South Fork Open Gardens Celebrate Spring

Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton Durell Godfrey

In recognition of National Public Gardens Day on Friday, Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton, the LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, and the Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack will offer a day of free one-hour guided tours. Space for this program is limited, and reservations, which can be made by calling 283-3195, are required.

While Madoo is now open to the public on Fridays, both LongHouse and Bridge Gardens will be open this Friday for tour participants only.
A program of the American Public Gardens Association, an organization with more than 590 members, the day celebrates and helps bring to public attention botanical gardens, arboreta, conservatories, educational gardens, and historical landscapes.

The Living Room restaurant at c/o the Maidstone is taking part in the event by offering a special prix fixe dinner Friday evening to tour participants.

Not to be outdone, the Garden Conservancy, which is devoted to preserving and sharing the country's public and private gardens, will hold its Open Day on Saturday with five local gardens participating.

Glade Garden, a half-acre carved from native woodland at 44 Glade Road in Springs, features rare and unusual flowering trees, shrubs, and groundcovers. April's hellebores, camellias, and minor bulbs are succeeded in May by daphnes, epimedium, fragrant early rhododendrons, and other woodland plants. During the summer, color comes from a progression of hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs and trees. Glade Garden is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The garden of Dianne B., located at 86 David's Lane in East Hampton Village and open from noon to 4, is in its 11th year. Favoring the unusual, she has cultivated trillium, ligularia, and hepatica. Visitors can enjoy the leafing out of many Japanese maples, elegant small specimen treasures, and rare variegated conifers. Dianne B. weaves texture, accessories, color, patterns, and layered shapes that echo her career in fashion in the 20th century.

Marshall Watson's two gardens at 253 Kings Point Road in Springs are set atop a bluff overlooking Gardiner's Bay. Though Italian-influenced in its clipped evergreens and statuary, French-influenced in the potager and espaliered trees, English-influenced in the blowsy borders and variety of plants, and Colonial-influenced by its symmetry and formality, it is essentially a new American garden in its eclectic unity. It will be open from 10 to 5.

The Springs garden of the noted landscape designer Edwina von Gal, at 962 Springs-Fireplace Road, will be open from 10 to 4. According to Ms. von Gal, whose goal is to create gardens without synthetic chemicals, "My garden is my laboratory as well as an ecological refuge of sorts. It is on a protected salt marsh, so much of it is not available for me to intercede, which makes the fabulous view stress free. The rest of the four plus acres contain a variety of natural restoration and garden areas, in various stages of progress: a meadow, woodland, and moss garden, all full of voracious deer. I explore different ways to create interest with plants they don't eat, and selectively plant and protect those they do."

The Biercuk and Luckey garden, at 18 Sayres Path in Wainscott, includes a pool designed as a pond with a waterfall and plantings that peak mid-July through October. Winding paths and stone walls enhance a sense of depth and elevation-change on a mostly flat acre. There is something in bloom every season. The hours are 10 to 4.
Admission to each garden is $7, and visitors can pay by check or cash at each location.

Separately, the LongHouse Reserve is hosting a free family day on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with guided tours on the half-hour, performances by East End students, children’s activities, snacks, and refreshments.

The Madoo Conservancy's gardens are punctuated with brightly-painted follies and other accents.Durell Godfrey