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A white clematis in the author's garden. (Henry Homeyer photograph)

Notes From the Garden: Patriotic Blooms Outlast the Booms of July 4th

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Among my earliest memories is one from a Fourth of July celebration back when I was just a tadpole — in 1949, perhaps. My sister and I sat on the hood of our parents’ 1938 Buick, a big black sedan, and watched fireworks way past my bedtime. Red, white and blue rockets zoomed skyward, filling us with awe. Now, all …

Some Plants Need a Pinch to Grow On Each Year

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I was presenting at an outdoor gardening event recently when a woman walked by wearing a T-shirt that said, “No Pinching!” Maybe she had young kids, or was a kindergarten teacher. Clearly she was not an experienced gardener. Pinching plants is good, and now is the time to do it. Let’s start with fruit trees. Many apple trees are loaded with small fruit …

Tips to Extend Life Of Home Appliances

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Show your workhorse appliances a little TLC, and they may stick around a bit longer. Replacing a refrigerator or oven range can take a bite out of your budget, as can buying a new washer or dryer. To make sure your appliances stand the test of time and continue to perform, follow these pointers: Keep Your Fridge And Freezer Clean Besides regularly cleaning …

Weeding With Iron And Fire

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I love weeding. It creates order out of chaos, something I have come to appreciate. An un-weeded flower bed is full of distractions. My brain is constantly instant messaging me: “See that dandelion? You should pull it.” The weeds distract me from the beauty of the flowers and …

Five Signs Your Roof Is on the Way Down

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Up on the roof: Here are five signs you may need to replace your roof, offered by the Metal Roofing Alliance: ∎ High winds have removed shingles from your roof, creating an invitation for leaks. Use binoculars to inspect your roof without a ladder. ∎ Shingles that are …

Notes From the Garden: June Heats Up as the Year’s Planting Begins in Earnest

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I know gardeners who rush to get their veggies in the ground, starting spinach and peas in April, carrots, potatoes and more by mid-May and then tomatoes and all the rest by Memorial Day weekend. Not me. I’m just planting many things. Sure, my peas, planted in May, …

As Economy Improves, Home Projects Increase

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The nation’s remodelers say that kitchen and bathroom redos remain the most popular, and that homeowners’ top motivation for renovating is to upgrade with newer, better features in their homes. “As the country’s financial footing improves, clients are better able to realize their home-design dreams,” said Robert Criner, …

Notes for the Garden: Helping Plants Survive Dry Weather

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Thank heavens we finally got some rain. I had less than half an inch in the first 29 days of May. If my plants were puppies, they’d have done a lot of whimpering during that last hot week of the month. They’d have been begging for water, complaining …

Drought or Not, Conserving Water Is a Smart Idea

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pasadena, Calif. — In dry, dusty Southern California, dealing with the worst drought in state history has become the “new normal.” Banners declaring Be Water Wise! stretch above streets. Gov. Jerry Brown recently ordered mandatory restrictions to cut urban water use across California by 25 percent. Other western …

Studio, Getaway: Backyard Sheds Are Reimagined

Sunday, May 31, 2015

When Morgaine Ford-Workman and Wren Workman bought a house with a backyard shed, they saw the potential for something more than storing garden tools. The couple transformed the 10-by-12-foot building into a bar to use during outdoor parties …

Notes From the Garden: A Salute to Garden Clubs

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I’d like to tip my hat to the unsung heroines of the gardening world, the members of garden clubs around the region. Garden club members have recently been busy planting annual flowers at their local libraries, in the …

Notes From the Garden: Don’t Neglect Shade-Favoring Flowers

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I aspire to be the Goatsbeard King of Cornish Flat. Maybe I already am. I have several, and no one else I know here grows goatsbeard (Aruncus dioecious). It is one of many flowers I grow that do well in light shade, getting bigger and better every year, …

Notes From the Garden: The Magic of Planting Seeds

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Every spring each of us must decide when to plant our tender annual plants. I am of the conservative branch of the gardening family. I do not want to take a chance damaging or killing my tomatoes, peppers, …