Blog

A Note from Rick | Spring is Here! Time to Explore Your Garden.

Bridge Gardens
April 17, 2019

By Rick Bogusch

Well, it won’t be long before your daffodils are blooming. The very early dwarf, Tete-a-Tete is in bloom now, and we have varieties that bloom from mid- and late-April well into May. There are two plantings of these little beauties, one beneath a winter hazel (Corylopsis spicata), which is a relative of witch hazel, and the other is beneath our venerable sweet crab apple (Malus coronaria), which won’t be in bloom until late May.

There’s also a hazelnut in bloom (Corylus avellana). This shrub can grow quite tall, reaching a mature height of 15-18 feet, and is not picky when it comes to soil — it is well suited for Long Island’s sandy, well-draining soils, but does equally well in loamy or clay soils. Maybe this year its tiny female flowers will not be ruined by frost and might actually provide a small crop of nuts for the squirrels.

There’s a wonderful passage about the hazelnut’s male and female flowers in D.H. Lawrence’s novel, “Women in Love. ” I think it’s worth seeking out.

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Crocus are another well-loved spring bloomer, especially when they arrive when there is still snow on the ground! While we didn’t have much in the way of snow this year, these purple beauties still greeted us with enthusiasm. Pictured here are Crocus tommasinianus, or woodland crocus. They are the only crocus the squirrels won’t dig up and eat, and only come in this color. They’re a great source of spring food for foraging bees.

New plantings at the Gardens include two native fruit-bearing shrubs. I’ve ordered two varieties of elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) and one of black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa ‘Viking’), at left. ‘Viking’ has larger and more abundant fruit than the average black chokeberry and makes wonderful jam. Other changes include replacing the non-native ferns in the shade border with a variety of native lady fern and cinnamon fern. Natives like showy golden rod, Joe-Pye weed and false indigo will also be added.

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Blackchokeberry

Also new to Bridge Gardens is Rashawn Gant, our new landscaping assistant. Rashawn hails from East Hampton originally, and now lives in Sag Harbor. With years of experience in landscaping and customer service, I know he’ll be a wonderful asset to Bridge Gardens. Following in his footsteps in the horticulture world is his daughter who attends school in Bridgehampton and is part of their horticulture program. Welcome Rashawn!

Our community garden plots are always popular, as more people look to grow and enjoy their own food. Last year our 22 plots were claimed early in the season, so this year I’ve added two more. With planting season right around the corner, we’ve been working steadily to get the beds in shape for our upcoming community gardener orientation planned for April 13th. They’ve been tilled, edged, composted, and the paths between each have been re-mulched. Mulch for the paths came from removing the mulch around the roses in the rose garden.

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Rashawn in the vegetable garden.

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The roses are now all uncovered from their winter protection and our stalwart volunteer, Heidi Rain, has been busy pulling the mulch out from the plants’ centers. So far, the survival rate looks excellent. When the forsythia bloom, we’ll do our first pruning and fertilizing of the roses. Now is the time to clean the beds. Remove dead leaves and clear mulch from the base of plants to allow new shoots the space they need to grow.

Now is also a good time to plant early vegetable seeds. Get ready to enjoy your own fresh, crisp spinach, arugula, kale again! In fact, we uncovered the spinach planted last September and its ready for the first harvest. This week, the spring peas went in. Sugar Snaps are the best variety for lazy gardeners and cooks, because you don’t need to shell them to enjoy them. There are many varieties of snap peas available these days, including bush types, but none are as productive and tasty as the old stand-by, Sugar Snap.

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