Home & Gardens

11/04/2015 - 11:44am
Most of us take our home appliances for granted. The refrigerator, stove, microwave, hot water heater, washer, and dryer are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready at our beck and call. We depend on them but we don’t give a lot of thought to their maintenance. What can you do to prolong the life of your appliances and ensure that you’re maximizing energy efficiency?   I asked two well-known Capitol Hill appliance repair experts, Skip’s Appliance Service(301-864-... >>more
11/04/2015 - 11:21am
Capitol Hill residents have passed Christ Church Washington Parish on its grassy knoll at 620 G St. SE for nearly 210 years, although many structural changes have been made throughout its decades of ministry. Built as a simple and utilitarian structure surrounded by meadows and farmland in 1806, it was later enlarged into a Gothic-Revival style church to serve the growing population of the Capitol City. By the end of the 19th century, stained glass windows were added, the church was topped with... >>more
11/04/2015 - 10:42am
You warned us that dahlias were a lot of trouble. I forget how I’m supposed to over-winter them. Hang them upside-down in the garage? We don’t have a garage. First carefully dig up each dahlia bulb. Shake off all soil. Lay them down for about a week on dry newspapers not touching one another, until they are completely dry. Layer the bulbs in a cardboard box, again not touching, between layers of crumpled newspapers. Place the box in a cool (40 degrees F) dark place away from any... >>more
11/04/2015 - 10:13am
The National Building Museum has a new exhibition important to all garden lovers and designers, “The New American Garden: The Landscape Architecture of Oehme, van Sweden.” Organized by the DC-based Cultural Landscape Foundation (www.tclf.org), the exhibition runs through May 1, 2016. Oehme Van Sweden & Associates (www.ovsla.com), a world renowned firm, was founded in 1975 as a partnership between German immigrant, landscape architect, and plantsman Wolfgang Oehme and Michigan-... >>more
10/07/2015 - 10:20am
We Capitol Hill homeowners are experts when it comes to space-saving measures in our (comparatively) small homes, but kitchens provide specific challenges. We demand a great deal of this room, but inevitably we need to upgrade, reconfigure, and add space. Renovation becomes a necessary but dreaded and stressful undertaking. In 2000 Byron Buck and his wife purchased a house on 12th Street near Lincoln Park that needed remodeling. Although he’d never remodeled a house, he decided to... >>more
10/07/2015 - 9:45am
How did farmers and gardeners obtain vegetable seeds before companies sold them? They let a portion of their strongest looking plants go to seed so they could collect, dry, store, and re-use their own from one growing season to the next. Often they would swap seeds with neighbors and together blend seeds of the same plant variety to ensure the vigor that comes from genetic diversity within a species. Today, seed saving and swapping are making a big comeback, and urban neighborhoods like Capitol... >>more
10/07/2015 - 9:12am
Do the spring bulbs I plant in my garden this fall need sun? They do need some sun. Half a day is probably plenty. Remember that many bulbs will bloom before trees leaf out, so there will be more sun. In full shade, bulbs get long and spindly. They crane their necks for more light. In full sun the summer’s heat fries most tulips, so they won’t repeat. Dappled shade is best.   Is there any way to prevent squirrels from eating the spring bulbs I am planting now? Yes. Once they... >>more
08/31/2015 - 11:10am
My oriental lilies are now hidden and need to be planted closer to the house. Can you advise about when and how to transplant them? Best do this in the fall. First, water them well several hours before, to moisten the soil to the depth of the bulbs. Cutting foliage back to a height of eight inches makes division easier and reduces stress to the plants. Slide a garden fork (a spade could damage a clump) under the bulbs and lift the entire clump free of the soil. Divide bulbs that have doubled by... >>more
08/31/2015 - 10:12am
Many a Capitol Hill resident has wondered about the previous inhabitants of their home, and what their house looked like in years past. Earlier this year, Michelle Pilliod Carroll and Nina Tristani set out to do what they had long planned to do – research the history of their Capitol Hill homes. Over several weeks, they visited various institutions around DC including the Historical Society of Washington, DC, the Washingtonia Collection at the Martin Luther King Library, the Library of... >>more