Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fire Island

Thanks to generous friends we enjoyed a lovely weekend with sea and sand and - some - sun...but I say the clouds over the bay are just as beautiful as no clouds. Above, their boardwalk with steps for swimming , but we swam on the other side of the sandbar (er, barrier island, thanks, Frank), in the Atlantic proper.

Yesterday we walked to the Sunken Forest, a protected area behind the dunes that I visited two springs ago with Marijke. No clouds of cherry and beach plum blossom this time, nor bright yellow beach heather in mats on the sand...

But we did see a Monarch butterfly who seemed very interested in the blooming Virginia creeper.

...and four deer, one with beautiful antlers.


Native pitch pine -Pinus rigida - dotting the dunes.

And American holly: Ilex opaca.

Black cherry - Prunus serotina, in fruit everywhere...edible, and very good for jam, but don't crunch up the seeds and swallow them. Full of cyanide.

The...er...native hollyhock? In our friends' garden.

And Vitex agnus castus - chaste tree, EVERYWHERE, in gardens. It was very beautiful, but it is invasive. I saw a lot of lythrum (purple loosestrife), too, which I was tempted to yank out...Most of the garden plantings are heavy on Hydrangea paniculata, in spectacular white bloom, the vitex, much berberis - also considered invasive, some rudbeckia, various grasses, a lot of repetition. It would be good to see some more thought going into the gardens.


Mulderbosch Cabernet sauvignon rose...it matched the sunset perfectly.

Another day and we sat under cloudy skies on the dock and drank long cups of coffee. Two hours out of New York by subway, train and ferry, and it's quite another world.

13 comments:

  1. Very like the location shots from "Jaws."

    I know Loosestrife has been causing problems for some time, but has it actually been banned? We have quite a few on the "naughty list" down here.

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  2. MoreIdle,

    Its been banned from sale just this year. Its not widely distributed on LI just yet however. Except in gardens.

    Marie,

    I am now jealooous of a Fire Island weekend. Reminded me of my 4th grade trip to the Sunken Forest that may have inspired a love of wooden paths through the landscape.

    Of course, I've been since, always lovely. Us natives like to call it a barrier island, not so much a sand bar-although that may be all its good for in a nor-easter or hurricane:]

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  3. I think the main thought that goes into vacation-area gardens is "can it survive neglect in salt air M-F and still be something to look at on S-S?" The things that will thrive tend to be allowed to.

    Sounds like a lovely, restful get away. (And probably even more so for the recently uprooted and replanted man o' the house.)

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  4. One of the few downsides to living in Southern California is that there aren't weekend getaway places like Fire Island where people have summer cottages. When people want to cool off here, they drive to the beach. Driving 5 minutes and then searching for parking for 20 mins isn't nearly as romantic/cool as telling people you're headed to a friend's cottage on Fire Island...

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  5. So blue!! Amazing.

    Loosestrife looks rather pretty, unlike the Japanese knotweed that we have such a serious problem with here.

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  6. Dinahmow...see Frank's answer :-)

    Hi Frank - sorry! Barrier Island! Thanks...

    Melanie! - certainly...I do think there's more interesting and drought tolerant stuff available. And the irony is that a lot of these places had irrigation systems. Man'o House was happy to see sea. Cat o' House was p'
    d off.

    Hi Fern...you should see some of the "cottages". But you have Joshua Tree!

    Rachel - yes, loosestrife is gorgeous. I used it a few years ago in a roof garden. Oops.

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  7. My croft: the replanted man o' the house was indeed quite happy back on an island, having spent 15 years island hopping. The characters you meet on those rocks! And no matter what, time flows different there...

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  8. Be sure it is Purple Loosestrife before you yank it out. I almost made a faulty ID and I'm glad now that I checked further. Learn about my close call at http://digginginthedriftless.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/purple-loosestrife-a-very-short-battle/
    Also, what a gorgeous spot you have shared. Thanks.

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  9. Hi!
    Yes, that Hollyhock (Alcea) is an "old" one. Several years ago I picked some seeds from a tall garden of pinks Hollyhocks. The owner gave me permission after telling me that she got them from her great-aunt (now deceased).

    The first year I planted the seeds the flowers were pink and magenta. But this year I have one patch of beautiful mahogany-black with bright white centers like yours. So obviously these seeds revert back... a lucky thing for me.

    Molie from CT

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  10. Denise - you have a lovely blog, very helpful, too. I wouldn't have yanked it a it was in private gardens...but the urge remained. Definitely loosestrife!

    Hi Molie...as in That Molie? Friends with Ratty? Makes me want to have a picnic on a river in a rowing boat. Interesting about the reverting...I think the black is gorgeous.

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  11. Wow - thanks for sharing, brings back lots of happy memories. Magical walk along beach to sunken forest. That visit to Fire Island....a place where I could feel sand beneath my feet, enjoy fresh air, silence and a wide horizon was - in retrospect - a lifesaver. The size and length of my pfffttttttttt when I got back to SA told me so. Please send my regards and warmest thanks to D and N!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow - thanks for sharing, brings back lots of happy memories. Magical walk along beach to sunken forest. That visit to Fire Island....a place where I could feel sand beneath my feet, enjoy fresh air, silence and a wide horizon was - in retrospect - a lifesaver. The size and length of my pfffttttttttt when I got back to SA told me so. Please send my regards and warmest thanks to D and N!

    ReplyDelete

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