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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – March 1

I did my first garden consultation of the season today. Yes, it was cold but at least it wasn’t snowing. The condo association that I met with was interested in some possible plantings for an area along the driveway where three large trees had recently been removed.

The clients and I discussed various options from upright evergreens to deciduous trees. I wasn’t surprised when they leaned toward the evergreens, but I think that I got my point across when advocating for various lesser known trees. “You really should consider a Stewartia,” I told them.

Back at Poison Ivy Acres, I walked around the property with my camera and it came as no surprise that one of the plants catching my attention was my Stewartia. All winter the buds on this tree are pronounced with a silvery glow. It truly is, as I mentioned to my clients, a four-season tree. I’ll admit that the appeal in the winter is subtle, however. This plant isn’t standing smack in front of you with green, green, green foliage, as other plants are, no matter how winter-worn they may be.

Winter and the creeping-toward-spring seasons ask that we look more closely. They are seasons of subtleties, and they ask that we pay attention and not be so demanding of the obvious. As such, we should be grateful for the times that are less hospitable and obvious.

Some seasons, plants and situations ask that we open our eyes and apply a greater awareness. Are you ready and willing?

The Stewartia in my yard isn't old enough to display the peeling bark we so love on this tree. Nevertheless, it is elegant as the late-winter sun catches the silvery buds.


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