The roses are popping all over town. Everything looks good, smells good and feels good. Last Sunday we took part of the day off the go to the beach. All in all Summer is here.
We had our first beach day last Sunday and it was glorious. Of course Jon “found” perfect photos. The shadows of the fence at Surfside created the perfect pictures. Jon says, “the photos are always there, you just have to find them.” So if you’re out and about this is a great time to look for what’s all around us – a picture perfect island!
Last week I gave the first of several talks with photographs from my new book. It was sponsored by the Nantucket Preservation Trust and held at the Hayloft at Bartlett’s Farm. What a great space that is. They use it for Yoga as well as all sorts of lectures and such. More than 50 people showed up and the folks at Bartlett’s were most gracious. If you’ve never done this, stand on the balcony of the hayloft and look down on the selling floor. The produce is laid out as if for a photograph. All the tomatoes and lettuce and veggies look exquisite – a photo just waiting to be discovered!
Many people are creating their own book of photos now that it’s so easy to do. Choose a theme, like the roses of Nantucket and take a day off to record them spilling over fences, over roof trellises, on a table in an arrangement, in a wedding bouquet. Don’t wait too long. They won’t always be there waiting for you. Then again, if you miss them now there’s always mid summer when they peak again. And, if you miss the roses there’s always the hydrangeas.
“How do they get those colors?” I hear off-islanders ask over and over again. When working on the hydrangea section of my book I interviewed both Hillary Newell and Pete Smith at Bartlett’s Oceanview Farm, as well as Greg Beni at Surfing Hydrangea about growing them. I also got some great tips for rooting cuttings from the American Hydrangea Society that I was able to include. They say that early summer is the best time to do this so this is a good time to think about cultivating a new bush for next year.
Cottage gardens such as those we see all over Nantucket is a distinct style of garden that is informal in design with dense plantings. There is nothing complicated to it. It is casual with a mixture of ornamental and edible plant. When we think of a cottage garden, we might imagie a little structure in the English countryside, and, in fact, this is its origina.
Today cottage style gardens are created around houses of all sizes and look as though they have been there forever. They often have useful paths or hedges designed to look artless, as though everything in the garden just grew there.
A few tips for planning a Nantucket Cottage Style Garden:
1. Choose plantings for their old-fashioned appeal.
2. Arbors give a casual appearance.
3. Something old can lend an air of charm, like a statue or worn wooden bench in the garden.
4. Use native plants and those adapted to our climate.
5. Plant roses, climbing roses in particular. Gives off a great scent.
6. Cottage garden flowers include: lavender, hollyhocks, carnations, sweet William, marigolds, lilies, peonies, evening primroses, daisies, lily-of- the valley and cowslips.
7. Herbs with household uses: lavender, sweet woodruff, thyme, sage, asil, parsley, catnip and soapwort.
8. Typical fruits might be raspberries, apples for cider, and pear trees.
9. A modern garden might include a dogwood or crab apple ree.