MOST RECENT STORIES

  • Home & Garden

    Gardening: In the battle against bugs, don’t reach so fast for that bottle of pesticide

    How eager we are to find culprits or villains, whether in life or in the garden. Often, that search is merely an indication of our own impatience, stress or lazy thinking. Let’s say I get lots of headaches. Instead of examining my life to find the underlying issues that bring on the headaches, I may blame my boss, a whiny customer, or a fellow employee for my throbbing head. Then I will probably just take a pill or two and the pain will go away. But, soon enough, the...

    Joshua Siskin
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  • Home & Garden

    Gardening: Here’s why you probably will never see a naturally blue flower

    Blue is the rarest flower color, seen on only 10 percent of the 280,000 flowering plants on Earth. Among those who specialize in color analysis, it is sometimes claimed that, in reality, there has never been a true blue flower, nor will there ever be one. This has to do with the fact that there is no blue pigment in the plant kingdom and colors that appear to be blue are actually permutations of violet or purple. Red plant pigments in flowers and fruit, known as anthocyanins, are...

    Joshua Siskin
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  • Home & Garden

    Gardening: Iris has a colorful history, forgiving nature

    When the mob overthrew the monarchy during the French Revolution, one of the first acts of the new governing authority was to remove the flower that had been visible for centuries on flags, shields, decorative patches and coats of arms. This flower, which had been proudly displayed by French royalty, nobility, clergy and soldiers, may be seen today in the logo of the New Orleans Saints professional football team. Known as fleur-de-lis, the flower (fleur) is commonly referred to as a...

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  • Home & Garden

    Gardening: Texas Ranger and other plants do best when they’re ignored

    It would be dereliction of duty on my part not to mention two plants, blooming now in all their glory, that defy the hottest weather with an outrageously floriferous late-summer display. Look at either one of them and you’ll think to yourself, “This just can’t be. How in the world, after a summer of sizzling heat, does this plant do it?” It’s sobering but also instructive to understand that a plant flowers strictly for its survival as a species.

    Joshua Siskin
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  • Historic homes

    Whimsical storybook homes have roots in Hollywood

    Storybook style was born from the imaginations of Hollywood designers seeking to re-create medieval Europe for movie sets. As with most things from Hollywood, fans took notice and so did architects and builders who capitalized on the idea and brought it to Main Street, Southern California. You’ve no doubt spotted some of these homes. Maybe you were even tempted to knock on the door and ask for a peek inside. Well, now you can see many of them without the risk in the new book...

    Suzanne Sproul
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  • Home & Garden

    Room makeovers are easy, affordable when you use what you have

    Imagine home makeovers without the mess or expense. That’s Rita Wood’s specialty. The Temecula-based interior redecorator opts to use items and furniture clients already have, making it easier on their nerves and pocketbooks. The magic is in the way she puts the pieces back together. “The idea of making the most of what you have was pioneered in the late 1990s,” said Wood, also known as the Room Arranger. “However, it is still current and in...

    Suzanne Sproul
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