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Leave a message on Karen Biel Costantino’s voicemail and, when she calls back, expect to hear something like this: “I couldn’t get to my phone. I was up on a ladder.” That’s what happened one morning several weeks ago. Yes, she was up on a ladder. She had been painting since 6 a.m., she said. This was just a normal day for Costantino, whose recently restore…

Most people have family members, housemates or roommates who do little things that bug them. They return a bottle to the refrigerator with only a drop or two of orange juice in it. They walk by items placed on steps that need to be carried upstairs and put away. They don’t replace the empty toilet paper roll – or if they do they hang it in a different way than…

Every year I am amazed to witness the speed of changes in the garden in spring. Especially this season, on the rare days when cold and rain turn to warm and sunny, the plants appear to be producing leaves and shoots at record rates. We may spot a few failures – plants that could not tolerate soggy conditions – but most plants should look lush and green as the rains …

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens will hold its annual Great Plant Sale from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 19 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 20 in the Administration Building. Free admission. Ken-Sheriton Garden Club will hold its sixth annual plant and garden sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 20 at Zion United Church of Christ, 15 Koenig Circle at Parker Boulevard, Town of …

My mother was never one to withhold wisdom regarding fashion and interior decorating, but the one piece of advice that always sticks in my mind is this: “If you find something you love, buy it in every color.” Because you may never find it again. She was referring to things like T-shirts and shoes as opposed to, say, sofas and chairs. But while I would remind her…

The annual Knox Art and Garden Show with more than 90 artists will be held at the main house at Knox Farm State Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 13 and 14. Paintings, handcrafted jewelry, garden-related items and more will be available. The show, a fundraiser to support improvements to the park, is organized by the Friends of Knox Farm. Admission is $5; free for children un…

Mother’s Day calls for flowers, and your choices are many: the old classic orchid corsage, a bouquet of cut flowers, or the popular spring baskets of violas, fragrant Lobularias or myriad other container plants. For something more lasting for Mother’s garden, thousands of you are likely to choose a rose. No flower elicits nostalgia and tender memories quite like a r…

Suzy Redino, a local interior designer and gardener, has a well-established backyard for entertaining. There’s a stamped concrete patio, whimsical sculptures, a pond and perennial beds. But she and other winter-weary Western New Yorkers each spring look for ways to spruce up and enhance their outdoor living spaces. “This year, I want to finally put in a fairy gar…

This weird weather has some of us feeling we’re in a holding pattern. Rain, rain, rain ... and snow showers? What season is this anyway? And what do we wear for it? On Wednesday I saw one woman dressed in opaque tights and knee-high leather boots. A few minutes later, I spotted another woman in sandals. But May – if it really is May – has great potential, I’v…

Evans Garden Club will hold workshops from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 6 and 10 a.m. to noon May 10 to prepare for the annual plant sale scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 13 at the Evans Center Fire Hall in Angola. For locations of the workshops, call 947-4571. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens will hold a Fairy and Gnome Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 6 and…

After a rainy period weeds come out easily, and there’s no better time than now to get ahead of the problem. The old adage – “One year’s seeds, seven year’s weeds” (English proverb) – quite like Ben Franklin’s “A stitch in time saves nine,” is relevant. Weeding now will prevent mass reproduction and save you from future back strain and aching hands. …

Like most gardeners last Sunday, I imagine, I was outside for as many sunny hours as I could manage, doing spring yard and garden tasks. Most of us don’t need lists: We just go out there. Even without a plan, what-to-do leads us forward. It was a joy to clean up the deck, patrol the yard for branches, and to make a small start in flower, fruit and vegetable beds. As a…

Paint cans, stepladders and boxed-up accessories were all part of the scene earlier this week as interior designers and everyone else involved in Decorators’ Show House 2017 worked toward the same goal: Preparing the August Feine House for thousands of visitors beginning April 29, when it opens its doors to the public for three weeks. More than 40 area decorators, …

Just like bell bottoms, off-the-shoulder tops and midi skirts, trends in home decor are cyclical. Whether the younger generation is seeing something for the first time while the rest of us are watching yet another resurgence, it can be fun to watch. Here are just a few things that appear to be making a comeback: • Rickrack: Country Living magazine notes in its Apri…

Piles of brush, leaves and sticks are mounting at curbsides all over Western New York (and in many other regions). I understand people’s urge to clean up after winter leaves its debris behind – fallen leaves, dead branches, and trees knocked down after windstorms. But it is disturbing to me, at an elemental level, to see so much organic matter pushed to the curb whe…