By LYNNE IRONS
Holy Traffic! I completely forgot what summer brings to the Vineyard. I wonder why, at the first hint of cloudy conditions, everyone jumps into their automobiles and heads to Vineyard Haven or Edgartown. Timing becomes everything. If promptness is one of your virtues, you’re in trouble. It becomes, for me, an excellent opportunity to column-write. I try to make some noteworthy observations while wasting oil. I turn off the engine as much as possible. Statistics have proved that starting and stopping the engine is actually more fuel-efficient than idling. Plus, I hate exhaust fumes wafting into my open windows.
While on the driving subject, let’s talk about dirt road etiquette. When someone pulls over to let you pass, a friendly waggle is in order. A few comments concerning the weather or the road conditions is equally important. Community, folks. I noticed some road signs lately — Lois Lane — Dirt Road — Goah Way.
I am prone to exaggeration. I asked my worker, Seniel (also the illustrator for this column), to seed some sunflowers heavily. She must have put several hundred a foot. We laughed so hard when they all came up, but after force-feeding rabbits and losing dozens to the weed whacker, I think we have just the right amount.
Speaking of my illustrator, last week her take on the turkey versus police caper was omitted from this column as well as a few paragraphs. The advertisements seemed to have made their way above the fold. Don’t you love that I can speak in journalistic terms? Next I will be saying, “Let’s have that conversation,” “That being said,” or “at the end of the day.”
As you know, modern roses are grafted onto old rose root stock. The graft is visible as a bump at soil level. I have had the experience of the purchased one dying and the following year a fragrant red one will appear. The root stock is, in fact, following its true nature. This year, oddly, I have a pergola of New Dawns which have all grown a red bush at their base. It is actually quite striking to see pale pink climbers with red skirts.
The oak-leafed hydrangeas at the entrance to the down-Island Cronig’s are spectacular. Nothing, however, beats the Magnolia grandiflora at the Polly Hill Arboretum. The blooms are almost as big as a child’s head.
Happily, Heather Gardens has been tidying up at the Vineyard Haven Post Office. It had been so unforunate-looking. Now, there is an interesting mix of sedum and cactus in the window boxes. Heather Gardens is selling plants at Morning Glory Farm as well as at its West Tisbury location. It is handy stopping by while working in Edgartown to save gas.
I have to talk about the unfortunate encounter the police had with the turkey. I understand the unacceptance of animal aggression. Once, when my daughter was about three years old, my rooster attacked her, cutting her mouth with his disgusting foot. In a murderous rage, I chased him down with a two-by-four and capital-punished him. I came to my senses, put the water on, and ate him for supper. I didn’t want his life to be in vain. My children were wide-eyed but none the less proud.
I had a lovely conversation with Hazel Greenwood. She was kind to return my enquiry concerning the violet rose. She said it is called Veilchenblau (German for glows in the Garden.) She and her friend Sally Hamilton took three cuttings about four inches long from Debbie Athearn a few years ago. Two took instantly and bloomed within two years. It has not been available in the United States since 1929. Debbie told her she remembers her mother receiving it as a gift while living on Music street. Debbie moved it to her home on Lambert’s Cove Road some time ago. Thank you, Hazel.
The other evening, during the double rainbow, my granddaughter Violet and I were outside in the wonder of it all. We were bombarded by dozens of barn swallows. They came so close to us in their crazy erratic manner that we were screaming and laughing. I hope she remembers it always.