Home & Gardens

10/14/2016 - 10:12am
I am helping a friend transplant two grandiflora rose plants that are struggling in shade. When and how should we undertake the task? Prune the roses to about 30 inches in height in late fall, well before the first frost. Make your cuts just above a growth point. In two sunny spots that you have previously identified, dig two wide, very deep holes with plenty of compost at the ready, along with some bone meal and composted manure. Fill the holes with water, letting it recede while, with great... >>more
10/14/2016 - 9:21am
More frequent and violent storms, hot summers, pesky mosquitoes. Welcome to the world of climate change. It all sounds quite sobering – and overwhelming. What can any one person do to make a difference? In a previous article I outlined some of the actions the DC government is taking as a part of its Climate Ready DC Plan(www.sustainabledc.org/climatereadydc/). Did you know there are actions that you can take to make your home climate-ready and more comfortable? Read on! The DC government... >>more
10/13/2016 - 10:14am
A photographer walking through Dublin one evening in 1970 was struck by the beauty of the Georgian-style doors. He photographed 36 doors and put them together into a collage. On St. Patrick’s Day the Irish Tourism Board put the collage in its window in New York, and “Doors of Dublin” became one of the best-selling posters of all time. The same could be true of Capitol Hill doors today. The different styles, colors, and shapes make each home unique, and collectively they create... >>more
10/13/2016 - 9:10am
Just because you’ve made the effort to build a garden for yourself or have others design and build one for you, doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to take care of it afterward. Or you may know how but don’t have the time, or maybe you just don’t want to. Be honest and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Have you ever hired a crew to work on your garden and got that sinking feeling they’re not as environmentally friendly they could be, even if you can’t... >>more
09/12/2016 - 11:05am
A friend says that she can dig her garden soil with her bare hands! Woe is I. Even with a sharp trowel I have trouble digging my own. Although watered daily, my plants look exhausted. Any ideas? Gardeners make much about the “friability” of their soil. Your friend probably added fresh compost annually for the past 40 years. Relax. It’s true that garden soil should be about 50 percent air, but plants, like all of us, make do in less than optimal conditions. Roots have trouble... >>more
09/12/2016 - 10:15am
I would venture an educated guess that as recently as 20 to 30 years ago more than 75 percent of Capitol Hill flat and low-slope roofs were standing-seam tin roofs (or terne roofs as they are often known). I say “educated” because our family has been working on Capitol Hill roofs for nearly 100 years and I think we have seen it all! You would also have seen some copper roofs and slag roofs (also known as asphalt-and-gravel roofs). And, continuing our look-back in time, the steeply... >>more
09/12/2016 - 9:10am
Consider a standard closet make up: shoes sit piled on the floor, clothes hang from an eclectic assortment of plastic or wire hangars, one rod extends across the width of the space, a few boxes may stack on a shelf above the rod, and random old items gather in another corner pile. But your daily life and spatial sanity don’t need to suffer. With the help of a professional closet designer or by following do-it-yourself tips, anyone can build a closet space to serve both daily life and... >>more
09/09/2016 - 11:08am
If you Google “windows” these days, you find more about Microsoft software than about the character-defining features of your house. Yet soon we will be facing the drafty days of winter, and now is the perfect time to tackle the issue of replacing or repairing windows. Fortunately homeowners on Capitol Hill have a number of experienced firms to choose from, and can get more information from resources listed in theis article.  Windows: Key to Preserving the Historic Quality of... >>more
09/09/2016 - 10:12am
A potential Zika virus host, the mosquito Aedes aegypti, has over-wintered on Capitol Hill since 2011. In a wonderfully ironic instance of having your mistakes come back to bite you, the Hill is home to some of the same members of Congress who left for summer recess without appropriating additional Zika research funds. Though the virus has not appeared in the Hill mosquitoes, entomologists note that this is the only known instance of the insects over-wintering north of Alabama (https://www.... >>more