Martha's Vineyard, MA Open Day

Martha's Vineyard, MA Open Day

Sat, May 25, 2019
10:00 AM- 3:00 PM

The garden is located on approximately 4.5 acres and was started in 2002, so many of the plantings are still relatively young. The largest, most mature rhodies are close to sixteen years old. It is located in a low area between two sets of hills to the north and south, crisscrossed by old stone walls. Although the plot was originally heavily wooded, and the soil is acidic, the high water table is a problem for growing rhododendrons. Native species to this area are highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), cinnamon and royal fern (Osmunda cinnamomea and O. regalis), summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum), holly and inkberry (Ilex opaca and I. glabra), sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), and a “river” of skunk cabbage along the stream under a canopy of tall pitch pines (Pinus rigida), red and white oak, beetlebung or tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) and swamp maples (Acer rubrum). The latter two have shallow root systems that compete with the plantings for moisture and nutrients. This area is dominated by a 60-foot-tall Metasequoia.

There are also spring ephemeral plantings, which likely will have gone past (anemone, star flower). There are two man-made ponds with water lilies and water hyacinth. There are lots of frogs, turtles, and a stressed-out goldfish population (predation by otters, ospreys, herons). Main plant species collections include rhodies, Japanese maples, and hydrangeas, with smaller groupings of mountain laurels (mostly from Broken Arrow Nursery) and tree peonies.

We have a substantial number of Dexter rhodies, bred for the maritime Cape Cod climate, many of which are fragrant! In the fencedin yard behind the house are two large herbaceous perennial beds, two mature apple trees, a small grouping of fruit trees, hydrangea row, Satsuki azaleas, mature yak hybrids, Kalmia, and several Stewartia. The main rhodie plantings total over 1,400 hybrids and species. They extend away from the house along the driveway, a large area near the left of the lower pond, and a smaller grouping on the other side of the pond. The two nurseries contain over 300 seedlings and plants from many sources. A grove of more than a dozen beetlebungs (Nyssa sylvatica) has been turned into a “damp garden” of ferns planted among stumps carried in from the woods, and other shade/moisture-loving plants like Arisaema (check out the Arisaema sikokianum with a pure white spathe and striped hood), Trillium, and Epimedium. Please be careful of the many surface roots, courtesy of the maples and beetlebungs. Some of the paths, especially in the seedling nurseries, are very narrow, and only one person at a time can pass. We really enjoy it when visitors are motivated to ask us questions about the garden.

Read more here about Garden Host Peter Norris and his rhododendron obsession via Martha's Vineyard magazine!

Directions: Three miles west (sign to Menemsha) of intersection of North Road and State Road. Go 0.25 mile past Tea Lane to Blueberry Ridge Lane on left. Garden entrance is 0.25 mile on right. Cars must park near deer gate, which will lower as car passes over it. Limited 10 cars at one time.

Open Days 2019: May 25
Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission to this garden is $10 per person and children 12 and under are free.

Don't forget to buy discounted admission tickets in advance. They can be used at most Open Days to make garden visiting easier.
Nonmembers get 6 visits for the price of 5 with advanced ticket book purchase.  
Members get 50% off ONLY by purchasing ticket books in advance.

  • Blueberry Ridge Garden
    Blueberry Ridge Garden

    The garden is located on approximately 4.5 acres and was started in 2002, so many of the plantings are still relatively young. The largest, most mature rhodies are close to sixteen years old...

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