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From moment it ‘spoke’ to Aimeé Rizan-English, Monte Vista Plantation in Port Allen was destined to shine again

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- For years, Aimeé Rizan-English felt the pull of Monte Vista Plantation. Ten years ago she bought the property eight miles north of Port Allen which faces the Mississippi River levee.

Aimeé Rizan-English is convinced that Monte Vista Plantation found her. “Ten years ago, I was driving down the River Road and it kinda called my name,” she said. It wasn’t the first time. Twenty-five years earlier, she had looked at the plantation. “At that time, I was… Continue reading →

La. Master Naturalists of Greater BR accepting applications for fall class

Applications are now being accepted for the fall class of the Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater Baton Rouge course. The course will include 10 six-hour workshops in fields of study including arthropods, river and forest ecology, birds, amphibians and reptiles with a special focus on ecosystems in and around Baton Rouge. Courses will… Continue reading →

Garden News: Prepare lawns, gardens for needed water

Photo by RICK BOGREN, LSU AgCenter -- Sprinklers are the most practical way to water large lawn areas, and early morning is the best time to turn them on.

July generally signifies the start of intense heat and infrequent rains. That means lawns and gardens are often in need of water. Whenever the weather doesn’t provide enough rain, supplemental irrigation will be needed for landscapes, especially vegetables, bedding plants and newly planted trees and shrubs, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. Of the tremendous… Continue reading →

‘Looking good’: That’s how J.C. Pero, 94, likes his Valley Park garden; this colorful video tour will wow you

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- J.C. Pero looks over one of the flower beds in the front yard of his home in the Valley Park neighborhood. He says he maintains the garden under the supervision of his wife, Viney Pero.

Drive through Valley Park just about any morning and you will likely find 94-year-old J.C. Pero working in his jewel of a yard in the neighborhood he and his wife, Viney Pero, moved into in 1942. “We moved here when the streets were dirt, and there were only three houses in the whole area,” J.C.… Continue reading →

Louisiana artist, others create wallpapers that take you on a journey

Photo provided by Anthropologie -- Wonderlands Alice would love  New Orleans artist Rebecca Rebouche's Enchanted Forest wallpaper mural.

Wallpaper goes in and out of fashion. Right now, it’s enjoying an “in” moment. There are wildly creative designs coming out of studios all over the world, including Louisiana. Some of the best take us on a journey to far flung places both real and imagined. At Anthropologie, New Orleans artist Rebecca Rebouche… Continue reading →

Side-by-side Beauregard Town houses converted to one great living space in heart of city

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Erin and Claude Reynaud live in Beauregard Town in two side-by-side houses connected in the back by a courtyard. The couple removed the front entrance from their 1915-vintage bungalow, left. The main house, right, dates to the 1890s.

While most Baton Rougeans are dealing with the often frustrating traffic, Erin and Claude Reynaud enjoy a leisurely breakfast or sip a glass of wine in one of their two side-by-side Beauregard Town houses within walking distance of his downtown law office and many of their favorite restaurants. A dozen or so years ago, Erin… Continue reading →

Garden News: A low-fuss flower that loves heat? Meet angelonias

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS, LSU AgCenter -- Serena angelonias, also know as summer snapdragons, are tough, sustainable plants. These flowers do best under minimum fertilization and minimum irrigation, making angelonias truly a good, low-maintenance flower for Louisiana landscapes.

Gardeners tend to seek out flowers that are low-maintenance in their landscape, but they also want them to last spring through fall. “Actually, it’s possible to select plants that will perform this way,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. Some popular bedding plants that do this include vinca, begonias, coleus and angelonia.… Continue reading →

Of course, color’s the star of paint expert Ellen Kennon’s charming St. Francisville cottage; take a video tour

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Ellen Kennon's cabin in the woods outside St. Francisville features a deep deck, which she uses for entertaining, and plenty of windows.

Ellen Kennon thinks in colors. Paint colors. So many paint colors that she started her own line of full-spectrum paints that are now sold to homeowners and designers all over the country. It’s an amazing business that Kennon operates from a cabin in the woods where she lives outside… Continue reading →

Garden News: Trying to lure hummingbirds? It’s not always as easy as hanging a feeder

Photo by BOBBY SOILEAU, LSU AgCenter -- Impatiens are among the popular garden flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Many people think attracting hummingbirds is as easy as hanging a feeder. But that’s not always successful because many hummingbirds are not accustomed to using feeders, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. Planting a garden full of plants that attract hummingbirds and maintaining feeders can be a more reliable method for successfully attracting hummers.… Continue reading →

Water worlds: Baton Rouge backyard oasis a must-see on pond tour

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Tammie Hawie, left, holds her 4-year-old granddaughter, Emma Armendo, next to the koi pond which has become the focal point of the back yard.

When Tammie Hawie married her husband, John, and moved to Baton Rouge from Massachusetts four years ago, she thought about putting a swimming pool in their yard. Then it occurred to her that, with her kids grown, all she’d do was clean it. But, if a pool made no sense, a pond was another story. She… Continue reading →

Joel Podolsky expresses artistic side through gardening; take a video tour

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Dr. Joel Podolsky stands in his bed of giant ligularia, a part of his 'painted garden' that also includes a man-made creek with three waterfalls flowing into a koi pond.

Dr. Joel Podolsky started his garden as a small memorial to his father, but over time it expanded to a decades-long artistic endeavor. “What I was really doing was artscaping rather than landscaping,” he says. When Podolsky purchased his contemporary-style home just north of LSU in 1993, the yard had tall pine trees lining the… Continue reading →

Garden News: Experts keep eye on tomato diseases

Photo by CRAIG ROUSELL, LSU AgCenter  Southern bacterial wilt is devastating to tomatoes because it attacks young plants during vegetative growth.

LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Raj Singh says he has never seen so many different diseases of tomatoes in one season. Known as the LSU AgCenter plant doctor, the director of the Plant Diagnostic Center says of the diseases reported, the first he heard about earlier this season was white mold, also known as timber rot. White… Continue reading →

Volunteers learn about flora, fauna of the world to pass along to others

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Budding master naturalists Jody Shugart and Janie Braud listen as Mark Swanson, a graduate student with LSU's Museum of Natural Science, explains the characteristics of a coyote skull.

The naturalists want to see the flesh-eating beetles. During this trip to the LSU Museum of Natural Science, these first trainees of the new Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater Baton Rouge have heard much about these bugs that researchers use to clean the bones of animals they’re studying. Sadly, they would be disappointed… Continue reading →

Home of ex-WBRZ news anchor, husband defined by artwork, local influences

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Margaret and Martin Schott enjoy their living room, which opens to a courtyard they often use for entertaining.

Lawyer Martin Schott’s office is less than a half a block up the street from the home he shares with his wife, former WBRZ news anchor and medical reporter Margaret Lawhon Schott. “A wall divides the commercial section of Wrenwood (Boulevard) from the residential section,” explained Margaret Schott. “You can see the back… Continue reading →

Garden News: Daylilies low on maintenance

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS, LSU AgCenter -- Now is a good time to shop for new daylilies when plants are in bloom, and you can select the ones you prefer, like the bright Mr. Clifford daylily.

Serious gardeners know daylily by its scientific name of Hemerocallis, Greek for “beauty” and “day.” As the name implies, daylily flowers open for just one day. The best daylilies for today’s landscapes, however, make many buds and can bloom for upwards of three months. Daylilies are low-maintenance plants in the landscape, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist… Continue reading →

Get indoor-outdoor living ideas on Hilltop Spring Garden Tour

Photo provided by Hilltop Arboretum - Garden of Sharon and Chris Werner

Your home is your home and your garden is your garden, and never the two shall meet. At least that’s how it used to be. These days, we want our home and garden spaces to be more connected. Get some great ideas on how to marry indoor and outdoor living at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum’s Spring… Continue reading →

Botanic Gardens volunteer orientation scheduled

The LSU Agricultural Center Botanic Gardens at Burden will conduct a volunteer orientation at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Ione Burden Conference Center in the gardens, 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge. The brief orientation is for new and current volunteers to help them understand the wide variety of outdoor and indoor volunteer opportunities available at the… Continue reading →

With marble fountain, silk rugs, George Rodrigue art, this Edwin Edwards relative's home style eclectic

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Penny Edwards' home in Le Triomphe retains its villa elements.

It’s a rare woman who can bring together East and West, but Penny Edwards does. Wife of the late Marion Edwards, her home in Le Triomphe is an homage to the globetrotting life they led during brother Edwin Edwards’ political reign and a testimony to her transition. Built in 1998 and purchased… Continue reading →

Red Stick Hibiscus Show, Sale set for LSU campus

Photo provided by DAMON VEACH -- Hibiscus of all colors and sizes, like this Peppermint Parasol, can be seen and bought at the Red Stick Hibiscus Association's annual show and sale Sunday.

The Red Stick Hibiscus Association will hold its annual Show and Sale from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, May 1. “Honoring Dupont Nursery” is the theme for this year’s event, which will be held at the 4-H Mini Farm Building adjacent to the John M. Parker Coliseum on the LSU campus. Flowers from growers throughout the South will… Continue reading →

Pine trees, needles give way to lush palette of color, on display during spring garden stroll

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Raised beds do well in garden boxes in Lynn and Don Zeringue's country garden at Lake Rosemound.

Lynn and Don Zeringue’s garden is anything but formal. A long gravel drive separates two distinct areas, with natural vegetation on the right and an assortment of beds and garden boxes on the left. The overall effect is a lush palette of color that runs throughout the Zeringue’s acre and a half lot… Continue reading →

Garden News: Two new Super Plants for spring 2016

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS -- Evolution Violet salvia, one of the Louisiana Super Plants for spring, provides abundant flowers spring through fall on compact plants.

The LSU AgCenter has announced two new Louisiana Super Plants for spring 2016. Now in its sixth year, the LSU AgCenter Louisiana Super Plants program has named more than 30 great landscape plants as selections for home gardeners in Louisiana, says AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. “The goal of this program has been to identify… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge family opts to update University Lake home with view of rowers, pelicans, stunning sunsets

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Jane and Kris Kirkpatrick's newly restored home is vintage A. Hays Town with a deep front porch, wide columns to a second-floor gallery and an exterior stairway behind a shuttered area at the front right.

For 33 years, Edith and Claude Kirkpatrick made their home on University Lake. Now another generation, son Kris Kirkpatrick and wife Jane, are calling the 67-year-old house their home. The couple, with their two sons, enjoyed many Sunday dinners and family celebrations in the home designed by A. Hayes Town. When they decided to buy it… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Botanic Garden Plant Sale set for Saturday

Advocate file photo -- Louisiana iris

Some of the best garden plants available each spring are to be found at Saturday’s Baton Rouge Botanic Garden Plant Sale. The sale runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Botanic Garden, 7950 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge. The sale area is accessed through the new parking lot between the Garden Center and the Children’s Playground.… Continue reading →

BR Daylily Society to meet Saturday

Terry Rehn will speak on growing and caring for orchids when the Baton Rouge Daylily Society meets on Saturday, April 9. Doors open at 9:30 at Drusilla Seafood, 3482 Drusilla Lane. The business meeting starts at 10 a.m., with the program starting at 10:30. Meals can be ordered from the regular lunch menu and is Dutch… Continue reading →

Garden News: Cucumbers coming along

Photo by DAN GILL/LSU AgCenter  The immature zucchini fruit indicates this is a female flower.

The cucumber family — known as cucurbits — provides a wide variety of vegetables popular for the spring, summer and fall home vegetable garden. And they can be planted now. Cucurbits include summer squash, zucchini, winter squash, mirliton, pumpkin, gourd, cucuzzi, watermelon, cantaloupe, cushaw, luffa and, of course, cucumber. “All of these vegetables produce… Continue reading →

Gourmet in Garden set for April 22

Tickets are on sale for Gourmet in the Garden April 22 at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens, 4560 Essen Lane in Baton Rouge. The 7-10 p.m. outdoor garden fine dining experience will offer cuisine by local award-winning chefs and their eateries. The fundraiser supports the Botanic Gardens and the Louisiana Culinary Institute. Signature… Continue reading →

Entice butterflies to stay awhile with these flowers, tips.

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants.(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) ORG XMIT: TXKJ106

When Linda Auld took a class at a botanical garden 40 years ago, she could not have foreseen how it would ultimately change her life. The talk by Frances Welden, a butterfly-gardening expert, inspired Auld so greatly that she has been raising butterflies ever since. There are hundreds of species of butterflies in the… Continue reading →

African Violet Show, Plant Sale set

Advocate staff photo by Richard Alan Hannon Shot 2/22/07 Laura Moser has over 150 African violets and over 75 varieties in her Baton Rouge home, including this Funamble with variegated leaves. Moser, influenced by her grandmother's window sill violet displays, has been a serious grower for the past five years. She employs a wick watering technique consisting of baby jars filled with water with a wick reaching into the soil, thereby keeping her watering down to only once a week.

The Sundowners Club will hold its 36th Annual African Violet Show and Plant Sale on April 9-10. Show hours are 1-5 p.m. Saturday, April 9, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 10, at the Baton Rouge Garden Center, 7950 Independence Blvd. Admission is free. A session on how to grow… Continue reading →

LSU Arboretum to host Spring Fling Plant Sale

Advocate staff photo by Richard Alan Hannon Shot 2/22/07 Laura Moser has over 150 African violets and over 75 varieties in her Baton Rouge home, including this Funamble with variegated leaves. Moser, influenced by her grandmother's window sill violet displays, has been a serious grower for the past five years. She employs a wick watering technique consisting of baby jars filled with water with a wick reaching into the soil, thereby keeping her watering down to only once a week.

Who can’t wait to get their hands in the dirt? Visit the Spring Fling Plant Sale to get started. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum, 11855 Highland Road, a large variety of trees, shrubs, plants and lots of gardening extras will be for sale. Hilltop’s Hodge Podge Nursery stands ready… Continue reading →

Garden News: Get most from landscaping efforts

Photo by DAN GILL/LSU AgCenter -- With good planning, a summer flower bed can be attractive and low-maintenance. l

The beginning of spring is a good time to plan your landscaping for the coming year. “In the frantic rush to plant something in the landscape, don’t forget that the more thought you put into your planting decisions, the more satisfactory the results are likely to be,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill. Start by… Continue reading →

Check it out: Browns pull out all stops, wipe slate clean on Baton Rouge kitchen renovation

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Designer Monica Broggi, owner Robin Brown and Junior League Kitchen Tours Chairwoman Melissa Caruso stand at the moveable island in Brown's newly redone kitchen. The kitchen is one of six that will be on the Junior League of Baton Rouge's Kitchen Tours April 10.

Robin Brown studied kitchens for years before she and husband, Jeff, took the renovation plunge. “After 24 years in our home, the kitchen was extremely outdated and needed more than a facelift,” she says. The Browns contacted the designers at Acadian House Kitchen and Bath with two requirements: He wanted a kitchen that would… Continue reading →

In same family since 1849, East Feliciana getaway features original floors, furnishings, ancestor's wooden leg

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- The deep front porch is original to the main house at Lane Plantation near Ethel.

Members of the extended Lane family haven’t actually lived at Lane Plantation for almost 90 years, but their roots are firmly planted on the tract of land their great-great-great-grandfather purchased in East Feliciana Parish in 1849. Generations of the family lived in the main house until 1927 and raised cotton there until the… Continue reading →

Garden News: Learn all about growing tomatoes, then start planting now

Photo by RICK BOGREN -- Flats of various tomatoes, from heirloom to modern hybrids, await gardeners at local nurseries and garden centers.

Mid-March is the best time to begin transplanting tomatoes, says LSU AgCenter vegetable specialist Kiki Fontenot. But be prepared to cover newly planted plants if a frost is imminent. Tomatoes need six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day to set fruit, so select an appropriate location and fertilize the bed with 5-6 pounds of 13-13-13… Continue reading →

Tips for restoring furniture after a flood

Photo provided by GEORGE PARKER -- This Eastlake-style bibliotheca was submerged in three feet of water in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, but was able to be restored.

Floodwaters have inundated homes in parishes across south Louisiana, and homeowners are wondering what, if anything, can be done to save their furniture. “When water gets into your home and touches any part of your wood furniture, it’s critical to take action immediately,” said George Parker, who has been restoring furniture in Lafayette for 28 years.… Continue reading →

Garden News: Spring care important for azaleas

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS, LSU AgCenter  Azaleas thrive in woodland garden settings.

With azaleas coming into bloom now, this is a good time to think about the care these popular Louisiana plants need. “You can see azaleas all around Louisiana now commencing their spring blooming period,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. “They’re Louisiana’s most popular and most planted landscape shrub.” Azaleas need regular fertilization to perform well,… Continue reading →

Truitt family’s St. Francisville home Rosale gets to show off its recent renovation

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Peter and Lynda Truitt stand in the central hallway of their Rosale Plantation home, which is on this year's  Audubon Pilgrimage. The second of a double parlor is at right.

Lynda and Peter Truitt knew the restoration of Rosale, one of West Feliciana’s most historic houses, would be a huge job, but they were willing to make the effort for the treasured country farmhouse believed by many historians to be the place where in June 1810 more than 500 local residents gathered to… Continue reading →