One of my favorite home and garden tours was this weekend: the 11th annual Theodore Payne Foundation Native Plant Garden Tour. This year's tour offered participants a look at more than 40 Los Angeles area gardens that are environmentally conscious, drought tolerant and use native plants, among other attributes.
© Lisa Hallett Taylor
Native California plants provide habitats for butterflies and bees (pollinators) and native birds such as colorful songbirds and hummingbirds. Examples include richly scented plants like sage, sagebrush and California lilac. Some homes on the tour had unusual features or challenges, like extreme slopes, clay soil, use recycled materials or are certified National Wildlife Federation habitats.
April and May are the prime months for home and garden tours, and are a fun way to get ideas and spend a spring afternoon with someone you like. Check this list for a tour near you, or if you know of one that's not on this list (I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds), let me know on our official Facebook page about an upcoming tour.
Even if it doesn't look like spring in some regions, it is -- which means that warmer temperatures and entertaining outdoors are just around the corner. I promise.
I've been looking at some of the new tableware and drinkware from favorite stores like Pottery Barn, Sur La Table and Target, and I think it's time for to get rid of a few mismatching pieces and start fresh. Check out some of these great looking plates and acrylic glasses, along with beverage dispensers and outdoor tablecloths:
If you come across something you think would look great on your outdoor dining table, let us know on our Facebook page.
Happy spring! While it's currently overcast in Southern California, rain is forecast for the West and a blizzard threatens the Northeast, it is officially spring. Let us know on our Facebook page or Twitter what signs of spring you're experiencing in your part of the world, however minimal they might be.
I won't wax poetic or get philosophical about what I think spring might mean to all of us. Instead, here are 10 things to do to remind yourself it's spring:
- Transform your yard into a wildlife garden that is certified by the National Wildlife Federation. Who knows -- you already might have some of the requirements in place.
- Attend a local home and garden show.
- Live in a dry climate? Consider introducing some succulents into the garden.
- Groom the ornamental grasses that have gotten a bit shaggy over the past several months.
- Open your swimming pool or spa.
- Think about replacing some of the plants surrounding your pool.
- Go to a flea market and look for vintage or used patio furniture or try one of these other 10 ways to look for cheap outdoor furnishings.
- Check for leaks outside your house.
- Take pictures of your patio and post them to this site's Facebook page.
- Do one or more of the things on this other list, "Where to Go to Get Ideas."
St. Patrick's Day
Leprechaun sightings pick up around this time of year: tavern-going townsfolk report seeing them frolicking in forests, hiding in hedges and behind rocks in parks. There's even a webcam set up in the leprechaun mecca of Tipperary, Ireland. When the weather warms up, the mischievous Irish elves no doubt will be up to the usual shenanigans in this huge shamrock-shaped swimming pool at the Grand Prix Motel in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
And this isn't the only shamrock-shaped swimming pool in the world. If you know of one, post a photo on our Facebook page.
Photo © Grand Prix Motel