Mouths of babes! My grand daughter, Violet, went on a school field trip to the Polly Hill Arboretum. She was impressed with the lecture on nectar guides. How I have been gardening for over forty years and did not know this is beyond me. Violet showed me both a freesia and a rhododendron flower. The little stripes, freckles or different colors on one flower petal guide insects to the stamens which are bending towards that anomaly. She explained that it is similar to runway lights guiding a plane to a safe landing. Kudos to the staff at Polly Hill for making this nature study so simple and interesting to a ten-year old.
It was so beautiful last weekend. I wonder if the weather could have been more perfect. Everyone is gearing up for yet another summer on the Vineyard. For those of us in seasonal businesses, it is particularly stressful. There is never a lack of something to do. I know I am spending a great deal of my day watering and caring for baby plants. Once I get them all into the ground where they belong, hopefully, I’ll be less angsty.
There is a nice stand of sisyrinchium at the front of Mahoney’s on Edgartown Road. This is the blue-eyed grass and one of my personal favorites, not to mention I love saying the word. The flowers on the tips of the grass only come out when the sun is shining, so don’t bother looking on a cloudy day.
In keeping with last week’s comments on trees, I have been noticing all the beautiful red maples. They are especially nice in the evening light. I love the dwarf Japanese one on the first block down Skiff avenue. Farther down that street, there is a perfectly pruned apple tree. I believe it is in Lee Fierro’s yard. Good job!
The bridal wreath spirea have been blooming for several weeks. They always used to just start around Memorial Day. I am fond of them. They remind me of my childhood. The smell is wonderful. We used to sit under them and shake the branches to get covered with the tiny petals.
There is a nice stand of shasta viburnum across Barnes Road from the Featherstone entrance. At first glance they can be mistaken for Kousa dogwood which will be blooming soon. Once again I attempted to look up the Latin name and characteristics of the variety in Michael Dirr’s book. However, there were fourteen pages on the viburnum and once again I lost my patience.
I have a glut of eggs. All my hens are laying every day, thanks to the long daylight. I planned to serve quiche to my family last week but was too busy to make pie crust. Who says easy as pie? Plus, it was too warm to turn on the oven. I put the egg and cheese mixture into the crock pot on low for a couple of hours. I was very pleased with the result and see egg and vegetable dishes in the future.
I did some serious picking in the vegetable garden. I pulled some spring garlic. It has yet to form scapes, nor has any paper developed around the bulbs. It resembles a leek or very large scallion at this time. I was so happy as last week I used up the end of last season’s stored soft-neck Romanian bulbs. This is how it is supposed to work in a perfect world but rarely does.
I have some edible carrots. Granted they are pencil thin, but they are delicious. I can’t bear their little lives to be in vain so I eat anything that may be crowding something else.
When did they stop calling Memorial Day, Decoration Day? I’m pretty sure we used them interchangeably in my childhood. In the past several years in this column, I remembered people who had served our country. Once I mentioned my uncle Dan Boyle who was wounded in the Pacific theater in WWII. Then my Dad, of course, who was in Tokyo harbor when the treaty was signed. A local Pennsylvania boy was in the famous photo of the flag being raised over Iwo Jima.
This year I’m determined to remember people who have died but didn’t go to war. Wouldn’t it be great to have no more memorials because we have no more war. The sad reality of the human condition, though, is that this is, in fact, an impossible dream.