For centuries, mothers and daughters have spent long afternoons together weaving garlands, planting seeds, and weeding and planning their gardens. That's the subject of the book "A Time to Blossom" by writer Tovah Martin and photographer Richard Brown.
The book is organized around the seasons, presenting a year of impressionistic stories about flower-related activities ranging from tea parties to harvesting. The book includes practical information -- such as how to make a hollyhock doll and how to press a pansy -- as well as detailed profiles of specific flowers, including lilacs, poppies, roses and zinnias.
Martin and Brown are known for their previous collaborations, including the best seller "Tasha Tudor's Garden." Published by Houghton Mifflin, "A Time to Blossom" is an oversized softcover book with 140 pages. It is priced at $40.
A sprinkle of freshness
Deodorize pet bedding by sprinkling with baking soda, which is nontoxic and safe to use around animals. Let it sit for a while in the bedding, then shake it out or vacuum. Put some into cat litter boxes to help eliminate those odors as well.
Protecting your bounty
Ripening tomatoes are attractive to garden pests, including rabbits, squirrels and deer. To fend them off, take a roll of 5-foot-wide chicken wire and form a circular fence around each plant.
Tie the ends together with wire and secure the bottom with stakes or landscape staples. Use another section of wire to form a lid, secured between harvesting by simple wire ties.
The citrus solution
You're sitting around relaxing on your patio, just as you're about to squeeze a lemon into your cool drink, when you notice rust stains on the concrete caused by your aging metal outdoor furniture. What should you do? The answer literally is in hand -- the lemon you are holding. Finish squeezing it into your drink, then reach down and rub what's left on the rust stains. Wipe with a soft towel or cloth, and the stains will disappear before your ice cubes melt.