Easter Giveaway and Antique and Flea Market Finds

I love Depression Glass salt and pepper shakers: their colors, lined details, embossed flowers, and their ruggedy little tops that are dented and worn, whisper of days forgotten, if you listen………………

It’s almost spring and to celebrate I have 2 sweet bunny gifts to give away for 2 lucky winners, just in time for Easter! I’ll give you the complete set of instructions on how to enter, at the conclusion of this post. It seems so long ago since I wrote my last blog, on decoupaging terra cotta planters. A lot has happened since then and I’m sorry, I am just now writing again. Four weeks ago I had a terrifying experience when I was out in the cottage greenhouse.

Continue reading “Easter Giveaway and Antique and Flea Market Finds”

DIY French Flower Pots & Fun, Easy Valentine Gifts

I’ve always wanted to grow my own herbs and have fancied having a pair of those cute little herb scissors to clip fresh rosemary to sprinkle over hot plates of spaghetti or to cut a sprig of mint to add to tall glasses of ice tea in the summer.

Some Parisienne whimsy and a sweet Valentine gift, these chic French flower pots are charming and they are so easy and fun to make. I’ve always wanted to grow my own herbs and have fancied having a pair of those cute little herb scissors to clip fresh rosemary to sprinkle over hot plates of spaghetti or to cut a sprig of mint to add to tall glasses of ice tea in the summer. So when I saw these free, printable labels from The Graphics Fairy (click here for link and full size printable PDF) it was just the motivation I needed to get busy and make some sweet little containers to start my very own ‘herboristerie’ – French n. herbalist’s shop (; I’ve already used the labels on 3 terra cotta pots I painted and the look of the aged and vintage patina with the French labels peeking through is perfecto!

French labels from The Graphics Fairy

Supplies Needed for Making French Flower Pots using Labels:

  • terra cotta planters and saucers
  • Mod Podge (I used Mod Podge Matte – water base sealer, glue, & finish)
  • white acrylic paint (I used Apple Barrel “antique parchment”)
  • bristle paint brush (sponge brushes do not produce the desired texture and streaking effect)
  • scissors
  • paper to protect work surface you paint on (I used wax paper)
  • Graphic Fairy labels (click here for full size printable PDF copies of labels)
  • copy paper
  • printer

Directions:

  1. Cover work surface with wax paper or other protective covering
  2. Dip paint brush into the paint, wiping away any excess paint on the brush before applying the paint to the planter.
  3. Continue painting planter with this dry brush technique, wiping away any excess paint on the paint brush before applying the paint to the planter – paint predominantly in the same direction, except for some random strokes “here and there” to add dimension and depth – apply paint thicker in some areas than others – and allow the terra cotta color to show through in parts to resemble an aged pot
  4. Paint inside of planter for uniformity
  5. Allow paint to dry (it dries quickly)
  6. Cut out desired French label and apply Mod Podge to the back of the label and adhere the label to the planter
  7. Paint over the label with Mod Podge to seal and allow label to dry
  8. Brush white paint lightly over label in different areas to make the label “blend” into the pot
  9. Allow label to dry

Cutting out labels and adhering with Mod Podge

As soon as the Mod Podge was dry, I took my little pots out to the Cottage Greenhouse, sat down at my potting table and began filling them with potting soil. I did have a rosemary plant to plop into my first container for future plates of spaghetti, and though I didn’t have a peppermint plant, yet (I have one ordered) I was happy I had a snapdragon loaded with buds, and 2 golden orange pansies that were waiting for my new containers.

My sweet little rosemary planted in a Specialite De Patiences French Pot with a Queen Bee on the front.

This battered, old cubby holds all kinds of fun garden paraphernalia and the rosemary planter fits right in among my collection of floral frogs and antique salt and pepper shakers. The Depression Glass green shakers are my favorites with their shabby little screw caps that are dented and worn. They all look pretty and winsome sitting about, but they are dual purposed and make great containers for tiny things. I use them in the Cottage Greenhouse to store the seeds I gather from my flowers and trees.

In the greenhouse looking glass.

My plants winter residence. (:

The other evening I went out to my greenhouse after it was dark to turn the heater up, since it was supposed to get close to freezing that night. Richard put lights in the greenhouse for me, but I didn’t bother to turn them all on and only flipped on 1 switch, which left the corners and back of the greenhouse in the dark. I enjoyed seeing this new night-look in the greenhouse without the sun pouring in. I felt like a kid under the sheets with a flashlight peeking around at the looming shapes, while I walked to the dark back corner of the greenhouse. I have a bird clock hanging over my potting table that “sings” a different bird song each hour (See picture of the bird clock, 2 pictures above) Right when I was walking by my potting table “Once upon a midnight dreary” the bird of the hour, the Wood Thrush started trilling out his song! “Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear” it scared the wits out of me “filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before” and I hastily turned on another light. “Presently my soul grew stronger, hesitating then no longer” I turned the thermostat on the heater up, and after all…still thought my little cottage greenhouse looked enchanting by nightfall and I took a few pictures. I’ll let you see! By the way, the thermometer in there read 63 and my plants looked very cozy when I told them goodnight, turned out the lights and let myself out. (:

My shabby chic white-washed French planters that only cost me a $1.48 each! Fill them with fresh herbs and they would make delightful Valentine’s Day gifts for your friends and neighbors! To make things even easier for you, most grocery stores keep live herb plants stocked in their Produce Section. I ordered my live rosemary plant when I made out my Wal Mart grocery order and it was only $2.98 ! (P.S. I have already added the Mint and Basil live herbs to my shopping cart for my next on-line order!) Let me know if you make these French flower planters for yourself or for Valentine gifts! ❤

Au revoir! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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In the Cottage Greenhouse…How to Propagate and Transplant Moss

"At these times, the things that troubled her seemed far away and unimportant; all that mattered was the hum of the bees and the chirp of birdsong, the way the sun gleamed on the edge of a blue wildflower, the distant bleat and clink of grazing goats."  ~ Allison Croggon

Moss covered anything makes me a little dreamy and after I wrote the post showing our moss covered pathway and this sweet moss covered cherub in our birdbath, I had so many comments and questions asking how I get my moss to grow, I thought I’d write about it.

Some things you need to know about moss before you try to propagate it. Moss likes shady to semi-shady places, acidic soil, and moisture. Moss can grow on almost anything and doesn’t require dirt to grow. If you are trying to grow moss in an area where there isn’t any moss, you will need to have a moss “starter” since moss grows from spores, rather than roots.

Redbud blossoms sprinkled on our pathway of moss

Instructions How to Grow or Propagate Moss

  1. It’s fun hunting for the moss you’ll need to begin propagating your own moss. Collect moss from areas that already have live moss growing on them…from your yard, a park, moss that is growing on trees or structures, or ask friends or neighbors for a moss starter.
  2. Gather your moss in any container that is easy to clean and rinse out. I use a shallow terracotta planter.
  3. Break up the clumps of moss, using garden tools or whatever else you have handy. I use an antique pastry blender that I keep in the Cottage Greenhouse to break up and blend my “moss pies. (See picture below)
  4. To the collection of moss in your container, add equal parts of buttermilk and water, and mix together until your moss, buttermilk, and water is the consistency of a milkshake.
  5. “Paint” or pour your moss milkshake on the surfaces you want to cover with moss.
  6. Keep your new moss moist and “weed free, since weeds rob the moisture that is needed by your moss.
  7. It will take approximately 6 weeks before your new moss begins to spread

Terracotta planter and antique pastry blender I use for mixing moss

Cherub statuary in birdbath covered in moss

I just began re-growing this moss on our courtyard pathway this spring after we power washed off the moss that had been growing there. When moss needs moisture it starts looking dull and dried (like in the picture below.)

Now, look at the color of the moss in this picture. Notice that the moss is brighter and greener, but also that the moss is spreading, since it is getting more moisture.

Raccoons and other furry folk have a habit of overturning new moss beds, or pulling up chunks of moss to look for bugs. Don’t fret if this happens, just smoosh your moss back into place, and water.

More Redbud petals sprinkled on the moss beneath the tree

Lush moss bed along our garden path that I propagated.

To transplant moss…find and dig up the moss you want to transplant…keep it moist until ready to transplant…press the moss into the surface where you want it to grow (remember, moss doesn’t require soil to grow, but can also grow on other surfaces.) I spied this little clump of moss while Richard and I were gathering some walnuts along an old ferry road down by the river. Dear Richard dug up the moss for me to take home and the sweet little wildwood fern that was growing right in the center, came along with it! I kept the moss damp by wetting some paper napkins and wrapping the moss in it, placed the wrapped moss inside a plastic bag, and tied the top of the bag together until we got home. I can tell by their vivid green colors that the moss and little fern love their new location where I pressed this little patch of forest-floor into our gravel bed! (:

Let me know if you try propagating your own moss! And for more moss enchantment…click on Carrot Patch Cupcakes with edible crumb “moss” made out of graham cracker crumbs! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

P.S. This past 6 weeks has been a series of emotional peaks and valleys for us. I had a wonderful and miraculous report from the doctor…then we got the heartbreaking news that my dear, youngest sister had died suddenly and unexpectedly. Every step of the way, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” Psalms 23:4 Oh, I am heartbroken that during this short lifetime on earth, I will never see my sister again, but I am overjoyed knowing we will be together again in heaven, since she and I both know and believe in Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus and do not have a personal relationship with Him, He is just a whisper away. The Bible says, If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 If you long for that security and relationship with the Lord where you “fear no evil for Thou art with me,” please go to the top of my blog and click on the page ABOUT ME …then click on My Faith in Jesus Christ. If you have any questions, or you would like me to pray with you about anything, please let me know in the comment section below, or write me at: cottagegreenonthelake@gmail.com

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In the Cottage Greenhouse … DIY Nature Place Cards

~ Trenda

Look at the latest sparkle I’ve added in the Cottage Greenhouse! I found this quaint and quirky vanity tray mirror covered in a layer of dust at a local Thrift Store for only $1.00! When I found it, I had no idea where I was going to put it, but I couldn’t bear to leave it there forgotten and forlorn.

Now, look how perfectly charming it looks in The Cottage Greenhouse!

Instead of the usual cosmetics and perfumes that sit on a vanity tray, I loaded my Greenhouse vanity tray with a few of my antique metal floral frogs and a tiny silver platter with ruffled edges I topped with a chunky cloche. A crystal watering can fits in perfectly with this garden vignette.

Pretty DIY place cards are propped up on the prongs of antique floral frogs. They look fetching in this greenhouse setting, but they’re especially sweet when I use them in a Nature themed tablescape!

To make this flower place card I cut an image from an old garden book that I was lucky to find at a library sale for only $1.00! I cut the flower image into a smaller rectangle and rounded the corners of the card to soften the edges, then inked the edges. Complete instructions for all Nature place cards below.

To make this little card under the cloche, I photo-copied a favorite vintage green and white crocheted table runner onto cream card stock, then cut the paper copy into small cards. I punched out a round tab from an old book page and distressed it by inking along the edges. Then I stamped the tab with a letter “T” and stapled it onto a bit of lace.

I love the look of this unique and layered place card and made it by first laying a lace handkerchief on the copy machine. Then I placed a cloth napkin on top of the lace handkerchief, closed the lid on my copy machine, and copied the layered cloths onto cream colored card stock. Look at the beautiful texture on the card below and how the photo copied lace looks like actual lace overlapping the card.

Instructions for DIY Nature Place Cards

  1. Instead of using decorative papers or colored card stock for this project, I used an assortment of materials … a page from a garden book, a vintage green and white table runner, a lace handkerchief, and a floral napkin. I love the look and visual texture of materials photo-copied onto cream colored card stock. So use your imagination when making your place cards and have fun looking for the textiles or other images you want to photo copy for your place card backgrounds.
  2. After making your photo copies, cut the paper copy into the shapes you desire for your project. I cut my photo-copied paper into petite rectangles to fit in my antique floral frogs.
  3. For variety, I left some of the corners of my cards square, other’s I rounded using a corner punch I have. If you don’t have a corner punch, you can round the edges of your place cards with scissors.
  4. No inking is necessary, but if you want to add an antique or aged look to your place cards, ink the edges of your cards using a blending tool and stamp pad. I used Tim Holtz’s mini ink blending tool and Tim Holtz’s Distress Ink Pad, Color: Vintage Photo
  5. To add stamped images to your cards, you will need cling or acrylic stamps or wood block stamps. I used an acrylic bird image stamp, an acrylic bumble bee stamp, and a set of wood block miniature alphabet letters I bought at CVS for only $1.00. (Seems I’ve found a lot of good deals for only a $1.00!) I used the alphabet set to stamp the letters at the top of my card to spell PRETTY.
  6. Punch or cut out round tabs using old book pages and staple them to the card on top of a bit of lace … or use buttons and glue the lace to the button and attach both to the card.

A little embellishment for a lot of charm!

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In other news … my dear Richard cleaned out and organized his sprinkler pipes, fertilizers, and tools that were in the Cottage Greenhouse and he built two more sets of shelves for my bedding plants and greenhouse accouterments. ❤ Now I have twice as much room for planting and playing in the Cottage Greenhouse! Coming soon … pictures of my new addition, plus a Greenhouse tablescape using my Nature place cards!

WELCOME SEPTEMBER!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog. To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

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In the Cottage Greenhouse … DIY Plant Markers and Propagating Hydrangea

It was a delightful day for working in the cottage greenhouse.
Breezes from the north swept past the greenhouse door and I could see the lake winking at me while I worked at my garden desk.

I love hydrangeas and each spring I look forward to the gorgeous purple-blue blooms that fill our bushes. However, between the weather and furry folks, my hydrangea hedge has dwindled down to one lone bush. When I looked on-line to order more hydrangea’s, the nursery selections were limited and costly. With both those incentives, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to propagate some hydrangea cuttings from my Mophead Hydrangea … something I’ve wanted and meant to do every summer. It was a delightful day for working in the cottage greenhouse. Breezes from the north swept past the greenhouse door and I could see the lake winking at me while I worked at my garden desk.

Before beginning my propagation project I ordered a set of peat pot trays, though I could have used a pot or any other container for my cuttings, provided they had good drainage. My seedling trays came with a set of bedding plant markers. I was disappointed when I opened my package and saw the plant markers were made of plastic and were stark white. I had envisioned something a little more “earthy” and rustic for my first greenhouse project. Undaunted, I went out in the yard, gathered up some twigs, and whittled my own set of charming plant markers!

These plant markers made from twigs are just what I had envisioned, they are so rustic and winsome … AND so simple and fun to make! The only thing you’ll need for this project is twigs, a pocket knife for whittling, and a permanent marker. Are you ready? (: …. Go outside and pick up some twigs that are all about the same length and diameter, and that are reasonably straight (though some crooks and knot holes in your twigs add character!) Then sit down and begin whittling away the bark at the wider end of your stick. Carve enough bark away on your twig to expose the smooth wood underneath. You’ll only want to whittle away enough of the rough bark so you can easily write the names of the plants or seeds on your twig marker for identification. In the little red pail below, are ALL of the twig plant markers I made. I wrote Hydrangea and Morning Glory on 2 of them and I left the other markers with empty “nameplates” for future projects. Before I made these plant markers, I had never whittled anything in my life. I found the task mesmerizing and had to stop myself from carving away too much of the twig! P.S. – See the white plastic marker that came with the seedling trays that I placed next to my twig plant markers! (:

PROPAGATING HYDRANGEAS … SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  1. seedling trays or other container w/good drainage
  2. Potting Mix (I used Miracle Gro)
  3. pruners
  4. container of water
  5. rooting hormone (I used Garden Safe Rooting Hormone)
  6. Sharp stick or pencil

The best time to take “cuttings” from a hydrangea is around the first day of summer. The first day of summer is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and is also known as Summer Solstice … and this year Summer Solstice is today, June 20th! Around this time is when the leaves of the hydrangea are lush and green and it’s also the fastest time for the hydrangea to begin generating roots. Starting your hydrangea cutting’s at this time allows enough time for the cuttings (also known as strikes) to develop root systems before the hydrangea’s go dormant in the fall. Look for new, tender green limbs, known as “soft wood” on your hydrangea, as opposed to the brown, rigid woody sticks known as “old growth.” Cut 3″- 5″ stems, making the cut right below a leaf node (leaf nodes are horizontal segments on the stem where the leaves grow out) and include 3 leaf nodes in the stem you cut.

Carry a cup or container of water with you as you make your cuttings and place your hydrangea cuttings in the water so they won’t become taxed or wilted.

After you have as many cuttings as you want, trim your cuttings, taking off all the leaves except for the top 2. If your leaves are very small, you can leave them whole. However, if you are propagating large leaf hydrangea varieties, cut these leaves to about 1/4 of their original size so the cutting won’t be strained trying to supply water to the large leaf. Return your cuttings to the water after cutting the leaves. Fill your seedling trays or other container with potting mix and use a pencil (I used the the sharp end of my new whittled twig plant markers!) to poke a hole into the potting mix … 1 hole for each of your cutting’s, then dampen your potting mix before inserting your hydrangea cuttings.

Dip each wet hydrangea stem into the rooting hormone and insert cutting, coated with rooting hormone into your prepared potting mix. At least one set of leaf nodes, preferably 2, need to be covered in the potting mix since the nodes and stem are where the new roots will begin growing.

Gently push the potting mix around the cutting to hold it firmly in place, and continue until all cuttings are planted, then water thoroughly until the water flows freely from the drainage hole. If you use peat pots or trays like I did, I watered my cuttings until the sides of the tray were sodden. Keep your cuttings in a bright, warm place, but out of direct sunlight, and make sure your potting mix is moist at all times.

Don’t disturb your hydrangea strikes and continue to let them grow in your container or trays, making sure they are kept moist; I watered mine once each day. In 4 weeks your hydrangea cuttings, or strikes, should have produced new roots. At this time you can transfer your hydrangea’s to a bigger container. When you feel like your new hydrangea plants have become strong enough, or they have outgrown their container, they can be planted in your yard. This method of propagation works for all varieties of hydrangeas. I planted 10 hydrangea cuttings which hopefully will grow into 10 more Mophead Hydrangea bushes for our yard. Did you know a 1 gallon plant of Endless Summer Mophead Hydrangeas cost $29.99 on Amazon?!!! Go get on your garden gloves! (:

I love puttering around in my cottage greenhouse and below I have included some pictures of some of the knick-knacks I’ve added for some greenhouse charm. This wrought iron chair under my garden desk ~ is 1 of 4 that belongs with a beautiful glass topped garden table that my grandmother always had on her covered front porch. My mother gave the cherished table set to me and Richard sweetly sanded it and gave it a new coat of white paint. Now, I keep the table inside and use it in my music/craft room. I have dear memories of my grandmother and me sitting on her porch as she worked with her plants, sitting in this very chair! ❤

An Angel Wing Begonia looks beautiful tucked in a planter until I have the time to transplant it to an antique washtub outside my Potting Shed. See the sweet antique planter with the little bear sitting on top of the log? I love to find and collect these whimsical planters when we go antiqu’ing, and I have them in all kinds of unexpected places, not only in the greenhouse!

A grapevine wrapped pencil cup holds carved colored pencils and a chunky votive burns citronella and vanilla candles when I’m in the greenhouse. Here’s another one of my antique planters … a sweet little birdhouse with a red roof and a little birdie perched by the front door.

An old handmade wheelbarrow holds a spool of jute and scissors ready for tying up plants and other garden projects.

I love this tiny little flower vase with the kissing birds and I love to tuck tiny flowers inside. The colors of the birds and the coral-orange of the impatien’s bloom match perfectly with the box of wildflower seeds.

This is the canvas I told you about in my post “Charcuterie Charm” (click here to see) that my dear friend, Patricia made from the picture I sent her of the metal table I covered with broken pieces of blue and white pottery. Patricia told me she had this canvas made for me to hang in my greenhouse. I love it (and the giver) ❤ Doesn’t it make a great backdrop for my folksy handmade windmill with adjoining planter that holds an Asparagus Fern?

This miniature bistro table belonged to our daughter when she was little. ❤ The tabletop was always set with her Beatrix Potter tea set, ready for impromptu Teddy Bear Tea Party’s. I couldn’t think of parting with it, or the memories of sweet days gone by. Now, I love seeing it on my garden desk with a nest propped on one of the bistro chairs, a little bird keeping watch from the feathery fronds of a Plumosa Asparagus Fern, and another planter topped with little frogs, and filled with carved colored pencils.

Hope you enjoyed your day … your Summer Solstice, and the beginning of summer! Look who obligingly walked right into the picture below as I was taking our beautiful sunset. A Great Blue Heron we’ve fondly named Whiskers. He comes to our backyard buffet every evening, looking for dinner!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog. To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

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The Cottage Greenhouse, Garden Pathway & New Landscape Beds

Inside the greenhouse is cozy and “crunchy” with a pea gravel floor and smells wonderfully of cedar, cut grass, and earthy things. There are rows of shelves for bedding plants, hangers for trowels and garden gloves, and a little garden desk that Richard built “just for me.” ❤

After I took the picture of my Frog Prince standing in an enchanted forest of Wandering Jew in my blog “Charcuterie Charm” Richard and I both realized the plant had wandered way past it’s confine’s; it had overtaken the flower bed, tumbled over the brick wall, and begun a march across the patio. Richard cleared out all the “wandering nomads” then he reworked, leveled, and widened the old pathway that leads to our greenhouse. The greenhouse is tucked away on the side of our house, nestled under the boughs of a Cherry Laurel.

We’ve always used the greenhouse for storage and to house an occasional winter resident or two (an Areca Palm and some hanging plants) but since we’ve lived here, it has never been “user friendly” or very functional … until my sweet hubby remodeled the whole greenhouse and turned it into my “greenhouse dream come true.”

Now, the greenhouse has wide cedar doors that swing open on black hinges, cedar sides and a new clear greenhouse roof that rain merrily patters and plays on.

Back cedar doors of greenhouse

Inside the greenhouse is cozy and “crunchy” with a pea gravel floor and smells wonderfully of cedar, cut grass, and earthy things. There are rows of shelves for bedding plants, hangers for trowels and garden gloves, and a little garden desk that Richard built “just for me.”

The pathway Richard widened and re-lay from the greenhouse goes past new, curvy landscape beds …

… a bench my sister painted at the base of a large Oak tree

The bush in the front-left of this picture is an old variety of Mophead Hydrangea and has flowers in gorgeous shades of blue when blooming.

… and past the elevated landscape bed the Wandering Jew had taken over. Now, the only thing in this freshly mulched bed is a Cherry Laurel and a hedge of Richard Harland Boxwood’s that I planted 27 years ago. I bet you can guess why I picked that variety! (;

The pathway continues and meanders around the birdbath

… to the patio below.

View from the lower patio … I filled the flower bed beneath the birdbath with these perky impatiens.(It’s the only thing my dear husband and private medic would “allow me” to do, afraid I’d overdue.) Soon, the flowers will spill over the edges of the bed and tumble out onto the pathway.

Up a slight incline past the new landscape beds and our “upper” seating area on the left … then on toward the greenhouse.

Patio lights glowing in the twilight

I love and cultivate the moss that grows around our cottage. When Richard was working on the path, he sweetly scraped off the moss that had grown on the old pathway, so I could replant it. I smooshed the moss down into the cracks and crevices, and along the sides of the pathway so it would look natural.

I am already having fun pondering what to do with the upper seating area and I am happily anticipating “decorating” my greenhouse and filling my new fluffed and waiting “beds.” I’ve ordered some Autumn Ember Encore Azaleas to plant around the Ash Tree and the earliest expected delivery date for their arrival is June 1st. I’m also envisioning some Red Rover Heucherella and would love to tuck in some Brilliance Autumn Fern Dryopteris, but haven’t found any on-line, yet! Look for more pictures, later!

Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.

John Muir

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From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog. To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com  

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