The Life-Changing Magic of Cottage Gardens

“Cottage gardens are very personal,” West Tisbury garden designer Mary Wirtz tells me. “There is no wrong way to do them.”

Hallelujah.

Those of you who worship straight lines and sharp angles, you can all shuffle to the other side of the room for now. (Though feel free to eavesdrop and come shuffling back.)

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Young Gardeners Grow a Living on the Vineyard

Gardening is big business all over Martha’s Vineyard. To meet this demand, the Vineyard's long-established landscape and garden companies have been joined in recent years by a wave of young gardeners who are willing to work long hours during the season to make a good living.

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Bringing The Garden Indoors

Quite suddenly in mid-September, night-time temperatures start to fall, we unpack that feather duvet and a pot of hearty soup simmering on the stove once again is an appealing meal. Yet the pleasure in color, growth, and greenery are perennial and can be enjoyed in various ways, even as the season changes. You can bring the garden indoors as you firmly shut the door to keep the drafts out.

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When It's Time to Change, You Rearrange
The ornamental grass in the corner of your garden has overgrown. The anise hyssop, its purple blossoms now turning a burnt orange, has eclipsed all else in the garden and the soil is due for a revamp. And then there are the spring bulbs to attend to. Fall, Mike Saunier says, is for fixing.
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Rain, Rain, You Went Away
Will it ever rain again? It’s been over a month without anything amounting to much. Don’t get me wrong. The days could not be more perfect. Clear and crisp in the mornings with abundant sunshine all day certainly raises the spirits.
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Early Frost

I could not be happier to see the first week of fall. It is so wonderfully cool and clear. The gardens are looking spectacular in this lower light. One must look, of course, with a soft eye to avoid seeing weeds and dead flower stalks. The wild goldenrod I neglected to pull now looks like I planned it. Once again, I shall take credit for Mother Nature’s work.

One more plus in the fall season — I found a parking space twice this week.

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Spice of Life

I love when the previous week’s column gives me some material for this week. I talked about the extended family of turkeys in my yard and how if times really got tough I could have one for supper. I meant to say . . . “talk about local” but it printed up low-cal. I guess that would work as a sentence too! I’ve never really cared about calories so I probably wouldn’t say that.

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You Say Tomato

Here we are . . . the end of another summer. I know the following sentence bespeaks my advancing age . . . where does the time go? Wasn’t Memorial Day just a few weeks ago?

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Big Weeding
It’s Sunday morning in what promises to be a beautiful day. The sun is shining and, thankfully, there is low humidity. The Obamas have arrived 
. . . welcome back. I’m fascinated by all the hoopla about the inconvenience of travel. I’m happy to live in a place that attracts presidents. Riding along Middle or North Road for a week? People . . . please. Is this a problem?
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Fodder for Beans

I gave it my best shot all last week — trying to develop some acceptance of the weather. As an outside worker, I would prefer rain, wind, and/or snow to the heat and humidity. Now, granted, I am grateful to not live in the southwest or a big city but honestly, who would like it? Oh I know — weeds, mosquitoes and garden insect pests.

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