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Backyard cuttings

Published May 12, 2007



Maybe it's not always about the blooms. Flowers come and go, but foliage can last all year, and may be even more attractive than the blossoms. Foliage: Astonishing Color and Texture Beyond Flowers, by Nancy J. Ondra (Storey Publishing, $24.95/paper), with photographs by Rob Cardillo, shows the amazing variety that's available: from silver to black, rough and spiky to silky, scalloped or saw-toothed, for shade or sun.


Land of flowers

As mothers enjoy flowers on Sunday, Mother's Day, note that 77 percent of the cut flower imports in this country come from Colombia, at a value of $967-million. Mothers likely had a hand in getting those flowers from garden to market: 65 percent of the Colombian flower work force is female. Colombia expects to export nearly 1.4-million boxes of roses and other flowers to the United States for Mother's Day.


Words to grow by

Another source of lawn and garden advice is always welcome. Visit and click on "lawn and garden advice" for helpful tips on insects, indoor and outdoor gardening, lawn care and much more.


Get yard in shape

Want to reduce the amount of time you spend pruning? Try these tips, from Briggs & Stratton:

• Redecorate your landscape. Pull out overgrown and high-maintenance plants, and replace with newer varieties.

• Select dwarf and slow-growing plants.

• Manage pruning. Avoid hedges or shaped plants that require shearing two or three times in a season. Prune trees in stages. Heavy pruning can cause trees to grow water sprouts, or "suckers, " that require pruning. Do extensive pruning jobs over a period of years. Cut suckers off at the bud stage and below the soil level for slower regrowth.


Stick it to the bugs

Insect sprays and wipes always miss a spot, and those pests never stay out of your ears or away from your scalp. Try this: the Don't Bug Me! Patch. Stick it on two hours before you head outside, and the manufacturer contends it will protect against biting insects for up to 36 hours with active ingredients vitamin B1 and aloe. Find details and order at www.dontbugme; it's $4.99 for a five-patch box, $7.99 for 10. Watch for it later in the summer at natural-foods and health-foods stores.

Compiled by Homes and Garden editor Judy Stark

[Last modified May 11, 2007, 12:28:20]

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