Archive for January, 2012

My New Favorite Magazine & Our New Planting Zone

You guys it’s like Christmas over here! Why? Because Erin just informed me the USDA has just come out with some new planting zone classifications and we have been bumped up from a Zone 4 to a Zone 5!! What no one else sees that as a big deal? Well it is because that opens up a whole new world of plants I can pick from. Between Zone 5 and Zone 4 there is a huge drop off in plant selection. Until I got into gardening I had no idea the limited options that are available to gardeners up here in the frigid north…OK it’s not that bad but seriously it’s hard being in Zone 4. It’s so frustrating looking through plant catalogs and gardening magazines when everything I like is Zone 5 or higher. This is how it often goes when I open my Fine Gardening Magazines:

    I open the magazine and some across a gorgeous garden picture. The title reads “Hardy Shade Garden.”

    “OMG that is perfect!” I think. “I have lots of shade and I need hardy plants for our colder climate.”

    I get excited and start to think of where I could incorporate those plants into my garden.

    Then I read through the fine print of what kind of plants they are.

    Hmm…a bunch of names I don’t recognize but I’m still learning so that could be the reason.

    So I skip the scientific names and go right to the zone range listed for each plant.

    Every single thing is listed for zone 5 or higher!

    I get annoyed that I can’t own a single plant pictured and have to stop reading the magazine.

    Repeat every month as gorgeous garden magazines fill my mail box.


Why tempt myself by reading about awesome plants that won’t grow in my area? I know, I know I could have tried zone 5 plants out before and see if I had any luck with them but I’m a new gardener and I’m not confident enough that I could keep them alive. That’s not to say I haven’t accidentally bought a couple zone 5 perennials before. For the most part they have all survived (what can I say it’s survival of the fittest over here in my garden) but I tried to stick to perennials I knew could survive many winters in my zone. Garden centers like to buy outside of the zone they are in and often the tags are pretty liberal in what zones they say the plant can grow in. You have to be smarter than the tag or find someone at the garden center to tell you how likely that plant is to survive/thrive in your zone (that is at the real nurseries you can find knowledgeable people not at Home Depot all of you fellow renovators).

Note: If you don’t know your planting zone check out the USDA’s website and enter in your zipcode.


The icing on the cake is for Christmas I asked for a subscription to a gardening magazine that I’ve fallen in love with after only one magazine! It’s a new state specific magazine that just started this month called Wisconsin Gardening. They write about local garden topics, photograph beautiful gardens around the state, suggest the best performing vegetables for your area, show how to design flower beds with plants you can actually grow , and give out seasonal advice that is timely to your area (national magazines try to do this but because they cover so many areas it’s often past the ideal time to do these things by the time I get the magazine).

This new magazine has breathed a whole new life in my itch to garden. In each issue they have separate columns for each area of the state the north, the southwest and central, and the southeast which more or less is how the state is divided by zone. They have recruited some prominent figures in the gardening community including Edward Lyon, director of Allen Centennial Gardens on the UW-Madison campus; Lisa Johnson, Dane County UW-Extension employee who trains master gardeners and is a frequent guest on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Garden Talk;” Sharon Morrisey, who appears weekly on FOX6-TV’s “Wake-Up News,” writes the garden calendar for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and trains master gardeners in the Milwaukee area. In this first issue they discuss how to create a four season garden, hot new plant varieties, how to build and use raised beds, unusual tomatoes to start from seed, organic lawn care, landscape design with hostas, pruning, invasive plants, and protecting ancient trees. It has something for every gardeners’ interest. I can’t wait for the next issue to come!

If you’re a gardener in Wisconsin I highly suggest you go check this magazine out. If you’re in a different state you should check out the State-by-State Gardening website to see if they have a magazine for your state.


In other non-garden related news I’ve added another thing to juggle in my busy schedule. Studying! I’m studying for a big professional test I’m hoping to take in April. A co-worker and good friend of mine is studying with me. We started right after the first of the year and have been studying 6 days a week! We have to learn/know/be fast at so much material in a short amount of time it’s mind boggling. It’s essentially 9 years of my life crammed into an 8 hour test. With the bonus of stuff I’ve never learned but I guess am supposed to have to be a well rounded engineer. The 3″ thick study book we’re using suggests we study for 300 hours before the test. 300 hours in 3.5 months! We’re doing about 16 hours a week right now so we’ll be more at 250 hours by the time the test comes around. I think that’s all I can do so hopefully it’s enough.

For the past 4 weeks my schedule has been three nights a week stay after work studying until 9pm. Two nights a week stay after work studying until 8pm, run home, let the dog out, change, and go work out with my mother in-law until 10:30pm. Saturdays and Sunday mornings I try to squeeze in all of my cleaning around the house, running errands, blog writing, and working on the remodel. Sunday afternoon we meet at a library and study for another 4-5 hours. This schedule doesn’t leave much room for anything else like say…relaxing. I’m eating every lunch and dinner at work, seeing Flannel Man even more rarely than I did before, the dog is left alone way too much, and I can barely keep up with the mess that is living in a construction zone. Of course I’m putting way too much pressure on myself to pass because I don’t want to do this twice and once this is out of the way it opens up a whole new set of opportunities both professional and personal. If I don’t have a melt down before my test in mid-April it will be a small miracle.


Amateur Plumbers

With the tub in place we could build the wall between the toilet and tub. Originally I had drawn a slightly longer wall to give the toilet more privacy but Flannel Man was concerned about it being too dark over there. So we compromised with a shorter We also adjusted the shower tile layout a this time. Flannel Man wanted the bullnose edge tile to go in front of the tub down to the floor to protect the wall from any water that might splash out of the tub or come off the shower curtain. We also decided to take the tile all the way up to the ceiling. With those considerations in mind we made the wall just the right length to have the bullnose go to and create the corner of the wall.


We hung the cement board on two of the three walls and finally it was time to get to some finish plumbing! We are using a hand shower with a tall wall bar that allow you to use it as an overhead shower.

So there is a tub spout, the wall outlet for the hand shower hose, and a rough in valve in the wall. I saved us some space by ordering an all in one thermostatic valve from Hansgrohe, the ThermoBalance II, that would give us all of the features we wanted in one valve (temperature control, volume control, and diverter between hand shower and tub spout). Unfortunately, this model is being discontinued by Hansgrohe so I made sure to order it in advance along with the rough in valve extender just in case we needed it.


I had drawn everything up in CAD and it looked fine. What seemed pretty straight forward turned out to be a confusing mess for us amateur plumbers.

What height should the valve be at? What seemed like a natural height while showering was way too high for someone taking a bath to reach.

How many inches above your head should the hand shower be? Originally I wanted is just a few inches over my 6′ tall head but I quickly realized that it needed to be higher but I didn’t want it towering over my 5′-6″ husband.

How many inches above the tub should the tub spout be?

What height should the wall outlet be placed to keep the hose from hooking on the tub spout but yet still lay naturally?

How can we route the piping so that no two pipes have to cross in this small wall?

Which fittings work best for the tub and wall outlet?

What kind of bracing is needed behind those fittings?

How thick will the cement board, tile, and thinset be and how exact do we need to get the depth of the fittings?

When the wall outlet and tub spout are on tightly will they point the right direction? Is there any play there?

Where can the second niche fit into this busy wall?

How tall does the niche need to be and what are the thickness of the shelves?

What is the best way to line the niche up with the tile pattern?

How the heck do we solder these elbows and fittings without charring everything in sight?


There were so many things to figure out in such a short amount of time! Flannel Man was taking this project on himself being the best solderer in the house and I was just trying help with the location questions. After a week and a half of trying to figure it all out he was feeling pretty defeated.


I don’t know how professional plumbers do it. Do they just assume what you want and use some standard numbers they always use unless you tell them otherwise? With so many different styles of shower fixtures out there I would think it’s hard to make anything standard. Do they take into consideration the height of the clients? Moving plumbing around isn’t too hard but as soon as you cut that cement board that is where everything is staying unless you trash that piece and buy some more. The outlet locations are so permanent it’s scary to finalize these locations so early in the game! What if we hate the shower head/tub spout/wall outlet/niche locations after using the shower?! So much pressure to get it right the first time!

Eventually we guessed decided on all of the locations and Flannel Man got to work putting everything together. There was clamped cement board, samples of tile, foil backed insulation, a pitcher of water, and far too many copper fittings that were bought among other things.

What a mess!

Over the last couple years Flannel Man has become pretty good at soldering if I do say so myself. Installing the new water heater, adding shut off valves around the house, replacing leaking valves, and putting in the new water softener have given him plenty of practice.


It was looking pretty nice when it was all done! Didn’t he do a great job? Now let’s hope these locations work well for us! Some shims were added to correct the wavy walls.

Here is the nipple used for the handheld shower wall outlet.

The thermostatic rough in valve.

And the tub spout elbow fitting.


With the plumbing in place we finished up the cement board. We use screws that are specifically made for cement board and wet locations but we still had to countersink each screw. There are supposed to be cement board screws with small nubs on the back of the head that act as a built in countersink but those weren’t readily available at our hardware stores. Maybe next time we’ll order those ahead of time.

On the wall with the lower niche we forgot to put shims on the wavy wall before hanging the cement board. But when we sat on the edge of the tub it flexed enough to rub against the back of the cement board creating a high pitched squeaking noise. A combination of dremeling and shimming fixed this. I can’t imagine how much it would have flexed if we hadn’t cemented the tub in place.


Next up the drywall for the rest of the space went up.

The wall with the sink backsplash has a strip of cement board.

And the backside of the shower wall we’re going to keep open to create a hidden access panel there in the future.


We also worked on the wall with the two master bathroom vanities on it.

Huston We Have A Tub!

When I came home this week I was greeted by a lovely site at the end of the hall:

The Kohler Bancroft 5′ tub that had been occupying our garage for the last 5 months was not only in the bathroom it was mudded in place! Flannel Man got up early and installed it with the help of Papa Flannel and our plumber. Originally we were going to go without calling the plumber but after looking at how complex mudding the tub in place and getting it level while installing the drain line at the same time would be we just decided to hire the pros to help for an hour or two. Having a leak in the drain line would be very difficult to access later compared to the other finish plumbing. The plywood subfloor around the previous tubs was rotten after years of water exposure partially from what was a leak in the tub drain so we wanted to avoid that issue this time and know that it’s done right.

Kohler’s fiberglass tubs are a nice solid construction. The walls and base are very thick and there were four small blocks under the tub for support but we wanted to support the base in a thick layer of mud (aka. cement) instead. A mud base is needed for drop-in or undermount tubs so that the lip of the tub doesn’t have to support all of the weight of people + water inside. With our style a mud base isn’t necessary but it does help keep the tub from flexing too much. It is, however, a big pain @ss to do so that is why many people opt not to. Never one to back down from a challenge we took it on anyways with the help of our plumber.

First a big batch of mortar was mixed up and poured onto the subfloor. Then they placed the tub into position the best they could and had Flannel Man stand in the tub to settle it into place. Some whole body rocking was needed to move it around. Then they checked for level in both directions. Finding that it needed more mortar in some areas they had to lift the tub back up, add more mortar, and rock it back down into place. This was repeated a couple times before they decided the mortar was mixed too dry. So they scooped it back into the bucket and mixed in more water. Then the whole process was repeated another half dozen times until everything was a level as possible. Next some stainless steel screws were used to fasten the tub to the walls and a brace was added to keep the opposite unfastened corner of the tub down while the mortar dried.

Getting the tub that level is often skipped by plumbers because it’s hard to do with one person and take time but doing so will make shower wall tiling much easier and help keep water from collecting in low areas around the lip of the tub.

They did a great job! The only thing I wish that would have been done differently is to staple down some plastic sheeting onto the plywood floor. The mortar would have taken longer to dry but it would keep the plywood from getting damp. It was part of the original plan but that step was forgotten. I’ve also read some people use a sheet of plastic over the top of the mortar also so the tub can more easily be removed later on if need be. But our plumber informed us that removing a tiled in tub with a mortar base would be hard with or without that plastic and trying to get and keep that plastic under the tub every time it’s being lifted and dropped in would have been very difficult. I can see how it would be more useful for a drop in Roman /garden tub though.


Before the tub went in place the niche on the existing wall had to be framed out. It could have been done after the fact but putting it in before was much easier. We decided on having two niches because we like the look of the recessed storage even though it makes our tiling job much harder. Two niches were needed because the back wall is an exterior wall. Putting a 4″ deep niche there would eliminate the insulation in that area (never a good idea!) and make it a cold spot in the shower. The only other option would have been to build out the wall to be twice as thick but then we would loose floor space and have to re-route a significant amount of plumbing and ductwork. Keeping it in that location meant we simply swapped the shower & tub spout from the right side to the left side. So that left us with needing to fit our storage niches on the smaller side walls. (Don’t worry the visqueen was later cut away.)

We could fit a tall skinny niche on the left wall with all of the plumbing fixtures but the bottom of the niche had to fit above the control valve. A perfect height for when you are showering but impossible to reach if you’re taking a bath.

So the second niche we made low for tub access. I wanted it to be nice and wide because you can never have too much storage in the shower. Drawing it out in CAD I didn’t like my original location because visually it broke up the line the wainscoting was making around the room. I know I’m picky. The wainscoting doesn’t actually run through the shower (we considered have a trim piece follow the line around the shower but decided that was unnecessarily complicated and there was no matching trim for our tile) but putting the niche lower looked so much better in the grand scheme of things.

Either way it’s not the best place to keep water spray out of the niche. Because we’re not using a typical showerhead the spray is more straight down like a rain shower so that helps but we’re still going to take some extra measures to make it waterproof. (more on that later…) For now in the construction of the niche we made the bottom plate sloped to allow water to drain back into the tub.

Then we screwed the drywall on the back side of the niche through the framing. The back side is inside a bedroom closet.

Next we insulated the wall between the bedroom and the bathroom. Even with the closet to the bedroom being on the other side there is a lot of noise that travels into the spare bedroom while the bathroom is being used. By moving the plumbing out of that wall and doing a little soundproofing we’re hoping to make the spare bedroom significantly quieter. There is more Green Glue in our future…


Meanwhile, we were also working to clear out the mess we had going on in the garage. We ended up giving away everything for free on Craigslist and had lots of interest. But when it came down to it no one came to pick up the doors or the toilets. Bummer. I was hoping to find the avocado and harvest gold toilets a nice home in a cabin up north or something. Those things were impossible to clog. You could dump a bag of dog food down there and it would swept away with no effort! I guess no one wants toilets that use 7 gallons a flush anymore. So we had to break them up to trash them. The hollow doors got cut up and used for firewood.


Since the electrical work was officially done I rounded up everything to return, spread it all out on the kitchen floor, and went through every Menard’s receipt I had for the last 3 months. Their new policy is that you don’t get full return price unless you have the receipt. They do provide a receipt printer next to the return counter to look up your receipt by credit card or check number but we go there so often it would have taken me forever to find everything. Luckily, I’ve been keeping every remodeling receipt since we bought the house and organize it by month in our filing cabinet.

Sidenote: At least Menard’s has a longer description of the item on their receipts so I could figure out what everything was. Home Depot uses mostly numbers which don’t seem to match the bar code on the item which only leaves space for a few letters. I always have to walk in there with a dozen different receipts when I need to return something because I can’t figure out what is what…oh and Menard’s has a minimum of 2 people working the return counter at all time unlike Home Depot’s dinky one person computer station that barely has a counter to set your stuff on. I still ❤ you Menard's!

Each receipt and the corresponding items on that receipt got their own bag. Receipts with more than one bag full of returns were tied together. I had 21 different transactions to return from! The return lady just about kissed me for being so organized and coming in late in the evening when there was no line. In the end I got nearly $200 in electrical returns! That is pretty hard to do with $.59 electrical boxes! Well there was one $60 roll of wire and a couple $15 GFCIs in there but the majority of my returns were $2 or less.

Drywall’n In The House Tonight

Getting back to where I left off last we had our electrical inspection and……wait for it…..we didn’t pass. Boo! Luckily it was just very minor things that could easily be added/fixed. There were two locations where the holes we drilled to run wiring in the 2×4 walls were 1″ from the edge of the stud instead of the 1 1/4″ required per code. Yes our inspector was nit picking over 1/4 of an inch! (But overall the two inspectors in our area are actually pretty good guys.) I guess next time we need to measure where the center is instead of eyeballing it. We were able to quickly fix this with some $.60 metal cover plates to keep screws or nails from hitting the wire. Just hammer them in over the thinner area and you’re good to go. They do make the drywall bulge out a little in those areas though (kind of a bummer) but our existing walls are so wavy it will fit right in!

The one other request the inspector had before he passed us to continue had to deal with smoke detectors. He was requiring that we add one to the master bedroom but noted that starting in 2012 a new state law was requiring them in every bedroom for existing homes also. So any future inspection we ever have in the home he could ask us to add them in the other two bedrooms and the basement. We ended up installing 6 new detectors when all was said and done. I was bummed our nice clean bedroom ceilings would be ruined by smoke detectors that would be an eye sore when you’re in the bed sleeping. So I searched around and found a slim smoke detector, Kidde’s Silhouette.

I love the way the look! Too bad they don't have a smoke and CO combo unit that looks like that. Flannel Man added old work round electrical boxes for the smoke detectors but I failed to tell him these new smoke detectors I bought were square. Whoops! I ended up being square to the walls in the master bedroom but in the two spare bedrooms they are at an angle. For now they are staying that way because the boxes are foamed in place.

To follow up the inspector had no issue with us not having two outlets in the tiny hallway/entry to our master bedroom and said that because one wall was existing there were exceptions to the 12′ rule. He said we had plenty of convenience outlets around the room and noted that we had more outlets in the new smaller master bedroom than we had originally in the bigger master bedroom so it was no big deal. Apparently he doesn’t whip out the tape measure to keep everyone to the 12′ rule like he does for the 1 1/4″ rule (above) because it is not a safety hazard. Makes sense to me. We’re glad we have practical and relatively easy going inspectors compared to nearby cities. I’m telling you the country is where it’s at!


The electrical inspector returned to pass us so we could start adding insulation to the walls. You can find some good tips for insulating around electrical with fiberglass batt here. Like I said before we used some kraft faced insulation we already had plus some new unfaced insulation which is significantly cheaper. Because we were adding visqueen (aka. poly sheeting) to the mix we thoroughly slashed any facing that was going under it.

We picked the 6mil thick visqueen which was unnecessarily thick but it was only a few bucks more than the 4mil so we figured why not. The 6 mil wasn’t that much harder to work with but the one benefit I do see to the 4 mil is that the thinner sheets are see through. Why is that beneficial? Well what we didn’t know having never used visqueen before is that you typically keep the plastic covering the windows until after you’ve drywalled, mudded, and painted saving you time from having to tape them off again and again. So our nice treetop views out the new windows will be covered up for a long time. : ( Not a big deal but it’s kind of depressing not being able to see outside in ¼ of my house.


First we moved all of the drywall from our screened in porch and garage which was a task in itself with 8×10′ pieces. The stairs from the garage were too tight of a bend so the person on the stairs had to lift their end over their head onto the stair railing, crawl under the piece while the other person held the free end, pick it back up and position themselves first through the small opening for the built in leading to the master closet.

The first area that got drywalled was the master closet which only need a few pieces.

At the last minute I convinced Flannel Man to switch the attic access to just inside our new closet. Originally it was in a spare bedroom closet but to get to the access all of the shelving and things in the closet needed to be moved. It’s always been a pain and we’re just using it for spare storage right now. This new location will mean nothing needs to be moved to access the attic. Flannel Man built up the sides with spare 2×10 pieces so that the insulation won’t fall out of the hatch when it’s open.

The old closet door.


With all of the drywall to hang Flannel Man and Papa Flannel went into overdrive. Papa Flannel would stop by the house and wake up Flannel Man early everyday and they would work on it for 1-2 hours before Flannel Man had to go to work. He also came over on weekends he was available and the three of us had a hanging party. OK well not a party but I can pretend if I want right?

We also tried a new to us product called Green Glue to help soundproof some key walls. This is not the right way to apply the glue (DON’T DO THIS!). We tried it on our first wall and it was a complete fail. I’m doing a separate post on soundproofing and the right ways to use Green Glue so stay tuned.

Two layers of drywall were also used on those key walls for better soundproofing. This is the wall between our master bathroom and the bedroom.

The backside of that wall.


The view of our living room was slowly changing. For the first time in months we couldn’t see from one end of our house to the other.

Next up our master bedroom exterior wall.

And finally the long wall between the master bedroom and the living room. This wall is another wall we soundproofed.

Outlets in the wall had to be kept out extra deep. The electrician oringally thought that was an error on our part until we explained one side had two sheets of 1/2″ drywall and the other only had one. Another good reason we hung our own boxes!

The second layer of drywall going up. Notice the seams of the first piece were caulked up with acoustical sealant.

The view of the master closet from the bedroom now that there is drywall.

This has been our makeshift door to and from the construction zone for months. Every piece of drywall was brought through here. It’s going to be a built in bookcase for the entry but for now it’s our super skinny doorway.

My corner of the master bedroom. Sorry Flannel Man I called it!

The same corner from the entry door. Notice the awesomely slim smoke detector.

This stuff is so expensive! I hope it works well.

The right way to apply Green Glue.


Yipee we finally got the living room side of the long wall done. The 10′ pieces were harder to handle but they make quick work of this +20′ wall. Less seams are always good.

The green drywall is started in the master bathroom.

master entry smk det

Gardening 2011

This year I want to add a second set of pictures for the year. I dove deep into the hobby of gardening this year and though it isn’t the main focus of this blog I think homes and gardens go together hand and hand. It’s hard to break apart which pictures are home improvements and which are strictly gardening so if you want to see glimpses of the new fence flowerbed, the moss filled flagstone path, or my new gardening bench check out this post.


Ever since I started gardening I’ve been taking pictures of what I buy in the garage before I plant it along with recording the scientific name and other info in an Excel spreadsheet. I know all too many gardeners who can’t remember what plant they have because they didn’t record it so I’m going to do my best to keep a record of this stuff. Plus looking back at what size a plant started out could be fun especially with the conifers that can last for decades. So here is what I added to my garden this year…


To celebrate my birthday Flannel Man took me to Chicago to see the flower and garden show. We stayed overnight at a nice hotel within walking distance of Navy Pier where the show was at and had a delicious sushi dinner.


Mother’s Day weekend is the start of many plant sales in our area. I stopped by a nearby garden club sale and went to the yearly Olbrich Garden sale. Highlights include Hydrangea ‘Invincibelle Spirit’, ‘Chicagoland Green’ Boxwood, Picea glauca ‘Pixie Dust’, and Athyrium ‘Ghost’ fern.


This year we took a strong stance on the nasty invasive garlic mustard and pulled thousands of plants by hand. We bagged them up and labeled them as invasive plants and put them with our weekly trash pick-up.


I got a lot of great plants at low cost from two more local garden club sales. Some of my favorites from those sales were a white with pink spotted hellebore, white bleeding heart, white pulmonaria, and a yellow toad lily. I decided I really liked the look of the white flowers against the dark brown fence so most of them went into the new fence flowerbed.


My reconnaissance mission to a local nursery that specializes in rare conifers. I tried to not buy everything I could get my hands on. This is just a small sample of what he has.


Adding some more flowering shrubs to the edges of our yard. Quick Fire Hydrangea, Rhododendron ‘PJM Elite’ and ‘Golden Lights’, and an ice plant.


The big conifer buy of 2011! 7 nurseries and 18 plants later I was in heaven. I got a Tsuga canadensis ‘Cole’s Prostrate’ that was left over from last season and priced to sell, a gorgeous ‘Golden Shadows’ dogwood, and two Tsuga canadensis (‘Geneva’ and ‘Brandleyi’) from the clearance section of a nursery.

The two clearance Tsuga weren’t looking too good as they were forgotten and barely maintained in the back corner of the parking lot they were kept. With only a small amount of new growth I convinced the nursery staff to give me even more of a discount if I took both of them off their hands as they had multiples of each type. Once home I carefully bare rooted them (which was my first time trying that technique) and they are looking great now. A couple of these questionable zone 4 Chamaecyparis did not survive but that is the beauty of having a one year warranty. I was able to take them back and get credit towards my next purchase.


New groundcover plants for the dog yard and some perennials for the fence flowerbed. I went to Home Depot for some tools but ended up walking out with some sale astilbie, hostas, and a fern. Then I picked up a silver sage and bush clematis from a nursery.


I went on a garden tour of three local gardens followed by a pot luck dinner made with ingredients from everyone’s gardens.


I went on my second garden tour of the year. This tour featured an amazing sustainable garden, the garden of a daylily connoisseur, and a Frank Lloyd Wright home.


Some late season plant buying thanks to a Groupon and some nursery reward points. More hostas, colorful sedium, a red Hakonechloa (Japanese forest grass), a white Hakonechloa, and a snowberry bush.


I used the last of my nursery reward points in a very late season sale. Some ferns, late blooming anemone, and spring bulbs will make a nice addition to my shady beds.

This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
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