Town Column

West Tisbury

By Hermine Hull
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Posted May 24, 2007

Generations of New Englanders certainly knew what they were doing when they planted lilacs in their dooryard gardens. Going in and out of our houses becomes a special pleasure at this time of year. I am especially enjoying the pair of lilacs beside the library's front porch, as they are young enough to have their blossoms at exactly my nose level. The warm sun of the past week has made their fragrance delicious.

Everything feels so green and alive after the weekend of much-needed rain. Mike just mowed our lawn Thursday evening, and it already needs to be mowed again. The lettuce and peas have doubled their size overnight. The raindrops make everything sparkle.

Gardening is much on my mind these days. As the news is full of energy costs and scarcity, and fears of tainted imported food in the markets, growing our own food (or at least knowing the person who grew it) becomes more of an issue. The Living Local exhibition at the Ag Hall a few weeks ago raised consciousness and possibilities. I am reading Barbara Kingsolver's new book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," about her family's year eating only locally grown or raised food from the neighborhood of their farm in Virginia. I've always believed that living a small life, careful/caring in all regards, as self-sufficient as possible, is the way to go; maybe I have been prescient of what's needed for all of us to have a healthy future. There is already an active Slow Food group on the Island and we are fortunate to live in a healthy place where our basic needs can be provided for within our own community. Anyway, the book will be back in the library as soon as I finish it.

This past weekend I attended another interesting exhibition at the Ag Hall, of new and antique hooked rugs. I had no idea how many people were involved in creating that artistry. Many of the rugs were designed by the "hookers" themselves; Island-related motifs were evident from sunflowers to turtles, sailors and fishermen, geometrics and historic town buildings. There was even a hooked tribute to the Red Sox and another to the Patriots.

In another display of the amazing talent we have here, I attended the jazz concert at the library last Friday afternoon. It was a performance by the J. C. Trio, not just Abbie Dreyer, as I mistakenly reported last week. Abbie Dreyer is part of the trio, the pianist. The other members are flutist Jay Clark and bass player Bob Johnston. They were fabulous. We could have been at Sculler's or Michael's Pub instead of the West Tisbury Library.

The Martha's Vineyard Garden Club will hold their Memorial Day Weekend Plant Sale and Open House at the Old Mill this Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. There will be cookies and lemonade served and information about the history of the building and Garden Club available to all attendees. The members of the club propagated all of the plants themselves, beginning last September, at their greenhouse at the Wakeman Center. Among the special offerings will be a skimmia japonica "Rubella" that long-time member Nan Rheault had been quite choice of; it has rosy flower buds all winter which open to fragrant flowers in the spring. There will be Polly Hill azaleas, a collection of deer-resistant plants, native plants, as well as buddleias, boxwood, geraniums, and hydrangeas, and an abundant crop of foxglove seedlings grown by Judy Bryant. All of the proceeds from the sale go to maintenance and preservation of the Old Mill building and to a scholarship for a Vineyard senior entering the study of horticulture or conservation.

The Polly Hill Arboretum will be opening their Visitors Center and selling plants beginning Memorial Day weekend. There will be a free workshop next Thursday, May 31, from 10 am to noon, for anyone interested in volunteering at the Arboretum. Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Weaver (who is also a fabulous rug hooker) and Executive Director Tim Boland will discuss the various opportunities for volunteers to become involved.

Danga Gabis will teach a workshop entitled "Herbs in Your Garden" this Saturday morning, 11 am, at Vineyard Gardens. Just looking at the beautiful herb garden she designed there is worth the trip, and I am sure she will have lots of information to share with fellow gardening enthusiasts. There will be an herb-identifying quiz with a prize for the winner.

Also on Saturday, May 26, the Plum Hill Pre-School on New Lane will host a Flower Festival from 10 am to 2 pm. Parents and children are invited to attend. There will be a puppet show at 11 am, and day-long craft projects, pony rides, and refreshments. There is a $5 entry fee per person. Please call April Thanhauser at 508-693-9912 for more information.

When I saw Kathy Logue on Tuesday, she told me that her husband and daughter, Ernie and Megan Mendenhall, were driving to Providence airport to pick up their new puppy. The family had been looking for the past couple of years for a companion to their aging Sheila, who seemed a puppy herself not that long ago. I stopped by to see the new arrival on Friday. She was curled up in her crate, but stepped daintily out at the sound of my voice, and sat down by my feet, head raised for easy petting. What a darling puppy! I am totally smitten, as are Ernie, Kathy, and Megan. The puppy's name is Elsa and she seems to be settling in nicely with both Sheila and Leaf the cat.

Speaking of puppies, mine are both having birthdays. Murphy will be three on Saturday, May 26, and Tallulah turns four on June 2. I can't believe how fast time has gone.

Dr. John LaCoste will be moving into his new office at the former Registry of Motor Vehicles building in Oak Bluffs. The son of a fireman, Dr. LaCoste is particularly excited to be right across the street from the O.B. Fire House. He will begin seeing patients there after June 1. The phone number is 508-696-3060. I didn't think any of us would survive Dr. Campbell leaving the Island, but Dr. LaCoste is making it bearable. Best of luck to him, and also to John and Marsha Campbell in their new life in Florida.

If you read this in time, Cynthia Riggs will be at the Library this afternoon at 5 pm, reading from her newest book, "Shooting Star," and talking about "Murder on the Vineyard."

Don't forget the library and town offices will be closed on Monday, May 28, for the Memorial Day holiday.

May has flown by. It's hard to believe it is already Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of another summer season. I plan to plant my impatiens in my garden on the road this week and get the gallery open on Saturday. I will be easy to find after that, daily from 11 am to 5 pm, so stop by and bring me your news.