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Giant hogweed

Rooting Out Some Nasty, Pushy Plants

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

If you have a wet area or a stream on your property, you might be seeing some very pretty tall pinky-purple flowers blooming now, or soon. Those are purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), an invasive plant that you should not encourage. Mature plants develop massive root systems and can produce up to a million seeds in a year. It’s one of …

Notes From the Garden: Fruit Trees Need to Produce

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I try not to be too compulsive, but I admit that I counted every sour or pie cherry I picked from my tree this year. Give or take a few I ate while picking, I got 111 cherries — not enough for a pie. I planted the tree some 15 years ago, and …

By Any Other Name...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Will Radler was still just an amateur rose breeder — a basement hobbyist, really — when he walked out of his home in Milwaukee carrying that fateful baby rose in a soil-stuffed cup. He didn’t realize it then, back in 1989, but he held in his hands a flower with such remarkable qualities …

How to Sell that ‘Unsellable’ Home

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Do you think your house is unsellable due to its location? Highly rated real estate agents on Angie’s List explain how to sell a house, even in the most undesirable spot. If the most important thing in real estate is location, location, location, how do you sell your …

Notes From the Garden: Growing Mushrooms at Home

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

About 20 years ago, I started growing mushrooms outdoors on logs. It’s a simple process that involves drilling holes in freshly cut logs and inserting little wooden plugs that I buy called plug spawn. Then I let them …

A Handyman for That Honey-Do List

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tired of waiting for that honey-do list to get done? Consider hiring a handyman instead to tie up all those loose ends around your house. Just make sure to follow these five tips: ∎ Understand pricing. Many handyman services, but not all, charge an hourly rate and a …

Notes From the Garden: Tired of Winter? Time to Start Forcing Blossoms

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I’ve been hearing from friends who are sick of winter. We’re only about half way done with it, but we haven’t had a break — no January thaw this year — and the snow keeps building up. I have to admit that I’m a little tired of shoveling …

Outdoor Furniture’s New Looks for 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Outdoor living spaces have come a long way from the days when “outdoor furnishings” meant a few inexpensive folding chairs around a flimsy plastic table. Today’s outdoor chairs might be wrought iron or wrought aluminum, with upholstered seats. The table might be stone or wood or an elegant …

Notes From the Garden: Even Mature Trees Can Be Uprooted and Replanted

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The snow is deep, the temperatures well below freezing. It’s a good time to think about what projects to undertake this year. My friend Evan Schneider, who was in the Peace Corps with me in Cameroon, recently bought …

Notes From the Garden: Growing Your Own Food Can Mean Healthier, and Safer, Eating

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We’ve come a long way from the day when most families grew their own vegetables and had a few chickens and a cow. From the day when fertilizer was manure of some sort, and when bug control consisted largely of picking them off garden plants by hand. My …

Making the Kitchen More Germ-Free

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Even the tidiest kitchens might be harboring harmful bacteria, and often where they’re least expected. Paying more attention to a few often-overlooked places can help keep your household safer, experts say. For starters, home cooks should have four watchwords, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: …

Notes From the Garden: Flower Shows Offer a Respite From the Cold and Snow

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This winter, I’ve been a bit spoiled: Spending 10 January days in Maui will do that. You would think that I’d be ready for all the icy roads and driveways, having been given some respite. But I’m not. …

Snow Removal Gets a Lot Easier

Sunday, January 25, 2015

That familiar refrain of winter is back. Do you hear it? Metal shovels scraping snow-covered driveways and sidewalks. The industrious whir of snow blowers. The grating sound of scrapers chiseling cars out from beneath layers of ice. Snow …