Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Are you an introvert? Then come over and sit by me, and let's not talk for a while...

...while we watch this TED Talk, by Susan Cain, whose book on introversion has taken the world by storm (in a quiet, reserved sort of way, of course):


Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Gardener's Diary: Foraging

On Gardener's Question Time today- it's on BBC Radio 4 at 9 am EDT (also available for replay from the show website)- longtime panelist Bob Flowerdew dusted off one of his perennial favorite quotes. A woman forgot to bring along of a sample of the plant she wanted to ask about, so she admitted to snipping a bit off another specimen she saw while riding her bike to the taping:


"The best time to take cuttings is when no one is looking!"

A Gardener's Diary: Urban Bees

From The News Quiz, on BBC Radio 4:


Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Gardener's Diary: Life's for the Birds

English: Poison-oak
Poison-oak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Black Vulture, very common around towns and ci...
Black Vulture, very common around towns and cities. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Turkey Vulture in Miami, Florida, USA.
Turkey Vulture in Miami, Florida, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I've been a pretty slack-jawed gardener this past week, though I can plead medical exigencies. Allergies laid me low for a couple of days early in the week as I did some more brush clearing for a neighbor whose yard she has let go to ruin the last five years.

Then I took a few days off to let my latest poison oak outbreak subside. That seems to be an occupational commonplace in the wilds of outer suburbia, where people who kept up half-acre lots when they bought them thirty years ago are now rather older and more tolerant of vines and creepers and general junk. I am thinking of looking for a goat to rent and see if it will do some of the remaining dirty work for me.

All of which made it a good week for birdwatching from my desk. Gardening pays even less well than bookselling, and I had to redouble my efforts this week as an order booked three weeks ago has not yet turned into a check in my account.

The Battle of Britain continues being re-enacted in my front yard, between the established Robin Clan and the Upstart Grey Mockingbirds of recent arrival. The male mockingbird took time out from harassing the robins the other day to tear after a crow; he was right on the bigger bird's tail a good two blocks before breaking off the chase. The crow hasn't been back.

Mostly the robins have decamped to the back yard, where the grub is plentiful and the mockingbirds infrequent. Housemate put a bird feeder out on the railing of the deck- a fine, philanthropic gesture.

For the squirrels. Where I have gotten used to one around and about since the Day of the Red-Tailed Hawk Luncheon- there are now four bellying up to the buffet like it's all you can eat night at the Western Sizzler. And in less than a week, the feeder has gone empty. But I keep my counsel. Sometimes it is better to let events unfold rather than predict the inevitable. It's not inevitable to everyone, after all.

It has been a big week for big color! A pair of eastern bluebirds I first saw a few week ago are regular front yarders now, and don't seem to vex the mockingbird cops. Their backs and wings are truly dazzling when they leap into flight.


Four purple martins showed up last weekend and have been strutting about from day to day since; for a while I thought they were immature crows, but finally got close enough to see the blue-black iridescence of their coloring.

Common redpoll (right)

Red birds are in vogue at the feeder: I've seen some summer tanagers this week, and a yellow-bellied sapsucker, with its little red cap on. Most surprisingly, today- after two days' off and on research- I confirmed a pair I first saw day before yesterday at the feeder are common redpolls: a striking bird way out of its normal range, though. Mr. Peterson says they are tundra dwellers, though they sometimes "casually move south" in the winter as far as these parts.

Summer tanager

Yesterday my neighbor, Mildred, came over to tell me about a harrowing encounter with a singularly ugly creature in her driveway. It turned out to a be an opossum in extremis: by the time she got one of the other neighbors over, he determined it had died and bagged it in a shopping bag before leaving it out at the street. Animal Control was called, and confirmed they'd be over within one business day, which, it turns out, does not include weekends.

This morning, under overcast skies spilling out from the enfeebled Tropical Storm Ana, I looked up to see a right large bird pulling the hapless possum corpse from its bag and donning a bib for the pending feast.

I've seen vultures way up in the air, circling lazily as they do in film and television; mostly I see them in that operating theater over a very large wooded area about a mile from where I live.

But this one just plopped down at the road's edge and tucked in for a good hour. When I looked up again, I had gone and the possum looked rather less plump.

An hour later, as I went to the kitchen, the vulture was back, this time with company: a black vulture, funereal as an undertaker and, by the look of their interactions, an alpha male undertaker-vulture. The turkey vulture kept getting the corpse by the tale and trying to drag it off; the black vulture just clamped down on the other and and pulled back. Eventually honor was served and hungers sated, and both vanished into the air.

Five new species in a week! That makes 27 since I started paying attention to what goes on around me six months ago.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Time for your closeup, Mona

One of the best things about the internet is that I can visit museums in far off places. Here's a video from Christie's, the auction house, about two views of the Mona Lisa:


Sunday, May 3, 2015


A gnarled rosemary is one of my chief treasures. I treasure it for the charm of its irregular outline, for the pale blue of its flowers in very early spring, and for the refreshing odor of its foliage as I brush against it in passing. 

Elizabeth Lawrence (1904-1985), A Southern Garden (UNC Press, 1942)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Just trying out the ol' soft-shoe...

A picture of Matt Harding at Yoyogi Park in Sh...
Matt Harding at Yoyogi Park in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Matt Harding is a young man with a yen to see the world. At the turn of the century, bumming around overseas with a friend, he got the idea to have himself filmed doing a little, funny dance step he made up.

Then he did it at another place...and another.

That all led to a series of videos, "Where the Hell is Matt?"

His videos are funny, silly, moving, inventive, beautiful...and they say something about how a few minutes of fun can unite people.

Here's one:



Monday, April 27, 2015

A Gardener's Diary: It's been a quiet week in the outdoors.

English: Red Tailed Hawk in Mineola, NY
English: Red Tailed Hawk in Mineola, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
KAZAN. Sabantui, a Tatar festival.
KAZAN. Sabantui, a Tatar festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Materials in a compost bin.
English: Materials in a compost bin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Willow Oak in autumn foliage.
Willow Oak in autumn foliage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The sun is out after three really down, dreary days. The temp was in the 40s; it was drizzly and dark and as much as I tried to put on my best Pacific Northwest face, there is a reason I left after 28 years.

The Dandelion War has entered a new phase. Last week I called in mechanized backup: the lawnmower. Today I only had to behead 45 of the little nuisances.

Four of the six potato starts I planted have begun to sprout leaves, and two of four garlic cloves. Other experiments are less promising; two are complete fails. I stuck some ivy and some thrift in pots to see how they'd do, and they didn't. The thrift I probably moved too early; as for the ivy- well, there's more on the lot next door, and at least I have disproved its myth of invincibility in all places and situations.

Two species of salamanders have begun showing up around the house. One- a brownish type I haven't identified yet, likes sunning on the back deck in the afternoon. The other- a brilliant blue tailed skink- makes the rounds here and there about the heat pump in the back. They are furtive creatures, always looking- and succeeding- to go to ground whenever I come near.

Not so the contestants in the War of My Front Yard. It's nesting season and a full-grown turf battle has broken out between the long-resident robin and a newcomer, the northern mockingbird. The latter started singing about two weeks ago, and hanging out next door. But now, this avian Putin has annexed half my front yard as its Crimea, and chases off the robin every time he makes an appearance. These conflicts and noisy and prolonged. One of the squirrels out front- already traumatized by that day in March when the red-tailed hawk swooped down and invited a cousin to lunch- has gotten dive-bombed several times as well.

Today I got out and raked the remainder of my next-door neighbor's yard, clearing the thatch from a long-overdue mow last week. Her yard man apparently follows the Wimpy model of service provision: "I will gladly mow your lawn some day, for a down payment on deposit today." So we tackled it for her, and got ten barrow-loads of grass for the compost piles. Mother Compost, the first pile, now eight months along, is breaking down very well indeed. The Twiggery pile, a 12 foot long, two foot tall run on the far side of a run of fallen tree branches I break up and stack for winter kindling, is due for its first turn after six months of slowly compressing. And The Great Wall of Compost, built to screen off the results of my neighbor's belief that there is no need to carry junk off to the landfill when he can pile it behind his storage shed and make it invisible. To him. It's now about five feet tall and twenty long at the height of the canker worm parachute drop from the willow oak above the pile, so many happy little canker worms found themselves in leaf pile Eden, you could hear them chomping away: they made the pile sound like a bowl of rice crispies after the milk is added.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Gardener's Diary: Catbird, seat nearby. Rain, endless.

I think we have had rain for a week now; the days- overcast and dark- seem to run together. Since last night we have had a very steady rainfall. The weatherman on Channel 9 last night was predicting a couple of inches. As I see water standing in paces in the yard I have not seen water standing before, I think he may be right.

Standing water and red Piedmont clay are rarely a happy combination; the top little bit of the clay soaks in as much as it can and turns soupy and generally disagreeable to be out and about in. The grass- already running riot- is going to be a hot mess to mow, as my friend Brian would say.

But I am not complaining. A week ago I was laid low by pollen, so thick about that breezes pushed it into berms and dunes all over the yard, and into my eyes and nose. Surely this mini-monsoon will drown most of it. Then we'll just have the revivified late-bloomers to deal with.

So I've been indoors, mostly. The temperatures have been clement, so on a day like this I have been able to work at my desk with the windows open, listening to the rain fall. The sonic effect is worthy of a relaxation CD.

During a lull this afternoon I ventured out to run my dandelion picket lines. Only 29 captured today. They will cut loose at the first sunshine, now predicted for Tuesday. While I was out, wringing their little yellow necks, I heard a new bird call, loud and shrill, and it finally penetrated my attention. I realized I have heard it for several days running; a little research revealed it is the call of the gray catbird, mimicking a woman shouting, "Heeeere, kittykittykittykittykitty...Heeeere, kittykittykittykittykitty..."



It's a good fit for the neighborhood, as Roger Tory Peterson says, in A Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies (1st.ed, 1st printing, 1980, paperback; yes, I will sell it out from under myself), says the are partial to undergrowth, brush, thorn, scrub and suburban gardens. Bit of a flirt, too: Peterson adds, "Flips tail jauntily." We're a bit west of the boundary of its breeding and year-round ranges, on the breeding side, but as I see reports that ranges are moving north as things warm, we may be new turf for them. Now I know what to in the coming months. The gray catbird is the the twentieth species I've noted on this little half-acre since last fall.

We have a lot of Bewick's wrens in the yard most days. They like gardens, underbrush and thickets, all of which we have around us; they also like nesting boxes, and our neighbor, Mr. Doug, has a number of those across the way. They are fairly quiet little birds; we had a set last fall who liked to hang out in the woodpile and let meals crawl out of the woodwork without having to go out. The robins have been busy hauling off nesting materials from the compost piles in the back yard; pine straw is popular for inner padding.

One can only work at the computer so much in a day, so I've been working my way into Elizabeth Lawrence's classic, The Southern Garden. I have the 1990 trade paperback; I was finally able to get it yesterday when eight crates of books I called out from storage were delivered. I'll be a typing fool the next few weeks, getting them all photographed and written up for Henry Bemis Books' summer catalogue (if you'd like the current spring issue, just hop next door to Henry's website and fill out the order form; I'll be pleased to email you one). Our weather this week- indeed, this year- is just as she described in 1942:
In the Middle South the difficulty is not that it is too hot or too cold, or too wet or too dry, but that the changes from one extreme to the other are so frequent and so sudden. In summer we cannot depend, as England, on steady moisture, nor, as in our Southwest, on continued drought. Instead, weeks when no rain falls are followed by weeks when it rains every day...

Esquire's Charlie Pierce:


Is it a good day for dinosaur news? It's always a good day for dinosaur news!
Wylie came across the fossil in September 2014, while digging for marine animal bones with his father. Researchers from Southern Methodist University, who excavated the remains last week, have tentatively identified the fossil as a heavily-armored nodosaur. The specimen could be more than 100 million years old – but Wylie didn't know it at the time. "My dad told me it was a turtle," Wylie told the Dallas Morning News. "But now he's telling me it's a dinosaur."
Geez, Dad. You may never live this one down.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Gardener's Diary: You learns something new every day

I thought, as the flowers first appeared, they were grape hyacinths, but the leaves weren't like those of the ones in my back yard. Now I learn, thanks to NC State Cooperative Extension, I have wood hyacinth, also known as Spanish bluebells, in my front hard:


V & V


Vladimir and Vera Nabokov married 90 years ago today. By all accounts, theirs was an uncommonly happy union. LitHub- a remarkable new website- has this 1923 note from him to her, that may go some ways to explaining how that worked out the way it did:
"How can I explain to you, my happiness, my golden, wonderful happiness, how much I am all yours - with all my memories, poems, outbursts, inner whirlwinds? Or explain that I cannot write a word without hearing how you will pronounce it - and can’t recall a single trifle I’ve lived through without regret - so sharp! - that we haven’t lived through it together - whether it’s the most, the most personal, intransmissible - or only some sunset or other at the bend of a road - you see what I mean, my happiness? ... 
I swear - and the inkblot has nothing to do with it - I swear by all that’s dear to me, all I believe in - I swear that I have never loved before as I love you, - with such tenderness - to the point to tears - and with such a sense of radiance. On this page, my love, I once began to write a poem for you and this very inconvenient little tail got left - I’ve lost my footing. But there’s no other paper. And most of all I want you to be happy and it seems to me that I could give you that happiness - a sunny, simple happiness - and not an altogether common one."

Give this a thought. It might work.

A Facebook acquaintance (also an accomplished artist) of Waldo's posted this. While we're not generally much on this sort of thing- slap on a photo and you're back on a plane flight, looking at pages of those ghastly corporate motivational posters in Skymall- this one struck home somehow.


Reach out and touch someone: get smacked

Edward Hopper, Automat, 1927

From a fascinating Guardian piece on the new loneliness of social media:
The future does not come from nowhere. Every new technology generates a surge of anxious energy. Each one changes the rules of communication and rearranges the social order. Take the telephone, that miraculous device for dissolving distance. From the moment in April 1877 that the first line linked phones No 1 and No 2 in the Bell Telephone Company, it was perceived as an almost uncanny instrument, separating the voice from the body. 
The phone swiftly came to be regarded as a lifeline, an antidote to loneliness, particularly for rural women who were stuck in farmhouses miles from family and friends. But fears about anonymity clung to the device. By opening a channel between the outside world and the domestic sphere, the telephone facilitated bad behaviour. From the very beginning, obscene callers targeted both strangers and the “hello girls” who worked the switchboards. People worried that germs might be transmitted down the lines, carried on human breath. They also worried about who might be lurking, invisibly eavesdropping on private conversations. The germs were a fantasy, but the listeners were real enough, be they operators or neighbours on shared telephone lines. 
Anxiety also collected around the possibility for misunderstanding. In 1930, Jean Cocteau wrote his haunting monologue The Human Voice, a play intimately concerned with the black holes that technologically mediated failures of communication produce. It consists of nothing more than a woman speaking on a bad party line – as these shared services were known – to the lover who has jilted her and who is imminently to marry another woman. Her terrible grief is exacerbated by the constant danger of being drowned out by other voices, or disconnected. “But I am speaking loud … Can you hear me? … Oh, I can hear you now. Yes, it was terrible, it was like being dead. You’re here and you can’t make yourself heard.” The final shot of the television film of the play, starring Ingrid Bergman, leaves no doubt as to the culprit, lingering grimly on the shining black handset, still emitting the dead end of a dial tone as the credits roll...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

From the Fellowship of Waldos


A Gardener's Diary: Saturday sneezefest, and what's in a name?

English: Dandelions in a field
English: Dandelions in a field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was prepared, yesterday, to bill myself as the Malthus of Bizarro World- where everything is reversed, and my war on dandelions was proceeding in a pleasingly logarithmic manner.

I started counting my casualties first of the week, as beheading the yellow peril gets to be, well, pretty boring pretty fast.

And things went well this week:

4.07: 356
4.08: 284
4.09: 164
4.10: 76

I was pretty chuffed last night when I turned in. Less so when I looked out the window this morning. I'd been the victim of a sneak attack.

For one thing, the dandelions have clearly been cultivating allies, and the buttercups in the yard have suddenly opened up. This means new profusions of yellow, in which dandelions hide in plain sight. The dandelion-slayer must therefore be doubly alert. While most dandelions are brazen creatures of the soil, especially when they bolt suddenly and turn their yellow flowers into seed-spewing puffers, some are craven little so-and-sos, lurking close to the ground, This is particularly the case when they are in league with the buttercups.

More telling, however, were two other steps the dandelions took overnight. They got word- I have an informer in my camp, it seems- I was developing a major allergy outburst today: Niagara nose, one side of the head filled with concrete, endless sneezing, the whole lot.

"He'll be off his feed, let's blindside him" seems to have been the message passed from camp to camp, front yard to back.

So they went right to it and at it, and all I could see out the window today was newly-blossomed dandelions. I charged out, gasping only slightly at every new intake of pollen on this sunny day, and their final counterattack started: a new bout of canker worms. Everywhere I walked in the yard, I picked them up: hat brim, shirt, pants, shoes. Not to mention the increasingly wind-tangled filaments from which they make their way to the ground. Why don't birds go for these things? They could just swing through, beaks open, about four to five feet up from the ground, and make like the great whales snacking on krill.

I was momentarily set on my back foot by this multi pronged attack, but I am nothing if not a gardener with a will. In no time flat I equalled yesterday's casualty total. I had barely cleared any ground.

By the time I was done, I'd pulled 399 dandelion blossoms and buds- which look remarkably like okra pods before they go all smiley-face Mike Huckabee on you and you find out how quickly they can morph into an existential menace.

By the time I got the last of the little bastids- as my friend Boston Eddie would call them- into the bin, I was in full flow, nosewise.  Misery loves company, and now as I looked around me, I fond my irises- while doing well, mind-



-but as nothing to my neighbor, Doug's- right across the street!


The grape hyacinths in the front yard are a good three weeks behind their backyard counterparts, blossomed with brio and went their way:


And the ones up the walk aren't even this far along. "No photo for you," I snuffled, and I am sure what they heard was "Doh bobo fufhfu."

Another nearby neighbor has a dogwood so elegant not even the vandals Duke Energy hires to keep its lines clear have been able to do their worst:


Their oaks are farther along, too.

I was in a right funk, honking into a handkerchief on the front steps, when my neighbor, Mildred, ambled over.

"Did you plant that azalea?" she asked.

I had no idea what she was talking about, and not just because my ears were started to plug up from the storm surge of mucilage rising past my eyeballs.

"No. Where?"

"There," she said, and pointed. I could see it across the street this morning. I don't remember there being one there."

Mildred would know. She has been watching out the front windows for thirty-four years. If its knowable about this neighborhood, she knows it.

I turned to where she was pointing. Overnight,  a spindly overshadowed azalea I'd freed from adjoining boxwoods and more or less forgotten, so unpromising were its spavined limbs and shaded location, had turned into a beauty:



Well, that was cheering. I remembered I needed to tell Mildred I'd heard from one of this blog's readers, the self-styled "Old Jane in NC", about the yellow-flowered bush in Mildred's yard. I noted the other day that neither of us could remember what it is:



Jill commented, "I think the yellow blooming shrub is Kerria. Here in the mountains just north of Asheville, we are probably about 10 days behind you on dogwood, creeping phlox, etc. Again, thanks for the pretty pictures and pleasant conversation."

I looked up the suggestion. Jill is correct! What's more, the kerria japonica, or Japanese rose, is famed in music:
Besides "Japanese Rose," other common names for kerria japonica pick up on the fact that it is a member of the rose family. The common name, "Easter Rose" alludes to its early blooming period (during Easter, in some regions). The flowers' color accounts for the common name, "Yellow Rose of Texas" (with an assist from the song by the same name). Meanwhile, others commonly refer to it simply as "Kerria rose" or "Japanese kerria."
Others call it the Chinese rose; it is found there as well as in Japan and Korea. The name may also be an association with William Kerr, a Scots gardener discovered worked at Kew by Sir Joseph Banks early in the 19th century. Banks plucked Kerr up and sent him to China in 1804, Kerr became the western world's first plant collector, shipping home 238 varieties of plants over eight years, including the nandina, euonymus, begonia, and the rosa banksiae, wisely named for his patron's wife.  The kerria japonica cultivar bears Kerr's.

All of which, after I retreated indoors in search of more handkerchiefs, prompted me to pull down Elizabeth Lawrence's last book, Gardening for Love: The Market Bulletins (Allen, Lacy, ed, Duke University Press, 1987). Lawrence (1904-85) edited The Charlotte Observer's weekly gardening column from 1957 to 1971, and wrote a number of books beloved of gardeners, especially in the Carolinas. 

Elizabeth Lawrence

I read Miss Lawrence's columns as a boy; her style was always entertaining and- as I read more of her over the years- it was easy to see how she was almost equally famous in gardening circles as a letter-writer (her collected correspondence with Katherine White, The New Yorker's gardening correspondent,and wife of E.B., is fascinating; they got on much better by mail than in person). Eudora Welty put her on the mailing list for The Mississippi Market Bulletin, one of a number of state publications in which farm people traded plants. Her correspondence with people throughout the South through those publications, was the inspiration for Gardening for Love, which documents the now-largely-lost world of plant trading:
Reading the market bulletins is like walking through a country garden with sun on the flowers, in their very names: princess feather, four-o-clock, love-in-a-mist, bachelor's buttons, Joseph's coat, touch-me-not, kiss-me-at-the-garden-gate, ladyfingers, redbird bush, rainbow fairy,  pink sunburst. Sometimes the names have a darker tone: devil's shoestring; devil's-nip, devil's-walking-stick, graveyard moss, graveyard vine, and a good many others with demonic or funereal names.
Charlotte, North Carolina's Touch-Me-Not Lane, part of the heritage of gardening.

Many of these ring bells for me, from half a century ago: visits to family and friends often meant coming home with cuttings, or sprigs offered to hosts, and transplants from old home to new were part of moving- they were from the family old homestead, or some important connection (for years as a teen, I grew strawberries from starters my maternal grandmother gave me). And, as Miss Lawrence notes, the names were an infinite source of delight- and some confusion:
Love-entangled is an old name for nigella or love-in-a-mist, but as often happens when old names linger, the farm women have transferred it to another plant. Love-tangle vine is their name for Kenilworth ivy, an old favorite for  hanging baskets. Kenilworth ivy, incidentally, I have also seen advertised as Kettleworth ivy. It often happens that as plants pass from the hands of one gardener to another, their names change in odd ways, through oral transmission. Some of these alterations in spelling when they are written down are: Eli Agnes for Eleagnus; the Festive Maxine peony for Festiva Maxima; Ellen Bouquet amaryllis for the rose-colored crinum, Ellen Bosanquet; Virginia's Philadelphia for Philadelphus x virginalis; red star arise for red star-anise; rose-of-Charon; and watery spirea for the spirea named Anthony Waterer. I am reminded of the gardener who asked me to come see her "wiggly rose," which turned out to be Weigela florida, and of another who called the rose Etoile de Hollande, Miss Estelle of Holland.
One of Miss Lawrence's many correspondents was Mr. Kimery, who had an acre nursery at the Tennessee-Mississippi border; she describes the challenges of identifying many of his colloquially-named plants. One,
"The rose of Texas," Mr. Kimery wrote, "is double yellow. I sent you all I have. They will live. Hope so." I hope so, too, for the one I got earlier died before I had a chance to tell anything about it except that its thorns were sharp and numerous, which made me think it was the old brier, Harrison's Yellow (1830), common in gardens and of American origin. The yellow rose of Texas appears often in the market bulletins, but sometimes it is not a rose at all, but double kerria (Kerria japonica).
I like to think my neighbors and I- and correspondents in the market bulletins of the Internet- are keeping these old folkways alive a little longer. Mildred has made me promise to take some cuttings of her Chinese rose; my neighbor Cindy has offered me some of the hostas that have sprung up from recently cleared and restored beds at her front door:



I came to love hostas living in Seattle, where their colors fit the cool, often muted light of the Pacific Northwest, but where they are also an endless buffet for the endless supply of slugs. It will be nice to have some new ones to put out before long.

After I get the dandelion rebellion suppressed, of course. And the allergies under control. And, after that, perhaps a visit to Miss Lawrence's house and garden, a National Register of Historic Places site here in Charlotte, now part of the Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary.