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Woodman, Spare that Tree0

We have a very old maple in our yard. Its large branches have held many swings and rope ladders over the years. The leaves have provided shade on the south side of the house and years of leaf mulch for the gardens. But its days unfortunately are numbered. The great trunk is marred with deep vertical lesions showing definite signs of disease.

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Think About The Trees When You Renovate0

The benefits of having trees around us has been proven time and again. The National Arbor Day Foundation tells us their shade cools us in summer, saving 50% on air conditioning costs. In winter, they provide a windbreak which can reduce heating bills by as much as 30%. But often, trees aren’t the first thing to come to mind when planning a major home renovation like the addition of a new room or two.

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Energy Miser0

Summer will soon be upon us, my friends.  And my A/C will be cranking as hard as possible to keep my house at a nice, chilly 80 degrees.  Yeah—80 degrees.  It’s damned hot here in Florida, and it makes me cranky.

Last season, I shared with you how much money you could save with a Black & Decker AutoSwitch.  Now, I give you:  the Energy Miser.

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Weed Killing Salt0

I have some health issues, and I have absolutely no problem talking about any of them.  Ask away and I’ll answer.

But one answer you won’t get from me (at least yet) is that I suffer from hypertension.

And that makes me happy because I LOVE salt.

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Climbing Hydrangea0

Yes - the mophead varieties are lush and sexy, coveted by gardeners for centuries.  Their massive heads in rich pinks and violet blues (depending on the soil) are  irresistible to many.

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Cool Houses: Werner Sobek0

If I happened to be driving along the coast and saw the object in the picture above, I would swear that an alien invasion had begun.  I’d be wrong, of course . . .

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Great Landscape Shrub0

: Pieris japonica (pronounced Pie-air-iss juh-pon-i-kuh)

Pieris japonica (also known as Japanese Pieris, Lily-of-the-Valley Shrub, or Andromeda) is a compact, evergreen shrub with much appeal as a landscape plant. It’s versatile and works well in the shrub border, as a foundation plant, or massed in the woodland garden. Its attractive leaves emerge bronze or red, and it bears snowy white pendulous blooms in late winter and early spring.

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Life on the Compost Heap0

We’ve been composting vegetative kitchen scraps all winter long. And as a result we’ve got a great start on the next batch of compost.

Here’s how our system works.

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Building Efficiency: Insulation0

I know next to nothing about insulation. Except that our old house doesn’t have enough of it.

But I work with a colleague who recently taught me a little bit about the different kinds of insulation and, most importantly, what a difference proper installation of insulation can make. He used phrases like “nice face stapling”, “low density” and “band joist”. A new vocabulary for me that rolled off his tongue as easy as pie.

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Gardening with Native Plants0

There has been renewed interest recently in including native plants in the home garden landscape. Native plants are typically considered to be those that were found naturally growing in a region as far back as pre-Colonial times.

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