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I proudly admit it: I am a Downton Abbey fan. More important, I am a fan of English architecture and design, and what better example is there than Highclere Castle, the historic home of the eighth Earl of Carnarvon and the inspiration behind the hit series?
In the world of professional gardening, winter brings on different tasks. Hopefully, most of these jobs will be indoors when the weather is at its worst, as snow-shoveling and ice-chipping rank near the very bottom of our favorite jobs list. About the only things lower on that list are cleaning up the bird messes under the seed feeders, mucking out the pond on a cold spring day or spreading ripe manure in the heat of the summer. Gardeners usually use the winter season to plan future plantings, research new materials, order specialty items and peruse plant catalogs.
Most bug bites are harmless, yet kids who play outside are prime targets for the itchy bites of mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers. To spare your child from the irritation and possible illness that can result, protection is key.
Summertime means enjoying the great outdoors: camping, picnics, boating and relaxing in a hammock under your favorite shade tree. Life is good. Then, there’s the itching, stinging, swelling and scratching. Bug bites are bad.
Summer is a time for fun: vacations, swimming, ball games, picnics and trips to the emergency room. WAIT! Let’s work on avoiding the latter. This summer, almost 3 million children will visit the ER for treatment of trauma and almost 2,000 of them will die from their injuries. Simple preventive measures and close supervision can reduce this number. Think safety whenever you and your children are around water, riding in the car, playing sports, out in the sun or around fires.
You probably know of The Racquet Club, the Bogey Club and the Log Cabin Club—all long-cherished institutions where some of the most prominent residents of Ladue have been loyal members for generations. But in the I’ll-bet-youdidn’t-know-that department, there’s another, lesser-known club that’s been building a tradition of its own: the Ladue Hunting and Fishing Club.
The climate of my Southern hometown, Charlotte, N.C., has followed me to Missouri. I’m not talking about this winter, since it is an extreme year and not ‘normal’ under any stretch of thinking. What I’m referring to is the shifting of winter plant hardiness zones northward as shown on the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map (PHZM). Recently released, it reveals a dramatic shift in our winter low temperatures that will have a huge impact on our landscaping and local food production.
Passport? Check. Boarding pass? Check. Photo ID? Check. Vaccinations? Oops!
High n’ dry: Dodge those raindrops with Patagonia’s Torrentshell jacket. $119 from Alpine Shop
BREAKTHROUGH IN BREAST SURGERY
Before coming to St. Louis, I was the director of Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Houston. There, we could grow many of the wonderful plants of the Deep South—tropical ginger lilies, Louisiana iris, evergreen daylilies, citrus, michelias, and fabulous aroids. We would haul the most tender ones into a polyhouse for 90 days in the coldest part of the year, but many wonderful tropical plants would overwinter for us there. I miss that lushness, but Julie and I have sought out ways to enhance our summer garden with many bodacious tropicals.
Unbelievably, it’s already the middle of summer—the time of year that creepy, crawly, parasitic insects strike fear in the homes of pet owners. Fleas and ticks, mosquitos and flies, oh my…not only are these bugs a nuisance, some can spread serious illness.
A fixture of local art shows and exhibits, Shawn Cornell is a plein air painter in the strictest terms: All his paintings are completed 100 percent outdoors. He’s a founding member of Missouri Plein Air Painters’ Association (MOPAPA), and serves as the group’s organizational manager. He also conducts art workshops with his father, artist David Cornell. “We used to go fishing together, now we paint together,” he quips. The artist recently told LN all about the plein air movement.
Finally, it’s summer! Both by the calendar and by the temperature and behavior patterns. To a St. Louisan, it means that Memorial Day has come and gone, so the white pants and sandals can enter the wardrobe and it’s the best time to plunge into gardening. With peas to pick, veggies to plant and weeds to pull, it could easily be a full-time occupation.
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