West Tisbury: Early blooms and sunshine, ‘Chicago’ musical, and a garden past and present

—MV Times

It’s been nice enjoying the sunshine this past week. Our elderly cat, Mona, has wanted her breakfast served outside on the porch. It still seems a little cold for that, but I will indulge anything Mona asks for. I have even found her sleeping in a circle of sunlight on the porch settee. That is her usual summer spot, so it seems odd seeing her sleeping there in February.

When I spoke with Eileen Maley, she mentioned that she already has crocuses blooming by her door. It was odd, she said, because she hasn’t seen her snowdrops yet, and they usually come out first.

Eileen’s big news, though, was that her granddaughter, AnnaBelle Brothers, is starring in “Chicago” at the Performing Arts Center this weekend. The male lead is Jack Crawford. I’m going on Sunday afternoon, and can’t wait to see them. They are such talented kids. “Chicago” has such wonderful music. It will be great.

After speaking with Eileen, I went out to look for my own crocuses. I have the same early-blooming lavender ones that she has. There are four flowers poking out of a thick bed of myrtle. The snowdrops are all out now. They have naturalized in a big swath across the back lawn.

As I am writing this, it is sadly evident that what they are growing in can hardly be called a lawn anymore. It used to be the prettiest part of our yard, and I loved seeing the bulbs come out in an ever-spreading progression: snowdrops, early crocuses, Tête-à-Tête daffodils and the big purple and white crocuses by Easter, then the different varieties of daffodils, one after another, dark blue muscari and scilla, wood hyacinths, and finally lily of the valley. Many of the bulbs peeped up through myrtle, so the blue myrtle flowers were a significant part of the display.

It used to be so pretty. Now it is Abby’s play yard, nothing but holes and dog toys. Mike has mowed my plantings into narrower beds, no longer the broad, naturalistic swaths they originally were. It is a miracle of nature that all those bulbs persist in coming up and spreading despite such awful conditions. I think I would stay underground if it was me, and forget about expending all that energy to pop my head above ground just to find a golden retriever waiting to dig me up and toss me into the air. What fun.

I found an old photograph that a friend had taken of my garden in 1994. It was so beautiful. If I had seen that picture in a magazine, it would still have seemed exceptional.

I was so sad to hear of the death of Susie Safford last week. She was such a wonderful wordsmith and writer, a truly lovely person. My condolences to her husband, Tony, and daughters Sarah and Alexandra.

It’s late afternoon now, as I look out of my windows at the softening light. I had hoped to write about going to see “Chicago,” but we have an early deadline this week because of President’s Day on Monday. So a short column.

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