Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Feeding the Muse with Slim Paley

My Muse came in 1995.  Gardens were erupting.  No brakes since.  
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Only once, late 90's, did my Muse sleep for a bit.  
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Awful.  Why did Muse go & how to get Muse back?
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Muse needs Nature without man's touch.  I'm on the woodland trails at Stone Mountain Park most days of the week.  


Muse adores and is fed by travel, top pic.  Oddly, Muse is content, demands, working in the current realm.  Muse hasn't said, "Travel........"  in the past couple years.


Muse appreciates extrapolating art-to-art-to-art, above.  What delightful arrangement of shrubs-groundcovers-understory trees-focal point will produce the magic, above?  Seriously.  I read & look at pictures about myriad art forms to feed the garden Muse.


Infertilly childless I've had women friends in their 80's since my 20's.   Chanteuse all, & I understood their songs.  Most are gone but Muse is still energized by their spirit.
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These things, and more (books/movies/solitude/Conservatory time), I do for Muse.
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Garden & Be Well,         XO Tara
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A Creativity Workshop sends emails about 1/year.  Course description is fascinating & so is the price, into the thousands of dollars.  Whatever.  Pics, Slim Paley

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hallmark of Bad Contractors

Studying historic landscapes across Europe should be mandatory for landscape contractors.

Several years now with my dream team I remember too well the dark years of contractors.  "You can't do that."  "No, can't be done."  "That will never work."  "It has to be done this way."  "It won't last."
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Better, my dream team leverages my designs.  "Miss Tara, if we........"  "Miss Tara, there are 3 ways to approach that."  "Great, thank you Miss Tara."  "Miss Tara do you think Miss #$%^@# would like to have...."  "Did you get the pictures I sent about a new idea?"  "Miss Tara that can't be done but if we a-b-c it will be exactly what you want."  "Let me show you something I think you'll like for the Woodland House Miss Tara."  "Those aren't available, I think a-b-c would be good substitutes."  "You know Miss Tara what you want is too expensive but if we do it this way I think you'll get what you're hunting."  "Tara, I think a-b-c will be better."
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Adore my team.
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Garden & Be Well,       XO Tara
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Dry stack stone retaining wall, above right, is a great example of what the Mr. No contractors said could not be done.
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Pic via Old Long Island.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Choosing Flower Color

My sister LOVES pink.  Yet she would never be this bold, below.
Choosing garden flower colors I always pay attention to interiors & what my client is wearing.
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Just did another design with the client wanting all white flowers.  White always works.
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Garden & Be Well,           XO Tara
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White flowers show best from a woodland, blue or burgundy flowers show very little at a distance......
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pic via House Beautiful

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vintage Bikes

My new office/guest cottage is close to the Bike Trail.
3 vintage bikes bought yesterday from my favorite thrift store.
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Can't wait to peddle with my girlfriends.  Of course we'll lunch first in the Conservatory.
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Isn't anticipation great!
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Garden & Be Well,        XO Tara
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Must find time this weekend to clean all that rusty chrome.  1 boy bike was included.  All the bikes have fenders.  A friend with acreage lives only a mile away, and on the bike trail.  He's a destination for sure.  Along with Mary's atelier.  She makes garden troughs sold nationally & is Yard Friends with the guest cottage.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rule for Pots


After seeing the Queen mother's pots at Glamis Castle I knew the Rule-For-Pots.


Pots in a garden must be so fabulous they can remain empty.
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These pass the test.
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Do yours?
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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When I lived on 50 acres in a 3 bay carriage house I saw my first Tulip Magnolia, Magnolia soulangiana, it was larger than this, above.  I walked to its trunk, wrapped my arms around it, held on, and stared up.  That was over 30 years ago.  It was obliterated years ago for a Wal-Mart parking lot.
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pic via Quintessence Lifestyle

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Seek & Amplify Frissons

Incomplete new construction, below, already a charming spot.

From this zone, 1 room deep, both front & back gardens are seen.
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Adore this type FRISSON.  Landscape Design is all about intensifying existing frisson's & creating more.
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Garden & Be Well,        XO Tara
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Table, Diane Von Furstenberg

Lunch in the Conservatory yesterday.  Who can eat alone without a book?  


Had to make calls to clients, then leave for appointments.  The book remains anticipation.
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$2.02 from the thrift store I knew it would be worth it without perusing.  Diane Von Furstenberg is a huge supporter of the High Line Garden in NYC.  Better than expected, Diane's own garden in Connecticut is featured.
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Interiors, gardens, recipes.  Beautiful photography.
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Garden & Be Well,               XO Tara
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Pure catnip getting this book so cheap.  Plenty more here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Creating Layers

View into the garden, below.  Pic taken at jobsite last week.


 Not mature yet, above, but doing its job.  You don't know what that job was.  Means the job was done right.


My job?  Hide the view (pic taken 2 years ago) of the dependencies, above, create mystery, pull your feet to investigate, be a proscenium for all weathers, fill the spirit of any mood, provide entertainments for small groups, large gatherings & yet be easy to maintain while providing maximum pollinator habitat for potager, bees, & yet more.  Now we're in the realm of my Landscape Design classes.
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Every step in Landscape Design is counterintuitively simple.  
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Garden & Be Well,           XO Tara
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My basket is in yet another pic.  It was a 2 basket day.  Did you know I rate my days by how many baskets are needed?  The best days are 4 basket days.  Means I've been designing & lecturing & overseeing an installation.
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Last visit home my sister told me it was infantile and not appropriate for a woman my age to use baskets.  In fact, the little basket I was using embarrassed her.  We were having Sunday lunch at the club with mom.  It's a joy to irritate her without trying.  When the server was clearing away she told me how cute my basket was & what a great idea to use it.  Sensing the Cheshire smile my sister received from me?  Obvious I'm the younger sister.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How To Create Vanishing Threshold

Gardens begin inside.


Looking out the window, above/below.

And, looking in the same window.
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Landscape Design is more than plants.  It's Vanishing Threshold with your interior, exterior & life.
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Garden & Be Well,          XO Tara
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Pics taken at jobsite last week.  Love the layers of this project coming together.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Checkerboard: Before & After

Exploded brick ranch, below, before their checkerboard this week.  Water issues where the lawn won't grow.  And an entertaining area, go figure, at the bare dirt & low wall.  This neighborhood is thick with children and the parents have earned their margaritas & canapes set up on the low wall while their progeny go wild on the lawn.


Mr. CDC  cut 48 paper squares for the trial run of the checkerboard, below.  My contractor watched, amused, as we spread them out.  Of course, totally confident, he only purchased 48  18" x 18" bluestones.


Do you know the 1st, and most important bluestone, below, to be laid?  The rest of the Checkerboard relied upon this beginning.


Dead center, above/below,  at the entry from the carport.


The Caterpillar was used to contour the land for drainage.


New sod up to the low wall AND the steps of the porch.  Simple, potent, functional.
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Garden & Be Well,                XO Tara
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Pics taken at jobsite this week.  Cannot wait for the sod to root & a party to take place.  I want to walk slowly by (incognito stranger) & see if my visions for the space are correct!  Several young children accumulated on the wall while Mr. CDC & I were placing the paper squares.  They were speechless & still, sitting on the low wall, with staring eyes at what the strange adults were doing.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Interior Decorating for Ornery Client

After his garden he asked for a guest bedroom.  He had parameters, "Use the furniture I own & leftover paint from the garage."  I told him what I would do, he wanted none of it.  


 Mixed Benjamin Moore Philadelphia Creme with York Harbor, resulting in a pale ocher/yellow.  The room has to be simple, its bed already a focal point.  Wow, was he verbal during set-up.  All negative.  He was asked to step away until called for.


Burlap draperies, cane chair, & thrift store lamps were my only additions.  From the hall, he didn't step far, I could hear his continuing demands.  (Whatever.  I knew what was to be done.)
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Finally, he was called into the room.  He stood there, silent.  Looking.  He teared up, and hugged me.  This is his beloved grandmother's furniture.  I got it right.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Pics taken this month on site.  This is the type of 'interior decorating' I do.  When it's using furniture already owned and there is little money.  I know where this room is truly going, very Eleanor-Roosevelt-at-Val-Kill. The entire time Mr. Negative was talking to me I was smiling at him.  So glad I'm over 50!  Younger, I would have tried pleasing his lizard brain.  Instead, my work is done for the grace of the soul.
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By-the-way.  Same scenario in his garden.  He had a collection of hodge podge plants.  Didn't like a thing I said about placement.  Once done he said, "This is exactly what I was going to do."  Pics of that later, when plants are bigger.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Historic Yet Modern


Close to being a 'foundation planting'.  But not in the least.
Seems simple.  It is not.  Historic with modern edge.  Holbrook & Associates  created this garden for the Princess Margaret Show House .
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Of course the house is fabulous too.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic via House & Home

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lattice Columns

When money isn't there for impressive columns.  Charming is good.
Lattice at the ends let's you see out clearly yet have a nice amount of privacy.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Never seen lattice used as columns.  And isn't that the hunt, something new & good!  Pic via Old Long Island.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What To Put On Your List

Looking in, framing the view.

2 years ago there were no bushes in the foreground or background.
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At 200 acres every plant must pay their keep.  Once established no watering, no bugs, no fungus  & no susceptibility to late frosts.
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AND plantings must have something coming into bloom every 2 weeks, all year.
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Garden & Be Well,            XO Tara
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Pic taken at a jobsite last week.  Please be this demanding with your plant list.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

1 Hedge 2 Garden Rooms

Soon, as planned, the cabin will be hidden from this garden room.


Love when 2 garden rooms share the same hedge.  Strong bones.  Less money, less maintenance, more mystery, greater interest.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Pic taken at jobsite last week.  Historic cabin is original to the acreage.  Asters in the foreground.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Art & Flowers


Perhaps a year will arrive and there is The-Big-Event, I know



exactly who should plant annuals in the garden.  Simply Flowers, Jenny Hardgrave.  
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Selfishly I would like to see what Jenny would do based upon the art, above.
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In satisfaction I understand these shelves.  The house is still under renovation & there are pockets of sanity, this included.  When painting, floors, carpentry are done in my home, I do the same OCD thing with my shelves.  All is chaos, but a shelf here/there.
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Garden & Be Well,        XO Tara
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I quit designating annual flowers decades ago.  If a garden NEEDS annuals it is a Landscape Design failure.  Love self-seeding annuals.  Simply Flowers is the exception!  Jenny's work is NEEDED.  Like air.  Something about Jenny most people don't know.  She loves jewelry, appreciates its nuances.  Totally explains her talent with flowers.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Choosing Garden Colors


These shelves are a heavy contender

for the stain color on her Adirondack chairs.
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Interiors always tell me what colors to use in the garden.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pic from same home as yesterday's post.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Bedroom View

From the chair, left, a view across the new deck into their Wild Wood.


This room, above, is an almost complete addition to their master bedroom.

A portion of the new deck, above, with a door from the master bedroom.
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She hired me for this view.  Should an arbor with swing be placed?  No.  It would stop the view from the bedroom.  Instead, a low round table with 4 adirondack chairs stained the color of her kitchen cabinets.  Views into the Wild Wood are the focal point on axis.
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Of course we've redone the entire garden.  Simply.
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Garden & Be Well,           XO Tara
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Pics taken last week.  Deck will be stained.  She was kind letting me take pics her house is a tornado of renovation.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shoes: Stupid or Fabulous ?

 Remember when maternity clothes were covered in teddy bears, elephants & other stupidities?  Baby bags too?  I know, showing my age with these observations.  Gardening wear is stuck in that era of having a walnut for a brain.
Why are there no gardening shoes with these, above, as inspiration?
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Rubbers with flowers?  Ladybugs, grasshopers?  Gardening ensembles from hat to shoes are suitable for Aunt Clara.  Why not choose Samantha !!!!
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Garden & Be Well,            XO Tara
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Pic via Habitually Chic.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Simplicity Isn't For Sale


Lawn to the house.
 A simplicity best for many gardens.
Same view, above, opposite axis.
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Why this Landscape Design simplicity isn't seen more, especially in USA?
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 Many times thru the decades I've been hired as the 2nd or 3rd Landscape Designer.    Why?  The previous 'landscape design' work was pure SALES.
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Simplicity isn't for sale.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pics via Greige Design.  Client last week told me, when I was done, she knew something was wrong with the previous plan she paid for.  When she saw my plan she was able to finally verbalize what was 'wrong'.  Plants were stuffed everywhere.  Every profession has their underbelly of disgust.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Practically Perfect

This would never happen 'new' in Atlanta, GA.  

And isn't that sad.
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Why does everything have to be so perfect?  Mary Poppins knew 'practically perfect' was better.
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This feels like a one sided conversation with Jane Austen.  Of course we know what type of character she would let live here!
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic via Pigtown Design.  Can't you smell the Tara Turf?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stone Wall Needs to be Seen

A well maintained century, below, at this home.

 Stone accent wall near the entry, above, is obscured by a gorgeous Japanese maple, below.
Have asked the pruner to create tiny views thru the Japanese maple  to the stone wall.  Yet keep the Japanese maple gorgeous too.
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Garden & Be Well,          X O Tara
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Same house as previous post.  Pics taken with my phone & you see my little work basket.  It holds pencils, circle templates, erasers, keys, phone.....and shouldn't be in the pic.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

How To Make These Windows More Fabulous

At her bluestone terrace, below.  Inside is the kitchen.

Soon, French doors will open onto the bluestone terrace.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic taken yesterday at a jobsite.  Notice the gap in the ferns?  Saw the culprit eating them.  Her dog!  Unrepentant.
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When I told her the windows HAD to be French doors she smiled and said it was validation.  Her thoughts exactly.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pot Planting

A bit of clipping, drip irrigation, enjoy.


                               Oh my, the dappled light.
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I haven't put an annual in my pots for decades.  Magazines & nurseries push-push-push annuals.  And I listen to what I'm asked for EVERY design, 'my landscape must be low maintenance & not expensive.'
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Gravel to the house, bushes in pots, necessity furnishings for meals, entertaining, relaxing.  Why are so many Americans afraid, above, of this?  "Let's build a deck, make it too small, add built-in seating with the rail which won't ever see use......"  "We'll pour a cement patio barely big enough for a mop, Weber grill, round table + 4 chairs."
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Pic via Desde My Ventana

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Is A Status Symbol?


Can you spot the status symbol?

In the land of freeways, subdivisions, strip malls, too many people?
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A meadow is status symbol.  A gravel/dirt drive with wildflowers & trees is status symbol.
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This is a CHOICE, above.  It is Landscape Design.  
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It's not a 'less than' drive because they couldn't afford to pave.  It's the intellect of knowing what's important in life.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Pic via Habitually Chic

Monday, October 1, 2012

How To Create A Timeless Landscape


Landscape Design question, "Can you take black/white pics of your garden & it's TIMELESS ?


Was this pic taken 2012 or 1972 or.......?  And WHERE?  USA, Brazil, Italy........
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Pic via Habitually Chic.  Can you imagine having those beautiful dogs !!!  And driving on that gravel.....