The annual Autumn Open House will be held at Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton on Saturday, October 22nd from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Bridge Gardens’ Autumn Open House was first held in 2017 to raise awareness about the public garden, which was donated to the Peconic Land Trust by its founders, James Kilpatric and Harry Neyens, in 2008. Kathy Kennedy, Senior Manager of Outreach at Peconic Land Trust, spoke about the Autumn Open House, the history of Bridge Gardens, and what attendees can expect.
The Open House is free and offers the public the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful five-acre landscape as it transitions into breathtaking autumn colors. The event is held annually and offers a variety of fun, family-friendly activities, workshops, refreshments, live music, and more.
Kathy says, “Bridge Gardens is a unique public garden in the heart of Bridgehampton. Originally part of a large farm that extended to Scuttlehole Road, the current Garden Director’s residence and our information center was a former potato barn where farmed produce was loaded onto the train and transported to the NYC markets. Founders Jim and Harry bought the property in the mid-1980s after the building had been converted to a home.”
Jim and Harry loved horticulture, so they began to create a more formal garden than what can be seen now, with topiaries, a rose garden with over 180 roses, a lavender parterre, and more.
Kathy mentioned, “Since they donated it to the Trust in 2008, we’ve transitioned the garden to reflect a more sustainable landscape, implementing an organic approach to its care, planted many native perennials, shrubs, and trees, created a large vegetable garden and edible landscape to support the Sag Harbor food pantry, planted an apple and pear orchard, created 24 community garden plots and more. These changes were made not only to engage people on the grounds, but to showcase low impact, sustainable gardening practices that can be implemented by anyone. It’s an approachable space for everyone to enjoy, learn from, and replicate in their home gardens.”
Peconic Land Trust offers a wide variety of workshops through their Connections programming, most of which are led by the Garden Director, Rick Bogusch. They invite speakers to share their expertise on everything from pruning and organic lawn care, to best practices for growing food, fermentation, organic rose care, watercolor art, nature photography, native plants, and more. Kathy says that the mission of Peconic Land Trust is to “conserve Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and rural heritage now and for the future.”
At the Autumn Open House, attendees can participate in free activities like a scavenger hunt through the garden, a talk on fermentation by community gardener Justin Ruaysamran, a bulb planting to take home provided by Summerhill Landscapes, fun autumn-themed crafts with the Peconic Land Trust and SHINE Hamptons, a reptile and amphibian presentation by the educator from SOFO, refreshments, live music, and more.
The Peconic Land Trust offers about 50-60 educational programs through their “Connections” activities. Kathy spoke about the programs, saying, “they include everything from ‘meet the farmer’ tours, beach seining, beekeeper talks, to kayaking, sustainable gardening practices, birding, and nature hikes. These activities are designed to create an experience in nature that deepens attendees’ commitment to protecting our environment and farms.” Kathy went on to say, “Without personal experiences in nature and with local farms, it’s more difficult to appreciate its value to our wellbeing.”
Peconic Land Trust holds several major fundraising events throughout the year, including “Through Farms and Fields,” which is a beautiful tented and catered event that is held at a special location each August. They also have a donor thank you picnic, “Peconinic,” as well as an annual event at Quail Hill Farm called “On Common Ground” that features local chefs and winemakers. This event celebrates the community supported agriculture operation at Quail Hill, one of the oldest continually operating csa’s in the U.S.
Kathy wants the community to know that the Peconic Land Trust is a non-profit that relies upon private donations in order for them to continue their work. She says, “Your support is critical to the success of our efforts to conserve woodlands, farms, wetlands, surface and drinking water. Since its founding in 1983, the Trust has conserved more than 13,200 acres across Long Island.”
The Autumn Open House at Bridge Gardens is set to be a spectacular day taking in the beautiful scenery that can only be found in the Hamptons! For more information about the event and the Peconic Land Trust, visit www.PeconicLandTrust.org.