Friday, June 14, 2024

Home & Garden

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...

Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club celebrates 100 years

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Many people likely know the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club for its signature event — Blooming Art, an exhibit in which members create floral arrangements inspired by the work of Island artists. But the club...

Wild Side: Reconsider ducks

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The late, great Vern Laux, perhaps the best birder ever to trespass his way across the Vineyard, had little patience with ducks. Oh, he’d add them to the day’s checklist. But if a distant...

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...

Island Rug Hookers are back and looking for new members

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The October West Tisbury library art exhibit featuring the work of sisters Lynn Hoeft and Kris McDermet was breathtaking. Hoeft, an Islander, is a painter, and McDermet is a fabric braiding artist residing in...

Wild Side: Shoreline bugs

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I’ve been thinking a lot about shorelines lately, and the complex mix of challenges and opportunities that the meeting of land and water poses for wildlife. An oceanic shoreline, especially, with its high salinity,...

The KonMari Method: Let it go

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Do you have a catchall room where you stash piles of belongings? Maybe your entire house has become a catchall. If so, the Netflix reality series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” might appeal to...

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...

Wild Side: Savannah sparrows

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Across its vast geographical range, Savannah sparrows show a remarkable range of variation in features such as bill size, coloration, and preferred habitat. About 28 subspecies of Savannah sparrow have been described; a few,...

Gardens of Love: Duncan Caldwell

After the 2023 Thanksgiving storm, Lucy Vincent Beach appeared transformed. Not only was there loss of sand, revealing more colored clay underfoot, it felt as though the surface of the cliffs had been shorn...

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...

Wild Side: Titmice are fun to watch

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As our excellent planet wraps up another orbit around its star, most naturalists probably reflect a bit on their activity over the past 12 months. In my case, this includes hundreds of hours in...

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...

Wild Side: Dovekies may show up

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Since it seems to be impossible to write about alcids — that is, the auks — without mentioning footballs, I’ll get it over with. These seabirds, often described as the Arctic’s ecological equivalent of...

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...

Wild Side: Odd ducks

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If you’re fond of odd-looking birds, you’re in luck! Late fall is prime time for viewing American coots on Martha’s Vineyard. A member of the same taxonomic family as rails, the coot is one...

What’s in a tree?

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I grew up in Upstate New York, and I can remember going out with my family to cut down our Christmas trees. My dad would grab an old rusty hand saw that lived in...

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...

Wild Side: The 3D chess of a Cooper’s hawk

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This past weekend, as I was doing some final fall chores in our Oak Bluffs yard, I noticed an elongated blob high in a huge catalpa tree across the street from our house. Without...

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...