Gardening September 2020

From Mélie’s Garden

I am sure many of you have enjoyed, as I have, this summer all the wonderful nature paths on the Island. We have been truly blessed to be in such an inspirational place through this very worrisome time.  Many people have asked me what some of the plants are along the trails and rec path. I am a novice in knowing all the names of native plants, but my nephew, Harry Yerkes, put me onto a wonderful APP that I now have on my phone, which identifies plants from the picture you take.  It is called “Picture This” at There is another called iNaturalist which works well too and is collecting flora and fauna in a Fishers Island ‘album’.

There is a wonderful purple plant that blooms in August across from the Grey Gulls Driveway. I have finally identified it as New York Ironweed (veronica noveboracensis). It looks very much like Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpurem) which is also native to this area. Both are showy purple plants in mid summer. In addition, there is Common Milkweed (Asclepias), growing quite freely on the Island and is a host to Monarch butterflies to lay their eggs. Seeds for all three of these native plants can be obtained at The Vermont Wildflower Farm. The Prairie Moon Nursery also has an excellent selection of seeds and small native plants that they ship in the spring.

Click any image for a larger photo

In addition, the Fishers Island Nature Conservancy has a wonderful demonstration garden down by the movie theater in the Fort. It has been dedicated to John Thatcher, who was a knowledgeable Island naturalist. There are all kinds of examples of wildflowers, trees, and shrubs to plant on your property that will attract wildlife. If each one of us tries to clear out invasive plants like Japanese knotweed, Porcelain Berry, and my favorite nemesis, Black Swallow Wart, the Island will truly continue to become a wonderful nature preserve for all of us to enjoy. For inspiration, I always recommend reading Doug Tallamy’s wonderful book Bringing Nature Home as guide.

The Conservancy’s Demonstration Garden just getting started in 2015.

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