An old friend came by last Thursday to pick up his Star, shaking himself like a wet Lab as he hurried through the door. Outside, a monsoon was raging.
"Star shines for all, eh?" he roared. "Doesn't look like it out there!"
No, and it hadn't for what seemed like weeks. Day after gray May day of mizzle and drizzle, interrupted only by a few really torrential downpours.
"May was full of promises," as the "Carousel" chorus sang, "but she didn't keep 'em quick enough for some/ and a crowd of Doubtin' Thomases/ was predictin' that June'd never come . . ."
June came, all right, bringing more of the same, with cool nighttime temperatures that left callow seedlings, wet behind the ears and everywhere else, cowering close to the soil. Was there a silver lining to be had?
Yes, there was -- actually, a green one. The rains not only jump-started lettuce, asparagus, snap peas, and other green cool-weather crops, but also created the most verdant public gardens to be seen here in years. Right now, before it gets hot and dry, is the best time to spend half an hour admiring one of these little gems, three of which are within easy walking distance of each other in East Hampton Village.
Start at the Mimi Meehan Native Plant Garden, on Main Street between the Star and Clinton Academy. Don't let the gate deter you -- we've seen too many people standing in front of it, looking longingly at the native plantings and inviting benches beyond. Push the gate open and walk on in! It's free.
So is the 2-year-old Victorian-era garden at the beautifully restored home of the artists Thomas and Mary Nimmo Moran at 229 Main Street. A broad border filled with colorful and fragrant flowers runs by the house, which is opposite the South End Burying Ground, where Thomas and Mary are buried.
Just across Main Street at Mulford Farm is another free Eden called Rachel's Garden, an 18th-century "dooryard" garden featuring herbal plants used by colonists for cooking, dyeing, housekeeping, and healing. Visitors can stroll around the Moran garden and Rachel's even if the historic buildings are closed.
Finally, here's one we've probably all hurried by a few times without noticing. Next time you have business at Town Hall, check out the pollinator garden outside. It's home to plants that attract bees and other pollen movers-and-shakers, including milkweed, mountain mint, hardy geranium, and chokecherry. Right now, it is looking hale and hearty and happy, and -- thanks to the rains and the East Hampton Garden Club, which maintains all these public spaces -- green, green, green.