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Tuesday
May092017

Interior design withdrawal: How to pick the perfect chandelier

Photo by Wheeler Kearns Architects - More contemporary dining room photos

It's time to buy a new chandelier, and the choices are overwhelming.

So many shapes and styles and light sources. It helps to narrow things down. Are you attracted to ornate lighting dripping with rows of sparkling crystals? Or do your tastes run more toward angular forms – lights anchored within square lantern shapes or arranged upon linear frames? Advances in LED lighting have brought us so many options that resemble abstract art.

 

What follows is visual exploration of why certain styles work in their room.

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Thursday
May042017

Amaryllis bulb reblooms third year indoors as water-grown houseplant 

Amaryllis bulb kept indoors all year reblooms on water alone

I know others are growing flower bulbs in water, but I have not checked to see if anyone has kept a bulb indoors with its roots in water for years.

Shown are photos of the flowering of my pet bulb, Leafy. This 'Double King' amaryllis has lived with its roots in plain water for nearly three years in front of a sunny sliding glass door in the kitchen. Named for the 2- to 3-foot-long leaves it grows after the flowers fade, the bulb came to me as a testing specimen in the fall of 2014 with two other bulbs that I accidentally let perish. I was drying them out following the traditional instructions to rebloom amaryllis. 

Leafy has increased in size since last year, when the bulb felt somewhat small and fragile beneath its dried layers. Some of the bulb's  papery skin slipped off when I removed it from the top of its vase for the most recent water change. Below is a closeup of what the bulb looks like after years of growing without soil.

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Thursday
Apr202017

Growing flowers in water: Amaryllis 'Double King' bulb lives to bloom again 

Left, my pet 'Double King' amaryllis bulb, Leafy, in Feb. 2015 and, right, earlier this month, April 2017. Note the difference in roots. Here's a post that almost didn't happen. Leafy, my pet 'Double King' amaryllis bulb sent up a flower stalk earlier this month, surprising me for what will be a third year of flowering, if all goes well.

Despite my happiness, I did not get around to taking that early picture.

In my mind, there'd be an ideal side-by-side comparison shot with Leafy in the same window as a February 2015 shot.

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Friday
Mar312017

Piazza Italia: Taste authentic foods from Italy at Kings supermarkets

Piazza Italia food purveyors represent Italy with style, suited up beneath their aprons for the Short Hills opening of the 8-day Italian foods tasting event at 12 Kings supermarkets. (Photos by Kimberly L. Jackson)Piazza Italia, an 8-day event that brings foods and goods from Italy to 12 New Jersey Kings supermarkets,  opened today at Kings in Short Hills with music, folk dancers, a flash mob of opera singers and delicious bites of foods from several regions of Italy.

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Saturday
Mar182017

Can tulips be forced to bloom indoors on plain water?

At the root of it all: Tulip bulbs supported by marbles to bloom on plain water. Glass vases show the beauty in roots. Tulip bulbs can be forced into bloom indoors, much like amaryllis, paperwhites and hyacinths. I am in my third year of forcing them to bloom on only plain water in vases filled with small stones or florist marbles.

This year, with several inches of snow still lingering, I have an indoor garden that's giving me a happy jumpstart on spring.   

For this round, I decided to experiment with supermarket bulbs instead of my usual mail order bulbs. The results have been mixed. So far, I have a bowl of sprouted muscari (grape hyacinth) bulbs that have had two very dissappointing flower clusters among lots of green shoots (not shown). Previously, mail-order bulbs produced several stunning water-grown grape hyacinth displays.

From this year's supermarket tulip bulbs, I have three perfect tulips, one slightly flawed tulip, one mutant tulip, and four tulip bulbs in one vase that sprouted but never took root. 

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