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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: Clearing Away the Harvest’s Remains

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

By now, Jack Frost (or Jill Frost, if you prefer) has wielded the scythe of death in my garden — and probably yours, too. He came early in September, treading lightly but knocking off my tomatoes, basil and squash plants. Then in late October, he came again, finishing …

Lead Paint Remains A Threat in Homes

Sunday, November 2, 2014

If you or someone you know is planning work on a pre-1978 home, please make time to take precautions against the possibility of lead poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 500,000 U.S children ages 1 to 5 have elevated lead levels in their …

Notes From the Garden: For Subtle Fall Colors, Look to the Oaks and Beeches

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I took a walk this week along a country road and was delighted by the colors of the fall leaves. The reds — maples, largely — have fallen, but the yellows and brown are still on some trees and lovely. And once you develop an appetite for the …

Before You Have a Plumbing Crisis ...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Plumbing has always been one of the most frequently searched categories on Angie’s List. Naturally, if the sink is stopped up or the commode’s kaput, you want it fixed, and fast. That’s why I advise homeowners to establish — before an emergency — a connection with a highly …

Tips to Cut Risk of Fire

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Here are some tips from Leviton, manufacturer of electrical devices and lighting controls (dimmers, switches), to help reduce the number of electrical fires. ∎ Extension cords are intended only for temporary use. Each year 3,330 residential fires originate near extension cords, the Electrical Safety Foundation International says, often …

Brassicas From the Garden Go Straight to the Table

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

At this time of year I eat one of the “three B’s” from my garden every day: broccoli, Brussels sprouts or kale. All right, don’t get on my case. I know kale doesn’t start with a B. But …

Pop Art Can Pack Big Design Punch

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mid-century modern style is now firmly planted in the home decor landscape. And one of its elements, pop art, is cultivating a 21st century following. Eye-catching, graphic, often tongue-in-cheek or sassily whimsical, pop art decor plays well off …

As Winter Gets Closer, Time to Organize the Garage

Sunday, October 19, 2014

With fall here and winter on its way, it might be time to straighten out the garage, so you can at least find the snow shovels when you need them. “Will it be another bad winter, Al?” you ask. I’ll tell you when it’s over. In the meantime, …

Notes From the Garden: Now Is the Time to Plant Garlic

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Garlic is one of those magical ingredients that give foods depth of flavor and the richness of another world. Italian food, French food, Indian food, these all include liberal use of garlic. Why the English decided on fish and chips and boiled dinners as their staples is a …

Outdoor Decorating for Fall

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Homes in the northern U.S. are treated to a measure of effortless outdoor decorating for fall: Nature does most of the work by turning the trees a vivid palette of reds, oranges and golds. Add a pumpkin or …