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  • John Markowski

A Photo a Day - Day 33

For those of you who don't know, I'm an avid gardener. And this avid gardener battles awful growing conditions here in Central New Jersey year after year. I've killed more plants than I'd like to admit but it comes with the territory. And that territory is poorly drained, consistently water logged soil inundated with shale near the surface. Shale that will slice your arm and send you to the hospital for stitches. When no one else is home. And you just took the day off to do nothing but garden. On a beautiful June morning.

But the battle has transformed me as a gardener. I've learned to only plant and grow what can survive these conditions.

Embrace the limitations and narrow down the palette.

In a way it's easier. When a plant label states, "Requires good drainage" I run. At the nursery, I kick all the pretty flowering plants out of my way and head for the thugs. When I shop online I click the "likes it wet" option and watch as the list narrows down to one page.

Through it all, one category of plants has sustained me here the past sixteen and a half years. They are battle tested, resourceful and damn if they aren't beautiful all year round. Even in the winter when all the wimpy plants have given up.

And they flower to boot.

I give you, the ornamental grass.

Beauty, eh? You may not realize it, but there are five different grasses in this one shot.

And for the first time since we've moved in, we've found another way to take advantage of these proud and selfless grasses.

Tune in tomorrow ...

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