East Hampton Town Hall Pollinator Garden

STATE OF THE GARDEN, AUGUST 15, 2023

Entrance to Town Hall all photos by Laurie Petroske

THE HISTORY OF DESIGNING THE GARDEN:
First, our garden designer, Abby Clough Lawless, of Farm Design Landscaping, came up with a plan to take into account the arc of sun and shade, the soil, the drainage, the terrain and the fact that there are deer roaming at night.

Abby determined that the soil was highly disturbed construction debris from the construction of the buildings at town hall and the creation of pathways and parking lot. We decided against deer fencing which will affect plant choice. “More grasses and mint,” says Abby.

We wanted to have a public seating area and pathways to accommodate wheelchairs. There will be a table and benches. This area will need shade hence we will be planting a number of trees.

THE PLAN

Our plant list will evolve as we discover what succeeds best. Here’s the list:

THE SELECTION OF TREES

The following have been offered for donation by Whitmores:
Liquidambar styraciflua – Sweetgum (will grow quite big over time and provide shade into the lawn area)
Cercis canadensis – Redbud 8’ – 10’. Purple blossoms early spring.
Ilex opaca – American Holly – 6’ Birds love the berries in the fall
Nyssa sylvatica – Black Tupelo
Clethra alnifolia – Summersweet – August bloom
Clethra “Hummingbird” – Summersweet – dwarf version
Ilex glabra – Inkberry

We have been offered the donation of an Oak – variety to be determined with 2 to 3 “ caliper range and some small Bayberry from Verderbers Nursery.

We have chosen the trees and shrubs based on several considerations: 1) Pollinator or bird food support; 2) Beauty at different seasons; 3) sustainability in this location; and 4) deer resistance.

Nyssa sylvatica – Black Tupelo also know as gum tree takes it name Nyssa from the Greek water fairy and sylvatica from its fondness for swamp. Loved by bees Tupelo honey is a delicacy.

Ilex opaca – American Holly flowers attract many different pollinators: honey bees, native bees & butterflies.  It is an important fall and winter food source for many birds and even mammals such as wild turkey, quail and songbirds who feed on the berries and use the shrub as winter shelter.

Fruit of Liquidambar styraciflua – Sweetgum tree has both medicinal and nutritional applications. The seeds, sap and leaf buds are all edible.  Submit your recipes..!! The seeds inside the sweet gum balls are food for about 25 species of birds, chipmunks and squirrels.

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SUPPRESSING WEEDS AND LAWN – SHEET MULCHING OR “LASAGNA”?

There are a number of ways to suppress the weeds and lawn but we are choosing the most economical one.  Sheet mulching or as one East Hampton Highschool teacher calls it “the Lasagna method.”  With the help of volunteers we will be laying down layers of cardboard, wetting it, then laying and raking layers of earth and mulched leave.  With direction from our Landscaper, Paul Muñoz, and the crew from his company, Eco-Harmony, and the help of volunteers from East Hampton Highschool and Ross School we had a great day in November, 2022 making “Lasagna!”

WATCH STUDENT VOLUNTEERS DO LASAGNA

This slide shows student volunteers from East Hampton Middle & Highschool preparing the 3,000 sqft Community Pollinator Garden beds in November of 2022, suppressing turf lawn and weeds with cardboard, mulch and compost. A cost effective way to transform your lawn without the need for equipment, noise and expense. Let cardboard do the work for you.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT CHECK OUT OUR NEWSLETTER

HERE’S HOW TO GET THE LASAGNA METHOD RIGHT VIDEO

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The official ground breaking of the ChangeHampton Pollinator Garden took place on Thursday, October 27, 2022 at 1 pm at East Hampton Town Hall, 159 Pantigo Road, Hwy 27 in East Hampton with Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and the State Assembly man Fred Thiele in attendance.

Photo © 2022 Gillian Gordon
Photo by Richard Lewin
Photo by Stephan Van Dam

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Our previous Plan as submitted to the Town Board in May 2022.

MODELING AN EXAMPLE AT TOWN HALL
ChangeHampton asked Abby Clough Lawless to design a community pollinator garden that meets the following challenges: 70% native plants, deer resistant, pollinator friendly, low maintenance, hardy long–life span and non-invasive.

Her solution more than meets the challenges set and literally creates a new North Town Hall Campus by horizontally connecting the various parts of Town Government with a public square at its center perfect for educational community gatherings, games of chess and alfresco staff lunches.  Our proposed garden is about 3,000 sq ft.

At the entrance we retain the lawn directly in front of the meeting hall— due to the planned construction of an ADA compliant access to the town meeting hall.

The combination of lawn and pollinator garden is meant to inspire residents and to visualize this as their own garden of the future where the lawn has some aesthetic value but pollination is the main event.

The plant list includes mints & grasses which are designed to deter the resident deer herd without the need for deer fencing.  The plant list is available here: Town Hall Plant List

THE BIG DELIVERY DAY ARRIVES:
More than 1,300 plants were delivered to the Town Hall site transforming the campus.

Photo by Stephan Van Dam
Photo by Gail Pellett
Photo by Stephan Van Dam

Salvia

Wild quinine

GETTING TO WORK

Abby selects

Paul interpreting the plan

Late Summer Glory in the Garden September 2023

STATE OF THE GARDEN, OCTOBER 15, 2023

Photo by Gail Pellett
Photo by Gail Pellett
Photo by Gail Pellett

We are not lazy!*

Preparing your garden/lawn for winter and spring:
Please consider leaving your garden clean-up for the spring. That means leaving the stalks and stems of plants just as they transform during the fall. Don’t cut back the heads on dried flowering plants. They create a wonderful healthy habitat and food for beneficial insects and birds over winter.

And leave your leaves in your yard. Use them as garden bed mulch and soft landings for caterpillars under trees and chop them up with a lawn mower to leave as organic nutrient rich fertilizer on your lawn. Of course, you can add them to your compost pile.

Leaf litter provides a healthy and safe habitat for overwintering insects and pollinators
And please talk to your landscaper about why you want them to make this happen in your yard. This way we also discourage unhealthy leaf blowers (noise and air pollution) and their damage to our insect populations.

While you are practicing these beneficial practices for a complex eco-system, consider reducing your lawn and enlarging your garden beds to plant more natives and pollinator friendly plants in the spring! Look at our “Lasagna” method (cardboard, mulch and compost) for how to prepare a segment of your lawn in the fall to be ready for planting perennial natives in the spring.