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Report From PIA – April 9

Yes, we want what we want, and nature sometimes says “No.”  This was on my mind when I did a garden consultation today for some folks who lived next to the ocean. They have a beautiful view, and a windy, seaside exposure, so the palette of plants that will withstand their cold, off-ocean wind is limited.

My clients were more accepting than most when I told them that they might have to compromise on plant selection. I’m often put in the position of explaining that there are exactly zero plants that meet my customer’s criteria.

I’m not disparaging anyone’s desire to have the ideal landscape, however. It’s actually rather sweet that we all want those bloom all summer, evergreen shrubs that won’t grow to big and will take whatever growing conditions we place them in. We want to be surrounded by beauty and would like our landscapes to thrive.

At the same time, it’s good that we can’t always get what we want. We humans would be prone to screwing it all up…as Walt Kelly’s character Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We’re in partnership with Mother Nature in the garden and it’s probably good that she has the controlling interest.

Everything is connected to everything else, and having to find the right plant to place in every location keeps us more aware of that.

We all wish our rhododendrons would be in bloom like these at Heritage Museums and Gardens for the entire year. Would we still see them if these colorful flowers were there 12 months a year?

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