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When I recently asked a friend what she couldn’t live without in her home, she answered “the washer and dryer.” This is true, I agreed, but I was thinking more along the lines of little things that make life easier. Like those colorful bag clips that help keep Veggie Stix, assorted cereals and noodles fresh. Or the masking tape dispenser I store on a shelf in t…

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When it comes to kids, I think that very few of us – gardeners or simply grown-ups – are really experts on how to share our love of gardening or nature. We’re lucky we have elementary school teachers who know how to engage children in science topics, and what material is suitable at what age. We’re lucky to have our Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens with…

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Western New York Iris Society will meet at 2 p.m. April 8 in the home of Maria Gerbracht, 125 Lafayette Blvd., Williamsville, for a Design Techniques demonstration. This will feature a foreign item not usually found in a design. The demonstration is in preparation for the WNYIS iris show June 17, with the theme "Tiptoe Through the Iris." Call 632-8069 or email:  mrgerbra…

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I admire people who land a great outfit long before a special occasion arrives – including shoes and accessories. The funny thing is, I don’t know too many of them. Last-minute shoppers unite! We eleventh-hour shoppers rip through the racks at 8:30 p.m. Friday looking for a dress to wear Saturday afternoon. Or, even worse, 10:01 a.m. Saturday after the doors open…

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How interesting it was last weekend to meet hundreds of you at Plantasia, the garden and landscape show of PlantWNY. I began to make notes, collecting questions and looking for trends. Then I asked other landscapers, experts, and “plant people” what questions they were hearing. At risk of sounding overly proud of the Western New York horticultural community, I wi…

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It's not just the two spirited French bulldogs that come as a surprise at Artie Vanderpool's apartment. It's also the decor. He furnishes the small space with large furnishings. He displays a sizable collection of artwork and blue-and-white porcelain in interesting ways. And he buys it all from many different sources. A one-stop shopper he is not. He found the Anatolian…

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The 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show theme was “Holland: Flowering the World.” It was my favorite and one of the best ever according to many. Imagine walking among 30,000 tulips all in bloom, under a floating floral canopy, and passing a 30-foot windmill – with light show and music performed on the hour. My band of travelers had left a blizzard-riddled world the day bef…

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A couple days ago a co-worker asked to borrow the multipurpose cleanser I keep in my bottom drawer. She wanted to wipe down a section of her desk. “I should clear everything off and wash the whole thing, but I’ll start small. It’s micro spring cleaning,” she laughed. Then she admitted this: The whole notion of spring cleaning terrifies her. And she even subsc…

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Hamburg House and Garden Club will meet at 7 p.m. March 28 in the Community Center, 107 Prospect St., Hamburg. Richard Price, from the Urban Roots Advisory Board, will present “Four Seasons of Gardening.” For club information, call Nancy Kalieta at 826-7462. Plantasia, the garden and landscape show, is scheduled for March 23-26 at the Fairgrounds Event Center and Ar…

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With the official start of spring just days away, it’s time to make note of some events you may not want to miss. For starters, presale tickets are now available for the 2017 Decorators’ Show House. This year’s house is the August Feine House, 766 Ellicott St., on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Presale tickets, $20, can be purchased until April 28 at jlbuf…

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Pruning is, in my opinion, the landscape job that more people do badly than any other task. (Watering is a close second.) Many homeowners do it poorly – typically flat-topping shrubs that don’t deserve it – and often at the wrong time of year. Some untrained landscapers might prune poorly as well. The educated landscaper (CNLP) has been trained in correct pruning …

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The 2017 Decorators' Show House is coming up fast, and tickets are now available. This year’s house is the August Feine House, 766 Ellicott St., on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Presale tickets, $20, can be purchased until April 28 at jlbuffalo.org, at all Wegmans locations, or at the Junior League of Buffalo's office, 45 Elmwood Ave. They can be purchased at th…

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The African Violet & Gesneriad Society of Western New York will meet at 7 p.m. March 21 at the Greenfield Health & Rehab Center. Contact judyoneil1945@gmail.com for detailed directions. Topic: Problem Solving Discussion. Judges Council of 8th District of Federated Garden Clubs of New York State will meet at 10 a.m. March 23 in Brighton Community Church, 1225 Bri…

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Fans of home makeovers will be eager to see what design pros have dreamed up for Decorators’ Show House 2017. They have to wait until April 29, however, when the transformed house opens its doors to the public for its three-week run. But the biennial event, which dates back to 1981, is such a longtime tradition in Western New York that we decided to give readers a tre…

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Recent issues of Country Living and Better Homes & Gardens have landed on my desk, and I have no intention of sharing them. Why? Because both magazine covers are bursting with blooms – gorgeous flowers in pink, peach, purple, coral and yellow. I just love looking at them. Inside Country Living, the April issue, I find an article on repurposing old items as vessels…