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Is it time to try something new in the garden?

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Courtesy of Lois J. de Vries.

(Read caption) Brilliant fall colors spark up this breakfast tray, warming up a chilly fall morning. It was an entry at a regional Garden Club of New Jersey flower show.

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Do you ever feel as if your gardening creativity has reached a plateau? Like you’re in a rut?

The flip side of expressing your personality in the garden is that it’s like constantly looking in a mirror. There comes a time when it seems that there are no more surprises, and the fun drains out of a favorite pastime.

That can leave you feeling bored, frustrated, and worried that you may have exhausted all your creative ideas.

Thoughts such as these are signals that it’s time to get out the inspirational exercise equipment and do some mental gymnastics.

One approach that will stretch your horticultural muscles is to explore some aspect of gardening that’s unfamiliar to you. This could be something as academic as studying plant genetics and beginning a breeding program, or as simple as starting a collection of miniature African violets.

A visit to a flower show

For me, it entailed a recent trip to see a regional Garden Club of New Jersey flower show. I’ve browsed flower shows at big garden events before and rubbed elbows with tall bearded jurors (the irises, not the judges), but this was the first time that I went just to see the floral designs.

Interestingly, I was drawn to three different displays that featured the color orange – a color I’ve always disliked. What I learned was that it really depends – on the shade of orange, how much of it there is, and what other colors are combined with it.

The exhibits had all been carefully constructed and set up to reflect a specific theme, and the judges had left their comment cards for all to read. (It was instructive to learn how differently people view the same scene.)

In their own way, flower shows are every bit as complex as breeding or collecting plants, with strict rules and protocols that entrants must follow. One little slip-up could cost a participant the blue ribbon.

Balancing dedication with humor


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