THE PAST FEW WEEKS at my home on the East End of Long Island, New York, have been a revelation. I hadn’t spent much time here in April or early May before, even though I’ve owned this quirky house for five years, so the seasonal developments on this half-acre of former oak woods are new to me.
There’s more birdsong than I remember, and I’m amazed at how fast the garden has gone from wintry brown to everything-happening-all-at-once to practically jungle-like. Above, as it looked about a month ago.
The trees were bare when I arrived, and I enjoyed the unaccustomed brightness of the property and the parade of flowers I normally miss: bleeding heart, epimedium, Solomon’s seal, ekianthus.
Seeing the tiny white flowers of the local ground cover, lowbush blueberry, gave me a new appreciation of it. It’s all over the place. I had originally thought I’d gradually replace it with other plantings, but it’s more firm in its intention to remain than I am in mine to remove it.
Above, lowbush blueberry; ekianthus; epimedium
The floral procession continues, with allium, broom and irises now having their day, and rhododendrons soon to peak.
The trees are now fully leafed out, with native oaks, sassafras, cedars and maples seeding themselves everywhere. For a moment, instead of pulling them all out and tossing them, as I have been doing, I envisioned a new business called the Paper Cup Nursery, selling tiny tree seedlings by the roadside. For a moment.
I’ve rented the house for July and August. Now it remains for me to enjoy being here until the end of June, which won’t be difficult. I opened the gate the other day and, for a nanosecond, spotting two teak chaises in the sun, didn’t know where I was. What resort is this?! was the thought that ran through my head.
Then I remembered. I’m home. I’m back to yard sales, walks, sunset picnics and my favorite position on the deck, surveying my domain at the end of a day of weeding, glass of wine in hand.
Four to six weeks ago:
Two to three weeks ago:
Below, practically an instant garden: hostas and ferns planted late last fall where once there was nothing at all