Tag Archive | "Paige Patterson"

Marder’s Lecture Series

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Marders Garden Lecture series will continue on Sunday, June 1, with a discussion of what’s new for 2014.

Among the new arrivals this year are beesia and the digiplexis, a hybrid flower between an isoplexis and a digitalis that was the top flower at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in England last year, according to Paige Patterson, who leads the series.

Next week, the series will return to a tried and true topic: hydrangeas, which, according to Ms. Patterson is the nursery’s most popular lecture.

The Sunday lectures start at 10 a.m., unless otherwise noted, and last about an hour. They are free to the public.

“This is a great venue and we want to provide a way for people to ask a lot of questions and not be compelled to buy anything,” Ms. Patterson said. However, attendees are offered discounts for items related to the lecture’s topic.

For more information, visit Marders’ website, marders.com.

Plants, Animals Signify The Winter that Wasn’t

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By Claire Walla


Is that? It can’t be… a purple crocus? In the middle of winter?!

Yes, it’s barely March, and June, it seems, is already bustin’ out all over.

According to Dee Yardley, Sag Harbor Village Superintendent of Public Works, the lack of snow and ice means the village is already shifting gears.

Rather than bringing out the snow plow, village crews are clipping branches and clearing leaves and debris from village roadways. And as far as he can tell, the weather still looks good at least through next week.

“We’re going to be ahead of schedule big time,” he noted.

The horticultural world is seeing a similar change of pace.

“I’ve been gardening all year long!” said Bridgehampton resident Paige Patterson, an avid gardener and garden consultant at Marder’s Nursery. “My garlic is up, so is my hellebore, and the daffodils are already six inches [tall],” she explained. Patterson went on to say she has two flowering trees in her yard, including a flowering Japanese apricot, which is already in bloom. “I have the most spectacular pink trees!”

Still, she added, “The most impressive thing is that my rose bush has new leaves on it… that’s crazy.”

She said rose bushes typically don’t sprout leaves until well into March, and hers had foliage in February.

According to Patterson, mild weather patterns will lead to a “gorgeous” spring — that is, if a cold snap doesn’t get in the way.

If a freak cold spell hits the East End while plants are starting to bud, Patterson said the blooms will get killed off. While most species of flower will regenerate and work toward re-blooming later in the season, she said the situation is not so sunny for hydrangeas.

The white, soft-serve-ice-cream-shaped Hydrangea Paniculata, will be able to weather the storm, but “Most hydrangeas only have one set of buds,” she explained, like the Nikko Blues that pepper the East End in the summer months.

“They set their flower buds in early August,” Patterson began. “The problem we first had was that [Tropical Storm Irene] defoliated everything. The salt air got on everything and all the leaves browned. So, most of the 2012 buds actually opened in 2011. The ones that didn’t are opening now.”

Because these flowers do not regenerate growth as readily as other flowers, Patterson said any freezing cold weather at this point could potentially kill-off the blue Nikko Hydrangeas for the season.

As for the climate we’ll be privy to in the spring, that much remains to be seen. What Patterson, and others, are already predicting with some degree of certainty, however, concerns another aspect of gardening: pests.

“I think we’re going to have a really bad bug year,” Patterson added. “I’m really stressed about that.”

According to Geoffrey Nimmer of East End Garden Design, the relatively warm weather combined with the lack of moisture we’ve experienced this year combine to create a recipe not only for more bugs, but for fungi.

“Fungi that lives in the ground and affects roses and some flowering trees are usually kept at least somewhat in check by a good hard freeze,” Nimmer wrote in an email. “I think it will be particularly hard on turf, both because of the fungus issue and because there will be more grubs closer to the roots of lawns earlier in the season.”

According to the circle of life, Nimmer continued, grubs mean moles and moles very often bring voles. And neither vermin happen to be good for vegetation.

And unfortunately, as many of us know, certain warm-weather pests are not restricted to the gardening arena.

Former East Hampton Town Natural Resources Director Larry Penny, who lives in Noyac, said this year’s weather conditions could have created a big year for everyone’s favorite summertime arachnid: the tick.

“Just last Wednesday I got an adult female deer tick on me,” Penny said. “That’s the earliest I’ve ever seen them in winter.”

In the vein of springtime annoyances, Sag Harbor resident Lester Ware said he’s already started taking allergy medicine, a spring-time routine he began this year mid-February.

“It’s as early as I’ve ever taken it,” he exclaimed, saying he usually begins taking meds late-March.

According to Dr. Richard Nass — an ear, nose and throat doctor with offices in Amagansett — these early sneezes may not have a direct correlation to pollen count, at least not yet. He said biometric pressure changes that occur when the seasons shift initially cause nose and throat membranes to get agitated.

However, he added, this may just be the beginnings of more successive sneezes.

“In the long term, it’s been a wet season, so the root systems of plants have done very well,” he continued. So, in that sense, “we would expect it to be a bad allergy season.”

For his part, Penny has seen a lot of seasons come and go, and this one, he noted, is very odd indeed.

“This is the most unusual winter I’ve experienced in 76 years,” said Penny, referencing influential paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson who coined a theory he referred to as “sweepstakes,” which deals with random moments in evolution.

As Penny explained it, “Things come and go according to the season, but there’s always the chance that something unusual will happen to change the whole direction of evolution and nature.”

This year, reproductive rates are already up, Penny added, and with such warm weather fostering many throughout the winter, he said many species might grow even more.

“One group that’s going to really go sky high is the turkeys, they’re all over the place.” Penny continued. “And because the numbers are so high to begin with, when they get a little extra food from [more] vegetation and insects they’ll go hog wild.”

He predicted that the East End could be in the midst of a so-called “sweepstakes.”

Although, he said, cold weather would throw a wrench in the spokes. And, you never know, it could very well snow in June.

How Sweet it Is

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By Paige Patterson


The first thing you need to know about raising honeybees is that it’s a little intimidating and crazy fascinating at the same time.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first time I ever held a bee was last year at Marder’s honeybee demonstration with beekeeper Mary Woltz. Owner of Bees Needs Honey, keeper of 100 hives and maker of the most delicious honey I’ve ever had, Mary extolled the inherently gentle nature of bees. As she talked she had handed me a bee to crawl across my hands and up my arm and had spoken about how we’d lost touch with our need for the tiny creature crawling on my sleeve. She talked about how we fear bees, but that they’re actually extremely unaggressive — unlike their black & yellow lookalikes the wasps — and really only sting you as a last chance defensive move. The males, drones, don’t even have a stinger and that’s what she had handed to me.

As its tiny feet tickled my wrist she spoke about how we take bees for granted, forgetting how we depended on them to pollinate both the foods we eat, and the foods the things we eat, eat. Blueberries, eggplants, pomegranates, plum, oranges, lemons, squash, peaches, almonds, pears, strawberries, alfalfa, raspberries, grapes, blackberries, sesame, clover, soybeans, and tomatoes — the list is endless.

When I bought my house it came with a stack of old beehives and a honey extractor that lived in the basement. Watching that bee crawl along my sleeve and listening to Mary talk about the loss of almost half the bees in the world inspired me to finally get serious about trying to start a hive.

Asking around, I learned that the man to go see was Master Beekeeper Ray Lackey. Owner of Sweet Pines Apiary in Bohemia and President of the Long Island Beekeepers Club (longislandbeekeepers.org) he teaches a course that meets once a month in Riverhead and covers all the basic information on caring for a bee colony and raising bees for honey.

A man stuffed with bee keeping facts — bees wear out their wings after 500 miles, a single bee, in its entire lifetime, will produce less then a tenth of a teaspoon of honey – Ray lectures at a rapid fire pace and has the course broken down into easy-to-manage sections. Or so it seemed until I was out there on my own (my husband was watching from about 20 feet away) dressed like Darth Vader in my beekeeper helmet and veil, holding a frame of bees in my elbow length leather gloved hands, sweating like crazy and worrying that I was doing everything wrong.

I smoked my bees (it supposedly calms them) and started to pry the pieces of the hive apart to inspect and see how my bees were doing. It took forever and my bees were far from calm (they even flew over to Dereyk and stung him but that was because I hadn’t told him not to flail around if they got too close as bees see this as aggressive behavior. Whoops, my bad.) Finally I pried a frame out and lifting it up found myself face to face with thousands of bees, capped cells of honey, lots of bee larvae and a billion questions. I inspected every frame, slowly flipping them so I can look at each side, in an effort to spot my queen. No luck! There are eggs being laid, so I haven’t given up hope of spotting her, and I’m a little confused by the extra wax the bees are building up under the transport frames I used to bring them into my hive.

Luckily, Ray has been teaching for a while and is used to the craziness of the honeybee newbie, so he’s created a website where we can post all our questions, read each other’s worries and concerns and learn from the shared experience and see that we’re not the only person who’s a little excited and overwhelmed by these new creatures we’re trying to care for.

It’s still early in my beekeeping experience and I’m not so sure I’m doing it right, but when I’m holding those bees up close to my face trying to discover where the queen is, I’m involved with nature in a way that is both mesmerizing and a little awe inspiring. For that I’m truly grateful, especially for Mary for putting that bee on my sleeve.


Paige Patterson recommends the Bee Café at Marders for their excellent coffee and honey treats.

Mary and some of her bees will be at Marders again this year on Saturday, May 14 for the making your own Wildflower Meadow Garden Lecture and Honey Bee Demonstration.