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Fantastic Design Plant: Rock Cotoneaster

While fall and winter holidays might have the seasonal decorating market, I love to think that in the house — and backyard — ornamental festivities can be appreciated yearlong. Foliage, flowers and berries denote the changing of the seasons, and stone cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis) provides up all three. Its elegant sprays of small leaves, rich blossoms and vibrant red berries shine in the backyard and home out of spring’s development through winter’s close.

Botanical name: Cotoneaster horizontalis
Common names: Rock cotoneaster, rockspray cotoneaster
USDA zones: 5 to 2; tolerant to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (find your zone)
Water requirement: Moderate to low
moderate requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 5 to 2 feet wide
Benefits and tolerances: Attracts birds, birds and butterflies; aids in erosion management; tolerant of wind, contamination, rabbits and deer
Seasonal curiosity: Abundant blossoms in spring and summer; showy red berries in fall through winter; colorful fall foliage
When to plant: Plant cuttings in summer.

Distinguishing attributes. Cotoneasters are noted for their petite foliage and showy red berries, but stone cotoneaster is most distinguished for its distinctive form and distinct branching pattern. Low growth, stone cotoneaster jobs vertically, forming a dense yet arching mat of leaves.

Photo by Père Igor

Rock cotoneaster’s branchlets form a distinct herringbone pattern. Though the plant is only briefly deciduous over winter, it is a nice time to appreciate the skeletal attractiveness.

Dark green foliage covers the plant during the year. Spring and summer are a profuse flowering period, once the plant attracts bees and butterflies. The blossoms transition into showy red berries in fall through winter. (Beware: Birds love these berries, therefore they might not make it through winter) The foliage turns a vibrant crimson and purple (shown) prior to falling.

Monrovia

How to use it. The dense, low branching structure of rock contoneaster functions nicely as a ground cover. It is recommended that you space plantings 5 feet apart. Group rock cotoneaster on a bank or hillside for appealing erosion management and to dissuade garden traffic from straying.

Rock cotoneaster includes a naturally beautiful form if it is allowed to disperse, so don’t plant it too close to garden or paths borders. Instead, allow the plant to spread elegantly in rock gardens or above rock walls.

The arching branchlets provide distinct yearlong beauty in the backyard. Consider bringing flowering branches inside during summer and spring; showy red berries in fall provide natural alternatives to conventional holiday decorations within the house and outside also.

Planting notes. Rock cotoneaster is widely used for a lot of reasons, but its adaptability and easy-grow nature make it to stick around. Faring best in well-drained, dry dirt, it’s a moderate grower, prefering full sunlight and medium to light water. It is heat resistant, thriving in dry summers and wet winters.

Rock cotoneaster self-sows, therefore eliminate seedlings you don’t wish to grow bigger. It’s possible to trim back dead or disfigured branches, but crops looks best if allowed to grow to their full form.

It is a powerful weed suppresser when utilized as a ground cover. During the time that it takes for the plants to fill out, use mulch to control weeds.

Photo by Père Igor

More: 6 Branches and Berries to Spruce Up Holiday Decor

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9 Fresh and Fun Hanukkah Decorating Ideas

Stylist Rita Brownstein, author of this site Design Megillah along with the book Jewish Holiday Style, shares some beautiful and simple suggestions for freshening your Hanukkah dining table and mantel.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Try a fresh dining table setup. This season Brownstein plans to shake things up in her home by hosting her Hanukkah dinner before the fireplace. “I needed a cozy setup, so I pushed back the living room furniture to make more space,” she states. “It also means that my grandkids can operate around, sit and see on the couch nearby and feel more relaxed than at the dining table.”

Rita out of Design Megillah

Go for blue and metallics. Instead of the typical white, silver and blue palette, Brownstein is updating her appearance with various shades of blue together with glistening gold and copper metallics.

“It’s very important to your holiday dining table to reveal you and the type of your home,” she states. Here she pairs gold bowls out of Pier 1 Imports with snowy Mercer dinner dishes from Crate & Barrel.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Brownstein utilized gold fabric paint to give every meal napkin a number, representing the eight nights of candle light during Hanukkah.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Insert an extra menorah. Though a lot of men and women place their menorah in a front window for all to see, Brownstein places an extra menorah on the table.

“I loved the clean, modern shape of this Tovah menorah from Crate & Barrel, but the polished nickel finish didn’t work with my gold motif,” she states. “So I gave it a quick spray using Krylon Brush Metallic in Sparkling Canyon.”

Rita out of Design Megillah

Utilize dreidels as vase fillers. Gold dreidels add weight to a vase and reflect the candlelight without needing any play away from the white hydrangeas.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Set an alternative candy bowl. Brownstein found that this soap dish Target. “The blue rock candy seems great with the glass mosaics and makes a wonderful addition to the dining table,” she states.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Have a mantel of wonders. She changed the mantel with shimmery golds, with presents wrapped in blue paper near.

Rita out of Design Megillah

String some grown-up gelt. Brownstein made this gelt garland with vinyl coins she found at a party supply store.

To produce your own gelt garland, you will need:
Hot glue gunWhite string that could manage the weight of your coinsPlastic gold coinsThumbtacks1. Measure the diameter of your mantel using the string. Allow extra so that the string can hang loose in miniature layers. Brownstein layered four string strands.

2. Glue two coins back to back on every string, 3 to 4 inches apart.

3. Connect the string ends together and secure them to the side of the mantel with thumbtacks.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Send a special message. Brownstein painted chipboard letters with gold crafts paint and glued a wood skewer, also painted gold, to the rear of every one. “They’re sitting in glass votive cups filled with salt. The term “wonders” is appropriate, because the story of Hanukkah entails how a small group of soldiers, the Maccabees, defeated the whole Syrian army,” she states.

Rita out of Design Megillah

Have handmade favors. Donation packs perk the hutch. Brownstein made paper dreidels from patterned scrapbook paper in her palette of blues and metallics.

Rita out of Design Megillah

She wrapped the dinner favors such as a petite Hanukkah gift. “I filled them with blue jellybeans in keeping with the colour scheme. A chocolate gelt coin makes a perfect tag,” she states.

Rita out of Design Megillah

“When I was growing up, Hanukkah was simply lighting the menorah for eight nights and getting a few presents,” Brownstein says. “Today we’re bombarded with so much more beauty and creativity in design. Don’t forget: The holidays are a fantastic opportunity to reflect your individual design style.”

More: 10 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Hosting

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Quit Playing About With Your Game Console

Popular game consoles, such as the Nintendo Wii U and Microsoft Xbox 360, aren’t connected with sophistication or minimalism. They are more correlated with all-night, caffeine-fueled shoot-em-up video games. But game consoles are now extremely versatile, strong, all-purpose computers made expressly for incorporating to living rooms and dens, and they can help you streamline your home computing and entertainment systems. They even offer activities that can fundamentally improve your lifetime.

Plus, there are a number of quite powerful and fun things that just gaming consoles can do.

Nintendo

Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set – $349.99

Nintendo has announced plans to send its next-generation game program, called the Wii U (pronounced”we, you”) on November 18, 2012.

The Wii U ought to be a great gaming system — and an odd one. Contrary to the recent Wii, which can be operated by some motion-detecting controller which looks like a TV remote, the new Wii U will include a controller using buttons and a touch screen. The handheld touch screen may be used for controlling what’s on the TV. But it may also be utilized rather of this TV display. Therefore the Wii U will be a complete gaming console and a somewhat portable gaming device all in one.

Wii U owners may become members of an upcoming Nintendo Network, whereby Nintendo will maintain an app shop (which Nintendo is calling an eShop) for downloading all kinds of software that will work with the gambling system.

In addition to all the regular stuff you would find in a controller — gyroscope, accelerometer, haptic feedback and so on — the Wii U controller will have an integrated microphone, speakers and camera, as well as electronics that will allow you to use a wireless credit card to make purchases. It will also support stylus input, which means you need to have the ability to sign things and draw images.

It’s this blend of controller capabilities and an eShop which makes the Wii U so full of promise for non-gaming applications. The gambling system will likely enable the constraint of your current TV and videos using the touch screen and buttons on the controller. While watching TV, by way of example, you need to have the ability to move the display to the controller and take it with you all around the house.

You can also expect a lot of internet shopping software, in which you can quickly scan products and purchase by tapping your charge card on top of the controller to make the buy. And finally, it is almost certain that the Wii U will have the ability to replace your telephone, working as a speakerphone for internet calls along with a videoconferencing system at the touch of a button.

Microsoft

Xbox 360 Media Remote – $19.99

Contrary to the brand new Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 platform has existed for decades and is about to go right now with many nongaming capabilities.

An Xbox device, which begins at $199, can play video DVDs on your TV just like a dedicated DVD player can. It may also show you films, TV shows, music videos and Web videos through Netflix, Hulu and Microsoft’s own content assistance, similar to an Apple TV apparatus does. It may play PC films on a home Windows network or through a regular USB flash drive, like a PC. Plus it can get ESPN3 sports content — even letting you watch two games simultaneously — similar to satellite networks do, in case you’ve got a $50 annual Xbox Live Gold subscription.

You’re able to interact with this all round home entertainment system using an Xbox controller if you want, but you likely won’t desire. Alternatively, you can purchase an Xbox-specific remote control, for example Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Media Remote. You can even search for films and other entertainment using search.

Xbox

Xbox can replace an whole music collection. Microsoft this month declared Xbox Music, a new service for downloading digital audio to Xbox consoles and enjoying with them over home music programs.

Xbox Music costs $9.99 per month and enables ad-free music streaming from its own catalog of 30 million tunes and 70,000 music videos. On top of that, it’s a feature that gives you an artist-based radio flow, like Pandora does. So you pick a band or a singer, and Xbox Music will perform not just tunes from the choice, but other artists with a similar style.

If you’ve got old audio CDs in your collection, you can set those from the Xbox and play them as if it was a CD player.

Microsoft

Nike+Kinect Coaching – $49.99

An Xbox can even be a personal trainer. Microsoft intends to launch an Xbox program called Nike+Kinect Training at the end of October 2012. The software utilizes your Xbox, and a Kinect sensor, to get your performance and shape while exercising, and it will even customize your workouts according to your skills and progress.

Microsoft

Kinect for Xbox 360 – $149.99

To be able to use Nike+Kinect, then you’ll require a 149.99 Microsoft add-on called Kinect for Xbox 360, and it is a sensor which uses cameras to track your moves as you use Kinect-supporting games and software.

Microsoft

Xbox 360 Chatpad – $29.99

Xbox can even replace your telephone, giving you communications capabilities right out of the Jetsons.

Whenever you have the Xbox Kinect, then you may use it along with your TV to possess live video chats with friends and family who also have Xboxes. An agency called Video Kinect utilizes one of the cameras in the Kinect addition to broadcast you and your living room to the home of another person on the call.

But Xbox gives you many different means to communicate also. You can chat, which can be like text messaging, and use Twitter and Facebook, with the societal networks appearing on your TV. Communicating on Xbox is a lot like communication on your computer, but you are relaxing on the couch and the communication is taking place on your big TV.

Some of the communication requires a computer keyboard, so it is a good idea to purchase an Xbox 360 Chatpad, a little, wireless keyboard made to be held as you type.

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Southwest Gardener's October Checklist

With the latest autumnal equinox, the mild has become sexier here in the desert. This changes how we see our garden distances, and warmer temperatures are changing how we can utilize them.

The arid Southwest is divided into three zones:
The Minimal zone: The hottest areas without winter; comprises Phoenix; Palm Springs, California; Laughlin, Nevada; and Yuma, Arizona (USDA zones 9 to 10)The middle zone: Hot with Minimal winter; comprises Tucson, Arizona; warm areas of Las Vegas; China Lake, California; and Presidio, Texas (USDA zones 8 to 9b) The high zone: Moderately hot with short, certain winters; includes El Paso, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Payson, Arizona; and Saint George, Utah (USDA zones 6b to 8)

Exteriors By Chad Robert

Fall planting. Many plants will love being transplanted in October, since mild temperatures and still-warm soils permit optimal plant growth.

At the middle and high winds, wait till spring to plant heat-loving to tender perennials, like Lantana and some broad-leaved citrus trees and shrubs (including evergreen oak species and India hawthorn). It’s unlikely they will set before colder weather, an planting them at the fall may lead to severe damage to foliage and newer branches.

People in the minimal zone may still plant the majority of the species that the higher zones cannot, since adequate root growth is probably before colder weather strikes.

Turfgrass. Whatever your zone, it’s too late in the year to plant or seed any warm-season yards or mulch, such as Zoysia or even Bermudagrass. The exclusion is cool-season turf for the oasis regions of middle and high winds, which is sodded with proper soil preparation and normal irrigation.

Hortus Oasis

Planting by Southwest Region

Try these kinds for October plantings.

Low zone: Any native and adapted plants, including low desert wildflowers, herbs and cool-season vegetables. This also has Ironwood (Olneya tesota),Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi) and parsley.

Medium zone: Cold-hardy palms, and any native and adapted plants, including wildflowers, herbs and lots of cool-season vegetables. Including fan palm (Washingtonia species) and Mexican grass tree (Dasylirion quadrangulatum).

High zone: Cold-hardy native agaves, yuccas and succulents; most woody native and adapted plants; herbs with woody growth; and rugged wildflowers from the high desert. In desert grassland and foothills regions, plants are likely to germinate and develop roots with moisture from next spring. Including soaptree (Yucca elata), turpentine bush (Ericameria laricifolia) and Penstemon species.

Revealed: Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Do a simple cleanup. Love autumn’s pleasures and also do something easy that makes a huge gap: Leave the challenging job for another month. October is a good time to simply touch up your outdoor spaces to maintain them livable, allowing additional time to enjoy them.

Remove smaller deadwood from trees and shrubs, since removal of live growth is more likely to stimulate new growth once the first colder weather occurs. Dead twigs and timber bits detract from a plant’s form — and it’s easy to tell those from the live timber at the moment. When you are finished, rake up surplus debris, leaves and other clutter from planting areas and the yard. An ordered space is much more relaxing, and a garden could be the prime spot for personal revival.

Donna Lynn – Landscape Designer

Handle water. Continue to track and reset the timers on any controllers you might have, especially in the low and middle zones. As temperatures fall, decrease the water necessary.

If you are planning a landscape to get a barren area or for a place outside plant roots, then create water harvesting opportunities to benefit plantings and some visual interest by installing delicate basins, swales and berms from constructions, where lush plantings are needed.

Contemplate capturing and storing stormwater for reuse as landscape irrigation during the inevitable dry periods to come. While the expenses of bigger systems often exceed those of potable gallon for gallon, it may be worth it to research for future requirements and changes in water availability. This is especially true in upland areas much from municipal water sources.

And as it’s late in the growing season, don’t overwater — it’ll encourage too much late-season growth.

Protect plants from nibbling rabbits. Rabbits in desert regions like to discover moist and cool things to eat. In drier seasons, they’re fond of devouring plants that they often avoid in wetter years; fresh plants are always very palatable, including lots of prickly pear cacti.

While some plant species are more resistant to rabbits compared to many others, the only plants that I know of which are rabbitproof are ocotillo and rosemary. Security is worth its time and price. Create chickenwire “cages” with three to four bets just beyond the fresh plants’ foliage, to stop rabbits from nibbling. Such protection has to be removed as the plant grows, however.

Some areas have javelina (wild pigs), which are particularly fond of a number of plants and can be very harmful. To Find out More, see “Javelina Resistant Plants,” from the University of Arizona, also “Living With Javelina,” from the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Photo courtesy of Alan Vernon

BOXHILL

Plan ahead to get a garden. While we are enjoying the start to fall foliage colour, especially at the high zone, don’t overlook the need for visual interest that includes strong evergreen looks during winter. Instead of settling on a design with a strong seasonal motif that holds together visually for just a few weeks, aim for a mixture of evergreen and deciduous foliage to get a garden. Massing local native cacti and shrubs, such as turpentine bush (Ericameria laricifolia) or creosote bush(Larrea tridentata), can accomplish this job nicely.

From the lower zones, the same is true — using deciduous plants whose foliage drops is perfectly appropriate once you pair them with evergreen species. Mexican evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa), ocotillo and desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) will add some seasonal interest — and you will find a bonus of blooms during the growing season.

And no matter the Southwestern zone, it’s most beneficial to think about species which thrive and older with less water and in our often highly alkaline soils.

Revealed: threadgrass (Nasella tenuissima), prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) and Texas sage (Leucophyllum).

More: More guides to Southwest gardening | Locate your U.S. garden checklist

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10 Smart Ways to Deal With Summer Gear

When the first cold nip in the air arrives, it’s the perfect time to spend a weekend putting summer equipment in order. The end of summer always feels disgusting, and I find the time I take moving through all of those soggy towels, seashell collections and vacation photos signals a clear end to the summer season, letting me welcome the joys of autumn. As programs become more complete and vacations end, it also feels good knowing that I am starting with a clean slate, ready for whatever comes next.

From sorting, cleaning and repairing to arranging and saving for another year, these 10 tasks will help you get the task finished.

Interiors Studio Martha’s Vineyard

1. Toss broken pool toys and beach equipment. Inner tubes and other inflatables do not last forever, so be sure to check for holes or other damage prior to saving them. Give items that have been at the beach a thorough scrubbing and toss anything that’s cracked or broken and cannot be repaired.

Tongue & Groove

2. Make the most of end-of-season earnings to fill gaps in your equipment. As soon as you understand what you need (a new umbrella to substitute the one that blew away?) , think about stocking up today instead of waiting until the next year.

Not just will you get the lowest cost today, but you can prevent that last-minute shopping frenzy on the way to the shore next year.

simple thoughts

3. Edit your shore treasures and keep them safely. Beachcombing is a wonderful summer pastime, along with the paintings you accumulate can become meaningful mementos of your journeys. When you’re finished exhibiting your own shells, beach glass and driftwood, give everything a once-over to get rid of broken bits and pieces, then keep everything in a hard container with a lid to protect the delicate contents from breakage. If your collection has gotten too big, think about giving a package of treasures to a friend who you know would appreciate it.

Kimberly DesJardins Interiors

4. Sift through holiday photos. With digital photography, it is so easy to dump photos on the computer and forget about them.

I recommend creating a seasonal date along with your hard drive to edit photographs. It retains the task (comparatively) manageable, and you could easily purchase a photograph book online to include all of the summer’s memories.
Pick a few to print as nicely and rotate your own favorites in simple frames.

Organize Pictures in a Flash

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

5. Sort board games and check for lost pieces. Following a summer’s worth of game nights and play dates, the board game scenario in almost any family home is certain to be a pitiful state.

Enlist the children to help sort Monopoly money and Scrabble tiles, then treat yourselves to ice cream cones.

Vidabelo Interior Design

6. The grill prior to barbecue season ends. It’s accurate, there’s still some prime grilling weather before us, but that barbecue likely got a great deal of use this summer, and it’s time for a small deep cleaning. Most of us understand how to clean the surface of the grate with a wire brush but Lifehacker has a great video tutorial on how best to clean all of the parts of a grill.

Flow Wall System

7. Inspect sports and outdoor equipment for damage before storing. Outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking and fishing rely on your own equipment’s staying in good form. Carefully look over every product and fix minor issues as you come across them. Clean out coolers , air out tents and sleeping bags, and type sports equipment before neatly packing it off.

LDa Interiors & Architecture

8. Say goodbye to summer accessories that have seen better days. Sun, sand and salt water are hard on fabrics. Rather than keeping things past their prime, take a minute to sort through your shoes, hats, bags and shades, and give those old, crusty flip-flops and worn outside shore bags that the heave-ho.

Kailey J. Flynn Photography

9. Switch upward summer bedding (and clothing). When you feel that the first chill in the air on a crisp morning, that’s a fantastic sign it’s time to swap mild blankets for thicker colours and duvets. Launder your lightweight coverlets prior to keeping them in an out-of-the-way spot. While you’re at it, then pull those summer clothing from rotation to generate space for the comfy sweaters and boots of fall.

10. Thoroughly clean sandy towels and swimsuits. Sand can wreak havoc on washing machines, therefore allow beach towels to dry out and shake them well to remove sand prior to bringing them to get a wash. I like to pack my beach towels and swimsuits inside a beach bag, so everything remains together and will be easy to find come next summer.

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