West Tisbury: Plant nursery centers

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— Kyra Steck

I was happily surprised to wake up Friday morning to snow blowing past my windows. It had already coated the ground and looked like it might be settling in for a blustery, snow-long day. Abby and I went right outside to feel big snowflakes on our faces. It was over by the time Mike came downstairs. The sun came out mid-morning and the snow disappeared. Once the snow was gone, it was sunny and warm during the weekend days, lovely to be outdoors, and to open windows and doors to let fresh air into the house.

One of the things that has been interesting to read during COVID-19 is that opening windows is the best way to clean the air in buildings. Nice to know that a free, low-tech solution works. I have always opened up my house for awhile during the day, even in the coldest part of the winter, just because it made sense to me.

Building codes require such tight construction these days that people buy fancy air exchange systems when maybe just opening some windows for a little while during the day would accomplish the same result. Obviously, everything has positive and negative consequences. I expect to hear from Joe Tierney, town energy committee members, and my own husband that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t. It just seems reasonable and I’m sticking with my opinion.

Town clerk Tara Whiting-Wells has some updated information to share about our annual town meeting and election. The election is scheduled for Thursday, April 15. The Public Safety Building apparatus bay will be open for in-person voting from 7 am to 8 pm. If you chose to vote by mail, make your request for a ballot to Tara either by phone, 508 696-0148, or by email at townclerk@westtisbury-ma.gov.

Our annual town meeting will be held at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs on Tuesday, May 18. A special town meeting will begin at 4:50 pm, 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the annual. A special town election will be held on Thursday, May 20, 11 am to 7 pm, at the Public Safety Building apparatus bay.

If you are driving through North Tisbury, make sure to notice two gorgeous cornus mas blooming bright yellow. One is in front of Middletown Nursery and the other right along State Road at the Polly Hill Arboretum. I also noticed that Vineyard Gardens is open and Heather Gardens will be soon. There is likely much to see at the arboretum, too, and they have several events planned. This weekend is already Palm Sunday, the traditional day of garden center openings on the Island.

It’s always exciting to see activity at our garden centers. For many years, Palm Sunday was a date with my niece Charlotte. I think that Middletown, which was owned by John Gadowski, and what was Donnie Mills’s Hillside Farm, were the only two nurseries in town back then. Donnie’s mother, Esther Mills, came up from Edgartown to preside at her table at the end of the loop of flower and seedling-filled greenhouses. She had homemade cookies and a marigold plant for each child. There were some perennials out in the side yard, but Middletown was where flats of pansies and pots of blooming trees, shrubs, and perennials, many of unusual varieties, were arranged throughout the yard. Even Alley’s porch would be filled with pots of plants that Teena Parton, a plant and garden lover, would set out for sale.

Kevin and Roberta Hearn opened Heather Gardens, named for their daughter. I think that was in the late 1980s, in what was originally the yard behind their house on State Road. Now it belongs to Mike and Kerry Saulnier. Chuck and Chris Wiley opened Vineyard Gardens sometime in the ‘90s. I’m trying to remember what was there before.

These are the times I especially miss John Alley. He remembered everything. If anyone reading this wants to weigh in, please do let me know. hermine.hull@gmail.com or 508-693-2525.

If you have any West Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Hermine Hull, hermine.hull@gmail.com.