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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – January 31

I have an unfortunate tendency to horde photographs. Oh, I’m not talking about old family photos in shoeboxes, I’m talking about digital images in my photo library. There are far, far too many near duplicates and slightly-out-of-focus (so probably unusable) shots taking up memory on my computer.

Every once in a while I make a stab at clearing them out, but I invariably come across shots like the one below. I don’t have an in-focus shot of the same scene…what if I need this in the future?

As I paged through the library today I realized that there isn’t a clear call here. One part of me says, “Trash it! These photos are less then perfect, and are unlikely to be used…ever,” while another part thinks, “I might need a photo of this plant, unfocused or not, sometime in the future.”

What I realized tonight is that both approaches are valid. This shot is blurry, yes, but it’s nevertheless useful to illustrate a conversation about the layering of plants.

Too frequently we think that plants need to be kept apart, yet growing vines up trees or on shrubs, to name just one example, can be an attractive use of plant characteristics and space. Layering plants creates a richer landscape.

There are many layers to just about every aspect of life. From the pros and cons of sorting a photo library to the advantages of placing a rich and diverse strata of plants in the garden, there is no one right way and everything is usually more complex than it first appears.

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