A Note From Rick | Looking Ahead

November 11, 2022

By Kathleen Kennedy, Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

Looking at our Long Island landscapes now, it’s hard to believe that they were once covered primarily with oak woods, part of the maritime forest that covered the east coast before arrival of the colonists.

Unlike indigenous people, the colonists cleared and farmed the land, so much so that the vast forests disappeared. Some grew back, as farming moved west, only to succumb again, as urban areas grew and many second growth forests were cleared for housing and development. Though endangered, some still survive.

The Peconic Land Trust has numerous preserves that feature dense stands of oaks. These include Wilson’s Grove Preserve in Amagansett, along with Stony Hill Preserve and many other acres throughout Amagansett, the recently protected Broad Cove Preserve along with Tanger Preserve in Riverhead, the Wolf and Reese Preserves in Southold, and several preserves along the bluffs of Baiting Hollow, and throughout the North Fork.

Oaks predominated in local primal forests because they can thrive in both dry, infertile, sandy soils and our fertile loams. Their roots buried deep into the ground, so they could withstand fierce winds and their wood was strong and resistant. Red and white oaks were often accompanied by other tree species like hickories, American beech, black cherry, sassafras, American holly and tupelo and before proliferation of the deer population, an understory of flowering dogwood, maple-leaved viburnum, blueberries and more.


Oak, beech and hickory trees grow in the woodland garden

Bridge Gardens is lucky to have a remnant of an oak-hickory-beech maritime forest and we’ll be featuring it in a couple upcoming programs: a walk with certified arborist, Jackson Dodds, on November 12th and a winter tree identification walk with Tom Volk, certified arborist with Summerhill Landscapes on December 3. Both walks are sold out, but if you are interested, contact us to be added to the wait list.

In preparation, we’ve developed a couple of new paths through the woods and along the property’s periphery, complete with benches, so even though the project is a work in progress, there will be much to see and learn during both programs.


Colorful leaves of an oak tree in the Inner Garden

November is certainly the month to enjoy fall color, the textures of broad leaves, grass blades and seed heads and the wonderful, golden, hazy, low-angled sunlight that blesses the East End. Bridge Gardens is a great place to enjoy this wonderful light and all the attractions of fall gardens and I invite you to visit soon.

See you there,

~~~~~ Rick

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