Charlie Marder of , 120 Snake Hollow Road, along with his wife of 37 years, Kathleen, has been providing their expertise and services to the residents of the Hamptons for more than 35 years.
Usually wearing his trademark suspenders, Charlie is ever ready to move the largest trees of the Hamptons whether they are to be planted, relocated, or removed. In fact he has the record for the widest load moved by the Shelter Island South Ferry. He actually deposited a tree onto the ferry on one side and fetched it up off the ferry on the other side recalling, “The tree was wider than the ferry sticking out on both sides.”
Charlie and Kathleen married on January 1, 1976, after meeting at Ripon College in Wisconsin. They then moved to Springs. Charlie had grown up in Springs and graduated from East Hampton High School. Kathleen was from posh Westport, Conn.
At first Charlie Marder sold firewood from the back of his pick-up truck. It seems when he first leased a hydraulic tree mover for initially a week it changed his life. Learning as you go, Charlie mastered the technique of problem solving when it comes to moving and replanting large trees successfully.
He credits his first real substantial customer, Alfonso Osorio, for helping him establish himself. Over those first couple of years back in the late '70s, Charlie worked with the legendary artist creating one of the most renowned private tree collections on an estate. Forever modest Charlie forged great knowledge and skill from that era that now benefits his customers of today. In fact the spring I interviewed Charlie Marder he said he had over $4 million worth of trees in inventory at the nursery, including a 50-foot-high Copper Beach with a 30-inch trunk that would sell for just under $80,000.
He roughly estimated that his 28-acre spread has about 2,000 trees and shrubs on it. He credits Warner LeRoy as the greatest influence on him and his collection of trees and shrubs. This is a far way from the space he had on in Bridgehampton in 1982 on Main Street. While there it was Kathleen’s knowledge of “rare and unusual plants, which we had quite a collection at that time,” that also propelled Charlie into purchasing the present location.
Charlie talked of successfully moving cedar trees, as being what he was first known for, but since then, his expertise has been called in to move trees including for both New York City’s Central Park and The Botanical Gardens. Charlie believes the largest tree he has ever moved was a 90-foot-high Dawn Redwood that he moved about 11 years ago. The nursery now has five to six trained crews for moving trees such as giant beech or large redwoods. Charlie is known in elite circles as the tree moving guy.
Meanwhile, Kathleen Marder has become renowned for her garden shop where you can find unusual flowers, as Charlie says, “You can’t find anywhere else.”
Kathleen has an expertise with the use of these flowers and doing things in flower pots. According to an admiring Charlie, “her communicative skills” along with her use of plants is, “pretty spectacular.”
Looking around the large two-story barn that is the nerve center of the nursery, I noticed supplies such as Happy Frog Bat Guano Fertilizer, along with Alaska Fish Fertilizer, also Deer Scam, the deer and rabbit repellent.
Outside for this spring season use were big bags of Golden Trophy Pine Bark, Hampton Estate Premier Compost, and my favorite, bags of Cockadoodle Doo Weed Control. The barn also has a fine collection of gardening reference books for sale with titles such as; A Pattern Garden, House Plants, Rock Garden Plants along with both The Flower Gardener’s Bible and the “Wine Bible.”
The beautiful wooden floors of the barn makes for pleasant strolling inside often to the scent of the for sale Lafco Room Candles. They even carry the complete “Mrs. Meyer’s Cleaning Line.” There is also a collection of garden tools available. Real eye catchers are the varnished driftwood tables that are worth going there just to see. With the classical music creating a soothing atmosphere inside the barn it is easy to see why Marders Nursery has a loyal upscale clientele. The great service, great selection, and great wisdom Marders offers is renowned around the highest of gardening circles.
Kathleen and Charlie Marder also are family people. They have four boys.
In my interview years back Charlie Marder made me promise to mention his and Kathleen’s gratitude to every single customer over the years. He stressed it was a privilege and honor to be able to work with every single one of them whether it was a selection or the solving of a huge tree problem.