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Budget-savvy Home: Spruce up for Spring on a Shoe String

Even with a bare-bones decorating budget, you can still give your home a fresh look for spring. It just takes a bit of creativity and an open mind, according to Ginny Bean, publisher and founder of Ginny’s catalog and “One of the easiest and least expensive ways to spruce up your home is to subtract from what’s in it,” says Bean. Removing clutter is just one of Bean’s low-cost, high-impact tips for giving your home a seasonal lift.

Clear the clutter. In the winter, it’s comforting

to have stacks of books and magazines on coffee tables, and throws on couches. In the spring, you want open and airy. Put books on shelves, and magazines in a rack or basket. Tuck the throws in the linen closet, and pack away knick-knacks for a few months. Rearrange the furniture. Try floating furniture in the room rather than hugging the walls. It’s a great trick for making the space feel different and less structured. Swap out an item in your living room for one in your bedroom, or slide something from the kitchen into the dining room.

Spring for some color. A few touches of bright, saturated color can refresh any decor, and distract the eye from items that might be a bit dated. No one will notice a worn coffee

environment. Seasonal scents like honeysuckle, freesia and spring tulip add color, freshness and intoxicating fragrance. Go sheer. Replace heavy draperies with bright, light-weight curtains or sheers. You won’t believe the difference it can make. Just let them hang and blow in the breeze. Remake your bed. Put away that heavy com- forter or quilt in favor of a lighter bedspread. Mix and match solid-colored fitted and top sheets with pillowcases in various patterns. Tuck the top sheet tightly all around and fold the edge at the head of the bed over your coverlet or blanket. Fold your bedspread down to rest across the foot of the bed. Add accent pillows to create an inviting, luxurious-looking bed. Assess your art work. Is your wall decor warm and cozy? Switch out a few pieces for some- thing lighter and brighter.

table if it has a bold, oversized vase sitting on it. There’s no need to break the bank. Think about pillows or placemats to incorporate the colors you want. Accessorize. You can change your towels, shower cur- tain and bath accessories for less than $100. Jar candles are another inexpensive way to create an inviting room

Plant an idea. Put at least one house plant in

every room. Fill a low planter or kitchen serving dish with potting soil and some grass seed. When the grass is a few inches high, add Easter eggs or seashells for a conversation- starting centerpiece. For more seasonal decorating ideas and products, visit or call (800) 487-9024 to order a catalog.

Give Grass a Fresh Start this Spring

Area News Group


Community Patriot

April 13, 2012 Page 12

Grass is an extraordinary plant, the unsung hero of backyards everywhere. With proper care and feeding, grass can help clean the air, cool the ground, reduce ero- sion and provide one of the softest outdoor play surfaces. With all of these amazing benefits, it pays to start the spring season off right by giving grass a boost. The drought and heat of last summer, combined with uncharacteristic winter temperatures in many regions, may have


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dreaded “deer drama” that will inevitably wreak havoc in your beautiful backyard this season. Deer are now a permanent part of our landscapes, brazenly entering our yards and eating our gorgeous gardens. They are majestic animals, and beautiful to look at - from a distance. Up close, trampling and tasting your tulips, they’re just not a welcome sight. Springtime is when deer damage is most noticeable, particularly as plants awaken from months of dormancy and prepare to bloom. Deer are the poster critters of natu- ral adaptability. As suburbia has encroached on their wild habitat, deer have adjusted easily, finding plenty to eat in residential landscapes.

“In the early part of the 20th century, the deer popula- tion in the U.S. was less than half a million animals,” says Greg Ecsedy, owner of Bobbex Inc., which manufactures deer repellent. “Today, estimates place the deer population at between 15 million and 20 million animals that cause about $1 billion a year in damage to farms, gardens, yards and timber.” “We know that deer will eat more than 500 different types of plants, so there’s a good chance that something you’ve planted will appeal to them, and you can bet they’ll eat it,” Ecsedy says.

Since deer need to consume a high volume of calories to

survive - bucks weighing 125 to 250 pounds need 4,000 to 6,000 calories per day - their foraging can cause significant damage to suburban landscapes. Deer seldom travel alone, so a small herd can devastate a neighborhood quickly. Deer’s close proximity to people over the course of time has dulled their natural fear, so it’s quite common to see multiple deer nonchalantly noshing away - right outside your window. Deer’s adaptability stems from their capacity to learn.

Homeowners can defend their landscape by putting deer’s natural learning ability to good use. Deterrents that convince the deer your yard is no longer a desirable dining destination can successfully protect your home environ-


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taken a toll on the lawn, but getting it back on the road to recovery is easy. Moderate temperatures and increased precipitation in spring are perfect for repairing, seeding and feeding grass. Well-nourished grass withstands harsh conditions better, and provides a lush, durable place to play while squeezing out unwanted weeds by blocking access to sunlight. Follow these tips to take your grass from tired to terrific. Seed Fill in bare or thin spots with grass seed to encourage a thick lawn, helping prevent weeds from invading your lawn by block- ing access to sunlight. Use a high-quality seed appropriate for your region, like Scotts EZ Seed to fill in thin spots and thicken the lawn. To repair larger areas, use Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed with WaterSmart coating. Feed Grass needs nutrients to grow strong, deep roots that can endure harsh condi- tions and grow in thick to help block access to sunlight for weeds. If the lawn does not need reseeding, use a high-quality lawn food like Scotts Turf Builder. This lawn food can be used in any season on any grass type, and delivers balanced nutrients for strong, thick grass. Use a starter fertilizer when planting new grass to promote root growth and seedling development. When seeding or feeding, use Scotts DLX EdgeGuard Broadcast Spreader for larger areas to direct lawn food only where

desired - on the lawn and off hard surfaces - and out of storm sewers. This spreader combines the accuracy of a drop spreader with the speed of a rotary spreader. Mow

Set your mower at the highest setting and leave grass clippings on the lawn. Mow frequently to avoid removing more than one third of the grass height, and do so when grass is dry to avoid damp clumps that could smother grass. Leaving clippings on the lawn recycles nutrients stored in the clippings keeping the soil cooler, encouraging deeper root growth and enriching the soil with organic material. Keep these simple mowing tips in mind

every time you head out to trim the grass: Mow your grass at the highest setting, keep grass clippings on the lawn and water only when needed. Water Grass that is fed and kept at a taller height develops deep roots which are better able to conserve water and withstand peri- ods of heat and drought. Rely on rainfall as

the primary source of water. During periods of drought, the lawn can go without water for an extended time. Even though the lawn may look brown and wilted, it will recuper- ate after the rain returns. If you do choose to irrigate the lawn, water less frequently for a longer period of time rather than short frequent waterings. These tips for a great lawn will provide a foundation for a fun-filled summer in your own backyard. For more information on seeding and feeding this spring, visit

Get Rid of Deer Before They Devour Your Yard Springtime means sunshine, blooms, birdsong - and the

ment from these foraging foes. Several methods can be effective in deterring deer, including the use of repellents like all-natural Bobbex Deer Repellent. Common solutions include: * Deer Repellent - Deer rely heavily on their sense of smell to assess the desirability of an area for feeding, and to alert them to danger. Disrupting their sense of smell can disrupt their sense of security, which is why scent-based re- pellents often prove effective. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station gave Bobbex a 93 percent protection index - second only to a fence, at 100 percent, for effective- ness. The repellent uses ingredients that blend the scents of putrescent eggs, garlic, fish, clove oil and other proteins, so it smells and tastes awful to deer. It’s environmentally friendly and safe for animals and your family. Apply it in almost any weather, it dries clear, won’t wash off after heavy rain or burn plants and grass. Bobbex Deer Repellent is available online at and in garden retail stores. To learn more, visit www.bobbex. com.

* Deer Deterrent Devices - Motion-activated noise mak- ers and lights can scare deer off for a short time. Deer’s movement in the yard can activate motion lights at night, scaring them away, during the day you can use motion- activated sound. It’s likely, however, that deer will become acclimated to both tactics over time, and the sound and motion might not have an effect on them. * Deer Fence - Fencing is considered the only surefire

way to keep deer out of a garden, but keep in mind that deer have been known to jump 10-foot fences, and many communities restrict the height of fencing. You may not be able to put up a fence high enough to keep deer away - plus, fencing might not be practical and can be costly. * Deer Resistant Flowers - Another option is to grow plants that deer don’t like. A hungry deer will eat just about anything, but you may have some success by planting deer- resistant flowers and plants like catmint, hellebore, yarrow, fuzzy lamb’s ear, and cleome near the plants you want to protect.


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