Earthshaking news came sailing across my desk the other day: Connecticut is getting warmer! Yes, that old USDA map is under attack by some who think Zone 5B no longer exists and—are you ready?—that Zone 7 has reached into the Nutmeg State! I know what you're thinking: quel horreur! Well, not really. Sure, a few intrepid gardeners have pushed the limit and successfully grown such exotic specimens as the basjoo banana (really!) and the angel trumpet. But for most of us, a few tried-and-true perennials, a scattering of ol' reliable annuals (maybe in containers) and a few sturdy evergreens for structure make a perfect landscape. A perfect landscape for you.
Our recent remodeling project has given my husband and me an opportunity to start over in the garden. No longer will we be held to the previous owner's tastes. Sure, designing a garden can be a little overwhelming, but I view it as an opportunity to be wonderfully creative. Like decorating your home, the garden should be a reflection of your style. Unlike the indoors, however, it is open to everyone that passes by—and perhaps that's what is so scary. Your garden, after all, is one of the most public faces you can present to the world. We all have neighbors whose plots simply must contain the latest and greatest (or at least what was shown at the Philadelphia Flower Show).
Recently, I came across The Wild Braid by Stanley Kunitz (with Genine Lentine), the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who recently died at age 100. In this moving volume, he reflects on a century in his seaside garden. His words sum up my own affection for the garden. Kunitz points out that in the beginning the garden holds infinite possibilities; it represents a selection not only of the individual plants we consider to be beautiful but a synthesis that creates a new kind of beauty. What you plant in your garden reflects your own sensibility, your own concept of beauty, your own sense of form.
So, as gardeners across Connecticut anxiously await a new year, ponder these words from the great poet and gardener in his poem, "The Round": "I can scarcely wait until tomorrow / when a new life begins for me, / as it does each day, / as it does each day."
Editor in Chief
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