Sunday, September 1, 2019

This Month in the Garden: Long Island Places, Sunflowers, and Childhood Dreams Come True!

This Month in the Garden
Welcome to This Month in the Garden! I have been a gardener all my life and ever since I was a small child, I have had a fascination with sunflowers. Every summer my parents and I would go for a Sunday drive out east here on beautiful Long Island, a tradition which I continue to honor along with my husband of 37 years. While growing up back in the 60's, sunflower fields were not readily available to the public and I would gaze in awe each time we traveled past the fields of yellow discs pointing towards the sky. Times have changed and just recently in 2018, farmers have opened up their fields to the public. I am thankful to have for the first time last year experienced standing among acres of sunflowers, I couldn't wait to revisit the fields this year. Come along! 

Late Summer Perennials at Verderber's Garden Center & Nursery
On the way out east, there are some amazing nurseries on the way, some which are more like botanical gardens. Here is a late summer display of Black Eyed Susan, Joe Pye Weed and Russian Sage, each perennial being an attraction for pollinators. They can be seen at Verderber Nursery out in Aquebogue. The family owned business comprising of 300 acres of conifers, shade trees, perennials and shrubs is run by husband-and-wife team John and Maria Verderber and their three children, aged 26 to 28, all who possess a love of horticulture.
Verderber's Nursery
This beautiful Natchez Crape Myrtle is in full bloom for the late summertime into fall. It's one of my personal favorites for late summer interest and enjoyment in the garden.

Perennials at Verderber's Nursery
Here is Joe Pye Weed close up with a  butterfly visitor! Now that I've gotten my nursery fix, onto the sunflowers!

Bayview Farms & Market
One of the local farm stands we regularly visit on our rides out east is Bayview Market & Farms, a 200-acre farm in Aquebogue, Long Island. The farm, owned by the Reeve family started when Orry Reeve floated wagons across the Peconic Bay to peddle produce to Southampton hotels. As the family expanded and after many years of selling fruits and vegetables off the back of a truck, George C. Reeve, Sr. and his sons George Jr. and Bradford Reeve built the first roadside stand, which they named Little Chief, after George's favorite variety of sweet corn. In 2002, Bradford Reeve, Sr. and his wife Lorraine, built a larger farm market, returning it to the original name Bayview Farms and Market. In 2014, the Reeve family further expanded, building a second market in Jamesport.

Sunflower Field
Here is the family owned sunflower field that lies on the property of Bayview Farms. This was our second year visiting it and it was just as beautiful as the first time!

Sunflower Maze North Fork Long Island
Continuing on the journey, my husband and I visited the North Fork sunflower maze for the second year. The Sidor sisters, Cheryl and Maureen, decided to open the fields to visitors in 2018 after growing sunflowers at the site for several years. They tried doing a sunflower maze back in 2012, and after a six-year break, they decided to bring it back for the 2018 season by popular demand. The fields are grown in succession with a variety of different types of sunflowers, each producing a differently flavored oil for the production of their well-known potato chips.
One with the Sunflowers!
Life is the accumulation of memories and experiences. The meaningful trip out east in 2018 and being able to stand in a field among the glorious sunflowers sparked childhood memories, and ended up opening an idea for a chapter in my latest book, Dream, Garden, Grow!-Musings of a Lifetime Gardener, recently published in December of 2018. It is amazing how experiences, memories of childhood and a love of horticulture can make dreams come true. After much research and accumulating past and present memories, the words for Chapter 4 materialized. The meaning and uses behind the mysterious sunflower throughout centuries of garden history and folklore made the memories I have even more dear to my heart.
Long Island Sunflowers-Sunflower Maze 
I will look forward to the next encounter with my field of dreams. Now...onto the rest of our journey!
Wisteria Arbor Jamesport, Long Island
I am a Long Island native and continue to be amazed by all the beauty and history that exists here. On our way back, we stopped to view this Wisteria lined pergola at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn, a historic property nestled in the town of Jamesport. Jedediah Hawkins, born in Stony Brook in 1837, ventured to sea at the young age of 12 and became the master of a trading vessel by the age of 18. He and each of his four siblings later moved eastward and settled in the town of Jamesport.
Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Jamesport, NY
Jedediah Hawkins built this Italanite style home in 1863 on a 22 acre plot in Jamesport, Long Island, New York. The home was occupied into the first half of the 20th century, but became abandoned in the 1980's. The home was acquired in 2004, just days from planned demolition, and restored to its original form. Jedediah Hawkins Inn opened in September of 2005 and was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 2008. 

There are numerous features on the grounds such as this beautiful fountain...

and scenes like this garden bench surrounded by Weeping Japanese Maple, Hydrangea, Black Eyed Susan, Nepeta and Hosta...

and this welcoming gazebo surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Monarch Butterfly
The gardens at the Inn are full of pollinator friendly flowers and August and September are Monarch season, so there are plenty to be seen. This Monarch Butterfly stayed and posed for me!
Long Island Sunflower Maze, North Fork
I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for September. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. of each month for This Month in the Garden, as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! As you can see, there is always more to explore within your own backyard and childhood dreams can come true

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To read more about sunflowers and other musings, check out my newest book...

~As Always...Happy Gardening!~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2019. All rights reserved.


  1. Che spettacolo! Quelle aiuole sono una bellezza ma quella lagerstroemia bianca mi ha davvero colpito! Mai viste di così belle!

    Buona serata :)

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the pictures Gabriele. I just visited your last post and your gardens are beautiful!

  2. Gorgeous pictures! I wish I could be at a sunflowers field some day in my life!Absolutely amazing...Hugs!

    1. Thank you! There is something special about a sunflower field! Your capture of the sunset is gorgeous and so are your table settings! I love the blue and white blown glass and hydrangea setting!

  3. Love your garden updates! We traveled cross country in 2016 and were amazed by the endless fields of sunflowers in South Dakota! It looked like they went to infinity, with blue skies and white puffy clouds along the way! And speed limits of 80mph in the middle of nowhere but straight, open highways!

    1. Oh, that sounds just wonderful! I loved traveling along with you on the coal mining tour and I always enjoy a little bit of history. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  4. Beautiful Love the sunflowers - one of my favorite flowers.
    Thanks for linking up at

    1. Thanks for hosting Sue and for stopping by to say hello. I always enjoy seeing you were here! Have a good Labor Day!

  5. Gorgeous sunflowers!! Wow! Happy week to you!

  6. Sunflowers galore, and a monarch butterfly--who could ask for more?

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the pictures and thanks so much for hosting each week!

  7. Lee, wonderful trip! I love this Natchez Crape Myrtle, is my favorite picture. Sunflowers look very summery and I can understand you child dream to see them more and more.

    1. I think I love sunflowers even more now. This place is magical! Your Rhododendrons and Azaleas are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Such beautiful photos but the sunflowers are so uplifting and that close up of the butterfly is amazing.

    1. Thank you Judee. I am so glad the photos made your day a little brighter!

  9. Thank you for sharing! I was feeling down because it is so hot and dry. Everything outside is baking. Now I feel inspired and look forward to cooler weather.

    1. Aww...I am glad my post brightened your day. Your vegetable garden is amazing with zucchini and summer squash and those Akasanjaku beans do look great on the arch. Good to hear you got those nasty groundhogs under control and now an armadillo...oh my! Thank you for visiting!


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!


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