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Notes From the Garden: The Gentle Horticultural Art of Kokebana

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This time of year I am champing at the bit, all set to garden, but without much I can do outside. So I was delighted to visit a friend in Maine who was experimenting with an art form/planting technique that was new to me: kokebana. This is a Japanese method of hanging plants indoors, without using any sort of pot, instead wrapping them with moss and strings. Doing some online …

Notes From the Garden: Apple Tree Pruning Starts Late This Year

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Often the snow on the hilly south side of my house has melted by early March, allowing snowdrops to push their little noses out of the ground and permitting me to pick buds that open up indoors. That means that most years, by mid-March the snow has melted enough to allow me to …

Harsh Winter May Mean a New Roof

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A harsh winter has taken a toll on many roofs. Maybe there’s a tell-tale leak, but sometimes problems are harder to spot. When the snow melts, it’s a good time to take stock. Identifying Problems John Galeotafiore, associate director of home improvement testing for Consumer Reports, recommends that homeowners take out a pair …

Notes From the Garden: How to Nurse a Rosemary Through the Perilous Month of March

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

This month, I’m planning not to kill my rosemary plant. It is so easy to do, and most of us who grow rosemary have done it at least once. We get a perfectly nice rosemary plant through the …

Notes From the Garden: Finding ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ in the Dead of Winter

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter trudges along, bringing us snow and sub-zero temperatures, seemingly ignoring the calendar that tells us spring is officially less than a month away. In between shoveling and carrying firewood I’ve spent considerable time reading this winter. My …

How to Sell that ‘Unsellable’ Home

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Do you think your house is unsellable due to its location? Highly rated real estate agents on Angie’s List explain how to sell a house, even in the most undesirable spot. If the most important thing in real estate is location, location, location, how do you sell your …

Notes From the Garden: Growing Mushrooms at Home

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

About 20 years ago, I started growing mushrooms outdoors on logs. It’s a simple process that involves drilling holes in freshly cut logs and inserting little wooden plugs that I buy called plug spawn. Then I let them …

A Handyman for That Honey-Do List

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tired of waiting for that honey-do list to get done? Consider hiring a handyman instead to tie up all those loose ends around your house. Just make sure to follow these five tips: ∎ Understand pricing. Many handyman services, but not all, charge an hourly rate and a …

Notes From the Garden: Tired of Winter? Time to Start Forcing Blossoms

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I’ve been hearing from friends who are sick of winter. We’re only about half way done with it, but we haven’t had a break — no January thaw this year — and the snow keeps building up. I have to admit that I’m a little tired of shoveling …

Outdoor Furniture’s New Looks for 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Outdoor living spaces have come a long way from the days when “outdoor furnishings” meant a few inexpensive folding chairs around a flimsy plastic table. Today’s outdoor chairs might be wrought iron or wrought aluminum, with upholstered seats. The table might be stone or wood or an elegant …

Notes From the Garden: Even Mature Trees Can Be Uprooted and Replanted

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The snow is deep, the temperatures well below freezing. It’s a good time to think about what projects to undertake this year. My friend Evan Schneider, who was in the Peace Corps with me in Cameroon, recently bought …

Notes From the Garden: Growing Your Own Food Can Mean Healthier, and Safer, Eating

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We’ve come a long way from the day when most families grew their own vegetables and had a few chickens and a cow. From the day when fertilizer was manure of some sort, and when bug control consisted largely of picking them off garden plants by hand. My …

Making the Kitchen More Germ-Free

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Even the tidiest kitchens might be harboring harmful bacteria, and often where they’re least expected. Paying more attention to a few often-overlooked places can help keep your household safer, experts say. For starters, home cooks should have four watchwords, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: …