Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

June 14, 2014

In the Garden 06-15-14

Delightful discoveries

Often it is in the mundane tasks the enjoyment of gardening is experienced.

For those of us with large gardens or little leisure time, daily or even weekly “detailing” of each flowerbed can quickly become overwhelming, yet the details extend further than maintenance.  

Gardens should be multisensual, feeding all parts of those who enter. In focusing on the details I often find unexpected joy, a few giggles, and spiritual lifts that make the big picture bountiful as well as bearable. The past spring has allowed me little time in my personal horticultural haven. (Nevertheless I am blessed to have gardens wherever I go!)  

Early one morning, a little before dawn I walked outside to put out the trash. Neglecting to put on my garden slip-on shoes, I felt the cool, moist dew on my feet. I'd forgotten dew was a thing I enjoyed.  

The next morning I walked onto the patio for a cup of tea. A kaleidoscope of form and color filled my eyes as I drank in the subtle changes from a month before. New roses opened on my right, pink and blue sunrise to the east; barren shrubs' branches burst into flower. Each turn of my head brought a new view and focused my attention on the detail in each slice of my garden.  

One of the great things about gardening … plants to be specific is there is always a new treasure waiting to be “discovered.” Even in this 21st century new species of life are still being encountered on earth. Most of you as avid plantsmen and women can relate to the excitement of unearthing a new plant to try in the garden. Often a “new” plant is one that I have only read about other times it is one I overlooked or had forgotten was in my garden!

The same happens occasionally with my potted plants.

I reuse all but the worst soil in containers to fill the bottom of larger pots. (The “worst” goes into an outside planting area with organic fertilizer to reclaim its life.)  

Anyway, months may pass after transplanting indoor plants when suddenly a dormant bulb or piece of root of a plant I counted lost will sprout and begin flourishing.

As with all discoveries, I am thrilled to have the “lost” join (or re-join) my menagerie of plants!

This year’s unexpected guest is a tub of crisp, white petunia volunteers from the previous gardener at my new home.

No matter what your livelihood, discovery is a delightful thing!  

LeeAnn Barton has worked with nurseries for more than 20 years. She digs in the dirt in Stillwater. Direct questions to her by emailing

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