Sky Pencil holly with stem dieback.
A little plant drama has been unfolding in my neighborhood over the past year, a battle of wills between a hapless homeowner and the ubiquitous Sky Pencil holly. So far, the holly is winning.
I don't know the homeowner in question, but from my seat in the peanut gallery, I think I have grasped the basic plot outline. The homeowner has no interest in gardening. Nevertheless, he has some pride and, in any case, property values must be maintained and neighbors appeased. So off he goes to Home Depot or Lowes in search of an easy-care evergreen. He returns with five Sky Pencil hollies and, as Act I ends, plants them in the front yard.
In Act II, all five hollies are showing signs of stem dieback, which gets progressively worse as the weeks wear on. Act III: the five hollies are now thoroughly dead. The homeowner removes them but vows to persevere. In Act IV, four fresh Sky Pencil hollies are installed in the front yard. How will Act V end? Alas, poor homeowner.
This botanical tragedy in five acts has been performed countless times in my neighborhood. Plant. Ignore. Kill. Remove. Repeat. I myself killed two a few years ago, then promptly put in two more. (What can I say? My husband loves them.)
A cultivar of the ever-popular Japanese holly (Ilex crenata), "Sky Pencil" grows 8 to 10 feet tall in a narrow column - no trimming needed. It looks great as a vertical element in the garden and in containers. Hardiness reports vary; I have seen it listed as zones 4-9 (highly suspect, if you ask me), 5-7, 5-8, and 6-8. But for those of us in the south, what is more relevant is that Japanese hollies do not like heat. NCSU's Plant Pathology Extension calls ilex crenata among the more disease-prone hollies, and judging from the dieback epidemic in my neighborhood (to say nothing of the plaintive queries on internet garden forums), I think they might be right.
Of course, "dieback" is not a terribly specific or helpful diagnosis, since it could be caused by any number of factors. And if you are an amateur gardener like me, good luck trying to figure out what those factors might be. Fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and excess moisture are only some of the possibilities. I'm sure the heat doesn't help either.
But enough about why - the important thing is to stop it. What I have found is that if I cut off the dead stems the instant I spot them, the disease does not spread to the rest of the plant. Problem solved. It's shockingly simple, really.
In truth, I have no idea if this remedy would work on all cases of dieback. Perhaps different causes call for different solutions. All I know is that none of my Sky Pencils have died since I stopped treating them like background scenery and actually started tending them.
Remedial plant care. What a concept.
12/5/2012 12:55:33 am
OMG GHG, you are so funny. I laughed and laughed as I read this.
12/5/2012 01:13:42 am
Not necessarily! Sometimes you want something for a narrow space, or you want that regal look that says, "It is good to be king." And sometimes you want to build a wall to give you a bit of privacy.
Caring for your plants? So that's the secret!! :)
12/5/2012 01:52:12 am
I am starting to see a trend. Apparently the sky pencil holly is not as popular as we have been led to believe. If you'd like to kill yours, I am happy to give you some pointers!
12/5/2012 05:52:46 am
I think it's like joining a gym - you join with every intention of going regularly, but after two months you forget you have the membership. Then after New Year's, you sign up again, vowing to do better this year.
12/5/2012 09:55:30 am
Well, I have to say I guess I'm also a bad gardener, because I've had several of these plants die. And I love them. In fact, I was at the nursery today, and I wanted to get some more, but decided against that because I've had such bad luck with them. I will try your method. I really do believe our heat/drought has a great deal to do with their demise, though, so I'm not taking total blame!
12/5/2012 01:06:18 pm
I read on a garden forum that they are particularly problematic in Texas. I agree that it is probably the heat and drought - in other words, not you!
7/28/2018 12:18:00 pm
Have had a skypencil in a large pot on the patio for 9 months. It looked great all winter with yellow pansies, doubled in height this spring and was thriving. Went on a 10 day vacation in July and it was dead as a door nail when I returned. I’m in zone 8, and believe it was too hot and dry here in Charlotte NC to be neglected for that long. I’ll need to find another, much tougher evergreen for that pot...
8/1/2018 03:31:44 pm
Agreed. The heat might not have been a killer if it hadn't been in a pot also. I can't go more than 24 hours without watering my pots during the summer here in Raleigh. They just dry out too quickly.
12/7/2012 09:30:56 am
We have taken your suggestion and have cut out the dead portions of our sky pencil. Spray may also be in order, but we will wait it out to see if the plant comes back from the trim. We like this variety of holly as we need to cover an extreme vertical area. Thanks for the assist!
4/13/2015 05:31:27 am
TRY Italian Cypress Trees FOR REAL HEIGHT IF SUITABLE FOR YOUR AREA.
12/8/2012 12:49:53 am
I hope it works out for you. As I said, I have no idea what the specific cause of the dieback is, and it may be different in your case. But it's interesting to hear that you, too, are having this problem. It seems to be common in the South, as least.
This post is so spot-on and could have been written about my neighborhood, except substitute dwarf Alberta spruces for the sky pencil hollies! Same here -- plant, neglect, replant etc. Most of my neighbors treat these trees as furniture and are actually quite surprised to find out they have roots when they have to be moved. Aack. I enjoyed your funny take on this tragedy being acted out in your area : )
7/13/2017 08:40:07 pm
I cannot believe people can be so naive and ignorant about plants or other living things for that matter. If you cannot give it the time and care it needs do not get one. That applies to all things in life.
12/10/2012 07:11:47 am
Maybe there should be a book called "When Good Plants Happen to Bad Gardeners," featuring dwarf Alberta spruce, Sky Pencil holly, and other sacrificial shrubs!
9/5/2013 08:18:10 am
I am so happy i've found others who are having the same problems as myself w/the Sky Pencils. My plants/shrubs usually flourish but i am not having good luck w/these. I water them once a wk or as i see needed but the leaves are drying up and the shrub appears to be dying. I love the way they look on either side of my office window and i want to try and preserve them. I will try cutting off the bad leaves. Anyone have any other remedies?
9/5/2013 11:39:08 am
Thanks for stopping by my blog, Ms. Edwards. I wish I could be more helpful, but the only thing I've ever tried that has worked is cutting off any dead branches. They really are very temperamental plants.
6/13/2019 12:43:15 pm
I planted my sky Holly's after reading this post. I really love them. I'm in SW Louisiana, they are right up against my house on either side of the windows facing the west. Seems the odds are stacked against their survival. I love everything fussing over all my plants babies. Thank you for all the tips!
9/16/2013 07:16:56 am
We have a ~12' x 12" planter between our garage and walkway that is *perfect* for sky pencils. Unfortunately I've been battling this problem for the last three years as well. So far I'm 0-2. I've just planted the *third* set yesterday and am determined to succeed this time. I will be watching these like a hawk and will try your method of pruning if/when I see the dead stalks appearing this time.
9/16/2013 07:47:06 am
Thanks for visiting, Jarrod. I hope the third time is a charm. Quite frankly I think luck is involved as much as anything!
11/8/2013 10:59:56 am
I just bought three sky pencils today. It was something new in Home Depot. Then I looked them up. Not too promising. This is a is a sad story told often in South Florida. Only the eternal optimists keep trying. I succeeded with a couple azaleas (after many bit the dust) and I've completely given up on roses. Everything that was new and different lasted a season or two. Asi es la vida de las plantas. You got to believe it when they give you the zone that they might live in. I'm planting them tomorrow. I'm one of those optimists. Thanks for your site.
11/9/2013 01:19:31 am
Thanks so much for visiting, Gail. I wish you luck with the sky pencils. They do not strike me as very good plants for south Florida, given that they don't like extreme heat. But maybe you'll get lucky, as you did with your azaleas. If it's any consolation, there are many plants in South Florida that I wish I could grow here!
3/18/2014 07:40:56 am
Thanks for including the fact this plant does not like the heat. So I know to steer clear of this one, because in Central TX, it's a bit hotter & drier than SC.
3/21/2014 04:06:43 am
Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog! I am no expert, but I can't imagine Sky Pencils liking central Texas heat. I'm actually in central North Carolina, not South Carolina, but still our climate is quite different from yours, and even here the Sky Pencils struggle. It's just too hot.
5/7/2014 03:38:58 pm
I purposely bought the Sky Pencil Holly for against my sidewalk entry to my house up against the garage wall. I love the look and don't entend to have anything but the skypencil against that wall. Mine took a beating this winter. But not sure if it was the winter or the fact that I possible don't have Male/female plants. I just read another article that you need male/female plants for these species of hollies.. Hopefully mine won't die.. But if you that don't like yours and are waiting to die, want to dig them up and ship them to me. I'd be happy to give them a loving home..
5/8/2014 07:54:07 am
First, thanks for visiting the blog and commenting. Sorry to hear that your skypencil holly took a beating - the winter did that to a lot of plants. Contrary to what you read, you don't need a male and female for Sky Pencil hollies to do well. Others do require that for them to produce berries, but Sky Pencils are generally grown for their shape rather than their berries so it's usually not an issue. I wish I could ship mine off and send them to you, but we just sold our house and I'm no longer allowed to dig up any plants in the yard! Good luck!
5/10/2014 05:32:39 am
Omg, I was just in Lowes last night and thought the Holly Sky Pencils were interesting looking, and being they were only $3 I thought I would give them a try so I bought 5. After reading your pages comments I'm sure they will all die as well as everyone elses. I live in SE NM in the desert where it is a very dry heat, being I got them for such a good price its worth a try. I will keep you all informed. Wish me luck!!!
5/11/2014 07:58:33 am
Good luck! Maybe if you keep them in a shadier spot and make sure they are well watered, they'll live to talk about it. If not, take solace in the knowledge that you are in good company. One more thing - thanks for visiting my blog!
5/12/2014 10:52:10 am
So, this is a great read! I have had two of these sky pencils for five years on either side of my front door… they are quite tall. After this winter (Marblehead, MA) one is looking quite brown and grey… I think all the leaves are dead looking. So, if I cut all the leaves off…this will look strange. Do I dig it up? I have taken VERY good care of this plant, watering it, feeding it. I can only think that the cleaning lady through out the cleaning water out the front door and killed it. I am really bummed that the symmetry is all wrong now. It covered my downspouts and had tons of berries. All my other hollies are fine. In the winter, the ever greens are the best, the most berries were this year. Any useful advice?
5/12/2014 02:21:03 pm
Oh dear. Not really. Are all the leaves dead looking, or just a few branches? I can see where the symmetry would be way off if you pruned everything that was dead. Such a shame - it sounds as if they did really well for you all these years. Marblehead, MA is definitely the right climate for these guys. Maybe it's time to replace the one that's not too happy.
5/13/2014 03:41:28 pm
I have 2 Sky Pencils planted by the columns on our lanai. They are about 3 years old now. I have to define the border of our property on one side of our house. We have 5 ft. on our side and our neighbor an additional 5 ft. Large oleanders grow on her side making it difficult to mow under or walk between the tree and her house. So our yard has been the path everyone uses to get to her backyard. We've replaced sod there 3 times because the St. Augustine does not tolerate heavy foot traffic. After this last wearing our sod down to the soil level I had to plant something that will define the border but not use up all of our 5 ft. side of the yard. We keep side yards very simple with our front and back yards being home to trees and plantings. If these new sky pencils do as nice as the 2 that we've had I'll be delighted. Simple, linear, and yet making a statement on its own.
5/14/2014 02:24:11 pm
They are terrific plants when they work, I agree. Good luck with the new ones.
10/27/2014 08:24:21 am
I laughed my way through your post and the comments!
3/14/2015 06:46:08 am
I must be the luckiest idiot in the world. I live in the south (Georgia) and planted a Sky Pencil on a corner of the house that gets lots of sun. I have never pruned or done anything to it other than add water during drought conditions, but the plant has thrived for almost ten years. I love the look of Sky Pencil and plan on adding more this fall. Hopefully, they will thrive as well.
3/31/2015 03:04:22 am
Hi everyone. I purchased 10 sky pencils last year, put them in rich soil and fed them with the granule tree and shrub fertilizer twice since purchase. They haven't grown at all. Still green, but nothing else. Any suggestions are so greatly appreciated.
4/6/2015 05:09:54 pm
Erica, sky pencil grows at a very slow rate. If your plants are still green, keep doing what you have been.
My Sky Pencil is potted, I have had it for 6 years. I do not prune, but water and feed as I should. It has done beautifully here in GA until the last 6 weeks. It has developed orange leaves scattered throughout the column. It is almost too pretty to be a disease. Have you ever seen this?
Diana V. McLean
4/16/2015 09:19:28 am
Love sky pencil hollies and I live in Virginia Beach, Va. Have lost some but keep trying. The ones in my succulent garden do fine and they don't get much attention except a slight trimming and I talk to them. Maybe this is why they endure.
8/9/2015 12:32:52 am
After reading your blog,I'm afraid I may have screwed up. I have sky pencils,one had leaves turn brown and die. I cut the dead out of the others,but one is starting to have some brown leaves again. I live in Tennessee,hot and humid. I've not heard they didn't like full sun,which is where mine are. Wish me luck!
8/31/2015 09:02:26 pm
My wife planted 2 of these pencil hollies about 3 yrs ago 1 died about a yr ago do to about 2 hrs of sun & did not replace mulch do to some health issues. For the time they lived didn't really grow any, I think due to not enough sun. I recently moved the 2nd pencil to the back yard in front of garage where it gets about 6 hrs of sun in the morning & 2 hrs just before the sun goes down. It's only been a week but starting to see some promise already. I live in KY. P.S. I have read alot about these pencil shrubs and have heard nothing positive about growing them in NM, TX or FA, just seems to not take extreme heat too good. Main thing seems to be 6 plus hrs of sun, mulch & well drained area with acidic dirt. Good luck everyone.
Hello Everyone! I just bought 4 Emerald Green Arborvitae 15' H x 4' W, and I am having problems with them. I bought them on sale at a good price and when I bought them they were kind of dry looking. After, I planting them and good soil and I put miracle grow food added to the soil and they are still dead it's no evergreen about them they turned golden brown color and look dry and dead. I thought they were sky pencil holly trees because they look alike so I bought them. What should I do because the whole trees are like I mention above? I planted 2 on each side of my car porch in the sun.
3/14/2016 09:16:43 pm
I bought a sky pencil in south Louisiana and have had a terrible time getting it to grow. In three years it has grown about four inches. I've also had to remove dead limbs making the "pencil" appear more like the lead inside. So, it doesn't like heat, huh? Now I know why they were on sale. The summers here are BRUTAL from May-September. At least I know it's not me failing this plant.
3/16/2016 09:51:26 am
I planted 3 sky penclls in my succulent planter boxes on my patio and they are doing mostly great. A little die back on one.
4/24/2016 10:57:19 am
Thanks for the tips,
4/24/2016 08:08:26 pm
Interesting! I didn't know that. Thanks!
4/24/2016 02:50:58 pm
I am in Tennessee and having problem with my four sky pencils with dead stems. Try to cut the dead ones but still the plants don't look lush and healthy! Any suggestions?
4/24/2016 08:06:33 pm
Maybe they are in too much sun?
7/21/2016 04:22:41 pm
I live in Philadelphia, Pa. I have 6 sky pencils planted beside my porch which in direct sun all day. One holly bit the dust so my husband bought a new one and replanted in the same spot where the other died. Well, #2 has died as well. The other 5 continue to thrive so we are wondering if it is the soil in just this spot. All of these sky pencils are planted close together as a barrier to our neighbors and the others are fine. ??????
7/22/2016 03:39:01 pm
Welcome to the mysteries of the sky pencil hollies. Who knows why they die when others survive and do just fine? I suppose it's possible there is something in the soil there that is killing it. My vote is to replace it with something else - not another sky pencil.
8/29/2016 08:45:03 pm
I have followed the saga of the Ilix Sky Pencils. I also grow them and love them but have had a few problems until I worked out there needs. They do have a few special needs.
9/4/2016 08:13:55 am
Thanks for the commenting, Lynne, and thanks for the advice. Wonder where you are located - more northern or southern?
9/4/2016 08:18:04 am
Hi Buffy. I'm not an expert at all but my guess would be south of Myrtle Beach is pushing it for Sky Pencils. But the best way to tell is if you see them growing around there and looking good. If you don't, the chances are there is a good reason for that! I've learned that lesson the hard way more times than I can recount (poppies, feather reed grass, daffodils - the list goes on and on).
Just planted 4 sky pencils in a 26 inch wide bed up against a wall with 4 to 6 hours of sun. The plants looked healthy when I planted them, followed all of the planting directions. The leaves have lost their deep green waxy color and they are starting to turn yellow. Also the leaves have holes in them. I live in Long Island New York which is zone 7. I have just cut back on the water and going to try a organic pesticide. They have only been in the ground 5 days. So disappointed since I was told by three diffierent experts in the garden industry and was clearly told these are trouble free trees, extremely hardy, no special care is warranted.
10/21/2016 05:47:46 am
Hi Kate. Sorry to hear about the problems with the sky pencils. If it's not one thing it's another, as Gilda Radner said. Maybe they will rally and start looking better in a few weeks. But they are the farthest thing from trouble free plants. The death toll just keeps on rising.
10/21/2016 10:17:28 am
Hi Kate! If I am reading your comments right, it sounds like you may have planted them too close to each other. I have four plants as well which are all thriving, but I made sure they had their own space about three feet apart. Yours may be in direct competition for the nutrients in the soil, as well as needed space for growth.
Hey Dave Thanks for the input, they are spaced about four feet apart. The flower bed is approximately 20ft long and 26 inches deep. Today i took a piece of the stem and leaves to another plant specialist and I was advised three things, 1st don' t water for 10 days, 2nd use an organic fungicide just to be sure the leaf discoloration is not only due to over watering and 3rd apply an organic pesticide. I had know idea earwigs love to eat the leaves. Today the forecast is rain so i made "plant ponchos" out of large plastic bags to keep the trees root ball dry. These sky pencils better make it!!!!
10/22/2016 02:13:09 pm
Good to hear - I hope they make it Kate. Sky pencils are at the top of my plant list, because they offer a look unlike any other type of plant. I have one about thirteen years old that has outlived anything else in my yard hands down. Just planted a few more last year and they are doing very well, and will probably plant a few more in the coming weeks. Hope your problem goes away, and you have some beautiful plants for years to come. Good luck, and don't forget the ponchos!
4/25/2017 08:59:33 am
I planted one of these 2 years ago & the jury is still out as to whether I really like it or not. But I did discover that they are acid loving plants, so I have recently given mine a drink of Miracid & am noticing new growth. What I really don't like is that is is separating, & not looking like one column. Probably something I could remedy with a little creativity.
4/25/2017 01:07:47 pm
At least they are alive after 2 years... Have you tried the old bungee cord technique for keeping them from separating? It's not the most aesthetically pleasing solution but it works.
4/25/2017 05:37:21 pm
Has anyone tried LIQUID GOLD? We had 2 large Burford hollies and it solved the severe branch die back problem and showed new growth & leaves w/in a couple of wks.
8/4/2017 12:16:54 pm
I have 2 sky pencils Japanese holly in a pot on the side of my house . I luv them but 1 is not doings to well , leaves are falling off and it's turning brown . Help
8/4/2017 04:53:52 pm
I had a similiar problem with my potted sky pencils. I had a difficult time determining the optimal amount of water verses the amount of sunlight.. It was determined they declined due to underwater. You may want to try to adjust the amount of water. Good luck
My sky pencils are doing much better but they are quite thin. Is it better to cut the top off " buzz cut" to promote fullness or just let them progress as is. They (4) were planted in October 2016. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I love the look of these trees and hoping I can keep them healthy
5/19/2018 08:10:46 am
I've seen that done and it doesn't seem to hurt them, although I am not sure it will promote fullness. They do take a bit of time to really fill out so probably patience is the answer here. Hope that helps, and good luck.
Thank u for the advice I decided not to cut the sky pencils and hopefully they will fill out and get stronger. Can you advise me how often I should fertilize sky pencils. Also when should the last application of fertilizer be applied in the season. I live in NY, July??? Thank u again for your assistance.
8/1/2018 03:49:13 pm
I have had my share of deaths of sky pencil hollies. I have one on the west side of my house and it has survived for almost 10 years. I fertilized it about 3 weeks ago with miracle grow starter and lots of water. It seemed to like that. I cut off any dead immediately.
8/2/2018 10:16:42 am
Kate, I am not an expert on this, so take with this a big dollop of salt. One of the readers above says he or she just fertilized a few weeks ago, and it seemed to like it. Monrovia (the plant developer) says on its website to fertilizer once in spring, period. My guess is you could fertilize now in NY but don't fertilize after September. Again, a guess. But if it's in a pot rather than the ground, you could probably fertilize more often throughout the season. But I'm what I'd call a knowledgeable amateur, not a professional.
8/17/2018 05:11:49 pm
HA HA - loved the entire play all 5 acts was it? I have just planted three of these on the easement in front of my home. I bought them at Home Depot and I live in Miami. Must confess I have to chuckle at Home Depot sometimes, when I see hapless would be gardeners buy plants that I know jolly well are NOT going to thrive in the Miami climate, but still they carry on regardless, and the following year Home Depot casts their net and pulls in a healthy catch of dilated pupil and not so green thumb candidates once again. (I am guessing not everyone that buys a plant at Home Depot that dies returns it. Although Home Depot do say they will refund your money. Ergo - Home Depot 1: home gardener nil.) So far... soooo far... only about two weeks, my little sky hollies seem to be doing okay. (Knocking on wood and crossing my eyes as I type - quite a feat) This afternoon when I went out to have a little chat with them, I actually saw some new green leaves parading themselves. Hopefully always a good sign. Being a fanatical fan of all things dwell (website and magazine) and all things from Mid Century to Palm Springs modern, I love these plants! Oh please Gaea, give me a break on these.
8/19/2018 06:48:54 am
First, thanks for writing. I enjoyed your comment. Second, you are quite the daredevil. Sky Pencils in Miami??? I will be interested in hearing how they do. You're what - zone 10?
8/19/2018 07:55:15 am
Thank you for responding. :) Yes, we are indeed zone 10, which goes back to what I had mentioned about the Home Depot. Why they would sell plants that are clearly not suited to this climate is beyond me. I usually know better and just raise an eyebrow at them (the plants not the people) as I walk by, but I love these so much that I thought I would give it a try. What's the worse that could happen? They die. Will follow up on this to report progress, or not... as my experience might help someone else. Cheers.
9/27/2018 01:22:30 pm
I'm not sure how anyone can kill these! They have been the easiest to grow in my yard. They grow crazy fast and required very little maintenance. Now just don't get me started on a firepower nandina and how hard a time I have had with them LoL
10/23/2018 10:32:19 am
I just got a pencil holly from a local nursery in central florida that let the trees grow out naturally . beautiful plant. It is at corner of house and I will baby it to see how it turns out.
My worry is that I put marble stone down around the Sky Pencil for erosion because i didn't want mulch anymore because of problems with it being washed down into the grass after it rains. I read that the stones can retain to much heat and that it could reduce the acidic in the soil and put more stress on it, so I move the stones away from the base of the plant. Do I still have to worry that it will still suffer because it is still near the shrub, even if it is a foot or more away.
7/5/2019 05:43:35 pm
Well, I'm not an expert (merely an experienced amateur), but I wouldn't worry about the stones making the soil more acidic (where I garden the soil is already acidic, and everyone throws pine straw and pine bark onto the soil and it doesn't do any harm). The stones could add more heat, sure, but again, I doubt that that in particular would hurt the plant Having said that, who knows? What's amazing is how difficult it is to predict which Sky Pencils will live and which will drop dead for no good reason.
5/11/2020 07:38:13 pm
I just ordered these and we live in the twin cities, Minnesota. They will be living in pots on either side (front) of my garage. What should I do for the winter? MN winters can be -30 (feels like). Can I get away with just burlap wrapping around them, or will I need to move them? Do I try to get them into my garage, or do I need to be even more drastic and put them in our sun room. (Which sounds warmer than it is.)
5/12/2020 10:27:31 am
Hi Jennifer. Thanks for writing. I can't say for sure, but the "experts" say that when planting something in a pot, you should consider it one (some say two) zones LESS hardy than it would be in the ground. Sky Pencil Holly is supposedly hardy to zone 5. What's your zone there? You also need to factor in whether it will be protected against the garage (so wrapping might be fine) or if they are subject to chilling winds there (which would make it colder) etc. etc. See what I mean? It's complicated and very hard to predict. Probably the best bet is to ask at your local nursery to see what their experience has been. If they don't sell them there, that tells you something right there!
9/17/2020 12:17:22 pm
We also have planted 2 Sky Pencil Japanese Hollys in two seperate planters ( approx. 12" ) and they are dying fast. We have had them about 2 years in Central Florida and they never really looked good or took off. Now its looks like a slow death. White spots all over , dry dead leaves, dead branches.
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The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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