Herd in the News: The Deer Went Over the Mountains

To: Gail
Location: Clay and Limestone, Tennessee
RE: Cease and Desist

Dearest Gail,

I showed "my deer family" the photo and documents that you posted. As you can see from the photo, they were ecstatic to learn that their relatives have made the trip safely to Tennessee.

According to Ms. Jane Doe of North Carolina, her brother, John, went over the hills to Tennessee when they heard of a new "land rush" where squatters have rights. That's Jane's sister-in-law, Bambi II, in your photo.

John hired a "big bucks" attorney, Mr. Antlers, a renowned "gouger" to assist with the "filing" of the proper paper. Being environmentally conscious, the paper was milled from local tree bark, therefore saving the cost of buying paper from a foreign source. Our hidden camera snapped this shot of Mr. Antlers and his secretary lurking in the way, back backyard at Arbor Lea.

Jane is concerned that the formal documents may have rubbed you the wrong way and wants you to know that the Doe family is usually quite polite and casual.

Jane exclaimed that if Tennessee is that beautiful and so full of uneaten perennials, perhaps she and the rest of the extended family should start their journey before the snow gets too deep in the mountains.

When Jane learned that you are also an avid gardener who "fawns" over your perennials, she was greatly encouraged.

I shall send you advance warning if the members of the Doe family inform me that they are going elsewhere for the holidays this year. From the latest sighting, it looks like they may be heading in your direction.

Location: North Carolina

Petite Perennial: Scutellaria suffrutescens

Such a pretty, petite perennial deserves a better nickname than "pink skullcap." Scutellaria suffrutescens 'Texas Rose' is a cute little thing that blooms almost non-stop by my front garden gate. The snapdragon-shaped blooms are a beautiful, deep rose color.

'Texas Rose' is a tough little cookie, too. She tolerates drought and fends for herself without any pampering, making her an excellent plant for xeriscaping. If you're a gardener who has a "no whining" sign hanging in your garden, you may want to consider adding 'Texas Rose' to a full-sun location.

Since scutellaria is in the mint family, she repels deer and rabbits. Planted around the stone column at my garden gate, she is constantly abused by the opening and closing of the gate. This variety is hardy in zones 7a-10b.

Even in the cold winter months, she is evergreen in my zone 7 garden, making 'Texas Rose' the perfect perennial to greet my guests all year round. Standing only 8 inches tall and spreading 15 inches wide, she makes a great edging plant for walkways and sunny borders. Tuck her into a rock garden and she'll add blooms almost all summer and into autumn.

Scutellaria suffrutescens 'Texas Rose' can be grown from seeds sown in the fall, or by propagating herbaceous stem cuttings. Rose has been in my garden for two years. She has passed the test for front yard beauty and toughness, so I plan to extend my plantings of Rose along my front walkway. 'Texas Rose' is definitely a keeper!

Story and photos by Freda Cameron

Corkscrew Willow Provides Indoor and Outdoor Decor

The deciduous corkscrew willow provides lush foliage in the summer months and interesting, curly branches in the winter. After the leaves have fallen, I prune out the overlapping branches to use for decoration in a vase.

Out in the fragrance garden, I use this small tree to provide shade and add texture. Other companions include a Kousa dogwood, sweet bay magnolia, buddleia and gardenia. In the summer, colocasia and monarda surround the willow. This fast-growing tree also provides privacy by screening our back deck.

Corkscrew willows are available in different sizes and are suitable for zones 4b-8a, depending upon the variety. My willow is planted on the southeast side of the house where it receives sunlight most of the day. Willows like moisture, but this little tree was a tough survivor during our 2007 drought.

If you plant any willow, make sure that it is nowhere near any underground pipes, especially ones that provide moisture. Willows can be short-lived, but they are fast-growing and inexpensive. You can easily propagate the corkscrew willow from hardwood or softwood cuttings. All parts are poisonous.

When I prune out the sprouts that cross the inside of the tree, I bring the best branches inside to use for year-round decor. I don't put the branches in water, I just use them dry as they come in from the garden. Just a quick wipe with a cloth to remove any bugs or dirt is all you have to do.

Our family room mantel has a marshland theme based on the painting by a North Carolina artist. The bronze frogs are appropriately named "Show Off" and "Social Climber." The willow branches are placed in a North Carolina pottery vase that is embellished with dimensional frogs, lilypads and lotus. The willow branches fit in well with the marsh theme while providing height in a room with a high ceiling. I have no art of my own to add to the mantel, but at least I grew these willow branches in my garden!

Photos and story by Freda Cameron

Evergreen Herbs for Gardens and Cooking

On a cold November day, I go out in the garden to cut fresh herbs for the kitchen. Sage, rosemary and thyme are evergreen here in my zone 7 garden.

On frozen mornings, I wait until the early afternoon to harvest my herbs. I place the stems of rosemary and sage in a glass of water on my counter until time to prepare the evening meal. I often store these herbs in the water up to a day in advance.

Sage leaves are great for poultry, stuffings and dressings for poultry. Sage provides a nice flavor for autumn dishes that also include butternut squash or pumpkin. Sage officinalis grows in zones 5-11 to a height (in bloom) of up to three feet in full sun with well-drained soil. Just one sage plant in my garden is now about three feet wide in its second year of growth.

I use rosemary for roasted vegetables, roasted chicken, Tuscan beef stew, Italian sauces and breads. Rosemary and lemon work well together for roasted chicken. Rosemary and tomatoes for the Tuscan beef stew. In zones 6 and colder, rosemary can be grown as a container plant. Rosemary grows best in full sun with well-drained soil. As with many herbs, it benefits from trimming.

Thyme grows right by my front steps in a micro-climate that is protected from frost. The thyme stays fresh and fragrant into the cold months. Because of this convenience, I pick the thyme right before preparing a meal. I like to use thyme with rice to add just a little flavor. Thyme grows in zones 4-9 in full sun or part shade.

Aside from the culinary uses, rosemary, sage and thyme are great garden plants. All three bloom, with sage providing the biggest color show in mid-April. Cascading rosemary has been blooming for several months now in my cottage garden. The rosemary bloomed off all spring and summer as well.

Thyme makes a great, low groundcover and spreads rapidly. Upright forms of rosemary work well mixed in a border with perennials and shrubs while cascading rosemary works well on slopes and above retaining walls. Sage is a nice edging plant and provides soft leaf textures among perennials. However, it can be short-lived and has to be replaced every few years.

These herbs are also great for container gardens on decks, terraces or balconies. All three of the culinary varieties of these perennial herbs are deer and rabbit resistant as well as drought tolerant. For the best varieties for your zone, check with your local nursery.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron

Community Supported Agriculture, Farmers' Markets and Market Days

The image of a table laden with a bountiful harvest isn't just for Thanksgiving. Local farmers' markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are available throughout the United States providing fresh, locally grown produce during the growing seasons. In other countries, markets are a part of daily life.

Even during the cold months of winter, some market farmers continue to sell products such as honey, eggs, cheese, nuts and meats. At the North Carolina Farmers' Market there are peanuts, pecans, cabbage, sweet potatoes and apples available for purchase in December. Additionally, there are jars of jams, jellies and other home canned goods.

Now is a good time to find farms in your area that participate in the CSA programs. With a CSA program, you subscribe in advance to receive shares of the locally grown, fresh produce from area farmers. By buying these shares, you help ensure that the farmer will be able to cover their expenses and salaries to grow and deliver the produce. By subscribing in the winter months, the farmer can plan how much to plant and order seeds for the next growing season.

Through a subscription with a CSA farm, boxes of fresh produce are sized according to the number of people to feed in your family. Many of the CSA farms will deliver the boxes to your home each week during the growing season, or provide a pick-up point in a nearby location. The CSA program is so popular in the Triangle Area of North Carolina that there are even waiting lists to subscribe with some of the local farms.

Whether you live, or travel, in another country, you're probably not very far from a market. For example, there are lists of market days for villages in France. Other countries publish similar lists. If you are traveling, you can also ask at the tourist information office. When my son lived in London, he shopped daily to purchase fresh produce from his neighborhood market.

Buying from a local market is not only a great experience, but a wonderful way to get to know the farmers who grow the produce. If you're a traveler, you may be introduced to fresh foods that you would not find elsewhere.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron

Cryptomeria Japonica: An Evergreen Conifer

By Freda Cameron

One of the best evergreen trees in my garden is cryptomeria japonica. There are many varieties of cryptomeria, ranging in size from a small shrub to a towering 30 foot tall tree. Those grown in the wild may reach 80 feet high and 20 feet wide. There is a mid-sized 'Jindai Sugi' that makes a wonderful screening tree at 12 feet x 8 feet. I also have three very slow-growing, cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon' located in the fragrance garden. The 'Black Dragon' grows slowly to 7 feet high and 8 feet wide.

These Japanese cedars are reliably deer resistant, with only a few branch tips sampled during the winter months. Cryptomeria are suitable for zones 5-9 and are relatively drought tolerant, once established. If you plant any of these conifers, they like full to part-sun in rich soil.

I tried the shrub sized 'Globosa Nana' at the top of the slope in my perennial garden. Every perennial that was planted downhill, within 3-4 feet from these little cryptomeria, died. I had to remove the shrubs from the perennial garden, digging out and replacing the soil in that area. I've not had a problem growing perennials, ornamental grasses and shrubs around the large cryptomeria trees.

Carex 'Gold Fountains' and other gold foliaged plants and shrubs make bright companions for dark green cryptomeria. The trees provide a year-round privacy screen for our waterfall patio.

Note about "going green" in our climate: In general, an acre of hardwood forest will absorb about one ton of carbon per year. However, an acre of evergreen conifers will absorb about 1 1/2 tons of carbon per year from carbon dioxide.

Child-Friendly Garden Plants

By Freda Cameron

Although the weather has passed for planting, this is a great time to plan a garden with the children in your family. During quiet winter nights and holiday breaks, drawing a little garden plan with crayons or colored pencils is a great indoor activity. Give your old gardening magazines and catalogs to children. Let them circle the flowers that they like or cut out photos to make their own little creative designs.

I've been gardening for over 30 years. I owe my gardening interest to my grandmother. Among my fondest childhood memories are those of making daily walks in my grandmother's flower garden. My son, now grown, is quite knowledgeable about gardens. He planted many of the trees, shrubs and perennials in my garden. In turn, he's the one who encouraged me to write a gardening blog so that he could keep up with the garden while he was in graduate school in London.

Stachys byzantina 'Helen von Stein' is my favorite soft and fuzzy perennial. This is the true "teddy bear" of garden plants. These velvet lamb's ears are easy to grow in zones 4-9. Requiring little water, lamb's ears are drought tolerant as well as deer and rabbit resistant. This perennial spreads rapidly, reaching a width of over two feet within two years. They are easy to propagate by division. Here in the south, they will "melt" during times of heat and humidity. When that happens, I pull out the mushy leaves to give the plant a neat appearance. Once the cool fall temperatures arrive, my stachys looks fine again.

The "action figure" in a child-friendly garden is the snapdragon or antirrhinum majus. I remember playing with the blooms by squeezing the "jaws" to open and close the "mouth." The snapdragon is the first flower that I can recall and my grandmother was always willing to cut these flowers to give to me. The color choices will delight a child. Considered annuals except in the warmest zones, snapdragons do occasionally overwinter here in zone 7b. This is reliably deer and rabbit resistant in my garden.

For a fun barnyard discussion, just plant Hens and Chicks (sempervivum tectorum) to amuse children. Let them name these cute little plants. Easy to grow in poor soil, there are many colors and leaf shapes for a patchwork of variety. Suitable for zones 3b through 11, just about any garden has room for these tiny little jewels. Hens and Chicks are great for rock gardens. Rocks make great accents for children's gardens.

A bird and butterfly garden is another great idea as the children learn to identify the different varieties. With encouragement, children may start daily journals to keep a "life list" of birds that they see and identify. If hummingbirds are common in your area, add a hummingbird feeder. Since bees are attracted to flowering plants, children will need to be supervised to prevent stings. This is an opportunity to teach children about the important role of honey bees for the success of crops and flowers.

There are many perennials, annuals, and ornamental grasses that are suitable for child-friendly gardens. However, some plants can be poisonous. Before planting a garden for children, be sure to research whether or not the plant is toxic.

If you don't have gardening space in a yard, a few containers of child-friendly plants on a deck or patio is a great way to introduce children to gardening. Have fun with children and plants and create lasting memories. In my opinion, there's nothing better than passing along the gift of gardening.

Lovely Lucca

Look up to search out the beautiful balconies and window boxes overflowing with colorful flowers. Lovely Lucca, an old Italian friend, extends a warm welcome with brightly painted houses against sunny skies.

Enjoy a leisurely lunch in one of her ancient buildings. Stroll along her quiet village streets and pause in a piazza for gelato. Walk along the rampart walls that surround this pretty lady. Sit for awhile on a park bench. Don't rush this rare visit with Lucca.

When the cold weather comes, I start longing for those favorite places. On a sentimental Sunday, I stare at photos where flowers embellish the windows of the world.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron. Location: Lucca, Italy

Garden Design: Working with a Professional

By Freda Cameron

What is the process of working with a professional garden designer? I asked this question at a local garden center that has been in business for over 55 years.

Cathy Dickinson-Hearp grew up in a family of garden experts and is happy to share the story of her heritage. In 1952, her grandparents started Dickinson Garden Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Cathy’s father took over the business from her grandfather. After receiving his business degree at Appalachian State University, Cathy’s brother returned to Dickinson Garden Center. The Dickinson family not only sells plants and garden supplies, but provides design and installation services.

Cathy is the garden and landscape designer, having joined the family business six or seven years ago. She has a degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining the business, Cathy went back to school to obtain a degree in horticulture and landscape design at NC State University in Raleigh. While Cathy grew up hearing the names of plants, she felt that having an in-depth knowledge of horticulture was a requirement for running the design service.

There are several levels of garden service provided by Dickinson Garden Center: consultation, garden or landscape design, and installation.

The consulation service, sometimes referred to as a "yard doctor call" is where Cathy visits the gardens to help with plant maladies and assess the condition of the landscape. Another example is providing experienced gardeners with new design ideas. Cathy also provides consultation when a client moves into a new house and needs someone to identify the plants, and explain how to care for the plants.

The next level is the design service. Cathy charges for an initial consultation, then an hourly rate for studio design work.

The garden center offers installation, with or without the design service.

The full-service design clients are primarily homeowners without gardening experience. These clients seek consultation, design and installation.

When it comes to explaining garden design to non-gardeners, Cathy uses the analogy of building and decorating a house. First, you construct the walls and basic structure, and then you add the details. The “walls” for a garden design can be outdoor spaces, or rooms, with the basic shrubs, trees and structures. According to Cathy, the fun part is in the details, using perennials, as the garden is being created.

Cathy says that most people have an idea of what they like when they see it, but have a difficult time trying to describe the inspiration. Cathy's approach to determining the vision of the client is to listen and communicate. There is a lot of back-and-forth communication during the design process that allows Cathy to understand what will appeal to her clients.

Before meeting with the client, she asks them to collect pictures, if possible, of design ideas from pictures or magazines. Cathy begins the consultation by walking around the property to identify priorities as well as issues that need to be addressed. These issues may be drainage problems, a need for privacy, or dealing with deer. In this area, deer seem to always be one of the issues. Cathy also assesses the light conditions for determining the need for shade or sun plants.

If her client doesn’t know plants, Cathy sends photos and information about how the plant will be used in the garden. Cathy has moved away from drawing designs by hand at a drafting table and now utilizes a computer program. There are times when the client needs a presentation packet of materials and drawings to obtain approval by zoning or homeowner's associations. Using the computer makes the drawing easier, and faster, when there are revisions to the design.

For Cathy, the real excitement is during the installation of the gardens. She takes a hands-on approach to her designs and loves to be there to tweak the final design to make sure it pleases her clients.

With her experience in garden design and retail, I just had to ask Cathy to list her favorite plants. Are there any new varieties that she thinks will be exciting for gardeners? One flowering shrub, she and her father predict, will be a big hit this spring. It is a new, dwarf gardenia “Crown Jewel” PPAF that is a patented hybrid of 'Kleim’s Hardy.' The new double-bloom gardenia was developed by Oakmont Nursery in Chatham County. Phillip Dark, the Oakmont owner, bred the gardenia with assistance from Michael Dirr.

Other plants on Cathy’s favorite list include:
  • Liatris – nice backdrop plant with hardy, nice foliage for perennial gardens; deer resistant
  • Baptisia – native; ‘Carolina Moonlight’ (yellow); interesting foliage; deer resistant
  • Helleborus – cool season blooms; long bloom; deer resistant
  • Heuchera – ‘Citronelle’ is a nice yellow; sell-out quickly; great for all year interest
  • Asclepias – attracts butterflies; late to emerge; deer resistant
  • Pyracantha – berries; deer resistant
  • Spirea ‘Shirobana’ - blooms in summer
  • Daphne odora ‘Marginata’– variegated foliage; needs good drainage, filtered sunlight; deer resistant
  • Pieris ‘Little Heath’ dwarf variegated; deer resistant
  • Buddleia ‘Blue Chip’ PPAF – dwarf, blue blooms; deer resistant
While everyone wants colorful flowers, Cathy recommends incorporating beautiful foliage plants to carry the garden through all seasons. She says that when a perennial begins to fade, a companion plant with great foliage will keep the garden looking good.

Technology Time: Martha's Photo Albums

by Freda Cameron 

What does technology have to do with Martha Stewart's photo albums?

Every morning, I make my "blog rounds" to see what topics are posted by other gardeners. Yesterday, in the "Gardening Gurus" section on my blog, I noticed Japanese maple trees listed in the headline for Martha's blog. Interested in maples, I headed over to read The Martha Blog. Martha posted 170 photos that she took at the gardens owned by Michael and Judy Steinhardt. The gardens include 400 cultivars of Japanese maples. Great photos! As engrossed as I was in perusing the photos of gorgeous maples in a stunning setting, something else drew my attention.

Martha is generous. There is a ShareThis® link on Martha's blog. Hoping that double chocolate coconut cookies would be shared with me (I saw the cookies right there in the "Cookie of the Day" gadget), I clicked on the icon.

Several options were presented to me:
  • Social Web
  • Post
  • Send/Email
I decided to "Post" on this blog. I was given the option to "Publish" or "Save as Draft." Being cautious, I chose to save the html code as draft. Sure enough, the code generated a blog post, here on my blog, with the title "Martha's Photo Albums" and inserted the links below:

Martha's Photo Albums

Posted using ShareThis

Clearly, some cookies were shared, but they were electronic, not double chocolate coconut!

Before you click on the link to Martha's Photo Albums, realize that is the link to all of her albums. You'll see the photos of the Victoria Secrets Underwear Models along with the maple trees. I modified the link to open in a new window. I modified the post title to add "Technology Time." Other than that, it was automatically generated code.

I suppose Martha's philosophy is that sharing with others is a good thing. Okay, I'll share, too.

Just think--like a maple tree, garden bloggers can branch out! If all garden bloggers share and branch, we can eventually take over the Internet world. And, it will be green!

All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks/copyrights/patents owned by those respective companies or persons.

Baffle the Squirrels and Feed the Birds

by Freda Cameron

The IQ of a squirrel is greatly underestimated. They solve problems with logic and they know how to use tools. There's a "think tank" of great squirrel minds out in our woods right now, putting together a plan for how they can get an easy meal from our birdfeeder.

Gardeners and other bird lovers hang their feeders hoping to attract, and feed, a variety of beautiful feathered friends over the winter. My husband and I take down our hummingbird feeders in the fall and bring out the birdseed. Our birdfeeders are positioned so that we can view the activity from our garden room while we enjoy our morning coffee by the warmth of the fireplace. Our Peterson's Field Guide® is handy so that we can quickly look up any unfamiliar birds.

From our view of the garden, we have personally witnessed many successful schemes of seed-stealing by the squirrels. We started out with a simple, inexpensive birdfeeder mounted on a simple, inexpensive hanger pole. The birdfeeder was filled with expensive, gourmet, premium wild bird seed. It didn't take but a few hours to realize that is equivalent to a neon "Open All Day" sign for squirrels.

We went back to the store in search of a solution. We saw a rather amusing video of a battery-operated feeder throwing squirrels around like a mechanical bull. We took one home. We replaced our cheap feeder with the animated attraction. We took our seats ready for the morning entertainment, confident that the squirrels would be unable to steal the seed.

The first squirrel was a bit stunned by his merry-go-round ride. He sat on the ground staring up at the new feeder. We "high-fived" thinking that the only seed for that squirrel was going to be what was dropped on the ground from bird beaks. He attempted his thievery a few more times, then went up on the roof to survey the situation. He sat up there for awhile pondering how to get around this new contraption. He came down with a new plan and told all his squirrel buddies.

The next thing we knew, a squirrel was on top of the feeder, where there is no flipping mechanism. He struggled and struggled to try to open the top. Unsuccessful in getting the lid off, we thought for sure he would give up. Instead the squirrels regrouped and sent their scout back on the roof to gather more intelligence about this new machine.

The next trick was to hang onto the pole with hind feet, stretch across and hold onto to the feeder trough instead of the flipping mechanism. The squirrels took turns eating from the feeder, ever so persistant and patient. The crew spent an entire day working systematically to reach the food. In the process, they managed to empty the feeder of seeds, replenishing their troups for another day's raid.

It was time for us to go back to the store. This time, we asked for assistance. The experienced salesperson pointed out a cone-shaped pole baffle. This purchase also required the purchase of a larger, taller pole to fit the baffle.

Having spent a considerable amount of money on this defense system, we were cautiously optimistic about our new fortress. With our mechanical feeder, a better pole and a new baffle, we were ready for the next onslaught.

The squirrels huddled together at the bottom of this new pole and baffle. From their vantage point, they could see the feeder, but it disappeared into darkness with every attempt to climb the pole. They tried to hang on the edge of the baffle, but there was no grip. They tried tipping the baffle to no avail. The sentinel on the roof had no battle plan for dislodging the baffle. Without trees close enough to launch an airborne attack, the defeated squirrel troop sulked back into the woods.

Through all of last winter, the baffle continued to baffle the squirrels while the birds got plenty to eat. We did show a little sympathy now and then by spreading a little seed around for the pitiful squirrels. We're ready for the attacks this year. Unless the squirrels bring a ladder, we think the birdfeeder is safe.

Art in the Garden: NC Sculptor Joel Haas

When I received the photos of the work by talented North Carolina sculptor Joel Haas, I was stunned by the wonderful array of choices. I couldn’t select just one work of art to feature from Joel’s creations!

Joel’s whimsical dogs are guaranteed to make you smile. But, “Spot” and “Spot, Surprised” had me laughing out loud! My imagination started working. I can see “Spot” greeting visitors at the beginning of a path while “Spot, Surprised” is hidden around a corner. Spot is clearly a playful, fun and loyal companion. There are other pup-art sculptures in Joel’s portfolio. The “Daaaachshunds” are very long and very, very cute…drooling tongues and all!

There are funny, serious, romantic, and spiritually inspired sculptures. There are graceful gates and funny face gates; tiger benches and red “love” seats, trellises and arches and even a pig grill among his work. There are critters and creatures, dragons, angels and everything in between. There's so much to see, you must visit Tarheel Gallery and Joel Haas Studio to view additional pieces of Joel's work.

How do you decide what art will work for your garden? Joel says that good sculptors should guide you through the "planting" of art so that it interacts with your garden. His advice is, "The pieces should say something about the garden and the gardener while not being out of harmony with the spirit and style of the garden."

With his plant analogy, Joel says that some sculptures will work better for sun and others for shade. Just like plants, select sculpture for the color, form and purpose. Ground preparation is necessary to ensure that the sculpture is stable and level. An occasionally cleaning with a soft cloth and mild detergent is necessary to keep sculpture looking great.

To find sculptors in your area, Joel recommends contacting universities, art galleries or art councils. Always ask to see the portfolio of the sculptor to ensure the quality, materials and the inspiration fits the ambiance and style of your garden.

As for his sculptures, Joel says, “I just make stuff that transports me to a happier place where I can hum and whistle.”

Sculptures and Photos by Joel Haas Studio, Raleigh, NC. Story by Freda Cameron. Click photos for a larger view.

Hiding Out: Praying Mantis in Manettia

By Freda Cameron

The praying mantis is so well camouflaged among the red and green of the manettia vine. I snapped this photo when I was visiting the garden of Dr. Dennis Werner. Not long after I took this photo, Phillip Oliver, at Dirt Therapy, featured manettia and his readers responded about the identification of the plant. From my research, I found there are several varieties of manettia.

The vine in my photo is most likely manettia inlata, orginating from Uruguay. Manettia inlata grows well in zones 7b-10 in full or part sun. It emerges in spring with blooms bursting out in summer, lasting into the fall. This vine, without the praying mantis, is at the top of the "wish list" for hummingbirds!

Eastern Aromatic Aster, Native Perennial Wildflower

You've got to love the blue-purple color of this gorgeous Eastern Aromatic Aster! How aromatic? Rub or crush the leaves to inhale the pine fragrance.

Hundreds of blooms pop out in the autumn months, lighting up the roadsides of western North Carolina. Any flower enthusiast will brake their car to a halt to see nature's color combination of purple aster beside yellow native solidago.

Peaking in October, this native wildflower aster oblongifolius var. angustatus grows to a height of 2-4 feet. Aromatic aster can be found as far west as Texas and Wisconsin. Here in the humid South, the aster grows wild in thickets and fields. Drought tolerant, it can tolerate rocky locations and poor soil as long as it receives good sunlight.

I'm so tempted to grow this native in my own garden. The rabbits (or deer) have munched all other asters that I've grown. If Aromatic Aster can survive the deer and rabbits in the wild, then why can't it survive those hungry critters in my home garden? Perhaps the key to survival is the fact that it is aromatic!

I took this photo at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill where the Eastern Aromatic Aster grows in profusion in the Rare Plants Garden. Next spring, I'm going to go back to see if the Botanical Gardens has the Eastern Aromatic Aster available for sale.

Photo and story by Freda Cameron

In Search of a Garden Gate

I've always had a fascination with gates. Like a pretty envelope waiting to be opened, a garden gate extends an invitation to look inside. I willingly accept the offer, curious to know more about the garden beyond.

A garden gate can be as individual as the gardener. It becomes part of the garden as much an object of art or a special plant.

After our house was finished in September 2005, I went in search of a garden gate. The doorway in the gable wing wall of our steep, "catslide" roof cried out for something cottage-inspired. I wanted a gate to echo the storybook appeal of the asymmetrical roof, stone chimney and cedar shakes.

For months after the house was built, I searched local antique shops and salvage shops. I talked to craftsmen in the area about making a gate. I never imagined that finding the perfect gate would be so difficult!

Finally, in March 2006, I found an online company called Pacific Gate Works in Oregon. Pacific Gate Works handcrafts custom gates from Western Red Cedar as well as iron.

Although I was concerned about ordering a gate online, the process went smoothly due to the personal attention from the company. With a wide variety of styles from which to select, I narrowed down my choice to the reverse arch from the Old World Collection, but was unsure of the proper height.

Tom Ellingson guided me through the project via email. I sent photos of our house to him. Tom suggested a height for our custom gate to fit the scale of the doorway. He emailed draft drawings and measurements to me for approval. Once the design was finalized, our gate was made and shipped to us by freight.

The cedar gate, with hardware, arrived in perfect condition and I stained it to match our cedar shakes. The price of the custom gate, including shipping, was far less than any other premade or antique gate that I had found in my search.

Immediately, I knew that we had added the right cottage gate. The patio was suddenly transformed into a private, outdoor room. The path through the cottage garden now has a destination focal point to pique the curiosity of our visitors.

Moving through the gate from the bright, sunny, cottage garden to the patio, the sound of the waterfall amplifies. I feel as though I'm stepping into a different world. The patio now feels secluded, lush and tranquil.

The perfect gate can transform spaces into favorite places in the garden.

Photos and story by Freda Cameron unless otherwise indicated. Thanks to Pacific Gate Works for their assistance.

Garden Inspiration: A Cottage Garden

Just the mention of a cottage garden conjures up romantic images of billowing blooms, spires of color and climbing vines. The only constraint comes in the form of a simple fence, yet the blooms spill over with divine simplicity reminiscent of English garden paintings.

If we ask a gardener what grows in a cottage garden, roses are always mentioned. Hollyhocks, foxgloves, delphiniums come to mind. Herbs such as rosemary, lavender and basil might be included along with a few vegetables. Annuals such as sweetpeas or kiss-me-over-garden-gate are old-fashioned favorites. Spring blooming bulbs of hyacinth and tulips may bring on the first signs of color. Plants are tucked into little places or massed in generous proportions.

In our modern world, many gardeners long to grow a cottage garden. We can't all live in England--nor can we all live in cottages. However, we adjust and modify our garden plans to find suitable plants to give us that cottage garden feeling. When the garden finally exhudes that ambiance, we want to stay in it forever.

Our gardening friend, Libby, inspires us with her Pacific Northwest cottage garden in Zone 8b, Victoria BC. Libby uses an abundance of color, mixing the flower forms and textures. During the peak bloom time of mid-June through August, Libby's garden explodes into color, blurred together to create one flowing river of a garden, rather than a collection of individually grounded plants.

Libby grows an English cottage garden full of delphiniums, hollyhocks, foxgloves, poppies, and peonies. A meandering path edged with brick winds through her garden, connecting the potting shed and the tool shed. A wisteria blooms abundantly in spring, creating a focal point at the back of the garden. Roses climb over vertical structures, adding to the sense of romanticism.

Libby buys her sweetpea seeds and allows cottage garden favorites to self-seed:
  • calendula, campanula, cornflower, columbine, clarkia elegans, cosmos
  • dianthus, Forget-Me-Not, godetia, honesty, feverfew, foxglove
  • Jupiter's Beard, larkspur, malva sylvestris, mignonette, mullein
  • nasturtium, nemophila, pansy, rose campion
  • salvia hominum, Shirley poppy,snapdragon, stock, wallflower
Other flowers in Libby's garden include:
  • Rose - cl. 'Cecile Brunner'
  • hardy geraniums
  • peachleaf bellflower - blue, white
  • achillea - 'Moonshine'
  • Oriental Poppy - 'Coral Reef'
  • red valerian
  • centaurea dealbata
  • nepeta - 'Dropmore Blue'

Libby has been gardening in the same place for over 35 years. Her cottage garden began eight to ten years ago. It started out as a cutting garden and has evolved into a beautiful cottage garden. There's encouragement for those of us who want to grow our own cottage gardens.

According to Libby, we can quickly grow a cottage garden in three or four years. She says that she does spend a lot of time in her garden--weeding, staking, dividing plants--or, just looking.

When we love our gardens and delight in the results, is it really work? Is there anything else that we'd rather do than tend our gardens?

If we ask Libby to describe her cottage garden for us, she says, "My cottage garden is a sheer mass of color and fragrance and a joy to wander through. Trees, shrubs, annuals , perennials, bulbs, herbs, and old-fashioned favourites become a natural sanctuary for birds and wildlife."

Libby then adds the most important advice to remember, "A cottage garden can be whatever you want it to be - it's your garden after all."

Photos and inspiration by Libby. Story by Freda Cameron.

It's November. Do You Know What Your Plants are Doing?

Is this the longest growing season ever? Or, has my three year-old garden matured enough to provide colorful blooms into November--in spite of frosts and a freeze?

I'm in zone 7, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Several of the buddleia are still blooming in the outer garden. While I don't have a photo this week, the white butterfly ginger continues to produce abundant blooms in a protected spot against the east side of the house.

The azaleas have now been blooming quite well since early September. This is in addition to the spring display. The encore performance may be attributed to the warm micro-climate inside the cottage garden.

The roses that are out front in the cottage garden and blooming beautifully. The only time that they have looked bad this year was when I had to prune them back to deter the Japanese Beetles in June.

The rosemary cascades by our bridge, full of tiny, blue blooms. It's been going for months now. It is so fragrant and so easy to keep.

What's blooming in your garden this November?

Photos and story by Cameron.

My Deer (the Buck) Stops Here

As if eating our prized perennials isn't enough, we have to protect our trees from deer antler rubbing this time of year.

In the fall, the "velvet" fuzz that began with spring growth, starts shedding on the antlers of a buck deer. They rub their antlers on trees and the males will engage each other in sparring during the breeding season. I don't think the buck deer are fighting each other on our property. I've seen a group of four running together. I've also seen two with larger antlers than the buck in my photo. I've seen a buck with one antler, too. In other words, I think we have at least eight buck deer roaming our property.

After breeding season ends, the buck deer drop their antlers. The antlers start growing again in the spring. You might be able to walk in the woods in early winter and find the dropped antlers, if they have not already been eaten by small animals who want the calcium.

The number of points on the antlers has nothing to do with the age of the buck. A young deer, with a good food supply (not from my garden) in the winter, can grow a six or eight point rack. To determine the age of a buck, you'd have to check his teeth. I don't think I'll get that close.

Last fall, we had to prune up the lower limbs on the magnolia. The deer had broken off branches from rubbing, so we did our best to repair the damage. They began rubbing against the exposed trunk a few weeks ago. We encircled the magnolia with a wire fence after we saw the damage. Yesterday, we discovered that the buck deer had also been rubbing antlers on the trunk of the deodar cedar.

The damage was rather bad this year because we didn't fence off the trees in time. We should have protected the tree trunks by the last day of October. If you see any deer on your property, it's a good idea to be proactive and protect the trees before this kind of damage is done to your trees or shrubs.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron

Free Yourself and Your Oven: Grill the Turkey

It all started with Thanksgiving 2006. Expecting a crowd for the big meal, I couldn't work out a way to get everything in the oven since the turkey was so large.

We had to figure out how to get everything cooked on time. The microwave wouldn't do it. Ah ha! What about using the grill? Would that work? My husband placed the turkey (in the pan) on the grill to see if the lid would close. It did. Since it was already Thanksgiving morning, I frantically searched the Web for turkey grilling instructions. After finding several versions, my husband and I created our own variation.

All of our guests showed up. We announced that the turkey was on the grill. Amazed, all the men went out onto the grilling deck to witness what they'd never seen before -- a turkey on the grill!

They didn't bother with the games on TV, they wanted to watch the turkey. There was a problem with that. The guys kept opening up the grill lid to see the turkey! Opening and closing the grill lid slows down the roasting with all that cold winter air. It took longer than expected due to the spectator interference and the meal was still late. However, the results were fabulous and we agreed to grill the holiday turkey in the future.

Fast forward to summer 2007. I was shopping for a new gas grill for my husband's birthday. After all, if he was going to grill the turkey from now on, he needed a better grill.

I asked the salesman if grills came with windows. No.

I asked if I could buy a "turkey cam." He laughed hysterically! No, they don't make cameras for the inside of a grill.

I bought the grill in spite of the lack of desired features.

A few days later, I went to my favorite kitchen gadget store. Telling the salesperson about the problems with the spectacle of turkey grilling, she had a brilliant idea...buy a remote digital thermometer!

When I enthusiastically presented that thermometer to my husband, he was skeptical. Very skeptical. I was tempted to return the thermometer with such a reaction, but we kept it. It was several months later before the debut of the remote thermometer at Thanksgiving 2007.

I prepared the fresh turkey by rubbing it with olive oil and Herbes de Provence--a mix of basil, savory, fennel and lavender. I placed the turkey in a standard roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack. I put chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan to create moisture during the roasting process. The culinary sage in the garden was still looking great, so I added fresh leaves to the chicken broth. I handed the turkey off to my husband. He programmed the remote thermometer and agreed to keep the grill lid closed.

I was free and my oven was free! I worked on the side dishes without having to worry about the turkey.

The remote radio control sat in the kitchen. Several hours later a voice said "your food will be ready in five minutes." The thermometer had worked! We double-checked the temperature with another thermometer and the two agreed...the turkey was done.

The Herbes de Provence and the fresh sage provided great flavor. The turkey was moist from the method of grilling. Our guests all agreed that it was the best turkey...even if they didn't have the fun of watching it grill!

Story by Freda Cameron; Photo added Thanksgiving 2008

Gardens in Art: NC Artist Mary Jane Haley

We love gardening but we have had a hard time growing flowers as the soil is mostly clay and even grass is hard to grow. We were thrilled, however, after a lot of fertilizing, and adding nutrients to the soil, to succeed in creating this little garden in the back yard. The colors and light were so beautiful one morning that I was inspired to paint it. It is one of my favorite little paintings. You may see more of my work online at Tarheel Gallery.

The Gardens in Art series features garden-inspired work from North Carolina Artists. Mary Jane recently retired from working for a law firm in Washington, DC. She moved to NC to live with her daughter and family in Kittrell, NC.

Art and story provided by Mary Jane Haley.

WWII Veteran and Gardener: Arthur's Story

What started as a story about flowers at the North Carolina State Fair turned into the history of World War II Veteran, Mr. Arthur Teasley of Durham, North Carolina.

Arthur and his wife Kitty had an award-winning display garden in the Flower and Garden Show. In addition to creating his own display, Arthur grew most of the beautiful flowers used in the award-winning display created by his granddaughter, Natasha, and other family members. Great garden design is apparent in the Teasley family!

As an 89 year-old, Arthur is quite the active and talented gardener. He grows his flowers in containers from seeds! Natasha Teasley says:

I asked Grandpa if he had anything to add about favorite plants or seeds or gardening advice. He said he didn't really have anything that people didn't already know. I asked him if I should say "some people have it and some don't" -- he chuckled.

While his flowers were quite inspiring, there is even more inspiration in the story of his service to this country. I'm happy to present Arthur's Story, in his own words, on this Veterans Day.

Arthur's Story

Serving in World War II
Arthur Winston Teasley
US Army
Headquarters and Service Company
1339th Engineering Construction Battalion

Kitty and I were married on April 4, 1942. About three months later I received the news that the US Army wanted me, so in July 1942, I went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I stayed there one week then I was sent to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, for Basic Training. Kitty came up to Fort Belvoir and stayed one week.

When I finished training I ranked in the top fifteen in Basic Training. Training consisted of sharp-shooting, field training and endurance. I earned the American Theater Service Medal, European Theater Service Medal, Pacific Theater Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and World War II Victory Medal. I also earned the 1903 Springfield Bolt Action Sharp Shooter Medal and (after 1943) the M1 Sharp Shooter Medal wearing a dishpan helmet.

In April 1943, I was picked to help train young men for war at Camp Abbot in Bend, Oregon. We stopped off at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for one month of training in close order drill. After training, I got a 15-day leave to come home.

We arrived at Camp Abbot on May 15, 1943. It snowed that same day. In May 1943, I was promoted to Corporal. Kitty and Julia (first born) came out in August to live. We spent a lot of time in Bend, Oregon, at the park on the Deschutes River. It was also a place we would go fishing. To get down to the water we would climb a ladder up and then down about 20 feet. In October 1943, I was promoted to Sergeant. In January 1944, we had to go out for two weeks on maneuvers. The temperature stayed from 10 degrees below to 10 degrees above with about 2 feet of snow on the ground. We stayed at Camp Abbot until June 1944, then went up to Fort Lewis, Washington.

At Fort Lewis, Washington, we continued with maneuvers and training. During my time at Fort Lewis, I met an old Indian who took me on the Columbia River netting salmon. I didn't feel too safe, but it turned out fine and we caught large salmon. Bubby was born September 3, 1944 in Olympia, Washington. We left Fort Lewis in March 1945 headed towards Boston, Massachusetts. Kitty, Julia and Bubby returned to Durham. We stopped off at Camp Miles Standish outside of Boston for about 4 days for re-equipment of the troops. We soon received word that President Roosevelt had died.

In April 1945 in Boston, we boarded the USAT George Washington* for Europe. We arrived in England April 27. We had to wait until dark to go through the English channel. We arrived in LeHavre, France, on April 28, 1945. There were sunken ships and planes everywhere you looked. That is when I wanted to turn around and return home. We got on riverboats and went up the Seine River about 50 miles. The riverbanks were lined with burned up tanks and trucks. They had gotten to the river and could not cross and had to burn the tanks and trucks. We got off the riverboat at a small town named Ville Saint Aubin les Elbeuf, France, put up camp and stayed three days before our convoy headed towards Germany. We would stop each day about 5 o'clock for the night. One of our stops was just outside of Lyons, France. On May 7, 1945, we were going through Paris and people were everywhere on roofs, hanging out windows, some laughing, some crying, and some dancing. We thought everybody had gone crazy. Then we found out the War was over. We got orders and did an about face and headed for Marseilles, France. We were real happy and almost knew we would be going back to the USA.

On July 10, 1945, we left Marseilles, France on board the USS Admiral H.T. Mayo** and 10 days later we woke up thinking we were coming into New York, but instead we were going through the Panama Canal heading for Japan. We were sitting out in the waters waiting for orders when the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, so then we were put off on Okinawa (late August 1945). The first day we were there we had a bad typhoon. There were still some Japanese on the island that didn't know the War was over. We still had a lot of cleaning up to do. There were some dead Okinawa people we had to bury. Sad time! We also had to blow up many truckloads of ammunition that the Japanese left behind. The only injury I got was two broken ribs when I was riding on a bulldozer that got caught on a land mine. We left Okinawa in December 1945 on board a small Liberty Ship, the SS Cape Cod.*** We crossed the International Date Line on December 24, 1945, which made us have two Christmas Eves.

On January 8, 1946, we arrived in Seattle, Washington. On January 11, we left Seattle for Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

I was discharged from the US Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on January 19, 1946. Kitty was already at Fort Bragg waiting for me.

Good to be back home! I would not take anything for what I did and saw.

*The George Washington was a large German passenger liner captured in World War I. The United States converted it into a Transport Ship. It was commissioned the USS George Washington in September 1917. In March 1941, it was recommissioned the USS Catlin. In April 1943, it was recommissioned the USAT George Washington. It would carry up to 10,000 troops.

**The USS Admiral H.T. Mayo was commissioned in January 1945, decommissioned in May 1946, the later recommissioned the USAT General Nelson M. Walker.

***The SS Cape Cod was one of the 2,710 World War II Liberty Ships. We were unable to locate any specific information on the SS Cape Cod Liberty Ship.

Arthur's Story was written by Mr. Arthur Teasley. Photos and introduction by Freda Cameron. Research assistance from Natasha Teasley.

Planter's Punch: Crape Myrtle Color

The best recipe for a big punch of summer color is a crape myrtle planted in a southern garden. However, the color doesn't stop there. The autumn color is spectacular, too. If that's not enough, the peeling bark provides plenty of interest over the winter. In the spring, it is green. Four seasons of color or interest in one small tree.

The list of crape myrtle varieties goes on and on. My favorite is Lagerstroemia indica 'Tuscarora' that is growing in my garden. I love this tree so much that I use the July photo as my blog logo to represent my deer resistant outer garden. As much as I would like for the blooms to be less watermelon and more magenta in color, I'll keep it for abundant blooms. Planted in fall 2005, this summer was the best show that I've seen. The sturdy branches held up the heavy weight of the large panicles of clustered flowers.

Most lagerstroemia are rated for zones 7-9, although there are a few that are now available for zone 6. The 'Tuscarora' grows to a height of 20 feet and a width of about 15 feet. If you want a smaller tree or shrub form, there are new varieties available. I have a shrub-sized 'white chocolate' out in my perennial garden. There are many colors from which to choose--white as well as shades of lavender, purple, pink and red.

These are tough trees, taking full sun, so they are used extensively in parking lot strips and sidewalk plantings along many streets throughout the southeast. But, if you take these trees out of those stark concrete corridors and place them in the garden with a mix of shrubs, perennials, bulbs and grasses, you'll have a great specimen tree.

I've had no problems growing perennials underneath a crape myrtle. Nepeta, Dutch iris, snapdragons, ice plant, buddleia, monarda and stachys are all pretty happy. I can plant sun-loving plants underneath my trees due to the south-facing exposure in my garden. Positioned differently, I've seen shade perennials growing underneath crape.

The downside is keeping the sprouts at the base under control. At least twice a year, I have to work on these wayward sprouts on two of my three trees. For some reason, the third is fine. I've found seedlings coming up at the dripline of the third tree. I'm already looking around my garden for a place for the offspring to see how well they resemble the parent.

There are two controversies around this tree. The spelling and the pruning. It is sometimes spelled crepe instead of crape. Or, crapemyrtle as one word. If you search the web, you will find the pruning problems referenced in Greg Grant's article, "Crape Murder." The crime is due to the flat-top scalping of the branches by landscapers. Don't do that, please. Read the article for all the reasons. I just deadhead the clusters of seeds like I would a perennial, but only for the low branches that I can reach in late winter. The rest is up to nature. I don't cut into the wood branches unless I'm taking out a central branch that is crossing the healthier branches.

I will always have crape myrtle in my garden. It's a southern thing. I've got to have magnolias, gardenias and azaleas, too.

Photos and story by Cameron

The Magic of Mougins

Walking over the uneven cobblestones, I turn a corner and stop.

Am I supposed to be here? I feel as though I should tiptoe. Village streets in France are seldom revealed at once. I slow my pace to let my mind determine which doorway is a home and which is a shop. A flower pot. A trellis. A folding chair. I inventory the details to search out the unassuming shop signs.

An antique shop invites slow browsing. Juxtaposed within this crevice is a shop of handcrafted jewelry of sleek, modern detail. Two artistic worlds come together, linked by the architecture of the old village.

The plantings are squeezed outside the doorways, poised precariously in pots upon walls or anchored in massive urns. Vines scamper up the stone walls. Sunlight must be limited, yet the greenery is abundant and overflowing. I whisper when I speak. I feel as though I'm exploring a secret garden.

Photo and story by Freda Cameron. Mougins, France (May 2008)

Great Blue Lobelia, Native Perennial Wildflower

Great Blue Lobelia is one of my favorite North Carolina wildflowers. Lobelia siphilitica is in the Campanulaceae family. Here in our area, it blooms most of the summer through fall in partially sunny, moist areas. The height is usually between 2-3 feet with blue-purple blooms. Lobelia can reseed in a very short time in the right conditions, so you don't need many of these plants to establish a nice clump in the home garden in our area.

This lobelia is a native wildflower throughout the northeast; southeast through Texas; and through the midwest to the Rockies. It is native around Ontario and Manitoba, Canada. Great Blue Lobelia is endangered in Massachusetts and vulnerable in New York.

I took this fall photo of the lobelia at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, a conservation garden, in Chapel Hill.

When the Gardening Gets Tough

Gardeners go back into the garden!

Touring around the gardening blog world, there are plenty of examples of the hard work underway as we go out In the Garden to prepare for the cold months to come.

I’ve always known that gardeners are hard-working individuals who are passionate about their gardens. As I check the Notes from a Cottage Garden I am reminded that many of these gardeners have been posting their “to do” lists and chores for the garden. Whether the garden is large or a Balcony Garden we can appreciate all of these Garden Endeavors.

Our UK friend at Veg Plotting says "Plot Views - Clearing Needed." The headline sounds like a "Help Wanted" sign and there are so many times I wish I could hire someone to help out with a few arduous tasks. Empathy to the rescue...the comments can be summarized to be very supportive…that’s okay, think of it as wildlife habitat. Now that’s the kind of attitude that I like! Natural areas provide food and cover for wildlife. So, I think I'm going to leave that brush pile of shovel-pruned plants alone for now.

Perennial Garden Lover is quite industrious, providing us with her Fall Checklist tasks. Racquel's list reminds me of my previous life (working for money) where I was a marketing process consultant in product management at a software company. I would take a list like that and put it in a timeline with checkpoints and milestones. Fortunately, we can just skip all of that record-keeping when we’re working for ourselves for free.

At Our Little Acre Kylee reminded me of another task that I don’t do. I delegate the task of birdhouse cleaning to my dear husband because opening up a box at the edge of the woods is just a bit too creepy for me. Call me a whimp, I don’t mind. In cleaning out the birdhouse, Kylee found a Monarch chrysalis, reminding us that wildlife does indeed take advantage of our gardens for shelter intended for other critters. Which reminded me that I want to add a Toadshed to my garden to house my little gardening buddies.

We learn the Secrets of a Seed Scatterer as Jean tells us all about seed scattering and which ones can be sown here in the Southeast. Jean makes this particular task sound like the art of gardening. Well seed …um, said. I’m new to seed scattering and I follow Jean’s guidance in this area.

If you Walk Down the Garden Path with Cindy while she undertakes her fall chores, she takes time to smell the flowers with the other Busy Bees. Cindy has the cutest helper who warmed my heart with memories of sharing the leaf raking chores with my son when he was a little fellow. Kids grow up too fast, don’t they? Cherish the moments.

Allan Armitage gives us some insight into Why We Garden. I believe we can all relate to one of the reasons that Allan brings to light. Dirt Therapy is good for us. Digging rewards us with the Colors of the Garden such as beautiful Lilacs and Roses.

As we pick up the Hoe and Shovel to tackle Clay and Limestone, let us all remember that our hard work now will provide us with a Fairegarden next spring.


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