Home & Garden

Thu
03
Oct

Fall foliage: with containers, the show needn’t be over


Fall mums offer a dependable splash of color to perk up a container, a border or to stand on their own in almost limitless combinations.

Take a look at the flying-off-the-shelves inventories of garden centers and hardware and specialty stores for something new for fall. In this grouping: a pair of cast-iron-look classically-shaped resin planters that lend a vintage touch, contrasted with a pair of tin-bucket planters the homeowner has painted.

Heucheras make a great container plant or can light up a shady spot. The perennials come in colors from nearly black through plum, caramel, gold and bright lime.

Flowers in garden borders and containers may well be tired of blooming all summer, or perhaps -- confession time -- you’re tired of them.
All that light, cool periwinkle and white that looked so refreshing in the summer months may not look right against backgrounds of sunflowers and turning leaves, and it does feel like time to begin to embrace autumn.

Thu
03
Oct

Check it out: find home air leaks with kit from library

Xcel Energy announced recently the launch of a new pilot program called Draft Check, which enables Ramsey County library patrons to check out a device to help locate air leaks in their homes.

Thu
03
Oct

Tackling those last-minute projects? Stay safe


Doing it right means taking the extra steps necessary to stay safe. (StatePoint)

Finally fixing that loose step? Planning to use power tools? In the rush to take advantage of warm fall weather, don’t forget to take the extra time to safeguard yourself and your tools.
A stop at your neighborhood hardware store for the safety glasses you can’t find quickly or the gloves or mask that will protect you from chemicals may save you injury and cost in the long run.

Mon
16
Sep

How dry I am

Here we are again, looking out at lawns where the only green may be weeds, like the purslane pictured above, which seem to love desert conditions.
After two fall seasons of drought, a former co-worker’s determination to raise cactus in his yard doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Mon
16
Sep

HVAC— as many ‘styles’ as you need

Believe it or not, it is going to get chilly. The newfound relief of cooler temps will only last so long, and then Minnesota will round back into winter -- one the Farmer’s Almanac says will be a doozy.

Mon
10
Jun

Home made garden fertilizer – the real deal

After the snow finally melted, I decided the lawn needed its first mowing. I dragged the mower out of the garage and spent almost an hour getting it cleaned up and started for another season. I remembered that last fall it had been acting cantankerous – running a little rough and leaking a little oil. It was obviously getting tired, but I had convinced myself that maybe a long winter’s rest would solve any problems.

Mon
03
Jun

Use compostable bags for lawn, garden waste

Metro area residents are now required to use compostable plastic or paper bags when they bag up their yard waste, food waste, organics or other compostable material at the curb for collection

Thu
23
May

Garden with birds, bees, savings in mind


Chick-a-dee-dee-don’t: Big, clean plate-glass windows are great to look through, but birds may find them deadly. (submitted photo)

Spring is here, which means it’s time to slip those green thumbs into some gardening gloves.
And if you want to feel truly good about what you grow, consider upgrading your garden to be more planet-friendly.
Here are some ideas to consider:

Thu
23
May

So, is a DIYer’s best friend the local building inspector?


Extending electrical circuits and adding new outlets was featured as a “don’t do-it-yourself” project at www.todayshomeowner.com. (submitted photos)

A new, streamlined tub sets the tone of a bathroom, but new state regulations will set the temperature.

That bathroom has needed upgrades since you moved in. Your vintage home also has that vintage “one outlet per room” wiring, which apparently was sufficient to 1913 but not 2013. You heard something recently about the energy savings of insulating a basement -- but does that mean it will trap moisture?
In the rush to get started on home-improvement projects, given our “late” spring, homeowners may be tempted to forego licensed contractors’ waiting lists and tackle the work on their own.

Tue
14
May

LEAP award-winners’ landscapes, gardens show ‘sustainable’ can still be ‘stunning’


Kids of all ages get involved in studying nature at St. Peter Catholic School’s butterfly garden in North St. Paul. The insect life the garden attracts -- especially the monarch butterfly caterpillars the students monitor through metamorphosis -- make it a multidimensional “classroom.” (submitted photos)

This shady, green retreat doesn’t look like your usual townhome complex. Lake Grove association members’ initiative changed out pavement -- that created a river of runoff -- to green plantings. Now they enjoy newfound quiet and privacy as well as new sights of birds and insects in the neighborhood.

Voilà -- the garden at L’etoile French Immersion School attracts bees, butterflies and birds -- even a wild turkey. The school’s plantings also serve fundamental purposes, stablilizing erosion on a hillside and stopping rain where it falls.

An appropriately-aged white picket fence helps contain exuberant native plants in Kathy Sidles’ garden in St. Paul. As well as pursuing native plantings, Sidles recently installed a rain garden to catch and filter runoff before it enters the stormwater system.

Now that spring has finally sprung, property owners are more than ready to leap into gardening projects.
Some have gotten a jump on them by maintaining healthy landscapes year round, using sustainable approaches that save time, labor and money.

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