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A Gardening Life – January 17

Whether you leave your shrubs to fend for themselves or protect them from heavy snow and ice with ties, burlap, wire cages or other support, there will be times when winter weighs the branches down. If you live in an area that gets snow and ice, it’s unavoidable. It’s a natural response to rush to help; we go out after a storm and shake limbs, brush foliage with gloved hands, or sweep shrubbery with brooms. “The heavy snow might bend and break branches,” we fret.

It’s true…winter weather often causes shrubs and trees to bend, lean, or flatten. Sometimes branches break or the shape of plants becomes altered. Our first reaction is to want to make our plants upright and perfect again and this is fine when possible. But in some instances, and after some storms, it’s impractical to clean, dust, or right the plants.

In such cases I remind myself to look at old plants and landscapes and notice that it’s often those odd, bent limbs and trunks that are most appealing. They have character and true interest. How many times do we not give a straight tree trunk a second look because the plant with the zig zag, curvy form is so much more interesting?

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