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Plantidote of the Day 2011-02-21

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Correntian Eureka Springs shot this late winter scene of two birds in a budding poplar tree during a recent break in the bad weather. His striking image (click on it for a larger version -- so beautiful!) arrived just as I was reading about the work of Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf, who creates gardens that are meant to be aesthetically pleasing all year, including during the "long nap."

The garden in winter is an emotional experience. You think in terms of decay and disappearing and coming back. You feel the life cycle of nature.

Oudolf is considered one of the leaders of the New Perennials landscape movement. His four-season gardens invite a new way of thinking about plants, beauty and the significance of life cycles.

People don't realize plants can be beautiful after flowering, and they cut them down before they can even see it .... If you make a four-season garden you have to learn to accept decay and see the beauty of it. It's about the texture and shape, the seed heads and the skeletons. So instead of using the scissors you use your eyes.

If you're having a hard time imagining how a winter landscape could be anything other than dismal, please take a minute to click on the first link above and check out the slide show of Oudolf's work. I think it might change your mind.
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Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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Click on the image for the full-size version. Click here to see the entire series.

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