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Poinsettias have an interesting history and growers are now experimenting with different colors. (Courtesy of D.S. Cole Growers)

Notes From the Garden: Keep My Poinsettias Simple

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I like poinsettias and buy one every year. And every year the poinsettia industry produces new colors and shapes for the plant’s bracts, the traditionally red leaves that surround the poinsettia’s less colorful flowers. Standard red has given way to pink, maroon, white and red, pink and red; simple bracts are now double, double with ruffles. There is always a …

Notes From the Garden: Making a Festive Holiday Decoration

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

This time of year I need all the help I can get. Cloudy, gray days do not make me cheerful. Days that end at 4 p.m. do not please me. I counteract the dark with lights, flowers on the table and greenery (and maybe a little chocolate). This year I decided to make …

Designers’ Advice On Decorating a Christmas Tree

Sunday, December 7, 2014

For generations, the choice was simple: 1. Strap a live Christmas tree to the roof of your car, wrestle it into a tree stand at home and hope it wouldn’t fall over. Or, 2. Put up an artificial tree that was unmistakably fake. Fortunately, the options have expanded dramatically, from realistic fake trees pre-lit with softly glowing LED lights to environmentally friendly, abstract …

Notes From the Garden: Planting Shrubs for Fall Color

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Some years ago, in a moment of enlightenment, the New Hampshire Legislature outlawed the propagation, transport and sale of three popular landscape plants: burning bush, barberry and Norway maple. All three had been proven to be invasive, seeding into the woods and crowding out native plants. Both Massachusetts …

Quechee Man Resurrects an Orchard

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Terry Dorman stands in his orchard at the top of a steep, south-facing hillside in Quechee. The morning’s showers have tapered off and the mountains to the south look azure in the patchy afternoon sunlight as the rain …

Notes From the Garden: Fall Is the Right Time for Planting Trees

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall is hard upon us in Cornish Flat. I know I should “toughen up” and ignore the cold, but I admit it here: I had my first fire in the woodstove recently. It felt great on a raw, …

When Selling Your Home, Give Every Room a Role

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Many of us have one room in the house that doesn’t really have a job. Maybe we set it up with an air bed once in a while for guests, or shove out-of-season clothing boxes in there, or use it as a holding zone for stuff we’re not …

When Contractors Give an Estimate, Do They Charge?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How much should you expect to pay, if anything, for an estimate, inspection or other kind of contractor consultation? The answer depends on the nature of your project and the policies of the companies from which you solicit bids. But a few rules of thumb apply: If you …

Fall Is Coming, And So Are Its Many Chores

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The fall equinox arrives on Sept. 23 this year. On that date, day and night are of equal length, but with each subsequent day the dark time gets a little bit longer and we begin our descent into winter. For many gardeners, the shortening days are not welcome. …

Hangout House: Why Some Homes Are ‘Teen Central’

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Start with amenities like a monster TV or fire pit, add a never-ending supply of munchies and a relaxed attitude toward your kids bringing home a friend — or five — and you may just find that your …

Fall Brings an Array of Cool Weather Plants to the Front Porch

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

We New Englanders have a long tradition of doing something to brighten the approach to our front door. In winter it’s a nice green wreath; my grandmother liked red geraniums in a pot by the door all summer; in fall, pumpkins and chrysanthemums are traditional decorations. At farm …

Stop Inviting Insect Invaders Into Home

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The waning days of summer are a good time to make sure your home isn’t putting out a welcome mat for insect invaders. If you’re like me, you’d rather not share your space with wasps, spiders, stink bugs and other pests that often become more visible in the …

Prepare for Storms Before They Arrive

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Three years ago, my family and I drove overnight from Maine to New Jersey, trying to get home ahead of Hurricane Irene. That memory from late August 2011 prompts hurricane-preparation thoughts today. Here are some tips from Ready.gov — some things to do well in advance of landfall: …