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Replanting an Old Schoolhouse Colonial Herb Garden


April 26, 2022

Westhampton GC Enhances Quogue Library Grounds with Two New Gardens

A recent expansion and renovation at the Quogue Library gave Westhampton Garden Club (WGC) the opportunity to enhance the grounds with two new gardens. An 1822 schoolhouse, the oldest building in the village, was moved to a more visible, accessible area on the library property. WGC members then recreated the colonial herb garden originally planted by the club during the 1976 US Bicentennial. An additional pollinator garden was also installed on the newly cleared grounds. 

The replanting of the 1822 Old Schoolhouse Colonial Herb Garden at the Quogue Library has its origins in the bicentennial. Members of the Westhampton Garden Club wanted to honor the patriots of the era by researching and planting a garden using plants and herbs of the colonial period. They chose herbs important to the early settlers' existence on the East End; ones used for dyes, medicines, cooking, canning, and fragrance. Over the years, as both the library and the trees grew and the deer invaded the area, the growing conditions in the garden began to change.  

Once the 1822 schoolhouse was moved, a new colonial herb garden was planted in the new location. By reproducing the original brick and parterre formation of the first garden, the feeling of the original herb gardens has been maintained. Modern varieties of traditional plants bred to survive modern conditions are also included. Benches were added to create a quiet meditation area.

The new area designated for the pollinator garden brings even more opportunity to educate the public. The plants have been chosen to give the pollinator garden new interest in every season. Plantings include Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower), Baptisia (Wild Indigo), Cuphea (Cigar Plant), Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm), Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet), Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed), Agastache hybrids (Hyssop), Aster, Eupatorium (Joe Pye weed), Helianthus (Sunflower), Hyacinth Beans, Morning Glories, and Moonflowers. WGC is collaborating with the library to develop educational materials for the gardens designed to help visitors learn about these pollinators and how they can incorporate them into their own gardens. 

The garden has already garnered much attention and as a result the Suffolk County Legislature has appointed two members of the WGC Conservation Committee to a newly formed Pollinator Pathway Task Force, which will develop a plan to support pollinators. 



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