Bright Makes Right
Linda Lambert fills her garden with color, family and even wildlife.
BY JAMEE GREGORY
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: A bright pink dahlia stands out, offering a blast of color; the soft-blue swimming pool overlooks and echoes Mecox Bay’s Mill Creek; yellow and blue work well in this tranquil garden; lush borders in full bloom lead from the Lamberts’ home to Mill Creek; the fluffy face of this buttery Dahlia captures visitors’ attention; the winding path draws guests to the water.
LINDA AND BEN LAMBERT found their dream house on Mill Creek, a finger of Mecox Bay in Water Mill, in 1993. They started their garden that spring, intending to use everything that was planted outside, inside.
They began by purchasing large numbers of estate hydrangeas to surround the main house and the carriage house, placing the remainder in a few sections in the garden. The Lamberts planned to keep their home filled with the blooms. Lilacs for springtime and two massive clumps of more than 50 peonies, from pale to deep pink, followed, as well as roses behind their tennis court.
Still, Linda says it’s a constant work in progress. “I wanted to see the garden from the house, adding splashes of color like a painter on canvas,” she says. “If you’re far enough away, you can see which beds lack color or depth, so adding touches of yellow, which is hugely important for me, make the pale pinks and blues pop. Annuals like sunny snapdragons, massed in the front of borders; pink foxglove; purple salvia; and intense blue delphiniums add bold punctuation points.”
Now, by July more than 25 varieties of hugeheaded dahlias bloom and don’t stop until November’s first frost. In the fall, Linda brings the hydrangeas inside, placing them in a small amount of water and letting it evaporate. They’re arranged while still fresh and last all winter long.
Despite the painstaking precision of her gardening routine, Linda leaves most of the property to Mother Nature—and the rest of her family, of course. “Our four acres are mostly lawn. It sweeps down to the water, where our two rescue dogs, Sweetie and Molly, have free reign,” she explains. “My husband, Ben, comes here to relax.
“We followed a swan couple last year that had babies in June,” she continues. “We watched them grow all summer, saw the parents teaching them to fly in September and then sending them on their way in December. We watch this process every year, along with the herons and osprey, all of whom share our garden.”
Linda Lambert serves on the board of the ASPCA and the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons in Hampton Bays. She loves her dogs, having rescued both of them.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ZEV STARR-TAMBOR