How does your garden grow? With annuals
If you want a garden full of low-maintenance flowers that will bloom the whole summer, you should be putting in your summer annuals now. Impatiens are popular and easy to find almost anywhere, from the local farmers market to your favorite home improvement center. They come in lots of colors, grow in sun and shade, and practically take care of themselves.
Impatiens look nice with lobelia, a low-growing annual with white or blue blooms. Dwarf ageratum, with little blue flowers, is a good choice for edging. Another popular annual is dwarf dahlias, which bloom profusely and come in many different colors.
Calendulas, a daisy-like flower in shades of yellow, do best in full sun (at least six hours a day), as do petunias. And don't forget marigolds and zinnias, which also need full sun.
Once you've decided on your plants, the rest is easy. The soil is warm enough now to plant. (Cool soil delays growth and can damage roots.) When you put your annuals in, use a slow-release fertilizer, which will last three months. As for watering, the rule of thumb is that if we don't get an inch of rain a week you should water. (Put a small container in your garden to measure rainfall.)
Now that the Symphony Decorator Show House has closed, %% we show house junkies need something to look forward to. And here it is: Coming up in the fall will be the first show house in this area sponsored by a national magazine group. (Metropolitan Home did several in New York.)
The house will be called the 1993 Decorating Showcase, presented by Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications (such as Decorating magazine) and the Friends of Olney Theatre. Some 25 designers and landscape architects from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington and Virginia will be involved -- many of them published in the Meredith Corp.'s magazines.
The house is the elegant country home of C. Y. Stephens, founder of the High's Dairy chain and the Olney Theatre. It's located in Howard County off U.S. Route 29 near Savage and Laurel. Events will include decorating seminars by Meredith Corp. editors -- and a performance of "Romeo and Juliet."
The show house will be open from Sept. 18 to Oct. 17. For more information, call Bill Grimes at (301) 774-3596.
If you're like me, you're already tired of hearing about the Extravagant '80s and the Downscaled '90s -- and we haven't even gotten very far into the decade. So you may be skeptical of a book call Chic Simple: Home, with the motto "The more you know, the less you need," which sells for $25.
But if you can get past that, you'll find it's witty and stylish, full of short takes, profound quotes, gorgeous photographs, snappy statistics and even some practical advice. There's a quick history of design, giving the product, material, shape and so on that symbolize each decade. (For the '70s, for instance, the product was furniture systems and the shape, supergraphics.)
Words of wisdom from famous designers and architects are sprinkled engagingly throughout. ("A house is a machine for living in" -- Le Corbusier.) But there's also useful advice, like the directions on how to bleach a floor from a New York interior designer.
Chic Simple: Home, published by Knopf, is the first in a series of Chic Simple books.
Susie Lipscher and Julie Kern Smith, who are neighbors, found they shared an interest in clothing design and sewing. Out of their love of beautiful fabrics and quality workmanship grew their unusual and very specialized business, Plum Blossom Ltd.
The two sell vintage Japanese kimonos, often for use as wall hangings. These works of art can easily be displayed with a simple dowel rod. Most of the kimonos were made in the '40s and '50s, although some are from as long ago as the '20s. The two partners have no particular interest in Japanese decorative art, but fell in love with kimonos because, Ms. Lipscher says, "They are just so beautiful and unique."
Customers can choose from silk, cotton and blended fabrics. The workmanship is exquisite; most were handmade for the original owners and feature elaborate needlework and dying techniques.
Plum Blossom's kimonos are affordable, priced between $30 and $75. The partners have no shop, but sell at art festivals or by appointment. Call (410) 235-5125 or (410) 235-9157 for more information.