My four least favorite words have become “As a person ages . . .” At any rate, as a person ages time does seem to speed up. I was looking out my kitchen window the other morning and I swear leaves popped out overnight. We are smack in the middle of high spring. Between the lilacs and azaleas there is a non-stop wonderful assault on the senses.
I have a Viburnum carlcephalum which is by far the most magnificent spring shrub there is. It is at least 10 feet tall with hundreds of large (six-inch) extremely fragrant blooms. It is a result of a cross between V. carlesii and the macrocephalum variety keteleeri.
You may remember the carlesii that just finished blooming on the left side of the exit from down-Island Cronig’s? The carlcephalum flower is two to three times larger.
I have a few jobs in Edgartown which take me down Clevelandtown Road. I’ve been noting the progress in the Morning Glory Farm fields. One still has winter rye over a foot tall.
If I used a garden tractor or tiller I would let mine get that big. I’m a turn-it-in-by-hand sort of gal. I’m therefore able to keep permanent beds and avoid the smell, racket and aggravation of gasoline-powered machinery.
I’ve been eating asparagus like a mad woman. One picking is a significant amount of food. My original patch is easily 30 years old and covered in my arch nemesis mugwort, but is still producing like crazy. Some of the stalks are more than an inch in diameter.
I started a new bed about three years ago, which is coming right along. Half of it is a purple variety. They turn green when cooked but are much easier to locate in the field.
Our family owns a hunting camp in Pennsylvania. It is located on Droney Road in Gifford, Pa. My dad built a large log cabin. It sleeps 12 comfortably. He and my brother hosted many a hunting party and all of our family reunions were held there. There are shooting ranges set up all over for both gun and bow and arrow. There is an outdoor pavilion with picnic tables and the 500-gallon tank in which my dad processed maple syrup. He tapped other types of maple trees besides the sugars.
He always put a few taps in the telephone poles on the edge of the property to amuse and confuse passersby.
I have a point, I promise . . . the forest on the acreage is the complete opposite of the Vineyard. There are very straight, tall hardwood trees with no undergrowth. None of the pesky poison ivy, bittersweet and prickers that cover the Vineyard’s forest floor. There are, instead, patches of beautiful ground pine, a.k.a. princess pine. I’ve been thinking about that pine all winter. It makes lovely, soft Christmas wreaths. I bullied my brother into sending me some. He boxed up two varieties and shipped it along. As luck would have it, the post office neglected to notify me of its arrival.
The plants spent well over a week trapped in a box. Remarkably, they still lived. I have them cozied into pots for a few months before they go to a permanent home in the shade.
The other evening as it was getting dark, I saw a baby deer and its mother in the yard. The baby began nursing. I have never seen such a thing — completely adorable! Could not bring myself to chase them away. I guess they are pretty comfortable at my place. Oh, well. No hope for the hostas and sedums.
My yellow magnolia is blooming. It’s still small but lovely. There is a large specimen in the display garden at Vineyard Gardens across from up-Island Cronig’s. Check it out.
Memorial Day is early this year. My bridal wreath spirea usually blooms by the holiday. This year it is just barely beginning. I’ve always loved the bush. It is not that popular in modern landscapes. I love the memories it evokes for me. My great-grandmother Armstrong had a huge one. We children played under it. We shook the branches and had the flowers rain down on us. The smell reminds me of those carefree days.
As most Islanders, I am shocked and saddened by the senseless death of Pat Gregory — a fine and decent human being.