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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 …

Spring Housecleaning: Some Tips and Tricks

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How do your cleaning skills compare to those of pros who’ve earned homeowners’ shining reviews? Just in time for spring, here are some tips, tricks and tools of the maid trade, supplied by highly rated cleaners our research team recently interviewed: Vacuum right with the right vacuum: Weekly …

Beauty in the Eye Of the Beholder, And the Diner

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I would hazard a guess that if you toured an art museum, the artwork depicting flowers would outnumber the art showing vegetables by 10 to 1. Or maybe 100 to 1. Georgia O’Keeffe and her poppies spring to mind, and Monet’s paintings of Giverny with its water lilies. …

High-Tech Toilets: No Hands or Paper

Monday, March 17, 2014

New York — Every so often a revolution transforms something truly basic, rendering the status quo somewhat, well, primitive. First came covered sewers, then indoor plumbing and flush toilets. Now, one bathroom at a time, another major shift in toilet hygiene is quietly underway. A new generation of …

Keep Winter Thaw Out of Your House

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A midwinter warm spell may be good for the psyche, but it might not be so great for your house. Drainage issues, roof problems and maintenance oversights could result in leaks when heavy snow starts melting. You may not be able to solve the underlying problems until spring …

Can’t Wait For Spring? Start Your Own Seeds

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I’m not sick of winter yet. But I have to admit that recent warm, sunny days got me thinking about spring. I love to start seedlings in the house, but recognize that it is still too early for …

With Winter Comes Threat of Frozen Pipes

Sunday, February 23, 2014

It’s a telltale sign: you turn on the faucet and … nothing. With record cold in much of the nation this winter, many homeowners have had (or will have) to deal with pipes freezing — and then bursting. Some tips on how to protect against frozen pipes, and …

Searching for Sleeping Beauty: Finding Delight in Plants in Winter

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I like winter. I like the special quality of winter light in the late afternoon, those purples and blues that were perfectly captured by Cornish Colony artist Maxfield Parish. But most of all, I like passing through the …

Good Soil Makes Good Gardeners

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I’ve been accused of having a green thumb. I don’t. But I can understand why someone might think so. I have lots of flowers, shrubs, trees and vegetables successfully growing on my property every year. But I’m willing to bet that I’ve killed more plants than that guy …

Notes From the Garden: Thinking of Trees

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Going cross country skiing is my way of keeping cheery during long, cold winters. We started off this winter with plenty of snow, but lost most of it in January rains, and recently we’ve just had cold weather. …

Consider Plants For the Wintertime

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What’s happening in your yard right now? “If the answer is ‘nothing much,’ you’re not taking advantage of the winter-interest plants there are,” says gardener Linda Pinkham of Smithfield, Va. “There is a lot going on in my garden right now, including many edibles in pots.” Wintertime favorites …