This week in a palatial square in London’s legal district, the private apartment of Sir John Soane — the eminent Bank of England architect who started life as a bricklayer’s son — opens to the public for the first time in 160 years. “It’s a significant piece of real estate expansion that adds an entirely new floor,” says the director Abraham Thomas of the chambers, which sit on the second story of the museum — Soane’s spectacular former home, library and Regency architectural practice in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
Since his death in 1837, these lost rooms have been slowly converted into mediocre offices and, up until the end of World War II, accommodation for curators. Now Soane’s bedroom, bathroom, oratory, book passage and morning room have been gloriously reinstated, right down to the Pompeian red wallpaper. An intricate puzzle of clues from Soane’s meticulous inventories, and a series of watercolors he commissioned of the apartment as part of his architecture students’ training, have been painstakingly pieced together to reconstruct corridors, restore stained glass windows
A new year typically brings about resolutions right? Be they for losing weight, being more organized or simply an overall “being better” wish, resolutions are good goals to have.
Gardeners are no exception to wishing for the better; better gardens, better planning, better record-keeping, etc. Following are five resolutions that we wish every gardener, no matter their level of expertise, will embrace in the new year:
1. I will not blame myself for gardening failures. Oftentimes, Mother Nature is not our friend when it comes to gardening. Or life gets in the way. We do not want you to despair! Simply try again and learn from experience. Your garden, and your gardening friends, are both extremely forgiving.
2. I will not be afraid to ask questions. How else can you learn? Take advantage of the experience of your neighbor, your aunt, the garden center employee or the local extension agent. If they are like typical garden fanatics, they will appreciate your interest and be flattered that you want to learn from them. And learn you will!
CPTV is piloting a new series, hosted by Farmington-based interior designer Holly Holden, as she visits some of the most exquisite homes in the country and talks with the owners about home design, collecting and entertaining.
“We’ve been discovering masterpiece houses across the United States,” said Holden, who shot the pilot for her show, “You Are Cordially Invited,” earlier this month at Eyrie Knoll in West Hartford, the exceptional Prospect Avenue home of art collectors Melinda and Paul Sullivan.
“This is not just a decorator house,” Holden said during a break from filming the pilot, slated to air this fall. “There are stories with everything here, and [Melinda] is a very seasoned hostess. She entertains often.”
Producer Danielle Medina said the series will feature “the best of the best, and it’s nice to hear from the homeowners why they’ve collected what they have. It’s inspirational.”
The Sullivans are renowned for their local philanthropy and for their collection of 18th-century Baroque porcelains by Claudius Innocentius Du Paquier, a contemporary of Meissen. The majority of works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2009 Du Paquier exhibition came from their collection, reportedly the most extensive private collection
Many of us have heard of or experienced the joys of Elderhostel travel in which groups of older folks travel and learn together about fascinating places and events. This article discusses a few ideas regarding how to continue, with a bit less effort, the fun of gardening as a “senior.”
While what follows pertains particularly to vegetable gardening, the principles can be extended to many other types of gardening as well. A book from our personal library entitled Tips for the Lazy Gardener by Linda Tilgner provided me with some information for this epistle.
Time and Space
Plan your garden according to your best estimate respecting the amount of time you can, with pleasure, physically devote to planting and maintaining it. If your present situation suggests that the garden you have tended in the past is more than you can manage, plan a smaller one to accommodate your interests and capabilities. Forget those extra beans and tomatoes you enjoyed giving away to neighbors or that you have traditionally frozen or canned for winter.
Cover crops (those of low maintenance which enrich
In late 2013, Kerra Michele Huerta’s design business was taking off.
Her budget decorating hacks — which she illustrated on her Apartment Envy blog using her own 560-square-foot, one-bedroom rental in Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood — were plastered all over the Internet, pinned and shared and blogged millions of times. Her calendar was filled with design clients: anxious city dwellers who hired her by-the-hour for strategies on how to replicate her DIY-chic look while personalizing their own spaces. She got a gig decorating an apartment in Paris and an offer for a book deal.
It all sounds glamorous. But in reality, parts of her life were unraveling. Her marriage broke up and her husband moved out. Twinkie, her beloved Pomeranian, took ill and died. Everything felt different.
“The energy of the space had changed,” says Huerta, 32. The stuff in her apartment reminded her of the past: “Lots of good things and sad things, just lots of memories.”
Months went by. “I felt like I was treading water,” she says. Finally, she knew what she had to do: clean house and move forward.
In June 2014, she put an ad on Craigslist: “Designer
Part antique mall, part consignment store and part boutique, newly opened Décor is all unique.
From one-of-a-kind home furnishings to décor, gifts and artwork — produced mostly by local artists — the North Haven store offers shoppers an array of options they won’t find elsewhere.
The 3,100-square-foot space, at 87A State St., in North Haven, showcases the work of about 10 area vendors from Hamden, North Haven and Wallingford. It also carries consignments and showcases the work of owner Cat Dubail, a graphic designer who “flips” and upcycles furniture pieces.
“It definitely fills a void,” Dubail says of Décor, which she opened in November. “I just wanted to create a place that I’d want to shop in.”
Dubail previously sold her work online for many years and recently tried to find a local vendor booth space to rent. When her search came up empty, the idea to open Décor was born.
Local artists have been eager to get involved with Décor, where they can rent booths or shelves, she said.
“A lot of them are very excited,” she said, adding that many are renting vendor space for the first time. “We’re learning
Gardeners must continually evaluate their gardens because they are constantly changing and frequently require some adjustments. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to transform a mediocre plot into a beautiful garden. Sometimes it simply involves rearranging plants to different locations to create the most harmonious and effective design. This is what makes gardening enjoyable and challenging.
The first step in evaluating your garden is to look at it through the eyes of others and their perceptions of it. Set aside any garden art from your garden and observe the plantings without any extra adornment. Be your own garden editor and critique your garden. Remove unnecessary plants or those that are struggling. Perhaps a plant simply needs to be relocated to another area in order to survive and thrive.
Take photos of portions of your garden that you think need improvement. Enlarge the photos and analyze your garden. Circle the areas of the garden in the photograph that you would like to improve. Think about the location and if the plantings require full sun, partial sun, partial shade, or shade. Ponder what your garden will look like five years from now. This is very
Since Roman times, wood ash has been recognized as a useful amendment to the soil. In fact, North America exported wood ash to Britain in the 18th century as a fertilizer, and today, 80 per-cent of the ash produced commercially in the Northeastern United States is applied to the land.
Wood stoves and fireplaces are great for warming gardeners’ chilly hands and feet. So, what can we do with the ashes? Since wood ash is derived from plant material, it contains most of the 13 essential nutrients the soil must have for good plant growth and health.
When wood burns, nitrogen and sulfur are lost as gases, and calcium, potassium, magnesium and trace element compounds remain. The remaining carbonates and oxides are valuable liming agents, raising pH, thus neutralizing acid soils. Soils that are acid and low in potassium benefit from wood ash. However, acid-loving plants such as blueberries, cranberries, rhododendrons and azaleas would not do well at all with an application of wood ash.
Wood ash has a very fine particle size, so it reacts rapidly and completely in the soil. Although small amounts of nutrients
Anyone who lives in or near Adams County has witnessed first-hand a real building boom that is taking over farmland and open space. Did you know that the earth’s population increased at a more since 1950 than since the beginning of time? As this trend continues, it leads one to wonder how the many species of wild animals and birds native to Adams County will survive and where they will go when displaced by development.
In November, you may have read my article on nesting birds and an effort by home gardeners to provide nesting sites for native birds. Today’s article focuses on managing effects of urban sprawl and native animals displaced by development. I hope you find it helpful in managing the changing environment and ultimately, wildlife habitat.
Some scientists estimate that one third of the nation’s animal and plant species are at risk of extinction as a result of urban sprawl. A few examples are the Florida panther, black-tailed prairie dog and Pacific salmon. None of these animals are native to our area, making the threat of extinction to our native wildlife less concerning here at
wildlife garden can be described as an environment that is attractive to various forms of wildlife such as birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and mammals. Wildlife gardens may contain a range of habitats, including a pond to attract frogs, dragonflies, and birds; nest boxes for birds, log piles to provide shelter for insects, lizards, and worms; plants that attract beneficial insects; and a diverse supply of food (year round) to attract and keep wildlife in the garden.
There are four requirements to provide a habitat for wildlife, and these needs can easily be supplied when you begin to create your own wildlife garden. The four essentials are food, water, protection, and a place to raise a family.
Plant perennials and annuals that offer nectar, seeds, and fruits to provide nourishment for the wildlife in your garden. Shrubs that produce fruits and berries can be selected to provide food sources for wildlife.
A pond, water garden, or bird bath filled with fresh water provides a water source. Water is an essential component for any size and variety of garden.
Native plantings are best for the wildlife and the habitat. Some of the native species that we
As a homeowner, are you doing your part to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay? “What,” you ask, “Do I have to do with the Chesapeake Bay?” Surprisingly, the answer is plenty! Never feel that in the large picture, you are insignificant. If every small property owner made an effort to stop rainwater run-off from his own property, the total results would be huge!
Penn State recently introduced a new directive called Green Gardens, Clean Water. The name, was not immediately self-explanatory to me. After exploring several of their webinars on rain gardens, rain barrels, and riparian buffers, my conclusion is the title is telling us that in order to protect our drinking water and clean up our lakes and rivers, we need more green gardens.
Pollution of our water is a major threat today. People, such as members of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, have been warning us that the Chesapeake Bay has huge dead zones, which will no longer support aquatic life. The problem is certainly not just limited to the Chesapeake Bay. In other parts of the country, deep-sea fisherman have to go farther and farther into the ocean before they can find fish.
A bog garden is an area near a body of water that contains moist soil which produces a habitat for plants that thrive in moist conditions. Typically, bog gardens exist in low-lying areas near a pond, lake or stream, but a bog garden can be created in a container specially designed for them.
Bog gardens make a lovely attraction in any landscape. A carnivorous plant bog garden can be a center point of drama and intrigue as well as beauty. Artificial bogs can be constructed to cover a large or small area. These gardens can be positioned in the ground to appear natural or assembled in a container as a lovely and unique dish garden for the deck or patio.
Designing the layout of your bog garden will take foresight. Design a bog garden in much the same way you would any herbaceous garden, grouping the plants in relation to their heights, textures, and colors. If your garden is to be viewed from all sides, it is best to group taller plants toward the center. Smaller varieties can be showcased along the outer edges.
Aquatic carnivores or other water plants can be grown in the
Why do some gardeners consider cats a pain in the neck in their gardens?
Cats sometimes dig up newly planted bulbs, eat prize plants, and attack birds and butterflies that you want in your garden. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.
What are the positives?
Cats help keep the population of voles, mice, rats, and chipmunks down. Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania actually has cats on their payroll, as part of their Integrated Pest Management team! And never underestimate the value of cat urine, which is extremely high in nitrogen and perfect for leaves about to be composted.
Why create a special garden space for cats?
Giving cats their own garden space-complete with catnip, a bowl of water, and a comfortable place to sleep-helps keep the cats out of flower beds and vegetable plots. They’d rather hang out in the catnip, roll in the dirt, and sleep in the sun. They’re happy in their own little space.
Where should the cats’ garden space be planted?
Location, location, location! Cats love sun, so
Butterfly gardens are a great source of enjoyment. They can extend to interest youth in nature by providing a small window of native inhabitants of the local environment.
First, let’s look at the life cycle and basic anatomy of a butterfly. Butterflies begin their life as an egg, laid either singly or in clusters depending on the species. Tiny caterpillars emerge and, after consuming their eggshell, they feeding on host plants. Caterpillars must crawl out of their skin or molt, usually around five times, before changing into a pupa. Finally, an adult butterfly emerges, spreads its wings and flies away. This type of development is complete metamorphosis.
Adult butterflies and moths have mouthparts shaped into a long, coiled tube. Forcing blood into the tube straightens it out, allowing butterflies to feed on liquids. Butterflies get all their food from this tube, which limits them to nectar and standing water. Larvae, on the other hand, have chewing mouthparts that they use to skeletonize or totally defoliate leaves. Butterflies have large, rounded compound eyes that allow them to see in all directions without turning their head. Like most insects,
he Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) is one of our most beautiful native birds. Not long ago, the loss of habitat, use of pesticides, and introduction of the English House Sparrow to North America decimated the bluebird population. The North American Bluebird Society or NABS (nabluebirdsociety.org) was created to promote the education, conservation and research of bluebirds and other native cavity nesting birds. Currently, the bluebird population is stable, but continues to need our help. Please visit the NABS website for complete information about bluebirds. Additionally, the Maryland Bluebird Society website (mdbluebirdsociety.org) and a book entitled The Bluebird Monitor’s Guide by Cynthia Berger, et al, are excellent resources.
Here are a few points to ponder before you begin attracting bluebirds to your garden
Habitat: Bluebirds prefer open spaces for hunting such as meadows, parks and fields. They nest in cavities such as dead trees, wooden fencerows and nest boxes provided by bluebird lovers. If your yard is not an open space, but you live near one, bluebirds may still decide to call your yard home.
Food: Insects are the primary food for bluebirds. Please use pesticides cautiously!
I can’t imagine a garden without the winged gems. Attracting them is easy with the right plants and feeders.
Here, in the eastern United States, the ruby-throated hummingbird rules. Occasionally, migrating hummingbirds from the West pass through, but our ruby friends are impressive enough with their scarlet neck scarves and diminutive size. Did you know they weigh only as much as a dime?
Hummingbirds are small but mighty. In spite of their size, they need plenty of fuel for their powerhouse metabolism. If you beat your wings 90 times a second, you would need major fuel, too! Hummingbirds need nectar from up to 1,000 blossoms a day. Plus, they consume an incredible number of tiny insects for protein.
To create your own hummingbird garden, start with a sunny location. Plan a continuous display of blooms from April to October so hummingbirds have a steady food source. Look for bright, tubular flowers, custom-made for a long, thin bill. Favor red and orange flowers, but include other blooms heavy with nectar.
Some of the hummingbird’s favorite perennials are bee balm (Monarda didyma), coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea),
Eleven years ago I was a “traditional gardener”, meaning I used the traditionally advertised products on the market that were filled with chemicals to treat my garden. This led to over-fertilizing and using chemical pesticides regularly. Bottom line: I wantonly abandoned the idea of doing healthy things for my garden in favor of what the media told me I should do. At that time I would consider my garden an average garden even with all of my chemical efforts. Then one season a friend of mine suggested I grow in an environmentally healthy fashion and stop listening to the hype. I thoroughly researched the importance of how to go chemical free and gradually converted my entire property over to about 98.9% organic and natural. An amazing and surprising thing happened in response to that changeover – my garden grew more beautiful, astounding, and lush than it had ever been when I used all those chemical solutions.
The secret for using less chemicals and pesticides in your garden is this: good soil grows healthy plant roots. With healthy plant roots you have strong plants that can survive tough conditions. Over the last ten years I have discovered what
When you travel, what says welcome more than seeing a pretty sign and an exciting landscape full of color when you finally reach your destination’s front door, whether it’s a town entry, the front of a hotel, or a business!
Color attracts the eye and positive emotions are released when we see something beautiful. Using this time tested theory, America in Bloom encourages cities and businesses alike to be cognitive of their gateways and imagine how visitors react to them.
The signs themselves should be easy to read at the speed required for the road where they’re displayed.
Ideally, landscaping around signs should offer four-season interest. This is easy to do by including a mix of evergreens and deciduous shrubs and/or small ornamental trees. The list below offers some suggestions for plants that thrive in most climates.
Evergreen shrubs may include:
Microbiota decussata – Russian Arborvitae
Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘prostrata’ – Japanese Plum Yew
Buxus ‘Green Gem’ – Boxwood
Ilex crenata – Littleleaf Holly
Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ – Spreading Juniper
Deciduous shrubs may include:
Itea virginica –Virginia Sweetspire