A Note From Rick | Sculptural Branching, Bark Texture & Colorful Berries

December 18, 2017

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

Creating a garden that offers winter interest can be a fun project!

Many of the trees and shrubs that grow well on Long Island provide us with beautiful sculptural branching, interesting bark textures, and colorful berries. If you are thinking of making changes to your landscape come spring, consider those that will also offer you off-season interest.


I enjoy the natural beauty of American and hybrid hollies like Yule berry, with their vibrant green leaves and red berries, attractive to humans and wildlife alike. Bridge Gardens has several to be found throughout the property. Another shrub offering winter beauty is Ilex Verticillata, or Winterberry, with its bright red and orange berries.  These berries are favored by wildlife and won’t last through the winter, but are abundant in December. 


Without the cover of leaves, tree branches can be works of art. One of our most striking trees is the large weeping Japanese cutleaf maple growing inside the white gates.  This beautiful specimen is around 50 years old, and its intricate twisted branches can be enjoyed now that the burgundy colored leaves are gone. Colorful stems are also attractive, like those of Rubus occidentalis ‘Jewel,” a native black raspberry growing on the south edge of the property above the rose garden.  

Not sure where to turn to for ideas?  Consider picking up a copy of author Vincent Simeone’s book, “Wonders of the Winter Landscape: Shrubs and Trees to Brighten the Cold-Weather Garden,” which offers many good suggestions for Long Island natives that will thrive in our soil and climate


And, check out this article from this past week’s East End Beacon  by Susan Tito  in which I’m interviewed about the beauty of evergreens in the winter landscape.

Take time to explore your gardens this season to enjoy their natural artistry. Or, come visit Bridge Gardens - now open year round with free admission - to experience all that we have created! 

Can’t make it to Bridgehampton? Enjoy a slide show of beautiful photography by Jeff Heatley, who spent a year capturing images of Bridge Gardens throughout the seasons. 

What to do now?

Compost vegetable beds:   Add a generous layer of compost to your vegetable garden now to improve your soil fertility and improve future yields. 

Mulch and winterize roses:  Cover your rose crowns with a mound of mulch 12-18” deep, depending on the size of the rose, until spring’s thaw. 

Clean, sharpen and store garden tools: Rinse off and dry tools before storage in your shed or garage. And for those tools that are made of steel, apply a light scrubbing of steel wool to remove rust, and then apply a thin coat of oil. Sharpening blades of pruners, shears, and tree saws will have you ready to go when spring pruning calls.

If you haven’t already, winterize irrigation:  It is best to hire a professional who can blow out the water in the lines and winterize your system before water freezes and causes damage.

Now that we are open year round, if the garden gates are open you are welcome to explore. And don’t be put off by work being done in the driveway and parking area - this will be completed soon to better serve your needs in the future!  
Happy Holidays to You, I hope to see you soon!

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