Going to the beach after Labor Day in the Northeast is a privilege and/or a gamble. This year, Long Island has had temperatures in the low to mid-70s, with low humidity and a fresh breeze. Not beach weather for most people! The life guards have gone, and swimming is discouraged if not forbidden on many ocean beaches. But wet-suited surfers wait off shore for a good wave; some people still sit on the sand and grab some rays, but more families now walk the beaches than sit on them…
East of Riverhead, the quiet waters and sandy beaches of Peconic Bay separate the North and South Forks of eastern Long Island – the small towns of Mattituck, Cutchogue, Southold, Greenport and Orient amid the rural farmlands on the north; to the south, the mansions and estates of the rich in Sag Harbor, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton and Montauk .
Mattituck town beach, where families can still enjoy a sunny July day, looks south on Great Peconic Bay, with Shelter Island to its east. The small fishing harbor at New Suffolk now shelters mostly pleasure boats.
Eliza, Judy, Catherine – New England gardeners – what variety of hydrangea is this? Large leaves with purple edges, pink/white flowers. I have not seen this one before, but have just inherited it from the previous homeowner… I think a sunnier location might yield more blooms.
Mid-July, 85 degrees, Sunday afternoon. What better than a trip to the beach! Long Island offers 50+ miles of Atlantic ocean beaches, and for those who like quieter water, Long Island Sound on the Island’s north shore.
The 4th of July is past, and summer moves on in the flower beds. Pale pink Astilbe, Coneflower, New Guinea Impatiens, Begonia, purple Petunia all add to the changing palette. Hydrangea struggle to bloom after being cut back too far last Fall, but Forsythia rejoices in being cut back late this June.
Many trees in our area of eastern LI have been defoliated by this year’s brood of Gypsy Moth and Eastern Tent caterpillars. Oaks are their favorite, but many ornamental fruit trees are now also bare. This is the second year in what is typically a 2-3 year infestation, followed by a rapid drop in population. A roughly 10-year cycle of major infestation is common in this area of NY/New England.
Despite their almost total defoliation, most mature deciduous trees survive these three-year attacks (not so the conifers in the rare years they are infested). Indeed the oaks typically grow a new set of leaves in July after the May-June defoliation! So we are now witnessing a strange combination of pines and fully leafed maples interspersed with bare oaks, some sporting new leaves. Summer, Fall and a Second Spring all at one time!