February 19th, 2009

Turning the Corner

bio_debbieIn between cold snaps and periods of constant rain, I go outside and see signs that spring is around the corner. Green leaves of extra-early China Pink garlic poke through the mulch.

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Swollen buds of wintersweet (Chimonanthus) open demurely as a precursor of spring’s exuberance.

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I’m always disappointed that the Chinese witch hazel that I planted years ago holds onto its leaves so that its fragrant blooms can only be appreciated up close while swaddled in rain gear.

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To appreciate the true magnificence of the witch hazels in bloom, I took a trip to Seattle to visit the winter garden at the Washington Park Arboretum, associated with the University of Washington. Many hardy folks treated themselves to a weekend morning outing, many with our happy dogs, despite frozen fingers and toes. From afar, colors were muted, but massed in a way that dazzled our winter senses.

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Get up close and we could appreciate the color, be amazed by the bloom’s structure and find the sweet scent.

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But even more, one sees how gardens really are about so much more than flowers.

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