Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Garden Notebook - May 2012


It is May 1, and I am documenting my garden on the first of every month.


Each year is different than another just as each month is different than another. April seemed to fluctuate in temperature and weather conditions just as much as most of the months in 2012 thus far. We did have a few weeks without rain which slowed growth a bit, and I used up all of the water in the rain barrels. Finally, last week we got some much needed rain. And rain has been coming every few days since. All the plants and trees are bursting with growth as a result.




stats



Gardening Zone: 7a
April High Temperature: 93 degrees F
April Low Temperature: 42 degrees F


Precipitation: 1.65 inches


wildlife



It is spring, and there is a lot of life around the garden. Birds are singing, laying eggs, and feeding young. I have discovered several nests in and around the garden and a few fledglings being fed by parents.


I put up this decorative birdhouse and within days the bluebirds were building a nest. If you look closely, you can see mama peering out the opening.




The nestlings are still very young.




One of the parents would often perch on the birdhouse to claim it. If you look closely, he or she has some nibbles for the little ones in the beak.




Walking in the woods I came upon a cardinal fledgling. It would sometimes call to its parents but mostly kept very, very still while I was around.




In the nest in the backyard, one of the chickadees fledged.






I had never seen a robin fledgling until a few days ago. They have a fine ticking on the breast feathers before it changes to that lovely red breast.




The geese have five goslings.




Many of the birds have been using the birdbath. Here is a robin cooling off.




And a Red Admiral butterfly stopped by to show me how beautiful he/she is.




The hummingbirds have been here for a few weeks, but it is most recently that they have been more active around the garden.




the vegetable garden



With the warmer weather, I was able to plant things earlier than normal. There were a few cold nights, but I covered the plants with pots or the tarps, and they are doing fine. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago when I had the Wall o' Water around some of the tomato plants.




This photo was taken a day or so ago. Things have grown and filled out a bit more. I placed rocks around some of the peppers to absorb heat in the day and release it at night.




In the garden:


kale, lettuce, spinach, chard, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, snowpea, asparagus, zucchini, squash, strawberry, raspberry.


Some of the tomatoes are fruiting. This is Better Bush variety.




The strawberries and raspberries are fruiting.






blooms, sprouts


All of the roses are blooming.


Knock-out Roses


The cottage garden is coming alive with early blooms.




I have added all of the annual herbs to the herb garden, such as basil.


In the herb garden:


basil, sage, parsley, chamomile, tarragon, oregano, dill, cilantro, thyme, savory, lavender, rosemary, apple mint, chocolate mint (mints are in pots)






completed chores



trimmed boxwoods
weeded garden beds
edged garden beds
mulched garden beds
planted  more amaranth, anise hyssop, echinacea in the cottage garden
planted geraniums, gerbera daisies in containers.




chores for May



Because of the fluctuations in temperature, I decided not to plant some of the more tender vegetables and annuals. Perhaps May will be a better time to plant them.


sow bean and okra seeds
sow cypress vine and moonflower seeds
trim Carolina jessamine vines
stake remaining tomato plants


inspirations


There is so much to inspire in the garden--blooms, new growth, new life. I have been working very hard to ready the garden for spring, but there were those moments when I stopped to listen to the mating call of the cardinal, breathed in the fragrance of the roses as they permeated the air, and watched a mother bird tenderly feed her young. These are only a few of the reasons I garden, and I am never disappointed.


Rose - Joseph's Coat


What is in your garden notebook?


I will be linking this post to the following blogs:

Helen of The Patient Gardener hosts End of Month View. This monthly meme is where garden bloggers share their garden views for the end of the month.

Also, Town Mouse Country Mouse hosts First Views. This monthly meme offers an opportunity for garden bloggers to share their garden first views for the month.


The Gardening Blog hosts Garden Bloggers Harvest Day on the 5th of every month. See what others are harvesting all over the world.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Thank you to all of those who participated in The Earth Day Reading Project. I will do a post later in the month with all of the books and blogs from the project. A particular theme emerged early on, and it was interesting to see what books were selected.


And thank you to those who voted for The Sage Butterfly as the Top Gardening Blog on eCollege Finder. Congratulations to my fellow nominees and fellow blogger friends: Gardens Eye View, PlantPostings, The Galloping Gardener, Three Dogs in a Garden, Ewa in the Garden, A Plant Fanatic in Hawaii, A Charlotte Garden, Roses and Other Gardening Joys, My Secret Garden, Sunray Gardens, Tootsie Time and all of the other nominees. I think you all deserve top honors! Visit these fine blogs for wonderful gardening experiences and tips.


I also want to thank Petro Neagu of The Seaman Mom for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award. I am very grateful for the nomination. Since I have been nominated before, you can visit here to see what my responses were.

© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

83 comments:

  1. So enjoyed reading your garden journal for April. You are much further along then here in MD. I hope to get my tomatoes out in the next week. Birds here and just nesting. No fledglings in sight yet.

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    1. Thank you, Marcia. I put my tomatoes in early and try to keep them warm so I can have tomatoes early. Hope you see some fledglings...

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  2. I'm officially jealous. Your gardens are so much farther along than mine in zone 6b. What a difference a zone makes!

    Great bird photos ... love that bluebird parent.

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    1. I find that amazing as well, Joene. There seems to be such a difference between zones, even ones adjacent to one another. The bluebirds are one of my favorites...love capturing them with the camera.

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  3. How beautiful! A garden full of life! I can't believe how big your tomatoes are! We have a very cool and wet spring here in WA. First time in my life, I thought about skipping planting tomatoes. But I know, I can't do that, and I will plant them. Maybe, not as many as before. Happy May!!!

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    1. I understand your frustration...I get like that sometimes, Tatyana. I don't think I could do without tomatoes...just love them! Happy May!

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  4. A great post. Here in England we've had nothing but rain in April - unfortunately much more rain water than I could collect! I!

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    1. Thanks, Tim. I hope you get some sunshine very soon.

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  5. Lovely colourful photographs - I particularly like the first one! I'm in England too - much further behind than you and our birdlife is having a hard time in all the rain :(

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    1. Thanks, Pat. I hope you get some sun very soon.

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  6. You have an absolutely magical camera, lovely lady. You are blowing my mind here. I like the old column in your garden, but my most favorite is the one with the geese :). Kisses.

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    1. Thank you, unikorna, you are very kind. I like the geese, too...

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  7. Ah, the miracle of Spring! Everything looks like Heaven in your garden!
    It's a real pleasure to visit your blog and I'm always amazed about your beautiful pictures. I love the vegetable garden, I'll definitely steal your idea :)
    Thanks for mentioning my blog and the award.
    Hugs

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    1. Thank you, Petro. Feel free to use any idea from my garden, and I hope it helps. And thank you again for nominating The Sage Butterfly for the Versatile Blogger Award.

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  8. Your idea of placing rocks around the peppers is interesting. I am trying to grow peppers again this year but here in the UK they have to be grown in greenhouses to get the heat and I have never been successful with them.

    Thanks for joining in again this month

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    1. I am not absolutely certain how effective the rocks are, but they have kept the peppers warm. I put them in earlier than usual because we had such warm weather, but we have had some cool spells.

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  9. Such fun to see all the activity in your garden! I think you'll need to wait until the soil is very warm to plant okra. They haven't planted cotton in this part of the country yet, which is my standard for planting okra.

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    1. I usually plant okra in June or July, but we have had such warm temperatures this spring. I was going to give it a try when I noticed another warm trend. We'll see how it goes...

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  10. Goodness, there's no question Spring has sprung. I love all the bird shots, but especially the Cardinal fledgling hiding behind leaf. He seems a little shy. Your garden is looking wonderful, which is more than I can say for ours at the moment. I feel like I'm constantly running behind. Wouldn't like to trade chores lists by any chance, would you? ;)

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    1. He/she was trying to hide from me...I thought it was cute, too. Clare, I feel as if I am always behind as well. I noticed that I am actually ahead of time compared to last year, but then the weather has been warmer this spring. So, I don't know if I am ahead or behind. :)
      My garden chores are diminishing a bit now that we have gotten a bit ahead of them, but I have lists for all the other areas of my life...and it is too overwhelming to think about...

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  11. Your garden is looking beautiful. That picture of the baby birds reaching their necks for food is so cute! I can't imagine how you managed to get that shot!

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    1. Thank you, spurge. They were actually easy to get because they are in the decorative nest. I wait until mom or dad have left after feeding them and sneak over and take a photo. I try to be quick...don't want to disturb them too much. :)

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  12. Those photos of the birds and the fledgelings are so enjoyable - and I'm impressed that you managed (believe me, I tried myself). Thanks for sharing your garden with us!

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    1. I got lucky, Town Mouse. I went for a walk in the woods and just listened. Sometimes I missed them, but then I got lucky. Mama robin was very, very protective. I tried to be careful and quick.

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  13. Wow, you are so far ahead of me now! Tomatoes, Strawberries, and Raspberries--how wonderful! I don't even have my Tomatoes in the ground yet! I'm going to do it earlier than normal, though. Congrats on all your spectacular plants and the lovely creatures in your garden. It's an honor to be on the eCollegeFinder list with you. :)

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    1. The warm spring temperatures are speeding things up. We are about a month ahead of schedule. Things have not usually leafed out by now. I share feeling honored to be on the list with you!

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  14. Wow! Lovely photos! Thanks a lot for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Storage Sheds. I am glad you like the photos.

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  15. I loved your post. The images are really wonderful, especially all your bird photos. Spring is really being good to you, your camera and your garden.

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    1. Thank you, Donna.Spring has been very nice this year giving us an early start.

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  16. You have certainly given me inspiration today. I love your photography and feel so comfortable reading the clarity of your text.

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    1. Thank you, Alistair. I try not to get too artistic with my prose here. :)

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  17. I love your vegetable garden. It's so tidy and clean.

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    1. Thank you, Kate. I try...it doesn't always look tidy. :)

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  18. I like the idea of rocks to store heat; what a neat idea. Christina

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    1. Thanks, Christine. It seems to have worked well. The peppers are looking good and beginning to bud.

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  19. You certainly have been busy during April - I think you are a little ahead of us weather-wise. It has been raining here non-stop for a while now so many jobs have been put on hold. Love your bird pictures - the bird coming out of the gourd-shaped nest box looks as though he is having a struggle to get out through the hole. They must be finding plenty to eat.

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    1. It has been very busy. I think we usually are spreading out all of these chores over a couple of months, but with the temperatures rising...we have been trying to keep up. He is struggling because he is a fledgling and is getting ready for his first flight. It was so cute!

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  20. Very inspiring and cool. No where near there here in Boston. ;-)

    Love the bluebirds particularly.

    Michael

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    1. We are ahead of schedule. It has been a warm spring, for the most part. I love the bluebirds as well...so pretty and so much fun to watch.

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  21. Awesome bird photos! Love the geese and hummingbird pics the best.. although the fledgling robin is cool too- never seen one before their feathers change colors. I like your terraced garden too- great way to make a garden on a slope.

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I had never seen a robin fledgling either. The mother was very protective of it. I am glad we figured out a way to have a vegetable garden on that slope...love my freshly grown veggies.

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  22. aloha,

    i love the first of month/end of month views, will have to do that soon! wow - you have been quite busy and we can see alot of great progress - spring really does put a new charge in tackling alot of projects we put on the back burner in the winter times. I love all the wildlife in your garden and how you are documenting them, its a wonderful thing to share :)

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    1. Aloha, Noel. It has been a busy time, and I am looking forward to maintenance now. You would enjoy joining in the first of month/end of month views.

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  23. Really enjoyed your spring garden. I particularly like the design of your vegetable plot too. Very unusual.

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. We love the veggie garden. It was practically the only way we could have one on that slope.

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  24. Such gorgeous new life, captured and expressed beautifully. Thanks for the view into your world.

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    1. Thanks, Alison. I so enjoy the wildlife in the garden...makes me smile.

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  25. It sounds like you have had a wonderful start to spring! I love your bird photos, and your garden is awesome!

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    1. Thanks, Sue. We still have some things to do in the garden but it is coming along.

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  26. I do love your birdhouses! I keep meaning to see if I can get "Knockout" roses in Australia, and your post has reminded me again. They're so wonderfully bright.

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    1. I hope you can find the Knockout roses...they are so easy to care for. I have other roses as well, but the Knockouts are a breeze.

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  27. You've been busy, your garden is so up together. Plants and flowers are a lot more advanced than here in North West Ireland although things are catching up now. The weather has been pretty good but still with cold nights. I so love your birdies in the bird box pics. Lovely birdboxes too.

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    1. Thanks, Bridget. We are actually a month ahead of schedule because we had such a warm winter and spring. It has been interesting...

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  28. What a wonderful record you have of all that is going on in your garden, Michelle. The bird photos are fantastic! New life seems to be springing up all around us--what a wonderful time of year.

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  29. Thank you, Rose. It is a wonderful time of year. I am enjoying all the new life emerging...brings me so much joy and pleasure.

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  30. So much is going on in your garden! I am jealous of your tomatoes. I have blooms but no fruit yet! I like the idea of tucking rocks by the pepper plats to provide radiant heat at night. And I love all the photos of the fledglings. Our bluebirds by the patio left the nest this week, and I haven't seen them since. Hopefully their parents have them safely tucked away somewhere.

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    1. The bluebirds will fledge any day now. I hope I am around to get some photos. Thank you for your kind comments, Deb.

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  31. Hi:

    Your blog is absolutely beautiful. The birds photos are the best. Please keep me updated on this dear blog.

    I love it and have so much to learn from the birders out there in the UK. I enjoy my backyard birds here in Long Island NY.

    THank you I am at www.getoveryourselfplease.blogspot.com - maybe if you are not saving the climate change, w hich I love you, you can drop in and have a quick read.

    Thank you so much for your amazing beauty right here.

    CHeers

    KK

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    1. Thank you, Kristen. I am so glad you like The Sage Butterfly. The bluebirds will fledge very soon.

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  32. Yes, you are so far ahead of us! I don't dare put out the tomatoes until at least this weekend. There has been too much risk of temperatures dropping below freezing. I so enjoyed wandering through your journal!

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    1. I took a chance because the temperatures were so warm. We did have a few mild frosts, but I covered them and all is well. Good luck with yours.

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  33. I love your birdhouses! They are so pretty, and all the little baby birds are so cute! Spring is such a great time of the year.

    I really like how you've done your veggie garden on the slope. I have a lot of slopes to deal with in my yard, and I love seeing how other people have dealt with the challenge.

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    1. It took us a while to figure out the best way to build our veggie garden on the slope. This works very well for us. I hope it gives you some good ideas. I know how challenging it is to build on the slope.

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  34. Wonderful pictures! I love springtime when the flowers bloom and babies are born.

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    1. Me, too, Diana. There are so many joys and surprises at this time of year.

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  35. A lot going on in your garden all beautifully photographed. I too garden to get myself outside and really "commune" with nature. Lately I have been thrilling to the call of the red-tailed hawks and white-throated sparrows.

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    1. I love those calls. Many times I stop what I am doing to hear and savor those lovely sounds.

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  36. You have such an interesting blog here. I thouroughly enjoyed the outing in your garden. The images are great. It no surprise that you were nominated.

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    1. Thank you very much, Stiletto, for your kind words.

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  37. Wow, you certainly have an amazing garden! Love these photos. Thank you for sharing! :-)

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    1. Thanks ropcorn. It is a work in progress, but I love it, too.

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  38. Dropping by here is a real treat for the senses...love those photos. What a gorgeous garden.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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  39. Love all the great close ups of the birds. It's hard to see from a distance when a bird is a fledling, I find robins to be so close in size to the parent but your photo perfectly captures how their breast feathers show their difference.

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    1. I found this one by accident. The mother was obviously very protective, and I finally found what she was protecting. :)

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  40. How gorgeous and wonderfully edible your garden is. Colours are so amazing and your roses,wow!

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    1. Thank you, Barbie. I have been picking lots of snowpeas lately.

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  41. I love your garden and photos, but i have bias for butterflies, and that first foto is astounding. I also love to see how you terraced your sloping garden. Are the the rocks or bricks not cemented permanently? You gave me an idea, so when time comes to remodel, it will be easier!

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. No, they are not cemented. They have a raised lip on the bottom rear that holds them in place. Here is some more info:

      http://www.pavestone.com/anchor-brighton-stone-retaining-wall/

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  42. I always enjoy the list making and observations that goes into your garden notes. I am sure it helps you to really pay attention to all the little changes in the garden. And I bet it feels satisfying to list the tasks completed.
    We have finally had the rain that usually arrives in April and it has seemingly transformed the garden overnight. If I do not take a daily stroll around the garden, I find that I am in danger of missing out on something that may not come again for a whole year.

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  43. What a magnificent garden you have! It must be very nice to see your roses blooming so beautifully. I also love your pictures; they are so lively and colorful. Keep up the good work with your garden!

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  44. Michelle your blog is an inspiration and I was hoping you were a winner....I love your journal and am in awe of how much has gone on in April...so different here.

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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