Sunday, December 6, 2015

Charlottesville Area Holiday Giving Guide, a Time to be Grateful

The biggest time of the year for non-profits to receive donations is during the Holiday Season. As the year nears to an end, its time to get those tax deductible donations to deserving charities.

As your heart strings are pulled with each mailer and online story, its time to reflect and be grateful for what you have. Living in this gloriously beautiful and bountiful county we take many things for granted. 

We often forget that even in our lowest of low moments there is always a worse situation. Try to imagine living in a tent for 20 years evicted from your homeland, persecuted because of your religion or race. 

The last time war was declared on our homeland soil was in 1941 on the attack of Pearl Harbor and I for one have never lived in a war zone. To live day in and day out with bombs raining down on you is unimaginable. 

I often feel the potential for happiness in our country is squandered without thought of a worse scenario. Be grateful for your blessings and be thoughtful of others during this season of giving. There are families that barely find the resources to pay the monthly rent living in fear of eviction and forgotten animals that are chained and allowed to live their entire life alone outside.

I look for charities that work day in and day out in the trenches and use their funds to really help those they service. If you haven't quite found the right charity, here are a few to add to your list for consideration.

My mom. Respect and love of pets starts early. 
I tend to lean toward animal rescue groups as I have a history of helping animals and feel they can't defend for themselves so are most worthy. Giving directly to a local Animal Welfare Agency is the way to go. The larger national groups DO NOT annually trickle funds down to local groups and often your local Humane Society / SPCA receives no government funding. They need your help the most. If you prefer to not give cash, they often take supplies - food, cat litter, etc or operate Thrift Stores

My shelter babies. No chain zone at my house!
Two of my favorite Charlottesville, VA Animal Welfare groups merged together under the Voices for Animals umbrella. Houses of Wood and Straw (HOWS) is a tireless volunteer group that helps the most desperate animals that are chained outside 24 X 7. If it were up to them, no animals would be chained but sadly Virginia law finds this perfectly acceptable, even though for years rescue groups have attempted to change this. HOWS does what it can, given the law, to upgrade dog houses, expand fenced areas, and to pay for medical treatment of often the emaciated or the forgotten.

There are is an Animal Rescue for just about any pure breed pet imaginable. One that I volunteer for is Siamese Cat Rescue Center. One would think a Siamese Cat would never enter an Animal Shelter. But they have saved over 10,000 Siamese from death. When I was the Director at the Pulaski County Humane Society (another good charity that tirelessly operates on a shoe string budget) they saved many of our Siamese cats from death. It runs like a well oiled ship and there is a dedicated shelter at the Virginia Chapters home.

Forget the Yard Sale, haul it to the SPCA!
I tend to get motivated at the end of the year to start clearing out. Your local SPCA Thrift Store is a great place to donate your used items. If you prefer to give to a non-animal based charity several of the more well known agencies pay their CEO's huge annual salaries. So give some thought as to who can really benefit from your castaway treasures. 

There has been a lot of talk in the media about refugees and fear of allowing a potential criminal into our country through this program. Since my move to Charlottesville, I've been fortunate to meet refugee families and learn of their plight. One particular family arrived several years ago after living in a tent for 20 years. They didn't even understand the operation of a window, much less a stove! Arriving in December wearing flipflops and summer clothing, and not speaking one word of English. Imagine for one moment if that is all you had. Ok, so do it again, visualize if that was all you had and you were placed down into what appeared to be MARS. If a criminal wanted to enter our country, this program would be the last port of entry as it can take from 3 years to 20 to escape your tent city! To make a cash or item donation to help a part of our population that is truly destitute upon arrival, the local International Rescue Committee is the agency which coordinates the arrival of refugees.

For a host of reasons, sometimes years can pass without employment. This, understandably, can lead to depression or loss of a home. A few years ago we went to a plant sale and discovered Our Community Place in Harrisonburg, VA, a vibrant community center that helps anyone that needs assistance, and several days a week it provides free meals.

To find an international charity, Give Well rates charities.

A little goes a long way and it is absolutely true that if we each gave just a little, it could make a world of difference. Happy Holidays and spread the joy!


Friday, November 13, 2015

Vintage for the Holidays

Poland Wawel China Serving Platter by ForsythiaHill at Etsy
As a vintage seller, I often run into one of a kind items on Etsy that I just have to share! Let's take a walk down memory lane and get into the spirit for the Holiday season, vintage style. All items mentioned in my blog are currently for sale, but hurry, the season is HERE!

Pink and Black Sunbeam Mixer by Vetera on Etsy.
Many of my treasured household items are put to use during this time of year. The antique platter of Grandmom's is always used at Holiday dinners and the vintage mixing bowl set is pulled out to accommodate the assortment of cookies I whip up. I have one platter that doesn't match anything I own that was my Mom's. I use it every time I bake cookies and it always reminds me of our house where I grew up.

Charming set of Cone Gnome's by Cybersenora on Etsy
Vintage ornaments are often fun conversation pieces. You will be sure to get friends and family asking about your unique "kitsch" vintage holiday collectibles! There is something homey and warm about vintage Christmas Decor. It's really fun to collect a certain era or theme.

Bottle Brush Wreath by CommodityMOD on Etsy
Don't limit your decorating to indoors! Unique wreaths, swags, balls, and outdoor ornamentation can be found online and shipped straight to your door. I love simple accents that meld well with nature. Each year I cut Pine and Holly boughs and put my window baskets to good use. A little twig tree at your entry door is a great place to hang vintage ornaments to greet your guests.

Pretty Lion 9 candle Menorah by ForsythiaHill
Have fun this Holiday season and shop vintage. Often items are built to last and a much higher quality for a lower price. I also like the fact that it is a great way to reuse and recycle old objects. Who doesn't like a treasure hunt.

Happy shopping, vintage style!



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Leave the Leaves

Beautiful Fall on Forsythia Hill.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... Beautiful Fall colors... Cozy beside a roaring wood stove... Warm homemade Apple Pie topped with a luscious ball of Vanilla Ice Cream. Fall activities that makes the loss of Spring Daffodils and Summer flowers not so bad. Six months of no roaring lawn mowers and whirling string trimmers.

Jethro = Leaf disposal system
But wait, my senses are elevated only to be snuffed out by the roar of leaf blowers, more lawn mowing, and fumes from leaf burning. Unfortunately mechanical devices have turned a moment of convening with nature into one of hurry and frustration. Mainly I leave the leaves, but rake some into flowerbeds, the chicken yard, or add to the compost pile. Chickens like nothing better than to peck and scratch in a big pile of fresh crunchy leaves.

Underground Burn Pit that I get to see and smell.
Apparently leaf burning is a contagious endeavor as it seems once one neighbor is doing it, others get in on it. Heaven forbid should a leaf be allowed to drop without its prompt removal. I love the sound of leaves beneath my feet and the free fertilizer. If we allow nature to tend to the leaves, our planet will behave as it is intended. Read about the natural cycle from Trees for Life.

This fire was left to burn all night. 
I can get away from the noise but burning yard waste is another matter all together. Closing all windows and doors is not enough protection from the stench. It's perfectly legal in Albemarle County to burn yard waste (and even though it is listed as illegal, the fire dept said burning construction material was fine as long as not painted or treated wood). Unlimited sized Burn Pits are also legal in this county.

Clear blue sky, what our lungs need.
Fires are problematic when they are left to burn overnight allowing smoke to linger. An unmanned simmering fire is the worst fire, releasing toxins over a long period. One would think our county to be more progressive by not permitting the burning of leaves that can add such benefit to nature. Instead we are harming nature and causing a nuisance.

How much pollution is a little leaf burning contributing? Read it here... a lot. There is an interesting site that shows the air quality live. The second most significant form of biomass burning in the US is the burning of leaves. Burning a ton of leaves will produce 117 pounds of carbon monoxide, 41 pounds of particulates (easily absorbed by the lungs), and at least 7 highly carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( Battelle, Friedman).

Little Spring Crocus happy in the leaves.
If you can't stand leaving the leaves for nature, you can mulch the leaves with your racket maker, mowing them into smaller pieces that will decompose literally before your eyes or ditch the mower and get a workout, raking like a mad man, spreading the leaves all around so they decompose faster.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Takes Landowners Property in Nelson County

How would u feel?

Sally just retired to Nelson County Virginia from a grueling job at a Flower Shop. She was a Floral Designer for 40 years, creating floral masterpieces for others. Her specialty was the design of elaborate Casket Sprays which took a day to assemble. Sally was on call 24/7 awaiting notice from the funeral home saying that another local citizen had passed away. She was in high demand, in a small Southwest Virginia town, where Florists were far and few between. She worked every Christmas Eve, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and pre-week Thanksgiving. She worked in retail in a fast paced, high pressure, public job.

Once she "paid her dues" and accumulated enough cash to retire, she decided to move to peaceful and quiet Nelson County with her chickens and cats to keep her company. Her decision was based on how fellow landowners loved their land and preserved the natural state of it. Also, just to the north was Charlottesville, Virginia, touted in many publications as "the" best U.S. city for a host of reasons. She bought 6 acres of breathtakingly beautiful pasture land with a wooded stream and a view of undeveloped Afton Mountain.

One day after returning back to her home, which she had recently named "Peaceful Pastures", she was taken aback by a group of men with equipment standing in her field, She thought possibly it was a neighbor that had mistaken her new plot as their land. Cautiously approaching the group, she asked why they were on her property. After a short and unnerving discussion, it was explained they were on official business, hired contractors by Dominion Resources to survey her land for a gas pipeline.

Stay with me on this section, it's really not that boring!
After feeling helpless and frankly, in a panic, she reached out to Friends of Nelson County to try and figure out what was going on. According to Virginia law Eminent Domain is defined as "the power to take or damage private property for a public use, provided that the owner is paid just compensation. VA. CONST. art I, § 11. Using this power, entities with the power of eminent domain may acquire private property from a property owner even if the owner does not wish to sell." There are 2 provisions that must be met in order for your land to be taken and there is disagreement about this part of the text: "Virginia Code § 1-219.1 defines public use to include only the following: (i) the property is taken for the possession, ownership, occupation, and enjoyment of property by the public or a public corporation; (ii) the property is taken for construction, maintenance, or operation of public facilities by public corporations or by private entities provided that there is a written agreement with a public corporation providing for use of the facility by the public."

There are several proposed pipeline projects in Virginia. One begins in West Virginia and ends in Southwest Virginia. West Virginia has a different defined law on Eminent Domain. There is a growing list of court cases being presented over property rights.

Rainbow over Shenandoah Mountains
Sally also learned that a 42" wide pipeline would be buried underground in a swath of her land the width of the length of a football field. She would pay a one time fee but continue to pay taxes and insurance on land she could not disturb. There is no guarantee the pipe would not leak or that a Pigging Station (named because of the squealing noise it makes) or Compression Station would not be placed on her property. She also was surprised to discover that none of the gas flowing through Virginia for this project would be used in Virginia. We are just a thoroughfare to the coast where natural gas can be shipped & sold overseas for 4 times its U.S. value. Sally, scratching her head, wondered exactly what is the "public good" for citizens of Virginia having this project burden our lands and State.

The agency responsible for granting permits for oil and gas pipelines is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This agency certainly sounds official and as if it was managed by the Federal government but actually it is operated by many individuals that have a history in the oil and gas industry. "It is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil." Dominion Resources is the biggest campaign contributor to state politicians in Virginia and all 40 senators currently serving have received campaign contributions. A recent bill will allow Dominion to not be state regulated for 8 years, which conveniently gives them the right to raise your rate during the interim and freeze their rates until 2023 even if utility rates plummet! Dominion is reported to have a surplus of 280 million dollars.

Yep I'm one of them.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project that impacts Nelson County and other counties in the Central part of Virginia also impacts the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was recently reminded that our federally designated parks are owned by EVERY U.S. CITIZEN so WE ARE ALL impacted by this project.

For all of my life I've been told our National Parks are sacred lands set aside for future generations and are therefore to not be destroyed. Doesn't a clear-cut through preserved ecosystems approximating the width of route 29 count as destruction?

Prior to this personal experience, Sally had no real opinion about the pipeline project she heard mentioned in the news. Hey, it was not on HER LAND. Now she is active in the Nelson County movement and supports other counties impacted (Highland, Augusta, Buckingham, etc.) that oppose the rape of Virginia land and our National Forests. We don't want your Pipeline.


~ Sally is fictitious but based on real experiences.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Senator Mark Warner comes to Cville to talk about Gig Economy

All smiles when the Senator arrives at Moonlighting HQ.
Today Virginia Senator Mark Warner met with over 30 entrepreneurs to discuss the rapidly changing definition of business ownership known today as the Gig Economy or Shared Economy. Business sectors represented included Airbnb, Etsy, and Uber. Several Etsy shop owners were in attendance and I was included among them. Several local startups were present; Moonlighting, HourWise, Class Pass, and Mom Valet.

The meeting was held at Moonlighting located on the downtown Mall. Business owners were called together to brainstorm about the best way to approach our ever changing economy. More and more people are turning to self employment and there is a movement to decouple social programs such as unemployment, disability, insurance, and workers comp from the employer. Lashing programs to the employee or small business operator that often runs several businesses, making benefits portable.

A few business owners in attendance.
The discussion led to keeping politics out of the process and developing a third party to handle the care of benefits, siting that the individual is often much more interested in providing such benefits. Some employers have circumvented paying benefits by labeling workers as independent contractors, sub-contracting employees, or hiring only part-time workers, leaving employees without benefits.

Concerns were made about self-employment taxes and the lack of new entrepreneurs not even being aware of these additional expenses until tax time. Value added taxing such as Patent Box / Innovation Box has been used successfully in other countries and is being explored by Senator Warner. It was also suggested that a program model could be created in Virginia and expanded to other States.

Senator Warner engaged in the conversation.
Mark Warner was a very popular Governor of Virginia being liked by Republicans and Democrats. He is so personable and is interested in current trends and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit.

I was able to plug our Etsy Shop Facebook page and hope that shop owners will join us to better our shops, advertise our wares, and spread the word that we're open for business globally and locally!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

North American Butterfly Count

The Crozet Team on the hunt
Yesterday thirty nature lovers broke into 3 teams to participate in the annual North American Butterfly Count for Albemarle County. Taking 4 hours in temps reaching 90 degrees each team covered a different area of the county to record each species of butterfly spotted. I was on the Crozet area team with 12 others.

This spider web was hanging over a creek.
Most of those participating are Virginia Master Naturalists (I sadly am not one) so going out into nature with such a broad knowledge base is quite fun. Plants, birds, and insects can readily be identified. You can't help but encounter other interesting things along the way.

Orange Sulphur Butterfly in purple Knapweed.
Several weeks ago the Ivy Creek Nature Center Education Room was packed with enthused nature lovers to be trained in butterfly identification. The program was prepared by Nancy Weiss and Terri Keffert of the Rivanna Master Naturalists. This was the first part of preparation to participate in today's count.

A Viceroy, sadly not a Monarch, but still exciting to see
The final numbers have yet to be tallied but hundreds of butterflies were spotted. It sounds like an easy task to identify a particular butterfly but many butterflies mimic each other to resemble bad tasting species. It takes a trained eye often looking through a good set of binoculars in order to accurately id. The topside and underside of one butterfly can be very different which also makes things complicated. Sometimes it comes down to just how the butterfly flies or what is referred to the flight pattern. There are around 20,000 butterfly species on our planet but luckily in Albemarle County Virginia there are "only" about 70.

Spicebush Swallowtail
You may wonder why the count is necessary, other than it's just plain interesting and fun to do... it can be a barometer of the health of the area. There is a lot of talk of the decline of bees but we need to remember that many other insects pollinate such as butterflies and moths. Butterflies are also a major part of the food chain being a main food for birds when in the caterpillar stage. Habitat loss, pesticide usage, and climate change can impact butterfly numbers killing off species. Twenty are on the current endangered list.

Deep in the wildflowers in Old Trail
The count was great fun and I was so fortunate to be able to participate. Several area residents came over to ask what in the world we were doing poking around in the brush as if we were trying to find something elusive. Fortunately this year there was plenty of action but sadly, we never saw a Monarch.

Mushrooms growing near a creek
You can help by not using toxic chemicals and by growing native plants which often provide food for caterpillars and attract adult butterflies. Each year I add more and more native plants (in part thanks to the Native Plant Society annual plant sale) and my yard has been a butterfly bonanza this year!

Lovely wildflowers and pond in Crozet
Often we do not understand the relationship between one species and another until we study it. We see a plant that has chewed leaves and think our plant is doomed when often it's just part of the normal course of things. The worm eats the leaves but turns into a beautiful butterfly that turns around and pollinates the plant it chewed.



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Keeping Chickens Entertained

Big Red and Iris enjoying a drink together
Chickens are constantly on a treasure hunt trying to find the best snack or perch. How do you keep chickens entertained and happy. I can't imagine caging up chickens without access to GRASS. Predators are always a concern but chickens are curious by nature and will thrive if allowed some roam time digging and running.

The following tips will keep chickens occupied. 

Kids playhouse on top of Subaru heading for chickens.
Haul in something for them to climb on. We found a kids playhouse on freecycle and strapped it to the top of our Subaru. They love perching on it after a rain to preen their feathers high off the wet ground. From time to time I bring in some shovels of dirt and toss in the floor of the house - all sorts of near invisible little snacks for them to dine on inside dirt!
Janie our biggest chicken and the leader.

Daily snacks. Each morning I juice oranges and share one half with seven chickens. Too much citrus can give them runny poo so don't overdo it. Also, it's been said crushed seeds and rind are not good for them, fortunately, when you juice, the seeds come out and they only want the interior fiber so all is good. I spear it so it doesn't turn upside down. Little ants and critters crawl in the cup, a chicken delight.

Forage for goodies on your property. Bring 'em some garden worms, cutworms, lettuce, dandelion leaves, raspberries, mulberries, blueberries, or strawberries (if they ignore berries, it's because they are too hard, so squish them and they will come running). They don't always have access to fresh greens in their run so I go and collect a little of this and that for them.

Leave some tall grass around the fence perimeter.
Tall grass & old roof panel, perfect for movable SHADE
One of our best predator defenses is the tall grass that has grown into the base of our fence. It is near 
impenetrable. We've spotted black Ratsnakes taking care of a mouse in the tall perimeter grass. Chickens love to jump up and eat the grass seed that has been allowed to mature. They also love to scratch and claw in the tall grass. We don't weed eat around our fence and trying to get the fence out is near impossible. We've never had anything more than a mouse tunnel its way in.

Make sure you have a soft dirt area in the shade where they can take dust baths. They like loose soil, leaves, or even wood chips. This is a chickens FAVORITE daily activity! Something as simple as digging a hole and mixing in wood chips or leaves will create a bath area that will be fought over!

Movable expansion pen, predator proof we hope.
Enclose a grassy area with a movable pen safe for them to patrol and hang out without fear of predators. My husband lets the chickens out of their coop at 7 am when he goes to work. I wanted them to safely have access to grass before I wake up several hours later. Coyote prowl until 9 am and Hawks are always out and about. I no longer sleep with one eye open from 7 - 9 am.

Old shutters provide light but tons of SHADE & dust bathing.
Section off fence areas and open them as the day progresses. My chickens are enclosed in their "safe zone" most of the day and when I am not home. Around 3 pm they are let out into the broader fenced area until they go up to roost. They love getting out where they can run and flap their wings, flying all about and enjoying breezes. Chickens tend to rest in the shade midday under the coop from 11 - 3 so there is no need for them to have free roam access as a predator could get them.

Provide them with shade zones. We hinged together two old shutters to create a place where they can dust bathe and hide out during the hot summers and even when it snows.

Pool noodles are not just for pools!
Perches, perches and more perches. I was looking for a low perch for my young chickens and decided a soft log might be the ticket. I stuck a bamboo rod through the center of a pool noodle. They LOVE it.
Your chickens will be safer, happier and you too will enjoy watching them have fun!


Saturday, May 23, 2015

The new Chickens have Arrived - Name that Chicken

New chicks!
Several days ago we received a wonderful gift of 6, 6 week old chickens hand raised by my neighbors. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you might remember that we fostered 6 chickens for our neighbors when they temporarily relocated to Hawaii for 3 years. We loved our little flock and as the time passed we lost 4 from natural causes.

Moltie from my prior flock, always on the go & into something

When my neighbors returned, we gave them back their 2 remaining White Leghorns. My favorite chicken, Little Moltie, was one of the survivors. When we acquired the chickens they were 3 years old. Now, they are nearly 7. It's amazing to think they have lived this long. Apparently they have decided to kick back in gear and actually lay an egg nearly every day! It's very rare for a chicken to continue laying at this age. They are very happy and free range among lots of trees and leaves. I believe all the nutrients they scavange from nature has helped bring this along.

This is a no kill zone people - says Big Red
On industrial farms chickens are culled at 18 months when they first molt and egg production temporarily stops. It's cheaper to buy another set of pullets (young chickens) than to wait for them to begin laying again. Chickens can lay for many many years if free ranged and allowed to live a life naturally, as intended.

Chicks finally roosting, sleeping soundly.
So what's new on Forsythia Hill... Janie (Dominique), Iris (Welsummer), Cleopatra (Red Dorking), Big Red (Rhode Island Red), Raven (Australorp), plus one unnamed (Buckeye). I really wanted a mix of breeds to see how they differ in laying and in personality. Janie is the leader of the pack, Big Red is the sweetie, Raven is the smartest, Cleopatra is the prettiest, and little Iris is the baby. She is often heard crying if anyone is strays from the flock she SHRIEKS... come back, don't stray, you might not find your way!

Janie, don't mess with me chickens or else!
A small flock requires a secure space for roosting at night and ranging during the day. There are many predators; foxes, hawks, raccoons, opossum, & dogs (to name a few). Chickens are just plain fun but like any pet be prepared for some work and expense to feed and care for them. If you are outside often and can provide an entertaining space for them and socialization you will get the most from your flock (more about how to keep your chickens busy throughout the day in a future blog post).

I need a name please
Name my chicken! One last chicken needs a NAME. She is unusual in that she has 5 toes. Most chicken breeds have 4. She is identical in coloring to Cleopatra but they are different breeds. Please post your suggestion on my blog.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Historic Garden Week in Richmond Virginia 2015

Tuckahoe Plantation, boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson.
Yesterday I spent my birthday among gardeners in Richmond, Virginia surrounded by lovely Spring flowers. This is my second trip to Richmond for the annual Historic Garden Week tour and I have yet to be disappointed. I've always loved Richmond and every time I go I love this stunningly beautiful historic city a little more.

Quote on brick wall at the Bredrup's on Cary Street.
The Cary Town tour featured several gardens designed by famed landscape architect Charles Gillette. Installed on a brick wall in one garden was the sweetest garden plaque that was written by Mr. Gillette's wife. Spring is such a beautiful and delicate season. Spires of blue Delphiniums, cupped colorful Tulips, dangling Deutzia blossoms, and pom pom Viburnum dotted the gardens.

Wilton House Museum in the woods.
Two historic sites were on the tour. The 1750 Wilton House Museum was disassembled, stored, and relocated by the Virginia Dames brick by brick. This amazing plantation mansion is a massive structure overlooking the James River surrounded by quite the collection of boxwood.

Kitty relaxing in Pansies at Tuckahoe Plantation.
Upon arrival to Tuckhoe Plantation, Thomas Jefferson's home place, one is transported centuries back in time to a scenic pastoral setting on the James River. Horses, Guinea Hens, and a sweet kitty complete the charming setting. If you have the chance to visit this designated Historic National Landmark, GO! It's the finest existing early 18th century plantation in America and I would concur!

Pot of Tulips arranged by Garden Club vol.
I'm always so impressed with the kindness of Garden Club volunteers and their personal interest and love of gardening. We chatted with several volunteers along our trip and all were very helpful and fun to talk to. I thank each of them for their time, assistance, and breathtaking arrangements. This is one of my favorite features of the tour each year. Arrangements perfectly captured Spring featuring romantic pinks and blues with touches of Delphinium, Helleborus, variegated Solomon Seal, Tulips, Iris, Peony, and Viburnum.

Garden Angel in Deutzia buds at the Cronley's on Hillcrest.

On Hillcrest Avenue, secret garden pockets among naturalized areas featured lovely statuary, large trees and shrubs, and beautiful perennials. There was quite a crowd in this garden because it was slated as the first to tour. All sites were busy but not uncomfortable. It was fun rubbing elbows with fellow gardeners about plants but the gardens are typically quiet as many are focused on taking in the beauty around them.

Refreshing pool of the Tilghman's on Cary Street.
I also toured Monticello earlier in the week.

Oh next year hurry and arrive --- what a sweet adventure.


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