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In gardening, as in life, it’s easy to get stuck in the weeds. It’s easy to focus on the unwelcome clumps of grass and dandelions, the bugs, and the Hostas behind the garage that aren’t coming back.

We gardeners have to remind ourselves that the garden is there to enjoy. It’s a place to bathe our eyes in beauty; inhale the scent of the ground, the trees, the plants and their flowers; and absorb the steady thrum of nature all around us.

It’s true that sometimes what we have doesn’t live up to our vision, but what in life ever does?

So after spending these past weeks lingering in life’s doldrums, I decided to back away from my desk, pick up my camera, and admire what is growing all around me.

Here is a wide view of our back garden, painstakingly dug out of an established lawn.  It took a couple of seasons to remove all the grass, (which continues to fight its way back in). I love it best in spring when it is a sea of blues and greens, punctuated with a smattering of winey red.

Just look at these Bleeding Hearts. Doesn’t their amazing shape and pure color make your own heart go pit-a-pat?

So many shades of ivory.

And here is some Solomon’s Seal getting ready to unfurl its string of pearls. These plants, along with some May Apple came from Marilyn, my neighbor at the Hawthorne Inn. These plants were already 50 years old when she first brought them down from Maine 35 years ago.

Oooh and there’s my Painted Fern! I always keep my fingers crossed that it will return each year.

The longer I’ve gardened, the more I’ve come to value the foliage as much as the flower. The leaves have to be interesting, because they are what you see for most of the growing season.

These Japanese Anemones are one example. They provide texture all summer. Then in the fall, they sprout their deep pink and white flowers. A lovely surprise when everything else in the garden has started to fade.

Lady’s Mantle leaves love to cup rainwater and dew, but they are experiencing an unusually dry spring. These plants came from Kathleen’s garden.

Like the Lady’s Mantle, this Yarrow from my friend Connie will eventually sport flat hats of yellow flowers. But it is already giving off its own musky scent. In fact, that aroma stopped me cold the first spring after I’d planted it, when I took it for a weed and almost pulled it out.

My friend Beverly, gardener extraordinaire, who lives in a little cottage down the street, shared some European Ginger with me a few years ago. It won’t bloom at all, but the sight of those crisp, shiny leaves can really cool you down on a hot day.

It’s so much easier to get stuck in the weeds/doldrums than it is to pull oneself out. But as any gardener knows, growing a garden takes persistance, care, and a bit of faith. You have to plant seeds, water, and pay attention. Eventually roots will form and something wonderful will emerge from the soil.

This sign is a gift from Carol, one of our oldest friends. Whenever I feel as though no one else gets me, she always does.

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