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        News — Home & Garden

        Home & Garden Books

        Home & Garden Books

        If you are looking for a book to spirit you away, these have to be the ones to do it: 'Firelight and Woodsmoke' is the first book in the trilogy - a truly lovely read that transforms you back onto the farm at Brive around the turn of the 20th century.

        Continuing in a similar vein, how many of us lost ourselves in the delightfully evocative story of Mary, Dickon and Colin and the magic that unfolds in 'The Secret Garden'? Well, now there's a sequel, written by Susan Webb. The book relates the tale of what has happened to Mary, Dickon and Colin when they meet up ten years' later at Misselthwaite. The book is called 'Till All the Seas Run Dry: A Sequel to "The Secret Garden" - if you enjoyed 'The Secret Garden' you will absolutely love the sequel.

        Animal Care & Pets
        What do Rowberrow, Saska and Shantung have in common with a chiffon gown and a teapot in the fridge? Doreen Tovey, that's what! You will find an array of these charming and very funny books in our Home and Garden section under Animal Care and Pets. Doreen, very sadly, passed away in January 2008 and I am sure her many readers who followed the tales avidly of her family of Siamese cats miss her enormously. Many a time I have laughed out loud at her antics, chasing one of her donkeys around while wearing a chiffon gown and looked forward to reading more about Mrs Binney and Father Adams.

        From 'Cats in the Belfry' to 'More Cats in the Belfry', 'Cats in May' and 'Donkey Work', Doreen Tovey certainly kept her readers amused: you will find all these titles in our Animal Care and Pets section. When Doreen Tovey wasn't busy writing and tending to her naughty felines, she was President of North Somerset RSPCA and President of the Siamese Cat Club and also the West of England Cat Club - a busy lady who will be very much missed.

        Moving from England to America, Cesar Millan seems to be someone who inspires some very powerful feelings in people - they either love him or hate him! Either way, he's popularly visible and a force to be reckoned with! Let us know what your own views are - meanwhile, we stock a good range of books by Cesar Millan, such as 'Puppyhood: Through Puppyhood and Beyond' written by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier and 'Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog....and your Life'. These are excellent books on animal care and pets focus on Cesar's way - and, despite much criticism levelled at his methods, I have used these methods to train my own dogs from very young puppyhood and now, as they are approaching the 12 months' mark, I have a pack of charming, well-mannered dogs who show me respect and love as their pack leader.

        Antiques & Collectables
        You may have a collection of vinyl record albums that you collected as a young adult and wonder whether your collection is worth anything. If so, you may be interested in the 'Rare Record Price Guide 2010', collected from the Record Collector Magazine and edited by Ian Shirley. This collection of price guides consists of 1400 pages containing 100,000 entries for you to check the value of each of your cherished records against. You never know - you may be sitting on a fortune! Despite the wide variety of entries, however, there does seem to be some missing that you would have thought should have been included, such as punk singles. You will also, no doubt, notice wide variations in the guide prices of various albums. Use this book as a guide only - but, it should give you some idea of the price of your precious record collection.

        There are plenty of other antiques and collectables out there. 'Boys Toys: an Illustrated History of Little Things that Pleased Big Minds' by Jed Novick is another excellent book within this category. It features traditional toys from the 60s, 70s and 80s that provided such pleasure at the time and which have now become collectibles in their own right. Another book that you will find interesting if watches and clocks are your thing is the book written by Anthony Whiten: 'Repairing Old Clocks and Watches'. Meanwhile, of interest to those celebrity watchers, take a look at 'Secrets to Contacting Celebrities and Public Figures: 101 Ways to Reach the Rich and Famous'. These books are just the tip of the iceberg - this section within the Home and Garden category is rich in an amazing diversity of subjects: just dive in and see what you come up with!

        Buying & Developing Property
        What better way to start this section that a book on how to clean and manage your household chores: you may as well how to do it before you get stuck into the task of buying and developing property! Written by Kim Woodburn, 'The Cleaning Bible: Kim and Aggie's Complete Guide to Modern Household Management' provides you with all sorts of labour-saving tips on how to clean your house and marvellous ways with sodium bicarbonate and white vinegar! There is also a wealth of other subjects under various sections within the category of Home and Garden - sections such as Carpentry and Woodwork; Crafts; DIY and Home Improvements; Gardening; and Interior Design and Decoration.

        When you are buying and developing property, however, each of these sections are worth delving into - you never know when you are going to need ideas on colour schemes, provided by Kevin McCloud in his book 'Kevin McCloud's Colour Now: An Expert Guide to Choosing Colours for Your Home' or learn how to carry out simple plumbing with RD Treloar's book 'Plumbing RD Treloar 3rd edition: Heating and Gas Installations'. There are books galore on our website that will help you when you are buying and developing property, with books to help you with decorating ideas; colour ideas and even furnishing ideas - in fact, plenty to keep you occupied on all your projects from now onwards.

        Home & Garden Books

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        How to Plant Flowers in a Barrel

        Plant Flowers in a Barrel

        There are many types of barrels out there. I prefer the wood ones over the plastic ones. The wood barrels seem to stand up to the weather better and last longer. After you buy the barrel, make sure that it is clean and free of bugs and dirt. Next buy a package of small rocks to put in the bottom of the barrel to prevent the soil from bleeding out. This also helps with drainage. These barrels have a hole in the middle of the bottom. Next buy a 1.5 cubic foot bag of Miracle-Gro potting soil that has peat moss in it. I also recommend adding some mushroom compost to the soil to give the flowers nutrients. Fill the barrel up until you have a 2-3" space from the top of the barrel to the soil. The above steps insure that the flowers will last a long time. You can also add some organic plant food to the soil. This will feed the flowers for at least three months.

        Now is the time to go to the nursery to buy the flowers. Depending on the zone you are in, certain plants will do better than others. For example, I have two barrels like the one pictured. I have verbena and petunias in both. I also have some marigolds mixed in as well. I have also planted begonias, impatiens, and asters in these barrels and they have done extremely well. The butterflies love them! Recently I have seen a couple of swallowtails and a monarch.

        After you have planted the flowers, be sure to water with at least half a sprinkling can full to promote root growth. Then water every few days so that the flowers get acclimated to the barrel. Since many days of summer seems to be dry, water is very important on keeping your flowers looking great.

        Once in a while, you may have to add more plant food or soil as over time it might sink a bit. I also try to weed every few days to keep my barrels looking great.

        Every fall, after the flowers have died, I remove the dead flowers and roots and smooth the soil over for the winter. Then in the spring, I empty the soil in the barrels around the trees and put in fresh soil and compost. This gives the new flowers a chance to be just as great if not better than the first batch.

        Now you have the most beautiful flowers to brighten your patio or balcony and to enjoy the whole summer long!

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