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Dave's Garden Articles: By Sharon Brown

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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Where the Flowers Grow
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I didn't mean to, Officer. But you see, I have these gardening friends and they talked me into buying roses...

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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Birds and Bears and the Beechnut Tree
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

The kids at school said there was a bear on my side of the mountain. They said it was on the Virginia side but they reckoned that the Virginians had run it clear across the mountain and now they just knew it was on my side.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

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The Quilting Bee: Natural Dyes
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I grew up in a family of hand quilters. I didn't like to quilt but I surely did love to dye the bleached muslin that was pieced into the quilt. It went right along with all the discoveries that I made with my great Aunt Bett.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

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English Ivy: Beauty or Beast?
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It grew on the rock wall in front of my grandmother's yard. Behind it lived the mysterious faeries and gnomes who flavored my bedtime stories. I learned early that it was called Ivy, and my aunt had been named for it. I left treasures as gifts for the little people who lived there, the feather of a blue bird, a tiny marble of red glass, and an occasional cookie. I watched closely for any signs of movement.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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Apple Butter, Stack Cakes, and Weddings
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

When I was a child, I thought the best parts of a wedding were the bride's dress and the stack cake. The trouble was, I wasn't allowed to touch the beautiful dress with my grimy hands, nor was I able to swipe the apple butter that dripped down the sides of the stack cake.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

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The Perry Como Palm
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

When I was little, I watched the Perry Como Show on our tiny new black and white television set. His sponsors offered his audience a live palm tree, and I had to have it. I was only 8 years old, but that was the beginning of my love affair with Perry and his palm tree.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

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The Christmas Tree: Eastern red cedar
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

About a week or two before Christmas, my Dad would say, "Anybody want a Christmas tree this year?" That was the signal for a trip up the mountain to find the very best Christmas tree that would fit into our living room. It also was the signal for those left at home to get the decorations down from the attic. But one year, no one had time to get the tree down from the mountain or the decorations down from the attic. What was a little girl to do?

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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The Charlie Brown Seed Tree
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Sometimes simple is best. This is an idea for a simple no cost gift that will delight the gardening recipient.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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Snow Seeds
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Habits, good or bad, are formed early. Take brushing teeth for example. If I tried to tell you how many times I brushed my teeth during my long life, this page would not hold all the numbers. The same goes for seeds I have collected. This article would not hold all the numbers, because it was a habit I learned early.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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Goldenrod Legends and Lore
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

You were told from birth that it made you sniffle and sneeze, and you're sure it also causes the tears to flow. At the same time, it is such a beautiful sea of gold in the field next to yours, you have no choice but to admire it. Here is another look at Goldenrod.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

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Running Away from Home: Wild Columbine
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It was my birthday and there was going to be a surprise party after school. I could keep a secret as well as anybody so it was one of those "I know but no one knows I know" things. But as it happened, that was the day I decided to shave my head and run away from home.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

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Napping in the Graveyard Moss
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I am taking you for a ride in my time machine, back to the late 40's when there was no concern about invasive plants. The older members of my family believed that plants had a reason for being. Even near the graveyard moss was a great place for an afternoon nap!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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Catnip and Nightmares
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I never knew that catnip was for cats. I grew up thinking it was a mild tea that took my nightmares away.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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A Gift from the Heart, Across the Miles
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Gifts are fun. Gifts from the heart are wonderful. Gifts from the heart that bring us surprises across the miles are the very, very best.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

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Sassafras
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I am glad I didn't know the dangers of chewing on the twigs of the sassafras tree when I was a child. One small twig would last for hours, and since candy was not always available, I stashed sassafras twigs just like a little one might hide his Halloween candy, far away from hungry eyes.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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Sorrel
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I have lost my ability to identify wildflowers. I used to know all of them and what purpose they served, but until I am reminded by a scent or by a blossom, I don't always remember. That is the trouble with getting older, I think our memories are simply too full, and we ought to find a way to push a button and rid ourselves of unnecessary information. Take sorrel, for example.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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Balm
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Lemonade just was not lemonade without a sprig of balm in it.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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Wild Chewing Gum: Compass Plant
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

There was a plant that grew in the flat fields that sometimes could be found in the mountains, but it was more commonly found growing wild alongside the dusty road that ran in front of Aunt Bett's house. Whenever I wanted a chunk of chewing gum, all I had to do was break the stalk and find the hardened gum inside. Well, it wasn't really gum, but it was the next best thing.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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I Called It Jellamy: Canning
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

The memory of my great grandmother's home sits hazy in my mind. The edges are fuzzy, but the scent of love and the beauty of providing will always be crystal clear.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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Tansy
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Every spring I swear I am going to get rid of that tansy. It is contained within a rockwall beside my driveway. It doesn't know it is contained, though, because every spring it escapes through the rockwall and below the rockwall, then makes its way across the side yard.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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Pussytoes
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Ahhh, the lure of the soft white flowerheads that bring to mind a kitten's soft, delicate paws. We think such a sweet name would be given to a delicate plant, but no, pussytoes are strong and persistent. Maybe that's why I love them.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

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Aunt Bett and the Delicate Art of Swooning: Borage
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Remember how it was when the guy you had been madly in love with for weeks suddenly looked at you and smiled? You were so giddy with joy, you practically fainted right where you were. Well, years ago, that kind of feminine reaction to rapturous excitement was called "swooning". Aunt Bett had a sure cure for a swoon.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

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Skullcap: A Summer for Rabies
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Over time little known plants were often targeted as miraculous cures for one thing or another. Skullcap is one of them. For some time it was publicized as the only cure for rabies, rabies in people, of course, not in animals.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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Cleavers in my Garden
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Sometimes memories we thought long forgotten become realities again and nearly drive us right out of our gardens. I didn't know what to do about cleavers then, and I really don't know now.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

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Come join the parade!
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It happens every June without fail. I hop out of bed and hit the floor running. I don't want to miss a minute of my daylily parade.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomatoes and Peppers
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Garden trends come and go, some leaving behind anger and frustration, and others teasing us with their promises. I am withholding opinion about the Topsy TurvyŽ planter until those little peppers and tomatoes make their way onto my dinner plate. But so far, it's looking very good.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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Mom's Oakleaf Hydrangea
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Sometimes a glimpse or a scent will carry us back to another place, another time. My friend recently gave me rootings from a plant that grew in the mountains of eastern Kentucky where she had been visiting. They were young plants with an abundance of large leaves, but no blooms. It did not take me long to remember my mother's oakleaf hydrangea.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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Aunt Bett's Ditch Lilies
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Heavily laden with black coal dust, the orange ditch lilies stood tall and proud along side the winding mountain road. With the passing of every coal truck, those tall lilies swayed from one side to the other, but they remained standing as they had for hundreds of years. The tawny colored ditch lily was the grandmother of the lovely multicolored daylilies that adorn our gardens today.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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Culver's Root and Cotton Mather
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Culver's Root scared me to death. Well, even when I was little I was a history buff, and I knew that it had killed Cotton Mather's little girl. Nobody was ever going to get me anywhere near culver's root. If I had to die, it was not going to be by the stalks of a tall skinny plant.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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Spiderwebs, Spiderwort, and Aunt Bett
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It was my most favorite blue flower in the whole wide world, and Aunt Bett wanted to fix it for supper. I pouted, I pleaded, and in the end I refused to eat it. Just imagine, it was like eating Peter Cottontail or Kitty Fluff. How could she do that to my favorite blue flower? This the fourth in my Aunt Bett series.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

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Wait! Don't throw those plant catalogs away! Turn them into Garden Art.
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I am a pack rat. I don't have to say it 20 times to know it is so. I keep treasures, and if I forget they are there for a couple dozen years, it's only because I haven't needed them yet. Here is an idea that might inspire you to use all those old seed catalogs that you have stashed in every dark corner of your home.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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Cornflower Blue
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Ahhh, the cornflowers. I can never have enough of them. No matter how down and out we find ourselves, one look at these soothingly blue flowers will make us smile right out loud. Here is another story straight from my childhood, all about blue cornflowers. By the way, have you started your seeds yet?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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Green Shoelaces: Books of Seeds
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I should have known when he was two and had to have green shoelaces. I really should have paid more attention when he wanted a green gardening hat and insisted on sleeping in it. The dreaded green gardening bug had taken a bite out of my little grandson. Now what could I possibly do about it?

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Friday, March 16, 2012

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Wood Sorrel: Lucky Shamrock
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I spent half my life looking for shamrocks. Not four leafed clovers, mind you, but shamrocks. I was taught they were lucky, they would keep snakes away, and they were the plant of my Irish/Celt ancestors. Of course everything I ever did was blamed on ancestors, but I am sure if the truth be known, my genetic structure is linked to every tribe and clan that ever existed.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

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Warm and Cozy Buckwheat Seeds?
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Most of my winter was spent trying to stay warm, until one day an unexpected gift arrived in the mail. No more winter shivers for me! For the first time since those long, hot days of August, I'm cozy and warm.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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Vervain: The Love Potion
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

Vervain was considered a miracle cure for nearly every ailment known to mankind. I must have gathered enough of it to treat every family in the southern Appalachians with some leftover to use as a love potion.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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"Hasty" Bread Pudding
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I had a taste of a memory last night, and it has lingered all day long. There was something about it that brought to mind long ago Christmases and church youth choirs and riding in the back of a flat bed truck, singing Christmas carols up and down the hollows of southeast Kentucky.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

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Nutmeg: Exotic, Intoxicating Myrstica
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

It was the subtle scent of nutmeg that pulled me in like quicksand and made my mouth drool just like a hungry puppy. If I had lived a few hundred years before, I could have grated my own nutmeg and sprinkled it on every cake and donut that my mother made.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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Aunt Bett's Gingerbread: Wild Ginger
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

In the early winter on the way home from school, I would often stop by Aunt Bett's house at the mouth of the holler. Sometimes when I walked in I could smell the sweet aroma of baking gingerbread, and I knew Christmas was on the way! Aunt Bett and my Granny Ninna could bake the very best gingerbread, and I always got to make my own gingerbread man from the last pieces of the dough.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

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The Clove Tree
By Sharon Brown (Sharran)

I liked the scent of spices that flavored the air during winter holidays. I thought it would be nice to have those scents around all the time. The easiest way to do that, I decided, was to sprinkle all those spices in the dresser drawer that held my undies and my socks.

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