Remembering Anne Trimble, 70, ‘A very special person’

When Nancy Leskody met Anne Trimble in New York City in 1985, they knew pretty quickly that they wanted to be together. In some ways, they were very different: Nancy was working in a restaurant and Anne was working as a well-regarded garden and landscape designer.

And yet, they had so much in common. “We hit it off really well,” Nancy said. “I knew right away she was a very special person.”

The story of Nancy and Anne is more than a story of two women who found each other and, six years after they met, purchased a garden center that had seen better days on a 4-acre plot that became the iconic Trimble’s of Corchaug Nursery on Main Road. 

“It was a lot of work,” Ms. Leskody said of the business. “There were many up and down years. One year we thought we might lose it. But being here in Cutchogue has been so wonderful. When we bought in 1991, the farm family across the street, the Elaks, walked over and welcomed us so warmly.

“They were so gracious to us, and both Anne and I committed to treating all our customers and everyone we dealt with in the same courteous manner,” she said. “The community has been wonderful to us. At this time in my life, I am very grateful for the support.”

On Dec. 27, after a brief battle with cancer, Ms. Trimble, 70, died in the home she shared with Ms. Leskody on the grounds of their nursery. Just two months before, on Oct. 23, the two married, the ceremony taking place in the living room of their home.

Ms. Leskody cries speaking about the woman she met, married and worked with building up their business. Their journey is a story of hard work, business acumen, horticulture knowledge — and a whole lot of love.

Ms. Trimble grew up in Rhode Island. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in horticulture. Wanting to be in New York City, she took a job at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, a job that also came with an apartment at 882 Union St.

Her first job was in the children’s garden, then the fragrance garden. “Back then, men were the gardeners,” Ms. Leskody said. “It was hard for women to break in in these established places.”

Soon, businesses were coming to Ms. Trimble for landscape advice. One business that sought her out was Tavern on the Green in Central Park. “She told the people her ideas and said, ‘you should hire me and I will do it.’ ” Soon she was working full time as the head gardener.

After she met Ms. Leskody, Ms. Trimble helped run a design business with her friend Jackie DeFazio that did rooftop gardens and things like that in the city. Ms. Leskody went to work for the New York City Parks Department. 

By the early ’90s, “Anne and I started talking about the city getting a little rough,” Ms. Leskody said. “We were worried about safety issues. We talked about getting a place where we could grow plants and sell them. 

“One day in 1991, we were coming out to see my parents, who had a house in Southold,” she added. “We passed the garden place on Main Road in Cutchogue. There was a sale sign in front of it. We saw it needed a lot of work, but we bought it by borrowing money from family and friends and taking on some partners.

“We made improvements,” she said. “We built more greenhouses and bought more equipment. We had two businesses: the plants and tree business and a landscaping business. It was dicey for a while. One year we came close to losing it. We were both very worried.”

Soon, the business — which is seasonal, from April to November — began humming. “I didn’t know much about horticulture,” Ms. Leskody said. “Anne was my teacher. She taught me everything I know. I answered the phones, I ordered the plants. People would ask questions and I had to go to Anne for the answers. But I got to be good at it. I wanted to love plants as much as Anne did.”

In late August last year, after complaining of serious back pain, Ms. Trimble visited her doctor in Riverhead. A host of tests were ordered. The next day, the doctor called. 

“He said, ‘I’m very sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer,’ ” Ms. Leskody said. More tests were ordered, which showed the cancer was pretty much everywhere. Chemotherapy and radiation did not halt the cancer; there were trips to the ER. Finally, one day the doctor told the couple they needed to get hospice involved.

Once home, Ms. Leskody did all she could to help Anne be comfortable. Neither doubted the eventual outcome. “At one point, she said to me, ‘I don’t want to live like this, Nancy.’ I told her, ‘Don’t worry about me. I will be fine.’ ”

Since the death, Ms. Leskody has been reminded multiple times what a wonderful community she is a part of. “I want to tell you, they are wonderful,” she said. “They’ve sent flowers, food, cheese platters, emails, cards, soups — they leave me everything. Even before Anne died they brought stuff over.

“We were so fortunate to come here, and to live here,” she added. “We’ve been so fortunate.”

Looking back, Ms. Leskody sees how blessed her life was to spend it with Ms. Trimble, at home and at work. 

“I was just the one who loved her,” she said. “I was the one who hit the jackpot when we met. She made me a better person. She taught me everything.”