A workweek vacation

Anna Hagen, Maxwell Suman, Corrine DeLangavant, and Annabelle Howard
At the summer solstice celebration, some took part in face painting. From left is Anna Hagen, Maxwell Suman, Corrine DeLangavant, and Annabelle Howard. Photo by Ralph Stewart

By Laura Wainwright - June 21, 2007

Like a hummingbird, I was lured by the red camellias into the Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury a few weeks ago. Their bright blaze made me stop and park, instead of driving by with a promise to myself to really stop next time. If you have ever driven by Polly Hill and thought you must stop some day, do yourself a favor and make it today.

It was a glorious time to visit Polly Hill. Not only were the azaleas and flowers in Polly's Play Pen a riot of color but all the dogwoods and stewardias were beginning to bloom. As the season intensifies and Islanders lean towards the summer, the refreshment of a few minutes in Polly Hill Arboretum is especially welcome.

We are very lucky to have this treasure of 40 acres of woodlands and 20 acres of gardens preserved forever for the study and cultivation of plants. From sunrise to sunset any day, you can pull off State Road and into a beautiful world of open fields and closed, intimate gardens. There are wooden chairs and stone benches placed throughout for quiet meditation and relaxation.

Ruby Suman
Ruby Suman enjoys the solstice.

As I walked through Polly's Playpen, the alleyway protected by a high deer fence, I admired the bluebells and other tiny flowers. I drank in the wide range of shades of green and warm colors, so heartening after this past long, grey winter. There is a lovely place to sit in the middle. I paused with a million reasons to keep moving and sat down. In a few moments I came alive to the garden in a new way. Hummingbirds were feasting on the camellia next to me. Their whirring wing sound was music to my spirit.

I needed to share this. I called my husband and invited him to join me for a stroll and a sandwich in the picnic area. He said yes. Twenty minutes later we rambled through the gardens, our only company a wild turkey. We took some time to read the labels and wonder which trees might do well at our house, but mainly we soaked in the serenity and beauty. We chatted over our sandwiches, which definitely taste better outside. Then we returned to work feeling good. u

Polly Hill Arboretum is open from sunrise to sunset. Members are free and there is a suggested donation of $5 for non-members. Children under 12 are free. There are nice rest rooms.

Your pets are not invited. For more information, visit www.pollyhillarboretum.org or call 508-693-9426.

Jack, Theresa, Aubrey and Oliver Holmes
The Holmes family takes a walk. From left is Jack, Theresa, and Aubrey atop Oliver.
Spindrift Puppet Theater
Spindrift Puppet Theater gave an evening performance last weekend at Polly Hill Arboretum.
The solstice singers were wandering minstrels at last weekend's celebration.