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Home Garden 2012



A 1915 craftsman home restored to its original beauty and charm A look at a ranch home with all the amenities and a great view

Look inside:

Pruning tips Fresh design ideas Sprucing up the outside Variety in gardens provides new options Clearing clutter

A Supplement of the Lewiston Tribune



M O N D A Y, M A R C H 2 6 , 2 0 1 2

Associated Press

ABOVE: In this undated image taken in Bridgton, Maine, an array of spring daffodils, tulips and grape hyacinth surround a birdbath in a garden in early summer. RIGHT: A closer look at the daffodils, tulips and grape hyacinth in the Bridgton flower garden.

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Now’s the perfect time for dreaming about your spring and summer garden. Gather up your seed and garden catalogs, take some notes, visit a garden center, let your imagination loose and put a plan on paper. Choosing one style, though, can be difficult. Do you want a formal garden, a cottage garden, perhaps herbs mixed in with vegetables and flowers? Will you grow only culinary herbs, or a combination of culinary, aromatic and decorative? Why not a little of each? Consider planting a number of smaller, themed gardens. I did that at my home in Maine, and came to see each one as a room: ——— There was a beautiful knot bench in the TEA GARDEN




where I grew chamomile, lemon thyme, sage, yarrow, lemon balm, roses, calendula, bee balm, mint, lemon verbena and several scented geraniums. The bees loved this garden, and it was a great stress-reliever to sit on the bench in the warm sun and listen to the buzz of their activity, inhale the fragrances, and enjoy the garden’s peace and beauty. In the middle of winter, it was possible to sit and recall the warmer days of summer; the bee balm seed heads were as fragrant then as in midsummer, and you had only to crush one to be taken back. ——— The CULINARY GARDEN was circular with a birdbath in the center. The walks around the beds were of crushed rock, and bricks outlined the circular shape. In the winter, the snow would melt off the rocks first and leave the herb beds covered, making an interesting pattern. I grew tarragon, marjoram, curled onion, chives, sage, winter savory, Welsh bunching onion, garlic chives, thyme, oregano, nasturtium, parsley, coriander, chervil, basil and borage here. It was my habit to pick a bouquet of these herbs to chop and toss into a salad. If there were any left over, I would put them in a basket to dry for winter use, or freeze them in a little water to add to a winter soup. As soon as the snow melted, the chives and bunching onions were there to harvest for the first taste of spring. The blue jays and mourning doves that frequented the birdbath were great company when cultivating and harvesting. ——— The ROSE GARDEN was next; it had two entrance trellises and a third trellis with a

bench underneath. In the beginning, I planted 14 oldfashioned roses, but some didn’t survive the cold winter. I replaced them with the more vigorous rugosa rose. This garden was also circular, but with a larger center then the culinary garden. I edged the center with sweet alyssum; placed a lovely old clay pot in the middle filled with scented geraniums; then planted double pink petunias around it. The effect was of a huge tussie mussie. I planted creeping thyme between the bricks in the path. The aroma was out of this world. When the thyme was in bloom, the bees were busy at the blossoms so it was necessary to step carefully. The trellises made interesting shadows in the snow for a pleasing winter effect. ——— The next garden was the EVERLASTING GARDEN, where I planted herbs and flowers that dry for decorative use: liatris, strawflowers, statice, echinops, xeranthemum, acroclinium, feverfew and salvia horminium, to name a few. Everlastings are generally easy to grow, and in most cases the annuals can withstand a light frost. I planted this garden first in the spring and simply covered the rows with Remay cloth until the days became warmer. A huge number of strawflowers can be harvested from just a dozen plants. I picked them every sunny day. This garden provided me with bouquets to carry to friends, fresh flowers in summer and dried bouquets in the winter. The pleasure of giving and getting was twofold — between the garden and me, and between my friends and me. ——— I had never heard of a LIBATION GARDEN until one

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day I realized I had inadvertently planted hops, grapes and elderberries together in one corner of the main garden, and that all are used to make alcoholic drinks. I decided to expand on the idea, did some research and discovered that heathers were once used as a substitute for hops in making beer. So I added heathers to this garden. I planted sweet woodruff for May wine, and a quince bush, rose bush, mint, wormwood and lemon balm for making cordials. A friend would occasionally harvest hops for beer, but I didn’t try it. I did, however, harvest the hop cones each year for use in sleep pillows, an old-time remedy for insomnia. And the heathers were a marvelous addition for year-round pleasure. The reds, greens and golds of the leaves and the pink, rose and white flowers make a garden tapestry to be enjoyed even on a winter walk. I harvested bunches to use in wreaths and winter bouquets. There was a low bench in this garden that was a wonderful place to hide away and sit quietly. The mint crept out into the path, and its refreshing fragrance would linger long after it was touched. ——— The FRAGRANT GARDEN is just what the name implies. On warm summer afternoons, its heady aroma could be overpowering. Lavender, of course, was part of this garden. Old-fashioned cinnamon pinks, though not as attractive as the new hybrids, smelled beautiful. I planted several dwarf lilacs and a half dozen peonies, along with several fragrant rugosa roses and garden phlox. There was a succession of aromatic blooms all summer, from the early spring peonies to the late summer phlox. I harvested huge baskets of peony petals for potpourri, and added rose petals from the rose garden. I enjoyed strolling in the gardens just at dusk and picking a bouquet of fragrant herbs to infuse for use in the bathtub. I would put some sprigs in a pan of water, simmer for a few minutes and then strain the infusion into the bath water. The whole house would smell sweet. ——— With all this talk of fragrant baths, meditative teas and secret hiding corners, you might get the wrong impression of what it is like to cultivate more than an acre of garden space. My knees were permanently stained brown. It was difficult at times to really enjoy the gardens — or get away for any length of time — because there was always something that needed attention. Summer was an intense time of planting, weeding, harvesting and processing. But I loved it. Dombek is a Master Gardener who owned and operated an herb and garden shop in Blue Hill, Maine, for more than 15 years.

M O N D A Y, M A R C H 2 6 , 2 0 1 2



Three quick projects that kill clutter By Cedar Burnett


If, like me, you spent this winter hibernating and eating baked goods, your home may have paid the price. Maybe it got a little disorganized, or is starting to look like an episode of “Hoarders.� Spring is a great time to shake off that winter sluggishness and free yourself from clutter. But where to begin? Spring cleaning can feel overwhelming if your to-do list is more like a to-do novel. Never fear: Three professional organizers are here to offer three projects you can do in an afternoon each: HALL CLOSET Nikki Havens of Seriously Organized in Bloomington, Minn., recommends starting with your entry hall closet. Small closet or walk-in, use the most convenient spot in your home to your advantage. First, identify the coats you actually wear and pull out anything you don’t, along with outerwear that’s wrong for the season. “If you have too much stuff, you can’t find anything,� Havens says. After culling your coat collection, she suggests using the floor for frequently used shoes, and adding two shelves directly above them. Buy two color-coded bins for each family member and label them with names. (Don’t forget the dog, who comes with its own clutter.) Place the first set of bins on the bottom shelf. These baskets should be used for seasonal accessories, like hats and gloves in the winter or goggles in the summer. “If you don’t use it a couple of times a week it shouldn’t be there,� Havens says. “Keep two pairs of gloves — you don’t need eight.� Use the second shelf of bins for what Havens calls the “clutter control center.� From hairbands to finger-painting masterpieces, these tubs are the place to throw odds and ends as you come in the door. Finally, Havens recommends removing the hanging bar and installing hooks in a diamond-shaped pattern for coats and bags. Kids can take the lower hooks while

adults claim the top ones.

you want to go the extra mile. These can be particularly helpful with look-alike items — no more struggling to distinguish skinny jeans from bootcut at 6 a.m. Butin advises utilizing vertical space for accessories and shoes. The shelf above the hanging bar can house hat boxes and shoes stored in clear plastic boxes. Side walls can hold hooks for handbags, and a corkboard can display jewelry. Belts get messy quickly, she warns, so rolling them and placing them in a basket is your best bet. You can also keep your go-to shoes in a basket on the floor.

BEDROOM CLOSET Once you’ve mastered the hall closet, Brooke Butin and Heather Perrilliat of HeatherBrookes in Los Angeles have a plan for tackling your bedroom closet. The first thing to do is purge, Butin explains. Create a donate pile, a consignment pile and a give-to-friends pile. Perrilliat suggests trying on anything you haven’t worn in a while. You could even invite a friend and turn the chore into a fashion show. “Not everyone has the budget to buy FILES new clothes,� Butin says. “Look for clothes that could get new life from an alteration With your closets in order, the last, oft— you could save a couple hundred dollars dreaded task is at hand: organizing files. by spending 20.� Most of us would rather clean toilets Once you’ve cleared out the old, make than take on this project, but it’s probably note of what’s left. Seasonal clothes the most important. Luckily, you can kill should be boxed up and stored. The rest should be placed on matching hangers facing the same direction and categorized by type — i.e., shirts, pants, dresses. “You have to make your closet function for you,� Perrilliat says. “If you’re a jeans and T-shirt person, keep those toward the front.� After you’ve categorized, organize your clothes by color within each category. Use closet tab dividers between categories if

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Garden sitters also can serve as temporary managers of a property, said Jack McKinnon, who operates The Garden Coach in the San Francisco Bay area. “Some people hire maintenance services for their yards,� he said. “Some of these crews come at odd hours and need to be held accountable for what they do.� “Go online. Look for ads in the paper under ‘Landscape Gardeners.’ I doubt it’s all that difficult to find knowledgeable people looking for garden work in this economy,� McKinnon said. —

Gardeners don’t have to remain housebound during the vacation season just because their edibles and flowers need tending — Find a sitter. Keep your to-do list simple, though. “The job depends upon what they have in their yards and how long they’ll The InfinityŽ 98 gas furnace offers plenty of potential for annual be gone,� said Caryn savings with outstanding gas efficiency. Compared to today’s Sommersdorf, co-owner minimum efficiency models, the Infinity 98 can deliver estimated savings of about $308 annually on your gas costs.†If you are of Green Garden Sitters in replacing an older furnace, you can save even more. Variable-speed Orlando, Fla. “A vegetable blower and inducer motors contribute electrical savings as well to complete the utility savings story. † Based upon a residence in St. Louis, MO requiring a 50,000 BTUH heating load. Op cost version 3.0.4107.22653. garden may need to be checked every day. A flower garden, not so much.� PO Box 414 Sommersdorf and partPullman WA 99163 ner Jennifer Richardson Phone: 509-332-5713 perform the typical seaFax: 509-334-5454 sonal gardening chores — Fosdick can be contacted at deanfosContractor# HILLIHP253NH weeding, watering, mowing and harvesting. Sommersdorf got into the garden-sitting business a few years ago after asking a friend to take care of her tomatoes while she was away. “I asked her to water the plants, but she didn’t think about picking them, and the plants were a mess when I came home,� she said. “They had worms everywhere. Fruit flies. It took them a while to produce again.� Reliable plant sitters can provide peace of mind for vacationing gardeners, Sommersdorf said. They can also save them money. Gardeners going on vacation should create a chore list, and arrange for an interview and plant tour with prospective sitters before departing. Show them where the hoses, pruners and other tools are kept and demonstrate how they work. Offer up the edibles when they ripen and point out your favorite flowering plants to ensure they are “Where Quality Products and Expert Installation Meet� not weeded out.


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two anxiety-causing birds with one stone by pulling your tax files as you go. If you have a filing system in place, Mia Carpiniello of Organizing Philly in Philadelphia suggests pulling out every file and seeing what you can get rid of or consolidate. Consult with an attorney about legal documents, but in general, you can recycle or shred any item you haven’t looked at in a year. Receipts and manuals for items you no longer own and any regular bill statements you don’t need for tax or legal reasons should also get the heave-ho. Pull out any tax-related files from the previous year and keep them in a separate pile. If you don’t have a filing system in place, “it’s best to make a list of which files you’ll need before you create them,� Carpiniello says. Organize files into long-term reference and temporary action files (i.e., invitations and bills). Long-term reference files should live in the file cabinet, whereas temporary files should be stored on your desk and categorized into actions, such as “To pay� or “To respond.� To keep your desk clutter-free, Carpiniello recommends an inbox where you can keep paperwork until you have time to deal with it. Alphabetizing or color-coding files is a personal choice, but all your files should have tabs on the left side instead of in multiple locations — all that scanning from side to side is hard on the eyes. For all three projects, take stock of how you’re doing after three months. “If you’re not keeping it up, it isn’t working,� Carpiniello says. “Reevaluate your system or move your system. Eventually you’ll find the right one.�

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M O N D A Y, M A R C H 2 6 , 2 0 1 2

Rejuvenating an early 20th century charmer A 1915 craftsman home is given new life with a little elbow grease and dedication Tribune/Barry Kough

ABOVE: Nancy Jasper of Uniontown enjoys a comfortable chair with plenty of light for reading in the corner of her dining room. LEFT: The original living room is now the dining room, with a fireplace and built-in bookcase, all dominated by the original woodwork that’s been refinished.

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good things, too,” said Jasper. She decided after walking through the house with her contractor, Larry Knewbow, that she could do it. Knewbow had the same enthusiasm about the house that Jasper had, so she purchased the home in 2010. It was a year before it was ready for her to actually move in but she doesn’t regret the choice. And for Jasper the excitement doesn’t seem to have subsided at all. Mostly, she said, it just really needed cleaned up. The woodwork in the house was in pretty good condition, including the hardwood floors, which are made of a white pine laid out in a diamond design. The biggest projects in the house were the kitchen and bathrooms, which had to be completely gutted and rebuilt. It was important to Jasper that these “new” rooms By Peggy J. Hayden blend in. She wanted the original look to remain Of Target Publications throughout the house and went to great lengths to make that happen. UNIONTOWN — For some, their idea of a dream The house also had to be completely rewired and home is one that is shiny and new, with the latest all of the plumbing redone, Jasper said, which is features and most current designs. But for others, where she started. like Nancy Jasper, their dream home is full of his“The electrician came in and said ‘This is like the tory and natural elements that remind them of days oldest wiring I’ve ever seen.’ He got out his camera gone by. and he said ‘I’ve never seen anything so old.’ It was When Jasper went to Uniontown to look at this house, she wasn’t sure if she could do it. The 1915 really, really old. Kinda scary,” Jasper said. Jasper and her daughter gutted the entire upstairs craftsman-style house had sat empty for three to attic and turned it into an additional two bedrooms four years — at least empty of humans, some aniand a half bath for when her adult children come mals had taken up residence. home to visit. The electrician was able to pull all “There was a broken window upstairs and one the old wiring up from there so redoing all the walls wouldn’t be necessary. down here and there Many of the features of this quaint home are the were animals. It was things that are original, like the copper vent covers, definitely a fixer-upper, hinges and door knobs. Not to mention the light but there was a lot of fixtures in the living room, which are made of brass, and the straight grain wood box beams that grace the ceiling giving it a very turn-of-the-century feeling. These original pieces not only show a true craftsmanship but are functional and decorative. Like many craftsman houses the front porch is inviting and warm. A place where you can sit and look out at passerswhile drinking a glass HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 8-5; Sat. 9-3 by of iced tea on a warm 613 Sycamore, Clarkston summer afternoon. The front door opens into a . 751-YARD (9273) up gro g yin bu al ion


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A large passthrough was created between the kitchen and dining room, expanding the originally smaller kitchen with a convenient serving counter. Tribune/ Barry Kough

Tribune/Barry Kough

LEFT: The master bedroom is brightened by the daylight pouring in over the half shuttered window. The room is painted yellow a color very close to the original colors used in the time period for bedroom. to store games, dishes or just about anything. Wanting to retexture the walls, Jasper took them all the way down, beyond many paint jobs and even some wallpaper, to the original paint. During the job of stripping down the walls she was having a difficult time getting the old wallpaper to come loose so she went online looking for advice on how best to do it and came away with a tip she says worked like a charm. Tip: Mix liquid fabric softener, like downy, with water in a spray bottle and saturate the wallpaper. The have been part of the original design, compounds in the softener they appear as if they were meant to be should make the old glue there. give, making it easier to The look-through that Jasper had put pull the paper away from in the wall makes the kitchen feel bigger the wall. and provides a way to communicate Jasper did a good job with guests when entertaining. It also is making the house a warm handy as a place to set food for a buffet- and inviting place with tons style meal. of character and charm. Because the dining area was once One is reminded of the the living room it does include time period this house was a wonderful brick fireplace, built simply from the natuwhich can add ambiance ral elements she brought to the dining experience. A back to life. built-in book shelf comes off Now that she has pretty one side of the fireplace and much completed the inside provides a decorative place of the home she is making

dining area, which was once the living area. Jasper had a look-through built into the wall between the room and the kitchen. She decided to use the room for dining and make the room that was originally for dining into the living room. Another thing that she added to the interior of the home that wasn’t part of the original design is indoor shutters on the windows. And while it may not

plans to begin working on the outside. The history of the house remains a mystery but little by little Jasper continues to uncover some of the story through things she finds while she continues to bring her dream home back to its original beauty. Hayden may be contacted at or (208) 848-2243.



All Framed Pictures

Rich dark woodwork dominates the look of the house, from the floors up to the many wood box beams that crisscross the ceilings. The wood beams in the living room are accented by the original lighting fixtures, made of brass. Tribune/Barry Kough

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M O N D A Y, M A R C H 2 6 , 2 0 1 2

A place to hang his heads

Tribune/Kyle Mills

The master bedroom comes complete with a ceiling fan and canned lighting.

Doug Brown talks about his new custom home located in the Clarkston Heights. The threebedroom house has an open floor plan and high ceilings, making it possible to display trophy heads from an South African hunt.

Brown said. But this was the first house he had looked at. “ ‘I’m not gonna buy the first and only house I Doug Brown of Clarkston was planning to buy a looked at. You better line me up to show me some lot and have a home built, so he gathered floor plans other houses,’ I told Jennifer (his Realtor). So we to houses that he felt met his needs. went and looked at about seven other houses but After looking at the floor plans, Brown’s Realtor yeah this was the one,� he said. took him to an area in the Clarkston Heights where Debbie Asplund, a local builder and Realtor, had there were several lots for sale. Out of nothing more completed the house just as the housing market than curiosity the two of them decided to take a look dried up in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, so it sat at the house he now calls home. empty for about a year before Brown came along. He wanted high ceilings so he could easily display The house sits on a corner lot and has an incredthe trophy heads he and his son got on a safari in ible view with a big yard. South Africa. “Now I just have to get a riding lawnmower,� “I needed big, tall ceilings, so this was perfect,� Brown said. This three-bedroom, two-bath house has nearly 2,000 square feet of living space and a two-car garage that is more than 800 square feet. The floor plan is very open; the rooms flow from one to the next but are also defined by more than just the ceilings or flooring. The entryway has a closet just in front of the door. The closet is part of an Island-type division in the center of the house that gives some separation between the rooms. To the right of the entryway is the dining room and to the left is an office space and the living room complete with a gas fireplace. “I love that fireplace,� Brown said. “I built a house when I was living in Vancouver that had a gas fireplace and then the other house I was living in just had a conventional one. And it’s so nice to get up in the morning and just flip the switch.� The office area is carpeted but the living room, kitchen and dining room all have laminate floors that look like cherry wood. Brown had decided he would like to have a rug in the living room so he went to Ziggy’s in Lewiston and picked out some carpet, which he had edged, giving him a custom rug for his living room. The ceiling in the living room is 11-feet high while through the rest of the house the ceiling measures 10-feet high. Also, the living room ceiling was done with a trowel to give it some texture and a ceiling fan was installed. The kitchen counter tops are granite. The cupboards are cherry wood and come with lights attached to the underneath. The back splash in the Tribune/Kyle Mills kitchen is a subway tile and gives the illusion of Stainless steel finishes can be found throughout being brick. The cupboards below have pullouts to the house on all the accent pieces including the make storing pots and pans easier, and all the drawlighting fixtures. ers are no-slam drawers. Stainless steel appliances complete the modern look of the room and complement the hanging lights over the island bar in the center of the kitchen. The kitchen also has a sevenfoot-wide pantry with pullout doors that make access to the entire pantry easier. Red, Pink, The laundry room, located to the right of the t f Gi es White kitchen, comes complete with plenty of storage, a icat SPECIAL hanging rod and a sink, to make laundering needs Cer tif lable VARIETY easier. Avai Long Blooming Beyond the garage door is the dining room, Optional Planting Fee which is large enough for a formal dining table that Free seats eight. The chandeliers in the dining room and $ delivery entry way, as well as the two hanging lights over 746-3644 (Inland Auto Glass) the kitchen island bar, all match in design. They are By Peggy Hayden

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The master bath includes a large jacuzzi tub and a shower in a private room with the toilet. silver and the light cover appears as though it were made of paper mache. Asplund pointed out some of the intricacies of the home like the fact that all the lighting fixtures, knobs, hinges and parts are matched with a silver plating. She also explained that the painters she used sprayed the trim and then went back to touch up any over-spray that got on the walls, giving all the trim a clean and smooth look. “My dad always said your house is only as good as your subcontractors, so I use some of the top ones in the valley,� said Asplund. Brown says he has so much storage room throughout the house that he doesn’t even use it all. Both bathrooms have double sinks and a door that separates the toilet from the sink and vanities. The

guest bath has a linen closet and a standard tub/shower while the master bath has a Jacuzzi tub that comes with a pull-out shower head, which rests next to the faucet. It also has a stand-up shower near the toilet. The bedrooms and hallway are carpeted while the bathrooms and laundry room have vinyl flooring. There is a door between the living room and kitchen that leads to a deck overlooking the backyard. The deck has a personal sauna and a gliding bench. Below the deck, Brown had a concrete patio made for entertaining. The yard is still a work in progress but Brown has started by installing a sprinkler system, some sidewalks and some plant beds. “That’s my next project, to get the yard done,� Brown said.

Pruning shrubs helps produce new and healthier growth plus keeps them at a manageable size. Here are a few tips to help: 1. Cut at an angle a quarter of an inch above a bud. If the cut is any closer, the bud may not survive and the branch will die. 2. Prune flowering shrubs in late winter or early spring, before they flower, or, for spring-flowering shrubs, after they flower. 3. Every few years, remove about one-third of the branches-including dead wood, weak growth and broken and diseased branches. 4. Winter-hardy shrubs die back to the ground each year. In the spring, cut off all dead branches to about six inches from the ground. 5. Start with the right cutting and collecting tools. For example, The Gardener’s Hollow Leg is a handy recycled polyester sack with a belt attached that can reduce the need to bend over. Worn around the waist, the sack leaves hands free to collect trimmings and debris, deadhead or harvest, making it safer for ladder tasks, too. Comfortable and ergonomically correct, the sack eliminates lugging around a bucket or creating piles of clippings that must later be picked up. A strap on the bottom makes it easy to dump debris into the compost pile when the job is done. It’s a great gift idea for gardeners. For more information visit

Hayden may be contacted at or (208) 848-2243.

Even small gardens have room for fruit trees OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE


Everybody likes fruit, but some gardeners may be reluctant to plant an apple or peach tree, preferring to play it safe with some tomatoes or peppers. That’s who Colby Eierman had in mind when he wrote “Fruit Trees in Small Spaces: Abundant Harvests from Your Own Backyardâ€? (Timber Press). “I thought of the gardener who has been growing vegetables in the backyard,â€? Eierman said, “and is ready to make that step to perennial fruit.â€? Gardeners may be handicapped by their lack of knowledge of fruit. Eierman includes far more varieties than a consumer will find in a supermarket, where easy-toship trumps taste. This was his way of helping gardeners make a choice. “Some folks just aren’t going to be able to grow citrus, but there’s a lot of great apples out there that will work,â€? he says. “I’ve been so enriched in my life, growing plants in general and trees specifically, I’d like to help people start on their own journey.â€? The book talks about turning your yard into a small orchard, growing fruit trees in pots, what works, what (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune. Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune. com. Distributed by MCT Information Services. doesn’t, and even includes recipes. Q: How is growing fruit different from other plants? A: You’re thinking about the long term from the McCall’s Candles & Warmers start. With fruit trees, the main reason you plant is to New Spring Scents give you fruit, and that may not come for five years. Take the time to choose the right variety, do a lot of Lots of other new research, and hopefully make the right decision. Spring arrivals. ——— Q: How long before you can get fruit? A: Depends on your climate. If you can plant a bare-root tree in a small space in the winter, (a tree that’s) 2 to 3 years old, that’s potentially going to set “Where You Are Full Service Pharmacy Our #1 Priorityâ€? some fruit (quickly). It’s OK to let that produce a few pieces of fruit in the first year and get a chance to 7KDLQ5G/HZLVWRQ‡ taste what that variety is. With a larger tree, the first couple of years, trim all that fruit when it’s, say, nickel size in diameter, and let the tree focus its energy on (its) structure, the branches, root system. Then two to three years in, let more fruit ripen. ———

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Q: What about fruit trees being messy? A: I don’t see it as an issue, (but) there’s a lot we can do. There are things we can do with netting. The nice thing about small trees and keeping them small is that they’re easier to protect and eliminate that sort of pressure. You also have to choose the right variety. Having a plum tree over your sidewalk, it’s going to drop fruit. If that’s not what you want, that’s not where you should put that tree. ——— Q: How adventurous can or should a gardener be in choosing trees? A: Balance is the right word. My suggestion is to start with something you know you like to eat, because that will motivate you to make this succeed. That will be tempered against what you can grow, of course. I’m not going to suggest to someone in North Dakota to grow grapefruit. But maybe it could lead them to where someday they have a greenhouse for citrus. Also, identify which historically grows well in the area — go to the farmers market, see what they’re producing, talk to the farmers ... and see what we can be successful with. Then branch out from there. ———

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M O N D A Y, M A R C H 2 6 , 2 0 1 2

Feeling optimistic this spring? Might be the decor By Kim Cook

For The Associated Press

In home decor, there’s something about the start of spring. When life’s renewing itself outdoors, we feel the urge to revive our interiors too. This season, decor offerings are especially upbeat. Start with the palette. “Saturated” is a word being used a lot; it means ripe plum hues, intense tangerines, rich indigos, verdant greens, zingy turquoises, hot reds and peppy yellows. Dee Schlotter, a color expert with PPG Pittsburgh Paints, says exuberant orange is No. 1 on her trend radar. “It’s full of joy and playful,” says Schlotter, who also cites Geranium Pink as a hot hue. “It goes really well with orange, and it’s a happy, girly color.” Teal and turquoise are back after a lengthy retirement, and with experience in mid-century modern and traditional decor, they’ve got legs that will carry them into fall. Erin Olson loved the color family enough to devote a blog to it; the House of Turquoise follows all things blue-green. “What I love about turquoise is that it can be paired with any other color, since it has both warm and cool undertones,” she says. “My personal favorite is using turquoise as a fun punch of color to an

otherwise neutral space. A turquoise throw pillow, lamp or rug will instantly bring new life to your room, and can easily be switched out,” she says. Crisp clean white’s a common counterpoint, but you’ll see black as a foil as well. Graphic prints pop in these bold colors: Zigzags and stripes are all over the home accessories marketplace. So are lattice and ironwork prints; big and little florals; and abstracts. African handblock, Moroccan and Associated Press Silk Road patterns In this image released by The Land of Nod, a Watermelon have crossed over Stripe duvet cover is shown. When life’s renewing itself from last season. outdoors, we feel the urge to revive our interiors too. And Not a fan of this season, there’s something especially upbeat about bright? Look for a whole world of the home decor offerings sprouting up in stores. Graphic calming neutrals prints pop in these colors: zig zags and stripes are all such as soft putty, over the home accessories marketplace this spring. grellow (a gray/yellow blend), greige the popular gray trend them on dinnerware, pa(a gray/beige), aqua, pew- and moving it forward, by tio umbrellas, candles and ter, copper, vanilla and adding warmth with natu- awning stripes at Z Gallerie, shell pink. ral materials like jute and including a very Jonathan You’ll see lots of texture linen, and then giving it Adler-esque vase made of in this category: weath- a real punch by adding a lacquered bamboo. IKEA is offering its Exered wood, animal hide, sunny pop of yellow,” says burnished metals, burlap Sherwin-Williams’ color pedit shelving in fire enand gauzy cottons. Honey- marketing director, Jackie gine red; there’s the new Varmdo rocking chair in comb patterns, naturalis- Jordan. tic motifs like twigs, leaves Repainting walls in a the hue, too. Loll Designs’ cubby and birds, watery Impres- fresh spring hue is one sionist prints and airy flo- way to update a room, but bench comes in a pretty rals soothe the soul. if you’re not ready to com- grass green. And CB2’s Neutrals are “taking mit in a major way, small Go-Cart desk in vibrant changes can also alter a blue would be a fun place room’s mood. Try a lem- to work. Their Parlour In this ony throw, clean white atomic orange chair adds paint trim, a teal rug or energy to a neutral room. product Pier 1’s Liliana armchair sandy-toned drapery. image Go for a bright, candy- has an ironwork pattern released hued lamp base, and pick that’s recurring in textiles by Z the color up again in a big and furniture detail this Gallerie, fruit bowl. In the kitchen, season. The Annie Black Inc., a replace cooking tools with Bird wingback chair fealarge new ones in luscious to- tures a dramatic black and rounded white nature motif that Raya vase mato red. Flor’s new spring collec- would pop against dark with black tion of floor tiles features or white walls and wood and white Fedora, in a soothing pal- floors. And a hanging lamp stripes is ette of dusty turquoise, in caramel with leaves renshown. oatmeal, walnut and flan- dered in gold is the perfect nel. Used in a bedroom addition to a restful room Associated with lavender, cream or filled with tawny hues. Press If you like strong patpale pink textiles, you’d wake up to spring’s bird- tern but prefer quiet colsong in the most serene of ors, consider BlissLivingHome’s muted deep sea sleeping spaces. Land of Nod has a cheery and celery chevron reversWatermelon Stripe duvet ible Maru throw. DwellStudio’s got a new cover in a rainbow of fruity hues, as well as the Dot collection of zigzag flatMatrix rug, composed of weave wool and cotton rugs hundreds of rolled felt balls in lapis and citrine. And Galbraith & Paul’s looplike colorful gumballs. Black and white geo- embellished velvet pillows metrics make a dramatic come in gentle shades of statement — you’ll find coral and nutmeg.



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Guide: l — Watermelon duvet cover, $79-$109; Dot Matrix rug, $99-$279. l — Raya vase $49.95; zigzag dinnerware, $4.95-$6.95. l — Expedit, $89.99$149. l — Loll Designs bench, $669. l — Go-Cart desk, $149. l — Liliana, $379.95; Annie, $249.95; lamp $125. l — Maru, $85. l — zigzag rugs, $210 and up. l — Galbraith & Paul pillows, $149. l stool$249; pillows $179 bench $649. l - Fedora tiles, $8.99 each. ©2012 Master Mark Plastics

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Less is more in window treatments By Melissa Rayworth


With springtime weather upon us, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll soon be opening windows and letting the sun shine in. As breezes set curtains fluttering, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the perfect time to consider the way your windows are decorated. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dressing windows is one of the most impactful ways to give any space a designer edge,â&#x20AC;? says Brian Patrick Flynn, an interior designer and founder of decorde The freshest looks now, according to Flynn and interior designers Betsy Burnham and Mallory Mathison, are all about simplicity, softness and fuss-free design. SIMPLE HARDWARE â&#x20AC;&#x153;The skinnier the rod, the fresher the room will look,â&#x20AC;? says Burnham, founder of Burnham Design in Los Angeles. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Just a skinny rod with tiny rings is all you need. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very graceful. ... When I see two-inch and 3-inch wooden rods and clunky rings now, it looks so dated.â&#x20AC;? Mathison, who is based in Atlanta, agrees: â&#x20AC;&#x153;People are moving away from window treatments with cornices and valances.â&#x20AC;? With a basic curtain or Roman shade, she says, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to worry about â&#x20AC;&#x153;anything collecting dust or dirt, or kids wrapping themselves up in bunches of fabric.â&#x20AC;? SHEERS AND NATURALS Mathison increasingly prefers to use Associated Press sheer curtains on their own, rather than In this undated image released by Mallory Mathison Inc., a bathroom by Atlanta-area designer Mallory Mathison, is pairing them with thicker draperies. shown. Adding a thin, organic cotton lining to a sheer curtain panel adds a bit of priThe same rule goes for Roman shades: noticeable,â&#x20AC;? Burnham says. ego, and go a little crazier.â&#x20AC;? vacy, but keeps â&#x20AC;&#x153;that sort of flowy, gauzy â&#x20AC;&#x153;A simple, pleated style, not too much If you prefer shades to curtains, MathiFurniture also matters: â&#x20AC;&#x153;In rooms with look,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a soft little frame for the window and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no distraction fabricâ&#x20AC;? has become more popular than son says to apply the same strategy: Buy mostly solid decor,â&#x20AC;? Flynn says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I turn to billowing shades. a plain white cotton Roman shade, she window dressing to add pattern.â&#x20AC;? with it being a heavy fabric.â&#x20AC;? And phony curtains are definitely out: says, then attach a flat ribbon trim across If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re using a print, â&#x20AC;&#x153;always think â&#x20AC;&#x153;Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t put up two panels that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t actu- the bottom border or even a cotton pom- of how far away you will be from your ONLY THE FABRIC YOU NEED pom fringe for a childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s room. The look is window treatments,â&#x20AC;? he advises. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tiny A few years ago, Burnham says, many ally close,â&#x20AC;? Burnham advises. simple and clean, and the expense mini- rooms like powder rooms are ideal for designers favored piling on fabric to creCUSTOM LOOK FOR LESS mal, but youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve added a dash of color small patterns since the eye will never be ate dramatic windows. Today, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s increasingly easy to get the look of and texture. far enough away from the pattern for it to spare approach. made-to-order window treatments withbecome busy or hard to read.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not swagging. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no pudSUBTLE PATTERNS â&#x20AC;&#x153;Medium and larger patterns give the dling of fabric on the floor anymore,â&#x20AC;? she out the cost. All three designers suggest buying pre-packaged curtain panels, then Patterns arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t out of style, but these most bang for the buck,â&#x20AC;? he says. But if says. Now, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best for fabric to â&#x20AC;&#x153;just kiss having them custom lined and hemmed designers suggest deploying them strate- the design â&#x20AC;&#x153;is very large, this means you the floor.â&#x20AC;? to fit your windows. gically. One approach is using a pattern need way more fabricâ&#x20AC;? to appreciate it, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I stick with linen and done all in one color. which will increase the cost, he says. cotton,â&#x20AC;? says Flynn, â&#x20AC;&#x153;then â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are a lot of sheers drop them off to a seam- now that have a subtle patWe Deliver stress to be lined so they tern in them, a tone-onOr You Haul hang nicely. Next, I have tone stripe or wavy design the tops sewn â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;soft topâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; that adds a little bit of instyle, which is a straight terest,â&#x20AC;? Mathison says, stitch that gives a casual, but still â&#x20AC;&#x153;looks simple and relaxed look. Then drapery light.â&#x20AC;? hooks are added. The cost Burnham sometimes fais anywhere from $25 to vors that approach, bring$125 per panel, depend- ing in pattern through texing on the type of pleat and ture rather than color: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s liner used.â&#x20AC;? nice to find a rougher linen, Or buy several yards of just not a plain flat cotfabric (look for sales and ton,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So you get online coupons for local a little texture in your solid fabric stores) and have a color drape, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s addseamstress make simple ing more dimension to your 337947CZ-12 panels, rather than having wall.â&#x20AC;? curtains done by a custom Subtler patterns work eswindow treatment retailer. pecially well in a bedroom, Come See Us At <RXURQO\DXWKRUL]HGGHDOHU â&#x20AC;&#x153;The difference in cost, if Burnham says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;where itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s LQ,GDKRDQG:DVKLQJWRQ Our NEW Location you have the work done by nice to have something someone who normally tai- calmer. 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Cleaning up meshes: what

to know about screen care By Amy Lorentzen

For The Associated Press

For many of us, spring cleaning includes washing winter dirt and debris off of windows and window screens. Paying extra attention to screens now can end up saving homeowners money, as well as ensuring better views and keeping out bugs.

Indian Blankets pack gardens with color and visitors

Here’s the lowdown on screens and screen care: CLEANING IS KEY The average home has 12 to 15 window screens, usually made of aluminum or fiberglass with a vinyl coating. Experts recommend washing them twice a year, but at least once in the spring to rid them of winter grime. “We’ve had the rain and the snow all winter and the dirt builds up on them,” says Scott Walker, president and owner of Screenmobile, a mobile window and door screening company with close to 100 locations throughout the country. “If you think of them as a filter, you wouldn’t want to breathe all the dust and the dirt that builds up.” The easiest way to start is by marking screens so you’ll remember which window they fit, says Colleen Maiura, a spokeswoman with Lowe’s Home Improvement stores. You can use a marker or a small piece of tape that’s strong enough not to be washed away by the garden hose. She suggests a cleaning solution of 1 cup ammonia, 3 cups of water and a squirt of dish detergent. Lay the screens on a flat surface, thoroughly wet them with a hose and use a squirt bottle to apply the cleaning mix. Leave it on for about 10 minutes, use a soft-bristled brush to remove stubborn grime, then rinse. Don’t scrub aluminum screens too hard; you could dent them. Maiura suggests shaking screens to remove excess water. If you’ve got fiberglass ones, you can gently snap them with a towel to send water drops flying and prevent hard water stains.

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If you pay someone to wash your windows, it’s a good idea to inspect the screens beforehand. That way you won’t blame washers for tears already there, and you can ask them to pay for any damages that occur during their work. REPAIRS FOR A REASON The point of having window screens is to let you open up your home to fresh air while keeping bugs and debris out. Rips and tears in the mesh, or bent screen frames, defeat that purpose. Walker says you can do some minor repairs on your own. Inexpensive patch kits available at home improvement stores include small pieces of mesh that grab around holes and close them up. Pieces of household tape can cover up tiny tears. Neither option is attractive, Walker adds, but they can serve as quick fixes in otherwise good screens. Homeowners can attempt to fix slight bends in aluminum screens, but should know that the frame may

crack under the stress. Spring cleaning is also the time to repaint wooden screen frames if needed. Painting helps seal the wood and keep it from warping. PREVENTING DAMAGE Children and pets can be especially tough on screens and screen doors because sometimes they just don’t see them. Consider using decorative stickers to remind them that a screen is there. Pet screens can be mounted on sliding screen doors for easy access for pets that enjoy the outdoors. For those who might have used an elbow to keep a swinging screen door from closing too quickly, there’s a better option that won’t cost you a repair. Check the top of your door for a piston mechanism that you can turn and increase the pressure, to make the door close more slowly. To keep window screens and doors sliding smoothly, Walker suggests skipping oil-based lubricants such as WD-40 and instead using


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Associated Press

In this undated product image released by Phifer Wire Products, a dog is shown leaning against a pet-resistant “Pet Screen,” a product offered by Phifer Wire. The screen, made of a vinyl-coated Polyester, resists damage caused by pets.

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a silicone-based lubricant, such as furniture polish. If you have the storage space, cleaning screens in the fall and then storing them away during the winter can extend their life, experts say. REPLACE AS NEEDED If a screen has large or multiple holes, or if its frame is bent or broken, then it’s time for a new one. “Our rule of thumb is that if the frame doesn’t seal up against the window, then the bugs can come around there, so you’d need to replace it,” Walker says. Fiberglass screens, which have a vinyl coating, will begin to show white strands, which means “there is virtually no integrity” left in the screen, he adds. NEW PRODUCTS Maiura says that if you’re switching screens, consider a charcoal color for better visibility. She and Walker both touted new fine-mesh screens that can block small bugs and improve your view. The screens are made of super-fine strands so homeowners see less screen and more scenery. “It’s almost like an invisible screen,” Walker says of his company’s BetterVue product. Other new products include strong pet screens that cats can climb without tearing and retractable screen doors that are mounted on door jams so they’re hidden when homeowners don’t need them. Walker, who is based in Thousand Palms, Calif., says entire patio enclosures are being built with retractable screens that are motorized for easy use. Homeowners will also start seeing strong, stainless steel screens on the market that offer some security. “You get the look of a screen door, but the benefits of a security door,” says Walker.

Names like Firewheel and Indian Blanket give clear indication that this is a flower that packs some color. Two-foottall plants loaded with red flowers that look as though they have been dipped in yellow make this a winning plant in landscapes, butterfly gardens and wildflower meadows. Known botanically as Gaillardia pulchella, it is indeed one of the most loved wildflowers in the United States and rightfully so. It is hard to believe but it is native to all but 11 of the lower 48 states. It is blooming in dramatic fashion at the National Butterfly Center located in far south Texas along the Rio Grande River and will no doubt be putting on a show in your region in the near future. Everyone will suggest to you that it is treasured by butterflies and we will have to concur, for it seems no matter which clump we look at there is a Red Admiral, a Bordered Patch, American Lady or a Crescent feasting on the nectar. We planted ours a little differently than most gardeners in that we used transplants that were set out at the end of October. The soil is fertile, and it was well prepared prior to planting. The plants were set out in a cooperative project with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service along with a combination of 21 other wildflowers and native grasses. Though not impossible, is still fairly rare to find this species available at garden centers. Below you’ll find the species that have become just as sought-after and much more readily available. Most gardeners who love the aspect of spring wildflowers however are accustom to sowing Indian Blankets by seed. The Gaillardia aristata known as Blanketflower has caught on as a perennial and is native in the west from Canada to New Mexico and across the northern third of the United States eastward to New York. In trials I have been associated with, varieties like Oranges and Lemons, as well as Sunburst, have stood out tolerating the sweltering heat and humidity of the south. Where as we think of the Indian Blanket, Gaillardia pulchella as being a short-lived perennial or reseeding annual we consider the Blanketflower to be a fairly tough perennial but one that also reseeds giving you a double shot.   A couple of years ago the gardening world was turned upside down with the debut of Mesa Yellow, the first F1 hybrid gaillardia from seed. This solid yellow variety not only did well in trials but was also chosen as an All-American Selections Winner and a Flueroselect Gold Medal Winner. The Mesa series has now been expanded to two with the addition of Mesa bi-color that looks more like the traditional red and yellow Blanketflower.  Gaillardias will bloom best if you select a location in the full sun. Almost any type of soil is fine as long as it is well drained, simply put, Gaillardia does not like wet feet. Once established, this plant is drought-tolerant. Deadheading promotes more flowering, but the one thing that impressed me with the Mesa Yellow was that spent flowers took on a golden globe look for a period of time looking almost as appealing as a gomphrena. In the landscape you have options of combining with yellow flowers for a monochromatic color scheme. At the National Butterfly Center we’ve partnered them with small yellow flowered bladderpods. But you couldn’t go wrong combining them with blue flowers like Victoria Blue salvias or Blue Daze evolvulus. Gaillardias are among the most dazzling flowers we can choose for the garden and it is extra special that provide such a rich source of nectar for bees and butterflies. — Winter can be contacted at (c) 2012, Norman Winter. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

LEFT: Spiky flowers with a rare blue color make salvias like Evolution, Cathedral Deep Blue and Victoria Blue real garden treasures. TOP: Wings folded, this American Lady is quite at home feasting on the nectar rich Indian Blanket flowers. MCT

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using your Facebook or Twitter account. ‘MUST-FOLLOW’ BOARDS AND PINNERS Once you create an account and install the “pin it Everyone has the ability to be a great pinner, Howplug-in” to your bookmarks bar, Pinterest automatiell says. cally generates a few generic pinboards for you to be“You don’t have to be famous or artistic,” she says. gin pinning to. Either nix or rename these boards to something you actually care about so they don’t ap- “You just have to recognize great visuals.” pear blank on your online profile, advises Brie Dyas, On the Net: editor of Stylelist Home for the Huffington Post. Start pinning by searching in the upper-left cor ner for an item or project (keep it short), or look up

As you begin your renovation project, experts caution not to paint before investigating what’s behind your walls. Insulation and infrastructure are significant to the foundation and value of your property, so bringing in a home inspector or appraiser allows you to make corrections early. Common problems center on air leakage and poor insulation, according to the experts. The latest research indicates that traditional fiberglass and cellulose insulation are less reliable than spray foam insulation. Foams, are known to decrease the presence of common airborne irritants, reduce air and water penetration as well as energy costs. When you sell your home, spray foam insulation stands to give a better return on investment than dated insulation.

In a world that seems so dominated by round flowers those that have a spiky texture and rise above that imaginary horizontal plane of the flower bed are almost like gold. Plants like the blue salvias are the ones that stir excitement and even create garden memories. The mealy cup sage is among the best at offering this stunning garden performance. If there was ever a plant that needed a better common name it is this one wonderful flower. But, Great Scott!, was “mealy cup” the best they could do? Thankfully varietal names like Victoria Blue, Cathedral Deep Blue and Evolution have become the monikers noticed when we shop at our local garden center. All gardens need spiky plants to create interest in the flower border and a few days ago while walking around the National Butterfly Center an American Lady butterfly helped prove again why this plant is still on my top 10 list of the

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best garden flowers. If you can imagine a fiery orange butterfly on spike of iridescent blue blooms then you realize this is the ultimate in a complementary color scheme. Salvia farinacea is native to Texas and Mexico and is drought tolerant once established. I have always seen a fair amount of bee, butterfly and hummingbird activity making this a great plant to be included in backyard wildlife habitats. Lately visitors have been stopping in my office to ask the identity of that wonderful blue flower, and rightly so, because blue is still the most sought after color in the garden. Select a site in full sun for best flower performance. Fortunately, this genus of salvia is tolerant of wide varieties in soil pH. From this standpoint, anyone can grow it. With very good drainage and partnered with a good layer of mulch most gardeners find this plant being a hardy perennial in zones 7 and higher. If you live outside of this area in a colder zone, know that you still could not buy a better annual or source of blue.


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brands, stores and TV personalities, browse their pinboards and share what you like, says Sabrina Soto, host of HGTV’s “The High Low Project.” Looking for new home design trends or fresh ways Click on the “Everything” tab in the middle of the to brighten up your living space for spring? home page to see all images being pinned at a cerThese days, many designers and design enthusi- tain time. Or scroll down to narrow what you’re seeasts are turning to the social media site Pinterest for ing to categories such as art, design, DIY and crafts, inspiration. gardening, or print and posters. A virtual pinboard or scrapbook, the website allows users to collect and organize their favorite imHOW TO THRIVE ages and ideas from around the Internet. “Pinners” You can turn your pinning up a notch by downcan add their own images to their online profiles, or loading the Pinterest app to your smartphone, letting peruse others’ pinyou pin products or boards and “like” or home-improvement “re-pin” their images ideas you see while Here are some popular boards and pinners for future use. out and about, Soto Each image links as recommended by home-design pros and says. “This is so back to the website helpful for when I’m Pinterest fans. Search for them by their user from which it was looking for ideas on taken, and images my upcoming prodnames: can be organized by ucts,” she says. topic, color, design, l Lonny Magazine: lonnymag Search often if event or any other you’re looking for l HGTV: hgtv category. ideas for a specific While there’s not l Elle Decor: elledecor room or project. yet a way to quantify “Follow someone l Rue Magazine: ruemag pins, style and home so that when they decor are among Pinupdate their boards, l Real Simple: realsimple terest’s most popular you will be notified,” pinning categories, l Joy Cho: ohjoy says Megan Meloy, says Lauren Indvik, design expert for the l Etsy: etsy an editor at the soNorcross, Ga.-based cial media news blog l Better Homes and Gardens: bhg children’s room tailer KooKoo Bear l Rachel Halvorson: rachelhdesign Remodeling your Kids. She says she kitchen? Create a uses Pinterest evl DIY Network: diynetwork “Kitchen Makeover” ery day to showcase pinboard and scour l Gray Livin’: graylivin the company’s merPinterest for ideas. chandise, at pinterl Martha Stewart Living: ms—living Or go more specific:“Countertop Ideas” bk. or “Kitchen Paint If you’re looking Colors.” for more followers, “Pinterest is like Dyas recommends keeping an electronic clip file — that manila folder making yourself known by following, liking and comwith tons of tear sheets from magazines. It’s how I menting on other people’s pins, and not pinning evrenovated my first kitchen,” says Mary Leigh Howell, erything you like at once. a free-lance public relations specialist in Greensboro, N.C. WHAT TO AVOID Women make up most of Pinterest’s more than 10 “Don’t limit yourself to creating a single board dedmillion users, and are driving traffic to home mag- icated to one topic,” says Soto. “Combine everything azines like Country Living and Elle Decor in record that you love and make several boards that cover a numbers, Indvik says. Last summer, Pinterest sent wide range of interests.” more traffic to than Facebook She also recommends branching out to pin images and Twitter combined, and House Beautiful magafrom many different websites, not just one. zine has seen triple-digit increases in referrals in the Blogger Amy Lynn Andrews, who penned a list of past six months, according to Indvik. Pinterest tips at, advises against cutesy descriptions for pins (“Super HOW TO START cool!” “Love this!”). Instead, use keyword-rich enYou can join Pinterest by requesting an invite from someone already on the site, or by clicking “Request tries (black concrete countertop) to make your pins an Invite” on the home page. Once invited, register and boards easier to find. By Sarah Wolfe

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‘Renovate’ old trees, shrubs with careful pruning A desire to tidy up the garden and do something outdoors, even before anything much is really happening, drives many of us out to prune. March is a fine time for pruning for most plants. A LILAC MAKEOVER Lilac sometimes get overgrown with neglect. Can a tangled mass of stems with awkward posture and few flowers be brought back to its former glory? Yes, it can. There are two options in “renovation pruning” such a shrub. The first is the drastic one: merely lop the whole plant to within 1 foot of the ground. Now. The renovated lilac will hardly be worth looking at for a year, perhaps two. A few vigorous shoots will grow this season, fueled by an established root system. Late next winter, thin out some of those stems, and you’re on your way to a “new” shrub, full of blossoms and with a graceful growth habit. You will soon have what amounts to a whole new plant from the ground up. The second option is to renovate the shrub over a period of four or five years. Although this takes more time, the plant will look decent and flower throughout the recovery period. Exercise this option by cutting two or three of the oldest stems to ground level or to vigorous branches low on the plant each year in late winter. At the same time, thin out some of the youngest sprouts growing from ground level, making sure to leave a few as replacement shoots for the old wood you are removing. After a few years, how many depends on how long the shrub has been neglected, you will have cut away all the old wood and replaced it with new wood. This “new” shrub will be shapely and bear abundant, fragrant blossoms.

OLD APPLE TREES MADE LIKE NEW Old apple trees similarly often suffer neglect. Such craggy, old trees do have a rustic charm, but too many of their fruits are pest-ridden, lacking flavor and high out of reach. Can the plant be returned to its former glory? Again, the answer is yes, with renovation pruning. But before you pick up your pruning tools, ask yourself whether your efforts will be justified. Is the tree of a particularly good variety? Do you really want a tree where that tree is? Some young trees could already be bearing in the time it would take to restore this one, so before beginning renovation pruning, consider “pruning” the tree with a saw, at ground level. If you do decide to renovate the old tree, now is a good time to start. First make some large cuts low in the tree to thin it out and, if you want, to lower it and limit its spread. Cut one or two major limbs back to their origin or to sturdy side branches. If more major limbs need cutting back,

wait a year, and if still more must go, hold off for yet another year. If you cut too much in one year, there is the risk of sunburn on once-shaded bark. This summer, new sprouts may grow near some of your pruning cuts. Some of these sprouts, especially those of moderate vigor, might be in good positions to make permanent new limbs. Save those and cut away the others, especially when many are clustered near a pruning cut. — Reich can be contacted at leereich. or

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Home & Garden 2012  
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Spring Home and Garden 2012