Town Column

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull
Click here to contact Hermine

Posted May 3, 2007

The night air has begun to smell like Spring. When we walked out of our Library Trustees meeting last Thursday night, Linda Hearn and I both made that comment. I noticed it again leaving the Frenches' house after dinner Saturday night, and I notice it now with the window open next to my desk.

The house I grew up in had a magnolia tree planted outside my bedroom window. It was a little thing when we planted it, maybe five feet high, but as I grew up so did the tree. My mother planted dark pink hyacinths in a circle around the base of the magnolia, and the fragrance of that combination is one of the memories of my childhood, floating into my bedroom window with the darkness. When Mike and I add on our downstairs bedroom, I plan to plant a magnolia tree outside the window, ringed with hyacinths. My hyacinths will be white, inter-planted with pale yellow daffodils like the ones I saw beside Mary and Jim French's kitchen door the other night. It will be on the west side, where the breezes come from, and I look forward to again falling asleep to that commingled scent.

The daffodils are at their peak, blooming everywhere in abundance. I think Ann Burt is the "Queen of Daffodils;" her yard is gorgeous, especially the ribbon-like swath planted on the bank of the stream behind her house. She has so many different kinds. It is a treat to drive along the road, a gift to all who pass by. After I finish writing my column, I am going over to Margaret Logue's house for a tour of her garden. It, too, has thick plantings of daffodils, an effort of many years. The display along the path in the business district has never looked more ebullient.

John Gadowski is home at his farm. Jen, Tori, Jannelle, and Jaidah are relying on all of us to look in on him. They want to remind everyone that John's speech is still impaired, so don't expect him to use the phone. He is, however, looking forward to being home and seeing his friends.

The Living Local exhibition at the Ag Hall last weekend was really interesting and educational. Mike and I missed the lecture, but we were very interested in several of the exhibits. I bought all new low-energy light bulbs for my studio. We talked to Eric Medieros about replacing our washer and dryer with more energy-efficient models and with Eric Lowe about a solar hot water system when we do our addition. The conversation around the table with our Sunday morning breakfast group included a spirited comparison of types and efficiency of photo-voltaic panels, selling energy back to the grid, windmills and windfarms, expanding home gardens, as well as a Boston Globe story about another 25 percent proposed increase in homeowner's insurance for the Cape and Islands.

Emma Gorenberg, a 2003 graduate of the MVRHS, has been awarded a shared first prize (with Sarah Twombly of Mount Holyoke College) in the prestigious 84th Annual Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Competition. The Kathryn Irene Glascock competition is the oldest poetry competition in the country. Past winners have included Sylvia Plath and James Merrill. This year's judges were Elizabeth Alexander, Annie Boutelle, and W.D. Snodgrass, and past judges have included W.H. Auden, Billy Collins, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and Stephen Spender. Emma, who will graduate from Amherst later this month, was one of seven poets from around the country who were invited to participate in the competition. She had also won the Chilmark Library's Bruckner Poetry Contest twice while still in school on the Island. Emma is the daughter of Leslie Baker and David Gorenberg of West Tisbury.

This Saturday, May 5, will be filled with lots of events. At 11 am, you can attend a lecture by Chuck Wiley at Vineyard Gardens on the subject, "Lawn Care and Maintenance." At the Library from 10:30 to 4 you can get ready for the Kentucky Derby by making and decorating paper horses. The Martha's Vineyard Film Society is showing a documentary called "Air Guitar Nation" at 7:30 pm at the Katharine Cornell Theatre. The film sounds like fun; it "chronicles the birth in the '60's of US Air Guitar Championships for aspiring rock stars."

The Treehouse Studios will hold an opening reception this Sunday afternoon, May 6, at 5 pm. The front room of the gallery will feature "Bloom," floral and still life paintings and photographs by Teresa Yuan, Ruth Major, Paul Murray, and Ruth Adams. In the back room will be a collection of work by different artists, the gallery's Third Annual Nancy Luce Group Show.

May is Western Month at the Library Film Series. The Monday Night Movie on May 7 will be "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Also at the library, the Director Search Committee would like to hear your thoughts. What qualities would you like to see in a new library director?

Their next meeting is Monday, May 7 at 2 pm at the old library on Music Street. If you can't attend, please feel free to e-mail your thoughts to

When I drove down Music Street the other morning, I saw Johnny Athearn mowing his front lawn. Mike's mother called to ask him to put up her chair and sign on the tree at the end of her driveway on the Edgartown Road as she plans to open Hull's Antiques and Appraisals for another season this Friday. Paintings have appeared on the outside walls of The Field Gallery and The Red Barn. I guess it's that time of year already.

I was saddened to read that Polly Hill had died last week. I have lovely memories of walks around her gardens with her and Jean Wexler, many years before it became a public arboretum. A Halesia Carolina, a long ago seedling from Polly, is covered with fat green buds, preparing to bloom outside our front door. Mike remembers Barnard's Inn Farm as an open field in his childhood. Now it is a place where all of us are privileged to walk and learn about all sorts of plants. Much of my gardening education was learned on those walks and as a result of Polly's careful tags on every specimen. Thank you, Polly, for the gift of your knowledge and artistry, and for your garden.