36 Mitchell Lane
June 22, 2017
Nestled in the heart of Bridgehampton, NY, a short walk from the LIRR train station, is Bridge Gardens, a 20-year-old public garden managed by the Peconic Land Trust. Part formal garden, part community garden, the five acres are described by Peconic Land Trust as “a multi-porpose, multi-disciplinary outdoor classroom, demonstration garden, and community resource with a focus on sustainable lawn and gardening practices.”
“We want to show people that there are ways of gardening that don’t involve the use of a lot of chemicals, and that they can grow their own food and incorporate it in an attractive way to the landscape,” said Rick Bogusch, Bridge Garden’s Garden Manager for the past nine years.
The garden’s vegetable array is indeed impressive, with the produce supporting local food pantries and events held at the garden. Throughout the growing season—and beyond, thanks to a cold frame—Bridge Gardens produces greens, tomatoes, squash, berries, and a range of other organic produce.
In addition to the demonstration vegetable garden, Bridge Garden also hosts a thriving community garden that provides plots to 20 families wanting to grow their own vegetables each year. The community garden has sold out every summer since it was launched three years ago.
Next to the community garden are demonstration lawn beds, used for workshops on organic lawn care and land management throughout the season. For the past several summers, Peconic Land Trust and Perfect Earth Project have partnered to host free consultation sessions with Paul Wagner of Greener Pastures Organics. This summer, Paul is offering advice to community members at the garden every Tuesday, from 2:30-5pm.
The rose garden is perhaps Bridge Garden’s most formal, and most labor-intensive, section. Home to over 120 antique and modern roses, most of which are rated highly for disease resistance, the garden is managed completely organically. Rick also hosts a series of summer workshops to teach community members how they can manage their own beautiful rose gardens without toxic chemicals.
In his nine years at Bridge Gardens, Rick has taken a more natural approach to what was once a strictly formal garden. Straight edges and rows have been replaced with curved edges and large sweeps. Many rose plants have been removed to give them more space to reach their natural size, and native plants have become more prominent.
“In the landscape industry, we have had this idea of perfection—of lawns like golf courses and everything pristinely manicured. Everything cut: hedges cut, straight edges,” he said. “I think we need to change that idea of perfection and incorporate a looser, more natural-appearing and natural-functioning perspective. There’s a whole range of possibilities.”
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Top photo and rose photo courtesy of Peconic Land Trust.
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