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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – December 27

I’m almost two weeks out from my hip replacement operation, and although things are going well, I am limited in what I can do. The rounds of exercises, icing, and elevating the leg are time consuming and tiring. And then there’s the weather.

A nor’easter hit yesterday, keeping even the physically able indoors. I’ve always enjoyed such snowstorms because it’s one of the few times when everything stops. A storm forces us to pause and view the world from a different perspective.

Since I’m unable to trudge through the snow with my camera, I find interesting vantage points to shoot pictures from the windows and doorways. This reinforces the wisdom of thinking of the design of a garden according to how that landscape will be viewed from assorted perspectives.

Too many traditional American yards are designed for how they’ll be seen from the road. A broad stretch of lawn, perhaps containing a tree or two, ends in foundation plantings around the house, and that’s it. Such landscapes will be pretty boring for those who are housebound.

In situations that alter our normal routines, it’s tempting to focus on what we can’t do. Our power is out right now, and I can’t post this to the blog, check my email or do any cooking. While my leg is healing I can’t drive, lift bags of potting soil or do much standing.

I can, however, write as long as the computer’s battery holds out, and once that’s gone I can read or even write longhand. I can rehearse for upcoming talks, watch the action at the bird feeder, take photos from the windows, and appreciate the warmth of the wood stove.

The snow reminds me that yards and gardens should be designed to be interesting from a variety of viewpoints, both expansive and limited. Healing from surgery causes me to think about the work I can do, despite limitations.

I'm liking the small spots of color the bells provide. They aren't so bright or large that it's jarring in this mostly black-and-white winter scene, but they do add that extra bit of interest.

I'm also appreciating those areas that are very stark. The snow on the stone walls, fence and raspberry supports is lovely.

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