Gardens Are Sweet, Cocktails Are Long

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It’s too late to tiptoe through the tulips, but there is still time to buy a ticket to stroll through gardens at private homes on Long Island on Saturday, June 24. Guild Hall, the artistic heart of East Hampton, has programmed a day called Garden as Art. It is centered on gardens and landscape architecture: a morning lecture, four gardens and, for those who go for the $500 and $1,000 tickets instead of the $250 tickets, a cocktail prolongé at a fifth private garden.

The lecture at 10 am is “Gardens of the World” by the horticulturist Vincent Simeone, director of Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay. It takes you on the tours he has led, to New Zealand, Capetown, the Rockies and to those beloved English gardens.

Garden Tour

Between noon and 4 pm there are self-guided tours to four gardens, some directly on the ocean. The landscape architects are Ed Hollander (two gardens), Harmonia and Frederico Azevedo.

These bountiful white hardy hibiscus, also known as swamp rose mallow, are in a garden by Harmonia, on exclusive West End Road.

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The house at Linden Hill is new, designed by Kligerman Architects, but looks old. One feature of the grounds are these white steps, designed by Hollander, and set precisely into the hillside.

This view of Georgica Pond, late in the afternoon, is at a home known as Pondside. The four London plane trees were installed by Hollander Design Landscape Architects to create the dining spot next to the pool.

Those three and one other garden make up the tour. While the interiors of the houses are not on the tour, there is plenty of time to walk around them. Tickets can be purchased here.

Cocktail Hours

But wait, what about this cocktail prolongé? We hadn’t heard of it either, but by July everyone will be doing it.

Twenty years ago people began ordering two appetizers instead of a meal at night. And two glasses of wine. Because a late-night meal just seemed too heavy.

Cocktail prolongé is similar, but with cocktails, and more hors d’oeuvres. Guild Hall’s version will be at a private home with a stunning garden. It starts at 7:30 and goes on until 11.

At 9 there will be a performance by The Beatbox House, a group that is in artistic residence for the summer in East Hampton. Merriment continues after that. Cocktail prolongé was the hostess’ idea. She spends time in Europe and, apparently, it is common there.

We say hello to that! The advantages of cocktail prolongé over a sit-down dinner are obvious.

Guests can circulate freely.

No getting stuck at a bad table.

Another chance to take a look at the garden, perhaps find a rose sweet with evening dew.

People can leave when they want to, without having to say goodnight.

— Linda Lee

Linda Lee is a former editor and writer for The New York Times.


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