A Garden Grows in Matthew Lester's Memory

The late Matthew Lester was remembered Sunday at the dedication of a bee-friendly pollinator garden at the East Hampton Historical Farm Museum; his mother, Dana Lester, at rear, described the garden to guests. Durell Godfrey photos

A crowd estimated at more than 300 gathered for lunch Sunday for the formal dedication of a garden designed for the bees at the East Hampton Historical Farm Museum.

The garden conceived by Matthew Lester, an East Hampton High School senior and Eagle Scout candidate, who committed suicide before it could be completed. After Matthew's death, members of his scout troop, family, and friends pooled their efforts to see bring his idea to fruition.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and Councilmen Peter Van Scoyoc and Fred Overton stood in a wide doorway of a restored barn on the property and spoke briefly before lunch was served. They were introduced by Prudence Carabine, one of the farm museum's founders.

Admission was either by cash donation to the North Main Street museum or the gift of a pie; about 70 pies supplied by willing guests were spread across several tables for dessert. Lunch included roast turkey, baked beans, corn, scalloped potatoes, and clam chowder prepared by Mr. Overton.

Mr. Lester's mother, Dana Lester, spoke after lunch and described Matthew's love of the earth and his concern for bees' plight and dream of raising awareness of their importance through the pollinator garden.

She said that he had drawn a precise layout for his garden, with each of four quadrants planted for bee-friendly pollen in a specific season.

Ms. Lester said that she and the others who took up Matthew's work took liberties with that plan, choosing instead to spread the flowering plants across the garden's 1,600 square feet.

Members of Scout Troop 298 unveiled a brass plaque bearing Matthew's name and explaining the purpose of the garden as bees from a hive off to one side nearby buzzed back and forth to the blossoms.

Ellis Rattray photo