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Home & Garden

Use stone to update, add interest to your landscape

Use stone to update, add interest to your landscape

GARDENING Use stone to update, add interest to your landscape As nurseries around town fill with scrumptious, irresistible spring plants, be sure to plan before you plop. As you start filling in the holes left by the ravages of our two winter days that were colder than 21 degrees, evaluate your landscape. Successful landscape design includes not only the plants but also the hardscape in your garden...
Have fun in the garden with a flock of pink flamingos

Have fun in the garden with a flock of pink flamingos

GARDENING Have fun in the garden with a flock of pink flamingos Funky? Tacky? Retro? Or just good fun? Most passers-by seem to enjoy the flock of pink flamingos decorating Nathan Griffith’s Central Austin front yard. Several dozen of the brightly colored plastic birds adorn the grass, with about 15 perched in a redbud tree. On a recent day, a woman wearing a blue shirt stood by the curb snapping...
One thing millennials aren’t killing: The plant industry

One thing millennials aren’t killing: The plant industry

Just take a scroll through Instagram and in between mirror selfies, plant collection photos are springing up. More than 10 million posts are hashtagged plants. So why would “entitled” and “lazy” (as older generations have described us) millennials want to start working on their green thumbs? Time and money are two simple explanations. Having children means forking over around...
Prepare your garden for honeybees and other pollinators

Prepare your garden for honeybees and other pollinators

Grow. Share. Prepare. Prepare your garden for honeybees and other pollinators Are you intrigued with the idea of keeping honeybees at your home, school or community garden? Perhaps you’re excited about the prospect of harvesting honey and beeswax, or you know that more bees in the area will improve pollination rates for your fruit-bearing garden crops. Maybe you’ve heard that honeybee...
Local homeowners tackle five DIY projects for ‘The Weekender’ show

Local homeowners tackle five DIY projects for ‘The Weekender’ show

Jesse and Alex Coulter are handy people who love to tinker in the garage of their Round Rock home. She paints furniture. He does woodworking. Their garage is also where their children, 1-year-old twins Walt and Whitney and 4-year-old Turner, keep many of their outdoor toys as well as use as a play space. It was becoming difficult to work and use the garage with all the kids’ stuff mingling with...
One thing millennials aren’t killing: The plant industry

One thing millennials aren’t killing: The plant industry

Just take a scroll through Instagram and in between mirror selfies, plant collection photos are springing up.  More than 10 million posts are hashtagged plants.   So why would “entitled” and “lazy” (as older generations have described us) millennials want to start working on their green thumbs?  Time and money are two simple explanations. Having children...
Gardeners’ favorite month means roll up the sleeves and get going

Gardeners’ favorite month means roll up the sleeves and get going

Homegrown Hints Gardeners ’ favorite month means roll up the sleeves and get going Here it is — Garden Month in Central Texas. March is when everyone considers getting serious about gardening this year. The weather is nice, there is probably going to be a little rain, no frost in sight. Optimism spills over the landscape. And that is a good thing. Still, if you...
This spring, plan for a colorful garden with these ideas

This spring, plan for a colorful garden with these ideas

GARDENING This spring, plan for a colorful garden For me, few things are more inspiring than the arrival of early spring blooms. One of my favorite harbingers of spring is flowering quince. Its bare, sculptural branches typically come alive in February with charming clusters of red, pink, apricot or white flowering buds. This year, mine also bloomed through most of the winter. Native to China and...
Where are the women in architecture? New exhibit tries to answer that

Where are the women in architecture? New exhibit tries to answer that

Where are women in architecture? That’s the essential question that “Shape the Conversation” asks. The three-part exhibit, which is housed in a pop-up gallery on West Second Street and at the University of Texas School of Architecture, has its roots in a national survey of architects that came out of San Francisco and a follow-up exhibit in Houston. In 2011, a committee at the San...
Beyond concrete and glass: Go inside a home on Austin Modern Home Tour

Beyond concrete and glass: Go inside a home on Austin Modern Home Tour

“Modern is our thing,” says Richard White of the South Austin home he built for his family. “It’s what we love, but it had to be livable.” The owner of Abode Modern Homes and his wife, Patricia, who is a graphic designer, chose that aesthetic for their personal home, but the home also had to be something practical for their three sons, ages 3 to 10. For example, White...
Try new seeds that come to you with gardening subscription services

Try new seeds that come to you with gardening subscription services

GARDENING Try out new seeds that come to you with subscription services At the beginning of the new year, some predicted that garden subscriptions would be a growing trend for 2017. These days, subscriptions are available for everything from socks to soaps to books and games. Garden subscriptions offer a variety of goodies — from seeds to bulbs — that can arrive at gardeners’ doorsteps...
Plant cabbage to make your own sauerkraut

Plant cabbage to make your own sauerkraut

GROW. SHARE. PREPARE. Plant cabbage to make your own sauerkraut Cabbage, a member of the Brassica family, is an excellent choice for cold-season gardening. Cabbage is considered a cole crop, a group that includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and collards. Cabbage is generally grown for its densely leaved heads, produced during the first year of its biennial cycle. Many varieties of...
Spend February preparing garden, planting fruits, vegetables and herbs

Spend February preparing garden, planting fruits, vegetables and herbs

Homegrown Hints Spend February getting garden ready, planting fruits, vegetables and herbs February is ready-set-go month for Austin and Central Texas gardeners. March sets off a frenzy of gambles against the weather — tomatoes in early? Late frosts? Early heat? Flood or drought? March is a month of guesses, but February is a sensible time of preparation, a month of effort that will produce...
Look inside ‘The Perfect Bath’ with Barbara Sallick of Waterworks

Look inside ‘The Perfect Bath’ with Barbara Sallick of Waterworks

Barbara Sallick has spent her life thinking a lot about bathrooms: how they look, how they make you feel, how the utilitarian room could be elevated with the perfect fixtures. Her father ran a plumbing supply business, and in 1978, Sallick and her husband, Robert, started Waterworks Operating Company, a luxury bathroom design outfitter. “We thought there was and could be a market for really...
Plan now for spring gardening success

Plan now for spring gardening success

GARDENING Plan now for spring gardening success Some winters, we coast. Last year, for example, my garden was only kissed by a few light frosts, and many tender plants kept growing and growing far beyond their traditional mature size. But this year’s early hard freeze has separated the men from the boys in my yard, and many of my plants have gone dormant, settling in for their long winter&rsquo...
Hutto fourth-grader learns more than just how to grow winning cabbage

Hutto fourth-grader learns more than just how to grow winning cabbage

GARDENING Hutto fourth-grader learns more than just how to grow a winning cabbage Ryan Ash might not necessarily love sauerkraut or coleslaw, but the 10-year-old has been selected as the state winner for growing a 15.2 pound cabbage. Ryan, who says he’s “not really” much of a gardener, participated in the Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program while he was a third-grader at Grace...
This 2017 wellness trend is the one thing your home is missing

This 2017 wellness trend is the one thing your home is missing

While we all love a girls’ night out or an intimate dinner with our S.O., our idea of a fun Friday night is a little less raucous. In fact, we don’t even need to leave the house. It often involves ’90s cult classics on Netflix, copious pots of tea and faux-fur blankets, amid a curated interior worthy of Instagram. It turns out we’re not alone in this homebody preference, and...

How to prevent frozen pipes, and what to do if it happens

It’s hard to tell what’s going to burst on the scene in 2017. Let’s hope it’s not your pipes. Water damage is the leading expense for home damage. It has the ability to demolish the interior of a house. As water turns into ice, it expands. It has no choice. It’s just obeying the laws of physics. But when ice runs out of room, like say in a closed pipe, it bursts out....
Essential guide to finding the right sofa

Essential guide to finding the right sofa

A lot of your life happens on your sofa. It’s the place you perch as you catch up with friends over a glass of wine. Where you nestle in to read that best-seller you’ve been dying to get your hands on. And, where you fall asleep waiting for your teen to get home safely from that first date. It’s no wonder picking the sofa that’s right for you can be so fun … and so difficult...
How to redesign using what you have

How to redesign using what you have

Before you throw away accents and accessories you feel are no longer a fit for your decor, consider repurposing those items instead. Often, redesigning your home using items you already own is a refreshing solution that is also budget-friendly. The key is to essentially shop your house. Looking for redesign tips? Here are 10 Design Recipes ideas. 1. Do a detailed audit. Prioritize your items into...
Put these picks in your garden to help a sick animal

Put these picks in your garden to help a sick animal

Pets and livestock always get sick after 5 p.m. or over holiday weekends when all the vets are closed. If your animal starts bleeding, will you be able to stop it easily? You will if you grow yarrow or calendula marigolds, or if you have a barn full of spiderwebs. All three are natural blood coagulants. They have been proven time and again on battlefields since long before the birth of Christ. The...

Some collectors are interested in goofus glass

Dear Helaine and Joe: Enclosed is a picture of a plate my grandmother gave me. She said every Christmas she and her sisters exchanged gifts, and this was one of them. They couldn’t spend more than 25 cents on their gifts. Is there any information you can give me on my dish? Sincerely, D. L. Dear D. L.: Of course in this day and time, 25 cents will not even purchase a pack of gum, but back in...
Plant sage now for years of flavor, health benefits

Plant sage now for years of flavor, health benefits

Herbs add flavor, color and scent to recipes and they are valued for their medicinal properties. One herb that can be planted in January in Central Texas is sage (Salvia officinalis). Salvia is derived from the Latin salvere, meaning “to be saved,” in reference to the plant’s healing properties. For centuries, sage has been used in teas, oils and other infusions to aid ailments such...
How to crash your own kitchen with “Kitchen Crashers” Alison Victoria

How to crash your own kitchen with “Kitchen Crashers” Alison Victoria

Alison Victoria answered a mass email producers of “House Crashers” sent to about 200 designers in Chicago. They were looking for a ghost designer — a person who works with the on-camera talent to do the design for a show. It paid little money and she wouldn’t be seen, but it was a chance to get her foot in the door of the HGTV and DIY Network world. That opportunity got producers...
A transformative remodel enlightens three-level home

A transformative remodel enlightens three-level home

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. — This is contemporary home story of unexpected gifts — and remodeling redemption. Paul and Cynthia Parker bought a brand-new, three-story, high-bluff home on Bainbridge Island in 2002. But the fit was a bit off: Its flow was wonky; “privacy” was merely an appealing notion; and nothing even whispered, “Welcome.” Over the years, they did...

These items are cluttering your life. Toss them.

There’s a certain exhilaration that comes with throwing things away and freeing up space in your home. It’s not only an aesthetic task — KonMari-ing your space has proven health benefits, too. To make it easy on you, we crafted this handy list of things you need to toss, recycle or donate. Make your way through this list for a serene, clutter-free home. 1. GIFT PARAPHERNALIA Shopping...
Accent, area rugs can make a room come alive

Accent, area rugs can make a room come alive

If you’re looking for a relatively easy way to spruce up a room, consider laying a solid foundation — not concrete or wood, mind you, but a rug. Floor coverings can be a solution to anyone’s decorating dilemma or simply a means of adding a little pizazz to a room. Whether it’s a traditional accent rug or blocks, floor coverings provide visual impact as well as creature comforts...
Interesting art arrangements finish a room

Interesting art arrangements finish a room

You can fill your room with beautiful furniture and accents, but it won’t look finished until the walls come alive with artwork. If you have blank walls or beautiful pieces of art stored away that you’ve never hung, make that your new year’s resolution. You will be blown away by how putting a few pieces up will give your spaces personality and style, and make your home a warm reflection...
Add a touch of gold to your home decor

Add a touch of gold to your home decor

Every now and then, every home can benefit from a bit of glam. Enter gold. Once the finish of choice in the ’80s, it fell out of favor in the ’90s, often considered to be gaudy. Now, gold dominates the shelves of home decor retailers and remains one of the hottest finishes for accessories and accents. When looking for ways to incorporate gold into your home, here are some Design Recipes...
4 secrets of successful organic gardeners

4 secrets of successful organic gardeners

Learning to grow vegetables is a trial and failure endeavor. In the beginning, you get small successes and devastating failures until experience teaches you the hard lessons of nature and her vegetable minions. In most cases, it’s the under-40 crowd who are having challenges if their parents never gardened, so nothing was handed down. It’s not their fault, they just haven’t failed...

Plaster piece’s true value is passing it down

Dear Helaine and Joe: This curio was my grandmother’s. I am 82 years old and am about to give this to my daughter. I would love to know its history. The story that accompanied the passing down is Nana got it as a wedding present. The piece measures 2 3/4 inches long and looks to be carved from ivory or whale bone. Can you tell me something about this? Thank you, P. H. Dear P. H.: We applauded...
Clinton Kelly tells all — or some — in ‘I Hate Everyone, Except You’

Clinton Kelly tells all — or some — in ‘I Hate Everyone, Except You’

Clinton Kelly wanted to write the great American novel. The star of the daytime talk show “The Chew” on ABC who spent 10 years as the co-host of “What Not to Wear” on TLC also dreamed of writing a collection of personal essays. After graduating from Boston College he realized that he was “scared to death” to become a writer. “I didn’t want to be broke...
Make 2017 the year to grow cilantro in your garden

Make 2017 the year to grow cilantro in your garden

Homegrown Hints This is the year for growing cilantro We know that some holidays are fabricated for commercial purposes — Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents’ Day — all opportunities to sell greeting cards. But the Herb of the Year was created for other motives. In 1991, the International Herb Society decided to spotlight one herb each year so that people can learn...
Rethink your landscape for 2017 with Grow Green program

Rethink your landscape for 2017 with Grow Green program

With the new year ahead, many gardeners are making resolutions for getting their yards, flower beds and vegetable plots in shape in 2017. The Grow Green gardening education program, which is a partnership between the city of Austin and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, offers a lot of help through training classes, printed materials, demonstration gardens and more. Grow Green focuses on water...
When weather outside is chilly, bring garden inside with houseplants

When weather outside is chilly, bring garden inside with houseplants

Now that cold weather has officially made an appearance, my more than 80 potted patio plants are snug in the greenhouse, and I’m spending most of my time indoors. What surprises me during the winter months is how quickly I find myself missing the sun and the sea of green and color in my garden. Cloudy, gray days make me long for happy, healthy plants with bright blooms. So, I surround myself...
Zilker Elementary makes gardening part of its curriculum

Zilker Elementary makes gardening part of its curriculum

On a recent chilly morning, eager fourth-graders at Zilker Elementary School wandered around in the school garden, sticking meat thermometers in the ground and taking soil temperatures at different depths. Students should count to 20, advised Lauren Maples, who was leading the lesson, “to give it time to record the temperature.” The kids wrote the numbers in their science journals, and...
Make a stew using your winter vegetables growing in your garden

Make a stew using your winter vegetables growing in your garden

Grow. Share. Prepare. Make a stew with your winter vegetables Unlike the northern United States, where snow and hard freezes make winter gardening difficult if not impossible, winter gardening in Central Texas is relatively easy and enjoyable. There are many cold-hardy vegetables that, if cared for properly, survive our soft freezes and even benefit from them. With lower temperatures come few if any...
Building the perfect ‘box’ of a home

Building the perfect ‘box’ of a home

BELFAIR, Wash. — There are two mariners compasses embedded in Tony and Gretchen Melchiors’ views-for-nautical-miles waterfront home. One is big and bold and plain as day: the tiled focal point on the floor of the exquisitely circular library. The other, Tony says, “Everyone misses.” That kinda sounds like a challenge. It’s not the first this place has posed. Tony and...
How to dominate this year’s design trends

How to dominate this year’s design trends

With the holidays in full swing and another year nearing a close, what design trends are in and what may be on their way out? 2016 saw a continuance of bold metallic finishes such as brass and gold, while muted color palettes such as black and cream, as well as cream and indigo, remain on trend. These days, many designers and design enthusiasts are also looking to stay on trend without being trendy...
Get tools ready for spring gardening

Get tools ready for spring gardening

Teresa Holmes was taught growing up to take good care of her possessions. So the Travis County master gardener and her husband make sure to sharpen, oil and clean their garden implements, some of which have been passed down in the family. “We’ve just always maintained our stuff,” said Holmes, 32. As gardeners are getting hand tools out of their sheds to prepare for spring planting...
Lose the lawn with alternative ideas

Lose the lawn with alternative ideas

For decades, carpets of lush, green suburban lawns have been icons of an attractive, well-maintained home. But our recent drought has made more than a few homeowners reconsider the composition of their landscape. Last year, almost all of my landscaping clients requested a design that included eliminating at least a section of lawn as part of their overall plan. Citing skyrocketing water bills, parched...

Get your hands dirty this month with vegetable and flower plantings

March is the official kickoff month for spring gardening. Although devoted gardeners in Central Texas garden year-round, March is when the planting frenzy catapults into high gear. The last average frost date in our area is early in March, but that doesn’t mean it won’t frost later; there is always an element of drama and apprehension in planting early. If you plant tomatoes, the timing...
Grow root vegetables then roast them

Grow root vegetables then roast them

There are many fun varieties of root vegetables, including deep purple carrots, colorful Easter Egg radishes, purple top turnips, and golden beets. But perhaps because root vegetables grow underground, invisible to us, planting root vegetables can often feel like an intimidating task. How do you know if they are growing well? How do you know when they are ready? The key to answering these questions...
Wicking gardens bring up water naturally

Wicking gardens bring up water naturally

When Frances Greene checks whether she needs to water — the dill, collards and other vegetables — at a local garden, she looks a bit like an auto mechanic. “Just as you can check the oil in your car, you can check the water level in the reservoir,” says Greene, 70, who volunteers with the nonprofit Urban Patchwork. She inserts a long bamboo pole into a PVC pipe that sticks...
Popular salvias stand up to Central Texas heat, drought

Popular salvias stand up to Central Texas heat, drought

Take a stroll through almost any Central Texas garden and chances are you’ll come upon at least one type of salvia. Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family and is also commonly referred to as sage. All sages are salvias; those used for medicinal purposes or as culinary herbs are generally called sages and the name salvia is generally associated with the ornamental plants. At...

Gardening Calendar

Akins’ Annual Plant Sale. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends, 5:30 to 7 p.m. weekdays through March 30. Benefits the Akins High School Future Farmers of America; $1 per plant for herbs, vegetable and flowers. Akins High School Greenhouse, 10701 S. First St. 919-0944. “Spring Dig In.” 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Build and refurbish gardens around Austin with the Green Corn Project...
Help plants grow by making friends with other plants

Help plants grow by making friends with other plants

Even your plants like to have friends. Celery and cabbage get along nicely. Onions are fond of beets. And lettuce likes strawberries. Who knew? Using “companion planting,” gardeners grow combinations of plants together to help manage pests and add nutrients to the soil, among other benefits. This concept is not new. Some Native Americans used the “Three Sisters” method of gardening...
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