Wednesday, July 8, 2009


An age-old gardening question -- is the garden a sum total of all its parts? Most will answer yes. And it is. Mostly.

That's the beauty of gardening -- the melding of color with texture, hardscape with yard art, long-blooming botanical warriors with short-lived floral flibbertigibbets. It takes time -- and effort -- to arrive at the right balance of color and space.
But there is a pay-off : For me, it's the the end of the day when the garden is almost animated -- a gentle, dusky palette of colors bobbing and swaying gently in a light breeze.

But, recently, I discovered a new pay-off -- dead heading, or the process of picking off dead blooms to encourage new ones. I was dutifully flying through a perennial bed a few weeks back when I accidentally snipped off a healthy bud. I held it in my hand for a moment and, for the first time in a long time, actually looked carefully at a single flower in bloom.
It was a wondrous composition of angle, curve and color -- a type of transient perfection that we can often miss when we look at our gardens as just a sum total.

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