June 1, 2012 |
Q. We have been discussing putting our investments in the hands of a highly recommended adviser. As part of our discussion, he said that he must have full control of our assets so that he can take advantage of opportunities that are available only for a few minutes. He wants not only control, but possession. I told him that you are opposed to giving any adviser both control and possession of the securities. He immediately pointed out that mutual funds do just that, and that you're out of date.
May 25, 2012 |
Digital cameras and smartphones have revolutionized garden photography like everything else. But, as Matthew Benson's new book, The Photographic Garden, illustrates so ably, new technology may have changed the tools, but the fundamentals of compelling photography are timeless. And so he writes for gardeners who want to see the garden differently through a lens, and thus, take better pictures. We can all use some help here, which makes Benson's introduction positively tantalizing: "Learning to see the garden photographically will make you a better garden designer, tuning your eye to the complex textural detail of plants, to the way they hold and transmit light, and to their posture and habit.
May 12, 2012 |
Container gardening is hot, hot, hot. Ho hum. What's new is year-round container gardening, "changing out" your containers to match the season. This excites a lot of gardeners and retailers, but it sounds like a terrific amount of work and expense to me. Am I the only gardener who enjoys the offseason? So I admit, I opened Barbara Wise's new book, Container Gardening for All Seasons (Cool Springs Press, $21.99), with bias aforethought. And while I found many of the 101 designs she offers up pleasant to look at, I also found a surprising number that looked overstuffed, which you know comes at a cost.
May 1, 2012 |
George C. McFarland Jr., was named president of Pennsylvania Trust, Radnor. McFarland will retain his current responsibilities as director of trust and account administration and as portfolio manager, and will continue to help lead the internal management and administration of the firm. Salveson Stetson Group, a Philadelphia executive search firm working with clients on identifying talent for senior executive-level positions, hired Donna DeHart as vice president. DeHart had served as a vice president for Advantage Building & Facility Services.
April 24, 2012 |
The risks of owning natural-gas stocks in your portfolio flared with the recent news that Chesapeake Energy's chairman had taken out more than $1 billion in undisclosed loans using company wells as his collateral. Natural gas has proved a frustrating conundrum for investors. For years, the prices of natural gas and crude oil traded together — both up and down. But that tandem relationship broke down in late 2008. Oil prices skyrocketed to more than $100 a barrel, but natural gas plummeted roughly 45 percent just this year, to $2 per MBtu (1,000 Btus)
April 20, 2012 |
It's sad, but not surprising, that cut flowers went the way of fresh food, turning what used to be a local enterprise into a $40 billion global network of industrial floriculture producing "factory flowers" every bit as uniform, unappetizing, and fake-looking as their gustatory counterparts. But as Debra Prinzing explains in her new book The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers (St. Lynn's Press, $17.95), the "slow flower" movement is catching up to "slow food," bringing flowers back to local fields and, in season, into our homes.
March 9, 2012
As Graham Rice says in his new book, "Dry shade is the most inhospitable part of any garden. " This calls for a hearty hear, hear! The book is called Planting the Dry Shade Garden: The Best Plants for the Toughest Spot in Your Garden , $24.95 from Timber Press. It's the latest in a string of more than 20 books by Rice, a household name in horticulture circles on both sides of the Atlantic. Rice lives and gardens in both Milford, Pa., and Northamptonshire, England, and he's well aware of the difficulties of trying to plant in all sorts of dry spots that are shaded by fences, overhangs, walls, buildings, and trees.
February 28, 2012 |
Billionaire and investing icon Warren Buffett said Monday that health-care giant Johnson & Johnson has "obviously messed up in a lot of ways in the last few years. " Buffett is chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the investment company that owns or holds sizable positions in companies in numerous industries. J&J, Wells Fargo, Burlington Northern, and Coca-Cola are among the prominent companies in its portfolio. Buffett said Berkshire has not sold its stake but "we might.
February 24, 2012
Gardeners have gone bonkers over herbs these last few years, and no wonder. They're so easy to grow, they look great just about anywhere, and they're useful. On a warm summer night, few things top a trip out back for a handful of basil, oregano, or chives while the pasta's cooking. (Well, maybe a trip to pick tomatoes.) Better Homes and Gardens is known for its super-simple guides to growing stuff, whether orchids, roses, perennials, or vegetables. Herb Gardening ($19.99)
February 10, 2012
Art Wolk, the bulb guy from Voorhees, is on a bit of a roll. His new book, Bulb Forcing for Beginners and the Seriously Smitten , is out just in time for the Philadelphia International Flower Show, which runs from March 4-11 at the Convention Center and where he's got two speaking gigs. Topic: "Lilies & Tulips & Daffs, Oh My! Using Bulbs to Grow Your Own Winter Flower Show. " This sort of thing gets bulbsters out of bed in the morning. And the take is pure Wolk, who's known almost as much for humor as for horticulture.