Turning the tables on thieving squirrels


April 15, 2001|By Julie Klavens | Julie Klavens,Sun Staff

As the turf wars among suburban wildlife drag on, squirrels, wily and bold, often usurp birds' rightful spots at domestic feeders. Frustration has driven many a birdwatcher to rig all manner of contraptions to keep the squirrels at bay.

The Yankee Flipper has joined the arsenal. Billed as "100 percent squirrel-proof," this birdfeeder features a weight-activated feeding perch attached to a motor: The squirrel positions himself for a meal, and the perch gently flips him to the ground.

The battery-powered motor, housed within the seed tube, is protected from moisture; rechargeable NiCad batteries and a charger are included. The Yankee Flipper is available for $111 at the Wild Bird Centers in Timonium (Roundwood Center on Padonia Road, 410-666-4550) and Columbia (6955 Oakland Mills Road, 410-381-4351).

The beauty of orchids

Orchids: For some, they'll always conjure Ava Gardner on a banquette at 21, swatting playfully at some husband, her creamy complexion enhanced by the showy bloom on her shoulder; for others, memories of sweetly bumbling escorts pinning on fancy corsages.

The exceptional beauty of orchids is partly what gave rise to their rarefied reputation. But these flowers are hardier than one might think.

This weekend, get acquainted with these mysterious, ancient blossoms at "A Shower of Orchids," the Maryland Orchid Society's annual show. Enthusiasts and vendors will be on hand to display and sell these dazzling flowers. The variety will astound: more than 25,000 species exist, and blooms can range from a few millimeters in diameter to a foot.

The show will be held from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at Owings Mills Town Center. Admission is free. --J.K.

Re-energizing La-Z-Boy

In the social hierarchy of home furnishings, La-Z-Boy's recliners, with their high frump factor, risk being voted "most likely to go grocery shopping in an undershirt or housecoat." But the company, like many manufacturers courting the next generation of customers, has pole-vaulted into this century with some eye-catching products: graceful sofas and chairs that nod to designs from the 1920s through the 1950s, upholstered in contemporary fabrics or sleek leather.

Even the tongue-in-cheek ad campaign -- "Give your TV something interesting to look at for a change" -- makes clear that this is not your grandfather's La-Z-Boy. Prices for chairs and sofas begin at $549; they are available at four Baltimore-area La-Z-Boy Galleries and other area furniture stores. Visit www.lazboy.com for details. --J.K.


* How time flies when you're pruning shrubs into elaborate shapes: A beloved fixture on the Maryland landscape, Ladew Topiary Gardens opens its 30th season at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The fee to take a guided tour of the Manor House, and visit Ladew's garden rooms, Nature Walk and Carriage Museum on one's own is $12 for adults, $11 for senior citizens and $4 for children; without the Manor House tour, $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $2 for children. Ladew is at 3535 Jarrettsville Pike in Monkton; visit www.ladewgardens.com or call 410-557-9466 for more information.

* Ellen DeCaro will present a lecture about aromatherapy, discussing which plants and essential oils will change mood and create an "environmental experience." She'll speak at 11 a.m. Saturday at Cylburn Mansion, 4915 Greenspring Ave. The event is free, and reservations are not required; for information, call 410-367-2217.

* The Columbia Art Center is offering a course in ikebana, the Japanese art of floral arrangement. Three hands-on workshops will be offered this Saturday, and on May 19 and June 16. Tuition is $20 for Columbia residents and $25 for nonresidents, with a discount of $5 per session for those who register for all three classes. The center is at 10221 Wincopin Circle in Columbia; to register or for additional information, call 410-715-3000. --J.K.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Liz Atwood, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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