, it’s just something different. So we do listen to people and we try to respond appropriately.
Do you have things at Groundworks that people can use to make their own backyards spooky and seasonal?
Yes, some of my bigger landscape clients will do hay bales and cornstalks, Indian corn. We also have a great gift shop. A lot of people don’t realize that yet; they won’t realize it until they walk in and see for themselves. And it’s not just a lot of tchotchkes; there are nice gifts for hostesses, and that sort of things. I think it’s kind of nice that we’re able to appeal to a wide range of people.
The Trail of Terror will be open on Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25, and Thursday and Friday, October 30 and 31, from 7 to 10 p.m. The fall festival will begin at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, October 25 and 26. Tickets for both events cost $10 per person. Groundworks is located at 530 Montauk Highway in East Hampton. For more information, call (631) 324-7373.