TGIF – Digging

August 28, 2020

Happy Friday, y’all! Here’s a little Yucca recurvifolia in flower to celebrate the weekend.

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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Garden Bloggers Fling, the online community and annual meet-up for garden bloggers since 2008, has expanded to include garden vloggers, podcasters, and Instagrammers. Check out their announcement AND their newly revitalized Instagram page, which is sharing pics from past Fling tours as well as community member profiles.

Join the mailing list for Garden Spark! Hungry to learn about garden design from the experts? I’m hosting a series of talks by inspiring garden designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year. Held in Austin, the talks are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

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Late summer stars of the garden

August 26, 2020

Like a starfish clinging to a rock, this soap aloe (Aloe maculata) I stuck in a pie-pan planter has grown more beautifully than I expected. It seems to love the crevice life. Snaking stems of ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense) add their flower shapes to the composition. A barbed-wire star completes the astral look.

Come meander around the garden with me. This is what I do every day, snapping photos with my ancient phone of whatever catches my eye. Here’s ‘Wilson’s Yellow’ daylily, blooming in late August instead of early summer like it usually does. Weird but welcome!

‘Sapphire Skies’ Yucca rostrata stands tall alongside the path up to the eastern gate. Its bristly head now stands high enough for us to see it from the elevated deck. From this vantage down by the shed, it towers over me.

Just inside the gate, ‘Purple Pillar’ rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Purple Pillar’), a trial plant from Proven Winners, continues to pump out cerise blossoms.

Outside the gate — we’re in deer territory now — I’m growing a trio of golden thryallis (Galphimia gracilis) in dappled shade — and they couldn’t

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8 Best Screen Cleaners of 2020

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all become much more diligent about keeping high-touch surfaces clean. And what could be more high touch than the phones, laptops, and other electronic devices we connect with almost 24/7? Especially at this time, they are our lifelines to family, work, and the outside world so it’s no wonder they get covered with dust, greasy fingerprints, and grime, not to mention germs we can’t see. Regular cleaning is important not only to make them look better, but for your personal safety, and to help your devices work better, too.

When we test screen cleaners in the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, we are first and foremost concerned with the how safe they are to use on delicate devices and whether they may cause any possible harm to screens and coatings. For pre-moistened wipes and liquid sprays, we check the ingredients for potentially damaging culprits, like ammonia, and steer clear of recommending products that contain them. For dry cloths, we look for a convenient and usable size and how easy they are to launder and clean.

We test all screen cleaners on a variety of devices —

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Mr. Kate Answers Highly Debatable Design Questions

The husband-and-wife team behind Mr. Kate thinks everyone’s home should have a touch of “creative weirdo.” At least that’s what they tell their interior design clients, which include popular YouTubers like Liza Koshy, LaurDIY, and the Labrant family.

Throughout the years, they’ve shared everything from easy, at-home DIYS (remember the palm leaf art made from pool noodles?) to complete home makeovers. Their philosophy on interior design remains unchanged: “Interior design should be helpful for your lifestyle,” they tell Good Housekeeping. Maybe that means switching to an open floor plan once you have kids, or opting for peel-and-stick wallpaper if you’re living in a rental.

In the video above, Kate Albrecht and Joey Zehr tackle this-or-that questions, everything from if wallpaper is better than paint to minimalism versus maximalism. Spoiler alert: They say minimalism is the way to go, but still think it’s possible to fill your space with things you love without giving it a cluttered look: “Be a maximalist on your walls, not your floors or countertops. Do gallery walls, or a cool, fun sculptural install.” That way, “it’s not able to roam around your floors or cover up your countertops.”

Watch the video above for more

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Chicago garden of restaurateur Rick Bayless

August 20, 2020

No, I have not recently traveled to Chicago (I wish!). But I did just come across photos from the 2009 Garden Bloggers Fling in Chicago and was stunned to realize I’d never written about one of the gardens we visited: the home garden of chef, restaurateur, TV show host, and cookbook author Rick Bayless.

In 2009 I didn’t know anything about Rick Bayless, who hosts the PBS cooking show Mexico–One Plate at a Time and owns several Mexican restaurants in Chicago, including Frontera Grill and the Michelin-starred Topolobampo. But I could tell he was a big deal from the reactions of some of my fellow bloggers, especially the foodies.

Bayless lives in-town in Chicago, with two or three lots behind his house, allowing space for an extensive vegetable garden plus an arbor-covered deck, fishpond, and grilling kitchen. Here we are, listening to garden manager Bill Shores explaining that the garden produces $20,000 worth of food each year for Bayless’s restaurants.

In late May 2009 it was still cool, so the edible garden was not yet in full, lush growth.

The rest of the garden sure looked lush and full though, including this shady path lined

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What Is Laundry Stripping and Does It Work

No one wants to put more time and energy into cleaning than they have to. That’s exactly why most of us throw our laundry into the washer and dryer, and call it a day. But sometimes (key word: sometimes), it may not seem like a standard wash and dry gets the job done. Enter laundry stripping, the latest cleaning method that people — TikTok users, especially — are obsessing over.

Laundry stripping isn’t new by any means: Many people, including Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cleaning Lab, have used this soaking method for years to remove detergent residue, fabric softener, minerals from hard water, and body oils from textiles. But one viral before-and-after TikTok by MrsLaurenElms started a cleaning movement in recent months, causing TikToks with #laundrystripping to rack up 18.5 million views.

This content is imported from TikTok. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

It makes sense why this soaking method is taking off — the TikToks show tubs filled with murky brown water after hours of soaking clean laundry. This prompted many people to wonder if they’ve been unknowingly wrapping

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