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."


Greetings, all!

I see no need to bore or repulse you with talk of things post-surgery (plus, if I wait a few more days, it might be funnier, although have no fear, there’ll be no pics of “interesting scars” – it’s simply not that kind of blog), so I thought instead I’d distract us all with some pretty flower pics I’ve been holding in reserve for just this occasion, from some of the many gardens of Provincetown.


I know you are all pretty internet savvy and you may already have done your own Googling or Wiki-ing about this place I keep talking about called Provincetown…here on this other place called Cape Cod, but here at the Midnight Garden, we are sometimes all about the one-stop (or click) blogging and so I thought I’d throw in a little educational component as orientation for anyone who’s maybe newly-arrived to this here blog.


Here’s a satellite view of Cape Cod, a little arm of sand that juts fifty or so miles out into the Atlantic from the eastern edge of the state of Massachusetts (which, for now, I’ll assume you all know is on the east coast of the United States).  From this outer space angle, it is perhaps easier to see and understand that the Cape was formed during the last Ice Age, as the glacier pushed sand and rocks ahead of it on its march south.

The Cape marks the southernmost point of that glacier’s advancement, all that stuff having been left behind when the ice sheets retreated.

Chunks of ice that broke off as the ice melted formed what they call kettle ponds throughout the Cape, some of which can offer a nice alternative to ocean swimming, and all of which support a broad variety of wildlife.

I’ve marked the view a little, for the purpose of additional orientation.   The purple mark way up at the top curl of the Cape indicates the location of this crazy little place called Provincetown.   The green mark, about thirty miles south, indicates roughly the area of my neighborhood.

Here’s an aeriel view of Provincetown and it’s naturally deep harbor (the second deepest on the east coast, after New York, in fact).   You can see here that the town is all clustered along the harbor shore, and is really only a few “blocks” deep.


When I first vacationed in Provincetown, I was a fledgling gardener from the Adirondack Mountains of New York state (USDA planting zone 3).  I arrived in Ptown for the third week of September, by which point my home gardens had already been put to bed for the season by hard frost and a few snow flurries.

But I arrived in this coastal town on the edge of the continent to discover gardens everywhere.   They were a little stormworn, having just weathered a near pass from Hurricane Eduardo, but were still in full bloom:  marigolds, impatiens, mums, cosmos, petunias, cleome, morning glories, roses, nasturtiums, bachelors buttons and more were spilling out of garden beds all over town, their colors echoing the multitude of rainbow flags flapping on the seabreeze.


And I remember this touched me more than anything:  white sweet allyssum grew like weeds, pouring out of the least pavement cracks all over town and perfuming the salty sea air with its honeyed fragrance.  You’d be correct in assuming it was love at first sight.


Here was USDA coastal zone 7, a magical bit of New England real estate where the growing season is extended long into the autumn by the warm ocean waters around it and the planting possibilities are similar to those further down the coast in the Carolinas.












Comments on: "Provincetown: Gardening on the Edge (Pt. 1)" (5)

  1. Thanks for the geography / history lesson of your area and blog. I found it very interesting and loved the pictures.

  2. It was nice to read about your “love at first sight”, surprisingly I have this feeling I know your little half-island already very well because of your blog, I know I’m most late with my wishes, but nevertheless I wish you a good recovery.

  3. i hear it’s extremely expensive to live there though, that real estate prices are through the roof. then again, it’s moot to me being a canadian and all.

    the place where we have that kind of weather is a whole lot further west on the other coast. i’d think of moving there but they have mountains and i’d miss my lingering sunrises and sunsets that the prairies are famous for.

  4. Provincetown is really beautiful. Hope your recovery is going well too.

  5. So is that what led you to move to the cape? Love the geography bits.

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