Saturday, April 27, 2013

Portrait of a Gardener

I've begun to notice that a variety of garden catalogs are carrying clothing designed just for gardening. This is an intriguing concept. On a typical day in my garden, I am happily clad in whatever holey, stained clothes were closest at hand and pay little to no attention to my appearance. Devoid of makeup and hair care products, my short locks stick out at odd angles and my blonde lashes are rendered invisible.

This casual approach, although very comfortable, has significant drawbacks. Babies cry, dogs bark, and people have actually crossed to the other side of the street to avoid me. I began to wonder that if perhaps if I looked less like this


or this


and more like this


dogs wouldn't bark, babies wouldn't cry, and people would stop crossing to the other side of the street.

Instead of purchasing expensive new clothes, I decided to cruise a local thrift store and then follow several tried and true fashion rules when creating new gardening outfits.

1. Sassy black boots and a scarf will liven up any dull outfit.


Knee pads aren't required if your boots go past your knees. Just consider them already built in.


Thigh high rubber boots are the perfect garden accessory. I was able to carry both my pruners and a small trowel in the side of each boot. The 4 1/2 inch heel is excellent for aerating the soil.


Now I don't have to worry about my tools falling out of my pockets and the scarf will protect me from the sun.

2.  A little black dress should be a staple in every gal's wardrobe.


The Irish tweed hat kept my hair out of my eyes and gave me that "I know what I'm doing" appearance.


This breezy little dress will keep me cool on the hottest days.

3. You can never go wrong with a floral print.


By pairing it with my favorite baseball hat, I'm able to color coordinate my entire outfit.

It's such a relief to know that all these gems were waiting for me. I feel more fashionable already!

91 comments:

  1. What a great post. How many of us really think how we look outside in the garden? Hilarious and great photos and poses.

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    1. Thanks! I've had neighbors who were so used to seeing me covered in compost not recognize me in regular clothes. :o)

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  2. Girl...you just crack me up!! I'm still in the "just where what is handy, no make-up, and put on a hat" category. I have been a bit concerned for the safety of passing drivers though because I'm having so much pain in my kness that I'm unable to squat down to weed, so I just bend over (butt in the air) and do it. Now, this is NOT a pretty sight to the drivers passing by and I'm hoping I don't cause them to run off the road!! I swear I heard one driver exclaim "my eyes, my eyes!!"

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    1. LOL! I developed arthritis in my 30's (I'm 43) and have already had one surgery. I practically need a crane to lift me up when I'm on my knees. Funny but pathetic!

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  3. Lovely tips, I need them since I also just wear whatever is handy. Those boots are a great idea for carrying garden tools and more chic than my empty oxyclean bucket from the laundry room.

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    1. Tammy, I'm awed by your many talents, including superior modeling. Your ensembles are inspired. And inspiring.

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    2. Shirley - I was pleasantly surprised by how much I could stuff down the sides of the boots. I think every gardener needs a pair!

      Lee - I think I have more gumption than talent but I'll take the compliment! :o)

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  4. You are so funny! As someone who gardened this morning in an old stained t-shirt that looked far worse when I was finished, I salute you!

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    1. My gardening wardrobe is hideous. The clothes look just as bad after I've washed them as they do before. It's actually pretty funny since I expect clean clothes to look clean instead of dirty. :o)

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  5. What a hoot! I often "hope" that no one will actually see me when I'm out gardening... not only do I grab whatever is handy, no make up, stick the hair up under a hat kind of thing, I'm usually covered head to toe in dirt stains... my dream is to look like the ladies of the old days, elegant and poised no matter what chore they are doing! I can dream, can't I? Cheers~

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    1. I think all those ladies of old merely strolled in their gardens while some sweaty male did all the real work. All that strolling would get boring after a while and I'd end up stripping down to my undies and grabbing a shovel. ;o)

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  6. Hi Tammy, excellent post! Love the modelling! Luckily, our situation - backing onto a cemetery and not being over - afford me able to head out in much worse - or much less - to fix a garden emergency or just quickly do an impromptu job. I don't need to pay so much attention to appearances, unless I'm heading out into the front, where hopefully the carefully placed hollyhocks and sunflowers will give much needed protection.

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    1. Thanks! I'd love to have that much privacy! In my neighborhood the houses are very close together and many of of my neighbors are also my students, who often don't recognize me when I'm not in a dress or heels. The modeling was fun because it was pure silliness. :o)

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  7. Ha ha - you are definitely a nut job - I think the best gardening outfit was definitely the pink scarf and long black boots - so practical.

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    1. Elaine, I'm nuttier than a squirrel! But life's more fun when you're crazy. :o)

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  8. Slaps hand on head (whilst calling for the men in white coats!). There should be a Gardeners Fashion Week in Paris or London. Be careful those thigh length boots don't chafe your thighs in the heat...don't want heat rash...crazy woman! :-)

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    1. Are the men in white coats gardeners? Because I have some fashion suggestions for them. ;o)

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  9. Such fun to read this. These boots are really useful for aerating soil and carrying tools, haha. When I should wear these the cars should drive into the canal in front of the house. Love the dogs in the wheelbarrow. I always feel ashamed when people come to visit me unexpected when I'm in the garden and I'm always in the garden. I look awful with a scruffy old trousers, old oversized shirt and too big old shoes of my husband.

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    1. The image of cars driving into the canal by your house is so funny! You'd have to put up a sign to warn people "Gardener in Sexy Boots Proceed with Caution".

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  10. Laughing all the way to my closet! Great post!

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  11. Tres amusant ! Love the clothes AND the dogs in a wheelbarrow! Dogs should always be in a wheelbarrow ! Wish I had your style. Sadly I'm more of a comfy pants sort of a gardener and a comfy shoes sort of a gardener. But I will train my dogs to hop into our wheelbarrow !

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    1. It was my daughters idea to put the gold dog in the wheelbarrow. Of course, then the others wanted in as well. The 4th dog was in the house ignoring all our nonsense. But if they hung out in the wheelbarrow more often, I'd never have to worry about tripping over them. :o)

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  12. I'm so relieved that the garden fashon police will not have to be called! The scarf in your first ensemble is remiicent of Little Edie in Grey Gardens. Much as I admire your bold and practical gardening outfits, I'm most likely to stick with my holey sweats. Who wants people to talk with them when they're gardening anyway?

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    1. Garden Fabulous is what I call the disastrous clothes I work in. I was going for a Retro Garden Stripper look with the boots. My family suggested I wear a bustier/corset but, sheesh, who gardens in a bustier?

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  13. Hehe, too funny. I'm loving the thigh high boots for carrying your tools & the heels for aerating. I'm with you, I'm a rubber boot/clogs, old tee, leggings, shorts kinda girl. Make-up & scarf, forget about it. Remembering to put on my straw hat is an effort.

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    1. When I'm in the garden all I care about is comfort. I actually enjoy horrifying the people who pass by since their sterile plantless yards are equally horrifying to me. If I have dirt smeared on my face, my family usually lets me know, but not always.

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  14. LOL! You've outdone yourself this time. I can't stop thinking about your neighbors thinking....oh no, there she goes again!!! Too funny.
    David/:0)

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    1. One of my fabulous neighbors was outside watching me while my daughter took the pix of me in the boots. I yelled over to ignore what I was wearing and he just laughed at me. He's used to my wackiness. I suppose my entertainment factor is fairly high. :o)

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  15. This is going in the Hall of Fame! Love it!

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    1. I'm sure you'll never let me live it down. But that's ok! It's an awesome way to ring in the big 44. :o)

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  16. You could have a new career designing garden duds! I especially like the idea of the boots with knee pads and the aeration feature, but I think they would be even better if they were a bright color or printed with flowers like some of the wellies I have seen advertised.

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    1. Great idea! That would also help prevent strippers from buying my new garden boots. ;o)

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  17. Brilliant! I am currently attempting a house and wardrobe cull, but between the dogs and the garden, all those stretched and stained teeshirts and baggy shorts that once would have been turfed out are now my most extensive collection.

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    1. Ooohh! Stretched out and baggy! Sounds so comfy! I get pretty dressed up for work and love to slide into my ultra comfy gardening clothes when I get home. Knowing that I can spice the whole outfit up with my sassy boots just makes it better!

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  18. HA! I'm dying over here! HAAA! This was flipping great! I myself kinda like that people cross the street and avoid me! I get more done! You are fantastic girl...seriously! I personally like the first outfit and the floral print for sure!!! My goodness...people will do anything to make a buck...do people really wear cute clothes while gardening??? Crazy!!?!? Who are they trying to impress...the plants?!?! LOL Have a great Sunday friend...thanks for the laugh!!!!

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    1. When people cross the street to avoid me, it just lets me know how boring and narrow minded they are. It's the people who smile when they see me going by with the wheelbarrow that I want to talk to. The idea of being cute in the garden is absurd to me. It takes all the fun out of getting dirty. :o)

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  19. Very, very funny. :) I love it. Also how you are pushing the dogs around in their portable beds. Servants to our animals always.

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    1. Not only did the dogs not jump out of the wheelbarrow, but my littlest one wanted in, which cracked me up. Much easier than a leash!

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  20. I wanted to add that you look tres chic!

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  21. When I get dressed for gardening, my husband tells me I look like his worst nightmare! :) But I have read that Rosemary Verey always wore dresses in the garden! So, I definitely think you should stick with the dresses. You look fabulous!

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    1. My husband calls me PigPen, from the Peanuts cartoon, and won't come near me. :o)

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  22. We can all identify with you Tammy.....we don't care if all the neighbours ran away and left us alone while we garden surely?
    Loved the scarf and boots ensemble....very haute couture.
    I have a special pile of clothes for the garden, and then there are sub-categories like if I'm trimming the grass or climbing and pruning trees....different ensembles for different jobs. I also have another pile for when I'm taking Mr.Brownie to the vet.
    How could you post a photo of your dogs being pushed around the garden in a wheelbarrow? Now I've got "you know who" all over my case....How come her dogs get to be pushed around? Why can't you push me around too? She loves her dogs more than you love me....why did you do that Tammy?

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    1. The wheelbarrow full of dogs was my daughters idea. Fortunately, I have pretty cooperative dogs who aren't smart enough to jump out and run and hide. :o)

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  23. Tammy, I liked your models of clothes!
    I would have bought such high boots and got into the pond and cleaned it.
    when there are many mosquitoes I could wrap myself in such a beautiful scarf.
    Great ideas!

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    1. That is so funny!! They are the perfect boots for cleaning a pond. I may have to give that a try. :o)

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  24. Those look a lot better then my falling down, baggy cotton pants, and whatever shirt I can throw on. Why is it everyone want's to talk when I am a mess in the garden.

    Jen

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    1. As I type this, I am wearing a pair of ugly, baggy grey pants that I always wear when I'm in the garden along with a dirt crusted sweatshirt. It's fabulous! The worse I look, the more likely someone will come over or want to chat across the fence. When I actually look nice, there's no one around except the dogs.

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  25. OMGosh I can so relate! LOL that is me in the garden you described at the beginning and when I see people I run and hide LOL I have found myself gardening in my pajama's too. they are very comfortable LOL, who wants to get dressed up to garden hah.

    I love the description of those over the knee boots LOL and not having to wear knee pads, ohhh too funny. I loved this too: "The 4 1/2 inch heel is excellent for aerating the soil"

    thanks for the sweet laughs and the adorable photos!

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    1. I've had people stop and stare and I know it's because I'm so dirty and in weird clothes. That just makes it all funnier. But at least I'll never need to pay to have the lawn aerated again!

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  26. Very, very funny. I think probably one of the funniest posts I've read since I started reading blogs. Plus, the photographs are brilliant. I especially like aerating the lawn with high heels. But you didn't mention how your dog's classic beige fur provides an intriguing contrast as an accessory to your floral print dress.

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    1. Thanks!! Well, every gal needs a splash of classic gold to go with their florals. I prefer mine in mutt form. :o) Sticking the dogs in the wheelbarrow was my 18 yr old daughter's idea. She was the photographer. Dogs in a wheelbarrow and her mom gardening in hooker boots didn't phase her at all. She thought the whole thing was hysterical.

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  27. Replies
    1. The floral dress is actually a dress I love that I already owned. I bought the little black prom dress, hat, and boots. If I wore dresses in the garden, I'd need the kind of bloomers you see on a baby because my butt is always in the air. :o)

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  28. Hahahahaha! Tammy, you are a nut! After three entire days spent in the garden or at nurseries I can totally relate. I have a drawer in the guest room dedicated to garden clothes. Usually at the beginning of the weekend I change before leaving the house-maybe put on some makeup or a pair of earrings. By Sunday anything goes. I ran into one of my neighbors once during the week and they didn't recognize me at first. Said I cleaned up good :).

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    1. I once went to Lowe's in the middle of a major project and no one would come near me. I was dirty, sweaty, and trying to finish my riverbed/rain garden before it got dark. I thought the whole thing was funny and figured I gave the customers something to snark about all night. If my coworkers or students had seen me, they wouldn't have recognized me at all since I dress up a bit for work. :o)

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  29. So hilarious! Love the model poses. I bet to neighbours are impressed that you can garden in those boots. I have to get myself a pair.

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    1. My neighbors already think I'm crazy and laughed when they saw the boots. But I bring them cookies and plant tulips in their yard so it's all good. :o)

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  30. Those are rockin' boots!!! Either dress is perfect for gardening...how does a girl choose?

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    1. It's impossible to choose! I may end up so fashionable I spend all day changing clothes. ;o)

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  31. OMG, I am laughing so hard! Those boots...the perfect gardeners clothing indeed. I'm sure the heels made nice little divots in the soil ready for you to pop your seedlings into ;-)

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    1. I'm so glad I made you laugh! I hadn't thought about using them to help plant seeds. Excellent idea! Just another reason they're such a necessity in the garden. :o)

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  32. Spring fever! If I was your husband I would race out and get a shed immediately.(previous post)
    I think this deserves a link up. Once a year we could all send in photos of our garden gear. I'm generously leaving the organising to you. I know you have absolutely nothing to do in the last months of the school year, Ha, Ha.

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    1. LOL!! When he saw the boots, I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head. It was pretty funny. The idea of everyone sending in their craziest gardening outfit is a fun one! But I'm not sure I have the time to organize it, unfortunately. :(

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  33. This is such a hillarious post :-). Are you sure that you only do gardening and not any stand-up commedies? You know you can become famous like Seinfield :-). I agree with Susan about buying a special shade ;-).

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    1. My comedy routines are limited to my 12 year old students and family and friends. My dogs think I'm hysterical. ;o) I do agree that those boots are perfect for a little romantic shed adventure.

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  34. I tried high heeled boots once and my ankles have still not recovered... But I can totally see the aerated soil potential. Did you get ticketed by the Fun Police when you shot those pictures? Great post and it made me appreciate my remote gardens with no neighbors to comment on (always) muddy/grass-stained jeans and whatever top the weather calls for. Don't you love those plastic garden clogs, so light-weight and washable! I liked the scarf. Adds mystery.

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    1. If I had worn the boots in the front yard, the Fun Police might have stopped by but I was safe in the back where my neighbor was laughing at me. I live in my red clogs. So comfy and easy to wear. :o)

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  35. My husband was just recommending knee pads to me this evening, I think I'll tell him I now have the perfect solution to please us both :)) (those boots are all kinds of awesome and you know how much they want you to pay for those special aerating shoes?!)

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    1. I have knee pads but the boots are a lot more fun to wear! I once bought weird strap on aerating shoe things to aerate my lawn but they kept falling off. The boots are much more effective. Maybe I'll rent them out... :o)

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  36. "Thigh high rubber boots are the perfect fashion accessory" Tammy, you are HYSTERICAL! ;)

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    1. Considering what you and I do for living, I'm also insane. :o) Maybe I should wear them to work!

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  37. Hilarious! Love the boots, every gardener should have a pair... But I think I will stick to my scruffy look...

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    1. I had a lot of fun with the photos but will be sticking to my horror inducing garden wear since it's so comfy and I don't care if I get it dirty. But if I'm feeling the urge to be fashionable while gardening, I may have to resurrect these outfits!

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  38. Hi Casa, thought I would drop by and see how your geraniums were getting on. Love the long,black boots - what a great idea. In fact I like this blog so much I am going to link it to twitter in the hope that other urban gardens will take a leaf out of your book. Great stuff and very funny! Gardening should never be taken too seriously.

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    1. Thanks! I think a lot of people associate gardening with being prim and stuffy, neither of which apply to me. I like to show how silly and fun it can be. Plus, I got to wear stripper boots. :o)

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  39. Sorry Casa I realise I am calling you 'house' when your name is Tammy! I'm sure you can see the funny side. I'm not Naive either but Della Law from urbanwildlifediary just to add to the confusion.

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    1. I thought perhaps it was just a moment of acute self awareness. If it was the newest trend I was going to have to change my moniker to Goofball in the Garden. :o)

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  40. LOL! I am afraid I could not garden in such attractive but confining clothes. I wear old, sometimes torn and holey, clothes to get down in the dirt and garden. However, I am sure more people would stop to say hello and talk if I looked more attractive....but then again, I am gardening and completely immersed in my task. I laughed so hard at this delightful post, Tammy.

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    1. I'm glad it made you laugh. :o) I'm a bit famous for wearing clothes in the garden that are too big and accidentally letting my butt hang out a bit. But they're so comfy...

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  41. I laughed so hard I started coughing (allergies? virus?). Seriously, this is great. I had to share it with my husband, and he had a good chuckle, too. You are stylin'!

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    1. Thanks! That's so funny! The boots are actually more comfortable than they appear, as long as you don't walk farther than the garden. :o)

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  42. Sorry I am a bit late in getting to your post but I am glad I did...this was priceless...I wear those old clothes with holes and dogs definitely bark at me...those boots were the best!

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    1. The dirtier and more horrifying I appear, the funnier I find the whole situation. My dogs were sniffing the boots. They couldn't figure out where my legs had gone. :o)

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  43. HILARIOUS! I wish I had seen this before now, I would have loved to have linked to it! Will you be shipping your Spring/Summer collection to the UK?

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  44. It's clearly high time you started your own gardening fashion line. HGTV and America's Top Model could collaborate....How have they not discovered you yet???

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  45. RRRROAWR!!! The sight of those boots freed me to come out of the closet with my riding crop and carry it all around the garden. Take THAT, Missouri Primrose! Take THAT!!!
    BUWAAHHAHHAHAHAA!! What a wonderful post!

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  46. You crack me up! Those are some awesome finds. Never hurts to give the neighbors something to talk about, right?

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  47. lol. (great that you used Igor from Young Frankenstein) Now that I've read this post maybe I'm in the same situation...I wander around my yard with a big hat, shirt with holes, mucky shoes, knee high miss-matched socks and old boxer shorts. No wonder my neighbors avoid me! Love the boots by the way. If you pair them with a whip you could tell passers by that you're "dominating" your weeds lol.

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