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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014
Goodbye Audrey

On Thursday, Sept. 20, Jean Gaddy Wilson hosted a party to bid farewell to Audrey, her 65-year-old, 40-foot-tall, half-ton blue cactus friend. Also known as "Century Plants," blue cactuses bloom only once in their lives, then die. Audrey sent a flower stalk soaring into the sky this spring, bloomed and then expired. But she was sent off in a style befitting her life.

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Claude Wilkinson uses a chainsaw to separate Audrey's leaves from her tree-like flower stalk. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
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Claude Wilkinson watches as Audrey's stalk begins to rise. DC Tree Service owner Dave Morrow is above the greenhouse in a hoist pulling the stalk up through a gap in the greenhouse roof. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
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A number of well-wishers watch as Audrey is lifted through the roof of the greenhouse. The cactus had a number of fans in the area, people who came to admire her through the years. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
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Dave Morrow of DC Tree Service carefully maneuvers his hoist bucket to bring Audrey out of her greenhouse with a minimum of damage to the stalk. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
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All that remains are droopy leaves and a stump after tree service workers removed Audrey's stalk. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
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Audrey as she looked in June just prior to the annual Saline County Water Garden Club Tour. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)
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