West Tisbury: Daffodil Show at the Polly Hill


The pear trees at the West Tisbury cemetery are in full bloom, their branches stretching into skies that have been gray most of the week, until the sun came out and the sky turned blue for a splendid Sunday. It couldn’t have been a better day for being outside. Working in the yard, taking the dogs for a walk, doing errands around town. It was all good. More and more daffodils have come out, putting on an ever more lavish display. Forsythia is everywhere, joined now by cherry trees, magnolias, and early rhododendrons.

Hannah Beecher and I went to the Daffodil Show at the Polly Hill Arboretum on Saturday morning. There was a good crowd despite the rain and cold wind. But the show was a wonderful way to celebrate spring. Labeled varieties were displayed along several shelves in the Far Barn. Almost all were ones I had never seen before, so it was a real education. Everyone was making lists of their favorites and comparing notes. Hannah and I took a walk around the property, seeing more daffodils, as well as some lovely early rhododendrons and azaleas and lots of interesting ground covers in the playpen. Well worth a trip.

Daffodils always make me think of George Manter, who would set out plastic ones in front of the Howes House on April 1 if there weren’t any live ones blooming yet. His daffodils in front of the old Police Station always grew more vigorously than anywhere else in town.

Now Brandy Brow is covered with thickening patches of bulbs planted over the years. Tony Friedman used to plant bags of bulbs every fall for many years, and the Garden Club has added to them. There is a new fence along the border of Brandy Brow, delineating the walkway for people to use instead of walking in the road at that blind curve.

Amid the floral displays of the season, there is also a terrible amount of trash along the roadsides. It has been one of the hot topics at coffee at Alley’s, and also at Joanne Scott’s last tea party till next January, which I attended Sunday afternoon. We all compared amounts of trash picked up around our houses and on our walks. Some of the ladies carry trash bags on their daily outings and come home with them easily filled, sometimes more than one. It’s such a disrespect to our otherwise pretty town vistas and to one another. Please don’t litter. Thanks to everyone who does pick it up.

It was quite pleasant sitting outside on Alley’s porch for the first time this spring, fun to watch all the motorcycles go by, convertibles with their tops down, to wave at friends passing by. Always more interesting sitting outside, but I think everyone is grateful for the bench inside during the cold weather, and we will likely be back inside as rain and chilly temperatures are predicted during much of this week.

Jen Rand asked me to mention that the photograph on the front of the 2016 Town Report is of the Howes House. It was not identified in the report, and she has had lots of questions about it. An interesting photograph, as the building is much changed. The porches are gone. It must have been lovely sitting out on those west-facing porches catching the breeze during the summer. Certainly a lot less traffic to disturb one’s thoughts or conversations.

The Town Report was dedicated to our much-beloved Joannie Jenkinson, now retired after 26 years as our animal control officer (ACO). Her last report to the town, which appears further along in the book, was bittersweet.

I do have to report that our new assistant ACO was on the job this morning. He called to say that he had our golden retriever, Nanuk, over at the fire station. Radio check and baseball were more compelling than just staying home. Mike went over to walk her home, and we were both reminded to make sure she is wearing her fence collar so she doesn’t leave the yard.

Ruth Kirchmeier and Nelson Bryant have houseguests this week. Ruth’s son, Eli Ohlhausen, is here with his wife, Natalie, and their baby son, Milo. All of Ruth’s siblings and their families, as well as Eli’s father, Rolf Ohlhausen, and his wife, Suzanne, have come to the Island to meet the newest member of the family. It will be a busy week of visits, fabulous meals, art, gardens, and conversation.

Don’t forget that the celebration of Jack Wildauer’s life is this Sunday, April 30, at the Ag Hall from 2 to 4 pm. It will be a potluck. Mim is asking for all desserts and sweets.

The following Saturday, May 6, a gathering to celebrate the life of Mait Edey will take place at the Grange Hall at 2 pm.

Sad for our town to have lost two such vital and well-regarded gentlemen.

At the West Tisbury library this week: Saturday, April 29, 4 pm, a concert by local trio LBJ (Laura Gliga, Betsy Gately, and Julia Mitchell) singing a selection of their favorite folk, pop, jazz, and spiritual songs; Sunday, April 30, 2 pm, a reception honoring Justen Ahrens’ appointment as poet laureate of Martha’s Vineyard for 2017-19, with music by Andy Herr; Monday, May 1, a Balance Workshop led by Kanta Lipsky at 11:30 am, and a Seed Library orientation and meeting from 7 to 8 pm; Wednesday, May 3, 4 pm, an episode of “Martha’s Vineyard Signs Then and Now.”

School vacation is over. Traveling families and kids have returned to town, school, and jobs by the time everyone is reading this. I hope it was a good week, and everyone has lots of stories to tell.