1. The Club Garden – Located at the corner of Terry Street and South Ocean Avenue
“Garden: An equal opportunity employer of the earth’s most eccentric people
who together produce enough flowers and vegetables to feed all the world’s
insects, groundhogs, raccoons, and deer. – Anonymous
2. The Sweeney Garden – 47 Washington Avenue
The area of Patchogue from Main Street south along Washington Avenue was farmland until the 1920’s when it began to be subdivided. This house at 47 Washington was built in the mid- 1920’s by a young man for his bride. They lived here for a very long time.
We bought the property in 1968 as a young couple looking for a first home with a toddler and a baby on the way. It would have been easier if the house and grounds were in really good shape since it was September and I already had my hands full. In October Margaret was born between unpacking and removing multiple layers of wall paper. Probably the last thing on my list was starting a garden.
All that really got done that fall was raking leaves from a huge Norway maple behind the house. It is no longer there but provided beautiful shade until 2008. Over the years foundation shrubs were removed and replaced. The dogwoods in the front were some of the first plantings. My father gave me one from his garden in a coffee can in the 70’s.
This property is long and narrow (50 x217) and divided by the house and the garage into three areas. My gardening efforts do not have a master plan. I respond to color, shape, rescuing plants and trying unknowns. The front is mostly shade with grass, shrubs, flowering trees, crocuses and other bulbs under the dogwood for spring, and an ever growing and changing “mailbox” garden. Clematis, hydrangea, irises, and a hybrid rose are the center.
The middle section contains the deck with potted shrubs and container plantings, as well as the oldest specimens…violets and lilies of the valley from the original owners. It also contains the newest additions: a Cleveland pear (2009), a “Forest Pansy” Eastern redbud (2010) and a dappled willow (2011). This area also has many varieties of flowering perennials for each season such as pink hellebore (Lenten Rose) for winter.
The back yard was the home of my large vegetable garden in the 70’s and 80’s with a fence for the kids’ pool and the dog. Now it has a small starter greenhouse (2003) and a garden storage shed with a water barrel. The rest of the back garden has about a dozen or so planting areas that are mostly flowering shrubs and trees, lots of perennials and even a few vegetables and herbs. I call the NE corner the lilac garden and the SE the forsythia corner. Among the flowers are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. For winter there are pussywillows and yellow winter jasmine.
Most of my plants, flowering shrubs and trees are labeled. Some of my summer favorites are aster, purple coneflower, gaura, hot pink phlox, knock-out roses, lavender, crepe myrtle, and Japanese anemone. The golden rudbeckia usually continue to make a great color splash even after the first frost.
Ten years ago my family and I moved to our current address in Patchogue and were excited for the space to explore gardening. Since then I have been passionate to creating a tranquil setting which my wife loves, especially when sitting on the open porch to enjoy the view. My passion for gardening came into existence since I was a kid growing up in the Caribbean. I was always fascinated by plants and beautiful flowers.
One of the funny stories in my home is that, during the planting season I have always promised my wife that I have finished purchasing plants for the year. But like any addiction whenever there is that beautiful shower of rain, I tell myself I’m going to the nursery just to look, and being so weak I cannot resist the temptation of that unique plant that would fit that specific spot. I would purchase plants, hide them whenever bringing them home for fear that my wife would see them and complain about the expense.
When we acquired this property, there were miscellaneous plants and flowers randomly planted at a few locations throughout the property. The rear of the property was more limited to the survival of most of the current plants that exist there today. The rear had lots of large maple trees which did not allow the sun light, and also hindered the hydration of the soil. As a result of some hurricane force wind over a few years, most of those trees were destroyed and therefore open up the opportunity to extend the garden even more. A lot of the shrubs on the property were rejected by landscapers whom I knew and I gave them a second chance.
I’ve tried my best to utilize every potential prolific space, keep the place from clutter, and at the same time create a beautiful curb appeal with a combination of perennials, annuals, shrubs and lawn.
There is a variety of flowers throughout the property, which I must confess I don’t remember the names of most without looking into the nursery guide book. What I have been doing recently is installing a label by each plant to make tours more educating.
Some of the main highlights that keep the garden buzzing, to name a few, are the lantana, (this a tropical plant that blooms all summer through the end of fall, these are mixed in with other early bloomers to provide constant colors), butterfly bush, crape myrtle, dahlia, lots of knockout rose, floribunda, grandiflora, weigela, gladiolas, peony and phlox.
Another main feature of my garden is the vegetable and herb section. We grow a tropical vegetable called callaloo, spicy scotch bonnet peppers, onions, tomatoes, thyme and basil.
I hope you will enjoy the tour of our garden.
For those of you who have attended this tour before, you may remember visiting our former garden on Old Medford Avenue. We moved here in April of 2006, bringing with us as many plants, trees, and shrubs that weren’t cemented into the ground. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies on moving day…
Our landscaping goal: Rooms With A View! The work to transform this look began even before moving boxes were unpacked.
The first room is the foyer, with the woodland area to the right and the perennial garden in the center. We returned grass to this area last year as Mark loves the smell of freshly moved lawn. Notice the border garden across the street as many of our perennials from the front yard re-do along with other wayward plants were placed there as we maintain this area throughout the year. The National Wildlife Federation designated our yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, for which we are very proud. The sign sits in the front right corner. For more information visit their website at www.nwf.org.
Approaching the former driveway brings you to our hallway including assorted textures and colors of evergreens on the right along with Leyland Cypress and Arborvitae on the left. Continuing on finds you at the entrance to our greatroom, flanked by a Japanese Red Maple tree and herb garden, the later of which is taken advantage of well into the Fall.
The pond and surrounding gardens are a continuation of the greatroom. Digging both the pond and waterfall by hand, we have planted, replanted, and replanted again most of everything you see surrounding it, including the area to the far right where the outdoor shower is. Did you find it?
From the pond area proceed back to the living room, a circular fire pit with assorted evergreens throughout. The placement of evergreens provides year-round color and Winter protection for our visiting wildlife, both goals that Guy had in mind from the very beginning. All of the red bricks were found through friends, yard sales, and Craig’s List. The Azalea garden was moved here last year, adding spectacular color in the Spring. Fires in the pit are very relaxing!
And finally, the back end of the yard is where we placed our pantry, which includes the greenhouse, vegetable beds, fruit trees, assorted berries and of course our chickens. In fact, the coop once stood where the pond is today and was moved by rolling it on large PVC pipes, similar to how the Egyptians might have built the Great Pyramids.
Eggs may be for sale on the day of the tour depending on the girls’ mood!
Most gardeners are forever moving and adjusting the look and layout of their beds and are never fully satisfied or finished. We are no exception. Our biggest challenge… getting the pond water clear. All efforts have failed. Admittedly our own tweaking has taken place over the past few months so that we too can confidently welcome you here today. And now for the most part, each “room” is maintenance free and exactly how we’d always envisioned they’d become.
Thank you for allowing us to show you our efforts.
Mark and Guy
It was over six years ago when 2 village trustees stood behind the Winona Hotel on Bay Ave. (soon to become the home of the Village Parks and Recreation Department) and said “wouldn’t this be a great spot for a community vegetable garden?”. Well, it did seem that the stars had aligned and the long hoped for garden would become a reality.
In August of 2011, I approached the village and inquired as to whether they had ever considered a community vegetable garden? When they replied yes in fact they had, I enthusiastically offered to head up the project.
I contacted Susan Wilk at Cornell Co-operative Extension staff and learned that they had a program called “Creating Healthy Places in Suffolk County” and they would be willing to partner with me to start and maintain the garden. They even have a Elizabeth Takakjian, garden educator, on staff. The Co-operative Extension has partnered on a number of gardens; including the beautiful River and Roots garden in downtown Riverhead. Our garden would be the first for them in the Town of Brookhaven. The village trustees who have been instrumental in making the garden project a reality made sure there was water and electric for the planting kickoff. Local business owners have generously pitched in.
After months of organizing, fund raising and working with village officials to set the ball in motion, we broke ground on the second Saturday in May 29, 2012 with the help of over two-dozen neighbors participating and helping us plan, build, plant and maintain an abundant garden.
We started with an initial 42 raised beds. There are even a couple of handicapped accessible beds for seniors to share with their children and grandchildren. As we work together to build a healthy Patchogue there is a day every month designated to a group harvest and donation at our local food pantries and soup kitchens. It is an acknowledgment of our garden’s vision, and specifically the vision of”…sharing with our neighbors.”
The garden project has been backed by community clubs. For instance, members of the local Madras Latinas Club and the Green Thumb Club at Bay Avenue Elementary School have become actively involved in the effort as well. The children from Medford Elementary school grew many tomatoes and peppers from seed this year for our gardeners.
A neighbor commented that a hope for the community garden is that it is going to evolve into
a wonderful thing that’s here to stay for generations,”
Patchogue Planting Patch Community Garden
~A Place of Beauty and Bounty, Learning and Reflection~
Our gardeners, young and old, come to this garden from all walks of life.
Here we cultivate community, sharing the pleasures of gardening.
We nourish our bodies and minds, sharing with our neighbors,
as we work together to build a healthy Patchogue.
Born and brought up in New York City with only cement and no dirt,I was arrested at the mud pie stage of development therefore the reason I now play in dirt.
Many years ago I started the garden I have now. It is (for some reason) always a work in progress and have never quite finished. My garden has given me joy, is a source of frustration, and is a battle ground with bad bugs and diseases.
However someone once said “to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” A thought that sustains me in the dank of winter.