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Home & Garden 2 0 1 3

The Season of Green


Environmentally friendly trends in the Hudson Valley


n Gardening as therapy

n Dream kitchens

n Decorator touches

n Great grills

n Backyard birds


Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record

home & garden

Digging deep How getting your hands dirty can be therapeutic By Deborah J. Botti

For the Times Herald-Record


ora Wright, a master gardener from New Windsor, says her cardiologist will remark in the winter as her blood pressure starts to creep ever so slightly upward that it’s time to get in the garden.

“I had a valve replaced, and in six weeks, I was back in the garden,” she says. “I’m not an exercise person, but I do bend, stretch and burn more calories when I’m outdoors.” Her rheumatologist also knows that gardening allows her to work through the pain. “It takes me to a different mind-set,” says Wright, who’s also president of the Friends of the Orange County Arboretum at Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery. “I forget the pain, and I forget the stress, which there’s certainly a lot of.” “Gardening and horticultural activities have proven to increase oxygenation levels, decrease blood pressure, alleviate feelings of depression, all of which contribute to decreasing levels of stress and anxiety,” says Anne Meore, a horticultural therapist and garden project coordinator with Bon Secours Charity Health System Inc. “It’s all happening without us even realizing it.” Wright found gardening particularly soothing 53 years ago when her daughter was born with Down syndrome, at a time when institutionalization was encouraged. “This was not acceptable to us,” she says, and her garden became her respite. “The solitude, the peace ... I don’t think about my problems when I’m there.”

The garden also became a place to share. She introduced all three of her children to the joy of gardening.

Benefits for the disabled The Garden of Hope at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern illustrates how this inherent joy can be taken to another level. “The developmentally disabled population from Jawonio – folks who are cared for all the time – are now empowered to help in the garden,” says Meore. “It’s fully accessible. We’re able to teach them how to nurture, and the food grown is donated to a pantry in Suffern. “Riker’s also has a wonderful horticultural therapy program,” says Meore. “They have an unbelievable garden, and the inmates have to earn the privilege of working outside. The person who may believe he has no purpose is now part of the solution – as he’s being trained vocationally.” As a social worker, Meore first became aware of the benefits of nature while working with chemically dependent teens in rehab. She found herself going outside with them. “Like play therapy with children, being outdoors in a garden opens the door to inquiry,” she says of the setting that’s far more conducive to openness than an intimidating office.

DOMINICK FIORILLE/ Times Herald-Record

Resident Hazel Stevenson plants herbs at the Healing Garden, at St. Joseph's Place at Bon Secours Hospital in Port Jervis. “We’re accustomed to playing in dirt. Humans are drawn to soil. “Some people fear they have a ‘black thumb,’ that they’re going to kill something. I take the approach that it’s OK to learn from mistakes. Plants don’t care what we look like or how smart we are or if we can’t see or speak. But plants do respond to care. And being able to nurture is extremely healing.”

“Plants don’t care what we look like or how smart we are or if we can’t see or speak. But plants do respond to care. And being able to nurture is extremely healing.”

Getting kids into the dirt

Anne Meore Horticultural therapist, Bon Secours Charity Health System Inc.

Judy Lawrence, a master gardener from Middletown and volunteer at the Arboretum, is disturbed by how many children lately are afraid to get their hands dirty. “It’s scary. I was teaching them to plant seeds,” she says of a very natural family activity

she was introduced to as a child, but which she finds she often has to coax kids into. “We all did it – and then enjoyed cooking and eating. ... Doesn’t everyone

have to grow tomatoes?” Admittedly, her dedication outdoors does raise the bar – she also cares for the Christmas tree farm that just sort of happened after she and her husband, John, bought the property. “There are a couple thousand trees – and a few hundred that need to be planted each year – and it’s just me,” she says. Her husband had a stroke in February. “Gardening keeps me grounded,” she says. “If I’ve had a bad day or am upset, I feel the peace working out in the soil. It’s the way I can cope.”

Helping senior citizens No wonder gardening is always a contender for the No. 1 See therapy next page

Thursday, May 16, 2013

home & garden


Continued from preceding page hobby in the world, says Meore. Yet, it’s so much more than a hobby. Along with stress reduction, it can equally benefit a range of challenges, from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer to visually impairments and addictions. Meore says the garden at the assisted-living Mount Alverno Center in Warwick, which includes herbs and sensory items, serves more than one purpose for its residents. “It’s a beautiful way of bringing back activities our elders did. We’ve become so detached,” she says. “But the multi-sensory stimulation that the garden provides draws on long-term memory. The stories we hear when we pull basil ... we’ll get recipes for sauce and eggplant rollatini.” At the Schervier Nursing

Care Center in Warwick, the tomatoes grown in containers are harvested and then perhaps turned into bruschetta with the help of an occupational therapist, she says. In late April, a rooftop garden was installed at Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis for its longterm care unit. The raised beds make it accessible to people who use wheelchairs. This, the first growing season, is also a trial year with a focus on flowers and sensory herbs. “I did years of workshops on herbs,” says Wright. “You could almost see the tension go away as people would smell lavender or lemon balm.”

Volunteer opportunities And you don’t even need your own garden to reap the rewards. The greenhouse at the Arboretum, for example, welcomes volunteers. Pat Threm, the greenhouse volunteer coordinator, says it’s not unusual to learn that a volun-

teer is grappling with divorce or coping with the loss of a spouse. Because the greenhouse tables are waist-high, the ability to bend is not required. High-school-age children with disabilities who attend BOCES also play an important greenhouse role. “They fill pots, rake,” says Threm of the chores assigned to match abilities. “Some day they may benefit (in the workplace) from the skills they learned here.” Outside the greenhouse, Threm encourages the volunteers to strike up conversations with visitors as they meander through acres of gardens. “I noticed a lady by herself,” says Threm, who then sat down next to her. “She told me she’s having a tough time with cancer, but when she comes to the Arboretum and sits by the pond, listening to the water spilling, it lifts her up. ... It’s really therapeutic.”

• Times Herald-Record 3

ON THE COVER: A pear tree blossoms at Shady Acres Organic Farm in Mount Hope. Owner Bob Finkle is discovering that more consumers appreciate the “green” way of doing things. Photo by Tom Bushey

INSIDE 2 4 10 12 14 20 22 24 25 26 28 29 30

Why gardening can be therapeutic Living the green lifestyle, from local professionals 4 little touches that make for a welcoming home Grilling outdoors for all seasons A healthy menu of top kitchen trends Gardening calendar and plant-swapping Floral hanging containers are all the rage Using neutrals to create decorating surprises Spring color trends to freshen up your home Great apps for the plugged-in bird watcher 6 simple tips for outdoor entertaining Dress your table beautifully for a home-cooked meal Solutions for well-designed rooms for your hobbies

President-Publisher Joe Vanderhoof

Executive Editor Derek Osenenko

Advertising Director Editor Gail Whiting Brenda Gilhooly


THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2013



7 ways mid-Hudson summers BY DEBORAH J. BOTTI


For the Times Herald-Record

f summer were a color, in 2013, it would be green. “The color green is getting greener, greener and greener,” says Mark Press, who owns Hudson Valley Nursery & Outdoor Living Center Inc., with locations in New Hampton and Milford, Pa., with his wife, Anna. “Today’s 35-yearold is not like when I was 30. They’ve grown up being concerned about the environment since they were kids – and now they have the money to do something about it.

“I also think that because we’re a bedroom community of Manhattan, the Hudson Valley is more educated,” Press says. “People won’t shy away because green initially costs a little more. At the end of the day, it really costs less.”

Purer produce “Parkinson’s disease and cancers have been linked to GMO (genetically modified) foods,” says Ken Greene, co-founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Library based in Accord. “The little guys like us – farmers, gardeners, eaters – don’t want our seed dollars to go to the biotech corporations that are sup-

porting the chemical corporations.” “People are smart today,” says Press. “They want to know where the veggies are coming from that they’re putting into their body.” And today, a mid-Hudson resident can pull into a driveway paved with permeable pavers, grab the bag of organic produce purchased from the local farm, light the pellet grill, harvest herbs and tomatoes from the garden, and enjoy a dinner that includes grilled vegetables that can’t get any fresher – while sitting on chairs and around a table made of recycled milk jugs.


Bob Finkle spreads dirt around a tomato plant in the hoop house at Shady Acres Organic Farm in Mount Hope.

2 Seeds of change

Photo provided by Seed Library

Seed Library seeds have triumphant track records of growing in the mid-Hudson.

“The Hudson Valley has an amazing food consciousness,” says the appropriately named Ken Greene of the Hudson Valley Seed Library in Accord. “We want to know who’s growing our food and where it’s coming from.” The Seed Library is an offshoot of a 2004 seed program of Greene’s at the Gardiner Library. By 2008, he quit the library and turned his attention to seeds full time.

“Business has grown tremendously since then,” he says. “But because of the consolidation of food, we’re losing that diversity of food, the cultural preferences that have been passed on from generation to generation all over the world ... the heirloom seeds, the families who nurtured them, the recipes. I think of seeds as stories.” Now enter GMOs – genetically modified organisms – in which technology is used to

insert genes into the seed that don’t belong there, he says. “There’s a natural genetic evolution to the foods we love to grow,” he says. “But GMO seeds were created to be used with chemicals, so that farmers could use more chemicals (pesticides, herbicides) without hurting the crops.” As a result, there are more chemicals poisoning the water and soil – and in the process, the creation of super weeds, he says, not unlike

THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2013


are growing greener and greener

Times Herald-Record



alternative – 1 Organic stop at the farm


William Robert Finkle, known as Bob, grew up on a farm. His Air Force dad offered him three choices: Go to Vietnam and die, stay on the farm and starve, or go to college. Guess what he chose. Even though he climbed a prestigious corporate ladder in New Jersey, he became known as a “survivalist” because he burned wood. Not only did he burn wood, but his wife, Ana, a master canner through Cornell Cooperative Extension, became known for her jams and jellies – and still is. She, too, took a detour from the farm her Russian immigrant parents established in the Otisville area – a farm that became a multigenerational family home. “My in-laws didn’t know what a pesticide or fertilizer was,” says Finkle of Shady Acres Farm, which is now certified organic. As a young adult, Finkle wanted nothing to do with farming. And as much as he and his wife, who have been married for 40 years, might have wanted to pull up their dirt roots and toss them in the compost pile so as to enter the corporate world unencumbered, they just couldn’t shake their love of cooking with good, clean food. “It got worse when our three children were born,” says Finkle of the

n Remember that not all bugs are bad. Ladybugs, for example, are welcome in the garden.

super bugs resistant to antibiotics. “When people buy seeds from us, they know where their seed dollars are going – to preserve these varieties of seeds. Plus, these seeds can be saved from season to season. Not only do we teach people how to save seeds, we encourage it.” Unlike purchasing from a catalog that distributes nationwide, Seed Library seeds have triumphant track

Here are some organic gardening tips from the experts:

n Don’t be afraid to pick off the nasty insects. n Put up birdhouses to attract birds who feed on insects. n Consider putting up a bat house to attract bats, which also feed on unwanted insects. n Use companion planting to either drive away or attract unwanted insects. Marigolds, petunias and nasturtium tend to drive bugs away, and can be planted in the vegetable garden. Borage, a perennial with blue flowers, attracts some of those unwanteds. n Stay ahead of the weeds by picking them out when they first appear and then adding a thick layer of mulch – at least 4 to 6 inches of lawn clippings, chopped leaves, compost or wood chips, for example. Mulch will minimize the need to weed and water. n Rotate the crops each year so as not to deplete the soil of a specific nutrients required by a specific crop. n Contact Cornell Cooperative Extension to have the soil tested in the fall so amendments can be made then. Manure, for example, needs time to break down. n Research tips and techniques online for suggestions that might work for your particular problem. n Talk to your neighbors about their successes and failures.

baby food that they made. They also have always grown enough to get them through the rest of the year – at least 200 quarts of canned tomatoes, plus plenty of beans and corn in the freezer. But recently, the Finkles’ son started pitching the family’s produce to chefs in Manhattan, and the couple’s retirement was soon forced

records of growing in the mid-Hudson. “The gardening explosion started about five years ago. Some thought it was just a phase. But as people tried it and realized it wasn’t that hard, the interest continued,” Greene says.

Here are some of his tips to cultivate homegardening success: n Be adventurous and willing to

into a green limelight. “We’ve been actively farming 3 acres, but I’m clearing off another seven. I didn’t expect it to grow so fast,” he says. “I lived in the ruthless corporate world, but in this business, we want everyone to know everything we do and use at the farm.” People can even pick out the head of lettuce that they want while it’s

experiment. Learn by doing. n Check out the active blog –

Seeders Digest ( blog) – which is all about growing, from Seed Starting 101 to quick tips. n Connect with other gardeners who have learned what works and what doesn’t in your neighborhood. n Attend a Seed Library workshop

at the Accord farm.

still in the ground. “We do it the old-fashioned way,” he says. “You have no idea how much we compost. And what looks like a large lawn isn’t for aesthetics. We have a mower with a vacuum and use 48 bushels of lawn clippings a week to put down between the tomato plants as a weed barrier.” Local manure from cows that are not treated with hormones is worked into the soil in the fall. Occasionally, he’ll add some gypsum or lime. To deter pests, he opts for neem oil. Finkle believes the demand will continue to grow, although he admits some products are expensive to produce. The high tunnel – a greenhouse without heat augmented by solar power – will also expand options. It allowed him to grow kale through this past winter. “There are a lot of good commercial farms that try not to use any more things than they have to,” he says. “You never know from one year to the next what you will face.” Last year, it was squash beetles, which he first hand-picked off. Then he doggedly researched more organic solutions – such as a type of soapy water. He also did companion planting, having read that bee balm and catnip were guaranteed to get those beetles off the squash. “Finally, I took it as a message from above to get over it and move on,” he says. “I pulled out the squash plants.”

n If you’ve missed the window for

sowing seeds indoors for the proper planting time, there are seedling sales at the Catskill Native Nursery in Kerhonkson May 18-19 and the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck June 7-9. n Bush or pole beans are easy to grow, as well as lettuces, arugula and cilantro, for example, which can all be sown directly into the ground after the last frost.

See GREEN next page

Photo provided by Seed Library


Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record

home & garden


4 Paving the way

Continued from preceding page

3 Have a seat

Imagine sitting on a milk jug – and knowing that same milk-jug furniture will also cradle the derrieres of your darling children, grandchildren and maybe their children, too. Yes, milk jugs are now being melted – not burned so as to avoid impacting the ozone layer. The molten matter is infused with color and molded into everything from Adirondack chairs to bistro sets and dining tables. “Anything previously made of glass or metal can be done with this polyresin,” says Hudson Valley Nursery’s Mark Press.

Press says there are other perks that pitch this product forward. Most importantly, the color runs all the way through. “It won’t chip, like paint on cast aluminum. Ten years from now, if the color fades, all you need do is to sandpaper it lightly to bring it back to the original color,” he says. “There’s really nothing you can do to ruin this product.” But maybe 75 years from now, the heirs just want something different. Because this furniture sports a No. 2 symbol on the back, it can be accepted at a landfill for recycling. “I’ve bought six tractortrailer loads to meet the

TOM BUSHEY/Times Herald-Record

Colorful polyresin lawn furniture made from milk jugs at Hudson Valley Nursery & Outdoor Living Center Inc.

demand of bistro, bar and chat furniture,” says Press. “There are also no steel screws or hardware to rust. It’s all American-made stainless steel with a lifetime warranty.”

Envision a large mall, says Mark Mazzarelli of the family-owned Landscape Home and Garden Center in Newburgh. “All that paved square footage ... the water never gets to the ground underneath,” he says of the dirt that is now bone dry. “Plus, contaminants from the asphalt can run off into streams.” Because of the potential risk of altering aquifers and polluting waters, some commercial construction codes are now requiring permeable pavers – instead of asphalt – especially in areas where commercial parking lots might be abutting wetlands, he says.

“The permeable pavers are set in a layer of gravel,” says Mazzarelli of the product he’s been selling more of lately to commercial contractors. “The water pulls through the gravel to the ground below, and the gravel acts as a filter. ... This is something a homeowner can also do in his

Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record 7

home & garden

5 Grow a salad in January?

Permeable pavers are set in gravel, which allows water to flow through to the ground below, as a filter. Photo provided

driveway.” In response, Mazzarelli says he’s heard there’s also permeable asphalt on the market that has holes in it and is also set on a layer of gravel. “I haven’t seen it, but I imagine the holes can get plugged,” he says. “And it’s still asphalt.”

It’s OK to mess with Mother Nature by growing vegetables year-round. And it’s really easy to do, says Dan Daly, the nursery manager at Hudson Valley Nursery & Outdoor Living Center Inc. “Hydroponic gardening is a newer trend over the past few years, at first found in the large, commercial greenhouses,” says Daly. “Now it’s geared to homeowners. We want to be aware of where our food comes from.” All that’s needed is: n A dedicated space – as small as a section of a countertop or a large table in the basement n A light source – LED or

fluorescent n A hydroponic unit, which grows plants without the use of soil The hydroponic unit basically entails pots, the tray system and a pump that is plugged into a timer. The pump controls the “ebb and flood” of the water from the reservoir to the pots. “It’s very simple,” he says. Daly recommends starting with leafy greens, such as lettuces, spinach, chard and herbs because they’re quick to grow. Tomatoes need a larger space and larger lights – along with more time – at least a month. However, a larger unit can easily be set up in a basement, with half the space dedicated to greens and the other side to tomatoes and zucchini.

“You can work from seeds, starter plants or stem cuttings,” Daly says. “Ideal temperature is room temperature, 65-70 degrees. If we’re comfortable, the plants are comfortable.” A liquid organic fertilizer is recommended, and there are botanical extracts available to deal with potential pests. Spider mites, for example, can be a problem with the drier indoor winter air. The smaller units run about $80-$100; larger ones, $200$300 and are very durable. “It’s a minimal investment,” he says. “With a little TLC, the units can last a lifetime. And you can get a lot of product out of a small system.”

See green next page


Hydroponic gardening has been a trend over the past few years, says Dan Daly of Hudson Valley Nursery & Outdoor Living Center Inc.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record

home & garden


Continued from preceding page


TOM BUSHEY/Times Herald-Record

Pellet grills on display at Hudson Valley Nursery & Outdoor Living Center Inc. in New Hampton.

Steak on a green grill

“There’s nothing green about propane,” says Mark Press, co-owner of Hudson Valley Nursery & Outdoor Living Center Inc. But pellet-fueled grills, which have a slightly more rustic look, are another matter, he says. These grills fan the environmental flames even further because the pellets themselves are often made with a byproduct: sawdust. The hickory, cherry, mesquite, maple flavorings are natural, too. A pellet hopper and a motor-run auger keep the firebox fed.

“And dollar-for-dollar, pellet grilling is cheaper than propane ... 17 pounds of pellets equals seven burn hours,” he says of the units he sells that average about $700. “What’s also really cool is the built-in computer that sends data like 10 times every second so that the 400-degree temperature, say, is maintained for almost twice as long as propane,” says Press. “Plus, the grill is totally cool-looking, stainless steel and Americanmade.” Anna Press, the nursery’s co-owner, whose focus is on the business’ food end, loves the flavorings the pellets offer. “I like to rub meat with stone-ground mustard, then add a dry rub of garlic, paprika, brown sugar and mustard and cook over applewood

or Jack Daniels-flavored pellets. The stone-ground mustard creates a crust – and the result is delicious,” she says.

Smokers use hardwoods Smokers, which use indirect heat to cook via smoke, are also greener than some other methods, says Mark Press, because of the hardwood charcoal heat source (not the chemically soaked briquettes), on top of which flavored chips are sprinkled. The chips have been soaked in water so they don’t cause a flare-up. “I cold-smoke cheeses – like fontina or havarti,” says Anna Press. “The temperature isn’t too high – about 110 degrees. I place a pan of ice below the grate and use flavored chips to infuse the cheese with flavor like you’ve never had.”

Along with the pellet grills and smokers, the Presses are also big fans of the new woodfired pizza ovens, which run on raw wood or firewood – and can even burn many of the branches and twigs found in the back yard. The $1,300 Fornetto freestanding red cast-iron pizza oven, for example, has stolen Anna Press’ heart. “It’s a smoker, too. It’s an outrageous unit; I’m in love with that one,” she says. “You can easily get a crisp crust on bread or pizza. I have one customer who’s installing it into the kitchen by adding outside venting – and will be able to prepare Italian pizzas and calzones all year long.” “Five years ago, I had to build a pizza oven from scratch,” says Mark Press.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record 9

home & garden lawns and 7 Lush gorgeous gardens Certainly, the biggest expanse of green the typical homeowner sees is the lawn. “There are lawn products such as weed and feed that are organic, but they’re more expensive,” says Bob Krummel, the nursery manager and chief horticulturist at Maples Farm & Garden Center in the Town of Wallkill. “And while more environmentally friendly, they do tend to be weaker – so you’ll probably need to use more.” Krummel says that part of the reason organic products cost more is because of the labeling that the state requires. Not unlike pharmaceuticals, Product X needs to be developed, studied and

tested – resulting in specific label directions and warnings – which is expensive. Products available for decades have already gone through this process and consumers are aware of and using them. The organic newcomers are not as recognized in the marketplace.

the pests are shooed – and they don’t particularly care, says Krummel. “The organic sprays are still a poison. They kill the bugs,” he says. “And if you drink it, you’re going to get sick – or worse.”


The distinction between organic and traditional treatments is in the breakdown – whether they’re relatively harmless as they seep into the soil or leave behind toxins such as lead or arsenic after they’ve done what they’re supposed to do. And homeowners are becoming more aware of the importance of maintaining the natural ecological balance. “You need earthworms and good bugs,” says Krummel.

And because of the state’s requirements, Krummel says he is technically not allowed to share whether some common household products such as baby oil, milk or baking soda can be safe alternatives. This is where he says the Internet comes in handy. “You’re on your own as you search for what will make Mother Nature happy,” he says. William Robert Finkle of

The differences


“You need earthworms and good bugs” to make a good lawn, says Bob Krummel, nursery manager and chief horticulturist at Maples Farm & Garden in the Town of Wallkill. Shady Acres Farm suggests mulching the lawn with grass clippings and throwing down some lime every four or five

years. The lawn and plants don’t know where they’re getting their nutrition from or how


Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record

home & garden

Home style: Four By MARY CAROL GARRITY

Scripps Howard News Service


hose of us who love interior decorating are passionate about creating an environment in our homes that is warm and welcoming, fills our senses and reflects who we are. Even though my personal decorating style is ever-evolving, there are a few cornerstones of the look I love.

Here are four simple techniques I use. I hope they will inspire you, too.

Tuck natural objects into displays

SHNS photo courtesy Nell Hill’s

These moss balls are organic and earthy, yet structural, giving this table a pop of bright color and an injection of fun.

I am not an outdoorsy girl. You won’t find me backpacking in the mountains or kayaking down a river. But spending a quiet moment in my courtyard fills me with peace and inspiration. So I always weave

pieces of the natural world into my year-round decorating. I like how this little nod to nature gives my decor a natural, organic feel. One of my favorite icons is a bird’s nest. So I use lots of faux and real nests in my own decorating. Sometimes you’ll find them perched discreetly in the branches of a floral arrangement on my table, or See touches next page

home & garden

Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record 11

little touches go a long way to warm welcome Continued from preceding page on top of a candlestick on my mantel. Another thought: Placing little faux nests under cloches on place settings of a dining table decorated for spring entertaining. Or welcome Mother Nature into your decor by using flowers in decorating. A messy bouquet of faux tulips doesn’t feel fixed and fussy. You could replicate the look with just about anything in your garden: branches of forsythia, dogwood or red buds, a compote holding a tight mound of hyacinths or hydrangeas, or a cluster of little vases that each contains a single daffodil. Weaving natural elements into your decor doesn’t need to take much time. For one

stunning centerpiece, we just ringed a lovely blue-and-white jar with a fern wreath. The wreath adds color and a bit of wild excitement to a very elegant tablescape. I am crazy about moss balls right now. These cuties are organic and earthy, yet structural, giving a tableau a pop of bright color and an injection of fun. Plus, they are foolproof to use. Just toss a jumble into a cachepot and stick it on a table for a quick display. Or crown a cluster of little urns with an assortment of moss balls. Group them together on a tray, and you’ve got a killer display in minutes.

Add layers for visual interest Couple several decorative elements together to create one harmonious, intricate

scene. The number of layers is up to you. One place to bring in beautiful layers is on your sofa. Toss a summer quilt over the back or arm for added texture and pattern. Then, accessorize with an intriguing mix of pillows. The most striking bedding ensembles are those that are rich with layers. Fresh white sheets covered with a duvet, capped by a contrasting quilt folded at the bottom, are the foundation. The finish is an eye-catching assortment of pillows, starting with a line of Euro shams at the back, fronted by standard pillows, then a sprinkling of special shapes, like neck rolls and lumbar pillows and squares.

Work in whimsy Sometimes, we just take ourselves a little too seriously,

don’t we? One way to lighten our mood, and the look of home decor, is to tuck in whimsical objects that make us smile. The bar in a good friend’s formal living room is very elegant, until you look a bit closer. The feet of the fancy silver tray holding the bar service are just that – feet! They look like little human digits, holding the tray aloft. What a hoot! I also get a kick out of a planter of the garden goddess, with plants growing out of her head, making one crazy hair-do. Some mornings, I swear my hair looks the same. I really like to decorate with figurines. Depending upon their size, you can weave them into grand or petite displays, using them as the focal point or as a little surprise to reward the careful viewer.

Find creative uses for decorative elements One favorite plan of attack is to use accents in unusual ways to solve daily decorating dilemmas, such as how to keep your books from falling over in your bookcase. Since my home is filled to the brim with stacks and stacks of books, I’ve had plenty of practice finding items to use as interesting bookends, turning what could be an eyesore into a fetching display. Consider using a lamp and an architectural element to sandwich a stack of books. Presto! A layered display. This column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at She can be reached at marycarol@nellhills. com.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record

home & garden

The latest in hot outdoor grills - cook out all seasons By Deborah J. Botti


Photo provided

Marc and Holly Collignon, owners of Northstar Energy Systems in Middletown, now carry wood, pellet and gas grills that can be used year-round. The Black Olive Pellet Grill, left, can slow cook or sear at high temperatures. The Primo line of charcoal grills is available in several sizes, as shown here, and they are fueled by natural lump charcoal.

For the Times Herald-Record

or more than 36 years, Northstar Energy Systems, owned by Holly and Marc Collignon, has been providing spas, pools and fireplaces as well as wood, pellet and gas stoves. They now offer wood, pellet and gas grills, too. “We’ve been dabbling in barbecues for three years,” says Holly Collignon. “But this year, there are some really good quality products that caught our attention.” And it’s not just about steaks and burgers. They can crisp the bacon and even do some baking – along with Thanksgiving’s turkey and Christmas’ rib eye. “All of our units can be used with optional grills and skillets so you can cook your eggs, bacon and pancakes outside

on Sunday mornings and the house won’t smell like breakfast all day,” she says. Plus, grilling no longer has to be on the back burner in the dead of winter. Because of the ceramic bodies, the heat stays within the cooker rather than being transferred outside the metal lids, as with conventional barbecues, when temperatures are well below freezing.

No ‘mystery briquettes’ Collignon says they were first drawn to the Primo line of ceramic charcoal grills, followed by the Big Green Egg. Prices range from $445 to $2,200, depending on size and accessories. “The natural lump charcoal is 100 percent wood, charred chunks of wood, not mystery briquettes,” she says. “There are also different flavored

charcoals that produce different results.” Pellets for the Black Olive Pellet Grill ($1,600) also come in different flavors, making it a snap to pair pork with an apple flavoring, for example, or to keep it plain for the pancakes. Rounding out the options is the propane-powered Tec Infrared Grill. “Heat from the propane burner is turned into infrared heat as it passes through the glass,” says Collignon. “It heats mass, not air, so you get the same cooking results whether it’s 20 degrees outside or 90 degrees. And there’s no oxygen to cause flare-ups.” The Tec Grill ($799-$2,500) uses high-grade stainless steel burners that use up to 50 percent less propane or natural gas than conventional gas grills.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

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home & garden

A menu of top By Jura Koncius

The Washington Post


he reign of the trophy kitchen is officially over. The dream kitchens of today aren’t about the sexiest six-burner range or the most exotic countertop material. As cooking has returned to center stage and remodeling budgets have sobered, the kitchen island is nurturing family togetherness and reviving casual entertaining. In kitchens with a small footprint, glass tiles, quartz counters and dish drawers are adding sparkle and practicality. The kitchen of 2013 has soul. “That industrial, commercial style was looking a little cold,” says Samantha Emmerling, kitchen editor at Hearst Design Group. “People are spending all their time in there, and they want it warm and inviting, as well as low-maintenance.” A kitchen renovation is still costly. The average 2013 kitchen remodeling job is $47,308, down $3,742 from last year, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Designers say the look today is less tradition, more transition. Clients are choosing

more modern touches such as white or gray cabinets, gray walls and neutral quartz counters, individualized with different textures and touches of color. “Ten years ago, everyone showed up with the same photos of what they wanted,” says Paul Lobkovich, an architect and kitchen designer at Lobkovich Kitchen Designs in Virginia. “Now people are much more creative. They’ve seen plenty of HGTV shows and scoured Houzz and other Web sites. They have a Pinterest board full of stuff they like. This gives people a wide range of unique looks. And it makes it more exciting for us designers.” Yes, the kitchen is still

the most obsessed-about room in the house, but it’s clear homeowners want more than just trends. They are seeking a calming space that makes them happy. “Lately it’s been less the kind of stars-in-the-eyes approach and a bit more practical with a simplified aesthetic,” says designer Eric Lieberknecht, who owns a kitchen design firm in Alexandria, Va. “People have a wide portfolio of things they want, and not just what their neighbor has.” The 2013 member survey by the National Kitchen & Bath Association identified a menu of some of today’s top style choices in kitchens. Here is insider information on seven of them:

1 Quartz counters

Consumers are demanding products that are easy to care for, including quartz counter surfaces such as Caesarstone and Silestone. These durable products are made of about 90 percent natural quartz mixed with pigments, polymers and resins. They require no special maintenance and cost about $40-$100 a square foot installed. Silestone produces 70 colors in polished or matte finish and contains an antimicrobial agent. According to Lorenzo Marquez, vice president of marketing for Cosentino North America, Silestone’s parent company, the most popular colors right now are white and gray. “It’s a pretty honest material, and it functions so nicely,” says Washington designer Paul Sherrill of Solis Betancourt & Sherrill. “If you

The Washington Post

In this kitchen designed by Suzanne Oliver and Leslie Gill, the counter of Irish Connemarble is a showstopper.

don’t have a tolerance for natural stone and what it’s going to do over time, go for it.”

Thursday, May 16, 2013

home & garden

kitchen trends

The Washington Post

White cabinets are at the top in popularity now. (Stacy Zarin Goldberg for Wentworth)

2 White painted cabinets

The choice of cabinets is arguably the most important decision when redoing a kitchen. The selection sets the look. In the National Kitchen & Bath Association survey, 67 percent of respondents said that white was their first choice for cabinetry, a jump of 20 percentage points

in the past two years. “Over the years, white is always a popular color and there are times it is the No. 1 color,” says John Morgan, president of the association and owner of kitchen products supplier Morgan Pinnacle in Glyndon, Md. “I would say that white and dark cherry are both timeless.”

3 Many shades of gray

Gray seems to be the color of the moment. Although white and off-white are still the top colors, grays are showing up on cabinets, counters and walls. Gray is another neutral that can be paired with many accent colors and looks chic and modern, whether a driftwood gray wood finish or glossy gray coating. Color consultant Jean Molesworth Kee of the Painted Room says, “I’m seeing a lot of quick redos where they are painting old wood cabinets a light gray and totally getting rid of anything Tuscan red or yellow.” But she cautions against gray overload. “If there is too much gray, it can look really chilly and depressing. You’ll think you are stirring your pot

The Washington Post /Marcos Galvany

Mahogany cabinets were bleached and cerused to a driftwood gray color. (Solis Betancourt & Sherrill)

in an operating room. You need a lot of white to balance it out.” Her favorite gray paints for kitchen walls: SherwinWilliams Collonade Gray, Benjamin Moore Ozark Shadows and Benjamin Moore Storm. See trends page 18

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Continued from page 15

4 LED lighting

More and more remodeled kitchens now have LED lighting, especially below cabinets. LED bulbs are more efficient and generate little heat. “We are doing a lot of LED under-cabinet lighting,” says Larry Rosen, owner of Jack Rosen Custom Kitchens in Maryland. “Halogen and Xenon lighting actually burn very hot. If you accidentally touch a bulb, you can burn yourself. LED is more expensive, but they save on electricity, are cool and last a really long time.”

home & garden

5 Electronic faucets

“When people renovate their kitchen, it’s not just functionality and beauty,” says Houzz’s Liza Hausman. “They are thinking about how to include the latest technology.” One of these new toys is the trickedout faucet. Both touch-activated faucets and hands-free faucets are beginning to appear in kitchen remodeling contracts. According to Tom Tylicki, Moen’s senior product manager for kitchen, the Moen MotionSense hands-free faucet responds to consumers’ kitchen work styles and helps prevent the spread of germs. It’s also a good choice for gardeners whose hands are frequently covered in dirt. Moen has three MotionSense styles priced at $399-$690.

Consumers are demanding products that are easy to care for such as Silestone, and easy to use, such as Moen’s handsfree MotionSense faucet.

The Washington Post

Thursday, May 16, 2013

home & garden

6 Satin nickel finishes

7 Glass backsplashes

“Satin nickel is the new oiled bronze,” Sherrill says. For him, the matte nickel finish reflects the increasingly modernist kitchen look. A survey found that polished nickel and polished chrome were less requested than last year, and the duller finish such as Restoration Hardware’s satin nickel pull, pictured, was growing in popularity. Some designers feel that this finish best complements stainless steel appliances.

The Washington Post

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Glass tiles are the jewelry of a kitchen for interior designer Tynesia Hand-Smith. “They add great shimmer,” she says. With neutral colors ruling in cabinets and counters, glass tile is one way to add color and personality. “Reds, greens and blues, vibrant colors are trending right now, as is iridescent glass,” says DeeDee Gundberg, an Ann Sacks Tile product development manager. Instead of using the ubiquitous white subway tile backsplash, she suggests substituting new large-format glass tile in a similar shape. “Light blue glass tiles are still very traditional with white cabinets but look very fresh,” Gundberg adds.

The Washington Post

Green subway tiles, heavy-duty French range and marble countertops were must-haves for the kitchen restoration of cookbook author Domenica Marchetti.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

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calendar Roscoe-Rockland Garden Club annual flower sale — Roscoe Community Center, Old Route 17 and Stewart Avenue, 10 a.m.4 p.m. May 17-19. Annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and vegetables. Contact Pat Yelle at 607-498-4738 or yellejp@citlink. net. Plant sale — 4-H Memorial Building, Orange County Fairgrounds, Town of Wallkill, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. May 18. Annual event hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program. Call 343-0664. “Container Gardening” — Devitt’s Supply, 56 Devitts Circle, New Windsor. 11 a.m. May 18. Learn how to create beautiful container gardens. Go home with your creation. Presented by Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners. Call 561-1968.

Yard and plant sale — Community Church of High Falls, one block south of Route 213 in center of High Falls, between villages of Rosendale and Stone Ridge, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 18. 687-7091. Vegetable, herb and flower sale — Gardiner Library, 113 Farmer’s Turnpike, Gardiner, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 18. Free. “Plant Sunflower” for kids and advice by garden experts. 255-1255. Wildflower Festival — Catskill Native Nursery, 607 Samsonville Road, Kerhonkson, 10 a.m.5 p.m. May 18-19. Festival is expanding to a full weekend so people can leisurely explore a large selection of rare native plants, wildflowers, water lilies, familiar and unusual fruits, as well as of heirloom vegetable plants. Hudson Valley Seed Library will be offering heirloom seedling starts. Gardening experts will be on-site to help answer questions. Free. 626-2758. info@

home & garden

“Ornamental Shrubs” — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County, 18 Seward Ave., Middletown, 7-9 p.m. May 21. Explore many different ornamental shrubs available to use in landscaping. $12, walk-ins welcome. Call 344-1234 for more information and to register. Master gardener available in Jim Thorpe — Carbon County Extension office, 529 Lentz Trail, Jim Thorpe, Pa., 10 a.m. May 21. Do you have a question about seed starting, pruning, planting, insect and/or disease control? A Penn State master gardener will assist you with your questions at no charge. If you can’t make it on Tuesdays, email or call 570325-2788 with your questions, and a master gardener will get back to you. Visit extension. for gardening information and a listing of upcoming events. Free.

Ulster gardeners prepare for annual plant swap KINGSTON — As you get your garden ready for spring this year, don’t forget to put aside some plants for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County’s 15th annual Master Gardeners Great Plant Swap and Sale taking place June 1 at the Cooperative Extension’s Education Center, 232 Plaza Road, Kingston.

Here’s how it works: Plants to swap can be dropped off that Saturday morning between 9 and 10 a.m. Swappers will receive vouchers for the number of plants they drop off. Swappers return at 11 a.m. to swap vouchers for plants. At 11:30 a.m., the swap will

open to the public for sale. Plants must be labeled by name and color of flower, in pots, well cared for, healthy and not on the New York State list of invasive plants. Master Gardeners will refuse any plants not meeting these criteria. Master Gardener volunteers will also be answering gardening questions and have lots of gardening information available. So, pot up your divisions or extra plants a few weeks before the swap date, label them, and bring them to exchange for vouchers. For more information, call Dona Crawford at 340-3990, ext. 335, or visit

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home & garden

Floral hanging containers are colorful attention-grabbers By Norman Winter

McClatchy-Tribune News Service


ixed floral hanging containers have become the rage across the country, and thanks to the coconut liner it is easy to jump on the basket bandwagon.


Coconut-lined baskets are easy to plant and fill with dazzling color whether they are windowbox-like or a typical hanging style.

It wasn’t long ago that you saw such beautiful displays only when visiting mild-climate tourist areas, and now everyone can either buy them already made or be like Monet and create a piece of floral art. From the large box type store to the progressive independent garden center, it seems they have everything you need. One of the reasons it has become so easy to buy ready-made is that

flower producers have started selling mixed species liners, or starts, if you will, for the grower. This means they were hand selected for color scheme or compatibility with regard to habit and light requirements. Those of you who like the creative process, or want combinations that aren’t easily found, then the wire basket is the way to begin. This also applies to baskets that have a shape more like

a window box and can be used as such. They are also easily attached to the railing of a deck. The coconut liner holds potting soil and of course it drains with perfection. It is also a lot more durable than you think and easily replaced with another liner when it finally wears out. I like to use really good potting soil that is light weight and contains slow release fertilizer to give the plants a quick jump on growing. At the Columbus Botanical Garden we have had wonderful baskets with geraniums, Swedish ivy and different colors of bacopa for about six weeks. This is a great way to grow See hanging next page

home & garden


Continued from preceding page geraniums but, surprisingly, the small-flowered bacopas have really stolen the show. The combination of pink ones with some lavender blue has really been eye-catching and inspiring visitors to find a spring in their steps. Planting level should be about three-fourths of an inch below the top of the moss. By all means, place a plant in the center of the basket. You may wish to select one that will climb a hanging chain. At home, I use baskets that are more like window boxes and attach to a deck railing. I used the same type soil but this time was even more aggressive in my plant combinations. I started in the center and worked my way outward each direction with the design. I planted a scarlet milkweed as

the center plant. It is flanked by large orange African marigolds blue Wave petunias and creeping Jenny that will eventually tumble over the edge, providing a nice vertical element. When it is summer and sweltering hot, we will change out the baskets at the garden. The geraniums and bacopa will give way to plants known for their ability to bloom in triple digits. In the middle of the baskets we may use tropical mandevilla to climb the chain. Around the perimeter we will use New Gold lantana, asparagus fern, and maybe an ornamental sweet potato sweet potato like Illusion Emerald Lace. Other choice summer basket plants are the new Surdiva scaevola, Summer Wave torenia, and Cora Cascade periwinkle. We have fern baskets that are great, but those packed with color are the real attention grabbers. Just remember: If we can do it, you can, too!

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Ferns are lush and appealing, but baskets packed with floral color really create a show.



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home & garden

Unexpected neutrals can liven up your living spaces By MARY CAROL GARRITY

Scripps Howard News Service


hen you hear the term “neutral decor,” do you envision a tan-on-tan-on-tan room? If so, you are in for a fun surprise. A space done in neutrals can be much more creative and exciting than just layers of solids so staid they’re almost asleep. The secret is to use a few colors and patterns that play well in the sandbox with everyone else, yet are full of the kind of personality you need to give decor distinctive character. To me, a neutral is any solid color or pattern that’s tone-ontone or two-colored that looks good with just about everything. I recommend starting with a palette of neutrals you won’t grow tired of and can easily update. Here are four of my favorite

SHNS photo courtesy Nell Hill’s

A space done in neutrals can be much more creative and exciting than boring layers of solid colors. out-of-the-box neutrals.

Animal instincts It may sound crazy, but I think of prints that replicate the coat patterns of wild animals, with all their power and energy, as neutrals, especially when

they are re-created in subtle ways, like black and white or cream and tan. I am a huge fan of zebra prints done in soft, subtle colors like tan and cream. I’ve used them in my own home and recommend them over and over to custom-

ers because the pattern is visually intriguing but also soft and soothing. One of my favorite ways to use subtle animal prints is on coffee-table ottomans. The pattern is neutral enough that you can pair it with lots of choices from the color wheel and it adds striking texture.

yet they, too, are a neutral in my book. Surprised? When I redecorated my guest bedroom, I had a pillow made of a dark blue and light blue chevron stripe. When tossed in with the bedding ensemble, it feels like a solid, blending in perfectly with the mix of colors and patterns in a backup role.


Checks and plaids

Whether they are subtle or strong, stripes are another unexpected neutral. I am also fond of ticking and use it over and over again in my home. There is something so perfect about this petite stripe. From a distance it looks like a solid, but the closer you get the more it comes alive. It never steals attention from the main attraction you pair it with, yet it’s definitely not a snoozer wallflower. Chevron stripes are electric,

Plaid and check fabrics deliver the best of both worlds: They are neutrals that give you a wonderful blank canvas to work with, yet they are intriguing enough to infuse the furniture with singular character. Windowpane plaids are sensational because the field is mostly solid but is broken up with a few threads in interesting colors you can bring out in accent pillows. Like ticking, small hound’sSee neutrals next page


Continued from preceding page tooth checks look solid from a distance, yet are full of intrigue when you see them close up. Ratchet up the scale of the check, and the room gets more and more fun.

Strong solids None of us has any trouble thinking of solids as neutrals. But what about when the solids are super-bright or bold? Do those qualify? If they look great with lots of other colors and patterns, you bet they do! Navy is one of my favorite solid neutrals. I’ve paired it with white, apple green, orange and coral. Now, I’m loving it with red. Teal is another solid that is stealing my heart because it seems to bring out the best in every color and pattern I toss at it, plus it’s just so darn fun all by itself.

home & garden

Thursday, May 16, 2013

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New must-see spring color trends S

to create an energetic and bright design.

Scripps-Howard News Service

pring is the perfect time to give your home a fresh look. From serene shades to vivid hues, here are eight color schemes to consider this season.

5. A classic blue-and-yellow combo is always a favorite. White is often paired with this palette to keep it light and airy, but black accents would create a richer, more sophisticated atmosphere.

1. Liven up traditional design with the hottest spring colors. Try brightly colored wallpaper in a formal dining room featuring turquoise and tomato red for a little spice. 2. Pair classic red with hot pink for a bold bedroom design. Use gold and cream in the bedding and wallpaper to keep the vibrant shades from overpowering the space. 3. Spring hues are ideal for a girl’s bedroom. Damask fabric in apple green would comple-

6. Welcome nature into the bedroom with a soft green. It has a calming effect that can enhance your efforts to drift into sleep. Shutterstock

Soft green can have a calming effect, so it is nice for a bedroom. ment a vivid pink wall, while a white headboard and bedding would provide the space a crisp, fresh look.

4. One of the most appealing shades of spring is deep blue. Combine it with tomato red, turquoise and apple green,

7. Bring light into your room with a vivid yellow. Pair it with gray. 8. Neutrals don’t have to be just cream, white or tan. You could use a deep-green wall color as a neutral backdrop.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

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home & garden

New apps are a boon for plugged-in birders By Adrian Higgins


The Washington Post

f you like to attract birds to your yard with nesting boxes and feeders, you’re not alone. An estimated 55 million Americans are into bird-watching and many are discovering that smartphones offer a whole new relationship with their avian friends. Some birders are content to attract and watch birds in their own gardens; more serious hobbyists will travel near and far for the chance of spotting, recording and reporting bird species.

Greater interactivity For the plugged-in bird person, there are dozens of apps available, said Chris Wood of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca. But a new

“Some of the first ones to come out basically took the same kinds of information you could get in a field guide and put it in digital form. Now there’s a movement toward much more exciting things.” Chris Wood Cornell Lab of Ornithology generation of apps is allowing greater interactivity and customization and can help serious birders plan trips in search of desired species. “Some of the first ones to come out basically took the same kinds of information you could get in a field guide and put it in digital form. Now there’s a movement toward much more exciting things,” Wood said. He runs the eBird project,

a vast database of current and historical bird sightings by citizen scientists. Vetted for accuracy by a network of ornithologists and updated frequently, it features in a couple of apps, including BirdsEye ($19.99, iPhone), which is favored by experienced birders who travel to view birds. Many maintain a “life list” of observed birds. The longer you are a birder, the harder it is to find spe-

cies you haven’t already seen. BirdsEye calls itself “the ultimate bird finder for the iPhone.” “One of the things that makes expert birders expert is the ability to calculate the probability of a species showing up at that date and location,” said Wood, lauding eBird’s utility. BirdsEye’s developer, David Bell, said the app also has value to novices because it narrows the range of species known to be in a given locale. For beginners and intermediate birders, the National Audubon Society’s app ($14.99, IOS, $2.99 Android) functions as a field guide, has a crowd sourcing feature, and also links to eBird. It was developed by Green Mountain Digital in Woodstock, Vt.

The company has created other Audubon guides for such things as butterflies, wildflowers and trees, “but the birding app is by far the most popular,” said David Tyler, director of product development. “I think there’s a very large and very passionate birding community.”

Beginner-friendly features Another popular app is the “Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America,” which features 813 bird species and beginner-friendly features that identify and compare birds by such things as size and plumage. The app is $19.99, though a sample app with 30 species is available for free. “The National Geographic Birds: Field Guide to North See birders next page

home & garden


Continued from preceding page America” was re-launched in November with additional bird species, now up to 995, and a new design. The birds are depicted in a range of eye-catching illustrations that “are our calling card,” said Natalie Jones, digital products manager. The app is $9.99, but not yet available in an Android version. The apps generally feature something the old printed guides lacked: the sound of bird song. Like everything else about birds, the recordings can get complicated: Birds have different calls, for mating and for alarm, for example. Amazingly, they also have distinct regional differences – bird dialects – that are clearly discernible once you listen to the recordings. In the Sibley guide, for ex-

The apps generally feature something the old printed guides lacked: the sound of bird song. ample, an American goldfinch from New York is ebullient and sings its heart out while one in Utah sounds more staccato and subdued.

Still to come The one thing apps have not yet achieved is the ability for the user to hold the device up to a chirping bird and get a positive identification. This is tied to the fact that bird song is so variable and because ambient noise would get in the way, Wood said. With so many bird songs at your fingertips – the Audubon guide has eight hours of recordings – it’s tempting to go into the woods to lure desired species. But that’s considered

poor etiquette because it disrupts the birds, confuses other birders and may be illegal under certain hunting statutes. “If you played the alarm call for the American robin, you can really agitate that bird,” Tyler said. Meanwhile, the ornithologists at Cornell are working on an app called Merlin geared to adapting the eBird database for beginners, by narrowing species to locales in real time. This may seem a relatively simple task in the age of GPS, but many birds arrive in the spring and leave in the fall, or just pass through at those times. “When you are able to provide someone with an answer to the basic question, ‘What’s that bird in my backyard?’ it opens all the floodgates, the Google searches for all the information about that species,” said Jessie Barry, the Merlin project leader. The app should be available later this year.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

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The Washington Post

BirdsEye, left, uses a database called eBird to give advanced birders access to rare species in real time; National Geographic Birds: Field Guide to North America was relaunched in November with new features but retains its classic field guide illustrations. (National Audubon Society; Sibley eGuide to The Birds of North America.)


Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record

home & garden

6 ideas for summer outdoor entertainment spaces landscape lighting also allows you to enjoy 100 percent of your outdoor space after dark compared to just the patio area itself.


Scripps Howard News Service


ummer entertaining is right around the corner, so now is the time to get your outdoor spaces in shape. A few simple tips can go a long way in getting your projects started on the right foot.



Seat walls You might have an intimate dinner for four or a party for 20. Either way, people need places to sit. Designers often integrate seat walls into their projects, which are simply the walls of raised masonry planters designed to be comfortable to sit on. Seat walls offer a place to sit when furniture isn’t out there, or when cushions are put away for rain. They offer plenty of overflow seating when your furniture isn’t enough for all your friends and relatives.

SHNS photo courtesy Maureen Gilmer

This patio features everything you need from shade to lighting and heat for those nippy evenings around the fire.



Evening hours are magic in the landscape because everything beyond your yard fades away. All that you perceive are elements that have been

artificially illuminated. When you consider outdoor entertaining, focus on beautiful ambient lighting that gives your garden an ethereal glow without any overly bright spots. Well-done

Shade When folks come over to spend the afternoon outside, they want a cool, shady place to relax. This is why using beam arbors for shade is one of the best choices. An arbor can be designed with custom shade cloth panels that are put up at the start of the hot season, then may be taken down when things cool in the fall.


Style Outdoor entertaining spaces can be extra-special if well-designed. Create a tropical getaway in your own backyard. There is no end to the effects you can create with fog fountains, fire pits, outdoor

TVs and other fun options.


Credenza A buffet frees you up for other activities, so be sure to design a credenza flush against a wall for easy meals and hors d’oeuvres. When not used for entertaining, this table can be pressed into service for showing off plants or art.


Other touches Don’t forget colorful cushions on seat walls so they’re comfy. Gather beautiful hanging lanterns for votive lights to dangle from tree branches and shade structures. Add a few well-designed outdoor carpets to create bohemian spots for lounging with short tables and extra-large pillows. Select large pots that reflect your personal style and stuff them full of your favorite plants.

home & garden

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Spring tablescapes celebrate new beginnings BY MARY CAROL GARRITY

Scripps Howard News Service


here is something magical about eating together, isn’t there? In this day of hustle and bustle, where we often grab dinner from a drive-through window, it fills our hearts to pause for a moment and enjoy a home-cooked meal in someone’s home.

This spring, connect with people you love over a meal in your home. And, of course, you’ll want a tablescape beautifully dressed for the occasion. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Beautiful blooms A delightful tablescape bursting with charm – fresh and light, yet infused with enough layers to make it intriguing. Blue, white and yellow just sing

when they are brought together, especially in spring. For this treatment, we decided to soften up a formal table and formal glass hurricane by weaving in fanciful accessories. Try having a wild-fern wreath encircling the hurricane. It makes for a visually dramatic but easy-to-produce centerpiece treatment! Blue-and-white transferware china looks fabulous with a bohemian yellow salad plate sliced in. When I create place settings,

I like to make them tall and dramatic with a stack of interesting dishes and a surprise topper. Consider decorating the summit with intriguing ceramic vases, which serve as unusual napkin holders. These little vases also look sensational holding a few flowers, like three daylilies.

Fun and fresh You cannot miss with green and white on a tabletop, especially in spring. It’s fresh, fun and infused with energy and excitement. Get ready – gold is back! A surprising glass plate edged in gold adds a bit of glam to our hip place setting. To top off this relatively simple stack of plates, we picked funky little lidded pots. You could put a battery-operated candle inside for a dramatic presentation for a late-night meal.

SHNS photo

Blue-and-white transferware china looks fabulous with a bohemian yellow salad plate sliced in.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

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home & garden

Specialty room dedicated space for hobbyist glass doors – “so you can see the fabric and be inspired by it” – a cutting station on wheels, expandable work surfaces that fold up or down, depending on whether she’s working alone or with a friend, and a mounted design wall covered with felt batting so she can experiment with patterns without using pins. Having a dedicated, welldesigned room for quilting is more efficient, easier on her back and “makes the whole process more inviting,” she said.



Minneapolis Star Tribune

ianne Pidde used to have fabric and quilting projects spread “all over the house,” she said. No longer. Now, when Pidde wants to home in on her hobby, she walks a few steps out the back door to the quilting studio she had built last year in her Arden Hills, Minn., backyard. The 22-by-24-foot space contains everything she needs, including storage closets, a design wall, a long-arm quilting machine, a cozy sitting area and space to display favorite quilts and memorabilia, including the pink toy sewing machine on which she first learned to make doll clothes. “All my history is in this room,” she said. “It’s nice to have it all in one spot, and it’s

Specialized rooms Photo by Joel Koyama

Dianne Pidde had a quilting studio built in what had been her backyard. nice to make a mess, walk away and not bother your roommates with it.” Camille Meyer does her quilting in a much smaller space – a

former bedroom in her St. Paul, Minn., home – but it’s just as functional, ever since Meyer remodeled it a few years ago to add built-in cupboards with

The willingness of these women to modify their homes to facilitate quilting reflects a broader trend toward more specialized, personalized spaces, according to Ed Roskowinski, owner and general manager of Vujovich Design Build, in Minneapolis, the

contractor on both projects. “We’re hearing less about resale and square footage, and more about, ‘Here’s how we live, what we want to get out of our home.’ People are deciding to stay where they are and make it their own, make it work for them.” Homeowner mobility declined during the recession, and buyers of single-family homes expect to stay in them longer than they used to – 11.5 years for first-time buyers and 15 years for buyers who have owned a home before, according to a report released recently by the National Association of Home Builders. But the real-estate market isn’t the only socioeconomic factor driving the trend, according to Minneapolis architect Chris-

See hobby rooms next page

Hobby rooms Continued from preceding page

tine Bleyhl, who worked on the quilting rooms while working with Vujovich (she is now an independent contractor). “People are working so many hours – they’re willing to treat

home & garden themselves to a retreat room,” she said. She’s designed specialty spaces for people who were into boat-building, fly-fishing and collecting baseball memorabilia. “Even with home offices, more people want some of their personality reflected,” she said. “It’s the inverse of

being in a corporate environment. People are trying to find their calling outside of their career.” Pidde, a master pastry chef by vocation, also enjoys teaching and one-on-one tutoring, which she can now accommodate in her studio, she said. “I could never have done that before.” She bought

Thursday, May 16, 2013

her long-arm quilting machine soon after the studio was completed, with the intention of doing quilt-finishing for other quilters. Meyer, who works in finance, also loves creating and giving personalized quilts to members of her extended family, choosing patterns and colors that reflect their indi-

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vidual tastes and interests. She’s able to work much more efficiently in her dedicated work space. And her design wall makes it much easier to express herself artistically and challenge herself with difficult techniques, she said. “I love it. That’s the biggest thing people are jealous of.”


Thursday, May 16, 2013

• Times Herald-Record

2013 Home & Garden  

The Season of Green. Seven environmentally friendly trends in the Hudson Valley.

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