Gardening

Fresh jams from Miss Amy’s Preserves are on display at the Northport Farmers’ Market on Saturday, June 6. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Visit your local farmers market to experience the range of fresh, local farm products, artisanal baked goods, specialty food items, hand-crafted items for home and body and so much more. Shop fresh, shop local, support your community!

Farmingville

◆ A farmers market will be held every Thursday through early October from noon to 5 p.m. in the south parking lot of Brookhaven Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville offering local produce, spirits, flowers, baked goods, and homemade bath and body products. 631-451-8696

◆ Triangle Park, corner of Horseblock Road and Woodycrest Drive, Farmingville hosts a Farmers, Artisans, and Friends Market on June 17 and Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featuring local produce, handmade and homemade items, flea market treasures, food and refreshments, entertainment, activities for kids, a bounce house area and more. 631-260-7411

Huntington

A farmers market will be held in the parking lot at 228 Main St., Huntington on Sundays through Sept. 3 from 8 a.m. to noon and Sept. 10 to Nov. 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, pickles, honey, live music. 631-944-2661

Lake Grove

Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove hosts a farmers market in the southwestern quadrant of the parking lot (adjacent to Bahama Breeze), on Saturdays (pickles, honey) and full market with vendors on Sundays. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. both days year-round. 516-444-1280

Northport

Cow Harbor Park parking lot, at the corner of Main Street and Woodbine Ave. in Northport, hosts a farmers market every Saturday through Nov. 18 (closed Sept. 23), from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Honey, ravioli, cheese, coffee, pickles, empanadas, mushrooms, baked goods, jams, fruits and vegetables, plants. 631-754-3905

Port Jefferson

The Port Jefferson Farmers Market will be held at Harborfront Park, 101-A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson every Sunday through Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local produce,  honey, bread and baked goods, seafood, international specialties, plants, flower bouquets, live music. 631-473-4724

Rocky Point

Rocky Point Farmers and Artisans Market, 115 Prince Road at Old Depot Park, Rocky Point returns on Sundays from July 2 to Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. under the new direction of the Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce. Fresh locally grown produce, craft beer, artisan crafts, baked goods. 631-729-0699

St. James

St. James Lutheran Church, 230 2nd Ave., St. James hosts a farmers market in its parking lot every Saturday through Oct. 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fresh locally grown produce, flowers, honey, coffee, shellfish, artisan baked goods, breads jams, hot food, pickles, craft beer, international foods, live music, kids corner. 516-220-8217

Setauket

The Three Village  Farmers Market is held Fridays on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Road, Setauket through Sept. 1 from 3 to 7 p.m. and from Sept. 8 to Oct. 27 from 2 to 6 p.m. Farm fresh produce, artisanal bread and cheese, local honey, nuts and spices, seafood, pickles, jams and jellies, baked treats, handcrafted goods, prepared foods, free hands-on activities for children. 631-751-3730

— Compiled by Heidi Sutton

By Tara Mae

The allure of foliage and other flora is an alchemy of fanciful imagination, artistic interpretation, and scientific intuition. Such traditions, planted a century ago, will bloom with a renewed vision at the North Suffolk Garden Club’s (NSGC) annual garden show, “Sands of Time,” at Deepwells Mansion, 2 Taylor Street in St. James on Wednesday, June 7, from 1:30 to 4 p.m., and Thursday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Members of the NSGC will be joined by different garden clubs from Long Island and around the country, including the Kettle Moraine Garden Club, whose members primarily hail from Waukesha County, Wisconsin. 

Generally affiliated with the umbrella organization, Garden Club of America (GCA), all participating garden clubs will showcase their horticultural aptitude with a variety of individual and collaborative creations. As a juried show, entrees will be assessed by a panel of three GCA approved judges. 

Featuring between 30 and 50 horticulture exhibits (plants and cuttings), approximately 12 floral exhibits, and a miniatures exhibit (tiny floral arrangement done in diminutive dimensions), “Sands of Time” is a testament to the NSGC’s robust history of industry and ingenuity.  

“We are celebrating our 100th year with this centennial flower show as a way to display our abilities in horticulture, floral design, and photography,” flower show committee co-chair Deanna Muro said. “Our show is based on the history of our club…We picked a historic venue, Deepwells, to set a really nice stage for all our different displays relating to the history of the club and this area.” 

With four distinct categories, Floral Design, Horticulture, Photography, and Education, the display explores how NSGC’s growth and development is reflected in the evolution of its surroundings. Every category has different classes that are a tribute and testament to the nature of life and budding environmental awareness in the 1920s.

“Each flower show must include an educational component. ‘Sands of Time’ focuses on 100 years of conservation, which has always been the root of the garden club. In the 1920s or 1930s, women of the NSGC, carrying their parasols and dressed in their finery, sailed down the Nissequogue River to draw attention to runoff and other water pollution. One of the classes is a floral homage to those parasols,” NSGC president Leighton Coleman III said. 

From its inception, conservation was a primary concern of NSGC. Established at the onset of widespread automotive culture, the club quickly recognized its environmental hazards: air pollution, littering, disruption of natural plant and animal habitats, etc. 

Thus, over the years NSGC has addressed issues both aesthetic and atmospheric, like  battling to ban roadside billboards; preserving scenic views and open spaces; promoting the plight of endangered waterways as it seeks to preserve them; highlighting the vulnerabilities of wildlife dependent on native plants; and creating community gardens.  

Hosting this year’s event at Deepwells is itself an homage to this fertile history. It was the summer home of William Jay Gaynor, mayor of New York City from 1910-1913, and his wife Augusta Cole Mayer Gaynor, an avid gardener whose scrapbooks and other belongings will be present in the exhibition. 

Intricately intertwined with the local cultural, climate, and communal past, NSGC was founded in 1923 by Smithtown residents. Accepted as an official member of the GCA in 1931, NSGC gained further prominence shortly after World War II when the club’s successful victory gardens and canning kitchens earned it government recognition. 

Cited then as a club that others should emulate, NSGC’s membership base continues to strive for such excellence. Over the decades, through education and community outreach, it supported the successful effort to save the 500-acre Blydenburgh Park and amplified the importance of the Pine Barrens legislation in the 1980s. More recently, NSGC collaborated with the Stony Brook Yacht Club to restore the Stony Brook Harbor oyster beds.  

Gardeners of NSGC are devoted to furthering its efforts in ecology and conservationism with the varied crop of projects it nurtures throughout the year. “Sands of Time” is just one element of the group’s ongoing effort to advance its original mission of conservationism as it engages the public in ecological and environmental awareness. 

“We want to get people interested in gardening, conservation, and things associated with that, like indigenous plants, including pollinators,” Coleman said. “Our history of being involved in ecology dates back to the beginning of the club, starting with the development of auto culture in the 1920s, then expanding in the 1960s with revved up interest in ecology, dealing with pesticides, urban sprawl and development, and promoting habitat for endangered animals and parks.” 

NSGC strives to promulgate such interests through its community outreach endeavors including maintaining the Long Island Museum’s herb garden and championing conservation and environmental endeavors on the local as well as national level. 

“We are looking forward to letting the public know what we do and giving an idea of the importance of garden clubs…the flower show basically gives you an introduction of what the garden club does and a sense of community,” Rockwell-Gifford said. 

The club currently consists of approximately 55 individuals, including retirees and professionals, many of whom are second or third generation members.  

“I love all of the friendships I have made joining the garden club…Members are a dynamic mosaic — a real kaleidoscope of personalities. We welcome new people to join us,” Coleman III said. 

“Sands of Time” is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.northsuffolkgardenclub.org. 

TVGC President Karin Ryon with Giovanna Maffetone, SCCC scholarship recipient on April 11. Photo courtesy of Three Village Garden Club

Representatives from Suffolk County Community College attended the Three Village Garden Club meeting at the Setauket Neighborhood House on April 11  to present the Three Village Garden Club Scholarship to Giovanna Maffetone. This scholarship is offered to Suffolk County Community College students enrolled in the Environmental Science/Forestry program, specifically targeting students planning to transfer to a four year SUNY ESF program.

Chris Williams from the Suffolk Community College Foundation presented a $5000 scholarship check to Giovanna. Also in attendance was Vladimir Jurukovski, Academic Chair of Biology at the SCCC Ammerman campus.

The Three Village Garden Club is happy to support young people who are pursuing careers in horticultural science, wildlife science, ecology, environmental science, landscaping, forestry, and plant science. Additional scholarships are awarded to students from Ward Melville High School and SUNY Farmingdale.

Attract butterflies to your yard by starting a pollinator garden. Photo by Raina Angelier

By Cayla Rosenhagen

Cayla Rosenhagen

“Think locally, act globally.” It’s a popular expression conveying how small changes accumulate into a significant positive impact felt on a larger scale. Well, in honor of Earth Day, I’d like you to think very locally. Not just close to home, but your home itself—more specifically, your own yard. 

The typical suburban community features perfectly manicured lawns maintained by toxic pesticides. Oftentimes, they are home to ornamental shrubs and trees that are non-native species that provide few benefits to local fauna, that generally prefer to seek food and shelter in plant life that is native to the area. Here’s a list of ways you can take action to support Long Island’s diverse wildlife and the entire planet just by making a few changes in how you care for the greenspace right outside your door.

Grow plants that are native to your region. Your favorite backyard critters will thank you. Native plants offer nutrients that are especially healthy for our local wildlife. For instance, dozens of species of wild birds will flock to a red mulberry bush, and common milkweed will attract endangered Monarch Butterflies. Not to mention they need less of your time and maintenance! Because they’re so well-adapted to our climate, native plants don’t need much (if any) watering and are extremely hardy. To see which species are native to your area, please check out Audubon’s Native Plant Database. https://www.audubon.org/native-plants. 

A North Flicker in leaf litter. Photo by Raina Angelier

Leave the leaves and dead trees. Postpone your spring clean-up and raking the leaves until temperatures reach at least 50 degrees during the day for 7 consecutive days. The dead leaves provide shelter for nesting insects that are the perfect sustenance for many kinds of animals, including baby birds who are hatching this time of year. Dead trees also provide beneficial insects with a home. As long as the dead tree on your property is not threatening any nearby structures, leave it standing to promote a biodiverse ecosystem in your yard. If you are planning on having a tree removed, please do so after nesting season.

Start a pollinator garden. Without pollinators like beetles, flies, bees, butterflies, birds, and ants, three-quarters of all our staple crops wouldn’t exist. Tragically, bee and bird populations are shrinking, primarily due to habitat loss. By growing plants that attract and feed pollinators, you are doing your part to protect hundreds of species of friendly creatures essential to life.

Weed out harmful pesticides and fertilizers. We have become accustomed to depending on weedkillers and chemical-filled plant food to grow pristine gardens and lawns. But these products do more harm than good. 

Pesticides don’t only kill the harmful insects, they kill the good ones, too. They also hurt larger creatures including humans. They can harm your pets and backyard birds, and lead to health complications in people. Fertilizers wreck the balance of natural nutrients in the soil and can make your yard less fertile in the long run. Both pesticides and fertilizers contribute to ground and water pollution. Native plants do not need pesticides and fertilizers as they are already perfectly adapted to our soil composition and ecosystem.

Make your yard a Bird Oasis. Turn your yard into a safe haven for feathered friends by offering them multiple food sources, water, and shelter. Plant native flowering and fruit-producing plants, fill your feeders with a variety of seeds, and put out a birdbath, and watch the chickadees, sparrows, warblers, finches, cardinals, and jays flock in. I also implore you to keep your cat indoors. Outdoor cats are deadly predators to birds and kill 2.4 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Watching birds is a wonderful way to reduce stress and enjoy the beauty of the natural world. To learn more, please visit https://4has.org/bird-oasis.

Reduce your lawn. By shrinking the manicured area of your lawn, not only will you leave more room for native plants, but you’ll also lower your water bill and your emissions by mowing less.   

Harvest rainwater by collecting it in a rain barrel. You can use rainwater to water your garden and lower your water bill. This sustainable water management strategy also eases the stress on utilities during peak water usage. 

Start a compost bin. Composting will reduce the amount of waste you send to the dump and aid your garden as a natural fertilizer. This can be considered a long-term investment in your yard. Plant products like food scraps and paper garbage will decompose to make nutritious plant food in around six months to two years.

To learn more about how to make your yard more eco-friendly, please reach out to the Four Harbors Audubon Society. Also, be sure to stop by the 4HAS’s Tree Fest at the Three Village Historical Society on May 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be educational and fun for the whole family, with craft activities, educational exhibits, a native plant sale and raffle prizes.

Cayla Rosenhagen is a local high school student who enjoys capturing the unique charm of the community through photography and journalism. She serves on the board of directors for the Four Harbors Audubon Society and Brookhaven’s Youth Board, and is the founder and coordinator of Beach Bucket Brigade, a community outreach program dedicated to environmental awareness, engagement, and education. She is also an avid birder, hiker, and artist who is concurrently enrolled in college.

Suwasset Garden Club members gather around donated Kwanzan cherry tree. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Riley

For 25 years or more, a Kwanzan cherry tree has been planted at Rocketship Park in Port Jefferson by the Suwassett Garden Club. Entering the park area from Maple Place, an established row of trees will soon be blooming as the spring arrives. Over the years, other trees along the creek area were planted in memory of departed members. In photo on right, a representative group of club members gathered on April 5 prior to its monthly meeting to dedicate this year’s tree in honor of Arbor Day which will be held on April 28 this year. Brian Rowe of the Village Parks Department assisted members at the location near Barnum Avenue.

Garden volunteers wanted

Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Road, Setauket seeks volunteers to help transform their property into a native landscape that is welcoming to the birds and bees. Help is needed to remove invasive species, create new gardens and transform the 3-acre property into a bird and bee sanctuary. Call 631-751-3730 for further details.

Photo from PSEG

April is National Safe Digging Month and PSEG Long Island reminds customers, contractors and excavators that the law requires them to call 811 before digging to ensure underground pipelines, conduits, wires and cables are properly marked out.

Every digging project, even a small project like planting a tree or building a deck, requires a call to 811. It’s the law. The call is free and the mark-out service is free. The call must be made whether the job is being performed by a professional or a do-it-yourselfer. Striking an underground electrical line can cause serious injury and outages, and result in repair costs and fines.

“It’s spring once again, and people on Long Island are starting outdoor improvements to their homes and businesses. Calling 811 ahead of time helps protect underground utility lines and, more importantly, the safety of anyone digging,” said Michael Sullivan, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Transmission and Distribution Operations. “Customers are getting the message. Last year there were more than 215,000 mark-out requests in our service area, and so far this year, there have been more than 44,000 requests to 811.”

According to Common Ground Alliance, a member-driven association of nearly 1,800 individuals and 250 member companies in every facet of the underground utility industry, 40% of active diggers in North America do not call 811 because they think their project is too shallow to require it. All digging projects require a call to 811.

A free call to 811 in the service area automatically connects the caller to the local New York one-call center, which collects information about digging projects. The one-call center then provides the information to the utility companies, which send representatives to mark the locations of nearby underground lines with flags, paint or both. Once lines have been properly marked and confirmation from all of the utility owners is received, projects may proceed as long as caution is used around the marked areas.

Here’s important information to consider:

  • Underground gas and electric lines are everywhere, even on private properties. These facilities can be easily damaged if dug into, with the potential to cause serious injuries. Digging into these lines can also disrupt vital utility services, resulting in costly delays, expensive repairs and environmental or property damage.
  • Whether the job is a major home improvement project or something as simple as a fence or mailbox post, a call to 811 must be placed beforehand to determine where it’s safe to dig.
  • Call 811 at least two business days before the commencement of each job to have underground pipes, wires and equipment located. Each facility owner must respond by providing the excavator with a positive confirmation indicating that marks are in place where utility lines are buried or that there are no existing facilities in the area of the proposed work. This service is free of charge.
  • Be sure to wait until all of the utilities have responded. Don’t dig until lines have been marked or you have received confirmation that the area is clear of facilities.
  • Property owners must maintain and respect the marks. Always hand dig within 2 feet of marked lines to find the existing facilities before using mechanized equipment.
  • If gas lines are damaged or there is a gas smell when excavating, call 911 immediately from a safe area.

Calling before you dig is more than a good idea − it’s the law. Additional information, including a booklet on safe excavating practices and the protection of underground facilities, can be found on the PSEG Long Island website.

Photo from TOB

Town of Brookhaven Highway Department offers Spring Pee Wee gardening classes for children ages 3 to 5 years of age at the Holtsville Ecology Site, 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville this April. Children will learn about the environment, animals and plants through crafts and stories.

Photo from TOB

Five-week sessions are available:

Tuesdays: April 18 & 25 and May 2, 9 & 16

OR

Wednesdays: April 19 & 26 and May 3, 10 & 17

from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. OR 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.  Fee is $50 for 5-week session.

Deadline to register is April 3 and please include form with payment. For more information, call 631-451-5330.

 

by -
0 389
Poinsettia

Poinsettias and their rich red, white or variegated color schemes are the ideal backdrop for Christmas celebrations. In fact, poinsettias are among the most popular decorative flowers during the holiday season.  

Indigenous to Central America, the plant was introduced to North America in the 1820s when Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, brought the red-and-green plant back with him from a trip abroad.

While millions of poinsettias will be purchased for the holiday season, many mistakenly think their utility ends once New Year’s Day has come and gone. But with proper care poinsettia plants can continue to thrive and bring warmth and beauty to a home long after the holiday decorations have been tucked away.

Choose a hearty plant 

Experts with the University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science say that many people mistake the plant’s leaves for its flowers. The red, white or pink bracts are actually modified leaves. The flowers of the plant are the yellow clustered buds in the center called “cyathia.” Choose poinsettia plants that have buds which are, ideally, not yet open.

Keep the temperature consistent

Poinsettias prefer a room temperature between 60 and 68 F during the day and 10 degrees cooler at night. Humidity levels between 20 and 50 percent are ideal. Group plants on water-filled trays full of pebbles to help increase humidity levels. 

Place near sunlight 

The United Kingdom-based Perrywood floral company advises placing poinsettia plants near a bright windowsill but not in direct sunlight. Do not let a poinsettia touch cold window panes.

Avoid drafts 

The plants are sensitive to drafts and changes in temperature. So it’s best to keep poinsettias away from drafty doors, windows, radiators, or fireplaces. 

Don’t drown the roots 

Wait until the surface of the compost dries out before watering the plant anew. Also, the decorative foil wrapper that covers pots can trap water and lead to root rot. Remove it or poke holes in the bottom to allow for drainage.

Cut back plants

Come mid-March, cut back the plant by half to encourage new shoots, suggests the University of Illinois Extension. The plants also can be placed outside in the spring after the risk of frost has passed. Bring poinsettias back in around mid-September to early October to force them to bloom again.