East Hampton Town Hall Community Pollinator 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.


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


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.



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!”





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


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

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 pant list is available here:

Town Hall Plant List