This was such a mild winter that garden experts are expecting to see more pests this summer than last. It's not too early to keep an eye out for spider mites, particularly on your evergreens and azaleas.
Spider mites, which thrive in hot, dry weather, are hard to spot with the naked eye. What you'll notice first is a yellowing of leaves or needles, or just an unhealthy-looking plant. If you do see these signs, Peter Ricciuti of the Cooperative Extension Service recommends holding a sheet of white paper under a branch and tapping it (the branch, not the paper). The mites will drop on the paper and crawl around.
Your defense is an insecticidal soap bought from a hardware store or garden center. Follow the label instructions carefully, and spray it on both sides of the leaves. You can also use a horticultural oil against soft-bodied insects like spider mites. But don't use the oil on blue spruces, Mr. Ricciuti warns. It strips the needles of their color.
New name, new look
You may have noticed that the Thomasville furniture store at Rolling Road and Route 40 has a new name and a new look. After extensive remodeling, the space has reopened as Coles Drexel Heritage, the largest Drexel Heritage dealer in the country -- at least in square footage -- and the exclusive dealer in Maryland.
Coles is a full-service store, with decorative accessories, window treatments and free design services.
PD Keep an eye out for grand opening festivities coming up in June.
Diversions Inc. is planning a weekend trip to a major outdoor antiques show in Farmington, Conn., Friday to June 11. The show will have furniture, silver, jewelry, clocks, toys, artwork, majolica, Quimper, Staffordshire and spongeware. The cost of the trip is $199 and includes transportation, the hotel, meals, early admission to the show and a private orientation with an official there. Call (410) 486-3604.
Little, Brown's Bulfinch Press has a series of source books on classic ethnic design styles that are as charming as they are informative. Two small-format books in "The Library of Interior Detail" have just been published in May: "Villa" ($16.95), on Italian rustic style, and "Casa" ($16.95), focusing on southern Spain. Previous titles include "Cottage" and "Maison" (on English and French country styles respectively).
The series' greatest strength is its exquisite photography by John Miller; Elizabeth Hilliard's text is really secondary. Professional designers, stylists and photographers will get plenty of good ideas from these appealing little books; but anyone interested in design will enjoy them as a gift.
On the Home Front welcomes interesting tidbits of home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, On the Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.