The island of Nantucket is an upscale destination for summer vacationers, history and nature buffs, celebrities, preppy second-home owners, romantic couples, and anglers.
In the summer, the population expands from less than 10,000 permanent residents to more than 50,000 people.
But apart from its perfectly preserved lighthouses, pre-civil war buildings and infrastructure, rose-covered gray cedar shake cottages, and endless pristine beaches, the island also charms visitors with its natural beauty. The local authorities and the residents are fastidiously conserving the native flora and fauna.
If you have spent a week in a charming Nantucket house, you have probably been astonished by the unique charm of its garden.
Also, if you have walked the famous Sconset Bluff Walk, you have most likely been fascinated by the manicured yards and gardens. The blooming gardens surround the iconic weathered gray cedar shake cottages, covered with roses.
Even when walking through the historic downtown, the blooming hydrangeas and other flowers will greet you everywhere. You will see them in planters on the cobblestone streets and in window boxes on just about every window.
The colorful hydrangeas may seem like the most predominant flowers grown around the island. But there are many other annuals and perennials grown in Nantucket.
Most of them are native to the island. This is something that the Nantucket Garden Club and conservation organizations widely commend.
This small island is also a host of several gardening and horticulture festivals and events. These include the annual Daffodil Festival and Flower Show, which are held every April, or the Art and Blooms Gallery Walk in July, as well as the local Community Green Thumb Flower Show. In November, you can participate in the Annual House and Garden Tour, which will take you around some of the most beautiful gardens on the island.
If you are like most people who instantly fall in love with this island, you may want to bring some of that magic back home with you. So, why not create your own Nantucket-inspired garden?
Here are some tips for designing and caring for a garden that will remind you of those stunning gardens on the New England island.
Choose native plants and pollinators
The idea of the conservation initiatives and the garden club in Nantucket to promote the growth of native plants is to preserve the island’s distinctive natural look and ecosystem. And also to limit the use of pesticides and chemicals and save water.
The logic behind this is that these traditional plants and flowers are already used to Nantucket’s specific climate and environment. Thus, they don’t need chemicals or too much watering to protect themselves against pests and diseases and to grow and bloom.
If you want to do something similar, find your local gardening club or similar organization, and find out which plants are native to your area.
But if you are determined to design your garden in a way that will remind you of the ones in Nantucket, add some typical flowers and plants grown there too.
These include luscious hydrangeas, geraniums, asters, irises, lilies, primroses, bonesets, goldenrods, milkweeds, and others.
Of course, for a complete Nantucket-inspired garden, you can set up some trellises around or on the façade of your house and plant climbing roses.
For an authentic look, you can plant some of the typical roses which are grown in Siasconset and in the rest of Nantucket. They are New Dawn, Climbing Iceberg, Eden, Sally Holmes, Zepherine Drouhin, Golden Showers, American Pillar, and Blaze.
Also, make sure to plant some pollinator plants to create a nature-friendly habitat. It will attract bees and other beneficial insects, butterflies, and birds. You can create a separate pollinator area or spread such plants all around your Nantucket-inspired garden.
To stay true to the nature-conservation efforts of the Nantucket residents, refrain from using any chemicals and pesticides, especially in the pollinator area.
Strive for a more laid-back and natural look
The philosophy of the authorities and the people of Nantucket is that the architecture, the gardens, and all other human creations should blend into the island’s natural beauty rather than stand out.
If you want your garden to be true to this idea, allow your plants and flowers to grow more freely and loosely rather than trimming and planting them in straight lines, rectangular, or other rigid shapes.
Make sure that there are more natural curves, and let your plants grow more freely so that they blend into the environment.
You may also want to forget about that perfect green lawn and choose turf, which requires little or no irrigation or fertilizing, depending on where you live. This is something that the Nantucket Garden Club has been trying to promote for years.
Create a quiet relaxation area
Even if your outdoor space is tiny, you can add a dedicated corner or area as a relaxation spot.
Depending on the space you have, you can add some comfortable chairs, a bench, a table, or any other garden furniture you want.
Surround your relaxation zone with beautiful shrubs, flowers, and plants. This will allow you to have a magical place to enjoy the beauty of your garden and be one with nature.
For a more Nantucket-like feel, you may even create a path covered with white seashells, just like that famous walking trail in Siasconset.
Don’t be afraid to add different colors
Don’t be afraid to add different sorts of flowers, plants, and colors to your garden. Feel free to experiment with the various flower and color combinations. You can mix up some pink and blue hydrangeas with red geraniums, or yellow lilies, for example.
Since your garden will be evolving year after year, you can always replant and reposition certain flowers and plants. And You can try out new combinations every year.
Add window boxes and outdoor planters
To bring your home closer to nature and to make your house look like a Nantucket home, you can add some outdoor planters and window boxes with blooming flowers.
Once again, feel free to experiment with the color and flower combinations. But keep in mind each flower’s different light and water needs before deciding which window it is suitable for.