She made her garden dreams come true

September 28, 2020

Mandevilla vine

I’ve known Amy since I was 17 years old. We met as freshmen at Rice University and became good friends. She was a bridesmaid at my tiny wedding in South Carolina, and I was there for her when she and husband Gary tied the knot. We’ve spent Thanksgivings together and ridden mules to the bottom of the Grand Canyon together.

In recent years she told me about her dream of having a garden — a garden where she could grow vegetables and flowers, with a screened gazebo where she could sit and read and look at the garden all around her. But her L-shaped backyard in Houston’s West University Place neighborhood was not much more than a patio and dense shade.

Thinking outside the box, Amy and Gary acquired the property next door when it became available a few years ago. They razed the small house, and Amy set about making her vision into reality. She hired designer David Morello to transform the empty lot into a formal-style garden with a screened gazebo at its heart, lots of pollinator plants including milkweed, and raised beds for growing edibles.

And by last fall, she was able

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September 2020 Home Item Recommendations From Monique Valeris

As Good Housekeeping’s senior home editor, I come across tons of home-related products, both good and bad. But there are some special finds that are just too great to keep to myself. That’s why I’m sharing my favorite home items with you—our readers—here on our website every month in the hope that you’ll appreciate them as much as I do.


Last month, I shared some of the stylish home items that carried me through the summer months. Now that we’ve transitioned to fall, it’s only right to highlight the best pieces that I’ll be relying on to make my space more cozy and suitable for the cooler temps. Scroll down for a look at what’s on my radar this month, from chic bookends to a cozy throw. You won’t be disappointed.

1

Vase Bookends

Uncommon Goods
uncommongoods.com

$45.00

You can never go wrong with a double-duty product like these adorable bookends that are designed to keep your favorite blooms on full display.

2

Bungalow Rug by Jenni Kayne

Lulu and Georgia
luluandgeorgia.com

$128.00

Warm up your space with this striped flatweave from Jenni Kayne’s new rug collection for Lulu & Georgia. 

3

Jonathan Adler Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee

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7 Fridge Organization Ideas – How to Organize a Fridge

It’s mesmerizing to look at well-organized, color-coordinated refrigerator. (Try not to get lost in the perfectly placed peppers above.) But actually, an organized fridge also saves time and money. If you know exactly what’s inside, grocery shopping and mealtimes become way more efficient, with less food waste and unpleasant smells.

To get started, experts from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen recommend prioritizing the foods that you reach for most. From there, categorize items into groups and place them in clear containers (key word: clear) for a more uniform look. The rest is up you: Stock up on different storage solutions to help combat rolling soda cans, overloaded snack drawers, and your growing wine stash.

When placing items on shelves, consider what makes most sense for you — and for the food itself. Most people keep milk on the top shelf or in the door but it should go on the back of the bottom shelf where it’s coldest. Same goes for eggs: Store eggs in their original cartons on middle or top shelves where temperatures are more consistent. Reserve the fridge door for condiments, butters, soft cheeses, and processed juices.

If you have young children, stick their go-to snacks

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8 Ways to Make Your Home A Cozy Haven

This year, the phrase “winter is coming” has new, anxiety-provoking overtones. After a year in which our lives were upended and our roots planted firmly at home, it can be daunting to think about another significant stretch of time inside.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little forethought, you can transform your house into a home, making it a haven for cool weather ahead — a place you really want to be. Here’s how.


Build your cleaning arsenal.

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Disinfectant Granite & Stone Clean & Shine

As we head into cold and flu season — in a year where viruses are already top of mind — there’s nothing more important than stocking up on all the tools you’ll need to keep your home cleaner and safer during the cold season.

It’s a common misconception that all cleaning products disinfect, says Carolyn Forte, director of the Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. And cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are not one and the same. Cleaning removes any visible mess from a surface by washing and rinsing, typically with soap and water, but it does not automatically disinfect. Sanitizing is one step better,

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Houston Botanic Garden’s surprising cactus garden and more – part 2

September 25, 2020

During my inaugural visit to the brand-new Houston Botanic Garden last weekend, my eyes widened when I rounded a bend and saw this — a rocky garden of agave, yucca, and cactus. After all, this is Houston, city of sauna-like summers and 50 inches of annual rainfall. You just don’t see agaves or xeric plants in great numbers in Houston.

Naturally I loved it, agave freak that I am.

It’s called Arid Valley. So what do you think? Is this the garden version of an uncanny valley? Hah, no. It looks quite authentic, actually. But as my daughter pointed out, it feels more like a canyon with those stratified rock walls. So we’ve renamed it Desert Canyon in our heads — sorry, HBG!

Sunset-hued Arizona onyx boulders stacked into low walls are backfilled with gravelly soil for dry-loving plants.

‘Jaws’ agave showing off its toothy leaves

They even have torch cactus, which I never see in Austin. Houston is a hardiness zone warmer than Austin (in addition to being much rainier), which must make this possible.

This matte blue beauty is Agave americana ‘Kerbey Lane’. I’ve been to Austin’s original Kerbey Lane Cafe many times but

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Brand-new Houston Botanic Garden showcases tropical and subtropical plants – part 1

September 24, 2020

Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio all have botanical gardens, but until now, the biggest and most international city in Texas did not. Last weekend Houston finally got its due with the long-anticipated opening of Houston Botanic Garden. I road-tripped with my daughter three hours east to Houston to check it out.

The garden occupies a former golf course in southeast Houston near Hobby Airport, embraced by Sims Bayou, one of the slow-moving channels that meander through flat, flood-prone Houston. The 132-acre garden’s 30-year master plan, according to Inhabitat, includes “conserving water, promoting biodiversity and providing habitat for butterflies, birds and other wildlife. Garden designers integrated the plans into the surrounding Sims Bayou, allowing for the flooding and intense weather events so prevalent in Houston.”

We arrived right at opening on Saturday, entering through floral-themed gates.

Pine Grove

And hey, we’re not in Austin anymore, as evidenced by the pine trees of Pine Grove, one of many seating areas throughout the gardens. Some of the trees are already fairly large, but as they grow this space will eventually offer a shady, forest-like hangout right at the entrance. I like that it’s

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