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LatestHomeAndGarden

Ohio ‘Gingerbread House’ models 19th-century charm

AKRON, Ohio — Susan McKiernan can’t quite figure out where her obsession with older homes and 1840s English antiques comes from. When she was 8, she created a drawing that showed where her laundry would hang one day. At 11, she was taking the bus to Stagecoach Antiques in West Akron. And she once told her mother she wanted a kitchen with windows to let in light on three sides. “I mean, who thinks like that?” she said …

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Gardens becoming vital to ecosystem

In an age of environmental woe — climate change, habitat loss, threats to beloved pollinators — should we change the role and the look of our gardens? You won’t have to read many pages of a new book, “The Living Landscape,” to get your answer. Authors Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy argue that our residential landscapes are surprisingly barren places that could be transformed into oases for plants, animals and, ultimately …

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Master Gardeners: Use these tricks to get your peppers to turn red

Q. I love red sweet peppers, but I never seem to get them to turn red before frost. Have any suggestions? A. Sweet peppers, such as California Wonder, need at least 20 days after they have reached the mature green stage before they turn red. Since peppers come from the tropics and semi-tropics, they don’t really start to actively grow until the soil and air temperatures are quite warm. There are, however, a couple of …

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Decorating the typical college room is big business

So much stuff, so little style. The dream dorm room was just not happening. Five years ago, Karen and Amanda Zuckerman hit the malls and big-box stores to decorate Amanda’s freshman dorm at Washington University in St. Louis. The offerings were ... well, underwhelming. “She wanted something special,” Karen Zuckerman says. “She wanted a home away from home that reflected her style.” The mother and daughter cobbled tog …

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For a low-maintenance garden, turn to natives

Is there such a thing as a low-maintenance garden? Some landscapers and horticulturists will tell you no — every garden needs maintenance of some kind. For the most part, they are right. There are high-maintenance and lower-maintenance gardens. It’s all about plant choice — right plant for right space — and giving plants room to grow without crowding. It’s also about the plant types you select. Plants that need const …

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Angie’s List: Rules for writing — and reacting to — online reviews

As online reviews become an increasingly common tool to help consumers make everyday decisions, from where to eat to which roofer to hire, it’s important to keep a few basic guidelines in mind. I’ve been in the consumer-review business for almost 20 years. Here are my top three rules for consumers to consider before sharing a business or service provider experience with the world: • Be honest. You have the right to w …

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Carol Barany: Choose grasses to match your space, soil needs

As it turns out, she was right. I was skeptical in 2008 when one of the best American garden writers, Tracy DiSabato-Aust, included several ornamental grasses in her favorite “Fifty High Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants.” Back then, I vowed that I would never welcome ornamental grasses into my garden again. Years earlier, I planted lyme grass (Leymus arenarius) and gardener’s garters (Phalaris arundinacea ‘Picta’), two …

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Master Gardeners: Plant herbs for colorful, flavorful garden addition

As we progress toward the last few weeks of summer and our thoughts turn to preserving our harvest, it follows that we want to add flavor, spice and seasonings to our produce. If you would like to grow your own herbs to enjoy fresh and/or dried, here are some basics regarding how to proceed and have a successful outcome. According to a national gardening survey, more than 14 million households in the United States gro …

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In the Garden: Sow a September salad

It’s the peak of the vegetable harvest in Yakima and our dinner plates are piled with luscious heaps of beans, corn, summer squash and tomatoes. But it’s far from over. While the days are shorter and nights are cooler, there still is great gardening ahead. In fact, fall is the best time for growing salad greens. Why not take a break from making pesto and preserves and sow some gorgeous greens to enjoy long after the …

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Use landscaping to deter intruders

Done right, landscaping can do much more than attract compliments and boost your property value. It can help you repel intruders, both human and natural. Landscaping experts who have earned high marks from Angie’s List members say overgrown bushes and shrubs are like welcome mats to burglars. Keep plants and trees trimmed. Place thorny but attractive bougainvillea or barberry bushes under windows, sending would-be thie …

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Master Gardeners: Plants suffer from heat just like people

Two weeks ago in this column, we discussed how to properly water your garden during this summer heat. Now we’d like to share a little background information on how excessive heat impacts plant growth and crop productivity. As we enter this month with the promise of plenty of sun and high temperatures, we need to focus on protecting ourselves, families and pets from the adverse effects of excessive heat. We also need t …

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Carol Barany: Dog Days offer time to evaluate failures

The Dog Days of summer have arrived with a vengeance. I thought the term explained why all I feel like doing these days is joining my dog in the hole she dug in the ivy on the shady side of the house and think deep thoughts as the temperatures soar. Actually, it refers to the star Sirius, nicknamed “the Dog Star” by the ancient Egyptians in honor of the god Osirus. For 20 days beginning in late July, Sirius rises and …

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‘Designer’ products that spruce up your yard

When heat, humidity and dry days take a toll on your flowers in July and August, give your yard a fresh look with pots of tropical hibiscus and mandevilla. Although they are not cold-hardy in much of the country, these plants add tropical touches to any summer décor. Costa Farms, a major hibiscus and mandevilla grower, features these stunning, sun-loving bloomers at garden centers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wal- …

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Comfrey an ancient healer, and hard to kill

There is a narrow patch of ground about 200 feet long, right in the middle of our farm, that is completely unlike any other. Everywhere else you’ll find tidy beds with straight rows, bursting with nutritious food crops. But this strip is overgrown with tall grass and a succession of beautiful wildflowers. Early multicolored lupines are followed by white daisies, red and yellow hawkweed, white yarrow, red clover, yellow …

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