If you take inspiration from a perfectly manicured lawn and garden, plan a visit to the William Paca House in the Annapolis Historic District. Briggs & Stratton, manufacturer of lawn mower engines, has named the property to its fifth annual list of the country's Top 10 Lawns.
William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, developed the terraced gardens and used them for many grand parties. Now under the care of the Historic Annapolis Foundation and the State of Maryland, the grounds offer peaceful vistas and an opportunity to marvel at a reconstructed 18th-century garden featuring three terraces with a central walkway and turf alley.
To plan your visit, call 800-603- 4020, Ext. 4538, or 410-267-7619, Ext. 4538, or go to www.annapolis.org.
Here's a basket to brighten any wall. New Orleans artist Kathryn Arnett transforms salvaged roofing tin and baling wire into a blooming, flat-backed container ready to be filled with whatever suits your fancy. The Flores Wall Basket is available for $122 from Sundance.
Order by calling 800-422-2770, or log on to www.sundancecatalog.com.
Dry fur, no yelping
Just when you might think you have every small appliance you could possible need, along comes news of a pet hair dryer. Meet the new CraZy Dog Pet Dryer, a 1,875-watt hair dryer designed to do the job with a minimum of noise.
Fido will approve. A design that moves the motor into the handle of the unit, along with heat and speed settings designed for all fur types, makes the chore easy on doggie nerves.
Some couples may find an added benefit: early rising spouses can dry their hair without waking their partner.
The CraZy Dog hair dryer is available at PetsMart and other pet stores at a suggested retail price of $34.99. For more information, call 800-433-7387.
A garden in a box
For gardening on a less grand scale, or simply for a novel hostess gift, check out Running Press Book Publisher's Miniature Editions. Smaller than a book, longer-lasting than a bottle of wine, these clever little kits can produce large doses of pleasure.
The Mini Sunflower Garden by Victoria Hyun includes seeds, a peat pellet and a planting tray and an illustrated 32-page book with instructions for growing sunflowers, as well as advice, recipes and sunflower lore.
The Catnip Kit by Danielle McCole contains a tiny ceramic pot, a peat pellet and a packet of catnip seeds, along with a 32-page book.
Both kits sell for $5.95 are available at local bookstores and at www.runningpress.com.
* Cylburn Arboretum Association will hold its 57th annual juried rose show from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Cylburn Arboretum and Cylburn Mansion, 4915 Greenspring Ave. Experts will be on hand to answer questions and give advice on growing roses. Admission and parking are free. For information: 410-367-2217.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.