Friday, December 2, 2022
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Wild Side: Insects are still out there

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As November winds down, bugwatching likewise grows slow. All of the Island, by this point, has had at least one hard frost, killing many invertebrates. And even without a frost, many insects have simply...

Garden Notes: Enter the cold season

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Nights now draw in early and we come indoors, appreciating warmth and light. Winds and rains have torn away much of the colorful autumn foliage of swamp maple and beetlebung at their moment of...

Hanging wreaths for the holidays

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‘Tis the holiday season, and nothing says Christmas quite like fragrant, green, decorated wreaths. Whether indoors, outdoors, or on doors, these beauties can vary from simple to complex, with lights, candles, bows, and ornaments...

Wild Side: Aging naturalist

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As a kid, I had astonishing vision. I can remember standing in our driveway and seeing with perfect clarity a wrought-iron filigree on a mailbox post 200 yards up the road. As a young...

Garden Notes: Death into life

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As the 2022 gardening year seemingly winds down, it can be understood as actually the beginning of the next one. Gardening is a cyclical process: What we do now is to the garden’s benefit,...

Gardens of Love: Judith Fielder Leggett

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Every year on August 6, Cleaveland House Poets join Dionis Coffin Riggs’ family members for a poetry reading at the West Tisbury library on her birthday. I asked her niece Dionis Montrowl if she...

Wild Side: Weird wasps

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As you will have gathered by now, there isn’t much about insects that doesn’t interest me. These animals, primitive by some measures but highly evolved by others, are endlessly fascinating in the variation of...

Garden Notes: Moving through the fall

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October has been glorious. A wistful feeling pervades as we bid it adieu and look ahead to Eastern Standard Time, and late fall’s darker and rainier days. It is good to remember that dark...

Wild Side: Survival of the fittest

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I write this column under the optimistic assumption that the Drought of 2022 is in the rear-view mirror. September and the first half of October brought some serious rain to the Vineyard, mitigating the...

Garden Notes: The signs of the season

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Scenery and gardens are taking on ruddy autumnal hues as foliage colors deepen, and many hydrangeas make the surprising transformation to russet and ruby red. The oxblood of beetlebung colonies stands out from still-green...

Gardens of Love: Martha Halperin

I have been a member of Cleaveland House Poets for 16 years, and therefore head to Cleaveland House on the Edgartown–West Tisbury Road biweekly (except during the pandemic). I began wondering about the property...

How does your garden grow?

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The Vineyard sports fabulous professionally groomed gardens, but there is a treasure trove of gardeners out there who can go unrecognized except by close friends and family who get to enjoy their blooms. Fortunately,...

Wild Side: Sometimes no-kill insect studies don’t work

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A lifelong lover of wildlife of all kinds, I avoid killing anything. I brake for turkeys and squirrels; spiders, and stinkbugs, and crickets that turn up inside our house get reintroduced to the great...

Garden Notes: Seeing your garden as part of nature

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The autumnal equinox’s rainstorm last Thursday measured over an inch in the rain gauge here, and produced a stunning sunset and rainbow, as the front came through. Fall has arrived! It is the season of...

Wild Side: Andrena nubecula

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Yellow is the signature color of Martha’s Vineyard in late September: goldenrod is blooming everywhere! These members of the aster family — somewhere around 20 species and forms are known from the Vineyard —...

Garden Notes: Watch for deer on the roads

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Fall is lawn repair time. Based on trends, it is likely that dry summers and drought figure in our future. Letting the grass attend to itself seems like a viable way to go for...

Wild Side: The cicada that sang in the morning

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On Thursday, August 25, I met with high school science teacher Anna Cotton to discuss a natural history classroom project she’s developing. We briefly toured a likely site for the fieldwork portion of that...

Wild and free

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Take a walk out in the woods or along a stretch of beach, and you’re sure to see a ton of wild edibles — it’s all about knowing what to look for. Luckily for Islanders,...

Gardens of Love: Liz Ragone

Last week you may have read about Brad Tucker and Liz Ragone's new venture, Radio Farm. I was so excited when I visited, I wanted to do a separate “Gardens of Love” just on...

Garden Notes: Fall arrives, and it’s time to look ahead

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Ah, September! College students and summer help are melting away; goldenrod glorifies; Labor Day nears; the Derby bell rings. These punctuate the 10 weeks of Island summer. It has become an endurance race: too...