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A plant stand the author uses for starting vegetables from seed. (Henry Homeyer photograph)

Notes From the Garden: Starting Seeds Indoors

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

After arguably the coldest, snowiest winter on record, I am ready for spring. OK, maybe the winter of 1934 was colder. So what? I still have snow, and my woodpile is pathetic. I am picking up sticks and burning soggy remnants of previous woodpiles. To keep my spirits up on raw, gray days, I plant seeds indoors. I started in …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Notes From the Garden: Plant Daffodil Bulbs Now for a Pop of Color Next Spring

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Trees are turning brilliant colors, food from the garden is in the larder and it’s bulb planting time. Some bulbs have a bad reputation: Tulip bulbs, for example, are often food for squirrels, and their blossoms are often …

Additions to Make Yard a Comfortable Hangout for Winter

Sunday, October 5, 2014

As fun as summer at the lake is, Sue Vanderwiel and family also make the most of their Apple River, Ill., vacation home in the winter. That’s when “it is much quieter, and we can just hang out, …

Traveling Gardeners Discover New Plants

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I’m not much of a country music fan, but do love Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again — probably because I love to travel. Recently I’ve been on the road again, visiting friends and family in Pennsylvania and …

Decorating Mistakes Cramp Small Spaces

Sunday, September 28, 2014

In a small space, every inch counts — and every mistake can have big consequences. Five designers offer their go-to remedies: The mistake: Heavy window treatments. “I’ve walked into countless small spaces and discovered heavy, dark drapery that devours the space and makes it smaller,” said Trystin Kier …

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 …