Reflections in the grass
Victorian gardeners used them to create an illusion of depth and light in the garden - and now they're popular again. They're gazing balls, whose mirrored surfaces provide a panoramic view as you move around the stand. This one, from Lillian Vernon, is made of blown glass with a cast resin base (24-inch base with ball, $99.98). Old versions can sometimes be found in antique or second-hand shops, with balls in cobalt or fuchsia.
Sharp ideas about your mower
It's about time for that annual rite of summer: cranking up the old lawn mower. Some mowers are old reliables, and some are fussy about starting a new season. Here are some tips from Southern Living magazine and Sears Craftsman tools on mower care.
* Mowers run better on fresh gas. If gas has been stored over the winter, use it in your car instead. You might also add a gas stabilizer to the can (follow manufacturer's directions) when you pump the gas.
* It's a good idea to change the oil at the beginning of each season. Use clean SAE30 engine oil. Many mowers don't have an oil filter, so replace the oil after every 25 hours of operation.
* Check the blades before you begin to mow. If the blades are dull, have them sharpened.
* Clean the mower deck - disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug and place it where it can't come in contact with the plug again. Wash the mower housing with soap and water. Use a scraper to remove heavy grass buildup.
* When you change the oil, change the air filter.
* Replace the spark plug at the beginning of each season. Check owner's manual for plug type and gap.
* If you have a mulching mower (the one pictured is the Craftsman High Wheel 6.5-horsepower model, about $280), cut only one-third of the height of the grass.
* The Baltimore Museum of Art's annual antiques show, featuring 35 antiques dealers from across the country, continues today at the museum, 10 Art Museum Drive. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* The Northwood Garden Club will hold its annual Garden Walk today from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can tour nine marked gardens in the area, which was recently named a Baltimore Historic District. For directions or more information, call 410-467-5338.
* Annuals, perennials, herbs, cuttings, seedlings, topiary frames, window-box kits and other gardening items will be available at Ladew Topiary Gardens' annual plant sale from noon to 5 p.m. this coming Saturday. The gardens are at 3535 Jarrettsville Pike in Harford County. For information, call 410-557-9570.
* This coming weekend also brings Historic Annapolis Foundation's annual spring plant sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Visitor's Center of the William Paca Garden, 1 Martin St. For information, call 410-267-6656.
Green thumbs online
If you've got kids who like to get their hands dirty, there's a spot for them on the World Wide Web. It's Garden Playground, to be found at bonus.com, from SuperSite for Kids. Youngsters can learn how to plant a salad garden, or test their acumen by matching photographs of leaves with the names of plants. Then you can send them outside to put their knowledge to use. (Bonus.com is a protected environment, so the content is strictly for kids.
Pub Date: 5/03/98