The Garden Club of East Hampton was founded in 1914 and incorporated in the State of New York in 1998. The purpose of the Garden Club of East Hampton is to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening, to share the advantages of membership by means of educational meetings, conferences, correspondence and publications, and to restore, improve and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvements.
Dear Garden Club of East Hampton Members,
As many of you know, I’m a long time member of the Board of the New York Botanical Garden, where I serve as a Vice Chairman and CoChair of the Board’s Science Committee. Recently in New York, I attended the opening ceremony for NYBG’s Conservatory Dome, and I can’t resist sharing a photo, memories, and thoughts about this event and what it says about Garden Club of East Hampton.
The NYBG Conservatory is considered one of the most outstanding glass houses of its era. Constructed by Lord and Burnham and completed in 1902, the building was originally crowded with potted plants brought back by NYBG botanists from their travels abroad. The public flocked to see the displays, and they still do.
Glasshouses are notoriously fragile. If you think about it, thin strips of wood and metal hold up millions of panes of heavy glass – reaching 90 feet up towards the sky in the case of the Palm Dome. These buildings need extensive repairs roughly every 20 years, and it was time. The NYBG website explains the work that was done:
“The recent project upgraded the infrastructure of the dome, including the mechanical operation of the dome windows, misting system, heating, and lighting. The painted wood cladding around the drum and the wood cornice was also replaced with aluminum, which requires less maintenance. The newly designed and replanted palm collection highlights the history of tropical plant research at NYBG and the economic and ecological importance of the palm family—presenting new plants that help us better tell the stories of palm diversity, conservation, and evolution.”
What was especially touching today was that the City Council member representing NYBG’s district and the Bronx Borough President both talked about the positive impact the Garden is having in the Bronx, where the rate of covid infections, hospitalizations, and deaths is the highest in the metropolitan area. NYBG reopened on July 28 and has offered free admission to Bronx health care workers and residents. The people of the Bronx are so proud of this institution, its beautiful and outstanding gardens, and its role in saving the plants of the world — a bright spot of hope, appreciated even more so now.
The Commissioner of NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs also spoke — about the role that beautiful gardens and botanical exhibitions play in creating the empathy needed to drive us to solve the world’s great environmental problems.
For me, this struck home as a reminder that we too should be so proud of what we’ve accomplished in East Hampton through our community gardens. Their impact is so much deeper than we imagine and so vital for our future, and today’s event at NYBG was a reminder of that.
So, in conclusion, a big and hearty thank you to our curators (Leslie Clarke, Mary Busch, Abby Jane Brody and Calista Washburn), team leaders (Dede Booth, Wendy Phillips, Mary Busch, Hollis Forbes, Lalitte Smith, Abby Jane, Mary Clarke, Katy Graham, and Susan Forst) and all the members who worked in our community gardens this past summer. You are heroes all, and you accomplish so much more than you imagine!
PS: On a more mundane note, we still need volunteers this fall! We haven’t yet scheduled our fall clean up days. We’ll be in touch soon and hope to see you there. Please do come!
Below is the view today of the Conservatory Dome from the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden, designed by Lynden B. Miller. Beautiful gardens inside and out!