heat, humidity and dry days take a toll on your flowers
in July and August, given your yard a fresh look with
pots of tropical hibiscus and mandevilla. Although they
are not cold hardy in much of the country, these plants
add tropical touches to any summer décor. Costa Farms,
a major hibiscus and mandevilla grower, features these
stunning, sun-loving bloomers at garden centers,
including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Wal-mart nationwide,
$19.99-$35.99, depending on size and plant:
the right product is what your yard needs. It can be a
helpful tool or something pretty to look at, but the end
result is the same: It makes your home a better place to
are several that fit that goal:
WATERER: Now Mother Nature helps you refill a hanging
waterer for little songbirds, thanks to the
colander-style, pour-through lid that Perky-Pet features
on its latest accessory.
of plastic in a frosted-blue color that resembles the
appearance of pond water, the 64-ounce waterer is shaped
like a garden lantern. A top loop-style hanger makes it
easy to place it on a hook suspended from a tree branch
where shade will keep the water cool. A bottom tray is
shallow enough to attract small birds that like to sit
water reservoir unscrews from the base, making
everything easy to clean. Perky-Pet suggests that you
change the water every few days to assure freshness, and
to clean the waterer every couple of weeks with a mild
soap and water solution, then rinse thoroughly. About
$15. Available at wildlife stores and home/garden stores
nationwide online at Perky-Pet at www.birdfeeders.com
BIRDFEEDERS. Tube-type feeders allow birds to get right
to business — dining on succulent seeds you provide
for them. Cole’s wild bird seed company offers three
tube feeders designed for specific birds.
clear poly tube feeder, aka Terrific Tube, is best for
all-purpose seeds like pure sunflower (gets you a great
variety of birds), sunflower seed mixes and suet
kibbles; it features a natural grip perch that resembles
the feel of a real branch so birds think they are out in
the wild, $49.99.
thistle seed feeder, aka Nifty Niger Feeder, comes with
teeny-tiny holes that attract finches — think bright
yellow goldfinches in summer — and pine siskins,
mesh feeder, aka Mighty Mesh, is designed specifically
for birds that like to cling to something while they eat
– chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, warblers, finches
and bluebirds. Fill it with seed blends, raw peanuts or
sunflower-based blends; $39.99.
three are easy to clean – push a button and the bottom
pops off for each access. If you’re looking for a
brush to clean your feeders, consider using a dryer lint
brush, which comes with stiffer bristles and a handle
longer than most brushes made specifically for feeders.
feeders in a mild solution of bleach and water and rinse
thoroughly; an old toothbrush can be a handy detailing
tool when cleaning around feeding ports and other small
areas on feeders.
products are available at many independent garden
retailers, hardware stores as well as some Whole Foods
locations; find a location near you or shop online at: http://coleswildbird.com/locations
LAVENDER. Phenomenal aptly describes this lavender with
silver foliage that doesn’t die back at the base. Cold
hardy to Zone 5, the lavender also tolerates heat and
humidity without stress. Best of all, it’s a
deer-proof addition to a garden that’s bothered by
these four-hoofed, chomping critters.
long-stemmed flowers and silvery foliage are classically
fragrant, and can be used as fresh-cut flowers indoors.
Oils from the plant can be used for baking, cocktail
recipes, sachets, lip balms and decorative crafts.
plant likes full sun and regular garden soil, and grows
to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with vibrant purple
flowers covering it. Use it as a stand-alone specimen,
border plant or eye-catching, low-growing hedge. It’s
available from many garden centers and online sites such
more about the lavender on Facebook@www.facebook.com/lavenderphenomenal.