Gardening June 2018

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

The past two months I have written about different public and private gardens I have seen as I traveled this winter. They all have been interesting to visit, but we on Fishers Island are truly blest to have one of the most enchanting gardens at “Hooverness”, the garden Tom Armstrong created. With Whitney Armstrong and Mike Simoncini’s loving and skillful care the garden is still magnificent. John and I visited earlier this spring and it was superb. The azaleas were beautifully sculptured in the Japanese garden and the hellebores bloomed profusely along the path, mingling with the glorious collection of daffodils. The garden is a great gift to our Island and the Armstrong family is so generous to continue to share it with us. I hope you visit it often on the “open days” through out the year.

May and June are always daunting with what seems to be an overwhelming set of chores to do. This is particularly true on Fishers Island with our very short spring, which has been especially challenging after the endless winter this year. First on the list is to clean up any debris – early weeds and broken branches. Once done you can divide and move perennials, making sure they are well watered in their new home until they become established. Roses should be fertilized once a month through July. Remove all dead wood from hydrangeas and prune to the top green leaves. Once flowerbeds are weeded, mulch can be applied, my favorite being sweet peat from Race Rock. Bagged chips are fine as long as they are small, so they will easily decompose with in a year. Heavy chips do not breakdown as quickly and at my house often blow away in a good wind. Annuals and Vegetables can be planted once the ground warms up, which I usually find sometime is almost mid June.

This year in my garden travels, I have seen spring bulbs and vegetables being combined in planters. At both Chanticleer and Wave Hill Swiss chard, spinach and different varieties of lettuces were planted among spring flowers. Those early crops enjoy the cool weather and add different colors and textures to the planters. Some crops could do equally well in summer planters combined with flowers. My niece, Jennifer Sanger, has an entire garden in Elevated Garden Beds that did wonderfully well last summer. And Tiggy Ski had an incredible hydro planter full of vegetables! This year, I think it would be fun for anyone interested, to try different combinations of plants in containers – think originally and photograph your creations and send the pictures into at It will be inspiring to see what different combinations people think of and how successful they are through out the summer. Happy growing!

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Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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