A few stalks of asparagus appear in my overgrown West Tisbury vegetable garden each year. I tend to miss them until they are too tall to eat. But this year, I have managed to salvage two scraggly stalks. After the artichoke, asparagus is my favorite vegetable. But it is not the green asparagus from my garden — even when picked before it is overgrown — that I most enjoy. It is the soft, succulent white asparagus of Germany.

I am lured to Berlin each May to revel in dinners of white asparagus — Spargel. It is the highlight on every menu then, served sometimes with smoked salmon, sometimes with ham, sometimes with Hollandaise sauce and always with boiled potatoes.

This May, of course, there was no getting abroad for my annual Spargel fix. But, I have been told by my German friends that the coronavirus had kept many of the Polish workers who are its usual harvesters from getting to Germany. So I may not have lost out after all.

White asparagus gets that way because, as soon as the first green tips appear, the asparagus is mounded over with soil so it never sees the light. This not only keeps it white, but makes it softer and fatter and sweeter than green asparagus.

Of course, I am also missing the friends whom I see abroad in asparagus season, and touristic sights I enjoy. Last year, in May and June, I was exploring the gardens of Berlin and Elxleben, Germany, walking along Lake Leman in Geneva, Switzerland, exploring Brittany in France, and strolling outside Paris in the gardens of Versailles.

In Berlin, I was in the 120-acre gardens of Charlottenburg Palace edging the River Spree. Though the 18th-century palace and its baroque gardens were largely destroyed in the second World War, they have been restored. I spent several days in the 519-acre-Grosser Tiergarten that had its start in the 16th-century as a hunting ground for Prussian kings. Virtually all of its trees were cut down for firewood in the winter of 1945-46 because of a coal shortage, but they were largely replaced. Donations of more than a million saplings and shrubs for the garden came to Berlin from all over the country after the war.

I strolled on the Tiergarten’s shady paths, stopping by its lake and listening to the birds. I sunned for a while among the pink and white roses in its quiet Rose Garden. In its English garden, the rhododendrons were in bloom. In the Volkspark Friedenshain, in the eastern part of the city, I was among statues illustrating Grimm’s Fairy Tales. My last day in Europe, I was in Paris. It was early June and a fine day for an outing in the elegant gardens of Versailles that surround the 17th-century palace of Louis XIV. There, I was watching the soaring fountains and, with a whole day to explore, wandering in and out of the palace’s many small, more intimate gardens.

The friends who had been my guides in Germany and France were all scheduled for Vineyard visits this year in gratitude for their hospitality. Of course, the coronavirus is preventing their coming. For some, it would have been a first-time visit to the United States.

Although Vineyard gardens are, obviously, not of the grandeur of the gardens of Berlin or Versailles, my overseas friends will be missing the sweet-smelling privet and the roses on Edgartown’s white picket fences. They will not be strolling among the pink and red rhododendrons and the pink weigela that I have been watching burst into bloom at the Polly Hill Arboretum. They will not be enjoying my blueberries (always worth eating even when my asparagus is too long and stringy). They will not see the maples turning crimson along Music street in the fall and the birches gleaming golden near the Lagoon in Vineyard Haven.

But in spring, 2021, I hope I will be abroad again, relishing the Spargel. And, after that, I look forward to having my friends from abroad sharing quahaugs and mussels on a Chappaquiddick beach, and strolling with me on a sunny afternoon along Edgartown’s South Water street and on the pathways in Polly Hill’s Arboretum.