Winter wonder

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Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

Until meeting naturalist Mary Anne Borge recently, I was one of those people who write off winter as brown, ugly and not worth paying attention to, at least from a gardening standpoint. Then Mary Anne took me on a three-hour winter walk through Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope. I now see winter so differently. I've been noticing the skeletons of trees, the texture and color of their bark, their outline against the sky, the light, the berries, almost everything I used to ignore or not truly see.  Mary Anne's right. Winter is a beautiful time of year, in part because we gardeners get to rest but in large measure because everything looks so different. This is a mahonia bush in my front garden. How interesting it is, and how odd it seems to find bright green out there at the end of December. It was one of many discoveries I made last week on vacation. Another was a patch of sage out in the otherwise dormant vegetable garden poking through the snow. It was put to excellent use in a new recipe for dinner. Isn't vacation great? I'd like more, please. 

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