Any Block Island gardeners here?

bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)October 15, 2012

I've never seen any postings from anyone gardening on Block Island, RI. Since it's sort of the 'tropics' of New England (along with Cape Cod), I thought someone there might have some interesting plants and gardens.

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At this point I'm guessing there aren't any block island gardeners. Or any that are willing to identify themselves.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:11AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Pixie lou I agree. I just thought that there might be some interesting gardening going on there, as it's a solid zone 7 location. Maybe I'll go there when the weather is warm and see for myself.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 5:16AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

And don't forget about all the bird species they have there, that would have been interesting too. Oh well, maybe we'll see someone from Block Island at some point.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:39AM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

When i was a kid,I was at Allen Haskell's in New Bedford one day. He had some passion flower vines for sale and I remember asking him if they are hardy in this area. He said: "maybe in a south facing, partially enclosed courtyard on Block Island or Nantucket". I took that as a no! I have been in this area for decades but have never been to Block Island. A day trip is in order.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:23PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Rockman, there are some passion flowers that are hardy here. P. incarnata, commonly called "Maypop" is hardy in zone 6 and even zone 5. Another hybrid called "Incense" is hardy to zone 6. I'm sure they wouldn't mind a protected spot, especially from wind, but if you like them, you should try one. I don't think they're all that expensive.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 5:15PM
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I am from Block Island and I am a gardener. I do have some unique plants Edgeworthi papyrifera and jasminum officianali affine.

2 Likes    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 3:28PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Oh, wow….finally! lol So happy to see a block Island gardener here!

How is the weather there on Block Island? Did you get a lot of snow this winter?

Maybe you have some photos of your garden? We would all love to see them, being starved for the sight of something green.

Welcome to the forum! :-)

    Bookmark   on Tuesday at 3:31PM
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LOL, I know right I looked at the date and was like wow that is from a while ago.

The weather is snowy right now, we got about three inches last night. Very unusual snowy and cold winter hoping my zone 7 plants made it. I know some of the unwrapped rosemary did not. I ended up putting hay around the paper bush because I knew it was going to be a cold one. The jasmine is up against the backside of the greenhouse so it should be ok.

Front full sun perennial bed, followed by shade garden, and herb garden.

Notice the heavy fencing in place in most of the photos. We have a serious deer problem, this year they actually put a bounty on them for hunting season. They still managed to break into the garden and eat all my veggies in the back, despite the fence.

1 Like    Bookmark   on Wednesday at 8:44AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Emmereck, what a lovely garden! I love all your Bulbs and the Peony in your first photo. It looks very lush and established. Is that a gold dicentra in the second photo? And a Hellebore? Orange and purple together is always so striking, that's a nice stand of poppies.

I'm not a zone pusher and I actually will often try to purchase plants that are one zone colder than mine. Bill on the other hand, loves to push the zones and has a lot of borderline plants in his garden. My worry this year, is because of the extended very cold temperatures with wind chill that we had in December and January before we had any snow cover. It will be interesting to see what we all end up with.

Sorry to hear about the deer eating your vegetable garden. It's a lot of work to produce veggies and you wait all year for them, so it has to be very frustrating. I don't have a deer issue, so I don't have any suggestions for keeping them out.

Well welcome to the forum again and if you notice there is an ongoing 'Show us your garden' thread that everyone posts to on a regular basis and a 'Bird and Wildlife' thread that is also ongoing that is pretty active.

    Bookmark   on Wednesday at 10:35AM
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Thank you, these gardens for me are a labor of love. I moved into this tiny little house about 7 years ago with an overgrown hill in the backyard. It was covered in blackberries, viburnum, poison ivy, and rosa multiflora and abutted a construction yard. I started clearing the hill. I left a few strategic viburnums and found some winter berry and wild blueberries amidst the tangle. Through the years I put stone retaining walls in (easy to find rocks next to a construction yard), a greenhouse, and of course a super duty fence. Seems like all the hard work and having poison ivy for a year straight paid off.

That is a gold heart dicentra, it finally took off last spring after two years of limping along. The Hellebores has done so well I ordered a few more and the poppies are amazing. I had one that had 37 buds on a single plant last year. For some reason I lost all my pink ones but I did get a few that seeded into the bed. Should be interesting to see what color the babies bloom this spring.

I hope all your plants make it, that is usually the kind of winter we have, perhaps we traded? Normally, it is cold and blowing all the time with no snow, really does a number on the plants. Hope he wrapped them up in burlap or covered them with some hay. If I see extremely cold temps coming I run out and cover all my tender plants.

I did not see that going to have to go find it now. Can't wait to share spring with everyone in a couple of weeks. I feel very tempted to put up pics of the greenhouse babies, hoping for some snowdrops soon. Thanks for the warm welcome prairiemoon2.

    Bookmark   on Thursday at 5:27AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

emmerick, Welcome to the forum! I posted a message yesterday to welcome you and comment, and I also asked if you could post photos when you had a chance. For some reason, that post has vanished. In any case, I like your garden. I like the poppies, and I was jus t thinking last week about getting some for my garden, and some more irises. I had poppies for years, and for some reason they had died off slowly until I was without them. Then I did the beds over and I guess I just forgot about poppies. I may have a lot of room in the beds if all my camellias die! I have one large camellia that's about 15 years old, 7+ feet high and 6 feet wide. It's obviously survived a lot of winters, but this year has been brutal. My only hope is that 5+ foot snowdrifts may have protected the lower part of the plant, so it may come back from the thicker wood. Right now they all look green, but it's been my experience that once the weather warms up, is when the damage shows.

Once again, welcome, and please keep us informed about your garden. Have you ever tried a Windmill palm (trachycarpus fortuneii or wagnerianus?) I had one that grew very well for three years, but it didn't make it in 2012-2013 winter.

    Bookmark   on Thursday at 8:38AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hi Emmerick, I have never been to Block Island, but everything I’ve heard about it is appealing. I wonder if you do any bird watching? I heard you are on a migratory route for many birds.

You have done a LOT of work there! And I can’t imagine having poison ivy for a solid year. Wow. Did you get rid of the blackberries? I was warned about planting blackberries, because they are so difficult to get rid of. Of course, they are delicious for jam though. My favorite.

It’s a great satisfaction to see the results of all that hard work, I imagine. Have you had help?

I didn’t realize a poppy could have 37 buds. Hellebores are one of my favorites for spring and they have so many new doubles that are so pretty. I wonder, are you close enough to the ocean to have to consider the salt when choosing plants?

We laid down a good layer of chopped leaves in late fall, and I don’t have any plants that are really what I consider tender, so I should be in pretty good shape come spring. Roses are always on my mind with this kind of a winter, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Would love to see your photos of greenhouse babies and to hear what you’ve planted. I’m sure everyone is starved to see something green and growing. [g]

Bill - great looking Windmill Palm! Hope that makes it through the winter. And it would be very sad if you lost those gorgeous Camellias!

    Bookmark   on Thursday at 9:54PM
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Bill - I confess you were giving me Camellia envy. I almost ordered one but went with a Gardenia instead for my new lower bed. I love things that they have fragrance, so tempting though the Camellia was the Gardenia won out.

I am not fond of palms/tropical looking plants unless dedicating a whole bed to them. Since my garden is mostly reminiscent of a cottage garden I don't think I could get away with it. Always a thought for future gardening experimentation. I do have quiet a few clients...

My newest addition for the spring.

Prairiemoon2- I do occasionally dabble in bird watching. My sister who lives out here is a serious bird watcher/artist. So when she or I see something we have to call each other. Last year it was the Curlew, white, and glossy Ibis. The year before I was waiting to start a gardening job and had parked my truck when a flash of blue flitted across my vision. I immediately called her and after conferencing back and forth while the bird seemed to almost pose for me, it was confirmed as a blue grosbeak. Also spotted that week, although common elsewhere, was the indigo bunting.

The blackberries are gone, I think weeds live in fear of me. I dug some giant pits to get the roots out my current battle is the invasion of the green briar/knotweed. My husband just shakes his head when the "destroyer" comes out. Yes, I named my long socket husky shovel, every good tool needs a name.

I don't have help usually although I do sometimes trade off work with friends. Every fall I head out for the manure and seaweed runs. Since I am the only one in the friend group with a 4wd drive truck I get some IOUs. Comes in handy in the spring for mulching or rock wall building.

The only time that I, personally, have to worry about salt is when we get early northeasters in the fall or hurricanes. Some of my clients are right on the bluffs so it can be hard to find plants that stand up to coastal conditions and that deer don't eat.

Will try to get some pics going of the greenhouse on Sunday. So far I have cabbage, kale, sprouts, and onions up. I just put peppers on the heat mat and a few cells of celery going. A couple more weeks and the tomatoes and eggplants will get their turn.

What do you have going, any seedlings started, stratification projects, cuttings? Do tell, I am the only serious flower gardener in my group so it would be nice to hear.

    Bookmark   Yesterday at 8:23AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Emmerick, I love Gardenias too and they were my Mother’s favorite flower. My husband is not enthralled with gardening, so I’ve tried to find some plant or aspect of gardening that might interest him, and I finally discovered that he really appreciates fragrant plants, so I’ve focused on adding as many as I can to the garden. I'd like to hear how you like that variety of Gardenia.

I am impressed that you were able to rid your yard of blackberries! Sounds like a lot of determination and a healthy back. :-)

In my neighborhood, I see the usual common birds. I'm happy if I see a large woodpecker or an oriole. Nothing exotic like a Curlew or a Blue Grosbeak. We don't even get bluebirds or hummingbirds. So you are lucky!

I winter sowed a minimal amount of containers in the last couple of weeks. I just couldn’t do a light set up in the house this year. I’ve sown brassicas and onions and tomatoes and peppers, caraway, and other herbs and hope they will sprout soon enough to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, I might supplement with nursery grown. I plan on starting pea seeds in flats in a couple of weeks, instead of waiting for bare ground.

This year, I’m trying some new varieties of Snapdragon that are tall and fragrant, along with violas, nicotiana, gazania and a few others. I’m focused on adding more for pollinators and plan on using Zinnia, Sunflower, Calendula etc., direct sown. Not very exotic. [g]

I have some Cimicifuga seed I collected last fall, that I haven’t sown yet, and trying to figure a way around having to follow the lengthy and iffy directions on germinating those. I’m probably just going to winter sow them and wait them out.

I’m planning on moving just about every plant in one of my beds this spring because we expanded one side of it with a lasagna bed in the Fall and I want to rearrange everything. Aside from that, I see a lot of pruning needed after all the snow coming off the roof on my foundation shrubs.

That’s about all I’m doing. I try to take the winter off from gardening at least until it’s time to get ready for spring. I used to do lots of houseplants, and I tried taking cuttings from summer container plants and that was fun, but, I realized how much I benefit from a few months with minimal gardening.

I can’t wait for spring weather!

    Bookmark   18 hours ago
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