Tag Archives: Marthas Vineyard

Brookside Farm, CAPE COD HOME

Brookside Farm is a place one can easily fall in love with.  I had been warned of its bucolic charms -- a pair of Red Devon oxen and a handful of horses grazing in meadows dotted with white drifts of wildflowers, a pasture flowing downhill to a dark mysterious pond fed by the Tiasquam River, and a beautiful house and outbuildings graceful with history.

Brookside Farm is a place one can easily fall in love with. I had been warned of its bucolic charms — a pair of Red Devon oxen and a handful of horses grazing in meadows dotted with white drifts of wildflowers, a pasture flowing downhill to a dark mysterious pond fed by the Tiasquam River, and a beautiful house and outbuildings graceful with history.

I had come to see the gardens and was met by Maria Sercander, who has been working Brookside’s gardens for 11 years. Hilary Blocksam, Brookside’s landscape and architectural design director, farm manager, and all around chess partner told me how the current owners, Wendy Gimbel, a writer, and her husband, attorney Douglas Liebhafsky succumbed to the charms of Brookside Farm when they first saw it in the winter of 1981.

I had come to see the gardens and was met by Maria Sercander, who has been working Brookside’s gardens for 11 years. Hilary Blocksam, Brookside’s landscape and architectural design director, farm manager, and all around chess partner told me how the current owners, Wendy Gimbel, a writer, and her husband, attorney Douglas Liebhafsky succumbed to the charms of Brookside Farm when they first saw it in the winter of 1981.

Maria propagates many of the annuals used in Brookside’s gardens.  Sometimes she buys from local nurseries and recently she has been bringing in one of her favorite annuals, lisianthus, from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Maria propagates many of the annuals used in Brookside’s gardens. Sometimes she buys from local nurseries and recently she has been bringing in one of her favorite annuals, lisianthus, from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

When you ask Maria what her favorite plants are she answers right away, “allium” and pauses “trillium” and then she gushes, “I love the paeonias, we have a lot of doubles, an old, old variety, a light pink with a white center.  We have a lot of “dinner plate” hibiscus, a deep maroon and a bright pink.  They are gorgeous.  What else do I love?” She laughs, “Oh, I love everything.  I adore lupines, snapdragons, cosmos.”

When you ask Maria what her favorite plants are she answers right away, “allium” and pauses “trillium” and then she gushes, “I love the paeonias, we have a lot of doubles, an old, old variety, a light pink with a white center. We have a lot of “dinner plate” hibiscus, a deep maroon and a bright pink. They are gorgeous. What else do I love?” She laughs, “Oh, I love everything. I adore lupines, snapdragons, cosmos.”

Ruth Kirchmeier, Carved by Nature, CAPE COD HOME

Ruth Kirchmeier, Martha's Vineyard woodcut artist and gardenerWhen I met Ruth Kirchmeier I didn’t know she was a woodcut artist but thought  she must be a sculptor of tall columnar things, her garden suggested so with upright narrow hollies and yews. I imagined her hands chipping away at stout totems of wood.  I had the medium right but the art form wrong, instead of totems she chips away at flat fields of pine, cutting into wood visual scenes close to her life such as a simple vignette of her dining room where a forsythia filled vase placed on a red runner radiates with the sun’s energy.

Ruth Kirchmeier, Martha’s Vineyard woodcut artist and gardener
When I met Ruth Kirchmeier I didn’t know she was a woodcut artist but thought she must be a sculptor of tall columnar things, her garden suggested so with upright narrow hollies and yews. I imagined her hands chipping away at stout totems of wood. I had the medium right but the art form wrong, instead of totems she chips away at flat fields of pine, cutting into wood visual scenes close to her life such as a simple vignette of her dining room where a forsythia filled vase placed on a red runner radiates with the sun’s energy.

“I don’t see the difference between making a woodcut and making a garden, you need the skills to cut the wood and make a garden , the same things go into it, placing things so that there is depth and interest and a certain desire to go around the corner and see what’s happening.

“I don’t see the difference between making a woodcut and making a garden, you need the skills to cut the wood and make a garden , the same things go into it, placing things so that there is depth and interest and a certain desire to go around the corner and see what’s happening.

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House plants are welcome winter friends finding places to reside outside come summer.  A topiaried myrtle came to Ruth by way of her dealer, Hermine.  “She has a small gallery nearby, Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art, one winter she asked me to look after her myrtle and I nurtured it and shaped it.  When I brought it back, she asked if I wouldn’t like to keep it permanently.

House plants are welcome winter friends finding places to reside outside come summer. A topiaried myrtle came to Ruth by way of her dealer, Hermine. “She has a small gallery nearby, Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art, one winter she asked me to look after her myrtle and I nurtured it and shaped it. When I brought it back, she asked if I wouldn’t like to keep it permanently.

 

 

Autumn’s Heirlooms

Adventurous in my walking, I studied the growing wood near my home.  Not far from the cliff above Muddy Creek, I found an old cellar hole, nearby a settled pairing of scraggly lilac and apple tree.  A bit further on along the road running east and west of Crow’s Pond in North Chatham near Eastward Ho! I found a number of old timers with out-of reach apples, fruit miniaturized from lack of care.

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Heirloom apples are enjoying a resurgence!  Nantucket Historical Association’s Kathrina Pearl is designing an apple orchard of antique varieties–Rhode Island Greening, Roxbury Russet, Sops of Wine, and a French baking apple from the 1500s, Calville Blanc d’Hiver.  If the deer don’t get them she is looking forward to the day when they can ofter fresh squeezed cider and heirloom apple pies. Debbie and Eric Magnuson of Tiasquin Orchard in West Tisbury sell Macouns, McIntosh, and Liberty apples at Edgartown’s Morning Glory Farm.

Cape Cod Home Magazine

Leslie Baker Island Palette, CAPE COD HOME

Oxeye daisies, perennial sweet peas, and dogs dogs dogs greet me when I arrive at the West Tisbury home of artist, Leslie Baker and her husband, Dr. David Gorenberg.

Oxeye daisies, perennial sweet peas, and dogs dogs dogs greet me when I arrive at the West Tisbury home of artist, Leslie Baker and her husband, Dr. David Gorenberg.

Leslie and David have created ordered edges in the home landscape.  At a friend’s suggestion they built a dry field stone wall.  It slices through the meadow delineating wild places from kept spaces.  Just as Leslie’s landscape paintings evolve around her placement of a horizon line, the wall allows for the same formal framework waiting for a painter’s palette to shape the kept spaces.

Leslie and David have created ordered edges in the home landscape. At a friend’s suggestion they built a dry field stone wall. It slices through the meadow delineating wild places from kept spaces. Just as Leslie’s landscape paintings evolve around her placement of a horizon line, the wall allows for the same formal framework waiting for a painter’s palette to shape the kept spaces.

A Living Tapestry, CAPE COD HOME

Julia Mitchell might be known for her fine tapestries but she also excels as a self taught gardener

Julia Mitchell might be known for her fine tapestries but she also excels as a self taught gardener.

You can find Julia Mitchells tapestries on the web, www.juliamitchelltapestry.com

You can find Julia Mitchells tapestries on the web, http://www.juliamitchelltapestry.com

CCH Julia Mitchell3

CCH Julia Mitchell4