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This past summer was one of record-breaking rainfall in my corner of Western Massachusetts — our dirt road washed out three times, and our garden soil was too wet to work much of the time. I can’t do much about my road, other than express my gratitude to the town crew that put it right. But I can adapt my garden, with the help of Ginny Stibolt and Sue Reed’s book, "Climate-Wise Landscaping."

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These days, columnist Thomas Christopher is much more selective in what flowers he deadheads and what he doesn't. He doesn't plant as many annuals as he used to, and he is skeptical about the supposed benefits preventing perennials from setting seed. What he has become keenly aware of in recent years is the very real benefits that can accrue from letting flowers run to seed.

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Nancy DuBrule-Clemente doesn’t use chemicals to control weeds.  Instead, as I learned when I visited her home garden recently, she manages her plantings in such a way as to minimize the weeds’ opportunities. She plants closely so that as her plantings mature, leaf touches leaf, and she carpets the ground with aggressive groundcovers that fill the soil with their roots, so that there is no room for weeds.