A guide to gardensEven if you aren't a gardener, you'll...



A guide to gardens

Even if you aren't a gardener, you'll enjoy visiting the gardens featured in "Gardenwalks," by Marina Harrison and Lucy D. Rosenfeld (Michael Kesend Publishing, $19.95). It's a lively guide to public and private gardens from Maine to Virginia. The gardens of William Paca, London Town, Ladew, Hampton and Brookside in Maryland are featured at length, along with capsules about seven other local entries.

"Gardenwalks" also has essays on styles of gardens, and the "Choosing an Outing" section categorizes the gardens by their styles. You could, for instance, make a tour of walled and intimate gardens on the East Coast or find the area gardens that children would enjoy.

Nature has moved indoors

The trend toward more natural looks in the home took off at the beginning of this decade. As it closes, natural materials and nature motifs have become the new basics.

Wicker has gone mainstream and is accepted year-round in every room of the house. (One of the hottest looks is furniture with removable wicker storage baskets.)

Water hyacinth, cane, bamboo and grass cloth are used in all sorts of ways.

Bees, butterflies and other insects come alive on textiles.

Framed floral and foliage prints, or pressed flowers and leaves under glass, are becoming ubiquitous.

Decorative screens are one of the newest ways that the outdoors has worked its way indoors. The prettiest are hand-painted with garden themes or topiaries. (Pictured is the Flower House Screen manufactured by Pulaski Furniture.)

Flowering art

Nature imitates art once again at this year's Art Blooms at the Walters, which takes place next weekend. Floral designers and regional garden clubs will create more than 40 arrangements interpreting pieces in the Walters Art Gallery's permanent collection.

Art Blooms will include a preview of the Monet exhibit that opens March 29. Floral designer Don Vanderbrook will give a workshop and lecture, and horticultural historian and Monet scholar Eric Haskell will also speak. There will be food, and raffles for a trip to Paris and KitchenAid appliances.

For a complete list of events and prices, call 410-547-9000, Ext. 305.

Tips from a master gardener

"It combines America's No. 1 outdoor leisure-time activity with, shall we say, our No. 2 indoor leisure-time activity," says master gardener Paul James (left) of his new gardening and cooking show, "Home Grown Cooking," which will air on Home & Garden Television weekdays at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. beginning April 6.

In a phone interview, James shared a few tips to get Baltimore gardeners started this spring:

* Don't be in too big a hurry. Just because a plant is in the nursery doesn't mean it's time to put it in the ground.

* First-time gardeners should start small -- preferably with a garden under 100 square feet. Otherwise you'll be overwhelmed when the bugs and weeds arrive.

* Preparing the soil properly is the most important thing you can do. Take the time to enrich it with homemade compost or store-bought organic matter.

* Water wisely. Once every five to seven days soak your yard or garden one to two hours to encourage roots to grow deeply. The best time to water is early morning.

* Cut back on the use of fertilizers and other chemicals by at least half. Don't spray everything in sight at the first sign of insects. Your plants will be healthier in the long run.

Pub Date: 3/22/98

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