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Hydrangeas Happiness

Award - Winning Daylily

Landscape Lighting

Outdoor Living Space

Showcasing Personal Style

Hundreds of Floor Styles

Right Color for Your Home

Plush BirdsCollection

 

Growing Happiness With Hydrangeas

(NAPSI)—Bringing beauty to your home and garden can be simple when you grow hydrangeas. Their big, bushy flowers come in a variety of shades of blue, purple, rose, violet and green. They’re easy to grow, have a long season of bloom—generally late spring to early fall—and are great for mass landscape, border plantings or container plants. The large, eye-catching hydrangea blossoms from Forever & Ever® Plants can also be enjoyed as cut or dried flowers.

Hydrangea Facts And Tips

To help you create a gorgeous hydrangea garden, here are some hints from the experts at the United States Department of Agriculture:

• Don’t be concerned if your pink hydrangea develops blue flowers. As hydrangea flowers age on the plant, they often change colors.

• Hydrangeas grow best in moist, well-drained soil.

• Most hydrangeas benefit from some shade, though deep shade can greatly reduce flowering.

• Established hydrangea plants may benefit from regular pruning. Removing about a third of the oldest stems each year will result in a fuller, healthier plant.

• Gardeners may also want to prune to control height or to remove old flower heads.

• One of the easiest ways to preserve the flowers is to let them dry almost completely on the plant. Don’t collect them until the flowers have developed a papery feel. On a dry day with low humidity, cut the stems the length you need for your floral arrangements. Strip off all leaves and then find a dry place indoors where the flowers can finish drying. Flowers can be hung upside down while being dried or placed in a vase with or without water.

Two Perfect Choices

Hydrangeas such as Forever & Ever Pistachio and Peace are new releases for 2012. The Forever & Ever Hydrangea line has been called “almost foolproof” even for the novice gardener.

More Information

You can learn more about hydrangeas and see all the beautiful varieties available online at www.foreverandeverplants.com and become a Forever & Ever Fan on Facebook.

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The All-American Award-Winning Daylily: Lovely And Low Maintenance

(NAPSI)—Several gardening trends are expected to flourish this summer.

Experts predict that small- space gardening, container vertical gardening and gardens with low-maintenance flowers will thrive. One low-maintenance but All-American award-winning star suited to any size garden is the lovely daylily.

There are so many to choose from. More than 60,000 daylilies are registered and bred in at least 25 states by hundreds of individual hybridizers. Many of the best daylilies compete for the title of All-American Daylily awarded by the All-American Daylily Selection Council (AADSC).

AADSC began its test program in 1985 and awarded its first All-American title in 1994 to Black Eyed Stella, known for its landscape performance as a nearly continuous bloomer.

The title is not just an award granted to the prettiest cultivar, but rather given only to those daylily varieties that have demonstrated superior performance in dozens of criteria across at least five USDA hardiness zones.

Daylilies are tested for at least two years with finalists grown for another three to five years in open field conditions before being selected as a winner.

There are now 19 award-winning All-American Daylily varieties that have been selected for their scientifically proven, superior performance nationwide. Here are just a few of the winners:

• This year, a new daylily has earned the distinction of being named an All-American Daylily. The recent winner, Lady Elizabeth (Hemerocallis Lady Elizabeth), features sparkling diamond-dusted white blooms.

For decades, near-white to white daylilies have been considered weak novelties best grown by collectors, but this new flower has defied these stereotypes by delivering dependable performance and a hearty display of blooms throughout the growing season.

A winner in exhibition category, rust-resistant Lady Elizabeth blooms 30 to 110 days per year in USDA zones 4 through 10 and adds a stunning highlight to any landscape.

The flower’s sun-resistant 5- to 51?2-inch diameter blooms appear in early to mid-season on 18- to 24-inch scapes and continue blooming for five to six weeks, repeating again late in the season.

Dense, bright green foliage provides a graceful pedestal below the flower display.

• In 2009, Dream Souffle was the first double bloom to win the award. The fluffy double-petaled blooms are a pastel rosy-pink blended with cream and flushed with yellow in the center.

• In 2006, the award winner was Buttered Popcorn, a large buttery-gold bloom on sturdy 28- to 33-inch scapes. The golden beauty boasts nearly continuous blooming.

• In 2004, Lady Lucille was honored for its large showy bloom that starts off just as most other daylilies are winding down, with clusters of flashy 5- to 6-inch blooms that go from summer to fall.

• In 2002, Bitsy, one of the longest-blooming varieties, won for its petite personality and powerful performance.

• In 1998, Lullaby Baby and Starstruck were honored for their exquisite beauty and balance in the exhibition category.

For more information, visit www.AllAmericanDaylilies.com or find them on Facebook at All-American Daylilies.

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Landscape Lighting

(NAPSI)—Offer a warm welcome, provide safety and security and increase the value of your property with a custom outdoor lighting design. Homeowners spend tens of thousands of dollars on beautiful landscaping, yet only enjoy it during the day. Well-planned landscape lighting can add depth and a sense of luxury to your home.

• First, view your home and outdoor areas from the edges of your property. Consult with a landscape lighting expert.

• Decide which features to highlight.

• Soft, diffused lighting along driveways, walkways and stairs provides safety and security and welcomes guests.

• Strategically placed lighting in trees or under the eaves illuminates larger areas.

• Properly positioned ground fixtures highlight natural elements, textured walls or favorite statues.

• Conceal light sources behind shrubs or flowerbeds, if possible, so you see the effect, not the fixture.

Learn More

View videos and articles, see more than 500,000 unique lighting products from Capitol Lighting, plus get expert advice at www.1-800Lighting.com/landscape or call (800) 544-4846. The easy-to-navigate site even has a “Smart Shopper” feature to provide price comparisons from competitors to ensure you receive the best value.

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Spruce Up Outdoor Living Space With Stylish Furnishings

(NAPSI)—Many homeowners these days extend their living spaces into the great outdoors—with decks and patios setting the stage for cookouts, family get-togethers or afternoon naps in the sunshine.

Today’s outdoor living space can be just as comfortable and stylish as your home’s interior, there are nearly endless furniture options available to reflect your personal tastes and interests. When selecting outdoor pieces, it’s important to look for dining and seating options that combine livable design with worry-free durability.

These tips can help you find the right furniture to make the most of your outdoor living space:

• Demand Durability—Think about the natural elements your outdoor furniture will need to endure on a regular basis and select tables and seating options that can stand up to the sun, rain, wind, saltwater or snow. Outdoor furniture should be both durable and weather-resistant. Also look for marine-grade cushions in all-weather fabrics that don’t need to be taken inside every time storm clouds threaten.

• Look for Low Maintenance—No one wants to spend more time maintaining than relaxing on outdoor furniture. Fortunately, wood-alternative materials require no staining, sealing and painting to remain beautiful over time-and they won’t rot, splinter or crack. Their “like new” appearance resists food spills, insects, mold and mildew. For extra protection, choose furniture with a five-year residential warranty.

• Go Green-Eco—consciousness doesn’t have to be relegated to the indoors. Wood-alternative outdoor furniture is manufactured from a high percentage of recycled content. For instance, Trex Outdoor Furniture is created by the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing from a unique blend of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) raw materials—including post-consumer materials, such as milk jugs and detergent bottles. In fact, just one Adirondack chair is comprised of 240 recycled milk jugs.

• Design with Distinction—Today’s outdoor furniture is available in a variety of frame and fabric colors to suit any taste, whether your style is urban modern or country classic. For example, new Trex Outdoor Furniture offers themed collections that make it easy to create a completely customized look. Bold stripes and sailboat motifs represent the Nautical theme, while classic neutrals are prominent in Desert Safari. Ice blues and cool grays create the refreshing look of Glacier Mountain and vibrant greens and chocolate browns add a touch of the exotic to Tropical Palm.

For more outdoor furniture inspiration and information, visit www.trexfurniture.com.

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Bold Is Back, Showcasing Personal Style

(NAPSI)—Color is making a major comeback in home decor. Homeowners are moving away from grays and beiges and gravitating toward bold, bright and bodacious shades for their redecorating projects.

Color experts say homeowners are placing renewed emphasis on personal expressions when choosing the look to define their living space.

Savvy Homeowners Leading the Way

Today’s homeowners are increasingly savvy when it comes to identifying trends in home redecorating. Immediately picking up on the aesthetics around them—from the coffee shop to the airport and everywhere in between—individuals are willing to experiment with multiple colors to define their personal flair.

According to color expert Dee Schlotter, many people now use their homes as labs for new looks and technologies. Since paint color is one of the easiest things to change, when something new strikes their fancy, they’re willing to give it a shot. “We keep what works and start over when it doesn’t. But always, the search is on for what’s real and honest,” added Schlotter.

A perfectly tailored color mix lets homeowners express their emotions and feelings through the space around them. Schlotter explained, “There’s no better way to express yourself than with the transformative power of color in your home.”

Tips to Remember When Working with Bold Color

Homeowners should understand the subtle nuances of painting with bold colors and consider the following tips when getting started:

Ultra matte paint is a great finish to show off color. The more shine, the more imperfections you can see.

Don’t hold a paint chip in front of a white wall, since bold colors will appear darker or more intense on the wall than they do on a small chip.

Test first. Use a large test sheet and a “time test”—view your color in all light: morning, noon and night. Live with it for a few days to make sure you love it.

If you are going to go bold, then really go for it. There’s no such thing as a pale red.

Learn More

To find your color personality, try the online color tools at PPG Pittsburgh Paints’ The Voice of Color website, www.voiceofcolor.com.

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From The Ground Up: Mastering The Stages Of Flooring

(NAPSI)—The best-laid floors start with a plan-and the most effective flooring plans require asking yourself a few questions:

1. What look are you going for?

What’s your style and how do the latest flooring trends fit into that style? Is your home’s decor casual, formal, exotic? Do you want a luxurious traditional look?

You may be able to achieve a luxurious look for less with affordably priced flooring products. For example, laminate is no longer the only wannabe flooring product out there. Many of the replica floors debuting this season look so close to the real thing, you may have to get on your hands and knees to determine authenticity.

Let your imagination run wild. If you want to go glam, consider gold leaf marble tiles. If you want to go green, there’s renewable bamboo and cork flooring in dynamic textures and brilliant hues, including pinks, greens, blues and even purples.

To determine what’s right for you, use helpful resources such as WFCA.org, the site created by the World Floor Covering Association.

The new site showcases an ever-changing lineup of content including design articles and advice from Annette Callari, A.S.I.D., the latest in floor trends, as well as consumer-relevant industry updates.

It also features a cutting-edge interactive design tool, Virtual Designer by EcoColor, that allows visitors to view hundreds of different floor styles in rooms that resemble their own. The tool allows visitors to match grout color, lay down an area rug over their newly designed floor, and change cabinets and wall and ceiling colors from a selection of Benjamin Moore Paints.

2. What will the room be used for?

Carpeting may be just the thing in a bedroom or guest room, but will it remain pristine in the playroom? Highly trafficked areas or rooms-such as the kitchen or bathroom-where the floor is exposed to spills and must be cleaned often, may be better suited to ceramic or porcelain.

Another option for kitchens and bathrooms is resilient vinyl flooring. Easy to keep clean, it’s durable, water resistant and doesn’t fade, stain or dent.

Since resilient vinyl flooring comes in sheets, planks and tiles (VCT, or Vinyl Composition Tiles), there’s lots of room for self-expression. Resilient vinyl floors are flexible and soft to walk on-and, like carpet, can go on a subfloor that isn’t perfectly level.

3. What flooring materials are available?

Learning more about available flooring products may offer a surprising selection. For example, tigerwood-look bamboo offers eye-catching contrasting shades by combining both natural and carbonized strand bamboo.

A popular trend these days is international woods. You can find them in their authentic format as well as look-alike products such as ipe, wenge, merbau and teak.

4. What’s your budget? Figure out how much you can spend. Are you planning on doing the labor or do you want someone to install the flooring for you? If you decide to hire a professional installer, get more than one estimate before finalizing your budget. Ask for referrals.

Factor in the cost of floor preparation, furniture removal and replacement. You may be able to use an online calculator to arrive at a working estimate.

5. What’s the best way to clean your new flooring?

Before you invest in new flooring, ask about the best way to clean it.

6. How green can you go? There are many renewable and recycled materials you can use for flooring. Besides bamboo and cork, a new greener alternative-that also offers cost savings-is thinner hardwood flooring, which uses up less of the tree and can lower the cost of the floor by about 20 percent.

For the well-worn look, woods are being sourced from old barns, sheds and mills, where it has been naturally weathered over decades and even centuries.

7. Is my flooring installation DIY or should I hire a professional?

You can find answers to all these questions and learn how to master all the stages of flooring at www.wfca.org. The WFCA is the floor covering industry’s largest advocacy organization representing specialty floor covering retailers, cleaners, installers, manufacturers and distributors around the globe.

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Trust Your Senses To Pick The Right Color For Your Home

(NAPSI)—The next time you paint your house, close your eyes. The colors you see are the ones that may suit you best.

Instead of staring at the outer walls, concentrate on your inner emotions. The process of choosing paint colors may involve sifting through hundreds of hues, but decorators have discovered the final selections are almost inevitably tied to the homeowner’s emotional connection to a particular color.

Every color has an emotional association, and individuals are drawn to different colors for reasons depending on their distinct personalities. The feelings that stem from the five senses are the best sources to identify meaningful colors best suited for your personality, style and interests. What helps homeowners feel most comfortable and confident with their color choices is recognizing the role your reactions to color play in your home decor.

According to color expert Dee Schlotter, “Color preferences are unique, and choosing a color is a personal exercise.” She believes that the feelings specific colors elicit are a subconscious reaction based on past experiences and associations. “Many times, we’re not even aware of why we like a color or how certain colors, when paired together, make us feel,” adds Schlotter.

Tips On Picking Colors

When choosing colors, basing your decisions on an accent piece that you love, such as a piece of art, can help make the selection process simpler. Consider these tips:

• Work with a few colors. As a general rule, you should assign 60 percent of the available space to one color, called dominant; 30 percent to another, called intermediate; and 10 percent to an accent color. Using too many colors in the same room is likely to create confusion rather than harmony.

• Keep in mind the effects colors may have on your moods. This will help you in deciding which color should be dominant, intermediate and accent.

• Determine the elements of your decor that you don’t intend to change, such as the floor, for example. Be sure their colors will blend nicely in your scheme.

To find the personal color palettes that reflect your personality, you can try the online color tools available at the PPG Pittsburgh Paints The Voice of Color website at www.voiceofcolor.com. There, you can also find the free Color Sense Game to help you determine your emotional connections to various objects, so you can select a color palette that’s right for you.

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Feathered Friends

(NAPSI)—Birds of a feather flock together—and the same can be said of bird-watchers. Millions of Americans spend time bird-watching, making it the second-most popular hobby in the U.S. Each year, more than a million people of all ages visit Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries. Last year, during the Great Backyard Bird Count, bird-watchers spotted over 600 species and counted more than 11 million birds.

Fostering interest in this popular pastime—as well as the curiosity of youngsters—is a collection of detailed plush birds that sing with authentic birdcalls. Wild Republic offers nearly 100 different species of Audubon birds—from puffins to kestrels to swallows.

Every anatomically correct bird in the line is an exact replica and has authentic birdcalls, which were recorded in the wild by ornithologists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Audubon birds are available at Audubon Society gift shops around the country, Bass Pro Shops and a variety of zoos, garden centers, sporting goods stores, toy shops and specialty stores.

To learn more or for a list of retail locations, visit the site at www.wildrepublic.com.

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