Horticulture is Thriving: 2nd Hortie Hoopla draws 125 NYC-area Interns

Hortie Hoopla speakers

Left to right: Charles Yurgalevitch, School of Professional Horticulture; Uli Lorimer, Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Joseph Tychonievich, author and plant breeder; Lynden B. Miller, public garden designer; Ken Druse, garden writer and radio host; Nick Storrs, Randall’s Island Park Alliance; Brenden Armstrong, SoPH graduate

New as it is, Hortie Hoopla is already a key event for young horticultural professionals looking to find their footing in this fast-paced and challenging field, one that’s always on the look-out for fresh ideas and new faces. The New York Botanical Garden invites green industry interns from all over the New York metropolitan area and beyond to spend the day in the Garden, linking up with their fellow horticulturists, accomplished career plantsmen, and scientists, all while enjoying a day of tours, games, networking, and BBQ. But first: the inspiration.

Taking the stage on July 23 in front of 162 attendees, including 125 interns, Charles Yurgalevitch, Ph.D., director of the Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture, laid out the core goals of Hortie Hoopla: to inspire, introduce, explain, energize and excite, and unwind. Yurgalevitch’s opening talk soon gave way to a panel of veteran gardeners and expert horticulturists who shared their stories with the crowd.

Interns enjoy a tour of the Native Plant Garden, led by NYBG Curator Michael Hagen

Interns enjoy a tour of the Native Plant Garden, led by NYBG Curator Michael Hagen.

First among them was Lynden B. Miller, a well-known public garden designer and contributor to our ongoing Groundbreakers exhibition. Miller referenced horticulture as a means to “soften and cultivate city life,” something sorely needed as urban development continues to encroach on natural landscapes. “Make it gorgeous, and they will come,” she said of public spaces. “Keep it that way, and they will help you.”

NYBG’s own Annie Novak—who started as a Garden intern and became the Manager of the Edible Academy—followed up with practical advice for those looking to get their foot in the door. “Ultimately, your network is your nest egg,” she said, going on to explain how job field flexibility and heeding good advice go a long way toward self-sufficiency in the horticulture world. Annie was succeeded on stage by Uli Lorimer, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Curator of the Native Flora Garden, who added that there’s no substitute for due diligence in studying the plants you like and dislike when building a foundation of botanical knowledge.

Nick Storrs, Urban Farm Manager for Randall’s Island Park Alliance, and NYBG School of Professional Horticulture alumnus Brendan Armstrong offered similar sentiments, suggesting constant engagement with respected veterans in the field, seeking out the critiques and advice that are so integral to developing job experience. Ken Druse, whose prolific body of writing and speaking works has earned him a place as New York’s gardening superstar, adamantly spoke against the dumbing down of horticulture that is so common today, explaining that garden design is much more than simple outdoor decorating, and contrary to claims on popular remodeling TV shows, there are no “instant” or “quick” ways to create a beautiful outdoor landscape. It takes time. The garden is never finished, and we wouldn’t want it to be.

Interns meet with representatives from NY-area gardens, parks, and landscaping companies during the Career Information Session.

Interns meet with representatives from New York-area gardens, parks, and landscaping companies during the Career Information Session.

The discussion closed with keynote speaker Joseph Tychonievich, author of Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener and the Greensparrow Gardens blog, who suggested making every effort to leave your comfort zone and gain experience in numerous horticultural undertakings. In his opinion, it’s not only a simple way to find out exactly what you want to do, but it opens you up to a slew of potential opportunities you might otherwise have missed. “Things you think that won’t make an impact can lead to opportunities,” he said.

For the interns in attendance, it was tough to ignore the importance of what these career green thumbs had to say.

“After listening to the lectures, I am really intrigued by all of the career possibilities,” said Charles Griggs, an intern with NYC Parks Recreation. “Horticulture is a means to better understand the urban environment and public space.”

The morning lectures broke with a lunch and a Career Information Session featuring NYC Parks Recreation, Central Park Conservancy, Shemin Landscape Supply, Town Gardens, Organic Gardening Magazine, and GrowIt. The organizations were as excited to be able to talk to the interns as the interns were to learn about career opportunities in horticulture and landscape design. GrowIt! offered a scholarship contest for six winners to win awards of up to $500 by testing their new app, GrowIt! Garden Socially.

A cook-out in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden winds down the day.

A cook-out in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden winds down the day.

Sometimes the best way to learn about horticulture is to see it. With this in mind, groups of Hortie Hoopla attendees broke off to visit the Native Plant Garden and Thain Family Forest, the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and Perennial Garden, and the LuEsther T. Mertz Library and William and Lynda Steere Herbarium.  On one tour, Michael Hagen, Curator of the Native Plant Garden, and Brian Sullivan, VP of Gardens, Landscapes, and Outdoor Horticulture, led interns through NYBG’s summer collections while engaging them with discussion and quizzes to keep up the tempo. They also took the time to address the importance of local flora and increased ecological considerations in modern gardening efforts.

For Maria Roe, another horticultural intern, the inspiration struck close to home. “As an NYC resident, I hope to contribute to more natural areas that people can enjoy,” she said.

By dusk, everyone had gathered among the vegetable beds in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden to unwind, enjoy games, and dig into some BBQ as the sun set on another successful Hortie Hoopla. Prizes of gardening tools and books were awarded to winners of the Plant ID Contest, plant quiz, and best plant joke contest.

Hortie Hoopla in the Family Garden

Professor Emeritus Darrel Morrison, FASLA, assisted by Eric Lieberman SOPH Manager, announces the winner of the grand raffle prize in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden.

Sana Javeri Kadri, a green industry intern in attendance, left feeling positive. “I think we all learned so much and left brimming with excitement and geeky plant dreams,” she posted to her Twitter page.

As Ken Druse made clear, the work is never done—urban garden design is a challenge that continually evolves, producing fresh facets and hurdles that call for new and ever more innovative solutions. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, it’s the young gardening hopefuls that joined us here this week who will be answering horticulture’s future questions.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/07/adult-education/horticulture-is-thriving-2nd-hortie-hoopla-draws-125-nyc-area-interns/

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Morning Eye Candy: Smitten

‘Mystic Illusion’ makes its grand appearance in the Perennial Garden. It’s part of a series of simple and stunning dahlia cultivars that include ‘Mystic Dreamer’, ‘Mystic Spirit’, ‘Mystic Memories’, etc. I’m still smitten with this one in particular, though—likely always will be.

Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion'

Dahlia ‘Mystic Illusion’ in the Perennial Garden – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/08/photography/morning-eye-candy-smitten/

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This Weekend: The Home Stretch

0714-pink-hibiscus-250x280It’s already August, and summer is flying by. Groundbreakers has just over a month left in its residency, so come explore the great estates of the Gilded Age and the pioneering professional women who designed them before the exhibit closes on September 7.

Click through for the full program schedule for this weekend—including a special tour of the Aquatic House in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory—as well as ongoing children’s programs. If you’re looking for some hands-on family fun, tickets are still available for the next in our special series of Family Dinners with Mario Batali’s Chefs on August 10, featuring Chefs Alex Pilas and Fitz Tallon of Eataly. Get your tickets before they sell out!

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/08/garden-programming/this-weekend-the-home-stretch/

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Morning Eye Candy: The King in Yellow

King of the daylilies, that is.

Hemerocallis 'Viracocha'

Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Viracocha’) along Daylily Walk – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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This Week at the Greenmarket: Blue Skies and Blueberries

NYBG Greenmarket blueberriesThis sunny and pleasant day is the perfect opportunity to get some shopping done al fresco. Discover culinary inspiration today at the NYBG Greenmarket from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. just inside Mosholu Gate—when admission to the Garden grounds is free. The Children’s Aid Society will be presenting Go!Healthy, an educational program focused on food justice and nutrition, with fun activities.

One staple of the Greenmarket these days is reliable blueberry. Tart, compact, and full of health benefits, these little guys can be rinsed and enjoyed raw as a summertime snack. For those of you with a sweet tooth—and a sense of adventure—click through for an appetizing yet simple recipe for Blueberry Galette with Cornmeal Thyme Crust.

Blueberry Galette with Cornmeal Thyme Crust (from In Sock Monkey Slippers)

blueberries recipeIngredients:

Cornmeal thyme dough:

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup stoneground cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water


Blueberry filling:

  • 1 pint blueberries, organic preferred
  • 3/4 cup sugar (we’re using cane sugar for this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water, beaten

blueberry galette crostadaPreparation

  1. In a food processor, combine 1 cup of flour, cornmeal, and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add thyme and 2 tablespoons of water. Pulse and add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed until the dough starts to form together and is wet enough to stay together when pinched. Form into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm; about 30 minutes to 1 hour. You can also do this by hand in a large bowl. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend the butter in.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Set aside until needed.
  4. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  5. Place the blueberries in the center of the dough leaving a 4-inch border. Fold the border of the dough over the edge of the fruit. Brush egg wash over the dough. Place in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the the crust is golden brown and firm. Allow to cool before serving. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm.

Of course, if you would prefer something savory we still have you covered. Today is one of our special Seasonal Cooking Demonstrations Tastings with Whole Foods Market®! Stop by the Reflecting Pool in front at the Leon Levy Visitor Center to enjoy a sample of this month’s seasonal recipe: recipe is Watermelon Salad with tomatoes and Goat Cheese.

 

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/07/garden-programming/this-week-at-the-greenmarket-blue-skies-and-blueberries/

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Aloe, Soothing Body and Soul

Christian Primeau is the NYBG‘s Manager of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.


aloe rauhiiWalt Whitman once wrote, “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.” For a poet who glimpsed a universe of wonders in a mere sidewalk weed, his beard might have dropped off in amazement had he fixed his gaze upon little Aloe rauhii. Before turf-lovers get upset, it is not my intention to besmirch your lawns, good sirs and madams. Like Whitman, though far less eloquently, I simply hope to call your attention to the marvel of smaller things. Things that, perhaps, you might just miss. In a glasshouse like the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory—exploding with bold textures, extravagant colors and flowers that often flirt with the ostentatious—occasionally missing small things is a forgivable offense.

Aloe rauhii is certainly worth a special look. Endemic to the sun-baked sandstone hillsides of the Tulear Province in southwestern Madagascar, this dwarf clumping species bears 4- to 6-inch rosettes of succulent leaves densely mottled with silvery-white spots. This camouflage almost makes the plant appear to be dusted with snow. With a little imagination one might envision each rosette as a perfectly formed frosty-green snowflake. Quite fittingly, the plant is referred to as “Snowflake Aloe.” Each summer in the Old World desert house of the Conservatory, undaunted by towering tree aloes, stout Gasterias and the hulking, moisture-storing trunks of Pachypodiums, tiny Aloe rauhii defiantly pushes delicate yellow-tipped, salmon-colored flowers skyward atop wiry 12- to 18-inch peduncles. They aren’t the biggest, boldest, or showiest inflorescences, but who doesn’t love an underdog? New York Mets fans among you should go crazy for this little guy on principle.

aloe rauhiiMadagascar’s geographical isolation, diverse geology and climatology are both a blessing and a curse. While it is the reason the country’s flora has evolved to be so extraordinarily unique and varied, it means a species like Aloe rauhii, which can only be found on one tiny corner of the island and nowhere else on the planet, is exceptionally vulnerable. As land is indiscriminately cleared for agriculture or ravaged and degraded by grazing livestock, Aloe rauhii could soon cease to exist in the wild. What a shame that would be.

Numerous rauhii hybrids such as Aloe ‘Doran Black’, ‘Lizard Lips’, and ‘White Fox’ are easy to find for sale and the species itself is very slowly becoming available to gardens, propagators and, in turn, succulent connoisseurs. You would be hard-pressed to find a more forgiving houseplant. This aloe certainly doesn’t require much space and given a free draining, soil-based mix and a south-facing window, the plant will thrive with very little attention. Should you choose to move it outdoors in summer, the foliage will turn a lovely shade of orange-tan with hints of dusky purple in full sun. Water sparingly in winter and you too can enjoy this very special Madagascan aloe in your own home. Stop by and see it, along with many other hidden gems, right here in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Aloe rauhii—truly a plant worthy of praise…and maybe a poem or two.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/07/horticulture-2/aloe-soothing-body-and-soul/

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Morning Eye Candy: Sunny Nonetheless

Gray skies don’t really dim the view much.

Conservatory

Planters by the Conservatory Pools – Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/07/photography/morning-eye-candy-sunny-nonetheless/

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Everyday Phenology

Jaime Morin is The New York Botanical Garden’s Assistant Curator in horticulture. She works with the plant records and curation teams to help keep the garden’s information on its living collections up to date. She also oversees the details of the garden’s Living Collections Phenology Project.


Nyssa sylvatica

Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) –
ripe fruit

Since its creation, the New York Botanical Garden has been a local haunt for scientists studying the phenology (the seasonally changing biological processes) of plants. More recently, the institution has invited the public to study these important seasonal markers as well through two citizen science programs.

In early 2001 the garden began a program that creates the opportunity for novice citizen scientists to collect data on the life cycle changes of plants in the Forest. Dedicated groups of volunteers traverse three different trails on a weekly basis, checking on 17 different kinds of forest plants to record their major seasonal benchmarks such as leaf emergence, flowering, and fruiting.

Starting in 2009, the Garden began to offer Citizen Science Professional Development for middle school teachers, focusing mostly on the native trees in the Forest. In turn, these teachers help their students conduct phenology research projects around their school at local parks, and on the Garden grounds. Over the years, with the support of the NYC Department of Education, the NYBG Professional Development Program has expanded its citizen offerings to K-12 teachers throughout the city.

This kind of data is critical to scientists studying the effects of climate change. The Forest Citizen Science Phenology program shares its information with more wide-spread programs such as the National Phenology Network, Northeast Regional Phenology Network, and Clean Air-Cool Planet, which distribute data to interested researchers. There is a big need for quality, long-term data that helps show how plants and animals may be reacting to the changing climate. Programs like this are a great way to fulfill that need.

Acer rubrum (red maple) –  early spring flowers

Red maple (Acer rubrum) –
early spring flowers

In early spring of 2012, a second phenology program was started, this time focusing on the living collections outside of the Forest. The aim of this project was to not only provide data to national scientists, but to gather information for NYBG visitors and staff regarding the peak bloom of its showiest plants and collections. The Living Collections Citizen Science Phenology project collects information on over 90 different kinds of plants across the Garden. Over half of the plants observed in the living collections phenology project contribute meaningful data to the National Phenology Network.

If you don’t volunteer with our formal programs here at the Garden, you can also contribute to this scientific endeavor on a national level in your own backyards or local neighborhoods. By logging on to the National Phenology Network’s Nature’s Notebook site and registering for an account, you can start collecting data on your own plants! Whether you enjoy keeping a keen eye out for birds and emerging foliage, or just want an excuse to spend a little bit more time outdoors, this is a great activity for hobbyist adventurers of all skill levels!

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)  –  fall color

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) –
fall color

Looking for and tracking seasonal changes certainly has its benefits. It tends to sharpen observational skills. I know that while taking volunteers out for training I find myself trying to notice the smallest, most detailed changes in our plants here on the grounds. Tracking specific plants through years of their lives can also teach observers a great deal of botany, flowering morphology, and plant biology. Did you know that the gorgeous creamy white part of the dogwood “flower” is actually a bract rather than an actual reproductive floral structure? Did you know that Tulip trees form cone-like seed structures that shatter when ripe? These are just some of the things that studying a handful of specific species can teach you.

Whether you are part of a formalized program, or just an avid observer, taking notice of interesting seasonal changes can absolutely enrich your time outdoors.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/07/horticulture-2/everyday-phenology/

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This Weekend: Warm Nights, Hot Food

The NYBG WeekendWe’re well into a relatively mild summer here at NYBG, which means evenings make for one of the best times to get outside and relax! To that end, we’re prepping the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden and all its plush vegetable beds for the first of this year’s series of Family Dinners with Mario Batali’s Chefs. We’re breaking out the tablecloths, the grill’s being readied, and you’ll find plenty of hands-on crafts and activities waiting for your kids when you get here.

This weekend’s opening dinner event will be helmed by Chef Josh Laurano of Lupa and Chef Dan Drohan of Otto, who are teaming up to create three decadent courses to remember. Among the items on this weekend’s menu, you’ll find green beans with prosciutto, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes; eggplant parmagiano with bianca aglio olio; mint and lemon semolina cake; and more. Don’t worry about wine, either—we’ve got a pair of options selected to perfectly complement the dishes.

There are still some tickets available for Sunday night’s event, along with tickets to future dinners in the coming months, so don’t miss out! Head past the jump for the full weekend schedule, including Groundbreakers activities and tours.


Saturday, July 26

The NYBG Weekend

Aquatic House Tour – 12:30 2:30 p.m.
Meet at the entrance to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory

Explore aquatic habitats found within the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, an acre of plants under glass. Take an eco-tour through these distinct biomes, with one of the Garden’s tour guides.

From Ragtime to Jazz: The Roots of Pop – 1 3:30 p.m.
In the Ross Hall

Music from the period of Groundbreakers—ragtime, jazz, Broadway, and beyond to Hollywood—had a great impact on American culture. Enjoy a variery of styles in live performances by a trio of artists, including musical producer, pianist, and historian Terry Waldo, featuring the works of Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Irving Berlin, and Tin Pan Alley composers such as George Gershwin, George M. Cohan, and Dorothy Fields.

Film Screening: Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley – 2 p.m.
In the Ross Hall

Many popular music standards of the Tin Pan Alley era (1920–49) were written by women, including Dorothy Fields, Kay Swift, Dana Suesse, and Ann Ronell, who were among the most influential songwriters of the time. This PBS documentary includes archival footage, motion picture clips, and rarely seen photographs, as well as performance clips of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Perry Como.


Sunday, July 27

The NYBG Weekend

Conservatory Tour – 12:30 p.m.
Meet at the entrance to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory

Explore the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, an acre of plants under glass, with one of the Garden’s tour guides. Take an ecotour around the world through 11 distinct habitats, including two types of rain forest, deserts of the Americas and of Africa, and aquatic and carnivorous plant displays.

From Ragtime to Jazz: The Roots of Pop – 1 3:30 p.m.
In the Ross Hall

Music from the period of Groundbreakers—ragtime, jazz, Broadway, and beyond to Hollywood—had a great impact on American culture. Enjoy a variery of styles in live performances by a trio of artists, including musical producer, pianist, and historian Terry Waldo, featuring the works of Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Irving Berlin, and Tin Pan Alley composers such as George Gershwin, George M. Cohan, and Dorothy Fields.

Film Screening: Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley – 2 p.m.
In the Ross Hall

Many popular music standards of the Tin Pan Alley era (1920–49) were written by women, including Dorothy Fields, Kay Swift, Dana Suesse, and Ann Ronell, who were among the most influential songwriters of the time. This PBS documentary includes archival footage, motion picture clips, and rarely seen photographs, as well as performance clips of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Perry Como.

Native Plant Garden Tour – 2:30 p.m.
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center

Join a tour guide for an insider’s view of the newly designed Native Plant Garden. Enjoy a mosaic of nearly 100,000 native trees, wildflowers, ferns and grasses designed to flourish in every season.


Ongoing Children’s Programs

The NYBG Weekend

Family Adventures: Focusing on Nature
In the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden
Through September 7; Weekdays; 1:30–5:30 p.m.; Weekends plus Holiday Mondays; 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Children will explore the art of garden photography and will even have the opportunity to become garden photographers themselves. Through a series of stops within the Garden, they will see the world through a new lens as they learn how observations in science and nature have been recorded throughout time. They will also receive tips about perspective, scale, and framing when taking photographs.

Dig, Plant, Grow: Pickle Me!
July 19–August 15
In the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden

Go on a Pickle Parade through the Family Garden to learn about plants—both familiar and unfamiliar—that take part in the pickling process. Learn what it takes to pickle and make your very own batch of pickles to savor back at home.

Mario Batali’s Kitchen Gardens – 1:30 – 6 p.m.
Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden

Kids can explore with Mario’s Menu Mystery game, featuring favorite vegetables and herbs from nine of his restaurants’ kitchens, including Otto and Del Posto.

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Article source: http://blogs.nybg.org/plant-talk/2014/07/garden-programming/this-weekend-warm-nights-hot-food/

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Morning Eye Candy: Rather Generous, Really

No, this crepe myrtle isn’t named for its stinginess. It’s actually quite generous with its flowers! But it’s also very compact.

Lagerstroemia indica Tightwad Red

Dwarf crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica Tightwad Red®) along the Ladies’ Border– Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

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