Mulch provides numerous benefits

May 28th, 2015

To mulch or not to mulch? Each year I consider whether to take that extra step.Mulch is a protective covering applied to the soil’s surface. A tree shedding its leaves on the ground, where they decompose and thereby add nutrients to the soil, is the prototypical mulcher. Gardeners and farmers mulch too, for diverse reasons.Tip of the weekWhen installing annuals and other new plants, carefully examine the pot soil on all sides for weed seedlings, and pinch out interlopers. One tiny seedling can turn into a new invader with potential for long-term hassle. Read full article >>





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Creating a serene coastal-themed basement retreat

May 27th, 2015

THE CHALLENGEBen Barlow recently finished the basement of his Ellicott City townhouse. He would like to add seating and create a comfortable, cottage-style retreat for entertaining and watching TV. He wants to keep the paint colors, which reflect his love for the beach and ocean.Read full article >>





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7 milkweed varieties and where to find them

May 27th, 2015

Milkweeds are not the most spectacular of flowering perennials, but they can look highly effective as fillers and textural foils in plant combinations. They are a must in any sunny herbaceous garden where the gardener wants to attract monarch butterflies. Read full article >>





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Creating a rest stop for the monarch

May 27th, 2015

The monarch butterfly has been likened to a featherweight piece of stained glass that through some miracle flits its way each year from Canada to Mexico. ¶ It is not the most endangered of our insects, but its plight — along with the ills of the honeybee — has made it perhaps the most visible symbol of the fragility of our natural world and our ability to mess it up. ¶ The eastern North American population overwinters in the oyamel forests of central Mexico, but its numbers have plummeted by 90 percent in recent years as a result of the loss of overwintering grounds as well as the widespread elimination of milkweed in the United States linked to increased use of herbicides by farmers. ¶ As the spring planting season continues, it’s nice to know that many biologists believe that home gardeners can play a vital role in sustaining the monarch by providing a network of way stations to mitigate the loss of wildflower habitat. ¶ The woes of the monarch have become a priority for a high-profile family of gardeners in the District: Last week, President Obama’s Pollinator Health Task Force released its strategy laying out efforts by the federal government to aid beleaguered bees and butterflies. One of its key goals is to increase the monarch’s overwintering area more than fivefold and to restore or enhance 7 million acres of pollinator habitat over the next five years. Read full article >>





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How to create a soothing retreat, with a side of extra storage

May 19th, 2015

THE CHALLENGEAmy Vander Vliet wants to make the bedroom of her Alexandria one-bedroom rental a soothing retreat, but she also needs lots of storage for sports equipment, seasonal decorations and clothes. Wall paint and built-in cabinetry are not options, and she needs to work around windows and three doors that open into the room.Read full article >>





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The incredible lightness of just throwing stuff out

May 19th, 2015

As a personal organizer, I am lucky to have a lot of variety in my job. Each client has a unique set of circumstances and a specific set of challenges. But over and over again, I watch clients get stuck on clearing out certain items — items that accumulate relentlessly, and usually pointlessly, over the years. Busy parents, downsizing home-sellers, crowded apartment dwellers, they all trip over the same junk. Today, I’m here to give them — and you — a little backbone. I’m saying: Throw that stuff out. Here’s why.washingtonpost.com^Chat May 28 at 11 a.m. There is no Home Front chat this week. It returns May 28 when Sophie Donelson, editor of House Beautiful, joins staff writer Jura Koncius to discuss decorating and household advice. Submit questions at washingtonpost.com/home.Read full article >>





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What you need for a perfect flower arrangement

May 15th, 2015

Indoors or out, flowers can make a statement. Jennifer “Jo” Oliver, co-founder of Highway to Hill Flowers, offered plenty of expert advice for displaying blooms outside in this week’s Local Living cover story on outdoor entertaining. She also shared some more insight on making your own arrangements during our Home Front chat.Read full article >>





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Why potluck suppers come naturally to a gardener

May 14th, 2015

Potluck suppers come naturally to a gardener, because a gardener leads a potluck life. The crops you harvest are shaped by the season, and even with good soil and perfect planning, the oddities of weather determine what you can actually pick and eat on any given day. Dinner is the luck of the pot.Read full article >>





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Gardens and Mountains in Australia

May 13th, 2015

This luxury period-style home on more than 50,000 square feet of land has a national park out the back door and is just a 90-minute drive from Sydney.
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Online mattress company Casper tries real-life sales at D.C. pop-up

May 13th, 2015

Would you ever buy a mattress without trying it out first?“Bed-in-a-box”company Casper is an online-only mattress retailer that has based its business on changing the standard mattress-shopping experience: Instead of muddling through — and lying on — a variety of options and prices at a store, pay one price for a foam mattress that’s delivered straight to your door.Read full article >>





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