Since its founding in 1945, Whitmores Landscaping in East Hampton has emphasized community involvement. “It’s important to Whitmores to support organizations that align with our business and the area,” says Mariah Whitmore, a descendant of the founders, now making her own mark on the local philanthropic landscape. Those organizations include the Parrish Art Museum, the South Fork Natural History Museum, the Amagansett Village and East Hampton Village improvement societies, Share the Harvest Farm (which donates its organic produce to local groups), and the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, founded by her grandmother.
But Whitmore’s current focus is LongHouse Reserve. Her grandfather knew LongHouse founder Jack Lenor Larsen for many years and naturally played a role in the garden. Before the firm had its own tree farm, it sourced specimens from all over the country. “We had brought in California redwoods, and Jack wanted a couple,” Whitmore says. “We donated them, and they’re still on the property at LongHouse.”
She got involved with LongHouse after a chance meeting on the Hampton Jitney with two board members, who invited her on a tour. “The gardens are really energizing to me,” Whitmore says. “Jack’s collection of art and plants is second to none.” She now cochairs LongHouse’s Junior Council and says July 22’s benefit gala, titled Boom!, will feature some “explosive” art by Cai Guo-Qiang, one of the evening’s honorees: Cai’s media include fireworks, and he creates paintings on which gunpowder is ignited to produce images.