It's the time of year when you need to be extra vigilant about checking yourself for ticks. The University of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center website is filled with important information for tick prevention, helping identify ticks and other tick questions you may have. If you do find a tick you can submit a photo to tickencounter or you can send the tick to TickReport, a lab at UMass for testing. Once Tick Report receives your tick it will identify in 2-3days any disease causing microbes the tick may be carrying, including pathogens that cause Lyme disease. These are wonderful services to ensure your prevention and safety from tick bites!
Please join us at Vineyard Gardens this Saturday morning, May 19th, at 11am for a free informative gardening workshop on growing herbs led by Irene Fox, who runs the Vineyard Gardens herb house.
PLANT OF THE WEEK : LUPINE 20% OFF
If you love beautifully illustrated and inspiring children's books Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is a must read! It is about growing up, traveling the globe, making our world a more beautiful place and Lupines. It is a favorite of mine and my three girls, especially when the LUPINES are blooming! To learn more about Miss Rumphius click here and stop by Vineyard Gardens to beautify your world with flowers.
Tuesdays: SENIOR DAY 20% OFF EVERYTHING
Wednesdays: LADIES DAY 20% OFF ANNUALS and PERENNIALS
Thursdays: GENTLEMAN'S DAY 20% OFF BAGGED MATERIALS
Daily: ISLANDERS WITH ISLAND CARDS 10% OFF (must show card)
Daily: POLLY HILL ARBORETUM MEMBERS 10% OFF(must show card)
Our Monrovia Georgia order arrived this morning! Vineyard Gardens is now filled with beautiful Tropicals, ferns, hydrangeas, grasses, roses, hollies and much much more! We also have gorgeous flowering baskets for Mother's Day!
Come by Vineyard Gardens this Saturday morning, May 12th, at 11am for a very informative gardening workshop on growing and harvesting small fruits. Chuck Wiley of Vineyard Gardens will be leading a hands on workshop/demonstration about planting, growing and harvesting blueberries, raspberries, black berries and strawberries.
Thank you to Sue Lavalee, of Coast of Maine Organic Products, for putting on an insightful and information packed workshop this past Saturday on Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening.
Our nursery is bursting with spring colors and flavors! Gorgeous plants have arrived from Monrovia and Proven Winners. Yesterday we unloaded a truck of Forsythia, Andromedas, Rhododendrons and Leyland Cypress. And Vineyard Gardens edibles are ready to be planted in your garden today! We will help get your gardens ready for summer!
NEW ARRIVALS from MONROVIA
NEW ARRIVALS from PROVEN WINNERS
Now is the time to plant your strawberries! On Saturday May 12th at 11:00am, Chuck Wiley of Vineyard Gardens will be giving a hands on workshop/demonstration about planting, growing and harvesting blueberries, raspberries, black berries and strawberries.
PEAS, LEEKS and GREENS
ANDROMEDAS, RHODODENDRONS, LEYLAND CYPRESS AND FORSYTHIA
Please join us for an information packed workshop Saturday May 5th at 11am. Sue Lavalee, of Coast of Maine, will review methods and importance of topdressing and incorporating compost into your garden beds every year, the no-till method of gardening, the importance of organic gardening practices and the Soil Food Web. She will focus on the subject of raised bed gardening and discuss the following topics:
- Getting the pre-planning process on paper
- Options for building materials, which materials are unhealthy to use
- Choosing your location
- Determining the size
- Calculating the volume of soil and what type you'll need to fill the beds
- Planting, the importance of timing and pre-warming the soil
- Proper watering techniques
- Fertilizing guidelines
- Seasonal maintenance of the beds
- And lots of other helpful gardening tips!
Sue Lavalee joined Coast of Maine Organic Products family in 2013 and has worked in the horticultural industry since the mid-eighties. A passionate gardener, she puts a lot of effort into organic fruit, vegetable and herb gardening. Because a lot of the harvest is preserved, she can enjoy cooking with it year-round. An avid birder and naturalist, she is most at home when enjoying the outdoors, whether it's kayaking, beach combing or hiking through her Connecticut woodland.
Why garden in raised beds? There are so many benefits!
- You don't need a large patch of fertile land and no sod removal needed
- Better control of your soil composition, healthy and fertile
- No root rot issues and less fungal diseases affecting the roots
- Easier to weed (soil not compacted)
- Raised gardens can be built to suit any height needed
- Raised gardens make it easy to adapt the square foot gardening method because it eliminates single row gardening (waste of space)
- Soil warms up more quickly, can plant earlier (no more waiting until "the soil is workable"
- Easy to add cold frames, row covers, bird netting, trellises
- Less work, no turning of the soil needed and reduces the amount of bending
- You can have different types of soil for different beds
- You can take advantage of vertical gardening. Climbing peas, beans and cucumbers
- No more damage from burrowing animals like moles and voles
- No compaction of soil because there's no foot traffic = healthier roots
- No muddy shoes
- Less competition for nutrients and water from tree roots
- Raised beds are aesthetically pleasing
RAISED BEDS REQUIRES CAREFUL PLANNING. Follow these helpful instructions to get your raised bed gardening underway.
1. Start with making a LIST OF CROPS you'd like to grow and how much your household will need. Keep in mind:
- Spacing requirements
- Days to harvest (succession planting)
- Are you preserving the harvest?
- Flowers for pollinators and edible blossoms (Viola, Calendula, Nasturtium, Chives)
- Perennial herbs?
- Patio Varieties as space savers
- Vertical crops
- Sun requirements = at least 6-8 hours a day
- How close to a faucet?
- How close to a tool shed?
- Correct layout - rows going from E to W
- Need to fence off the perimeter?
- Wire mesh?
- 25 year landscape fabric?
- Level ground. Mow closely and put down 6-10 sheets of newspaper before wire mesh
3. CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
- Kits available. Gronomics - USA Western Red Cedar w/ 5yr warranty. Retail for $119 for a 4x4 ground level frame to $299 for a 34"x48"x32" elevated garden box. A raised bed frame 34"x95" is $259 and has an optional trellis kit sold separately for $139
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Use Organic (pressure-treated wood leaches copper and/or arsenic). Wood planks (cedar, cypress, locust & redwood = rot resistant but costly), sawmill slabs, garden ties (warp), tree logs (landscape fabric needed), natural stone (hold the warmth in at night), loose stacked stone pavers & bricks (frost heaves will elevate the pH), straw bales, railroad ties (leach creosote)
4. SIZE OF THE BED(S)
- The best design is to have the raised bed small enough to ensure that your hands can reach everywhere without the need to stand on the soil or walk on it.
- Size of pathways (just foot traffic or wheelbarrows / garden carts)
- Height of beds
- Sprinkler system?
- Drip irrigation with emitters?
- Soaker hoses?
- Loose fertile and living
- The futility of putting a $5 plant in a 5cent hole. Soil food web.
- Topdress beds 1 inch per year with compost. A 1 cu. ft. bag will cover about 10 sq.ft. at 1 inch deep
- Pore space (porosity) allows water and air to reach the roots easily and fosters a healthy population of beneficial micro-organisms
- Calculate the volume. A 4' x 4' x 12" bed= 48"x 48" x 12"= 27,648 cu. in. divided by 1,728" (a cubic foot is 12'x12'x12")= 16 cft = .5926 cubic yards
- Don't fill the beds right to the top, leave a few inches for mulch
- Cover soil immediately (even if you haven't planted yet) with 2-3 inches of mulch (hay, straw, leaves, pine needles, bark mulch, landscape fabric, newspaper, plastic). Uncovered soil results in erosion, compaction, drying out, weed seed germination
- Last frost date usually coincides with the full moon in May
- Plants started indoors need hardening off prior
- Direct seeding (get your info on seed packets, books, internet). Warm weather crops (soil temp = 60-70 degrees) vs. cool weather crops (45-50 degrees)
- Pre-warming the soil
- Transplanting on cloudy, non-windy cool days are best
- Mulch or row cover (garden fabric)
- 1 inch per week. Exceptions to this rule. Rain gauge
- Water in the morning. Never at night (invites fungal diseases and powdery mildew)
- Never let the soil dry out completely. If delicate root hairs die back, the plant must direct its energy to re-growing them, rather than to producing or sizing up fruit. Water stressed plants can also become bitter and tough
- Soil test. pH level
- Micronutrients (kelp)
- Timing - a week after planting and a mid summer application (or halfway through the life cycle of the crop)
- Organic vs synthetic / chemical fertilizers
Come and join us at Vineyard Gardens Nursery every Saturday in May at 11am for the very informative and enjoyable gardening workshops!
MAY 5th - RAISED VEGETABLE BED GARDENS
Raised vegetable bed gardening workshop with Sue Lavalee, of Coast of Maine.
MAY 12th - SMALL FRUITS
A hands on workshop/demonstration about planting, growing and harvesting blueberries, raspberries, black berries and strawberries with Chuck Wiley
of Vineyard Gardens.
MAY 19th - GROWING HERBS
Workshop on growing your own herbs led by Irene Fox, who runs
the Vineyard Gardens herb house.
MAY 26th - CONTAINER GARDENING
Find out the key to container gardening. A workshop on planting your own container follows lecture. Led by Kathy James of Vineyard Gardens.
Watch the process of building a large Koi pond from beginning to end. Our hard working landscape architects show off their skills and passion for the land.
This is a busy time of year for gardeners! Your veggie garden should be prepped and ready for your seeds and seedlings. Adding a fresh top dressing of compost to your soil will work wonders. It will help even more if you till the compost a foot or so into the existing soil.
Now is the time to seed your peas, greens (lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale), Asian veggies, and annual herbs (parsley, dill, cilantro). If you want to get a head start, packs of cool weather seedlings are available at Vineyard Gardens and ready to be planted today!
Other cool weather crops that can be planted now are potatoes, asparagus, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and fruit trees.
Reminder: Plant your lettuce and greens in a little bit of shade. All the rest of the veggies want full hot sun! It is still too early for Tomatoes and Basil.
Stop by the nursery and we can help guide you on your gardening journey.
Traveling is an amazing way to ignite the senses! The smells, tastes and colors that line the streets get logged into your memory and last a lifetime. On Chris and Chuck Wiley's recent adventure through Thailand they immersed themselves in the local culture and cuisine of Chiang Mai, the largest city in Northern Thailand. The city has over 300 Buddhist Temples ("Wat" in Thai) and is in close proximity to the Ping River, as well as beautiful national parks. While in Chiang Mai, Chris and Chuck took a cooking class to immerse themselves in the Thai cuisine and learn about the produce and herbs grown in Thailand. They explored the local market to purchase fresh ingredients for the feast. They made curry pastes from scratch and proceeded to make multiple Thai dishes. An experience and flavor of a lifetime! (Recipes at the end of post).
A few weeks later I was lucky enough to explore the local produce markets in southern Thailand with them. Chris was excited to see and taste anything that was new and different. She brings that same enthusiasm for life with her to Vineyard Gardens Nursery. She loves exposing her customers to a variety of edibles that they may not know. Her excitement for edibles is contagious which encourages customers to push their boundaries and try to plant a new flavor. Experiencing something different in your garden can help you grow as an individual as you are helping your plants grow!
SOME EXAMPLES OF THE COOL WEATHER CROPS AVAILABLE AT VINEYARD GARDENS AND READY TO BE PLANTED TODAY. (Warm weather crops will be available in May)
Now that spring is here it may be fun to experiment with new edibles in your garden or at your dinner table. The edibles from Vineyard Gardens can take you around the world in one dining experience from Asian salads to Portuguese kale soups to Thai curries. We will be selling many varieties of Asian greens, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, kale, mustards, collards, lettuce, swiss Chard, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, leeks, onions and celery. We are also seeding jiffy pots of two pea varieties, the shelling kind and snow peas. Cool weather veggies packs are now available through the end of May. It's important to start getting these cool weather loving veggies in the ground and also a great time to plant strawberries, asparagus and other small fruit like blueberries and raspberries. Talk to Vineyard Gardens for specific planting guidelines.
Below are links to a couple recipes to get you started on your cooking journey.
RECIPES FROM THE CHIANG MAI COOKING CLASS
We have had three windy and heavy snow storms this March leading to tree damage around the island and potentially in your own backyard. Cracked or broken branches can’t heal themselves like bones so the best practice is to remove them. Trying to retain them with cables or such will almost always fail over time. Damaged and dead branches should be pruned back as soon as possible to prevent disease from entering the plant. Deadwood can also be removed at any point during the year, as it can harbor and attract insects and fungal diseases.
Remove the damaged branches by cutting them off back to a healthy branch. Make the cut roughly a half inch past the intersection of the two branches. There should be a slight swelling at this intersection, leave the swelling on the tree, that is where the tree will callous and seal off the wound.
Evergreens that have lost their leader or top most branch will normally regrow. If they form multiple leaders the strongest central one should be chosen and the others cut back. Cut them back at least a foot below the main one and they should not grow past the new central branch.
Most deciduous shrubs, those that loose their leaves, can be pruned very hard in the early spring and will regrow. They may not flower the first year but will do so in subsequent years. This hard pruning can apply to any overgrown deciduous shrub. Good candidates are forsythia , lilac, viburnum and privet.
Early Spring is a great time to prune most plant material. Since the plants are dormant, pruning won’t affect their ability to generate energy, like it would if there were leaves present. It also makes it much easier to see the structure of the plant and remove any unhealthy branches. Caution must be taken to avoid removing flower buds for the upcoming growing season.
Tools: Always use shape pruners, loppers, and saws. It is recommended that tools be sterilized between pruning jobs to prevent passing fungal disease from one plant to another, or from one location to another property even.
Here is a good link for pruning damaged trees.
VINEYARD GARDENS ANNUAL EASTER EGG HUNT
SUNDAY APRIL 1st
Vineyard Gardens Nursery
(directly across from the West Tisbury Post Office)
Starting PROMPTLY at 1:00pm
There will be a section for younger children and a section for older children. Hope to see you there!
We're a day late on this historical event but it gets us excited for the cherry blossoms on Martha's Vineyard...
Today in History - March 27
"On March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. The event celebrated the Japanese government’s gift of 3,000 trees to the United States. Trees were planted along the Potomac Tidal Basin near the site of the future Jefferson Memorial, in East Potomac Park, and on the White House grounds.
Views of Washington Monument, Cherry Blossoms and Tidal Basin. Theodor Horydczak, photographer, ca. 1920-1950. Horydczak Collection. Prints & Photographs Division
The text of First Lady Taft’s letter, along with the story of the cherry trees, is available from the National Park Service’s official Cherry Blossom Festival Web site. A timeline of significant events is also included.
Fifty-three years later, the Japanese government made a second gift of 3,800 cherry trees. In 1965, Mrs. Ryuji Takeuchi, wife of Ambassador Takeuchi, and First Lady Lady Bird Johnson participated in the ceremonial planting. This time, the trees were planted on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
Mrs. William Howard Taft… cMarch 16, 1909. First Ladies of the United States: Selected Images From the Collections of the Library of Congress. Prints & Photographs Division
The planting of cherry trees along the Potomac fulfilled travel writer and photographer Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore’s long and determined quest. Returning from her first trip to Japan in 1885, Scidmore advanced the idea of bringing the trees to the District of Columbia with U.S. government officials. She was ignored.
In 1909, Scidmore decided to raise money for the purchase of the trees herself. She wrote of her plans to the new First Lady, Helen Herron Taft, and received an enthusiastic response. “I have taken the matter up,” the First Lady wrote Mrs. Scidmore, “and am promised the trees.” Upon learning of the First Lady’s plans, the Japanese consul in New York broached the idea of making a gift of the trees to the U.S. government." Library of Congress
Vineyard Gardens production facility in West Tisbury is in the final stages of installing a parking canopy complete with solar arrays. As an avid environmentalist the goal to source alternative energy for Vineyard Gardens has been a long held objective for co-owner Chuck Wiley. Now that the technology has become more readily available and the concern for climate change has heightened, Chuck knew it was time to make this happen.
Chuck built Vineyard Gardens from a summer seasonal landscape business service back in the 80’s to one of the largest and most respected Landscape/Garden Centers on Island. He was an early adopter of recycling, composting and natural gardening methods. To achieve his objective of an alternative energy source Chuck teamed up with John Guadagno and Rob Meyers at South Mountain Co. The folks at South Mountain have been involved in environmental design and development here on the Island for decades. Chuck felt they were the best choice to head this project because of their reputation as well as a desire to stick with a local company, who would be readily available if something should arise. He explains, “As far as the environmental impact, the only arbiter was the town and South Mountain knew what to do, what to say and what to ask for." This project had a lot of people working on it, South Mountain, Brissette Electric, Keene Bros. and various other subs.
This newly installed 25 feet high, 40 feet wide, 75 feet long parking canopy is constructed of steel I-beams with deep concrete footings held together with giant bolts. The roof is 3,000 square feet with six parking spaces below. Chuck explains, “The size and location was dictated by how much sun exposure we are able to get and that covers nearly 100% of my usage. It was a no-brainer. I actually didn't lose any space. I didn’t really lose any planting area under it and the cars used to overheat sitting out there, so it really serves our needs.”
The panels will collect energy from the sun every day and will transmit it to transformers that will produce enough power to offset the usage of Vineyard Gardens two commercial growing facilities. Chuck states, “It will generate a conservative estimate of 52 kilowatts of power a year. And between the nursery (VG 1) and the production site (VG 2) we use about 55kw so it should cover nearly 100% of our usage” He discusses how they use a lot more energy in the summer than in the winter. The large consumption of energy in the summer comes from the cooling fans in the greenhouses and the water pumps. Furthermore, “During the winter months when we are not consuming that energy the power goes into a meter so we’re feeding energy back into the grid, a net usage of zero. If things are going great, there could be excess generated.”
The cost of the project is $272,000 dollars. Chuck explained, “I applied for a $20 thousand dollar Rural Energy for America Program Grant from the USDA. I spent an incredible amount of time trying to get it.” Holding up a file folder more than an inch thick of paperwork he states “This is my USDA file. They accepted my application but they haven’t given me any money yet. They wanted everything. I had to show that it wasn’t on an anthropological site, didn’t have an Indian Burial Ground. I had to show them all my math and that there were no better, cost effective alternatives. They wanted an environmental review and so on.” He explains how he did not realize what an undertaking it would be to apply for this yet he says, “I could have done this project without all this paperwork, but the reason this project makes sense is that there are government incentives. If I were to have to pay for this without the incentives the payback period would be much longer and would not make as much sense.” He goes on to say that he was able to get a loan from Cape Cod 5 who has done previous loans for solar arrays and that in ten years, in theory, this project should pay for itself.
Overall Chuck says, “This is a good thing for me because it’s paying for itself but just the thought of doing anything that will cut down on our coal, oil or gas usage is huge to me. This has been a very important part of my life.” As far as maintenance goes, “It's near zero. There are some electrical components that may have to be replaced after twenty plus years, but for the most part its supposedly maintenance free. I’d love to see millions of these across the world. As long as they could pay for themselves, I don’t know why you wouldn’t do it And if we create enough of them maybe we won’t need those other forms of energy.” Ultimately he is extremely happy with his decision and recommends it 100%!
Vineyard Gardens Nursery, located in West Tisbury, is a botanical paradise situated on five acres of land with ten greenhouses. Established over thirty years ago with one greenhouse, it has developed into an island staple and agricultural enclave. Rooted in horticulture and plant science degrees, Chris and Chuck Wiley have developed their one time modest landscaping company into a full on plant production center, nursery and landscaping company.
The Wiley’s are passionate about providing their customers with the healthiest and hardiest plants and have found many benefits in nurturing them into this world from seed. To enable this in-house production they have, over the years, built a separate five acre growing site named VG2. The facility has both indoor and outdoor growing spaces including four 100ft greenhouses, one of which is purpose built for “germinating” seeds into seedlings. It’s within this carefully temperature and humidity controlled greenhouse complete with automated mist-watering and heated benches that life begins for the bulk of their veggies, herbs, annuals, and perennials.
The range of plants that Vineyard Gardens germinate at VG2 is extensive. Chris explains, “We start a few hundred varieties of mostly annuals but always seed a dozen or more perennials, trees and shrubs as well. Once the plants are ready for sale we truck them to Vineyard Gardens Nursery. The most challenging part is having the crops ready on time and in sufficient numbers. Sometimes we grow too much but more often we sell out of many of our annual crops including Proven Winners® .”
Chris exudes excitement about her production like they are her children. She could discuss the plethora of produce and flora she grows in English, Latin and Spanish with an excitement that makes you want to experiment with it yourself. With a twinkle in her eye she exclaims, “But our proudest moment is in spring, seeing our amazing display of vegetable packs, which we seed ourselves. Our customers are getting more and more into the edibles and herbs. We germinate many varieties of greens. We now also grow Asian greens including Chinese cabbage, Bok Choy and Tatsoi. And we seed a Brazilian vegetable called Jilot and we sell over 500 of them. And currently the cool weather crops are growing beautifully in the green houses.” Chris finishes it off with, “We love our edible crops!”
The Wiley’s have a keen desire to keep Vineyard Gardens’ plant selection fresh and intriguing year after year. They have developed a symbiotic relationship between their love of plants and love for travel. These horticultural explorations have inspired them to collect seeds on their journey’s and germinate them at VG2. “Last year we found the seed Tweedia Caerulea, Blue Butterfly Weed, for sale and bought it from Geo seed catalog. We will have it again this year hopefully in good numbers. We will have the Nolana Bluebird this year which is a great plant. And back by popular demand we will have white lace, Orlaya grandiflora.” Chris explains.
This second location, based solely on production, has made it possible to keep Vineyard Gardens retail location stocked so efficiently. Between their expertise and ambition to cultivate, Vineyard Gardens is ready to help you along on your gardening journey. If you want to learn first hand from these experts, join them Saturday mornings at 11am for a wonderful and insightful Garden Talk and workshop. Check out their website www.vineyardgardens.net to see the full listing of events
This is the month in question when people wonder if you are stark raving mad when you mention that you live on Martha’s Vineyard year round.
“What do you DO out there?”
Well, one thing we do is enjoy the fact there’s no one around. It's blissfully quiet and for the most part restrictions are lifted allowing you to walk freely in open fields, stroll on empty beaches and park on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.
It is also when the gardens are bedded down, sleeping for another month, until we begin our spring chores of pruning, fertilizing, clean up and planting early seed crops.
At Vineyard Gardens, we keep one greenhouse open and heated throughout the winter for some of our tender, specialty plants like succulents, Brugmansias, Fuchsias, Gardenias and Rosemary. Be sure to watch for them this season. Our year round greenhouse allows us to offer the wide range of plants that makes Vineyard Gardens so special.
In the first week of March, we will take our greenhouses out of hibernation to begin our germination process. We begin with the cool weather growers which take several weeks to germinate and develop strong root systems before they can be planted out. This would include the leafy greens like lettuce, cilantro, mustard greens, spinach and parsleys, as well as early flowers like Wallflowers, Pansys and Forget Me Nots.
Besides exploring the quietness of the island, the short days give us a chance to turn inward and settle in with a good book. It is actually something we quite look forward to since it's not always doable in our busy summer months. If you are yearning for the days to be in the garden, here are a couple of titles from my winter’s night-table to get you in the gardening spirit.
The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World
Michael Pollan - Random House 2001
Hard to believe this book has been around for 17 years. Its delightful, informative and beautifully written. As we celebrate Darwin’s birthday, this book serves as an apt companion. Pollen talks about our cultural relationship with plants and the natural world we all coexist in. He offers provocative musings on time, bees and the evolution of flower forms…
The Gardener’s Year
Karel Capek - Read Books Ltd. 2013
Originally published in 1929 in Prague. Leading up to the Second World War it is a testament to the healing virtues of gardening. It was penned by a writer known for his essays against fascism. The discovery of this little book came from the pages of one of the best books on the subject of gardens: Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition
Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition
Robert Pogue Harrison - Univ. of Chicago Press 2008
Combining such winter activities as reading, planning this seasons garden palette and browsing the Thrift Shoppe we discovered this gem,
Old Time Gardens
Alice Morse Earle - The Macmillan Company 1901
It could be difficult to find this book in the bookstores but it is available through the Gutenberg Project in an annotated facsimile edition.
The book traces a practical and poetic history of American gardens touching on Puritan seed packets, Sundials, Flowers of Mystery and strolls down Lilac laden Narragansett lanes. This is from the golden age of pre-war, the First War, American landscape thinking. Its a valuable and surprisingly timely perspective on making gardens as refuge and nourishment for the soul.
A common thread through all these books, and of course gardening in general, is the power of observation. Paying attention. As the world moves ever faster and deeper into virtual abstraction it becomes all the more important that we step outside and absorb our natural world. It is not here simply for our delight, it can carry on quite nicely without us. But if we stop and listen closely we’ll be able to hear it whispering, beckoning us to share in the bounty of being…
“Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness:
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade. “
The Garden, Andrew Marvell 1681
Your correspondent was able to get off Island long enough to attend the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Award’s. It does help to manage Island fever by keeping one foot on solid ground or at least the Red Carpet!
Come wander through our festive nursery to pick out Christmas Trees, wreaths, gorgeous holiday plants and cut greens to naturally decorate your home this holiday season! Custom wreaths are available.