Planting season is upon us! As the final damp days of spring give way to the warmth of summer, it’s time to set this year’s gardening goals into motion. Whether looking for just a few annuals to add to the yard or seeking the makings of an entirely new landscaping design, the 24th Annual East End Garden Festival is the event to attend.
Operating through Sunday May 19th at the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, the Festival offers a variety of items for sale from flower flats to hanging baskets to full trees and everything in between. Available plants include such classics as geraniums, impatiens, and marigolds, as well as more adventurous choices like azaleas, dogwood trees, and hydrangeas. Come ready with a list in hand or just browse the verdant, sweet-smelling rows of foliage for the perfect outdoor addition. Hungry after shopping? A variety of Briermere pies and cookies are also for sale to give a sweet ending to a satisfying plant buying experience.
The entire event is generously hosted by the Riverhead Rotary Club, which has knowledgable volunteers on site to assist buyers with any questions. Rotary Director Dr. Raj Patel has been on hand overseeing the event. According to Patel, the East End Garden Festival was originally run by Peconic Bay Medical Center until three years ago when the Riverhead Rotary took over and turned the Festival into a charity event, “to support the medical group Operation International as well as the hospital and local projects”. Operation International’s web site shows that the non-profit works with medical professionals and other organizations to help provide free medical care, living assistance, and material support for people in need throughout the world. Patel’s passion for Operation International has led him and other Rotary members to make several trips abroad to support the organization first-hand.
Inventory for the East End Garden Festival is donated from a variety of growers including several Long Island businesses such as Van De Wetering Greenhouses, Half Hollow Nurseries, and Kurt Weiss Greenhouses. As a result, all proceeds from the sale go directly to the Rotary’s charities—another wonderful reason to patronize the annual event. Attendees who stop by on Sunday May 19th will also be able to view another event that supports Peconic Bay Medical Center—the Northwell Health Walk at East End.
Come rain or shine to this yearly one-stop-shop that allows patrons to purchase plants and support several worthy causes all at once. The East End Garden Festival is a not-to-be-missed event to kick off summer gardening.