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Archives for July 20, 2017

Décor trends you could try

Following decor trends can help you create a stylish, chic and welcoming vibe in your home. There are some styles that are easy to follow and can be quickly adapted to suit the decor needs of your house. Some of these can be modified to reflect the quirky elements of your personality in a seamless manner.

One of the major surface trends this year is the reclaimed, rustic wood. These are cheaper than natural ones and can literally transform your home — be it the kitchen, bedroom or the living area. Using brass finishes for light fixtures, furniture and gadgets, is another trend that is popular.

Cork, an eco-friendly material has shown up in home ware and in home decor accessories. Concrete and cork are being used in unusual ways. Following are a few more trends that you could incorporate in your home…

Bring in the greens

Very few Mumbaiites can actually boast of a garden at home. Well one of the biggest trends this year is about bringing the outside, inside, by creating your tiny garden in a glass container. Terrariums are a cool easy way to green up your homes.

Classical elegance

This is about classical themes and sophistication, with baroque design elements incorporated in home decor, thereby enriching the interiors.

Unpainted, untreated walls

This look is surely not for traditionalists and the faint-hearted. The industrial look of plastered walls looks chic. Exposed brick walls are a big trend.

Cluster lights

Use a cluster of naked lights to get a contemporary look to your home decor.

Nature prints

Add some prints like the palm and Swiss cheese plant to your cushion covers, framed wall hanging to usher in this trend at home.

Tropical calm

Injecting a warm touch of the tropics to your home with large leaf prints on cushion covers, wallpapers, wall decoration, upholstery and other objects will lend a relaxed, fresh feel to your decor. Bringing nature in any form, even digital prints helps in stress reduction and contributes to emotional well-being.

Ethnic yet cool decor elements

Ethnic designs are in focus once again as a global trend. This decor trend plays a key role with textured wallpapers, pattern mixing and wooden furniture. The ambience can be complemented beautifully with valued objects.

The vintage look

The ever popular vintage look takes a delicate, sophisticated turn with much softer colours and a lot of extremely exhaustive patterns. Distressed furniture with an old-worldly look can nail the look.

Going Monochrome

Playful, fun and full of passion —the contemporary decor trend is about using a monochrome palette. Geometric designs rock the interior scene and are being used across objects — be it the carpet, cushion cover, upholstery, wallpaper, wall clock faces and more.

Statement headboard

Upholstered statement headboards are a hot trend in the design world right now. Your bedroom can get the wow factor and this will also add a majestic charm to the decor.

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Tips for monsoon gardening

Several main roads and at least one home in Nogales, Arizona, were flooded Thursday afternoon.

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Is your lawn stressed? Here’s what you should know about watering in hot summertime

These July weeks can be the hottest of the year. Tree and plant roots are not always able to take up enough water to compensate for the moisture lost by transpiration through their leaves. Low humidity, long days, shorter hot nights and high temperatures can cause wilting, leaf scorch and plant death even when the soil is kept evenly moist.

Wilting is the first sign of heat stress in plants. Cool-season lawn grasses develop a bluish hue and foot imprints remain visible for several minutes in lawns that are stressed by high temperatures. Branch tip dieback and early leaf fall are symptoms of heat stress in mature landscape trees, but those symptoms may not be visible for several weeks after severe heat stress.


All automatic irrigation timers should be reset in July. Bermuda and other warm-season lawns will require 85 minutes of irrigation per week on average; fescue and other cool-season lawns need approximately 113 minutes.

Watering times for lawns and planting beds depend on soil type and irrigation methods. Clay soils hold water longer than sandy soils and well-amended soils hold water better than non-amended soils.

Planting beds that are covered by a three- to four-inch layer of mulch will lose 70 percent less water from evaporation during hot spells. Plants watered by a single drip emitter or overhead sprinklers will need more irrigation time than those watered by multiple emitters, soaker hoses, micro sprinklers or bubblers. Plants with similar irrigation requirements should be grouped together in the same irrigation zones to ensure that every plant receives the optimum amount of water.

Citrus, fruit and nut trees will need deep irrigation every three to four days during the hottest spells-when the top 3 to 4 inches of soil has dried; mature landscape trees should be deep irrigated at least monthly during the hot summer months. Deep slow irrigation over a period of several hours will soak the trees’ root system which usually lie about a foot deep right underneath the tree canopy.

Container plants, especially those in smaller pots or barrels, might need daily hand watering, even twice a day when temperatures rise above 100 degrees. The soil inside containers quickly dries out during hot weather and the containers themselves conduct heat to plants’ roots, especially when placed in full sun on hard, hot surfaces. Placing your container plants on a raised platform or on saucers with wheels allows for a cooling air flow under the containers. Consider moving container plants into full shade under trees, eaves or patio arbors for the next few weeks. Take care of container plants that require full sun – the long summer days of 12 to 14 hours is too much even for these plants. They may not grow well or produce flowers in the shade, but they will have a better chance of survival.

Master Gardeners – The lawn watering times provided above come from the Fresno County Master Gardeners’ “A Gardeners’ Companion for the San Joaquin Valley.” The guide was compiled and written by our local Master Gardeners and gives detailed gardening information specific to our hot, dry climate. The third edition is now is available; call the Master Gardener hotline at 559-241-7534 or check the MG website,, for more information.

Send Elinor Teague plant questions at

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Tips for capturing better photos of your garden and wildlife

The garden you planted or enjoy each day is flowering. Birds and animals are busy in your yard or neighborhood. And you’d love to capture all this natural beauty in photos.

It’s so easy these days to pull out a phone and take pictures of anything anytime, but a little time and thought can produce better garden and wildlife photos.

“There’s a big difference between that for-the-record shot that preserves a memory and getting a really nice image,” says Brenda Tharp, author of the new book “Expressive Nature Photography” (The Monacelli Press).

Pause before pressing the shutter, she says, and consider: Is the light right? Can you give your photo a unique point of view by shooting from different angles and levels, moving to the side, crouching or standing on something?

Try to identify what it is about the subject matter that “stopped you in your tracks,” she says. “It’s really about narrowing down your purpose in making that picture.”

Some tips from Tharp and other nature photographers:

Rule of thirds

Resist the temptation to center the subject, suggests Rob Simpson, an instructor in nature photography at Lord Fairfax College in Middletown, Va. Think of your photo as a tic-tac-toe board, and place the subject in one of the off-center thirds of the space. “It’s going to make the photo more pleasing to the eye,” he said. “It gives it balance.”

Texture is terrific

One of the most exciting things about photographing flowers and leaves is capturing something that passersby won’t see — their textures up-close, says Patty Hankins, a floral photographer in Bethesda, Md., who sells her work and offers photography tips at

A camera’s “macro” setting lets you take an extreme close-up and keep it in focus. “It shows you all these incredible things that people who aren’t stopping to look won’t see,” she says. “It’s about filling the frame with small details.”

Staying still

When using the macro setting, keep the camera as still as possible, Hankins says. “If you’re taking a picture of the Grand Canyon and your hand shakes a little, people aren’t likely to notice,” she said. “But if you’re taking a photo of the center of a sunflower, they’re much more likely to see it.”

A tripod can help. Look for one that is lightweight and can get low to ground, she says. If you don’t own a tripod, find somewhere solid to place the camera or set it on a bean bag or bag of rice on the ground, and use the timer to take the photo. Many cameras also have settings designed to reduce vibrations.

Perimeter control

Before you shoot, scan the edges of your picture for buildings, outdoor furniture or other things that could distract from your subject.

Light matters

Often, outdoor photos come out better on cloudy days or when the sun is not directly overhead, Simpson says. The soft light that comes through on an overcast day will not cast harsh shadows, and may result in a more even exposure and better details.

“People love sunlight, but it’s not the right light for every subject,” Tharp says. “For intimate views of nature, opt for soft or diffused light.”

For landscape photos, however, sunlight can add drama. Consider shooting in the warm light found in early morning or late afternoon when the angle of the sun is low.

Think 3-D

Having items in a picture’s foreground and background helps put the viewer in the photo and creates a sense of depth, Tharp says. When taking a photo of a meadow or landscape, include objects closer to the camera as well.

Another way to create dimension is to angle the camera downward a bit, emphasizing the foreground and creating that near-far relationship.

Animal action

The best animal photos reveal the subject’s behavior or personality, Tharp says. Take time to observe the animals and wait for the best shot. But be ready to capture the action when it happens. Keep the animal’s eye in focus.

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