Poisonous plants may seem a strange topic for a plant lover to write about, but gardeners should not duck the subject. Nothing would take the joy out of gardening like having a child or pet get sick after chewing on a houseplant or something in your garden. With a little knowledge we can avoid bad things happening for nice gardeners. The logical concept would be for gar…

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…

Inquire about any piece of furniture, accessory or painting in the Bartolone home and Elizabeth Bartolone has a story about it. The low-post bed in the guest room? "That was my grandparents' bed when they were first married." The lineup of miniature buildings on top of the armoire in the living room? "Those are Russian churches. I've been there three times." T…

The Bartolones' four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home in Amherst is a traditional center entrance, decorated elegantly for Christmas in ivory, silver and gold with pops of red. They bought the house four years ago, moving from a home in Williamsville. Here is a peek inside: The floor plan: Living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, sun room, laundry and half bath …

Ever since I heard that Pantone named Greenery its 2017 Color of the Year, I've been seeing it around our house. I see it on the cap of our daughter's shampoo bottle. I see it on the linen tablecloth and napkins that have been in my family for many years. I see it mixed into the pattern on the cover of a Lilly Pulitzer book I own. It even comes pretty close to the color of…

WILSON -- Participants may get a glimpse of 1800s glory or marvel at new green energy-saving technology in a range of houses gussied up for the holidays during Wilson’s Holiday Tour of Homes Saturday, Dec. 10. The addresses this year include: A stately home at 182 Harbor St., once owned by Luther Wilson, community founder. Thought to be constructed prior to 1835,…

When I think about velvet in the home, I think of the year I decided to sew emerald green velvet pillows for my mother for Christmas. I was in high school, had minimal sewing skills, but I thought it was just what my mother - and our living room - needed. During study halls, I would venture down to the Home Ec room and sew away. I don't recall much else about this ambitiou…