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My wife and I are having a Charlie Brown Christmas this year. We scaled back the decorations and decided to buy the saddest, most neglected Christmas tree on the lot. We didn’t make it out of our driveway. We found one in our front yard.

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An easily grown annual native to South America, cleome (Cleome hassleriana, synonym C. pungensC. spinosa) is a favorite in Southern gardens. The delicate pink, rose, purple, white or bicolor spider-like flowers, along with the spidery seedpods, give it the common name, spider flower. It grows best in average, well-drained soils and in full sun to light shade. Somewhat drought tolerant, cleome will benefit from watering during periods of little rainfall. Many new dwarf hybrid cultivars (Cleome hybrida) have been bred for more compact growth habits and prolific blooms.