One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Outer Cape Afternoon


Twelve years ago this week, I traveled from the Adirondacks to Provincetown, where I spent ten fantastic days exploring the wilds of the Outer Cape, both in the narrow streets and the dunes.

When the days turn a little cool, I always remember that trip and what fun it was. That trip marked the first real vacation for me as a so-called grown-up, and I remember what a joy it was to spend the week in a place where being gay was the norm, not the exception…and by the end of the week, I recall my face actually hurt a little from all the grinning I was doing.

Also, by this time in September, frost has usually put the gardens of the Adirondacks to bed for the winter…but arriving in PTown, I discovered gardens still blooming their little heads off, if looking a little bedraggled for the recent passing of Hurricane Eduardo.

It was this week that made me fall in love with Cape Cod as a place to make a life and by the end of the week, not only was I a grinning fool, but I realized after leaving for home that I was homesick for the place and I began to lay my plans to move out here. The rest, as they say, is history.

Yesterday was one of those pretty fall days. It started that way, anyway. We were still enjoying the warmer temperatures that Wednesday had featured…but while I was doing laundry in the morning, we had some dark skies and the temperature managed to drop ten degrees…a Canadian cold front, someone who was watching the TV told me.

I was back at the eye Doc, to check up on things, as my eye is taking just a little longer to heal than anticipated, but we were able to see improvement since Tuesday, so I will resume being patient with myself, since it was probably hurrying that caused the injury in the first place.

Meanwhile, it was a late September day and I had a hair appointment in Provincetown, so after the laundry, I spent some time in the office and then hit the road for the Outer Cape.


This bit of wild phlox caught my good eye, growing as well as it was in a tiny little bit of earth between two sections of macadam outside the salon. I moved some of this stuff to Harwich last fall, but it never managed to bloom for me during the summer. I wonder if its doing so now…

I’ve always been impressed with the gardens and plants of Provincetown. The quality of the light is amazing there and so that must encourage plants to do their best, as it also does for painters and other artists. Some of the gardens are narrow little patches in narrow little back or side or front yards…and the results never fail to amaze me.

It’s always fun to ramble around town a bit, enjoying the seaside views and the scent of the sea air and such.

Of course, there’s always a few interesting people and or dogs to be seen in Provincetown.

With cooler temperatures coming to bear, there weren’t any scantily clad beautiful people to enjoy (they have probably headed south for Key West nowas flannel becomes a more popular seasonal choice…), but I enjoyed this dog, who was sharing a bench with its people out on MacMillan Pier.

There wasn’t much in the way of boating activity this time of year, but it was still kind of cool to walk out along the dock and enjoy the sky and the seabirds who were filling it.


Plus, from out at the end of the wharf, you get the most enjoyable views of the town itself.

One of the things I had hoped to do while I was in town was to replace a bit of stained glass I had purchased on that long ago trip, which had recently broken. It was a very simple stained glass rainbow flag, but it always made my heart sing a little as it caught the sun.

I was sad to discover that they no longer make this particular bit of stained glass, though after twelve years (and with PTown becoming a little more exclusive as resorts go, the whole rainbow flag culture has faded a little…as you may recall from my hunt for the sight of one of the flags back in June…)…but as I walked away, I was a little surprised at just how sad I felt about it…

…which is when I remember that this was actually my second day without a nicotine patch (62 days altogether since the last cigarette…), and so as I go through this final stage of withdrawal, I suppose its not unreasonable that I should be an emotional mess. This, too, shall pass. Of course, the Nicodemon isn’t entirely to blame: it was on that long-ago vacation that I also first met Owen, too.




I enjoyed this large frog outside one of the stores on Commercial Street. He’s actually a large vase for the flowers held in his left hand. Pretty cool, huh?

I wandered through some of the shops at the Whalers Wharf complex…just one more representation of the way in which the town has changed in ten years.

Of course, WW used to be a big open area indoors, with a sort of disorganized array of vendors and their relatively inexpensive wares. It was that sort of set-up, I imagine, that allowed the fire that destroyed the place the winter I moved here to take hold and spread so crazily.

While the floors in this new place appear wood-like, they are actually some kind of composite flooring cast to look like wood. I did enjoy the way the hanging gardens looked from the second story, though.

And these steel flowers added a nice counterpart to the cosmos I found blooming a little further down Commercial Street, as I made my way back to the car.

A few weeks back, I made a big deal out of all the things I’d done in the Harwich garden which probably encouraged my sunflowers to “be all they could be”, but I couldn’t live Provincetown without showing you these guys. In just a few scant inches of earth between the street curb and the foundation of this house, these tenacious little fellows are putting on a nice show all their own.



Cape Cod Light, aka, Highland Light, has always been one of my favorite things about the outer Cape and I used to enjoy the way its beam would sweep across the Provincetown night sky.

It was actually a story about the moving of the lighthouse away from the crumbling cliffs above the ocean in Truro that gave me the idea to come to Provincetown on vacation that year long ago…and I’ve always considered this lighthouse a sort of beacon for me.


A nice sunset capped the day.

With forecasts predicting a low of forty degrees possible overnight, I was happy to head home and close some windows in the apartment, and to spend a little time snuggling with my buddy, Badum, who is pretty good at throwing the heat on a cool evening.

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