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Sick of Weeding Yet? It’s Time to Mulch Those Garden Beds

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I love the musical Porgy and Bess, especially the song, Summertime, with its catchy refrain, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” Clearly Gershwin was a) not a gardener, or b) he mastered the art of mulching. Mulching makes the summer easy, if done right. No mulch? The summer is spent weeding and watering. If you’re still weeding, it’s time to mulch. My vegetable garden gets mulched in June as soon as the soil has warmed up. I take a sharp hoe and slice off any weeds in the walkways, and lay down six pages of newspaper. Then I cover the papers with mulch hay or …

Garden Bugs Aren’t All Bad

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Many gardeners seem to think that any UFI (Unidentified Flying Insect) is a potential threat to their tomatoes or the spinach. When in doubt, they swat it, squish it or submerge it. But most bugs are not bad, and many are helpful. We all know that ladybugs are good. They eat aphids and …

Beauty in Subtlety

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Paint your walls a bold color and friends will likely praise your creativity. Invest in a standout piece of furniture or striking work of art and your decorating is bound to earn compliments. But creating a noteworthy room with subtle, understated elegance is a bit more complicated. Understated style “rides the fine line …

Notes From the Garden: Helping Plants Survive Their Early Days

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Living in a cold spot, I usually wait until June 10 to plant frost and cold-sensitive plants. But lured by perfect warm weather, I planted most of my tomatoes on Memorial Day weekend. The soil was 60 degrees …

Countertops Are Getting Creative

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The concrete countertops in Eleanor Zuckerman’s San Francisco kitchen are hand-crafted works of art. Custom-designed by Fu-Tun Cheng of the Berkeley, California-based Cheng Concrete, they feature colors like brick, flowing lines and pictures of nautilus shells. “With concrete …

For Certain Plants, the Best Locations Are Made in the Shade

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

“The Shady Lady’s Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening” by Amy Ziffer. University Press of New England. $27.95. Shade gardens are a gardener’s conundrum — and opportunity. Plants that like full sun are numerous and brilliantly colored, and their …

Spring Reveals A Soft Parade Of Blossoms

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Each year I anticipate spring with great enthusiasm not because I don’t like winter — which I do — but because almost every day there are new flowers blooming in my garden. I’m keeping a list as they …

Wanted Dead — Garlic Mustard

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

As a garden writer I get a lot of email from people warning me about pending catastrophes: blights, bugs, invasive plants. Some are accurate, some are not. In 2012 plant experts warned that a disease that kills Impatiens …

Give a Face Lift To Your Front Door

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A front door is your home’s chance to make a good first impression. Help yours say “Welcome” with these ideas for giving your front entry a makeover for spring. Give It a Once-Over After a while, we all stop noticing the little flaws in our homes. So it’s …

The Accidental Tomato Plant

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This year I met a longtime goal of growing an edible tomato in the house, though I have to admit that it was quite by accident. Last fall I dug up an avocado plant that had started itself …

Dealing With Bad Contractor Issues

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What should you do if someone you’ve hired behaves like a bully? Particularly if you haven’t done your homework before choosing a service provider, there’s a chance you could experience problems that include a contractor pushing for more money, reacting with hostility when told of a problem, or …

Home Decor Inspired By Creepy Crawlies

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Many would agree with naturalist David Attenborough that nature “is the greatest source of visual beauty.” And that includes the creepy crawlies: From snakes’ skins to the intricate physiology of the smallest bug, we can’t help but be impressed by the beauty of creatures that buzz, flit and …

Lessons From an Asparagus Patch, and Weed Strategies, Too

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

On a recent cold, gray Sunday I was looking for a project to do in my garden. I decided to clean up my asparagus bed and get rid of last summer’s dead stalks and those sneaky weeds that …