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Minnesota Department of Transportation worker Bill Sazama is pictured with a patch of showy lady's slippers, which were blooming for the first time in his nearly 25 years of mowing Highway 10, between Perham and New York Mills. A member of the orchid family, lady's slippers have a long life span, and can grow to a century-old.

A 'showy' roadside surprise

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For nearly a quarter century, Bill Sazama has mowed the Highway 10 roadside from Perham to New York Mills, but June 29, 2009, was the first time he spotted Minnesota's state flower in his path.

Alas, such beauty is fleeting. By about July 1, the petals of the showy lady's slipper were already beginning to dry to a dull brown.

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