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Gardeners plant small scenes to instill love for nature's beauty, all under the eyes of fairies

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG --  Julia Shaffer, right, helps her grandmother, Kitty Bull with this fairy garden in Bull's backyard. Bull uses fairy gardens to share her interest in gardening with her grandchildren.

When Angie Wall wanted to pass on her love of gardening to her grandchildren, she recruited some allies. Fairies. Well, not actual fairies, but the next best thing — fairy gardens. Fairy gardens — tiny gardens that include miniature items like buildings, chairs, vehicles, people and, of course, fairies — have been around for a… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge architect Harris' book leads the way on how to dream up a house


Local architect Kevin Harris wants your “dream home” to be your “forever home.” And in his new book, “The Forever Home,” the 60-year-old expert on residential design and renovation explains just how to make that happen. “The Forever Home,” Harris says, is the “home you’ve always dreamed of — one that fits so well, it… Continue reading →

English gardens meet Marseille farmhouse

Photo by PHILIP GOULD - Richard Goula with longtime friend Liz Hampton

There’s no denying the impact of French influence, whether it’s ornate elegance and fashionable chic or the way the colors of the landscape reflect in the decaying charm of rural dwellings. However, it takes an American to try this at home. Situated on 18 acres near Sunset, homeowner and president of British Acadian Richard Goula required… Continue reading →

Wendy Lipsey tells interior designer to do things that spooked others; now she loves her transformed home

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Wendy Lipsey, center, best friend Ellen Sager, left, and friend and decorator Aimée Walker in the living room of Lipsey's home the the two friends decorated for her.

Wendy Lipsey was living with parents Susan and Richard Lipsey — as she recovered from liver and kidney transplant surgery this past March — when she quickly realized there was no way she was going to be able to transform her new house into a home. So, she called up best friend Ellen Sager and mutual interior designer… Continue reading →

Retired cardiologist covers Prairieville land with plants that naturally reproduce, require little maintenance

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Dr. Terry Rehn and companion Joyce Jenne stand next to the sugar kettle water feature on the patio at his Prairieville home.

Dr. Terry Rehn’s eight-acre homesite is his own experiment station where plants — both native and those from other parts — grow freely and spread naturally. In the 22 years the retired cardiologist has owned the Prairieville property, he has established beds that require almost no replanting, even with annuals, by discovering plants that naturally… Continue reading →

Take your time, research when planning summer landscape

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS/LSU AgCenter  Landscape professionals are familiar with Louisiana plants and can help create a design that's right for you.

Landscapes are dynamic creations that are always changing. Plants grow larger. New plants are added. Plants die. Even trees may be lost in storms. Over the years, a landscape can change radically from its original look. Summer is a great time to study your landscape and develop plans for needed changes, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist… Continue reading →

The Lush Life: Baton Rouge resident's garden draws birds, bees and butterflies

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Mary Johnson cares for her Australian tree fern, top, and mule's foot fern on the deck of her Hundred Oaks home.

Mary Johnson wants visitors to come to her lush garden, and plants the vines and foliage that will make sure birds, bees and butterflies come calling. There’s milkweed for monarch butterflies and passion vines for the Gulf fritillary, the state butterfly. “I plant for them,” she said, noting she doesn’t use any chemicals, “just a… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter: Know the drainage when planting, choose plants for wet spots

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS, LSU AgCenter  Luna hibiscus, named a Louisiana Super Plant in 2014, comes in four colors and is great to plant in wet or boggy areas.

Although it’s not too late to add warm-season flowering plants to the landscape, it’s important to be sure to know the drainage when you plant. “We always tell people to plant bedding plants in well-prepared, well-drained beds,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill. But because of occasional heavy rains, we have to be careful where we plant,… Continue reading →

Rebuilding her home: Baton Rouge’s Minere Wall finds a spot for all of her treasures at St. James Place

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Minere Wall relaxes in the living room of her apartment at the St. James Place Retirement Community, where she moved in 2010 from a large house off Highland Road. She moved the best pieces from her collection of French antiques to the redone apartment.

In 2010, Minere Wall moved with her treasures and memories from a large house off Highland Road to an apartment at the St. James Place Retirement Community. “After my husband died, I continued to live in my beautiful home for two years,” she said. “I needed a change. I wanted to do things. I wanted… Continue reading →

Go out and get ‘Hooked on Orchids’

Advocate file photo

Copper Queens will probably be there along with Ho Chi Minh. Crystal Sand and Mishima Luster will no doubt put on a show. And, of course, there will be the oh-so-classic white, its blooms branching in graceful arches. And, who knows? You just might get “Hooked on Orchids,” the theme for the Acadian Orchid Society’s annual… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter Garden News: Keep pesky pests away from gardens, landscapes

Photo by RAJ SINGH, LSU AgCenter   A slug feeds on strawberry fruit. These pests, along with snails, can cause considerable damage to fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants in your garden.

Slimy slugs and snails can be pesky pests in Louisiana gardens and landscapes. “We all know that pathogens and insect pests can cause severe damage to vegetables, fruits and ornamentals in home gardens and landscapes,” says Raj Singh, plant pathologist and director of the LSU AgCenter Plant Diagnostic Center. “But slimy slugs and snails also can cause… Continue reading →

Couple finds solitude near busy Baton Rouge thoroughfare

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- The light copper-colored walls and exposed beams in their living room along wih a great view of their spacious backyard are some of the reasons Bernard and Betty Berry still love living in the home they built 40 years ago.

Forty years ago when Bernard and Betty Berry built in Oakbrook, it was a tranquil Perkins Road setting in an undeveloped part of the parish. Since then, businesses and subdivisions have grown up around their little neighborhood of 43 individually designed homes with a shared lake, secluded park and walking trails. “Baton Rouge moved… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter Garden News: Sweet figs popular with people, birds

Photo provided by LSU AgCenter -- Ripening figs are popular in June landscapes.

June is fig season in Louisiana. The popular fruit tree abounds in backyards throughout the state. Figs are easy to propagate and are good pass-along plants, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Charlie Johnson. The most common variety is Celeste, which has been around for more than 100 years. But several newer varieties, such as LSU Purple, LSU… Continue reading →

Bromeliad show, sale scheduled

The Bromeliad Society of Baton Rouge presents the 41st annual Bromeliad Show and Sale on Saturday and Sunday, June 6-7, at the Baton Rouge Garden Center, 7950 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge. Sale hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The show is free and open to the public.… Continue reading →

Cottage Converts: Steele Place home has evolved with the Duprees’ lives

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Sarah Dupree, Warren Dupree, 15, Winston Dupree, 11, and Jason Dupree, from left, relax on the back porch of their Steele Place home. .

What started out as a traditional 1930s-vintage wood-frame house is now Sarah and Jason Dupree’s comfortable home, perfect for casual living, entertaining and raising their family. Originally a two-bedroom, one-bath cottage, the house was completely renovated in 1962 by a previous owner. The massive project included the addition of a second story as well… Continue reading →

Daylilies of summer: Baton Rouge society offers tour


“Those Summertime Blooms” is the theme for the Baton Rouge Daylily Society’s open garden tour on Saturday, May 30. The tour, which is free and runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., features beautifully landscaped public and private gardens in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area. In addition to thousands of different daylily varieties, you’ll also see… Continue reading →

Shedding ideas about space: Backyard storage gets new life as pubs, studios, getaways

Associated Press photo -- One homeowner used a shed to enhance the backyard and create additional space for entertaining and outdoor living in San Carlos, Calif. Homeowners around the country are using sheds as a place to hang out.

When Morgaine Ford-Workman and Wren Workman bought a house with a backyard shed, they saw the potential for something more than storing garden tools. The couple transformed the 10-by-12-foot building into a bar to use during outdoor parties at their house in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. “We’re involved in community theater and we like to throw a lot… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter Garden News: Leaf disease shows up on Indian hawthorne, other plants

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS  Our wet weather is causing Entomosporium leaf spot to show up on Indian hawthorn.

Persistent wet weather is creating conditions for Entomosporium leaf spot to make an appearance in Louisiana. Caused by the fungus Entomosporium mespili, it’s a common disease of various woody ornamentals in the family Rosaceae. In Louisiana landscapes, however, it is most commonly a problem on Indian hawthorn (Raphiolepis indica) and red tip photinia (Photinia fraseri), says… Continue reading →

Growing in Place: Renovating over decades, the Campbells’ ‘little old farmhouse’ has kept up just fine

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Helen and Bill Campbell still live in the Steele Place home they purchased in 1967. By making severalmajor additions to the home, they have been able to raise their children in the home they purchased shortly after they moved to Baton Rouge.

While most of their friends have moved several times as their needs have changed and their families expanded, Helen and Bill Campbell decided to grow their house along with their family. “We were able to raise our children here, and now our grandchildren visit us here,” said Helen Campbell of the house that started out as… Continue reading →

Group sets presentation on overlooked herb

Have you ever used the herb savory? Did you know it’s considered one of the best possible herbs for flavoring bean dishes? That it makes a fine restorative tea? That it comes in several forms and grows wild all over the northern hemisphere, including in the United States? Find out all about this dynamic plant when the… Continue reading →

Back home on the lakes: Former Congressman Henson Moore’s home filled with design cues from a life of public service

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  Carolyn and Henson Moore enjoy their home on University Lake with their dog Jason. The Moores returned to Baton Rouge after 30 years in Washington, D.C., where Henson Moore served in Congress and in other positions in government and business.

Former Congressman Henson Moore and his wife, Carolyn, always knew they would move back to Baton Rouge when he retired from a career in government and business. “We had family here. Our oldest friends are here,” Carolyn Moore said. “It was a given we would come home.” In June 2007, after 30 years in Washington,… Continue reading →

Lawn-care basics: Knowing how much to cut, irrigate, fertilize your yard can pay off when it’s time to sell

Associated Press photo -- A lawn is fertilized before rain falls near Langley, Wash. One of the most common mistakes in lawn care is over fertilizing which can burn the plant roots and contaminate area water supplies. A good time to fertilize is just ahead of a soaking rain.

Well-managed turf care means more than simply firing up your lawn mower and buzzing around the yard. There’s cutting at the right height, irrigating with the correct amount of water and fertilizing at the appropriate time, among other things. Ignore a few of those guidelines and you’ll be the one getting clipped. Financially. Lawn care… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter Garden News: Guides offer help for successful garden

The LSU AgCenter has published five new information brochures on home vegetable gardening in Louisiana. The series is a practical guide to help you have a successful home vegetable garden, says LSU AgCenter vegetable specialist Kiki Fontenot. The Home Garden Series includes five publications. The harvest publications — “Spring Harvest” and “Fall Harvest” — include information… Continue reading →

Art House: Sam Corso has transformed a Spanish Town shotgun into a studio

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Local artist Sam Corso shows some of his work in the hallway/gallery of the Spanish Town cottage he restored  for his studio. The hall runs the length of the elongated shotgun house.

From the time Sam Corso was 6 years old, he wanted to be an architect. Then he fell in love with art during his junior year at LSU. It was only natural when the artist needed a new studio, he would pick a house in Spanish Town that needed a complete renovation. “I always loved… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter Garden News: Take care of storm-damaged trees

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS -Many trees were damaged in the recent storm. When pruning trees, evaluate branches for future growth.

Now that the major debris has been cleared from last week’s storm, it’s time for homeowners to assess the condition of their trees. Trees have an amazing ability to recover from storm damage, says LSU AgCenter urban forester Hallie Dozier. Often what at first glance looks devastating may not be fatal to a tree.… Continue reading →

Bloomtown: Red Stick Hibiscus Association show set for Sunday

Blooms, some almost the size of a dinner plate, will be showing their colors at the Red Stick Hibiscus Association’s annual show and sale Sunday, May 3. The free event, which runs from 1-5 p.m., will be held at the 4-H Mini Farm Building, adjacent to the John Parker Coliseum on the LSU… Continue reading →

Light and Bright: Couple’s cottage has modern feel while maintaining traditional style

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Chris and Hilary Kennedy's 1920s-vintage cottage is the perfect starter home for a young couple.

For Chris and Hilary Kennedy, decorating their 1920s-vintage cottage is a family affair. Hilary Kennedy is the granddaughter of Dixon Smith, for decades one of Baton Rouge’s leading interior designers. Kennedy’s father, Jim Smith, now runs the family business, Dixon Smith Interiors, where Hilary Kennedy works. Even though Kennedy’s mother, Ruth Smith, is not… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter Garden News: Purple fountain grass performs all summer

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS - Fireworks purple fountain grass offers red foliage, beautiful flower plumes and low maintenance in the warm-season landscape.

The LSU AgCenter has announced another Louisiana Super Plant called Fireworks, a red-foliaged variety of purple fountain grass or pennisetum. For many years, gardeners in Louisiana grew purple fountain grass. Now, new and improved fountain grasses are on the market, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. These are generally annuals in Louisiana. In warmer winters,… Continue reading →

Flowering Felicianas: LeBlanc’ Provence-inspired home and gardens featured on Spring Garden Stroll

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- The gardens and courtyards at the country home of Noelle and Sam LeBlanc are among the five gardens featured in Feliciana Country Gardeners Spring Garden Stroll on May 2.

— Sam and Noelle LeBlanc wanted flowers all the time. That’s the one request the couple made of Dallas landscape designer Jason Osterberger to make a part of his plan for Roussillon, the couple’s country home in the Locust Grove area of West Feliciana Parish. Now, you can see the blooms… Continue reading →

Take a 'Secret Tour' of New Orleans gardens

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Sam LeBlanc crafted these  Dogwood Gates for the entrance to Roussillon, his home outside St.  Francisville.

Four New Orleans’ gardens will be open on Saturday, May 2, for a tour organized by the Herb Society of America-Baton Rouge unit. The “Secret Garden Tour” includes: Beauregard Keyes House, 1113 Rue Chartres: In 1824, the Ursuline nuns sold the lots to businessman Joseph Le Carpentier, who had Francois Correjolles design a house… Continue reading →

Highland Road gardens featured on Hilltop Tour

Photo provided by LSU Hilltop Arboretum --  Gardens of Dr. Anthony and Susan Ioppolo in Myrtle Hill subdivision.

Weaving along the line of bluffs that served as a natural barrier to the Mississippi River floodplain, Highland Road will be the path to four gardens on the LSU Hilltop Arboretum’s spring garden tour, “Historical Highland Road Gardens” on Sunday, May 3. Tours will run from 1-5 p.m. at the four garden sites in three… Continue reading →

Home renovation challenge: An open concept with private spaces, a modern design that maintains character

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- The renovation of Wes and Jennifer Hataway's home opened up the space, creating a large family room with dining space and and enlarged kitchen.

Wes and Jennifer Hataway’s renovation started with a drawing on a napkin at their daughters’ lemonade stand. The Hataways were visiting at the curb with local architect Dyke Nelson and his wife, Rebecca, when Jennifer Hataway asked Dyke Nelson how he thought she could make more room in her home. Nelson… Continue reading →

Bonsai and butterflies this weekend

Advocate file photo -- Bonsai

Ever wanted to learn how to grow a bonsai, those remarkable little potted trees meticulously pruned into artistic shapes? Here’s your chance. The Louisiana Bonsai Society is holding its show from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19, at the Baton Rouge Garden Center, 7950 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge. There will be bonsai… Continue reading →

Learn garden designs that attract butterflies

Learn how to bring butterflies to your garden on Saturday, April 18. A 10 a.m. to noon program at the East Baton Rouge Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd., will explain not only how to attract these beauties to your garden, but how to keep them coming back. The EBR Parish Master Gardeners will provide information about… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter Garden News: Henna coleus named Louisiana Super Plant

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS  Henna coleus, a Louisiana Super Plant for this spring, has leaves in shades of gold and chartreuse brushed with burgundy.

Coleuses are generating a lot of interest these days. The National Gardening Bureau has declared 2015 as the Year of the Coleus, and the LSU AgCenter has named the Henna coleus a Louisiana Super Plant for this spring. Henna has been a proven performer in trials at the Hammond Research Station and at the LSU AgCenter… Continue reading →

Stylish Walden home in Baton Rouge beloved by Rubin family; photos, details show you why

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The open space of the Rubins' kitchen gives it a contemporary feel.

Robbie Rubin can always tell when it’s friends coming to visit. They use her kitchen door. “The front door is a waste,” Rubin said. “The only time we ever use it is for parties.” The home Rubin and her husband, David, built in Walden 30 years ago is a casual contemporary home… Continue reading →

Plant Sale: Yes, there are two big ones this weekend in Baton Rouge

Louisiana iris

Time to dig in the dirt, and two plants sales on Saturday, April 11, will help you get your garden growing. Both the Baton Rouge Botanic Garden Plant Sale and the East Baton Rouge Master Gardeners’ Spring Plant Sale are on tap, offering everything from bright blanketflowers to Louisiana irises, herbs and garden art.… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter Garden News: Sweet corn can thrive in home gardens

Photo provided by LSU AgCenter  Sweet corn in a home or smaller garden should be planted with at least three rows side by side to ensure proper wind pollination.

As warmer weather approaches, we conjure up images associated with the upcoming season — longer days, swimming, snow cones, barbecues … and sweet corn. Sweet corn is a warm-season garden staple along with tomatoes and cucumbers. It’s not difficult to grow, says LSU AgCenter vegetable specialist Kiki Fontenot. Follow these basic tips to aid… Continue reading →