Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gardening on Ocracoke



I consider myself a gardener...maybe even a really good gardener...but Ocracoke Island has stumped me in this category!

The first summer I spent here I bought plants and had some lovely little garden areas all to be lost to the waters of Hurricane Alex. I have to admit that I was, well, shocked is the word. I know the problems were greater for everyone than my little garden, but it was very disappointing.

Last summer Philip and I spent our birthday money on plants and small shrubs for the front of his cottage. On a road trip to Manteo, we filled the back of his car with everything that we could possibly get in. We worked for days digging and planting and hoeing, and the results were startlingly lovely. Small rose bushes were blooming and thriving, other creeping vines sent out shoots and still others showed promise of a full garden...soon!

By the time I returned this summer, several plants had died and the rest are in a stagnant vegetative state. My purpose this summer is to just keep them alive...not to even expect any blooming or thriving. Meanwhile, the news from back home is that my garden is thriving in cool nights and sunny days and sweet rain. The raspberries have been picked by the quart...squash and tomatoes are taking form and herbs are full and lush. I also hear that the neighbors have been enjoying the fruits of my garden in their kitchen as well as in vases of my roses and lilies.

Alas. Alas. Coming to my aid this summer has been my next door neighbor, David and his wife, Amy. (They are also kin to Philip as in daughter and son-in-law.) They had a ton (?) of rich soil hauled in this spring and built raised beds for flowers and gardens. Now, I knew that David liked gardening, I just didn't know how well he knew how to do it!

Every day I walk by his garden in astonishment...squash, tomatoes, corn, carrots, onions, watermelon, cantaloupe...everything tall, green, and lush. OK, I will admit it, I am jealous. He did what I couldn't! But let's give me a little credit that I arrive too late in the spring and leave too early.

At least now I know it can be done...

The watermelon in the photo is David's. He brought it over for supper last night and we enjoyed in the front yard and then I showed them how to have an Indiana seed spitting contest!

So, folks, gardens do thrive on Ocracoke Island..just not in my yard!

Lou Ann