Martha Stewart to Be the Judge

The invitational calls on artists, gardeners, and landscape professionals to create container gardens
“Landscape Details,” one of last year’s entrants in the “Planters: On and Off the Ground” show, used mosses and other low-growing plants in a stepped square composition. Dawn Watson

“Planters: On and Off the Ground,” LongHouse Reserve’s annual juried invitational, will open on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at the East Hampton garden, museum, and educational foundation. Martha Stewart will judge the competition, as she did in LongHouse’s inaugural year, and visitors will determine the People’s Choice Award. Presentations will take place at 6. 

The invitational calls on artists, gardeners, and landscape professionals to create container gardens that will ornament the venue’s “squash court,” which has been called a “cornucopia of cucubits.” In celebration of LongHouse’s 25th anniversary, participants must include some silver in the design, which may use historical pieces such as urns and baskets or more contemporary designs fashioned from cutting-edge materials. Competition is always intense, with exhibitors encouraged to push the envelope in their combinations of plants and vessels. 

Local participants, including Nico Yektai, Marders, Tony Ingrao, Summerhill Landscapes, and Landscape Details will square off against the out-of-town designers Paula Hayes, Broken Arrow Nursery, Jessie LeBaron Gardens, 2100Built, and Old Westbury Gardens, among others.

The event will be hosted by Elizabeth Lear, LongHouse’s garden committee chairwoman, and Jack Lenor Larsen, the renowned textile designer and LongHouse founder. Tickets, which are $20, $10 for members, can be purchased from the LongHouse website.

The invitational will be preceded, starting at 2 p.m., with a rare-plant and container auction chaired by Tony Piazza, Alex Feleppa, Geoffrey Nimmer, and Dennis Schrader, with donations from a variety of garden purveyors. Representatives from Broken Arrow, which is in Connecticut, will also be on hand for a one-day sale of exotic plants.