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.
February 3, 2012
The Edible Balcony : Growing Fresh Produce in Small Spaces by Alex Mitchell (Rodale Books, $21.99) is a treat to look at - the shelves loaded with pots of lettuce, basil and thyme, the peas and blackberries scrambling skyward, and yes, even the borage blossoms encased in ice cubes for a cocktail on the balcony after dark. The author, a Londoner and former gardening columnist for the Sunday Telegraph, touches on window boxes, hanging baskets, "10 best easy crops," good pots, salvaged and recycled balconies.
January 20, 2012
If you're the handy type, you'll open Handmade Garden Projects , the new Timber Press book ($19.95) by Lorene Edwards Forkner, with a quickened pulse. Me, I assumed it was yet another book about do-it-yourself projects that are ridiculously out of reach for folks like me. Despite the author's disclaimers, I did find an awful lot that I know I could never do - and other stuff that was just plain ridiculous. I've never considered vintage travel trailers like Forkner's, which she calls "my little 'canned ham' beauty," a thing of beauty on the road or surrounded by plantings.
January 6, 2012
Jenna Woginrich has serious Pennsylvania connections. She grew up in Palmerton in Carbon County, a place she's described in interviews as "a small town with street lights, sidewalks and Wonder Bread and mayonnaise. " She also graduated from Kutztown University. Perhaps those stolid roots inspired the homestead dream. For although Woginrich makes her living as a Web designer for Orvis in Sunderland, Vt., she's also a farmer - and now the author of Barnheart , a memoir about "the incurable longing for a farm of one's own. " Woginrich raises chickens, sheep, bees, rabbits, and geese; she grows her own vegetables and bakes a lot of bread.
December 30, 2011
After reading Petal & Twig by Valerie Easton, I wanted to run outside and gather twigs, seed pods, and pine cones, holly and evergreen boughs, and try my hand at an appropriately wintry arrangement. I also wanted to throw out 99 percent of my vases. Suddenly, they're boring! Easton's book (Sasquatch Books, $16.95) is a celebration of seasonal bouquets, a topic many gardeners find irresistible. It appeals to our frugal natures - no need to buy any flowers or greens - and allows us to enjoy the garden year-round.
December 29, 2011 |
Your New Year's resolutions might include personal goals such as losing weight, eating better, exercising more or learning the mambo. But your resolutions should also include financial goals, such as reassessing your investment portfolio. With the volatility of the stock market in 2011, some investors ignored their portfolios to avoid the stomach-churning ride of daily price fluctuations. But as the year draws to a close, consider reviewing your investments to determine whether your portfolio could use some improvement.
December 13, 2011 |
What is going to happen with the financial crisis in Europe? Some on Wall Street argue Europe is finally getting its act together and the sell-off in European banks and capital markets is overdone. Others say they believe the European monetary union is going to collapse spectacularly, with the euro currency going out of existence and the region plunging into conflict. So, here are ways to play those opposing scenarios in a portfolio. Consider the view of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which last week upgraded ratings on European banks to neutral from underweight, for this reason: "The new funding arrangements agreed by the ECB (European Central Bank)
December 12, 2011
SIM-PLY THE BEST SCROOGE 'Tis the season when emotions run high over "A Christmas Carol," whose many remakes are popping up all over the tube. Nearly every year, we hear from readers who say "bah humbug" to any version but the 1951 film starring Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. (Some might prefer George C. Scott, but we remember the "Mr. Magoo" treatment particularly fondly.) Sim's version seems to get less airplay than it used to, but if it's not Christmas until you've seen it, TCM airs it at 8 tonight.
December 2, 2011
Lauren Springer Ogden and husband Scott Ogden have a new book - Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens, a compilation from Timber Press of 200 drought-tolerant choices in every category. They recommend trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials, ground covers, grasses, bulbs, vines, succulents, palms, and fiber plants, things like yucca, whose leaves are sometimes used to make rope. All of their recommendations need little water and tolerate extreme dry conditions, qualities gardeners in our part of the world haven't worried about much until recently.