Floral Notes: Losses and gains

Community Columnist

— Nearby, the babies with jaundice are placed under bili lights, and the overhead florescent fixtures are even lowered. Parade Magazine spread the news with a lead article one Sunday.

Loss is part of every facet of life. You can and must grieve — but revisiting the pain — like reopening a wound trying to heal, is not learning the lesson.

Each life teaches us how to, or not to, live and we can honor those who leave us by taking on their banners and helping their families go on.

As I walked to the compost pile last week, I saw the white pine I’d planted 10 years ago had also suddenly died. This was a blow, as on the other end of that border, five lovely pink “James MacFarlane” lilacs had succumbed to disease this past fall.

The new empty areas, raw to an eye used to the tall screen they had been to my parking circle, took getting accustomed to. But with time, new possibilities will come to mind.

A garden, especially in our weather, changes every winter. We technically are in Zone 4, but with a good snow cover and clever placement, can try to grow Zone 5 plants. I will try something I really want three times, varying its habitat, either wetter, drier, shadier or sunnier.

Every plant lost, to disease or cold, is an opportunity to learn from.

Give up, say you have a black thumb and this is fruitless or see the challenge of making beauty from bleakness.

Every tree or perennial that falls victim makes a space for a new combination, maybe an even nicer one. I won’t coddle the plants that can’t cut the Cazenovia climate. They go to the compost pile to then help the living in the future.

I had a design client who promised the former owner of her home that she would never change things and so was favored over another buyer.

I don’t believe the original owner, if she was a true gardener, believed that something so ephemeral a thing as a landscape can not change.

That’s life.

Nancy Hook is an avid gardener and an active member of the Cazenovia Garden Club. She can be reached through the organization’s website, cazenoviagardenclub.com.

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