Weather is Dry, Demand for Produce
Remy Tumin

Tomatoes and melons are on the way, cucumbers are having a banner year and demand is up for Island-grown produce, especially kale and chard. The biggest problem? Vineyard farmers can sum it up at the mid-summer mark in a single word.

“Dry,” said Bob Daniels of Old Town Gardens at the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market on Saturday. “I have irrigation, but it’s not like rain.”

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Island Garden Club Ponders Pruning
Sandra Spielvogel

The lead foreman of Vineyard Gardens, Jeremiah Brown, doesn’t mince words about his expertise.

“What I know is pruning,” he said.

He shared his experience with members of the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club at its September meeting by combining a talk and hands-on demonstration on the grounds of the Old Mill in West Tisbury. 

Mr. Brown admitted to starting out his career in horticulture by “knocking out false bamboo in his mother’s garden with a golf club.”

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Angels Practice the Art of Organic Gardening
Julian Wise

Gardening is a combination of art, science and love. Jennifer Slossberg, founder of Garden Angels, has blended the three into an organic landscaping company that turns gardens into aesthetic marvels with a delicate ecological footprint.

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Celebrating 50 Years at Polly Hill’s Garden
Mike Seccombe

The Polly Hill Arboretum is full of special trees, but if there is one which is more special than all the rest, according to executive director Tim Boland, it is a magnolia Mrs. Hill planted more than 40 years ago.

What makes it extra special is not its beauty or it rarity, although it is both a gorgeous tree and one which really should not grow in these climes at all; it is the fact that it saved the arboretum.

Indirectly, but nonetheless it did.

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The Vineyard Gardener
Lynne Irons

By LYNNE IRONS

Taking the bad with the good is the nature of life. I was enjoying my morning tea in the garden while watching robins. Suddenly I realized they were unearthing my newly planted and mulched cucumbers in their search for worms. Every one had to be replanted. Why can’t they eat the Colorado potato beetles that have already begun their assault on my eggplants?

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Peas Please
Remy Tumin

Snap, shell, snow: June means pea season on the Vineyard.

It’s a rite of summer, seeing the “We Have Our Peas” sign placed for the first time in front of the Bayes Norton Farm stand on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. (The Vineyarder who originally painted the sign wrote “Pease,” thinking it was spelled the same as the old Island family.)

Their peas are so sweet it’s as though owners Jamie and Dianne Norton added sugar to the soil.

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In Polly's Garden: Hydrangeas: Back and Better Than Ever
Tim Boland

Big, blue snowballs of hydrangeas backed by a white picket fence are a summer staple on the Vineyard. While the mophead flowers of bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) are the most popular with tourists, there is a whole world of hydrangeas for gardeners to explore. On a seed-collecting expedition to Japan in 2005, I encountered three other hydrangea species that are valuable ornamentals: the panicle hydrangea, (Hydrangea paniculata), the mountain hydrangea (Hydrangea serrata), and involucre hydrangea (Hydrangea involucrata).

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On the Farm, Tending Family Mirrors Garden, Lots of Love
Chris Fischer

I live with my 97-year-old grandmother Rena in the farmhouse she bought with my grandfather in 1963, as a place for them to retire. She cried the day my grandfather walked her over to show her the house due to its disrepair. She was a bit of a city girl in her younger days. When she met my grandfather she was working as a hairdresser in her sister’s beauty shop in Harvard Square.

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Mugwort Runs Rampant
Lynne Irons
My perennial beds are in serious disrepair. I did manage to get them cut back of last season’s debris. However they haven’t seen a cultivator or any fertilizer in a few years, forget about any weeding taking place. The mugwort has run rampant. For those of you unfamiliar with this weedy artemisia, it is in one form the herb moxa used in acupuncture. It has healing properties when burned on a patient. I had it work one time when the practitioner burned a cyst from the top of my hand. It was quite remarkable, actually.
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