West Tisbury: Garden design, Polly Hill Arboretum, Blooming Art, and Featherstone exhibit

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—MV Times

It’s been another lovely week, although even here we have been affected by the wildfires burning in Canada. I haven’t noticed anything, but Mike has mentioned smelling smoke, and I have heard it from other people, as well. I always think we are so protected here from everything off-Island, so I’m sad to think it may not be so.

It’s haying season, the first haying of the year. Fields smell delicious as the hay is being cut into curling streams behind a tractor. The dry weather has been just right.

I do love the smells of hay and newly mown grass, of beach roses, and autumn olives, all the fragrances that waft in through my open car windows. The salty ocean smell, too, the best of all. I remember when I still went off-Island, the smell of the ocean let me know I was home. I hope I never lose the sense of smell. It holds so many of my memories.

I discovered a new foxglove at Vineyard Gardens this spring, violet or purple something, that’s blooming now. It’s in the perfect place, a corner of the garden with orange Oriental poppies, billows of blue catmint, and a peony that is quite close to the same color as the foxglove. The combination of shapes and colors works. I always thought of making a garden as similar to making a painting, only in three dimensions, and constantly changing. If the peony hadn’t opened for another week, or if the foxglove were a cooler violet or purple, it wouldn’t look as well. If we had a heavy rain, they would all be beaten to the ground, flower petals strewn round their feet.

This is the week to visit the Polly Hill Arboretum. The kousa dogwoods are in full flower, and walking between the rows is an unparalleled treat. You can barely see the sky through the thickness of green leaves and creamy blossoms.

It’s also the weekend that the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club will open the doors of the Old Mill for “Blooming Art,” their annual art and flower show. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 10 am to 3 pm.

Hannah Beecher and I went to Featherstone over the weekend to see the current show of work by women artists over the age of 80. It is a strong collection of work by mature artists, clearly demonstrating that age needn’t diminish their abilities or their visions. Many West Tisbury artists are included. It is up until July 2. I urge you to see it.

Congratulations to the 2023 graduating class of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, the Charter School, and Falmouth Academy. It is so exciting to see these young people full of dreams and ambitions, their futures ahead. I am honored to know some of them, to have memories of their childhoods and watching them grow into the adults they have become. I look forward to the coming years.

This coming Monday is Juneteenth, our newest national holiday, with activities planned on the Island. It’s hard to imagine in our current age of instant communication that it took 11 weeks after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox for Union soldiers to arrive in Texas to announce that the Union had won the war, and slaves were now free men and women.

This has been some week. Being a news-aholic, I spend too much time reading and watching news. It feels important to witness our history. I watched and listened when Jack Smith announced that a Florida grand jury had indicted the former president. It joins the list of things I never expected to see and I feel sick, as I did watching the events of January 6. I don’t know how our country has changed so much during my lifetime, and in ways that are unimaginable.

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