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Garden Notes

Garden Notes: Spring in full fragrance

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Tonight’s full moon is called the Flower Moon. Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and the hardy garden fragrance plants are at their height. Is there any other time of year so flowery and...

Garden Notes: This spring is cool

The elegant native shadbush (amelanchier and its species) is in bloom but a short time, but is fleetingly graceful: matchless! Early morning, and the cardinal, or “redbird,” according to Margaret Renkl, hops around in...

Garden Notes: Forsythia is a spring tonic

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Forsythias across the Island seemed shy of blooming this year, turning out in full force a little later than usual. Their reluctance caused me to ask, only partly in mock curiosity, “What does the...

Garden Notes: Welcome spring

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This patch of weather has been wet and chilling, can we all agree? Nevertheless, the sun is with us for longer every day, even behind overcast. Small leaves are emerging; many kinds of plants...

Garden Notes: Working with the spring

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“You know spring has sprung when the herring run.”  In “Finding a Better Balance,” Part 2 of Ollie Becker and Circuit Art’s Great Ponds documentary, watch herring filmed swimming to spawn at the Aquinnah herring...

Garden Notes: ‘The Island is our garden’

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Saluting the longtime motto of the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club (est. 1926), “The Island is our garden”: Whether as a declaration or as a goal, it suits this Island we cherish. It is the Ides...

Garden Notes: Pruning and planting

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The Feb. 13 snowfall was glorious. Leap year February kicked in with its familiar self, but tardily, mid-month. And March — in like a lamb? Wintry conditions may give ticks pause, beech trees a break,...

Garden Notes: Gardeners can help wildlife with their data

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Sunshine! After weeks of overcast and rain. Winter usually brought deep blue February skies, but now, when we say “winter,” what are we referring to? Snowdrops and witch hazel, hellebores and species crocus are some...

Garden Notes: First light

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Late January. Along the path, buds and new growth are revealed. Peeping out from wet oak leaves, the hellebore seedlings trail parent plants and hardy cyclamen. The first crow calls just a little after...

Garden Notes: Winter comforts

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The Island had a taste of snow. It was just enough for a 3-year-old, visiting from the South, to get his first experience of winter’s beauty. Snowscape lights up objects and landscape differently, revealing...

Garden Notes: Returning light

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In a new twist on winter garden decor, wispy, earliest-ever threads of witch hazel flowers incongruously accompany out-of-season forsythia. It is growing evidence of our screwy seasonality. Astronomically, the Northern Hemisphere is now in true...

Garden Notes: The short days and long nights of winter solstice

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Eying Pinetree Garden Seeds’ 2024 catalogue with the pink celery cover is the “eyes bigger than the stomach” moment. Perusing seed catalogues propels us into the future, and future gardens. Fall’s decor to winter’s food Pumpkin...

Garden Notes: On into the winter

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Beets and indeterminate tomato varieties are a good bet because they prolong the harvest in our warm, extended autumn weather pattern. Conversely, the determinate tomatoes are those that bloom and set fruit in an all-at-once...

Garden Notes: The harvest holiday

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Island gardens for the most part have finally succumbed to frost. (Thanksgiving, when we had pond skating here when I was a little kid in West Tisbury!) Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, has assumed...

Garden Notes: Find the color in deep fall

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Vivid backlit foliage and low sun gleam fleetingly. Frost has visited some Island gardens. The wren chirps loudly at dusk, “gather-in, gather-in,” her inclination and ours too. The days of least light lie before...

Garden Notes: Lovely autumnal colors

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It seems sudden, like — overnight: Aronias dripping with ruby fruit, hollies winking red, and sumac’s scarlet foliage topped in crimson velvet cones. In the rain, the fig and the native witch hazel are...

Garden Notes: Chrysanthemums reign supreme

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Now that gardens are settling into the subtler phases of autumn and the end of the season, it is a good point to evaluate what works and what you like. Cleanup, which reveals the...

Garden Notes: Fall in full

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Farewell to summer ’23, and welcome to fall. The autumnal equinox occurred on Sept. 23. The remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia coincided, bringing 2.5-plus inches of rain. This, in addition to Sept. 18’s 2.6...

Garden Notes: Uncontrolled growth

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As to what is happening with the weather, Hurricane Lee’s Atlantic path titillates in the news, adding a frisson of danger to coastal lives and visits. Despite what could very well become a dangerous...

Garden Notes: New chapters in the garden

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Butterfly time — monarchs, swallowtails, skippers, clouded sulphurs, painted ladies, cabbage whites — they flutter, sail, and float above the garden, reveling in the sunlight. Visitors and family have left, or are leaving, and there...