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DAN LITTLE
Meredith Michaels digs up a clematis recta, a herbaceous, non-climbing species, at the home of Karen Chrisman in Belchertown.

Gardening 101: Getting down and dirty in your own growing patch

Friday, May 1, 2015

How do you learn to be a successful gardener? Basically, by trial and error. Getting your hands in the dirt (pardon, me — soil) is the best way to learn, even though you are bound to make mistakes. But there are resources readily available to help you avoid the pitfalls and make your landscape beautiful and productive. There are neighbors who garden and know this climate. There are books and magazines with inspiring articles. There are good Internet sites — and some that are not so good. There are telephone and email hot lines. There is knowledgeable staff at local garden centers and nurseries. Grab …

Gardening help is at hand

Friday, May 1, 2015

Good soil is essential to success. You can get a full-scale soil test done at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for $15. Directions on taking a sample are available online at ag.umass.edu/services/soil-and-tissue-testing-laboratory. Master gardeners from the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association do pH testing for $1 per sample at Amherst and Greenfield farmers markets on Saturdays.  Master gardeners staff a telephone hot …

Solutions for reclaiming the space in your garage

Friday, May 1, 2015

Do you have an impressive front entry door but you prefer to enter and leave your home through the garage? If so, you’re not alone. A recent survey of 1,000 adults living in homes with remote-controlled garage doors found that more than 80 percent use their garage as the main entrance. But the …

Living Smart: Are your home and pets ready for the holidays?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving is not far off, and beyond it are other holidays and opportunities to enjoy family and friends at their homes or yours. Whether you’re traveling, hosting or experiencing some of each, here are ideas for making sure …

Turkey ware: Vintage or modern, a cornucopia of styles for Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 20, 2014

There are plenty of sources for cooking The Bird. So, how about focusing, instead, on the icon itself, celebrated in a variety of decorative interpretations, from plates to salt and pepper shakers, tablecloths, cocktail napkins and even pillows. …

Beware hot air! Debunking heating myths to stay warm, save money

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Advice about saving money on home heating costs abounds this time of year, but some of it is oversimplified, marketing hype or just plain wrong, while some long-standing myths persist about keeping warm on the cheap. For example, …

Get Growing: A garden-tour vacation could be the trip of a lifetime

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The highlight of 2014 for me was a trip to England to the Chelsea Flower Show, sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society, followed by seven days of touring English gardens. The Chelsea Flower Show is the great-grand-daddy of …

Surprise inside: A thoroughly modern kitchen updates a 1890s Victorian home in Amherst

Thursday, November 13, 2014

From the outside, Dennis and Annick Porter’s 1893 late-Victorian home in Amherst seems a typical design for that era. But step into the couple’s newly renovated kitchen and one is transported forward for a very modern living experience. …

Get Growing: Gardening galore in the blogosphere

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gardeners are usually generous people who are happy to share plants and seeds, garden experience and advice. We all treasure the daylily from mother’s garden or the primrose from our friend Sally’s garden or the strawberry or raspberry …

Layer by layer, piece by piece: Bringing a historic tavern back to life in Old Deerfield is painstaking work

Thursday, November 6, 2014

For Bill Flynt, Historic Deerfield’s lead architectural conservator, exploring one of Old Deerfield’s 18th-century buildings is like stepping into a time machine. That’s the experience he aims to give the museum’s visitors, but many of the buildings have …

Get Growing: Thomas Jefferson’s love for gardening helps define him

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thomas Jefferson was an avid gardener but he was more interested in scientific experiments than in spectacular successes. That was one of the facts about our third president that Peter Hatch, head gardener at Monticello for 35 years, …

Your Place: To prepare for winter, put pipes first

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Someone suggested that I write the annual getting-ready-for-winter column early this year because the last time I did, we had a mild one. There’s so much to say about winter preparation that it will likely take more than one column, so we’ll start with something that brings nightmares …

Get Growing, tips from Master Gardener Cheryl B. Wilson: Forcing bulbs

Friday, October 24, 2014

In the bleak midwinter when snow blankets the ground nothing is more cheerful than a pot of bright daffodils or tulips. They seem to promise that spring is just around the corner. You can certainly go to the …