I am an unlikely Hamptons-goer. I am behind the times, not a trendsetter. I eschew crowds and expensive cars. I do not travel in the fast lane, yet every summer, I find myself in the Hamptons.

More than a decade ago my college roommate, a scientist, rehabbed a house in East Hampton to be near good kayaking on Three Mile Harbor. Another close college friend has a house in Bridgehampton, where she rides in The Hampton Classic.  This year a third college friend from England was going out, so how could I resist?

While I prefer off-season visits, the peak of summer brings a profusion of plants. The light (reflected off surrounding bodies of water), sandy soil, the absence of humidity and the regular rainfall create ideal growing conditions.

Nurseries do a booming business. A must for me each summer is Bridgehampton at Marders,  a spectacular nursery and garden center, where even mature beech trees are in burlap balls ready to plant.

This year’s discoveries were annual purple laurentia  and a big-leafed plant that looked like lambs’ ears on steroids.

Of the same family, perennial silver sage made a showy appearance in containers and beneath a tree, next to purple petunias.


Kalanchoe ‘Flap Jack’ was a star in troughs and pots.


I’d like to find a few in Baltimore for my unused trough. I also want a spot in my garden for fluffy, native Joe Pye weed.


And one of these days I’ll have a container that includes a striking pink mandevilla vine entwining a porch column.


Everywhere in the Hamptons hydrangeas were at their peak. A showy ‘Limelight” at Marders made me envious. I’ve never found room for one, so I settle for ‘Little Lime.’


Into a wagon for my college roommate’s garden, we loaded a pink Knock Out rose, a showy red dracaena and three replacement lavenders. Even in the sandy soil of the Hamptons, lavender can be tricky.


At checkout we discovered Tucker Marder and his new soaps.   The large bars were a little pricey, but with engaging scents and made locally of native ingredients from the East End of Long Island. I’m hoping that by my next visit in the crowd-free EARLY summer, he’ll have made some bars half the size and half the price.