Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Happens When Garden Bloggers Play?

They have Fun And Accomplish A Lot!

At noon on Monday, Frances (Faire Garden) arrived at my door! What do you say when a guest arrives with her gardening gear and the way back of her car full of plants? I said, "Welcome to my home and wilderness Frances. " Then  gave her a big hug!

We started talking and I'm pretty sure we broke the world record for uninterrupted conversation! We had so much to talk about and some of it was even about gardening!



We visited a lot,  but  in between we had good food, dug a few plants for their new home in East Tennessee,  planted the plants Frances brought, like,  Joe Pye Weed's Gateway. Seen below in all his wildflower beauty!  Look at the size of his flower, it's magnificent!  I can't quite capture his pinkish-red hues.

He has a rough look that is perfect for Clay and Limestone's Blimp.  This is an area in the middle of the yard that is more  wildly planted.  Frances very kindly planted him near some tall Aster Tataricus.  The bed looks wonderful with the new resident!

We also planted a few plants  that I had in my holding area, like this Phlox Paniculata x Nora Leigh and the Baby Gold Goldenrod (Solidago) and if you look closely you can see Sedum Matrona, another plant from Faire Garden.  I am already enjoying Matrona! It looks wonderful

planted in  a bed of Heuchera villosa x Autumn Bride; adding another dimension to the woodland garden. That was Frances' idea!  

While enjoying a tour of the garden, we found this little guy munching away on the parsley! Also,  on the plant was a tiny little black caterpillar with one patch of light color.  He proved to be too small to capture even  for my macro setting.

But our visit wasn't all about the garden.   We did have  a few good meals and a great deal of wonderful conversation.   While the days got hot, the mornings were cool and we could have coffee on the porch.   The visit seemed way too short and Frances had to leave for home, but not before we met a few Tennessee gardenbloggers!

When A Plan Comes Together:

Frances and I have been talking about a visit for a few weeks.  We knew that one of us was going to visit the other's garden before the summer was over. When Tina (In The Garden) arranged to get a few Middle Tennessee Bloggers together in Nashville, it seemed a good time for Frances to come here. We didn't tell anyone she was visiting, hoping to surprise everyone at the restaurant.   

They were all surprised, especially Tina!  This would have been a perfect time for photos,  but I didn't take any!  I was too delighted to meet and talk with Dp of  Square Foot Gardening In Nashville, Dave of The Home Garden , Donna of Mother Nature's Blogspot, Tina of In The Garden and of course Frances of Faire Garden was there. 

We had a delightful time and never ran out of things to talk about.

Here we are thanks to Tina.


What a wonderfully fun and energetic group. Let's get together again.

Gail

Friends are the bacon bits on the salad bar of life.  from sign in a restaurant




56 comments:

  1. Dear Gail, that was a great telling of our fun adventure! But you left out the part of extreme shopping! LOL We did accomplish a lot and the generous gift of plants from you are all nestled safely in their, (we hope) permanent homes and the sprinkler is on. My garden was very droopy and we are not getting any hint of rain until a week from now! Boo! Do give Coal a scratch behind the ears from me. Thanks for the best hospitality in the world!

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  2. How wonderful you could all get together!! I love your new additions ~ Joe Pye Weed is one of my all-time favorites. That Sedum Matrona looks pretty interesting too. From your photograph it looks like perfect situating. Wish I would find some caterpillars munching on something. The only thing I have doing any munching are grasshoppers!

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  3. Frances,

    I know I left out the extreme shopping, but wasn't sure I wanted everyone to know how much fun we really had! Those wide leg trousers sure where cute and I may head over there again! On the other hand, there were more than a few plants that caught my eye at the nursery! Pants or plants? HMMM!

    I had a wonderful time, you were the perfect guest! You came on time, cleaned up after yourself (!), brought gifts, worked hard, played hard and provided great distraction and entertainment on our very hot rainless summer days!

    Gail

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  4. Kathleen,

    We don't have many grasshoppers, they must not like the conditions here and we are pretty far from anything agricultural. I remember seeing them on the farms during childhood summer visits. Isn't Joe Pye splendid! This one has a beautiful big mop head!

    Are there gardenbloggers anywhere near you?

    Gail

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  5. Wow I've never been called a bacon bit before! It was fun meeting you all. The Joe Pye weed looks great! I know some people do, but I don't think Goldenrod is a weed!

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  6. Seems that everyone is posting about my meeting today! It was a great time, and lots of extra fun with Dave's perfect babies. :-)

    I was so glad to meet all of you! Frances was a hoot--I'm glad she got to come.

    Those plants that she gave you are very pretty and I think work very well in your garden.

    I hope I don't kill the day lilies she gave me. LoL.

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  7. You've got a great little group of garden bloggers in TN. Sounds like it was a lot of fun. The Joe Pye Weed is such a wonderful plant, & I can tell you from experience that Matrona is a great Sedum. From experience I must warn you about the expansionist tendencies of Aster tartaricus in clay soil. I have ripped out so much of this big boy over the past year, but there's still too much. It spreads by underground runners, bulldozing everything in its path. Joe Pye may be able to stand up to it, but Coneflowers, Phlox and New England Asters don't stand a chance.

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  8. Dave,

    Around here it's the best compliment I can give ;->

    I was totally charmed by your darling little girls and I am afraid I now want a grandchild, and while I am putting in my order, I want a granddaughter!

    Both Joe Pye and Goldenrod might be seen as weeds by many...they are perfectly delightful and wonderful friends in my garden!

    Gail

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  9. mmd,

    Thanks for the warning! Yes I have seen it move across the blimp...which is perfectly fine! There is nothing that it can harm...It's the good thing about it running down hill...and I will be ruthless with this one! Frances might want to heed the is warning...she took home a piece, I think!

    We have a nice group of folks and while it sounds like we all live close to one another. Most of us are more than like an hour or so away. Frances is 3+ hours and she crosses into our time zone.

    Gail

    Gail

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  10. gail,
    it all sounds like great fun meeting talking and eating together! here's to the bacon bits!

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  11. Oh, what fun! Wish I had been there also. I enjoy meeting new people and especially garden bloggers since we all seem to have so much in common with each other.

    Okay Gail, since Frances stayed with you, I need to know if there was any table top dancing to choo-choo music? LOL…

    Beautiful plants and I don’t see any weeds!

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  12. Gail - Sounds like you all had a great time. Your new plants look lovely. You are lucky to know so many "bacon bits" haha.
    ~Cindy

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  13. Gardeners come from all walks of life and are all ages, but they all share a passion for seeing things grow. That passion translates into instant frienship! Aren't we lucky to have such delightful friends?

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  14. Oh Gail what a great post. What a treat to read of your fun. With all those great writters together I can't begin to picture all the great convesation!!! The pic of the great bacon bits is wonderful. I am envious for sure!!!!!

    Next time go to a hotel so Frances will do a table dance!!! Skeeter you are a troublemaker and I love joining in on trouble.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. Hey Skeeter, I will have you know that I was a perfect lady! Gail did not play any train songs however. LOL
    Gail, when I got up this morning both of my thighs were covered in bites! They don't itch and I am assuming they are chiggars? Maybe when I was out there with shorts or the dress and the camera? I forgot to trim that maple bark with a knife. Would you take care of it, or don't but tell me you did. Thanks again for everything. You do need those pants, have them hem them. And you do need plants, but later, after the rains return, whenever that is. Christopher and I are wondering if you are still making stained glass?

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  17. What fun you must have had together. And there is always a rowdy one in each group...bet I can pick this one out.... LOL..

    I am glad you got to exchange plants. That means memories for years to come. Don't forget to make a note of where they came from so future generations will know.
    You are one good looking bunch of people!

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  18. Dee/reddirtramblingsAugust 21, 2008 at 2:33 PM

    What fun was had by all. I would love to have any of you come visit me. The next time you get together just call it a spring or summer fling, and we'll all come.~~Dee

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  19. marmee,

    It was fun and we laughed a great deal but there were a few people missing! You were one of them...next time we will be better planners. I sure am sorry I missed an opportunity to spend time talking with you!

    Gail

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  20. skeeter,

    There was no table top dancing...we were worn out each night from all our garden activities, shopping and talking! But thanks for the heads up I will be sure and have a few train songs to get her moving when I visit her place!

    Gail

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  21. cindy,

    I never thought t about the effect bacon bits would have on everyone! We did have a good time and I hope we can meet more often. We seem to be getting more bloggers, well not daily, but monthly!

    gail

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  22. dee,

    Yes, it was a delightful visit with Frances. She is fun and gracious and did I remember to say that she is quite a gardener! If you're near here give a holler! I do visit OKC occasionally, we have very dear friends there...and my husband went to Oklahoma City College!

    Gail

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  23. eve,

    I think Dave's girls revved up the cute quotient for us all! They were darlings. It's true Dave was by far the rowdier one in the crowd! We were all sweet demure southern women! HA!

    Good idea about labeling the plants....I wouldn't want to forget any of their origins!

    Gail

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  24. Beckie,

    Oh we were a varied group weren't we! Over at Dave's The Home Garden site is a photo of me holding his daughter...you must see what he says! As if anyone would mistake me for her mother!

    I am glad to call Frances a good friend and look forward to getting to know other bloggers, too.

    gail

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  25. jean,

    Now don't be encouraging skeeter! Sh is a naughty girl all by herself. They are the best bacon bits...not faux at all!

    I think Geri took the photo...she is a very nice friend of Tina's but you know that!

    gail

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  26. Frances,

    So sorry about the bites...yep chiggers for sure! Apply antiperspirant on them, for some reason it helps!

    The glass is actually glass on glass so Christopher could create his own without messing with the thermal qualities of the glass...but he needs to see if that is true! I create a design and use a glue that dries clear, then i let it completely dry and grout it with a black grout. Black mimics the look of lead. But it only looks good from one side...the down side of glass on glass! here are some gog projects...not mine!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8696793@N07/sets/72157600375224914/

    The pants can wait and so can the plants...and you know me, they will wait in the holding area until I plant them this September when the rain returns! I hope it does!

    Oh, please send me the info on the pruners and I will take care of the bark cut!

    gail

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  27. http://www.bettergardentools.com/

    Go to this website for the rachet tools, they are on sale!

    I found an ID on your little tiny caterpillar, it is the younger version of the big one, the black swallowtail larva.

    Oh so your stained glass is not held together with metal? That seems so much easier, but you say it only looks real from one side. Hmm. Yours is gorgeous.

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  28. Frances,

    Yep, just from one side! No metal glue it to glass! The other is too much detail work for me;->

    I thought it might be a smaller larva of the swallowtail caterpillar, he was a bit bigger and he looked more like the big guy! He has disappeared!

    Thanks I will go and check out the prunrs!


    Gail

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  29. Hi Gail! I had to come and check out your site after I read the post on Faire Garden. Your garden is beautiful and it looks like you all had such a great time! :) But I especially love your pig with the sunglasses! What a hoot...he/she is precious. I am sure the pig has a name.....
    Thanks for sharing!

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  30. We Austin Garden bloggers had better watch out - the Tennessee group is just getting revved up!

    It looks like a wonderful visit, Gail, with the all excitement of being together, but less of the nervousness of an actual first meeting since some of you guys had way too much fun together at Spring Fling.

    Thanks for letting us in on the visit and the part about planting together was so cool!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  31. I am late to this one. I had a great time meeting everyone and it was so neat-like we all knew each other already!

    Frances, I need some help in my garden-next time schedule a visit with me in advance-no more surprises for me! What a surprise!

    Dee, I have a friend in OK too so I might take you up on a visit sometime-been known to travel to see gardens-right Frances? And others around.

    Mom and Skeeter, You naughty girls! Frances was a perfect lady indeed!

    Marmee, Had I known you were so close I would've invited you too-next time??

    Cindy, I will call you one day when I am headed your way too:)

    So nice seeing the bloggers and visiting the gardens of all. Tomorrow is my post. Isn't it neat to see how each of interpret our visit and chose to talk about it all?? You all know we could do a regional Spring/Summer Fling right here in Nashville or even Knoxville. I bet some folks would come from Alabama, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina and others. Hmmmmm.....another meeting perhaps regional? A mini get together? Just thinking out loud.

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  32. Tina,

    Be careful or you will be put in charge of all and any meetings!

    Gail

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  33. siria,

    I am glad you came over here! Isn't Frances' post wonderful! She is a talented blogger!

    The garden is still looking good...even though it is hot with no rain in sight...so you did get to see some bloom still happening! Mr Pig hasn't given us his name yet! It will come to us soon!

    I hope you stop by again for a visit...do you blog?

    gail

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  34. Annie,

    Funny you should mention the cool planting together..Somewhere in the middle of the visit, certainly after we planted, I said to Frances that I would love to have a Divas group like yours! She and I live too far from one another for an active Divas of the Dirt Group!

    I'll let you in on a secret, I was nervous about Frances seeing my garden's problem areas...but I need not have worried!

    I don't think many cities can compete with Austin in number of bloggers. Our little group live rather far from one another! maybe someday we can get Tina to organize a meeting!

    gail

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  35. I did organize a meeting-oops-my turn is over!

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  36. How nice to read about this Tennessee Fling from your point of view, since I saw Frances's post yesterday. It's charming that you two planted together. Sharing plants is the best way to remember a friend in the garden.

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  37. Hi Gail, and all you lucky TN garden bloggers!

    You and Frances sure got an immense amount of work done during that visit! Whenever you want to come up and help me out consider yourselves invited. :-) J/K

    I think it's really great that you have that enclave of TN garden bloggers to meet up... I can only imagine the "shop talk" and am envious! Oh well, I do that in the blogosphere instead, lol.

    As an aside though, Shady Gardener is going to stop by this week on her way back home from visiting relatives in NW Iowa, and I'm going to have 2-3 big pots of Monarda for her to take home. Finally a good reason to get some divided in back, because it will go to a great home!

    Which reminds me ... I'll get those seeds to you soon, promise!

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  38. Hi Gail, what a lot of fun you and Frances had together. i read her story yesterday and now I've read your side of it too. I love it that blogging is bringing people together!

    BTW you shouldn't worry about problem areas in your garden when another gardener comes to visit. We all have them so if there is one person who will understand, well that's another gardener! ;-)

    Have a lovely weekend!

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  39. Pam,

    Frances was ready to work...she is a fabulous guest! I thought her p[ost about visiting bloggers was really charming!
    Gail

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  40. YE,

    Wasn't her post well done? She is a wonderful story teller and quite possibly the best guest ever! We laughed and talked...and went shopping! Great fun. The messy areas were a non issue after a few minutes of talking about them...of course I brought them up!

    Now if only the dollar had some value...we would all be at your garden gate!

    Gail

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  41. IVG,

    I would think that Iowa would have its fair share of gardeners...clay soil is, after all, so much fun...I of course mean, after all the amending! Frances pronounced mine not so bad at first and then she encountered the really good stuff along with the limestone! What I need is a huge amount of compost! I did locate a compost farm...the cost to deliver is more than the compost! Oh to have a truck!

    You will get to experience fling next year in Chicago, I know you'll be there. Food, conversation, your favorite Midwest city, garden tours and gardenbloggers galore!

    So, are you going to get more Fleming Hibiscus? Readers want to know!

    Thanks for the seeds to come!

    Gail

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  42. Hi Gail, What a fun time you had! Wonderful plant exchanges, it sounds. I have Matrona. I really like it! I took a bunch of Sedum photos last night. My Purple Palace is blooming and it's great. :-)

    The variegated leaves of the phlox are beautiful!! I'm going to look into this...

    So far my parsley is "caterpillar-less." Hopefully that changes, soon. I planted 2 extra plants, just for them! ;-) My Butterfly milkweed Asclepias tuberosa L. has not only it's annual Monarch caterpillars but a good share of aphids! Last year I hosed them off and sprayed a non-toxic mix. Will have to do that again.

    Wonder how many people will show up in Chicago next Spring? ;-)

    Have a great time wandering around your gardens to look at everything new!

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  43. Shady,

    I have this strange milk weed bug on mine! Should I be concerned? They are orange and black, very halloween like! They seem to be perched there but I can't tell if they are extrating the juices are what they are up to.

    The variegated phlox is a beauty! I need more...it lights up the shade, it might look nice near your not so shady after the trees were taken out areas!

    I know I will be in Chicago and several of the bloggers from Tennessee are also going to attend!

    Have a good weekend!

    gail

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  44. Hi Gail! No I do not blog. I think I need some "lessons" and I definitely feel intimidated by all your spectacular gardens! But is has been so much fun reading and following all the wonderful gardens and I am learning so much! However, one of these days... maybe....
    It all started when I found OutsideClyde who lives near me. I actually live in Florida but have a home in the mountains of NC. I went to visit Christopher C., the Resident Gardener and the Contractor and had a wonderful visit. Their mountaintop refuge is spectacular and they are the nicest people! My mountain garden has been slowly evolving as I plant and hope that things will survive in my absence. I have been motivated to "move things along" a little more quickly and am anxiously awaiting my return to check on things, but am worried with all the planting I did this summer and lack of rain in recent weeks. I read all of these blogs and wonder what is blooming and appearing at my place. :) I have a pig to welcome my visitors too, but he is not as cute as yours. His name is Dexter.
    Meanwhile my Florida garden is OK, but it is so hot here to garden in the summer! It is fun to have a new zone to learn about.

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  45. Siria,

    How wonderful that you can visit and garden in two very different climates. There is a wonderful Florida gardenblogger, meems of Hoe and Shovel. You can reach her via a link on my side bar.

    I was over whelmed when I decided to blog. Fortunately for me blogger has an easy process and there were helpful bloggers who answered my questions and pointed out glaring errors that I made! For instance, I forgot to enable comments and no one could comment! The other thing is that all of our gardens are in various stages of development, revamping, beginning and aging. How exciting it would be for us to read about your new garden and what you discovere works in NC. Have you visited Anna? She is also in NC...her blog is Woody and herbacious...you can find her at Blotanical...her new url isn't updated on my list yet...I am behind on maintenance!

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. It's good to know more about you and I hope you decide to jump into blogging. It's so much fun and you will get to meet nice people who comment and share:) Gail

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  46. What a delight to read your account of the meeting after reading Frances'. When I saw the neon sign on her post I thought it seemed so "you". I can't think of a better way to spend the day than with a fellow gardener in the garden and drinking coffee on the porch! Great fun and you acquired some great plants for your wildwoods. Love the JoePye and the Aster. Oh how I long for some cool mornings...
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

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  47. meems,

    Before long October and November will be here. Doesn't that seem too soon! It does to me...although nothing beats the color of our October skies. Has Marmee told you how lovely they are?

    We had a good time and when I see Joe Pye and Matrona, I think of Frances.

    Gail

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  48. Hi Gail. Vicariously enjoyed your visit thru your blog:) Thank you for sharing the photo. Nice to put a face with the names we have come to think of as friends.

    I'm not sure Joe Pye weed is hardy in my zone. I sure would like some. Very stately and of course a butterfly favorite.
    Marnie

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  49. Marnie,

    You ought to be able to grow it. It's harder to zone 4. But then there are pockets in all states where some plants won't grow. People assume that we can grow Rhodos and azaleas; we can't very easily! Too dry, too hot and not enough acid in the soil.

    I am glad you came along with us on the visit! You can visit anytime!

    Gail

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  50. Hi Gail! Thanks .... I have read Hoe and Shovel and she has a great blog. I am in a different zone than she is though as I am about 3-4 hours south of her and on the east coast. I live in the tropics!I have not seen Anna's blog so will have to go and check that one out. Thank you!

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  51. What fun Gail! I'm glad you all had a great time. One can never have too many bacon bits! How nice that you and Frances got to spend some extended time together, and even garden together. Who knew blogging would lead to all this.

    Frances brought you some great plants! I love Joe Pye weed, and have the same challenge capturing the bloom as I see it in a photo. I've been drooling over Matrona at the nursery. I'm holding out for a 2-1 sale which will hopefully be coming up soon.

    You have Autumn Bride - oh, I just love that plant! I've been on the lookout for it around here for a couple of years. Your variegated phlox is gorgeous! I love the goldenrod too.

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  52. It sounds like your time with Frances was well spent, and that the Tennessee bloggers were old friends within minutes of meeting each other. I hope this will be only the first of many such visits!

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  53. So glad you had such a good time! I read about this and saw pictures on Tina's or Frances' blog(now I can't remember!). "Strangers" bearing gifts...of plants--the best kind!
    Can't wait till Spring Fling to meet other blogging friends, too!

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  54. This just made my heart sing to see two of our favorite gardeners having such a good time. I'm so glad to hear this about you too---and loved hearing about the TN get together.

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  55. And a good time had by all! How fun that you all had a chance to meet in person, and share from your gardens. I'm sure a lot of gardening knowledged was passed around as well!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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