In 1975, Kathleen and Charlie started their business operating from card table in Charlie’s mother’s living room, the house Charlie grew up in. Their goal was to offer an alternative to the “cookie cutter” landscape designs which were the norm at the time. They did this by creating landscapes that reflected each homeowner’s tastes and lifestyles, much like the interiors of the house they worked on.
Kathleen and Charlie took an early stand on protecting the land from pesticides and nuclear material.
Coupling this design approach with a dramatic new way of planting and transplanting trees, through the use of truck mounted mechanical spades, Charlie Marder was one of the first in the country to own and operate a large-scale tree spade. Through creative trial and error, and influential client relationships (such as the late artist Alfonso Ossorio, and Ted Dragon), the Marders developed an original point of view that shaped landscapes and their business.
Next came a move from the family farm to three acres on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. This move marked the establishment of the retail Garden Shop. As the company further developed, it acquired the reputation for rare and unusual plant material and gained recognition as one of the few national companies with the ability to successfully move giant trees. In addition, Kathleen and Charlie took an early stand on protecting the land from pesticides and nuclear material.
Next, Marders relocated to its current 18-acre site on Snake Hollow Road adjacent to the Bridgehampton Commons. This change made room for an unprecedented selection of nursery stock and park-like displays that could be enjoyed by shoppers, gardeners, and those spending time with their families. Campaigning against toxic chemical plant care, Marders took aggressive steps to implement organic practices and procedures in the Garden Shop as well as the property care departments. By removing and replacing anything that did not pass the strict criteria of organic integrity. Training staff on the non-chemical care of plants and offering free seminars to the public, Marders maintained its stand on environmental protection and safety.
Since their move, the 18 acres has grown into 33 with an additional 8 acres nearby for the equipment fleet and horticultural annex. A tree-growing farm has been established to further diversify their inventory. Their services have been utilized by a long list of botanical gardens, private residences throughout New England, and institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and JFK airport. For years to come, Marders will continue to provide its high level of quality and service while carrying on its tradition of innovation and commitment to environment, remaining a leader in the landscape industry.