Winterizing Gardens and Landscapes for Exceptional Results
Don’t miss Life@home’s seminar series, set for 1 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 9, at Nielsen’s Florist & Garden Shop.
Come and hear Life@home garden writer Kerry Ann Mendez, who will offer tips galore to get your gardens and landscapes winter-ready. She’ll focus on how to bring more color to fall gardens and how to cut back perennial gardens, winterize roses and flowering shrubs, plant bulbs and protect evergreens from winter’s outdoor perils.
Refreshments will be provided by Michael Joseph’s Catering. Nielsen’s Florist & Garden Shop is at 1405 Post Road in Darien.
The program is FREE but space is limited, so pre-register online at www.healthylifect.com/seminar.
By Kerry Ann Mendez
Living in the Northeast has many perks, but year-round gardening is not one of them. Most of us stare at bleak winter landscapes for five, if not six, months of the year.
But that’s no reason to despair when the gardens are buried under snow. By making some simple wardrobe adjustments, you can have a dazzling winter wonderland that is both beautiful and less work than summer gardens. Here are some colorful ideas.
• Plant flowering shrubs and trees with attractive bark. Deciduous red and yellow twig dogwoods have striking bark that glows against snow. Arctic Fire Dogwood is a particularly showy cultivar with stems that are orangey-red at the base and yellow at the tips. To keep dogwood stems a vibrant color, prune the oldest stems in late winter or early spring. Stems older than three years lose their brilliance. Peeling (exfoliating) bark can be another focal point. Birch trees are prized for this feature. For those with smaller spaces, there are dwarf birches under 12 feet like Little King. Paperbark Maples are also stunning and top out around 20 feet. Flowering shrubs with peeling bark include Ninebarks (Physocarpus), Oakleaf Hydrangea and Climbing Hydrangea.
• Evergreen flowering shrubs and conifers play an important role in winter landscapes. Rhododendrons, mountain laurel (Kalmia) and Japanese Andromeda (Pieris) are popular spring flowering shrubs. Semi-evergreen flowering shrubs (they don’t shed all of their leaves) include Daphne “Carol Mackie” and Abelia. Boxwood and Inkberry make zippy green structures and are also deer resistant. And the world of conifers — with its vast range of plant sizes, as well as needle colors and shapes — is extraordinary. A few of my favorites are Birds Nest Spruce, False Cypress (Chamaecypairs), Russian Cypress (Microbiota) and dwarf Mugo pine and blue spruces (Picea). Be careful when selecting blue spruces, however, as mature sizes range from 2 to 3 feet (Glauca Globosa) to “Compacta” Colorado Blue (4 to 5 feet) to the mighty Colorado Blue, topping off at 30 to 60 feet. Continue reading
OK, I don’t know where I was when they banned the side-drop crib. When I had my daughter 4 years ago, my sister gave me the crib that she has used for all her kids (when they weren’t in her bed). It’s not the best crib – the drop-side never worked smoothly or quietly so I never used that part, but it was free so I was happy to have it. Plus I had read about the off-gassing that is emitted from new mattresses being a possible cause of SIDS – another reason to use a recycled mattress (from a known source, I might add)!
Anyway, I learned about the ban because my parents, who are trying to get rid of a crib that was given to them a few years ago, asked me to put this crib (see below) on Craig’s List for them. (Side note: My mother collects all things for babies and kids and lends them out to her other granny friends when their families are in town and they need, say a high-chair or age-appropriate toys. Clever, no? And she doesn’t think she’s a greenie!)
So it got me thinking…what’s going to happen with all those cribs that are illegal to sell or donate? Surely most will end in the landfill but I hope the thought of that would bother enough people so that they think about recycling them. Continue reading
In addition to looking really cool, this Freedom Task Chair from Design Within Reach is cutting edge in terms of ergonomics.
Its height-adjustable headrest offers customized support for the head, allowing for proper eye-level positioning when working long hours at a computer station. The seat depth is also adjustable, as is the back support.
But what makes it more unique, in my opinion, is a counterbalancing tilt mechanism that self-adjusts according to a user’s weight and movement – virtually eliminating the need for manual adjustments.
In addition to the “Beetle” color shown here, it’s available in Dove Gray, Marine Blue, Black and “Cat’s Eye,” (a lime greenish shade.)
$2,465. Design Within Reach, 711 Canal Street, Stamford. (203) 614-0787.
By Amy Dolego
Now that the summer is officially over, it’s time for us to return to work on the interior renovations. I’ve made a to-do list of priorities starting with the downstairs bathroom. But last Saturday, when Dennis and I ended up at a fabulous estate sale, we purchased an item for the kitchen that would throw our schedule out of whack.
We were on our way home from errands and saw signs posted along the way noting an estate sale was being hosted by a company unfamiliar to me. It’s called “Within Reason, CT” and is based out of New Canaan. I was curious. As we drove past a long line of cars that were parked in front of a lovely circa 1700’s home, a number of people were loading their vehicles with what appeared to be some wonderful purchases. Once inside, the house was filled with artwork, fine furniture and collectables along with various household items for sale. In an ante room off the kitchen I spotted an antique English pine hutch. It was the exact piece I had visualized incorporating into my kitchen after renovating the room. Two perky, young women in aprons were scurrying around, pleasantly assisting customers as Dennis and I examined the piece. I knew at once that the dimensions were awkward for fitting it into our kitchen in its current state, but thought it would be perfect when my final plans took effect. The price was reasonable and the piece was too good to pass up. Hmmm, this was a dilemma… Continue reading
I came across this bathroom vanity, (or sink chest, as some may call it,) from Hooker Furniture a few months ago. I think it’s the gorgeous woven appearance of its top that made it stick in my mind.
Available at LJ Edwards in Brookfield, it’s 26 inches wide – the perfect size for a small powder room or bath. The top is durable resin, and while the drawer is faux, its one door opens to reveal an adjustable shelf and a sliding back, (for easy plumbing.) From the floor to the top of counter, it measures 35 inches in height.
Even those who are not true country devotees may appreciate the rich-toned top and the antiqued finish of the chest.
$1,395. LJ Edwards, 273 Federal Road, Brookfield. (203) 885-0363. www.ljedwards.com
I don’t watch much TV. What keeps me from my work are cool, crafty, super-fun, creative ideas and projects that I find online – and one usually leads me to another, and another and another and…
These are just a few that preoccupied me this week.
After gymnastics and music this weekend, my daughter and I will definitely be trying this super cool and easy milk art project(above). The chemical reaction between the milk, food coloring and dish soap is stunning, no? Continue reading