Home & Gardens

03/11/2017 - 11:12am
How hot does it get in DC in the summer? It’s already been such a hot winter. Welcome, stranger! DC temperatures can exceed 100 degrees F for days on end. Remember how 19th-century denizens simply fled “the swamp” every summer – to Cleveland Park or New England – long before Mr. Trump planned to “drain” it. Summers here can also be rainless. Do find flowers in the “drought tolerant” category. To my ear it sounds pretentious when some of my... >>more
03/11/2017 - 10:12am
Creeping, crawling, feeding under the covers of night. They move in swiftly, only to retreat soon after to the safety of cracks and crevices. They’re called bed bugs. At least two DC Public Schools (DCPS) buildings have reported incidents of bed bugs in the last two months: Savoy Elementary School (2400 Shannon Place SE) and Miner Elementary School (601 15th St. NE). Savoy closed in early February because of the problem. Miner remains open. These two infestations are part of a much larger... >>more
03/11/2017 - 9:12am
Over the past decade spring has been anything but predictable. How does an avid gardener adjust? This new, unpredictable climate seems to be the norm. How do we as gardeners decide what to plant and when to plant it? Do we dig everything up and create a Colorado-inspired rock garden? Do we make weekly trips to the garden center to buy plants only to have them freeze, fry, or die because they have come from a warm cozy greenhouse into a volatile climate?  It seems as though sometimes the... >>more
03/09/2017 - 10:12am
The West Wing of the Smithsonian’s Department of Botany in the National Museum of Natural History houses 4.8 million dried pressed plants, the oldest of which was collected in the 1500s. Capitol Hill resident Alice Tangerini has drawn well over 1,000 of them in her role as the museum’s botanical illustrator. Her illustrations appear in scientific journals published worldwide and may be seen in the Smithsonian’s online Catalog of Botanical Illustrations: http://botany.si.edu/... >>more
03/09/2017 - 9:12am
On a chilly January morning I pulled up to an old stable located in an alley off of Florida Avenue in DC’s Trinidad neighborhood. An exuberant man popped out of a door. “You found it! Welcome to my Dwell!” With that I entered into David Bernhardt’s Dwell, the “tongue-in-cheek” name he gave this project when his wife told him that she would live in any abode as long as the end product would be worthy of a writeup in Dwell, an architectural and design magazine... >>more
03/08/2017 - 10:12am
Of course you do! But true love requires a commitment. Under your roof is your home, most people’s most valuable asset. You can easily see when the paint or drywall inside your home needs to be redone, when you need new carpets or flooring, or when you need to replace your front stairs. But you probably can’t see the roof and have no idea what the condition is from year to year. You need to make sure the roof is properly maintained to protect that most valuable asset! It’s not... >>more
03/08/2017 - 9:10am
Kitchen & Family Room Remodeled in a Bungalow-Style Home Many older homes found on Capitol Hill, and in the Washington metropolitan area, have outdated galley kitchens that don’t suit modern lifestyles. Today’s homeowners desire open floor plans with up-to-date cabinets, finishes, and appliances, where they can easily cook and entertain or just enjoy a more informal lifestyle. Such was the case for a couple who had owned their 1920s bungalow-style house for 21 years.With... >>more
02/18/2017 - 10:30am
Two local entrepreneurs now offer gardening help to residents of the Hill and beyond: Laurie Gillman, owner of East City Bookshop, and Amanda McClean, co-owner of Izel Native Plants. Both businesses opened fairly recently and each one integrates the best practices of analog and digital worlds in refreshing and contemporary ways.  East City Bookshop On a recent shopping trip, I stopped into East City Bookshop at 645 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, and was thrilled to discover the largest... >>more
02/18/2017 - 9:12am
We forgot to prune our beautiful lacecap hydrangeas and are now wondering whether we should still do it this late. Or have we missed the boat as far as expecting any beautiful flat blue blooms in 2017? I always get lacecaps mixed up in my mind with the snowball and oak leaf varieties of hydrangea. You are not the only one. Some hydrangeas can be cut back anytime because they bloom on “new” (this year’s) wood. But a lacecap blooms on “old” wood. Its buds are already... >>more