Fredericksburg might want to start hyping itself as Brooklyn on the Rappahannock.
After spending time in this small historic city 50 miles south of Washington, I can honestly say Fredericksburg, on a much smaller scale, is undergoing a renaissance not unlike that of Manhattan’s coolest borough. There’s a vibrant art scene, a focus on DIY, artisanal food, farmers markets and a host of new shops that sell wine racks made of old pallets, vintage Polaroid cameras and 200-year-old wood beams.
My artist friend Sherry keeps a handsome garden, her vegetables and herbs mixed with bright marigolds and neatly composed within wooden frames. The day I stopped to admire them, her beds were weedless except for scattered purslane seedlings, a pest of high summer that appears when the hot weather has settled in. Purslane had just spangled my own garden, too.
1. For a fall crop in a planter box, try greens.
“I confined my piece today to lettuce, but there are many other greens that will grow merrily in the fall, such things as mesclun mixes, radicchio, spinach, kale, bok choy and other Asian greens. This is also the season for turnips.
Curling up in bed with the brand new Ikea catalogue (in print or on a tablet) is one of the joys of summer. Today is the day the digital version launches; if you’re on the mailing list, your printed copy (one of 20 million being mailed) should be arriving next week.
Watching the studies come out about the merits or demerits of organics is a little like watching World Cup soccer. A large study done at Stanford in 2012 claimed organic food to be no more nutritious than chemically grown. Score one for that side. But a report newly published in the British Journal of Nutrition finds organically raised vegetables to have more antioxidants, less cadmium (a toxic metal in commercial fertilizer) and fewer pesticide residues. Score one for Team O.