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. 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 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.

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