hCelebrate gardencolors and designs
Nature blessed Washington's Bainbridge Island with soil and climatic conditions ideal for a huge variety of plants, and the island's gardeners make the most of those advantages by creating lush landscapes.
Now the rest of us can get a look at some of Bainbridge's best through the book "The Abundant Garden: A Celebration of Color, Texture, and Blooms."
"The Abundant Garden" spotlights nine gardens where the owners have helped nature along with the application of color and design principles and the use of garden-design techniques. The book is part garden tour and part how-to guide, including tips for creating a look of abundance in your own garden.
The book, by Barbara J. Denk and Debra Prinzing, is published by Cool Springs Press. It sells for $29.99 in hardcover.
Get wicker furnitureready for summer
Wicker rockers and tables are being dragged out to screened porches and covered patios. Happily, wicker is one of the easiest materials to care for, according to "Home Comforts: The Art & amp; Science of Keeping House" by Cheryl Mendelson.
Clean with a vacuum's dusting brush. Wash off more serious grime with a damp cloth using warm water and a mild soap. Don't soak. A fresh coat or touch up with enamel paint or polyurethane, Mendelson says, will help the woven fibers last longer.
hNew sun hateasy to transport
The new Twist Sun Hat makes it easy to keep sun protection in your gardening tote, beach bag, purse or anyplace else a bulky hat won't fit.
The full-size hat has a deep brim to shade your face, but it collapses with a twist to fit into a compact pouch. It comes in raspberry, grass green or a garden-y stripe.
The hat, made by MidWest Gloves & amp; Gear, has a suggested retail price of $6.99. It's carried by Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Ace Hardware, Do it Best, CVS and some garden centers, and it can also be ordered from Woodson Supply Direct at (800) 689-9164.
Choice feather duster
Maybe it's the soft South African ostrich feathers or the leather collar that holds them together -- or maybe it's the rich, waxed, hand-finished walnut handle.
But the Linley feather duster may be the most beautiful -- not to mention expensive -- of its kind. David Linley sells it for about $280 at his eponymous London shop.
If you can't get there, visit www.davidlinley.com.
Floral bottle stoppers
It's hard to ignore the appeal of these floral bottle stoppers by Artecnica Inc. of Los Angeles. Perfect for summer tabletops and outside gatherings, these cheery resin blossoms are a delightful way to reseal beverage bottles.
"Lili" bottle stoppers, $12.95 each, are available at www.southmoonunder.com or see artecnicainc.com. Other flower styles also available.
Learn more abouthome maintenance
Five years ago, "Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House," by Cheryl Mendelson, became a surprise publishing hit, even at the hefty hardcover cost of $35. Now the 896-page primer is out in paperback, available for as low as $13.57 on www.amazon.com.
The steady seller, says publicist Erin Cox, is targeted to reach more people who could use advice on subjects from abrasive cleaners to zoning restrictions.