Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Greenport: Clarke's Garden

If you happen to find yourself wishing you could escape the noise and stress of the city, I say-scratch the Hamptons and head to Greenport. And if you happen to already live here and haven't been to Clarke's Garden yet, you are missing out honey.

My Uncle's have left Manhattan and made this tiny historic village on the East End of Long Island their home. I hadn't been to visit them in Greenport [I'm ashamed to say] since last summer, when Peter (pictured left) told me I had inspired him so much with opening Old Hollywood and doing what I love, that he was leaving the corporate world in pursuit of something he loves. Something of his own.

A full service Garden shop featuring the most gorgeous planters made by Peter, Anthony, and select Garden experts on their staff. Hanging gardens, herb boxes, hammered copper birdbaths and oil lamps, top of the line pottery & Terra Cotta by Guy Wolff, Campo de' Fiori, and Randy Ouzts gorgeous enough to make the yard-less city girl buy one of each and "figure it out later." Hand-blown glass hummingbird feeders, an incredible selection of eco-friendly and recycled mats, pots, gloves, furniture, and tools all beautifully placed around their outdoor garden and displayed around their 1000 square foot split-level boutique. As a matter of fact, most of their products are either eco or consciously sourced.
In the words of Peter, "I will not carry products made in China." He strives to find a balance between cost and quality and shops around and does his research so the knowledge he has of a product is confidently passed on to his customer, who he knows by name.
It was such a pleasure watching him work in his garden and see him interacting with the people in his village. Everyone just loves him and the garden, it's hard for him to get away.
When I was there on Tuesday, the only day they are closed, about 5 friends and a few unknown customers stopped by for a chat and a browse and Peter happily accommodated them, even though we had about a million things to do. That's just how he is. He probably has one of the world's largest hearts.

He recently planted 30 something barrel planters around the city of Greenport with the local high school kids in an effort to brighten up the city. He believes gardening is contagious and the locals have definitely noticed a "new gardening spirit" with more people catching the sickness.

Opening in such a small town definitely has it's fright. With lots of businesses in the area shutting their doors, according to Northforkvue, Clarke's Garden has given a sort of new life to the downtown area and will hopefully encourage not only new growth in businesses, but also a resurgence of creativity.

In all the chaos of picking up plants, planting people's gardens, the barrel project, buying, and leaving the city (selling their condo in Queen) and permanently relocating to Greenport has them stretched a little thin. But not to fret. Peter has an expert merchandiser niece and an accountant/book-keeper sister to help out. I spent the last couple days giving the shop a full head to toe make-over they can focus on what they do best---plants and customers.

Below are some photos of the space and what I did to make it feel less like a hardware store, and more like what they are, a specialty shop with unique products individually picked out with care by the owners.

Clarke's Garden is the only Garden shop for 3 towns. It is the perfect stop for the expert gardener or someone like me, who tries to keep things alive.
Peter and Anthony are knowlegeable, accommodating, very friendly and exciting to be around. The energy they exude is enough to make anyone want to fill their patio, yard, and home with a little garden variety.

I'm proud of you two. Everyone should follow their dream and do what they love to do.
Afterall, if we are going to have to work forever, shouldn't we then enjoy our work?