Flea control made easier
Controlling fleas on your pet has always been easier than getting rid of them once they've infested your house. Sprays and foggers don't work on every stage of the flea's life cycle, so it's hard to get them all; and many people, myself included, are uncomfortable using insecticides.
If you feel the same, ask your vet about a new method of flea control called Program. It consists of a once-a-month pill or dose of liquid (the cost is about $5). Studies have shown it to be safe, even for pregnant animals. But the active ingredient prevents flea eggs from hatching; after four months or so Program will also have cleared your home of existing fleas.
But don't throw away that flea collar yet. As Dr. Patricia Bradley of Aardmore Veterinarium warns, "With dogs especially, remember that flea collars control ticks -- and ticks can carry Lyme disease."
To water or not
To water or not to water? That is the question we amateur gardeners ask ourselves as summer gets into full swing.
Not to water, says John Traunfeld of the University of Maryland's Home and Garden Information Center, if you're talking about lawns planted with cool-season grasses like fescue (the kind most of us have). Established lawns simply go dormant during dry spells. Do water if the grass has been planted recently.
Water new shrubs and trees. "Deep water," Mr. Traunfeld says, and go out beyond the base to the "drip line," to water where the feeder roots are.
If you water flowering plants, don't get foliage wet; it can encourage disease. Water first thing in the morning instead of at night if possible. Mulch around mature tomato plants and give them a gallon or two of water twice a week. This helps prevent blossom end rot. Ikea, the Swedish megastore known for its affordable and stylish ready-to-assemble furniture, has, like so many other companies this spring, jumped onto the reproduction bandwagon. In a departure from Ikea's usual offerings, the new 18th Century Collection features 54 authentic replicas of furniture from the reigns of Swedish kings Gustav III and IV. Whenever possible, original manufacturing processes and materials have been used, according to Pamela Diaconis, Ikea's public relations manager.
The collection will be available at select stores in London, Paris, Milan -- and Elizabeth, New Jersey. You won't be able to see the collection in Baltimore, but you can get a catalog and order pieces through the New Jersey Ikea. The number is (908) 289-4488.