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Talk of buying a vacation getaway in Ellicottville kicked into gear 20 years ago when Lisa and Kent Keating were expecting their daughter, Chloe. "We love to ski. I got bored in January, sitting home pregnant and not skiing. So one weekend I said to my husband, 'Let's just go to Holiday Valley; we'll stay in the hotel.' I was very pregnant but it didn't matter to me. I sai…

Western New York Iris Society invites all gardeners to meet at 2 p.m. Sunday at 103 Towers Boulevard, Cheektowaga, to hear Iris Society Judge Marilee Farry present “Mapping Your Garden.” A business meeting will finalize plans for the June Iris Show and other event dates and programs for 2017. Call 668-1789. Williamsville Garden Club will meet at 11:30 a.m. Thursday …

The more I travel the more I’m struck by the commonality within the gardening industry and its people. Our hardiness zones, plant species, soils, seasonal challenges, and the timing of our tasks vary widely but horticultural principles are consistent – as are the passions of gardeners and the commitment of horticulture professionals. I am writing from Florida, where…

My mother would have laughed hearing that houseplants are among the interior design trends for 2017. She always had big ferns hanging everywhere, ivy trailing down shelves and a jubilant jade that just kept growing and growing. If there was a spot she wanted some greenery but growing conditions were not ideal, she would unapologetically plop an artificial one there. A cert…

The other day, while lifting up the comforter in search of a dropped earring, I started thinking about all the things people stash under their beds. Out-of-season clothing, table leaves, ironing boards, toys, foldable exercise equipment, rolls of wrapping paper, monsters ... It’s tempting – Out of sight, out of mind! – and retailers make it even more so. That…

You'll find it on handbags and key chains. Lampshades and steering wheel covers. Bathrobes and blanket throws. In this cozy-seeking season, faux fur makes itself right at home. Whether made to imitate the fur of a real animal - or blatantly fake as in puffs of fluffy hot pink or turquoise -  you'll find faux fur in expected places such as hood trims on parkas but, oh, …

Current wisdom is that everything has changed in the world of books: how frequently people read online rather than in print, how people get their information, and what books sell. Some of these changes affect gardeners and naturalists too, but I see differences in this particular community’s relationship to books. Some books will remain on our shelves and have roles in o…

I love our white-and-black ceramic floor – except when I’m washing off the muddy paw prints for the third time in a day. Sure, mats and carpet runners help when we first bring in the dog from a walk and wipe off his paws. He patiently lifts up two of them for the wipe-down but then seems to say, “I’m outta here.” Perhaps he thinks he has two feet – not four paw…

Federated Holland Garden Club will meet at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Brink Memorial Community Center, Legion Drive, Holland. Following the business meeting and luncheon, members will discuss and plan for their 2017-2018 yearbook as well as the club’s May flower show. New members welcome. Call 537-9710. Cinderella Isle Garden Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Trin…

By now you’ve likely heard that Greenery – the yellow-green color named by Pantone as its Color of the Year – is expected to be big. But what other home decor trends are forecasters predicting for 2017? Here are just five that popped out at us: 1. Butterflies. Who doesn’t love butterflies? If trend-forecasters have it right, you can expect to see more butterf…

Jan. 1, 2017: I did some gardening today, unexpectedly. The sun had come out, the ice dam on the roof was melting, the deck needed shoveling, and I wanted to get away from the computer. I intended to shovel a little bit, fill the bird feeders, and hang up a large suet-seed cake. How surprising then to find out all the other jobs my garden and landscape called me to do. It …

Take a break from all your last-minute holiday preparations to take this short quiz on holiday plants and Christmas trees. It’s never too late to pick up some pointers and learn a few new things. (Answers at the bottom of this post. No cheating.)  True or false? 1. Today’s custom of the Christmas tree started in Germany in the 15th or 16th century. It was popula…

Technology has replaced -- and some might say improved -- the heart-warming spectacle of strings of twinkling Christmas lights strung along rooflines and window frames. A small projector stuck into the ground and focused on the house gives a similar star-spangled look to houses and trees. Sold under various names, including the original Star Shower Laser Light, the pro…