The North Fork features many unique Garden Centers. From annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, and ornamental grasses to organic vegetables and herbs, there is a wide variety of plant species to choose from. With the trend towards environmentally friendly, deer resistant, salt-tolerant, and native plants, you can design your own garden and landscape to suit your individual taste and needs. Here are some specialty Garden Centers on the North Fork to help get you started.
Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market at 4558 Sound Avenue in Riverhead, was founded in 2001 by Chris and Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht, and is a 60-acre certified organic farm by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-NY). They do not use any toxic chemicals or petroleum-based fertilizers on any of the plants they grow. Since their plants are grown sustainably, they are healthier and do better in the garden. Offering a large spectrum of the prettiest annuals and perennials, they also grow more than 70 different kinds of organic herb and vegetable transplants. For ground cover, Eve suggests, “a variety of Creeping Thyme that spreads and makes such a nice aromatic area as well as Corsican Mint that you can even walk on. For improving lawn soil, lime helps get the pH right and compost or compost teas help the soil stay healthy.” Open April 1 through Halloween.
Verderber’s Landscape Nursery & Garden Center at 459 Main Road in Aquebogue, began over 40 years ago by John and Maria Verderber. Their 110-acre Garden Center is known for its large-scale wooden structures. They grow 280 acres of plant material from perennials to large flowering trees and evergreens, carrying an extensive supply of trees and shrubs of all sizes. In season they are brimming with flowering shrubs, perennials, annuals, tropicals, and hanging baskets. They also have a very popular deer resistant section and offer a variety of native plants, including Bayberry, American Holly, Clethra, Eastern Red Cedar, American Dogwood, and Sweet Bay Magnolia. Maria advises, “It is best to transplant or dig trees and shrubs in the spring while they are dormant as opposed to during the heat of the summer. Containerized or balled and burlapped trees and shrubs can be planted all season long providing there is adequate irrigation.” Open March through Christmas.
Gabrielsen’s Country Farm was started in 1969 and has recently moved to their growing facility on 200 Herricks Lane in Jamesport. The flower farm is owned by George Gabrielsen and includes his daughters Kristina and Stephanie, who run the day-to-day operations. They grow and sell a wide variety of annuals, perennials, and plants, including some hard-to-find plant species. They carry bulbs, hanging baskets, annual flats, zonal geraniums, tropical plants, perennials, clematis, vegetables, and herbs, as well as a large selection of deer resistant plants, which is imperative to Long Island landscapes. They love helping their customers individually design their gardens, taking into consideration their unique tastes, lighting, and environment when planting their landscape. Kristina notes, “A great rule of thumb to follow when landscaping is to not only mix your garden with a variety of shrubs, perennials, grasses, and annuals, but also to plant using odd numbers. This creates symmetrical balance and a natural look to your landscape.” Open late-March through December 24.
Shade Trees Nursery at 1875 Main Road in Jamesport, owned by Lou and Lisa Caracciolo since the 1980s is a 130-acre nursery spread over four separate farms from Jamesport to Mattituck. Featuring container trees and shrubs, field-grown evergreens, trees, flowering shrubs, annuals, perennials, grasses, roses, hydrangeas, fruit trees, and specimens. Their newly redesigned Garden Center carries a huge line of plant materials, fresh ‘cut your own’ herbs, soil products, pottery, and garden items and offers a knowledgeable and friendly staff. Landscape design and installation services are also available. Their Garden Shop includes honeys, farm fresh eggs, and a variety of jams and jellies, all sourced from their own farm. The emphasis on ‘Back to Native’ plantings is very popular with viburnums, maples, oaks, and shadblow performing well in their native climate. Boxwoods and certain spruce can help protect your garden from deer. Lou says, “In early spring you can start planting woody trees or shrubs and limited annuals like frost pansies.” Open April 1 through Christmas.
Trimble’s of Corchaug Nursery at 20985 Main Road on 4 acres in Cutchogue, is co-owned by Anne Trimble and Nancy Leskody since 1991. They grow and sell plants and provide information useful to this area. They feature hard-to-find plant material and specialize in annuals and perennials, small trees and shrubs, salt-tolerant plants, such as any silver leaf plants, and deer resistant plants, such as butterfly bushes, lavender, and ornamental grasses. Being very environmentally savvy, they do not use pesticides or herbicides and feature plant material beneficial to wildlife, bees, and butterflies. Their entire nursery is designated as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. A little eclectic and cutting edge, they make gardening a fun experience. You can meander through their ‘Idea Garden’ and sit peacefully, meditate, or get inspired. Anne favors, “the trend towards native plants which do better in this climate and deer won’t eat them.” Open April 1 through mid-November.
Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. Perennials can be planted in early spring once the ground has thawed. May 15 is the frost date for tender flowering annuals. Shrubs and trees can be planted from March to June. And the best time to plant lawn seed is in April and May. Celebrate the season by visiting your local Garden Center and get some expert advice for designing your own garden.