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Celebrate spring this weekend on Long Island

pink camellias photographed last Arbor Day Festival at Planting Fields
pink camellias photographed last Arbor Day Festival at Planting Fields
photo by Ariella Brown

This weekend gardens are celebrating spring. On Long Island you have a number of choices for places in which you can enjoy the color and variety of the season's fresh blooms.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Planting Fields Foundation are are holding the 28th annual Arbor Day Family Festival is taking place at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Oyster Bay, New York on April 26, and April 27 from 10:00 – 5:00. One option is Planting Fields at 1395 Planting Fields Road Oyster Bay. NY 11771

Though the standard parking fee for Planting Fields in season is $8, for the special weekend, it will be $20 per car load However, if you have an Empire Passport on your car, you get in free altogether. If you haven't purchased an Empire Passport yet, you may wish to do so now. For the $65 cost, you will be covered for events like these, as well as parking at participating New York State parks throughout the season.

When you visit Planting Fields, be sure to stop in the greenhouses. Some of the camellias should still be in bloom, and the main greenhouse always has a spectacular display of exotic plants, trees, and flowers, including a wonderful array or orchids. For information on the free activities included, see the site or call (516) 922-9200.

I went there last year and was very impressed by how well the park managed the crowds, directing everyone to parking, and spreading things out in a manageable way. There were options for people to do things or just to take in the grounds and the Coe Mansion.

If you're considering using the natural beauty of Planting Fields for wedding pictures, inquire about obtaining a permit for by calling (516) 922-8604. You can also download the permit here.Outdoor Wedding ceremonies on the grounds of Planting Fields are limited to the Rose Garden at the Manor House, Dahlia Garden and Haybarn. It can hold 50-100 people.

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