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Home & Garden - Baltimore Sun

Home and gardening news, reviews, tips, and resources

Last Build Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2018 23:00:09 -0400

Copyright: ©2018 Baltimore Sun

Garden Q&A: The first star magnolia to bloom in spring

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 06:00:00 PDT

More and more I’ve noticed a small tree with fairly big white flowers that I’m guessing could be a replacement for Bradford pears. Do you know what it is?

We think you’re seeing a star magnolia, the first magnolia to bloom in spring. Star magnolia blossoms are unusual, with narrow petals and a...

Wayfair follows Amazon with its own made-up holiday: Way Day

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 06:20:00 PDT

Amazon started Prime Day. Alibaba capitalized on Singles Day. Now another e-commerce company is hoping for success with an invented shopping holiday.

Online furniture seller Wayfair is calling April 25 Way Day and will offer discounts that it says are comparable to its Black Friday deals.


Purge, organize, post to Instagram: Pro tips to make your home orderly and attractive

Fri, 6 Apr 2018 06:36:00 PDT

If you’re a borderline hoarder with serious home organization issues in desperate need of some professional advice, follow The Home Edit on Instagram.

If you’re a neat freak with a decluttering obsession and an eye for design, follow The Home Edit on Instagram.

Either way, you won’t be disappointed.


Go green: 10 fun houseplant ideas

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 10:28:00 PDT

Houseplants are having a moment. Not that they ever went out of style, per se, but thanks to millennials, home greenery is back with a vengeance. And we're not talking about your grandma's ferns. From whimsical air plants to vertical succulent walls, we've rounded up 10 houseplant ideas that will...

Garden Q&A: Mulch volcanoes are not what nature intended

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 06:00:00 PDT

I’ve been getting teased about making mulch volcanoes. They look good to me. What’s the big deal?

Mulch volcanoes, with the mulch being the volcano and the tree being a vertical column of lava, are not what nature intended. Nature mulches with leaves or needles, when she mulches at all. Humans...

Garden Q&A: Can lesser celandine be mulched away?

Thu, 5 Apr 2018 06:00:00 PDT

Can I mulch away lesser celandine? It's throughout my neighbor's lawn and now making its way into my beds. Their gardening service suggested this.

Thick mulch may discourage celandine from emerging, but we find no research that shows this method is effective. Lesser celandine is a non-native invasive...

10 most expensive Baltimore-area homes on the market in March

Tue, 3 Apr 2018 05:06:00 PDT

These are the 10 priciest new home listings in the Baltimore area last month, according to multiple listing service Bright MLS. The list excludes new construction and homes without seller permission to advertise or promote.

Stylish office decor from Howard County stores

Wed, 4 Apr 2018 05:00:00 PDT

Just because you’re stuck at a desk most of the day doesn't mean you have to sit in an unseasoned space.

Garden Q&A: Don't let this perennial grass get a foothold in your lawn

Thu, 29 Mar 2018 06:00:00 PDT

What’s going on here? It’s like my lawn has chicken pox. Small patches turn light brown in winter, like zoysia grass does, and really look spotty against the normal green grass. But it’s not dead, because it turns green in the spring and blends in. More and more of my lawn is doing this.

This is...

Acquired taste: At Chef Nancy Longo's Canton rowhouse, every item tells a story

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 02:00:00 PDT

Chef Nancy Longo has hobnobbed in the kitchen with the likes of Alice Waters and Paul Prudhomme. She’s cooked for Billy Joel’s band and filmmaker Barry Levinson.

Yet her early passion was for the arts and design.

“I was headed to University of Maryland to study set design, but the course was canceled,...

Home accents crafted by Maryland artisans

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 04:37:00 PDT

Look no further than right here in Maryland for distinctive home decor. These talented local artisans and companies have just what you need.

Why Christopher Schafer added a miniature skate park to his backyard

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 08:00:00 PDT

On any given day, the backyard of Christopher Schafer’s Perry Hall home resounds with laugher, chatter, and a repeated rolling and rhythmic clank.

About 75 feet downhill from his midcentury rancher, the 45-year-old men’s clothing designer has his own miniature skate park, where he and his three...

Pops of purple: How to decorate with Pantone's Color of the Year, ultra violet

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 10:09:00 PDT

Between the hometown football team and Pantone's Color of the Year, ultra violet will be popular in 2018. Unleash your purple pride by adding pieces to your home in this hue. The color adds a controlled sense of sophistication, but remember: a little bit goes a long way.

This is one of the most striking pieces in Patrick Sutton's Fells Point home

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 04:00:00 PDT

The Fells Point home of Baltimore-based interior designer Patrick Sutton is filled with attention-grabbing decor.

Sutton, who designed the interiors of such luxury establishments as the Sagamore Pendry hotel and the Charleston restaurant, had to ponder a moment when asked to choose one piece from...

A lush Ruxton garden that's always growing

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 03:00:00 PDT

The welcoming evergreens and flowers in the front, the backyard pool enveloped in gardens, the views of the lush landscape — that’s not how the grounds looked when Bruce and Polly Behrens bought their Ruxton home in 2001.

Before they renovated the three-acre landscape, the backyard was largely...

Trendy uses for tile in Baltimore kitchens and bathrooms

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 03:00:00 PDT

Easy to clean and often waterproof, tile is a natural choice for kitchens and bathrooms. But its appeal is more than just practical; it can make or break a room.

Here, local kitchen and bath design experts share what’s new in the world of kitchen and bath tile, from shades and shapes to textures...

Garden Q&A: What you should know about the yellow-stalked puffball

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 06:00:00 PDT

I found this growing out of leaf litter on the Appalachian Trail. At first glance I thought it was a spring wildflower, but obviously it’s not! I’ve spent a lot of time looking for it online but no luck. What is this?

That’s a beautiful fungus you found, with red puckered lips on its yellow spore...

Sykesville author's tips on gardening in harmony with wildlife

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 05:00:00 PDT

Nancy Lawson and her husband transformed their two-acre property outside Sykesville into a wildlife-friendly oasis. Now, Lawson is teaching others to do the same.

The former Humane Society editor is the author of “The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife.” Published last spring,...

Garden Q&A: How to get rid of groundhogs in your yard

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 06:00:00 PDT

A groundhog has dug under our shed — again. We have removed many over the years with a non-lethal trap but another one always shows up. Any better ideas?

Groundhogs are especially fond of digging under concrete slabs. Perhaps it substitutes for the large rocks they burrow under in wilder areas....

Garden Q&A: Stop to smell the sweetbox plants

Thu, 8 Mar 2018 06:00:00 PST

The other day I caught a sudden whiff of jasmine outside, but didn’t see any flowers to explain its source. Could it have been a plant?

Fragrance on a wintry day can stop you in your tracks. You may have encountered the aptly-named sweetbox. Its white blooms, opening in February, are small and...

6 tips for checking your trees after the big windstorm

Tue, 6 Mar 2018 03:00:00 PST

A “bomb cyclone” just packed a wallop up and down the East Coast, causing extensive damage to local trees. An arborist says that the Baltimore area’s evergreens are particularly at risk.

“The amount of damage we’re seeing is almost up there with the derecho,” said Kevin Mullinary, district manager...

Why do Cal Ripken Jr., Ray Lewis, the late Tom Clancy struggle to sell their posh homes?

Mon, 5 Mar 2018 07:00:00 PST

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 24-acre spread in Baltimore County lingered on the market for so long, he decided to auction it off. Ray Lewis and the late Tom Clancy similarly haven't been able to sell their high-end homes either. Such properties often are too idiosyncratic, and too expensive, real estate agents...

$31,000 dining set purchased by Ben Carson's HUD came from a Baltimore interior design firm

Thu, 1 Mar 2018 11:55:00 PST

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and its secretary Ben Carson are catching criticism after the department purchased a dining set that cost more than $31,000 — which came from a Baltimore interior design firm, according to CNN.

The pricey mahogany dining set, which came to a...

Ray Lewis' Reisterstown home is back on the market, with a price cut

Thu, 1 Mar 2018 06:25:00 PST

You once again have a chance to own the home of future NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.

The former Ravens linebacker’s 28-acre Reisterstown estate is back on the market after a brief hiatus. Originally listed for $2.95 million in April 2017, the asking price for the property is now $1,888,520.


Garden Q&A: Yes, fava beans can grow well in Maryland

Thu, 1 Mar 2018 06:00:00 PST

I want to grow fava beans, but don't see them among the HGIC crop profiles on your website. Is it possible to grow them in Maryland?

Yes, they can grow well in Maryland. Some years are better than others, depending on the weather, as they like cool spring conditions like peas, with temperatures...

Garden Q&A: Blue spruce in Maryland won't be long lived

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 06:00:00 PST

Our blue spruce is losing its needles, and I've witnessed other evergreens in the neighborhood dying. I'm afraid it is also what will happen to our tree. Lower branches are dying from the inside (near trunk) out to the tips. Only the top one-third looks green, lush and healthy. Also, white sap...

The Nest on Main in Bel Air is a gift-giver's paradise

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 05:00:00 PST

In search of an engagement gift for a friend, Jessica Rinehart arrived at The Nest On Main for the first time just 10 minutes before the store closed. She took a chance and went into the boutique, which had recently opened in Bel Air.

“The shop just caught my eye — her windows were great,” the...

Garden Q&A: Leaves haven't dropped yet? Unusual weather usually is to blame

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:00:00 PST

Why didn't our Japanese maple drop its leaves? I've noticed this condition from Charlottesville through N.Y. Are they all dead or injured?

When you see a phenomenon this widespread, unusual weather usually triggers it. Last fall, many plants either dropped leaves very late (December) or did not...

Cal Ripken Jr.'s Reisterstown home is going up for auction in May — and there will be open houses

Thu, 8 Feb 2018 05:45:00 PST

Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. is taking a new approach to selling his Baltimore-area home: Putting it up for auction.

According to a listing on DeCaro Auctions’ website, Ripken’s 24-plus acre Reisterstown estate will be auctioned off on May 12. The auction, held in cooperation with the Bob Lucido...

Garden Q&A: Repotting citrus houseplants

Thu, 8 Feb 2018 07:00:00 PST

Leaves suddenly fell off my beautiful orange tree, and now it's a stick. Same goes for my lime and lemon trees. I recently repotted using soil specifically made for citrus plants. Should this happen? Will my trees die?

Repotting can be stressful for houseplants, and it's not uncommon for plants...

Harbor East residences at Four Seasons are officially move-in ready, with Inner Harbor views. One for $12M plus.

Tue, 6 Feb 2018 09:25:00 PST

The luxury residences in the Four Seasons in Baltimore’s Harbor East are all on the market and move-in ready.

The homes range from 900 square feet to 7,000 square feet, with one to three bedrooms, and prices between $799,000 and $12.5 million. Each of them with floor-to-ceiling views of Baltimore’s...

10 most expensive homes sold around Baltimore in 2017

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 07:00:00 PST

These homes were the priciest sold in the Baltimore metro area from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017, as determined by Bright MLS, Inc.

Peeling bark is sign of emerald ash borer

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 10:05:00 PST

The bark on my neighbor’s large ash tree is being peeled off. Short bark strips lie all over the ground at the base. Is it squirrels or woodpeckers or a deer rubbing its antlers? Is it something to worry about?

This ash tree is probably infested with emerald ash borer. Woodpeckers strip chunks...

Garden Q&A: Keep eye out for new invasive pest

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 19:40:00 PST

My relatives said I should not bring firewood from Pennsylvania when we come home after the holidays. Is there a quarantine?

A new invasive pest, the spotted lanternfly, is just over the line in Pennsylvania and has now been found in Delaware and New York. All Marylanders need to be on the lookout...

Garden Q&A: Defeating a clothes moth infestation

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 08:30:00 PST

My home is infested with small clothing moths that look like feathers. They ate holes in my grandfather’s WWII army blanket! I found larvae and tiny black dots of moth excrement. An exterminator put pesticide strips in the garbage bags I filled with clothes and bedding. The washer and dryer killed...

Red, green and gleaming glass: Poinsettias still a holiday highlight in Baltimore's Druid Hill Park

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 11:50:00 PST

Bridget Maginn passed her 90th birthday years ago, but her eyes lit up like a child’s as she made her way through the profusion of red and green — and pink and cream and apricot — plants on display at the Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory.

She had dropped in on the annual poinsettia show at the Victorian-era...

Garden Q&A: History of Maryland holly

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 14:40:00 PST

My mother has a holly with lots of berries she calls Satyr Hill and claims is from Maryland. Is it safe to prune off branches for decoration this time of year?

Satyr Hill is indeed a Maryland daughter, from the McLean Nurseries in Parkville, acclaimed as one of the best all-time hollies for vigor...

Garden Q&A: Name this green caterpillar

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:20:00 PST

A friend took this picture in a parking lot. The caterpillar is about three inches long and grabbed hold of the pavement tightly when my friend tried to move it. Can you identify it?

If you wondered whether fall was unusually mild, this caterpillar is exhibit A. It waited until well after Thanksgiving...

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan sold waterfront home for $1.35M

Wed, 6 Dec 2017 11:30:00 PST

Gov. Larry Hogan has sold his waterfront home for $1.35 million.

Hogan sold the house last year, but the sale was reported this week by local news website Maryland Matters.

Public real estate records and the governor's financial disclosure statement confirm the sale of the four-bed and five-bath...

Home furnishings store Belle Patri opens second location in Columbia

Wed, 6 Dec 2017 09:00:00 PST

Jennifer Lane has been selling consignment, repurposed and new furniture from her Jarrettsville store for 10 years, but over time, she learned that many of her customers were traveling to get there.

That prompted Lane to open a second location of Belle Patri in Columbia in October. There are now...

10 most expensive Baltimore-area homes to hit the market in November 2017

Tue, 5 Dec 2017 21:00:00 PST

These are the 10 priciest new home listings in the Baltimore area last month, according to multiple listing service Bright MLS. The list excludes new construction and homes without seller permision to advertise or promote. 

Garden Q&A: Keeping autumn leaves to help garden critters

Fri, 8 Dec 2017 06:50:00 PST

What’s missing from my yard that I don’t get more butterflies and birds? I grow the plants that feed them and don’t use pesticides.

Leave the leaves! We have to unlearn old habits sometimes. Disposing of autumn leaves has become a ritual, but most of the beneficial insects we love such as butterflies...

Harford builder building county's first tiny house

Fri, 1 Dec 2017 03:00:00 PST

The relatively new “tiny house” phenomenon is coming to Harford County.

Developer and builder Craig Falanga is building the first one in the county on Rock Spring Road in Bel Air, just outside the town limits.

“I’m drawn to this tiny house thing, but I can’t put my finger on why,” Falanga, owner...

Silver and gold holiday finds at Howard County stores

Tue, 5 Dec 2017 14:59:00 PST

Celebrate the holiday season with these shiny silver and gold accents from local retailers.

A glimpse of history and holiday cheer in Howard County house tour

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:45:00 PST

Of the 500 or so Howard County homes on a statewide list of historic properties, five are open to the public for a fundraiser one day each year.

Local residents jump at the chance each December to step inside places they previously could only glimpse from afar – and get a history lesson at the...

Garden Q&A: When to harvest Asian persimmons

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 15:25:00 PST

When do I harvest my Asian persimmons? They are so big and beautiful!

It’s always dicey. The longer you leave persimmons on the tree, the sweeter they get. But if they get hit with a hard freeze, they turn to mush. Yummy mush, suitable for fruit pudding, but folks usually want to eat Asian persimmons...

Garden Q&A: Turkey tail fungi

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:10:00 PST

These things are growing on the stump of a tree we cut down. We’re worried that they will spread to other trees and kill them.

Turkey tail fungi is striking with its vivid color pattern resembling the fanned feathers of a tom turkey, strutting to attract the ladies. The concentric color bands vary...