Summer Flights of Fancy
I am writing this by our kitchen window in our Centerville Cape, looking out over a perennial bed first planted by my husband’s great-grandmother close to 100 years ago. The bright trumpets of daffodils are giving a clarion call (fitting, since it is Patriot’s Day here and the Boston Marathon is about to begin!) that spring has finally returned for good and summer is not far behind. Last fall, before the first dusting of snow, I planted dozens of Narcissus bulbs in the garden to add to the established daffodils, some of which were planted decades ago and are now in full bloom. Most of the new bulbs are giving me a green thumbs’ up, even though the cold ocean all around us has kept our temperatures in mid-April a good 10 to 15 degrees colder than it is inland.
The ospreys have returned from Florida to their throne in a big old spruce tree on the edge of our property and the robins are singing their lyrical song. Yesterday, I saw bumblebees drunkenly buzzing from one blossom to the next—they seem to love the beautiful Hellebores that started blooming in February and somehow survived several feet of snow to reward us with bouquets of chartreuse, white, and soft pink flowers.
Soon, it will be time to take the hand saw to the old butterfly bush that graces our front porch garden, planted 20 years ago. In late spring, this woody shrub needs to be chopped down to 18 inches or so before it will burst into wands of silver leaves heavy with cones of delicate purple flowers that are sweet succor for the butterflies, especially the Monarchs who seek nourishment there after an astonishing flight from Mexico every spring.
All over Cape Cod, gardeners are helping to feed these regal beauties, whose numbers have diminished alarmingly in the last decade. In our Cape GARDEN story, we share hints for adding plants to attract butterflies to your landscape, from planting free milkweed seed distributed by The Monarch Project of Cape Cod to adding perennials such as coneflowers, sunflowers, and lavender.
We also share stories about two spectacular new homes on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard and Pocasset’s scenic Wing’s Neck; news and information about a garden tour not to miss in Osterville this summer; sweet recipes and tips for pick-your-own berries; and hints for outdoor entertaining.
It is almost summer on Cape Cod and the Islands . . . time for blossoms, berries, and butterflies—and for dreaming about living and entertaining by the sea. Beauty is on the wing all around us.
Hope to see you soon!
Susan Dewey, Cape Cod HOME & Cape Cod ART Editor