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A Note From Rick | 2020 - An Unusual Year

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Bridge Gardens
December 17, 2020

By Rick Bogusch

While many things changed in 2020 due to the pandemic, access to Bridge Gardens remained the same. And this year has made us realize how important a place like Bridge Gardens is when people need a place to be outside. We stayed open 7 days a week and saw more visitors than ever before. I was amazed to see people of all ages, families with small children, residents and visitors alike, returning again and again to walk, relax, sit in the shade, read, work in a quiet place or have a conversation with a friend. Bridge Gardens became the community resource it was meant to be.

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And with increased food insecurity, the vegetables harvested weekly from our demonstration vegetable beds were more important than ever. More than 1,000 pounds of food was delivered over the course of the growing season to the Sag Harbor Food Pantry, much to the delight of their clients. In addition, our 24 Community Garden beds were sold out and people learned how to grow their own food. I hope you enjoyed some of our virtual workshops and videos this year, sharing tips on everything from growing lettuce and beets, to creating great soil from compost, to implementing organic practices for the lawn and landscape.

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Looking ahead to 2021, there will be many opportunities for us to connect, both virtually and eventually, in person. Programs will include starting seeds indoors and planning your garden, our popular Long Island Grown lecture series - which will remain virtual for now - and an outdoor sculpture exhibition installation planned for early summer. And, we’re excited to launch our new TravelStory audio tour, coming very soon! Led by Kathy Kennedy, our Senior Outreach Manager and me, this GPS-based tour can be experienced on your phone while visiting Bridge Gardens, or you can explore the Gardens from your home computer. Stay tuned for an official tour launch announcement!

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I’m looking forward to installing enhanced signage in the coming months, both directional and interpretative, that will provide a better visitor experience. We’re also planning a greater focus on the beauty and importance of native plants. In fact, our native plant collection grew by planting hundreds of grasses, perennials, shrubs and trees, many homegrown from seed. Using native plants, we made great strides turning our entrance parking lot into a garden feature and demonstration area. Plantings will be completed this spring - I hope you’ll come and explore!

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2020 was a great year for blackberries and raspberries. This year we planted more native elderberries as well as beach plums and goji berry. Look for more blackberries, native hazelnuts, and native persimmons in 2021. Also a highlight of 2020 was the newly planted orchard of 22 apple and pear trees, all of which flourished. Starting as 3-foot saplings, they became small trees, and show great promise as a source of programming and delicious harvest. We’ll begin a pruning and organic maintenance program for the orchard, developed by Paul Wagner of Greener Pastures Organics, beginning in spring of 2021.

December is a quiet time here at Bridge Gardens. I’m still digging out paths in the vegetable garden, mulching, and waiting for a couple of hard freezes so I can finish cutting back the herb garden. Even though leaves are gone and the gardens have been cut back, people are still visiting Bridge Gardens most every day.

It has a different kind of interest and appeal at this time of year. It’s a great place to soak up the sun and enjoy the beauty of the East End light, to be thankful for evergreens, but also appreciate the beauty of a branching pattern and the texture of bark.

We’re still open every day, come visit soon! And I wish you peace and happiness this holiday season.

~~Rick

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2021 Bridge Gardens Memberships are on sale today!

Membership starts at only $75 for the year — a great value!

As a member, you receive free or reduced price admission to Bridge Gardens’ educational programs and workshops, plus enjoy free admission and discounts at over 300 participating gardens nationwide through the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admission Program.

For more information, to purchase a membership, or for details on how to become a 2021 sponsor of Bridge Gardens, visit our Bridge Gardens webpage or contact Amanda Abraham.

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