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

Monday, January 5, 2009

Too Much of A Brown Thing!

Even the squirrels are brown


The Garden of Benign Neglect and Expanded Garden look monochromatic without a blanket of snow to disguise the brown leaves or make the Juniperus virginiana pop...Snow is rare...leaves are not!

Just this morning I was looking for a unique angle to show off the garden's potential! Walking around it was clear that a few plants are needed!
The Dry Creek has a little greenery

Plants that of course make sense for C&L

Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst' will be moving to the GOBN 

but also
 
The Susans and The Blues (Little Bluestem) will be seen there, too
add
River Oats will be happy there
texture, 

Can you believe that P paniculata 'Laura' is still this green?

winter interest,
Aronia arbutifolia's  leaves could brighten the Garden
and color.


Plants that will take the garden  from a sea of brown

punctuated with green exclamation points.  To...

You'll just have to wait and see! To be continued~~for sure!

Gail

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the
landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter.
Something waits beneath it - the whole story doesn't show.
- Andrew Wyeth

73 comments:

  1. Gail, I know exactly what you mean by brown, Ugh! Since the snow left, all I see is brown-leaves, grass, ans sticks of brown with brown seed heads. But, I love the green 'exclamation' points. :}

    The quote is wonderful. As for the bones, I can see your garden's very well. How ever, I do NOT prefer winter!

    Have a good week.

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  2. Good morning Gail, we anxiously await the beginning of the redo! But you knew that. :-) I am amazed at the phlox, how is that possible? Your choices are good ones, are there bulbs in the future? They are really cheap right now, hint hint.
    Frances

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  3. This certainly is the season of potential, and your garden of benign neglect is full of it, potential that is. I hope you will keep some of your Red Cedars. I would kill to have some space like that. Good luck and happy new year to you.

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  4. This is a wonderful time to ponder all of the possibilities of a new/old garden area. I will be waiting to see how this area plays out, I know it will be beautiful!

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  5. Gail,

    I was thinking "gray" instead of brown in my front garden yesterday. Deer resistant perennials fall into the herb side of things and tend to die back grey instead of brown.

    I look forward to your next chapter.

    Cameron

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  6. I hate this colorless time. It lasts here until April. One of the things I regret is not planting more evergreens.
    Marnie

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  7. Brown is definitely the color of choice this season! We haven't had any snow for awhile, either, and all I see are the bones, too, except that they're all covered with leaves. Glad to see your fish haven't frozen in the creek this winter:)
    I can see you've already given a lot of thought to what you will do with all this new gardening space--I can't wait to see it later this spring!

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  8. I love your "dry creek"! What a wonderful feature. I'm sure your transformation will be stunning. :)

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  9. Oh the promise of things to come, Gail. Good luck with that. I'm sure it will turn out lovely like all your other gardens. Your plant list looks great.

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  10. I'm tired of the brown as well. Nice shot of the squirrel peeking out of the tree! It will fun to see how your GOBN does after the honeysuckle removal!

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  11. Little dashes of green are all that are seen here too. I will look forward to seeing more of what is to come.

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  12. Good post, Gail! It got me up from the computer for a look-see out the back glass doors and made me think. I was surprised at how much green we have. I think I'll write a post about it later.

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  13. Lots of potential there! I can see some great autumn ferns around your dry stream bed, and all the others you talk of. The bones are ever so important this time of year. Good thing you have the cedars. Have a great day on this cold one!

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  14. Tina,

    I do have some bones, but certainly need more! I agree some ferns along the creek bed..Autumn ferns are lovely, I will try them back there and I will plant Christmas ferns..they are evergreen and like the conditions here. Gail

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  15. Gail, Thank goodness for those green exclamation points... we need those all year long don't we? You have cleared your wayback at just the right time... walking around and imagining just exactly what you will do in your GOBN is the perfect way to come up with a winning plan. Never rush. As the weeks draw near to spring you will be ever-ready to launch out and "no more brown" will be seen ...for a while anyway.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

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  16. that quote at the end puts me in a quandry. i too like seeing the bones of the place but i must confess i like when things are blooming. i guess that is why seasons are only temporary to give us glimpses of the same place in many different aspects.
    it would be nice to get more snow, it does make the landscape so pretty.

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  17. Cute little brown thing in the knothole. lol Hope he doesn't get too cold.
    Oh, if only I had a garden like that. I would be there all the time. I can envision the ferns along the dry creek bed but not to overpower the fish. I love those fish.
    I'm glad you have the cedars. They are so stately.
    Can't wait to see what the Spring brings. Whatever, it will be fabulous.

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  18. I look forward with anticipation Gail......love to see others gardens, and their hopes and dreams come into fruition.....

    I have so many plans for my garden this year, I get butterflies when I think about it......

    I love to see skeletal trees in the winter.......I love to see through them when the dense canopy has fallen........every season is beautiful in it's own way.......

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  19. I know what you mean Gail, there is alot of brown in my garden right now other than the spots of green from the emerging bulb foliage & the evergreens. I can't wait to see what you do with your new garden space next year. Won't it be fun filling it with lots of plants!

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  20. Dear friends,

    I am away from the computer for a day but will visit and reply this evening! Warmest wishes for a great day!

    gail

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  21. I can't wait to see what you do with it. Isn't it fun doing the planning?

    I do have to say I prefer snow covering to a sea of brown too. I guess that's one nice thing about living in such a cold climate!

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  22. Even the remaining snow here is brown. Drab, dull, blah...these all describe my mood as well as the garden. At least my fence is green.

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  23. This time of year its nice to sit back and reflect on what was and whats to be. Spring it like a gift to us, it brings all sorts of colors back into our garden, even some we forgot about.

    Love the squirrel photo!

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  24. I have a print of Andrew Wyeth's Pennsylvania Landscape on my living room wall (I bought it in Pennsylvania, strangely enough!) but I'd never heard that quote. It explains a lot. So many people think it's a depressing painting, and they're probably the same people that find winter landscapes vaguely depressing. I really love it: I love its sense of stillness.
    If it was summertime all year round, it would be a bit like being at a non-stop party and having to wear your best clothes every day. Sometimes it's nice to have a bit of peace and quiet. Winter is nature's way of chilling out. (Please excuse the horrible pun!)

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  25. That Aronia leaf is amazing. great quote by Wyeth... the view is part of the story and leads to the hope which then is the cause of joy in springtime.

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  26. Dear Gail,

    I think I will love reading this winter about your plans for this spring! Actually...I think you all are lucky to have the change in seasons - we are always, always an endless sea of green outside my dining room window. Giant jungle mountain, vines, palms and green green trees. We do get a series of blooming plants that change as the temperatures rise and fall and the rains come and go. I shouldn't say that Hong Kong doesn't have seasons, it does - winter, with lows in the 50's and highs in the 60's, sunny days, no rain. Then Spring - rising temperatures, and rain, rain, rain rain, rain, starting in April or May and lasting until the end of June. Then summer - hot humid weather, unbelievably both of those, typhoons and a little less rain. We really don't have fall. It stays hot and humid until November and then its finally cools off and winter reappears. I like winter here the best but I really like living where there are 4 seasons and its one of the things I'm looking forward to when we return.

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  27. Helen,

    Brown really is good and there is more to it then appears!

    Gail

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  28. Dear Lynnie,

    I know you've had and are having an amazing adventure...but I couldn't give up the seasons for hot and humid and wet! It is so going to be fun to have you back and talk gardening and life! Has a date been set?

    Love to you both,
    gail

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  29. Dear Frances,

    The problem for me with the way back and all its promise is that the nurseries haven't the plants I want in stock! I will probably have to make a special trip to Growild to find the shrubs that will fit the bill! Bulbs are indeed in the plans but not available at any stores...even on line they are out of stock!

    Gail

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  30. Beckie,

    Isn't that a great quote! I suspect he was looking at a snow covered scene but bones is bones!

    Do you green exclamation points in your yard?

    Gail

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  31. Les,

    I will keep many of the red cedars...this is their world!
    There are several large junipers, like the one by the rotten bench! I love it and think it will grow to a nice size. I plan to move smaller ones, with smaller taproots to the boundaries. Now you can see the suburban chain link fence!

    I loved your post on brown and gray!

    gail

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  32. Darla,

    It is fun to imagine and the catalogs are arriving right on time for dreaming! Have you seen the White Flower catalog? They know how to make one dream!

    I hope all is well with you and yours?

    Gail

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  33. Cameron,

    Yes, gray is another winter color in the gardens that are not protected with snow fall! I am looking forward to the next chapeter which has been interupted by a commercial from Mother Nature...it's been raining for three days. The weather bureau says 1/2 inch but it's more like 2 to 3 here in the garden. Sighing...this is winter!

    gail

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  34. Marnie,

    Me too. There is one ilex opaca that I am thinking about...it just needs more moisture then this place has all summer...another drought and it would be gone like the two I planted before!

    Will you plant more this next spring/ Is that when it's best for you to plant shrubs?

    Gail

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  35. Rose,

    Hi! Yep brown sticks with leaves! What would you plant for winter interest in your central Illinois garden?

    I was in one of our parks this past weekend and I have to say...I have indeed mirrored nature well...It is brown and punctuated with red cedars! But the parks are vast and have magnificent trees!

    Gail

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  36. Diana,

    Thank you! The front garden is coming along and this back project has one slight problem...well, two!
    1. right now when it's still a good time to plant, there are no appropriate shrubs/perennials available and, 2.
    the budget is shrinking!

    How is your winter?

    Gail

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  37. nancy,

    Thanks, it was something else to build...I need to do a post about it! All the digging credit goes to Mr I~ He was able to be coaxed back then...not now!

    I have such hopes for the way back...I hope it stops raining!

    Gail

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  38. Dave,

    I don'tknow who lives in that hole in the tree...I have seen several different birds fly in and out and this squirrel. I think it's a warming hut! Is your garden soggy from all this rain?

    gail

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  39. Lisa,

    Little dashes are good, too! Any green helps...want some juniper seedlings?

    Gail

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  40. Kim,

    You did a great job on your green post! I am terribly impressed with all you have! Thanks for the link!

    Gail

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  41. Meems,

    Thank you...I needed to slow down..I do think I have been pressuring myself to plant it...But I am not ready to put just anything in the ground...Being taprooted to cedar glade plantings makes it that much more important to plan! In the past I have ignored that inner voice and just had dead plants or the wrong plants! You are a wise woman!

    gail

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  42. Marmee,

    Can you imagine how much snow we would have on the ground now if temps were below freezing. With all this rain..it would be a foot deep! But pretty for a few days!

    I am with you, I think my garden looks best in flower and only looks this brown for a few months! Can we live with it? Yes!

    Gail

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  43. Lola,

    You are a dear! If you were here now we could look out the window at the practically floating fish! It has been raining for forever it seems like! But I always love your sweet comments and I needed to hear that right now...the gray is getting to me! How is your garden this winter?

    Gail

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  44. Good luck with finding the plants you want to add, Gail.

    Do your junipers turn a purplish color if the temperatures go much lower? I seem to remember that happening in IL - well at least purplish green is still a different color - and not brown!

    The winter view into our back garden was mostly brown sticks when we moved in. That surprised me because there are so many broadleaved evergreens that will grow here. Our evergreen additions are small, but they're growing!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  45. Cheryl,

    The plans are exciting aren't they! The catalogs are here and they are filled with tempting flowers and gorgeous shrubs. I have so enjoyed your winter posts...there is a lot going on in your garden...I hope to have a winter garden as alive as yours someday!

    I did see a bee the other day and hoped he could find a few blooms somewhere..that is one thing that winter blooming honeysuckle provides on those warm days of winter!

    gail

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  46. Racquel,

    The best part is the digging and planting...then stepping back to see what it all looks like! Then on to the next vignette! It is very exciting! The bulbs peaking up means the spring is certainly near!

    gail

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  47. Cinj,

    Now if only we could control when it fell and where it fell! Let it fall on the gardens but off the driveway...I remember your very big snow mound from last year! I hope it melts sooner this year at your place!

    Yes the dreaming and planning is the best part
    gail

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  48. MMD,

    I know how you feel! I was beginning to wonder if I was getting blue! But I think I have TOWA...tired of winter already! We haven't snow but the rains for days and days is not fun! Even tho we have dealt with the wter off the hill...it still makes me wonder when I will see a flooded crawl space etc!

    You know I love your green fence!

    gail

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  49. Alan,

    it really is a good time to reflect, which is not always easy for a kinesthetic get up and go person! I can already see more color if I really look with an open mind and let go of my brown colored glasses!

    Gail

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  50. Vicoria,

    You are excused! Puns are allowed and appreciated.
    Before blogging I would have been reading every new garden magazine, visiting blogs and imagining my perfect garden....not so different! I do think you're right, it is a good time and important time to rest/chill out! What's the rush!

    gail

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  51. Wayne,

    I think that aronia is way under appreciated and am glad when another gardener appreciates it!

    It is lovely even now with winter full on in Nashville...that means raining, btw!

    I do love your comment!! I am ready to see spring...so I best grab a good book or magazine!

    gail

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  52. Annie,

    That is surprising to learn about your garden...you and Philo have certainly added a great deal of green to it.

    Yes the junipers are purplish when it gets very cold...They are all different, some are very green, others very silvery green and then some are really tinged with rusty reds and purple. There berries are often a beautiful blue that I can't get to photograph true!

    Thank you for reminding me how special Red Cedars are!

    gail

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  53. Hi Gail,
    I enjoyed looking at the first image expanded. I loved the strength of the simplicity: the branches and the green of the juniper. It seems very peaceful.
    I can just hear the sound of the wind in the branches, the rustle of the leaves. I see some places for communing: a wonderful old bench, and a vintage metal porch chair, a sundial. It feels like a garden, and a wonderful place to dream all the year.
    Best,
    Philip

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  54. Winter is a great time to see what the garden is missing. The brown and bareness are very revealing, aren't they? These pictures should help you remember least you forget once everything turns green. A garden is really successful if it is just as interesting in winter as it is every other season. Something I haven't mastered myself. I cannot believe that 'Laura!' She is truly amazing. What a great purchase. Have fun making your plans Gail!

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  55. PS Loved that squirrel photo too!

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  56. Love the close-up shots, especially the river oats. The landscape is certainly hard to photograph this time of year. Everything just comes out looking blah.

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  57. It is a great time for editorial thoughts isn't it! Love your squirrel.

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  58. The winter is certainly gray, brown, and dreary, without a blanket of snow, here too.

    I'm looking at all of those leaves and thinking what a rich humusy layer that will be.

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  59. Hi Gail, all the brown does get tedious, but how excited you must be, looking forward to executing your garden renovation plans.

    It's brown here too, probably even browner than your more temperate climate. I'm so enjoying being off work, tackling little projects inside, and watching the snow instead of driving in it, that all the brown, and even the grey skies and early sunsets haven't dampened my spirits, at least not yet anyway.

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  60. There's a quiet charm to your winter landscape, Gail. I'm sure any additions you make will only add to it!

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  61. Oh, love that quote, but hadn't heard it before! Wonderful words of wisdom. I find that as I get older yet, I find more and more of interest, no matter how brown the landscape!
    Brenda

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  62. Hmm, I really love the beautiful browns of old leaves, but I'd hardly agree with Andrew Wyeth's sentiment, about preferring winter and fall.

    I was admiring our front yard this afternoon in winter dress, and something about the contrast of the leaves and the early evening/late afternoon light was really lovely.

    Planting is always a good thing!

    Lisa

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  63. Gail, I think it's beautiful now, but I also can't wait to see what you do with it!

    The photography is wonderful; I love the perspective with the fishes (they remind me of salmon swimming upstream in that shot), and the shots of the No. River Oats and Aronia are gorgeous. The Rubeckia with the Little Bluestem is a beautiful combination.

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  64. Gail, I hear you when you say too much brown. It's about all we have here right now.

    Be careful of those Northern Sea Oats! I didn't deadhead mine the fall before last and when spring came (and summer and fall), there were seedlings coming up EVERYWHERE. They can definitely take over!

    You're going to have fun working on your GOBN when the weather gets nicer, aren't you? Now if spring would just hurry up and get here!

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  65. OMG! Snow did this to your garden? Sad to see too much of brown, but I hope everything becomes cheery by spring. The susans (I think that's what they're. Am I right?) look sweet. I asked one of my friends living in US to ship it to me. Waiting for them eagerly.

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  66. Chandramouli,

    No, this is just what winter is like here and evidence I desperately need to redo my back garden! You will love the Susans! They will spread about and be very happy,

    Gail

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  67. Kylee,

    It is a big green and brown mess after 3 days of rain! But I do have my drams...they will be tempered by reality and budget!

    The Northern Sea Oats are quite aggressive and I remove seed heads from where ever I don't want plants to grow! But they may be just right for the hill that I have that I don't think I've shown!

    Spring is going to be good fro everyone!

    Gail

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  68. Sweetbay,

    You are very kind to see the beauty...which sometimes eludes me. I often can only see the wart! I love the Susans and Little Bluestem...The bluestem is wonderful
    all year!

    Have a delicious day!

    Gail

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  69. 1) River oats (called sea oats in my parts, but look the same) are awesome, and yet another plant on my want list.

    2) Squirrels rule!

    ~Monica

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  70. Monica,

    They seem to take control no matter where they live! River Oats are fantastic looking. Email me your address and I will send you seeds!

    Gail

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  71. I never see your comments in a timely fashion do I. Yes a date has been set. We are returning to the US the first week in March - soon! We're are heading toward Austin but don't know if we will actually arrive there or if we do how long we will stay. We're being patient, sort of! We have work and landscaping to do on that house, either to live there or to sell it. Should be interesting.

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  72. Dear Gail,

    I love your blog, and have been following it for a couple of months now. In Feb and March I will be hosting a interview with many of the most known and renown gardening blogs of 08 and would love to do a interview with you. Please email me and let me know if you are interested. I would be more than happy to explain it in more detail. My email is vioboygarden@gmail.com. I appreciate you time and consideration.
    ~vioboy

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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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