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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – February 8

Life is always rich, although some of what contributes to that fullness is admittedly difficult. Winter seems to stretch on and on, and my husband and I deal with the stresses of living with a parent with dementia. All of this is balanced by good friends, satisfying work, a happy dog, and garden photographs as reminders that cycles by definition come full circle, and spring will once again return.

Our connections to the land, to beauty and to each other comfort and sustain us. Or at least they do me. Can I assume that no matter what you struggle with, that there are places, people and plants that lift you up as well?

Tonight I turned to my photo library and found an image of a plant that was new to me last season: Liatris microcephala. I admired this dwarf blazing star for the texture of the bright green foliage alone…when it flowers, I feel like I’ve gotten a two-for-one bargain. What? Grassy leaves, short in height and purple flowers? Amazing.

I planted three last summer and I’m thinking that I need at least one other cluster of this delightful perennial. Remembering how this Liatris looked, and dreaming about where else it could be planted, warms me, even in February.

This is the time of year when we can truly know the importance of gardens and gardening: they keep us focused on growth, discovery and our blessings.

These are first-year plants in my lakeside perennial garden - can't you just imagine how this corner will look when they spread and fill out? How did people survive the winter before garden photography?

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