It has been very dry in the garden world this past week. Granted, the days have been absolutely gorgeous and the nights cool and wonderful for sleeping. I’ve been busy hauling hoses and fixing sprinklers. The cheap plastic sprinklers last longer and work better than the expensive metal variety. Last year I yielded to temptation and purchased some brightly colored metal sprinklers on impulse and everyone of them has a problem this season. On the other hand, the Gilmour plastic sprinkler for under $20 has worked perfectly for several years. Go figure.
I finally canned a batch of dilly beans. I had been making them for the fridge for several weeks but this past weekend I had enough to fill a seven-quart canner. Since it was my first canning project this summer I went on a hunt for my equipment. After yanking everything out of storage areas and cupboards, I actually found everything where it belonged — nice and tidy inside my 32-quart canner. Will wonders never cease? There are some basic pieces of equipment — a wide-mouthed funnel, a jar lifter and new metal lids. In past years I have reused lids, but it isn’t a good idea in general.
Violet and I spent Saturday morning snapping the beans. I was able to tell her about doing the same job with my Gramma Kate. She told me I’ve mentioned it before. I’m nothing if not repetitive.
Provider is the bean variety of choice. I’ve planted it for decades. Unlike the haricot vert it has a distinctly beany flavor, a perfect shape, easy to find on the plant and therefore a pleasure to pick. I was able to fill seven quart jars with beans from a short row.
I actually had the foresight to plant another row a few weeks ago so I should get one more picking before the frost.
Every year at this time I regret neglecting to purchase a crape myrtle. They are in full and glorious bloom. There are two beauties — red and white on Clevelandtown Road just past the field on the Katama Road end, and there is a lovely lilac one on the corner of Franklin and Greenwood in Vineyard Haven. I am especially fond of the exfoliating bark on the older specimens.
My heptacodium has a similar bark pattern. It is just beginning to bloom. Beautiful tiny white flowers will turn pink as the season progresses. The small purple fruits last well into fall. This native of China has become popular here of late. It is not common in the large nurseries so may need to be specially ordered. It is well worth it. There is a large one between the North Tisbury branch of Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank and Vineyard Gardens.
Rather than expound my world view this week I would be remiss in failing to mention the production of The Wizard of Oz. Big kudos out to director Kevin Ryan and the entire crew. We had a wonderful time. There was nothing about the production that wasn’t great except perhaps the audience. The night I attended was a small and not very responsive house. Our little group made up for it. We did some hooting and hollering. Not to diminish any of the players, I went especially to see children of my friends — Jesse Seward, Darby Patterson and Jared Livingston, and all did justice to their roles. In fact, I can honestly say this production was more enjoyable than the 1939 movie. How is that even possible? Great job!
There are three more performances after this paper hits the streets. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Make every effort to attend. You will be happily surprised.