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You don’t need a reason to throw a party, but there are many reasons to host one this time of the year. Father’s Day. Summer solstice. Graduation. Shower. Wedding. Family reunion. Fourth of July. And all those summer birthdays, of course. In most cases, big decisions need to be made. How many guests? Tent or no tent? Catered, partially catered or DIY? Once all…

Health and Fitness

Interesting things happened to Joel Solly after he joined and helped establish an indoor air cleaning company in 1993 and spent a couple of years perfecting how to clean ventilation ducts without using harsh chemicals. He found out the same proprietary tea tree oil blend he developed for Indoor Air Professionals made a great air purifying gel, spray and wipes for use on…

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It will be a sad day when I finally have to ditch my favorite flip-flops. They’re cute – navy with white polka dots. I first bought them for a beach vacation. After that they became my go-to slip-ons for retrieving the mail, watering the porch ferns, heading for a pedicure. I never wear them to the office or to dig in the garden. They’re a summer staple I keep by …

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As a newcomer to gardening in the 1980s I learned to identify and grow all kinds of perennials and vegetables. Yet while driving the roads of Western New York I did not know what I was seeing: “What are those flowering trees and shrubs in people’s yards and on village streets? What are the wildflowers stretching across the fields?” Later as a certified nursery and…

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East Aurora Garden Club will meet at noon June 12 in St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Main and Maple streets, East Aurora. Park in rear. Dorothy Julius, co-owner of Along Garden’s Path, will present “Think Spring, Think Green,” which will include a demonstration on how to incorporate natural materials in home decor and timely tips on recycling and gardening. Guests wel…

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Thousands of people are flowing through checkout lines in garden centers this month. They have chosen their plants. The cashiers scan the plant tags, and often ask, “Do you have the compost (or mulch or potting mix) you’ll need?” Those questions are more than add-on sales techniques. Sales staff or cashiers ask them because the customer probably does need some pro…

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Keys have been baffling me lately, ever since I started sorting through an odd collection of them. Some may have traveled with me for years – no doubt from places I have lived and vehicles I have driven. One key looks like it belongs to a bike lock – but what bike lock? Another could possibly lock a filing cabinet – but not one I own now. I also have mysterious…

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Youngstown Garden Club will hold its annual plant and garden decor sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 3 in the Youngstown Civic Center (Red Brick School), 240 Lockport St., Youngstown. Profits are used to support three community gardens and fund local scholarships. Call Karen Noonan, 745-1283. Garden Club of the Tonawandas will hold its sale of member-grown perennials from…

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Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County master gardener volunteers will hold their annual plant sale from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 26 and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 27 at First Presbyterian Church, One Symphony Circle. Featured will be sun and shade perennials, natives, herbs, annuals, shrubs and vegetables from the gardens of master gardeners, who will be on hand to offe…

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When is it time to take the houseplants outside? It’s not about the calendar. It’s about the weather, especially nighttime outdoor temperatures. Most houseplants are comfortable when night temperatures remain above 55 degrees. Many survive lower temperatures, but some plants do not. Each genus has its own limits of tolerance. Timing is also about you – how warm…

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Looking for plants with personality? Plant and seed companies such as Proven Winners and Burpee have some fun ways of describing the flowers, vegetables and other products featured on their websites. I read how one plant really “swaggers” in containers. And how a certain dahlia gives other plants “an inferiority complex.” How, one wonders, will Superbells …

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Weekends are packed with parties, garage sales, barbecues and festivals, but gardeners and nongardeners alike know there are other events that scream summer around here: Garden tours and walks. Beginning in early June and continuing into August, it will be possible to check out one – or several – almost every weekend. Daytime too busy for you? You’ll find evening …

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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…

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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…

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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 …