Raking Leaves is a A Fool’s Errand

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THAT PHRASE POPPED INTO MY HEAD TODAY as I raked leaves. It’s an impossible task, because every night’s breezes bring a fresh layer. Yesterday I observed my next-door neighbor raking, raking, raking, making huge piles for the town pick-up. Today, I glanced into his yard and saw that they’d been replenished. But I happen to know he rakes for fun, so it’s OK.

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Daffodil bulbs ready to go in the ground at Bridge Gardens

Besides raking, I’ve been busy with other fall landscaping chores, inspired partly by a two-hour workshop I attended on Saturday at Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton called “Putting Your Garden to Bed for the Winter.” At least half the discussion was about which hydrangeas bloom on old wood and which on new. I can’t have hydrangeas at all because of my deer friends, so I tuned out.

Below, transplanting clumps of hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ at Bridge Gardens
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I was reminded of how important it is to keep watering, especially after such a dry season as we’ve had. I’ve been moving hoses around from individual tree to tree so they get soaked in the root zone (particularly some of the big evergreens that look parched), pulling up spent annuals, planting three new aronia (chokeberries) as part of my ‘tapestry hedge’ in front, and moving other things from places where they’re not thriving to places where I hope they will.

Below, annual Japanese fountain grass, perennial geranium ‘Roxanne,’ and Saturday students at Bridge Gardens

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Just as I was coming to the end of today’s to-do list, the UPS truck pulled up with my bulb order from Scheeper’s. It’s not a big order — just 10 ‘Gladiator’ alliums, 10 gorgeous lilies I couldn’t resist, even though they need sun and deer like them (I’m going to plant them by the front deck and keep a spritz bottle of Deer-Off handy), and 100 Spanish bluebells for a wooded area in the backyard middle distance that I haven’t gotten around to doing anything with.

How Bridge Gardens deals with deer, below

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I’m feeling a bit of urgency, as I’m moving into my Brooklyn pied-a-terre next Monday. I won’t be around much in November, and I want to leave my East Hampton place in good shape — well-watered, nicely mulched, cozily tucked in for winter.

One of several unusual types of elephant ear at Bridge Gardens, below

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LongHouse Redux

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ONCE A SEASON at LongHouse Reserve, the 16-acre ornamental and sculpture garden in East Hampton, N.Y., masterminded by textile designer/scholar/collector Jack Lenor Larsen, is not enough. (That’s Larsen’s Shinto temple-inspired house, above).

I visited LongHouse for the first time last May, when azaleas and roses were among the main attractions. I returned a couple of weeks ago, and found it less riotously colorful, perhaps, but still awe-inspiring. Late summer/early fall is the time to appreciate late-blooming hydrangeas, ornamental grasses in their prime, elephant ears and annual vines at maximum size and spread.

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Below, how the dry Mediterranean garden looks in late August. I love that LongHouse “allows” some of the lambs-ear-like plants I’ve been thinking of as weeds in these beds; it’s making me reconsider pulling them out where they’ve colonized a sunny section of my lawn.

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Here’s one of the monumental sculptures I neglected to photograph back in May. “Summer Bridge,” below, a 1983 work by Claus Bury, was created when the German artist was just 19 years old.

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Another of the many takeaways from LongHouse: lots of ideas for paving and paths, including slate pieces set in gravel, below, done so beautifully here.

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You have until October 9, when LongHouse closes for the season, to visit and be wowed. Hours are short: Wednesdays and Sundays only from 2-5PM. Admission is $10. So well worth it.