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Home n Garden - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. http://druidcityliving.com Mon, 18 Jun 2018 13:47:20 -0500 MYOB en-gb Summer Reads 2018: Druid City Living Recommends … http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2372-summer-reads-2018-druid-city-living-recommends http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2372-summer-reads-2018-druid-city-living-recommends Summer Reads 2018: Druid City Living Recommends …

What does summer mean to you? Hot days soaking in cool swimming pools, or lounging at the lake house? Trips to the beach, toes in the sand as the sounds of the waves relax you into oblivion?  

For some of us, we look forward to reading. We’re often so busy that we can’t get through even one novel we’ve been itching to read. We’re hoping that this will help give you some ideas on which books might suit your fancy as you lie on those beaches and swim in those pools.  

Laurie Perrigin, Editor of Druid City Living: 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn is an outstanding thriller. It has an old school, Rear Window kind of feel to it. You won’t be bored, and as events unfold, you’ll find yourself staying up way past your bedtime to finish. It was billed as the first big thriller of 2018 – and for me, it certainly lived up to it. Anna Fox is a memorable character, and the story has a big reveal you aren’t likely to see coming – even though I’ve just told you there’s a big reveal.  

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is a great drama that addresses some important themes – the haves and the have not’s, the relationships between mother and daughter, and social class. Ng is a gifted writer, and this book, unlike my other recommendation, unfolds more slowly and emotionally. Reese Witherspoon’s production company recently snatched this one up for a series, and given her stellar job with Big Little Lies, I am optimistic for the adaptation.  

Allow me to cheat a little and mention a hot new book I haven’t read yet – but can’t wait to: Kaleidoscope Jane and Other Stories by Tuscaloosa author Carolyn Breckinridge. If you loved Tuscaloosa Moon and Tuscaloosa Boneyard, this seems like a sure bet. And also? She was kind enough to offer up a few suggestions for some great summer reads.  

Hanson Watkins, Vice President of Druid City Media: 

I’m a huge fan of travel-related books and great storytelling, and Deep South by Paul Theroux is a favorite. Theroux has a reputation for being sharp and curmudgeonly about the locations in his travels, but he seems to have fallen in love with the south, and Tuscaloosa, in particular. You have to read his wonderful account of meeting Tuscaloosa’s own Cynthia Burton (director of Community Service Programs of West Alabama, and star of this issue’s Photo of the Month). 

Carolyn Breckenridge, Author:  

 A Girl Like You: A Henrietta & Inspector Howard Novel  by Michelle Cox is my top recommendation. For readers who like historical fiction, mystery, and sweet romance, A Girl Like You is a stellar novel set in 1930s Chicago. The author, Michelle Cox, is an award-winning writer who knows the history of her city and who spins a page-turning tale that includes some surprising twists along the way. Ms. Cox has also published her second in the series, A Ring of Truth, which is in my “to-read” stack now. Her third in the series is due out at the end of this month. 

Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham is marketed as a novel for young adults, but I found it to be a delightful read, and I highly recommend it for all adults. This novel, set in 1932, features the famous quilting community of Gee's Bend. The story is told through the life of the main character, a girl named Ludelphia Bennett, who must leave her very isolated community of Gee's Bend, Alabama to seek help for her family. It is a story of courage, love, and the importance of family and home, coupled with Ms. Latham's extraordinary research and understanding of time and place.

Tell the World You're A Wildflower, written by Jennifer Horne and published by University Press in 2014, is a lovely collection of short stories. They feature female voices of all ages and backgrounds as they tell their stories about growing up and living in the South. This is a book I keep on my bookshelf and re-read at least once a year. There are always new aspects of this work to discover. These stories confirm that Ms. Horne is a skilled author of prose as well as being Alabama's current Poet Laureate.                                  

The Cistern, by James N. Ezell While it's true he is my husband, Jim's recently published adventure/suspense/crime novel, set in Tuscaloosa and a fictional Black Belt county, has been earning five-star ratings for its clear plot line, endearing main characters, strong action, and interesting local color. It is a comfortable read, and a page-turner that promises readers a firm foundation for the remainder of his series. 

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Home n Garden Wed, 30 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Alabama Wildflower Society to Hold 39th Annual Native Plant Sale April 7  http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2266-alabama-wildflower-society-to-hold-39th-annual-native-plant-sale-april-7 http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2266-alabama-wildflower-society-to-hold-39th-annual-native-plant-sale-april-7 Members Charles Day and Mona Guin are almost hidden by the native azaleas offered at the 2017 native plant sale.

On Saturday, April 7, the George Wood Chapter of the Alabama Wildflower Society is holding its 39th annual plant sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, in the Kentuck Center courtyard in downtown Northport. The sale features primarily native plants indigenous to the southeastern U.S. but also includes some non-invasive “passalong” plants that are well-adapted to our area.   

For budding gardeners, it also offers a unique opportunity to meet local enthusiasts and add new plants to their gardens.

Items for sale are obtained from an out-of-state nursery specializing in native plants and from members of the Alabama Wildflower Society – who contribute plants from their own gardens and property.  

There are always some surprises among the plants we offer,” said Rosemary Blethen, who co-coordinates the sale with her husband Al Blethen.Members will be delivering items from their gardens right up to opening time. I always take home one or two new plants I somehow never acquired before.” 

Native plants offered will include many shrubs and trees, such as dogwoods, redbuds, pawpaw, butterfly bushes, hydrangeas, sweet shrub, and several varieties of native azaleas, all with some of the lowest prices to be found in this area. Ferns, ground covers, and flowering vines and plants will also be offered. Wildflowers for sale typically include columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, spiderwort, trillium, bloodroot, various asters and mints, and native irises and violets. Passalongs contributed by members typically include shrubs, such as flowering quince, spirea, and kerria as well as daylilies and other plants from bulbs. Some houseplants are also usually available.

Plants which bloom at different times, spring through fall, will be available, so gardeners may select plants to support pollinators that visit their yards throughout the warmer months. Bright-blooming plants, which are excellent nectar sources for butterflies and other pollinators, will be clearly marked, to make plant identification easy for gardeners interested in supporting pollinators. Flowers that do well in summer or fall include sunflowers, bee balm, coreopsis, and asters.

 Proceeds from the sale will help further education about, and preservation of, Alabama’s native plant life. Every year, proceeds contribute to college scholarships to botany majors in Alabama colleges and universities. Smaller amounts help support the Cahaba Lily Society and its annual Cahaba Lily Festival, as well as local projects, including support for the Wildflower Garden and rhododendron collection of the University of Alabama Arboretum.

“Come early for the best selection,” said Barbara Hollingsworth, the current president of the local AWS chapter. Hollingsworth also urged anyone interested to consider joining AWS. Membership information will be available on site. 

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Home n Garden Mon, 26 Mar 2018 19:00:00 -0500
Woodbank Lane: Finding Decorating Joy by Extending the Life of Your Décor http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2233-woodbank-lane-finding-decorating-joy-by-extending-the-life-of-your-decor http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2233-woodbank-lane-finding-decorating-joy-by-extending-the-life-of-your-decor Woodbank Lane: Finding Decorating Joy by Extending the Life of Your Décor

Grabbing a can of spray paint is one of my favorite budget-friendly ways to change up the look of things in my home. 

Hi there! I’m Kathryn, and here’s one of my recent projects that even the newest of decorators can do.

I decided to paint a round, silver mirror that had served me well for years. It originally hung in our dining room, then made its way to the foyer. It’s the first mirror of this shape and such a large size I’ve painted. It’s 36 inches in diameter.

Last spring, I painted our red dining room white (my elbows still haven’t recovered!), chose blue as the accent color, and decided to put the round mirror back in the dining room over the buffet. 

I had painted many mirrors over the years without too much trouble; however, this round one was a bit trickier to paint and required more prep work. 

I always liked the silver color and details of the mirror, and even though I’d had it for some time, I wasn’t quite ready to let it go. So, I did what I do. I bought some Valspar spray paint at Lowe’s. The color I used is called “Indigo.” 

Now, about that prep work ... 

Very few areas of the mirror would allow me to simply slide paper under the edges. I had to use painter's tape on the spots with no space between the glass and the edge of the wood. And, I couldn't use big, long pieces; only short, small pieces would work because of the angle. Once the tape was on, I used my thumb nail to make a firm crease. 

Next, I used a razor blade to carefully trim off the tape. Then, I sprayed away! The Valspar paint is great, but it does take its time to dry.

Before (left) when the mirror was silver and hung in my foyer, and after (right) in the dining room - blue!

It turned out just like I hoped it would, and I love the navy color with the brass lamps and green apples. My favorite way to style it is with classic blue and white. 

So, when you think it may be time for something in your home to go, buy a can of spray paint instead and extend the life of your piece.  

Tuscaloosa native Kathryn Wilkerson is a wife, mom of three, a teacher, and the author of Woodbank Lane – a blog that offers up a variety of different decorating ideas and projects, recipes, and inspiration for living. Follow Kathryn at woodbanklane.com and on Instagram @woodbanklane. 

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Home n Garden Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600
At Home for Valentine’s Day for Parents http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2196-at-home-for-valentine-s-day-for-parents http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2196-at-home-for-valentine-s-day-for-parents At Home for Valentine’s Day for Parents

Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday night this year. With soccer practices, church groups, homework, working late, and just general parental exhaustion, going out for Valentine’s Day this year may not be an option. 

Here are some ideas that don’t require a babysitter, much money, or much planning …  

 For the casual couple 

  • Many pizza places will do a heart-shaped pizza (Papa John’s has done them in years past). Order a heart-shaped pizza.  
  • Fire up the Netflix or video games and enjoy.  

 

For the romantic couple with a big bathtub (and kids) –  

After the kids go to sleep ...  

  • Get a few candles and put them in your bathroom (you can grab them on the cheap at the corner dollar store). 
  • Add some bubble bath (or shampoo, in a pinch) to your bath, or break out that bath bomb you’ve been saving for a special occasion.  
  • Go to Spotify and pick out a romantic playlist (put “romance” into the Spotify search, and find playlists like “90’s Babymakers” or “Acoustic Love”).  
  • Turn off the lights. This is both romantic and necessary for most of us if you have children because we don’t look like we did at 19. Candlelight is kind. Both of you get in the tub at the same time. Stay in for at least three songs. You probably will get sleepy. But it will be a more romantic sleepy than the usual Wednesday night.  

 

For the couple for whom even lighting candles and getting in the tub is too much –  

  • Make a dinner reservation for next Saturday night (or the next time you can get a babysitter).  
  • Tell each other you love each other.  
  • Hold hands as you go to sleep.  

 

Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday,” but it is always a good excuse to stop for a minute and fall in love again. You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars, or plan too much, or even bring home flowers and chocolates. Just spending a little extra time together can make the occasion extra special.    

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hanson@druidcitymedia.com (Hanson Watkins) Home n Garden Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0600
Gratitude: At the Heart of Thanksgiving http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2083-gratitude-at-the-heart-of-thanksgiving http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2083-gratitude-at-the-heart-of-thanksgiving Dr. Boxmeyer and her family.

Gratitude is the sentiment at the heart of Thanksgiving. Recently, gratitude practice has been a major area of study in psychology. More than any other personality trait, gratitude is a predictor of good mental health and life satisfaction. For a list of research on gratitude, check out www.centerforhealthyminds.org.

Caroline Boxmeyer, Professor in Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Community Health Sciences at the University of Alabama, has found that gratitude practice is useful in her professional and personal life.

“Professionally, one of the main ways I use it is as a method of prevention in the schools in Tuscaloosa through the Mindful Coping Power project. In depression the brain is primed to look for the negative. Looking for positive can be strengthened like working out strengthens the muscles.  Gratitude is one component of the program.”

“It is not a panacea, but it does change the brain to appreciate our connection with other things and to focus on gratitude.”

The most common gratitude “practice” is the list. Making a gratitude list can be as simple as making a list each day in a notebook or journal. Some people do it every day, and some do it once a month.

Everyone has days where it is hard to feel grateful. It is helpful to look to other people’s lists for those days when the spirit of gratitude seems out of reach. Even if you don’t start out grateful, making the effort to search for something to be grateful for is part of the key to why it has such a powerful effect on depression. The act of finding something to be grateful makes the brain get out of a negative track.

So, don’t feel like you have to start off feeling grateful to have a gratitude practice. The practice is what creates the “attitude of gratitude.”

Social media, like Twitter and Facebook, have lots of examples of gratitude lists and can be a great way to connect with other people who are focusing on gratitude. A Facebook Gratitude Group or Twitter gratitude hashtag has the added value that you can see other people’s lists, which can spark new ideas. Simply search for “gratitude” or “gratitude lists” in the Facebook or Twitter search bar.  There are even gratitude support groups that you can join on Facebook

Children can benefit from simple gratitude practice as well. Boxmeyer says she has incorporated gratitude practice with her children.

“My gratitude lists are three things from the day that I feel fortunate for or grateful for. Then, with our children, we all describe things we are grateful for as a family. My children are 9 and 11. We have doing it since they were preschool age. They also do it in church. It’s interesting to see how naturally they have come to it over time.”

Gratitude “check ins” with your children can be in the form of dinner table discussions or even in the car during errands or carpool. Taking a moment to each share something you are grateful for counts as gratitude practice. It doesn’t have to be formal to be effective.

Beyond lists, there are also actions that can foster gratitude.  Charlotte Gibson, the director at the Children’s Museum of Tuscaloosa says that she uses honorariums as a way to say “thanks” for people that have been helpful in her life.

“Sometimes I will do honorariums or make memorial gifts. It is a way for me to acknowledge my gratitude for those special people in my life. Many times, I don’t ever tell the person and often it is someone who is no longer with us.  But this is one of the ways I express my gratitude for them.”

There are few things in life that are easy, free, and effective. Gratitude practice ticks off all three. And it doesn’t have to be perfect or involved to be effective.  

 

Books on Gratitude

  • The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year of Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan
  • Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
  • The Psychology of Gratitude by Robert Emmons an Michael McCullough (research)
  • The Thankful Book by Todd Parr (children’s book)

Reasons to Do Gratitude Practices

  • Free
  • Even formal practice can take as little as a minute
  • Demonstrable effect on wellbeing
  • May help depression
  • May lower blood pressure and improve immune function

Easy Gratitude Practice Ideas

  • Join a Facebook gratitude group – just search for “gratitude” for a list
  • Add gratitude to Twitter – search for #gratitudelists, #thingsilovetoday
  • Gratitude journal – as little as one line per day or do a monthly 30 things list. You can also purchase special gratitude journals, but a notebook works just as well.
  • Do a gratitude “check in” during carpool with your kids

 

 

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hanson@druidcitymedia.com (Hanson Watkins) Home n Garden Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0600
Lake Living: With the Beauty Comes a Potential for Danger http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2072-lake-living-with-the-beauty-comes-a-potential-for-danger http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/2072-lake-living-with-the-beauty-comes-a-potential-for-danger My dear friend Genny, seated on the right, is one of my gardening buddies. She contracted a tick-borne illness. Please, everyone, be aware of the dangers and protect yourselves.

Fall brings us out of our homes and into nature.  Here in Alabama, warm weather lingers sometimes past Thanksgiving, which can leave us interacting longer with the creatures that inhabit the woods and our neighborhoods. 

The deer population here is a blessing and a curse. The deer industry is thriving. Alabama Blackbelt Adventures brings landowners together to offer their property to visitors from all over the country to enjoy our natural habitat. 

For those who prefer to feed and watch the deer in their back yard, there are a few reasons to refrain. There have been recent increases in tick-borne illnesses. A friend who loves to garden recently was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, the result of a tick bite. Lyme disease is transmitted by the blacklegged tick, or deer tick. 

To help prevent tick bites, wear protective clothing (gardeners use pre-treated fabric). If you are outside, do thorough tick checks. If you find an attached tick within 24 hours, the risk is lower for developing illness. Save the tick in a bag in the freezer for a proper diagnosis from your doctor. 

While I love to share all the positive things about life on the lake, we must be diligent in making it a safe place as well. 

Mosquitoes are another nuisance that can carry disease. If you can, have your property sprayed if having an event or long-term activity.  And let’s not forget about snakes. Remember when treading through the woods that they are natural homes for many creatures.  

Dock safety is another issue, particularly where electricity and water are concerned. The City of Tuscaloosa is ramping up inspections to assure the safety of docks. 

It is not uncommon for boats to collide with piers and seawalls at night. While a well-lit peninsula might prevent it, the issue of electricity and water come into play in devising solutions for this as well. 

And with various river based groups discovery of more than 1271 sewage spills in Alabama waterways I am encouraged by the tight fist the City of Tuscaloosa has on Lake Tuscaloosa. On the ADEM map, there were none near Lake Tuscaloosa. However, Alabama's watershed stretches from Georgia to Mobile Bay, so we are all connected.

When we encounter setbacks for inspections, or must take additional measures to be safe, let us remember, sometimes it is for our own good.  

My sweet friend will have a long recovery from something that could have been prevented. Blessings and protection to you this fall, as you gather with friends and family and enjoy life's bounty. 

Allison  

Allison Adams is a mom of four and a Realtor with Lake Homes Realty serving Lake Tuscaloosa. For comments, email aadams@lakehomes.com.  

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allisonpadams@gmail.com (Allison Adams) Home n Garden Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0600
How Often Should You Fertilize Plants in the Fall? http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/1996-how-often-should-you-fertilize-plants-in-the-fall http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/1996-how-often-should-you-fertilize-plants-in-the-fall How Often Should You Fertilize Plants in the Fall?

A quick search on the internet can be confusing when it comes to fertilizing in the fall. For those of us who are newbie gardeners, there's a mixed message.

Better Homes and Gardens claims, “pests and disease problems fade away in the fall. You don't need fertilizer, either. Fertilizer promotes new, tender growth that can be nipped by winter weather; stop fertilizing by late summer.” But This Old House contrastingly says, “Taking the time to fertilize in the fall will strengthen your plants' and lawn's roots, giving them a strong base on which to thrive next spring.”

So which is it? Unfortunately the answer is both, and knowing what is right for your specific plant can vary, but here is a general rule to help you as you get your green thumb back this fall.

It turns out that fertilizing too early in the fall can bring on new growth that is then stifled by winter frosts. This damages the plants and inhibits them from growing properly in spring. On the other hand, fertilizing in late autumn—when the colored leaves are falling off the trees—actually stimulates plants’ root systems. The roots absorb the nutrients in the soil, prepping them all winter for the spring thaw. In fact, fertilizing in late fall will likely be sufficient for your plants so that you will not need to re-fertilize them in early spring.

This being the case, be sure not to over fertilize. Not only will it waste fertilizer, but it can also damage your plants or cause them to produce a bad crop.

All in all, fall fertilization is less about immediate growth than it is looking to future growth. Better roots now will mean better foliage later. So fertilize in late summer; then wait to do it again until November.

Note: This is a general rule. Certain plants, shrubs, and trees will require different fertilization methods. Double check the needs of your specific plants depending on whether or not they are perennials, summer annuals, or winter annuals. 

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Home n Garden Thu, 28 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0500
Wanderlust Life: Using the Power of Social Media to Crowdsource Decorating Decisions http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/1974-wanderlust-life-using-the-power-of-social-media-to-crowdsource-decorating-decisions http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/1974-wanderlust-life-using-the-power-of-social-media-to-crowdsource-decorating-decisions The Wanderlust Life offers people to give design input on Grodner’s properties via Facebook – a process she called “democratic design.”

When Vikki Williams Grodner conceives a project, it is usually not small in scope or vision. From starting Alabama’s first camp for children living with cancer to bringing the largest crowd ever to the Montgomery Civic Center to hear Tim Tebow speak on behalf of a local charity, from taking thousands of cupcakes to Newtown, Connecticut, three months after the Sandy Hook shooting to comfort the community, to distributing $1 million dollars’ worth of new women’s apparel to survivors of the 2011 Alabama tornadoes, Grodner rarely lets her ideas be stymied by limitations. 

Her latest project is no different.

Two years ago, Grodner, a certified interior decorator, started The Wanderlust Life. In this initiative, she invests in properties around the country (the Southeast initially), using social media to crowdsource decorating decisions through the process of “democratic design.”  

“We allow our followers – affectionately known as ‘Wanderlusters’ – to see the renovations on The Wanderlust Life Facebook page as they’re occurring,” Grodner said. “Ultimately, they and others can experience the properties firsthand, staying in them as short-term rentals.”

Grodner and her team renovated and lovingly restored a historic home in Tuscaloosa.

Currently, over 70,000 followers worldwide have been actively engaged with The Wanderlust Life brand. Think of it like HGTV on steroids.

Plans are also in the works for a possible television program with a major cable channel. 

The first two properties have been completed in Tuscaloosa and Panama City Beach, Florida. 

The Tuscaloosa house, Wanderlust1, is a historic home within walking distance of downtown, the Black Warrior River and, for many people most importantly, the University of Alabama. Named one of the eight places to stay in Tuscaloosa for “gameday and beyond,” the property has proven extremely popular with visitors to this West Alabama city. 

Grodner says she greatly values the interactivity with The Wanderlust Life followers.

Grodner was instrumental in helping City officials and staff understand the value of short-term rentals, as Tuscaloosa recently became the first city in the state of Alabama to formalize the short-term rental process. Further, she formed a short-term rental advocacy and property marketing organization, the Tuscaloosa Hospitality Network. 

The second property, Wanderlust2, is in a vintage high-rise in Panama City Beach; a third property is now underway in Birmingham’s super-hot Avondale community. 

Grodner does not do the actual work all by herself. In addition to enlisting local contractors and artisans when appropriate, she also works with various family members to complete the renovations. Sister Sheri Corey is also a decorator and owns a workroom where she produces draperies, bed linens and home décor items. Cousin Randy Crayne is a Birmingham contractor and has assisted with projects on Wanderlust3. Grodner’s other sister, Lori McCrary and her husband David, a commercial contractor, as well as their various adult children, also participate in the projects whenever possible.

“We look for tired, sad houses and try to make them happy, relevant houses,” Grodner explained. “We feel every house has a personality, and we strive to find that personality and to showcase it for others to enjoy.”

For more information on The Wanderlust Life, or to stay in any of Grodner’s properties, you can reach her at jointhewanderlustlife@gmail.com or (205) 422-9713; you can also visit @JoinTheWanderlustLife on Facebook to get involved in the design input process. 

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Home n Garden Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0500
Late Summer and Early Fall Gardening: Extending Color and Beauty in Tuscaloosa Gardens http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/1961-late-summer-and-early-fall-gardening-extending-color-and-beauty-in-tuscaloosa-gardens http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/1961-late-summer-and-early-fall-gardening-extending-color-and-beauty-in-tuscaloosa-gardens Tuscaloosa Master Gardener Pam Sloan works on terrariums at home.

Nothing says “summer” in Tuscaloosa more than flowers in bloom and vibrant green grass. And while the heat and humidity of late summer/early fall can be challenging for residents, Tuscaloosa gardeners love it. 

Tuscaloosa Master Gardener Pam Sloan has spent decades cultivating beautiful gardens, keeping them radiant throughout the summer and beyond. Sloan says she grows a multitude of different varieties of plants and flowers.

“I grow herbs, perennials, annuals, old pass-along plants, vegetables, trees, shrubs, wildflowers and house plants,” she said. Her favorite? “The oakleaf hydrangea – and any plants that I use in teaching…that narrows it down to about a few million!” 

In terms of what local gardeners can and should grow, Sloan says basically anything. Any plant you want to grow, you can – with the proper care, of course. For beginners, she recommends taking a few steps before planting.  

If you enjoy evenings on the patio, consider a night-blooming cereus. This vibrant, white flower, known as Queen of the Night, is short-lived, but stunning, and may bloom through October.

 

“Start with a soil test to determine what will grow best in your yard. Build up your soil first,” said Sloan. “Also, read about plants that you love. Think like a plant…how big will I get? What do I need to grow? What part of this yard would I want to be planted in, and how much sun/shade can I take?”

Soil testing kits can be picked up at the Tuscaloosa County Extension Office (2513 7th Street).

“They will give you the small carton and tell you how to collect your soil,” Sloan said. “They will send it to Auburn for a complete analysis. It costs $7.”   

Sloan also emphasizes the importance of maintenance, for it could be a new gardener’s key to making their garden look and feel manicured and pristine.

The showy, bright blooms of the flowering pomegranate provides a pop of color to any southern garden through early autumn.

“Take a walk through the garden every morning. Pull off dead blooms; look for any insect damage; decide what needs pruning, watering, harvesting, etc.” she said.

If you’re busy and struggle with finding time to keep up with a large garden, or you don’t have the space, you have other options. Sloan recommends trying container gardening. 

“For containers, I use ornamental grass for height, a flower in season – like a couple of baby mums and an ornamental cabbage – with something that will trail over the side, like sweet potato vine or creepy jenny. I also put in herbs just to make it smell good,” Sloan said.

The Master Gardener Program in Tuscaloosa County is an educational outreach program provided and administered by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. It is a program to train individuals who volunteer their expertise and services in support of the Extension effort related to education. To learn more, visit mg.aces.edu/Tuscaloosa. 

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Home n Garden Tue, 05 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0500
Plan the Perfect Tailgate on Campus or at Your Home http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/1929-plan-the-perfect-tailgate-on-campus-or-at-your-home http://druidcityliving.com/index.php/family/home-n-garden/item/1929-plan-the-perfect-tailgate-on-campus-or-at-your-home The Quad might look unassumingly bare at the moment, but in a matter of weeks, thousands of tailgaters will pack it to kick off football season.

It’s almost time for the change in season, tailgate season that is – and Bama fans are already preparing for their game day tailgates and parties – on and off campus. 

It’s no surprise that every game day in Tuscaloosa is basically a holiday for Alabama football fans. Families and friends of the Crimson Tide set up tents and tailgates on the University of Alabama’s tailgate hot spot, the Quad, and in surrounding areas throughout campus, the night before the game. But, if you’re one who would rather tailgate in the A/C of your home, there are some essentials your fellow Crimson Tide lovers suggest.

Memphis native Bob Mundy's twin daughters attend UA. He flies in to Tuscaloosa for as many home games as possible to watch one of his favorite teams, and to spend quality time with his family.

“There are some must haves when I am planning what to bring for my tailgate. A Ford F150 Truck/tailgate, Nerf football, Bluetooth speaker with a radio, cold beer, and parking close to the porta potty,” said Mundy. 

Memphis resident Bob Mundy tailgating on UA game day with his daughter, Morgan Mundy, in 2016.

 

When walking in and around campus on game day weekend, there is a sea of red and white apparel, and dropped sorority pins and shakers are scattered along the streets. It can get pretty crowded around Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama alumni Sam Boatman prefers to tailgate at his house before the game, and then walk to Bryant Denny.

“It is extremely hot in Alabama, especially at the beginning of football season. The things I must have at my game day tailgates are beer, finger foods, BBQ, friends and a bunch of Alabama gear and shakers,” Boatman said. “We love tailgating in our house where it’s cool and comfortable, and that way, we don’t have to try to spend hours finding any parking spots.” 

Since BBQ is a southern staple, you will probably see many tailgates (on and off campus) with pans of foil-wrapped barbecue. A town favorite is Dreamland, where manager Ebonaa Bronton says ribs are a must-have item for any true Tuscaloosa tailgating experience.

“The best thing to bring to a tailgate is ribs. You can get ribs, baked beans, potatoes and a loaf of bread combined and wrapped, and ready to be served,” Bronton said.

Regardless of where you plan to tailgate this season, be sure to get back to Bryant-Denny Stadium for the game, and cheer on the Alabama Crimson Tide on the road to 17! 

 

 

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contact@druidcitymedia.com (Super User) Home n Garden Tue, 15 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0500