Birds of a feather
Who would think plastic owls would be one of the hottest items to hit the stores this season? Wal-Mart, Target and other big chains can't keep them in stock, reports the Wall Street Journal. The realistic, 17-inch faux fowls, which cost around $15, are being used as scarecrows to keep pesky birds at bay.
Whether they work seems to depend on whether you follow the directions and move them often enough -- before the gulls or pigeons realize they aren't real and start using them as a perch.
People are also buying the plastic owls as unusual garden ornaments. If you have trouble finding them, you can order them through Dalen Products Inc. by calling 800-747-3256.
Ta-Da is what owner Patty Falck calls "an upscale change from the beach." The decorative-accessories shop, new this season, is located in Berlin, some seven miles from Ocean City.
Ta-Da, at 18 Williams St. (410-641-4430), has artistic gifts, hand-painted furniture, glassware and one-of-a-kind home furnishings. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and "by chance" Sunday. "If it's a good beach day, I won't be there," says Falck.
Don't forget the powder room
Powder rooms are becoming essential components in today's custom-built homes, according to Richard Wagner, a partner in the local architectural firm of David H. Gleason Associates Inc. Homeowners want to separate the public areas where they entertain -- great rooms, dining rooms and living rooms -- from family spaces, and they want those public areas to have their own bathrooms. Clients also want separate bathrooms in home-office areas for clients to use.
Most powder rooms are still quite small, although they may contain a corner shower. They should be convenient but inconspicuous, opening off a hall or secondary space, not a major room, says Wagner.
When plants are home alone
If you want to come back from vacation and find your plants looking as good as they did when you left them, here are some tips for their care:
* Move containers near a water source and have a neighbor stop by to water them twice a week. Choose a mostly shady spot so they won't dry out.
* Pinch back any plants that might get leggy, such as impatiens, dahlias and coleus.
* Water thoroughly before you go and mulch to retain moisture.
* Deadhead flowers in full bloom or past to prevent their going to seed.
* Leave written instructions. As the Netherland Flower Bulb Information Center warns, "More people lovingly kill plants by overwatering than by any other mode of planticide."
Pub Date: 7/13/97