Season begins at Polly Hill
Tim Boland, executive director of the Polly Hill Arboretum (PHA), says that season-opening activities there are designed to feed Islanders' "hunger for gardening." Each year, the West Tisbury arboretum welcomes as many as 500 visitors during the opening weekend.
Buy a thriving native plant, learn how an expert plants a tree, or bring a favorite poem to share. It's all part of the opening festivities at the PHA this Saturday, May 23, from 10 am to 3 pm, rain or shine.
Martha's Vineyard's horticultural and botanical landmark, PHA is a 70-acre public garden, the result of the legendary Polly Hill's decades of horticultural experimentation. Today, visitors can choose from guided or self-guided tours of gardens, meadows, and fields, attend educational workshops, shop for native plants, and browse through the visitor center gift store.
"It's our job to educate people about plants and teach them how to grow them well," says Mr. Boland, self-proclaimed "plant nerd" and expert in plant ecology and taxonomy. Saturday's events offer visitors an opportunity to shop and learn from the pros.
The annual Spring Plant Sale, held from 10 am to 2 pm, offers gardeners a wide array of plants chosen and cultivated for superior ornamental qualities and adaptability to the Vineyard. Arboretum staff will be available to help guide shoppers and answer questions.
Plant like a pro
Choosing a healthy tree or shrub is just the beginning, according to PHA horticulturist/arborist Steve Masterson. From 10 to 11:30 am, he'll offer a hands-on, fact-filled demonstration, "Plant Like a Pro." From how deep and wide a hole should be to proper mulching and follow-up care, nuggets from this free workshop will help gardeners keep their new trees and shrubs healthy for years to come. He'll also provide important tips on organic fertilizing and watering.
Poetry on the porch
According to Mr. Boland, many visitors at PHA comment on the beauty and inspirational quality of the landscape. He and Fan Ogilvie, West Tisbury poet laureate and a former PHA board member, decided to offer a unique opportunity for visitors to share their favorite poetry in the tranquil setting.
"The audience for poetry is getting smaller and smaller," says Ms. Ogilvie, author of the recently published "You: Selected Poems and KNOT: A Life." "I just love Polly Hill and it's a place that's always been supportive of the arts. As poet laureate, I had to get specific about what I could accomplish in a year. I hope to broaden the audience for poetry and the Arboretum is a hugely inspirational place for me and so many others."