Plan Now For Next Spring's Carefree Perennial Garden
Designing a perennial garden to accent your home and bring a bloom of color to the garden is well worth the investment of time and money. A well designed perennial garden can eventually be almost maintenance-free after it is established. What a wonderful reward to have those shoots of green peeking out of the ground after a long cold winter.
Choose perennials that will guarantee a season-long show of color by laying out a design on paper before planting. Consider the size of the garden, taking into account factors such as lawn size, shrubbery, the formal or informal look, and where the garden will be viewed.
You might want to consider a bed which stands alone in a large open area. Most people prefer to plant a border along a house, fence or walkway. The border will soften the lines between building and lawn and lend a dash of color and interest as well.
Choosing which plants to buy can be an overwhelming task if you arrive at the nursery unprepared. The primary requirements of the plants must match the soil, light and climate conditions of your garden. Ask for assistance if you are unfamiliar with the best plants for your area.
If you are a beginner you may want to start with the cottage garden look, which is essentially for people who don't want something highly organized. Plants are added to suit the taste of the gardener.
The most important thing is to choose the plants that you love without regard to right and wrong. The effect will be a kaleidoscope of color as the true cottage garden has a casual but charming appearance.
The nice thing is if you plant something and want to change it, you can even move perrenials to a new location the next year. So just get started and begin seeing the rewards in a blooming way!
Have you been wondering what's new? Or, what plants are tried and true? There are many recommendations advised by the experts. Here's just a few that came in on the top of their list.
Two new roses come in ahead of the rest: 'Carefree Delight,' a relaxed 5-foot shrub rose, that covers itself with dainty 1-inch single pink flowers. Also, 'Liven Easy,' a four foot tall floribunda, blooms in clusters of two to five salmon-pink flowers, each up to 4 inches across.
Both roses flower steadily from late spring through fall and grow well without any spraying to control leaf diseases.
Also recommended is the 'Oakleaf Hydrangea,' a two season shrub. It's one of the few deciduous shrubs that flower well in the shade.
Your Home Unique
Accessories in a home are the frosting on the cake, the extra part that really makes a house a home and the rooms uniquely yours. Accessories change a room from plain to exciting and can bring back memories of places visited with unique finds. Special pieces warm up an otherwise ordinary space and bring out the personality of the owners. The little extras can pull together a bunch of mismatched pieces or add a romantic flair to a dull room. Why not see what a difference a little imagination can make?
There are lots of ways to use accessories in rooms to warm up the surroundings.
Candle holders are one example. "One can never have too many candle holders," one famous designer advised. Using a collection of various sizes of candles and holders, place them on a lace cloth in the center of a table, making a warm lighted area in an otherwise dark room.
An old candelabra found in an antique store, maybe even slightly dulled, can add an interesting spark to a coffee table or library table. Two may be even better to balance the look. Find large chunky candle holders, as well as those holding slim candles, in a variety of heights. Always light the candles when setting them out; the look of a bit 'used' adds more charm.
Many designers suggest the use of books to add character to a room. Try stacking three to four books up on a table and adding a clay statue or a plant on top to vary height and texture. Or maybe you have a lamp on a side table that is too short, stacking a few books underneath can enhance the appearance and use of the lamp.
In a bookcase, you should vary the way the books are laid out. The old rule of lining up the books according to size is out. The new rule says, lay them down, stack them up, vary the sizes, add a plant or two - all for interest and variety. Look in book stores for the leather bound classics to display, who knows, maybe you'll even be inspired to read them.
8 Ways to Make an
Ordinary Day Special!
It's the little things you do that sometimes make the biggest impression. It's the special touch that you add that makes the ordinary extraordinary! Here are a few ideas:
- Celebrate half birthdays with half a birthday cake.
- Celebrate your pet's birthday.
- Make a tape of a cheering crowd, play it back to a family member that's done something terrific.
- Serve sparkling apple juice in wine glasses to toast a family member's accomplishments.
- Start a party idea file - refer to it when entertaining.
- Visit a local farm in the summer and pick your own fruit.
- Surprise your child by dropping chores for the day and doing something spontaneous together.
- Plan a 'this is your life' celebration for a loved one's birthday
Closet Cleaning Tips
Next time you tackle a closet try this method. Place four boxes in a semi-circle around the closet. Use these boxes to sort the items that you remove. Label the boxes with a marking pen as follows.
Just remember not to use box three as an excuse to not get rid of something. Now is the time for decision making. Your clutter is another person's treasure. Share the wealth!
- Garage Sale or Charity
- Return to owner / Belongs elsewhere
- Repair, alter, or mend
Healthy Lunch Box Ideas
A good healthy lunch will give your children the energy they need to make it through the school day. Try some of these unique ideas for sneaking good food into your child's lunch box.
Create a real treat by coring and halving an apple. Then spread each half with peanut butter. Top with raisins and chopped nuts, then press both halves back together. Wrap for freshness.
For a delicious frothy treat, blend your favorite fruit (bananas and strawberries work great) with low-fat vanilla yogurt. Add milk to get it to a pourable consistency. Refrigerate overnight and pack in a chilled thermos.
To keep raw veggies fresh, wrap them in a damp paper towel and put them in a plastic bag for freshness. Pack a low-fat dip in a small leak proof container. Try these ideas out and use your imagination. You'll have your kids eating healthier before you know it.
1/2 lb. mild italian sausage|
1/2 lb. lean ground beef|
1 cup chopped onion|
1 cup chopped green pepper|
2 cloves garlic, minced|
1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes, broken up or 3 lg. fresh tomatoes, skinned and quartered|
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste|
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, undrained|
1 teaspoon basil leaves|
1/2 teaspoon oregano|
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper|
Brown sausage, ground beef, onion, green pepper and garlic. Drain off fat. Add next six ingredients. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Serve over cooked spaghetti. Makes 6-8 servings.
Fun With Birthdays
Could it be that the more birthdays you have, the less exciting they get? Of course, the alternative to having a birthday is not at all attractive. So as we get more 'mature,' we can look back on the best birthdays we've ever had, and share the excitement with the little ones. After all, they're always ready to celebrate and have a party, especially if it's their birthday.
Birthdays are cake and confetti, punch and parfaits, and maybe balloons, music, magicians and clowns.
What do you need to do to make a two hour party into the perfect break between one year and the next? First, the right attitude; a party attitude. Second, a bit of creativity, especially if cash is short, then creativity must be abundant. Third, a plan that won't soon be forgotten by the guests, or the birthday boy or girl.
You can start the party out right by serving magic punch. It's fun for kids of all ages. Simply use gingerale, or Sprite in clear plastic cups, with ice cubes made of dramatically colored juice. Favorites include grape juice, or cranberry juice, or raspberry. If you use specially shaped ice cube trays, you can add some extra fun.
One fun idea is to have a backward party. Write the invitations backward, so they must be held up to a mirror to be read. You might include a note to wear shirts and hats backward for the actual party.
Here are some tips to make this party a success. Set the table with backward names on the place cards, the chairs facing out instead of in. Hang balloons upside down from the ceiling. Lay the streamers on the floor. Greet your guests with "Thanks for everything...goodbye!" as they arrive. Play pin the donkey on the tail.
Expect gifts to come wrapped inside out, cards wrapped around envelopes, and make the rule that the gifts must be opened before the cards. If you're making a video tape, plan to show it in reverse, that will carry out the theme.
Another great activity might be to gather old phones, clock radios etc., that you were thinking of tossing out, and pass out some safe tools. Allow the kids to take them apart, opposite of putting them together.
One other great game that can be played is silent chairs. The kids move around the chairs until the music starts. If you want to keep things interesting, have the birthday boy or girl guess what's in the gift before he/she opens it by playing twenty questions.
A great treat to serve would be upside down cupcakes. Upside down on a plate, with candles stuck in through the bottom of the wrapper. Careful making those upside downs ice cream cones, and upside down sundaes could be hazardous to your carpet. You better draw the line there!
If you want to send an incredible thank you note, tack it onto the end of your video and have it duplicated. Send it to the kids who attended, and the raves will come in again, long after the party is cleaned up, or is messed up in reverse.
Selecting a Mutual Fund
Start by selecting a fund that feels right. Money magazine and other financial publications offer dozens of funds, analyzed by performance. You can call the fund directly using their toll free number, or you may wish to talk with a stock broker to get his input.
Funds are available with 'load' or 'no load' options. The 'load' funds have a commission of say 5% paid out of your initial deposit. The alternative is to choose 'no load' funds. These funds have to pay the brokers, and it is reflected in overall performance. However, most studies comparing the two find no difference in overall performance.
Different funds have different objectives. Some seek growth with a higher degree of risk and little current income. Others will seek dividend income now, but with less risk. Which is best for you? It depends on your overall objective. Do be sure to look at a minimum of five years past performance though. Look for long term growth potential.
"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
Winter Newsletter Lineup Includes...
- Is Your Family Ready For Disney?
- Using an Interior Designer
- Paying for Remodeling
- Goal Setting for Every Type of Family
- Hot Soups for a Cold Winter
- Low Fat Lemon Cheesecake
- Plus a couple of surprises!