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4/23/2015
In any of the Midwest’s most populous states, you’re probably within a weekend drive of a luxury hotel and spa. But residents of the upper Midwest—specifically the greater Chicago and Milwaukee areas—have a special backyard gem: Destination Kohler, the region’s highest-ranked getaway. Yes, Kohler, the folks who long ago defined the sinks, tile and showerheads that... More
4/22/2015
There is only one thing causing the size difference between these two clematis. Can you see what it is? Answer: The compost bin. The thriving plant was lucky enough to have my compost bin placed near it, so it has been reaping the benefits of nutrients seeping from the compost pile every day of its life. The other one gets just water out of a hose. Compost can help your... More
4/20/2015
Confession: I went to the Flint Hills and dropped lit matches all across the prairie. The low, dry grasses caught fire, and boy, did they burn. Thanks to the Flames in the Flint Hills Festival, held each April on the Flying W Ranch outside Strong City, Kansas, more than 250 participants joined me in lighting up the prairie–with the blessing of the local ranchers. Josh, Gwen and Josie... More
4/17/2015
My mom loved the the flourish of blooms that herald spring. Every year, the minute her magnolia bush flowered, I got a call. She would ooh and aah over the sculptural soft pink flowers and sweet scent. But I don’t think she ever cut a branch to take inside and enjoy. Pity. Don’t overlook the blooming branches in your yard. A few simple cuttings bring the color... More
4/15/2015
In the early 1900s, the definition of thrill ride was a 25-foot-tall roller coaster that reached the breakneck speed of 10 mph. Cedar Point had the thrill-seekers covered, but the park also had the priceless benefit of its location along Lake Erie. When Hugh and Helen Sullivan first visited the Sandusky, Ohio, park around 1918, they joined the throngs lounging on the... More
4/13/2015
With the 2015 baseball season now in full swing (sorry!), it's time to ask yourself a question—where will you be watching the games this year? It's always exciting to catch a game at a Major League Baseball stadium, where you can sit in the fresh air and hear the crack of the bats and roar of the crowds. But it's even more enjoyable when the stadium offers fans more than seats... More
4/10/2015
Crafters, prepare to get your hands dirty, because Chicago has an array of unusual classes that can teach you a skill or get you started on a new hobby. Ever wanted to make your own shoes? How about design a terrarium? Or maybe assemble the perfect macaron? Whether you're visiting or you live in Chicago, here are some of the city's fun ways to learn something new.... More
4/8/2015
I love adding pops of spring in my home. This year I wanted to create a happy spring arrangement to welcome both our guests and the new season. I decided to do a hanging basket instead of a traditional wreath to change things up. This project was truly so simple, and it would evenbe fun to do with little ones. Here is what you’ll need: Supplies - Four faux pussy willow... More
4/6/2015
At 6:15 a.m., I’m one of only four people along the Door Trail in Badlands National Park. I venture off the boardwalk to find a spot to sit and wait for dawn. It feels hushed and almost sacred as the sky lightens and sun slips above the horizon, throwing a coppery glaze on the park’s spires, buttes and pinnacles. If I had to pick a top way to enjoy the park, it’s sunrise... More
4/3/2015
Looking for a fuss-free perennial that’s attractive, dependable, deer-resistant, multiseasonal and extremely long-lived? Meet baptisia—a prairie native whose beautiful spires are reminiscent of the beloved lupine, minus the maintenance. Baptisia (also called false indigo) provides showy 10- to 12-inch spikes of pealike blossoms in late spring and early summer followed by 2- to 3-inch... More