These spring days seem to present themselves in transient effects, changing moment by moment, the colors, sunshine or fog, leaves, blooming flowers or shrubs. Our woods are slowly filling in, fresh salmon- and yellow-greens where bare branches intertwined only days ago. There is a daily parade of azalea and rhododendron buds unfolding. I love the subtle colors of spring, better than the dusty dying dull green of summer, even better than the ebullience of fall. I can't decide which is more beautiful, the high contrast of a bright blue sky or the pale flat gray of a cloudy day.
The up-coming weekend offers many opportunities for gardeners and appreciators. The Martha's Vineyard Garden Club will hold their annual plant sale this Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26, from 10 am to 2 pm. All plants are propagated from seed or cuttings by club members at their greenhouse at the Wakeman Center. There are always fabulous varieties of geraniums, hydrangeas, deer- and rabbit-resistant flowers and herbs, Vineyard native plants, exotic tropicals, and plants from the original Dr. Van Fleet rose brought here by the Mayhew family in 1901. Afterwards, have cookies and lemonade in the Tea Room and tour the historic Old Mill.
The Polly Hill Arboretum is having a plant sale, too. The visitors' center opens for the summer this Saturday with garden talks, family nature walks, seed planting for kids, a tree raffle, book sale, Irie Bites food truck, and a garden design lecture at 3 pm by author C.L. Fornari. The lecture is $10, $5 for PHA members.
All the garden centers have been setting out ever more enticing displays of trees, flowers, vegetables, and shrubs. I'm sure they will be in their glory for Memorial Day weekend.
If you prefer not to get your hands dirty, spend Saturday visiting five of the most innovative gardens up-island, all for the benefit of the West Tisbury Church Restoration Project. In Chilmark, you can see the garden of plantsman and artist David Geiger and Dr. John Lamb, filled with unusual specimen plantings, the setting for some of David's sculptures. Trudy Taylor's Stonewall Pond garden is famous for its design and the varieties of native plants she has grown over many years. Peter Norris has designed a shade garden of azaleas and rhododendrons that should be at its peak.
Here in West Tisbury, Nina Schneider's garden, legendary for its structures and the variety and originality of her plantings, will be open to the public. You can end the day at Susie Leland's, where refreshments will be served beside the pool, after admiring artful combinations and perfectly pruned shapes of plantings in her garden. It's like a painting. Tickets are on sale at the three garden centers in town, or you may buy them at the Parish Hall at 10:45 Saturday morning for $25 for the tour.
Get well wishes go to Molly Finkelstein from all of her friends.
Last Sunday afternoon I was invited to a recital by students of my neighbor and friend, Maureen Fischer. Maureen, an accomplished musician, has been teaching piano and voice to some very talented kids. I was glad I walked through the woods to hear them. The piano students were Matthew Coggins, Silas Stanek, Hunter Tomkins, and Taber Caron. The singers were Lillian Kurelja, Ana Kurelja, and Rhianna Schann.
The Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing is offering scholarships for their 2012 Summer Writing Program. The faculty includes award-winning poets, short story and novel writers: Catherine Pierce, Marcus Wicker, Michael Kardos, and Phong Nguyen, editor of the literary journal Pleiades. Applications must be received by June 1. Look online at mvicw.com for information and application forms.
Congratulations to Walker Roman, who graduated last Friday from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Walker is the son of Selena and Bill Roman.
Congratulations, also, to Jim Turner, the new Massachusetts State Croquet Champion, after a hard-won series of games at the Lenox Croquet Club last weekend. Jim's description of the event is as follows: "I found my swing midway through the day, and got deadly. In the end, I stumbled through four very ugly games, but managed to take them all, to take the championship." Jim's wife, Sandy, said, "Most people see the game as slow. Croquet players can read this and realize it was a real nail biter." Next comes the Berkshire Invitational, where Jim will have to defend his title.
Travvy and Susanna Sturgis were big winners at recent rally trials in Richmond, New Hampshire. Susanna included a photograph of Travvy sitting proudly in front of his array of ribbons. Bravo to both mistress and canine.
To raise money for a sailing trip on the schooner Alabama in June, Charter School 5th and 6th graders are holding a car wash and bake sale this Saturday, May 26, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Public Safety Building on State Road.
The J.C. Trio will perform at the West Tisbury Library this Friday, May 25, at 4 pm. They are always the best.
The Rotary Club of Martha's Vineyard has invited comedian Tim Conway and Louise Duart to entertain at the MVRHS Performing Arts Center Saturday, June 2. Tickets are $20. There will be a reception Friday night at the Boathouse Club. For $100 you can meet Mr. Conway, enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres, and attend Saturday night's performance. All proceeds will benefit the Cure Alzheimer's Fund. Rotary International is actively involved in supporting Alzheimer's research. Regular readers know this is a cause dear to my heart.
Have fun this weekend.