Father’s Day Gifts for the Over 40 Set

HE’S A BONA FIDE ADULT AT 40—AND HE DESERVE’S A STYLISH WARDROBE THAT SAYS SO.

L.L. Bean

green canvas bag
L.L. Bean

While you may instantly recognize L.L. Bean for their iconic boots (which tend to sell out every year by early winter, so move fast), know that the company has much, much more to offer. This handsome canvas briefcase, for example, effortlessly combines form and function with a padded laptop sleeve and easy-access outside pockets—and plenty of style, to boot. $149 AT L.L. BEAN

Brooks Brothers

They’ve dressed presidents. They’ve dressed movie stars. They’ve also dressed his colleagues on every rung of the career ladder. In short, if he’s not wearing Brooks Brothers dress shirts by now, he’s not doing it right. Pro tip: keep an eye out for holiday weekend sales, where you can generally pick up standard-issue button-downs for half off. $92 AT BROOKS BROTHERS BUY NOW

Rains

blue rain jacket
Rains

There comes a point in every man’s life when he realizes that rainy days don’t have to mean donning a waterproof coat that tanks an entire look. Fortunately, Rains has developed a line of sleek, minimalistic rain jackets whose cuts and colors can complement practically any man’s style, won’t make him feel overheated, and—shocker—actually keep’s him dry! $125 AT RAINS BUY NOW

Filson

gray beanie hat
Filson

Whether he’s hiking up a mountain or just walking across the street in winter, it’s important to have high-performance outdoor apparel in his wardrobe that actually looks great. That’s where Filson comes in: From flannels to footwear, their frontier-meets-Fifth-Avenue look is only made better by the fact that their gear is as functional and durable as advertised. If he need’s an easy place to start, grab one of their solid beanies before dipping into their wide range of gear, which includes everything from basic t-shirts and pants to fishing vests. And if his cold weather gear could use a refresh, check out The 20 Best Winter Coats for Men. $45AT FILSON BUY NOW

Scotch & Soda

While getting older does involve some closet culling, hitting your 40s doesn’t mean you should pare down to just solid color tees and dad jeans. Scotch & Soda offers the kind of cuts and patterns that maintain a youthfully stylish look while injecting a composed maturity. This striped shirt is just one example of their versatile options that will keep him out of the demure clothing doldrums. $98AT SCOTCH & SODA BUY NOW

Seiko

We get it: kickstarting a timepiece collection, especially if you’re buying online, is a daunting proposition. A few poor choices and you’re thousands of dollars in the hole. That’s where Seiko can save the day: Of all the many watch brands on the planet, none can match their sheer range and approachably priced options. So, if he want’s to test-drive a timepiece that’s a little bit edgier than your usual style—like, say, a chronograph with funky rose-gold hands, a topographical face, and oversized numerals—he can do so at a relatively low-risk cost. When he’s ready to upgrade to a Rolex-grade version, he can check out the company’s Grand Seiko look book, where you’ll find top-notch watches (and four- or five-figure price tags to match).$395 $130 AT JOMASHOP BUY NOW

More more gift idea’s , head over to :

12 Best Companion Plants for Hostas

by Kath LaLiberte for Longfield Gardens

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

Hostas have no trouble holding their own in a shady garden. Yet there are many other shade loving perennials that make excellent companions. By adding their own contrasting colors, shapes, heights and textures, these plants accentuate the simple elegance of the hosta’s foliage. They can also add months of early season interest to your shade garden.

Best-Companion-Plants-For-Hostas—Longfield-Gardens

Hosta Companions to Extend the Season

Hostas are usually slow to emerge in the spring. Rather than waiting around for them to appear, you can use this as an opportunity to showcase spring bulbs and early-blooming perennials. In the garden shown above, hostas have barely begun to sprout. Yet there’s already a tapestry of color and texture. By midsummer, most of these early season plants will have disappeared and hostas will be occupy about 75% of the space.

Add Diversity Without More Work

Pairing hostas with other low-maintenance perennials is an easy way to add variety and sophistication.  So, if you are thinking about creating a new shade garden from scratch, or have an existing shade garden that could use a little spicing up, consider pairing hostas with some of these easy, shade-tolerant companion plants.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

ALCHEMILLA (LADY’S MANTLE)

Velvety, spring-green leaves with zig-zag edges. Silvery hairs on the leaf surfaces turn water droplets into jewels. In early summer, lady’s mantle produces large clusters of tiny chartreuse flowers that are excellent for cutting.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

ASTILBE

Tidy, trouble-free plants with attractive, dark green foliage. Astilbe’s showy, midsummer flowers have a fuzzy texture and colors range from white through pink, red and violet.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

DICENTRA (BLEEDING HEART)

Dicentra spectablis emerges in early spring, and quickly grows into an impressive 3 to 4 foot plant. Shortly after the blossoms fade, the leaves die back to the ground and the plant disappears until the following spring. This gives neighboring hostas plenty of room to spread out.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

EPIMEDIUM (BARRENWORT)

Epimedium is another spring-blooming perennial that’ss happy to take center stage while hostas are still waking up. These plants have decorative heart-shaped foliage and delicate flower clusters in white, yellow, violet or pink.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

EUPHORBIA (SPURGE)

The garden-worthy varieties of this plant have a neat, mounding habit. Their colorful foliage is usually far showier than their flowers. Foliage colors range from chocolate brown to burgundy, orange, blue-green and chartreuse. (Two varieties are shown above.)

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

FERNS

Ferns are as easy to grow and as long-lived as hostas. Their graceful form and finely-textured foliage is the perfect counterpoint to the hosta’s broad leaves and bulkier stature.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

PERENNIAL GERANIUMS

Perennial geraniums are among the toughest and most reliable perennials you can grow. Though they are usually planted in full sun, most varieties grow equally well in partial shade. The texture of their foliage has a lacy effect and the growth habit is loose and mounding. Flower colors vary from white and pale pink to lavender, blue, magenta and maroon. Most varieties of perennial geraniums will flower on and off from late spring through fall.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

HEUCHERA (CORAL BELLS)

Heuchera is grown primarily for its decorative foliage. You can choose from dozens of different varieties, with leaf colors that range from shiny burgundy to coppery-orange and lime green. In addition to their beautiful foliage, heuchera also produce midsummer flowers that attract hummingbirds.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

LAMIUM (SPOTTED DEAD NETTLE)

Lamium maculatum is a lovely ground cover for decorating the edge of your hosta garden. In addition to its silvery foliage, lamium also produces showy pink, purple or white flowers in late spring. Although lamium is a popular shade garden perennial, be aware that in some parts of the country, it has escaped cultivation and is considered an invasive. To find out if that’s a concern in your area, check the map here.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

PULMONARIA (LUNGWORT)

Here is another shade-loving plant with lovely foliage. Lungwort’s velvety, lance-shaped leaves are speckled with silvery-white spots. During late spring, the plants are covered with clusters of pink, blue or purple flowers, sometimes all on the same plant.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

TIARELLA (FOAM FLOWER)

Tiarella is an endearing native plant with foliage that’s similar to a heuchera, but not as flashy. It tolerates more heat and humidity than heucheras and this makes it a good choice for southern areas. The pale pink or creamy white bottle-brush flowers that appear in late spring.

Best Companion Plants for Hostas - Longfield Gardens

SPRING-FLOWERING BULBS

Spring bulbs are ideal companions for hostas. Eligible candidates include early-bloomers such as miniature daffodilsscillamuscari and fritillaria. For another family of bulbs that will stretch the season into late spring, consider alliums. After these spring bulbs have finished blooming, hostas will quickly cover up their fading foliage.

We ship hostas and many of the other perennials mentioned in this article from March-May. You can all of our shade-loving perennials HERE.

This is Prince William’s Technique for Dealing With Public Speaking Anxiety

By Katherine Speller 

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge standing in front of a blue wall© Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Anyone who deals with anxiety on the reg can name a few of their go-to coping strategies for making the things we need to do — from baseline executive function activities to more daunting responsibilities — a bit more bearable without our brains running haywire. Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is no different and recently shared that he deals with anxiety himself — and found a surprisingly easy hack for making it through public speaking engagements with it.

In a preview of the new BBC documentary he was a part of Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health, the Duke shared how his eyesight starting to get a bit poor actually helped him make it through those anxious moments.

“My eyesight started to tail off a little bit as I got older, and I didn’t use to wear contacts when I was working, so actually when I gave speeches I couldn’t see anyone’s face,” William shared in the doc.

“And it helps, because it’s just a blur of faces and because you can’t see anyone looking at you — I can see enough to read the paper and stuff like that — but I couldn’t actually see the whole room,” he adds. “And actually that really helps with my anxiety.”

Anxiety is itself a physical and mental response in your body— something that can lead your animal brain fight or flight instincts to kick in.

“When we experience anxiety, we are essentially experiencing a fight/flight response in the body,” Erica Curtis, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of the upcoming The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids Through Art, previously told SheKnows. “For example, muscles tense to act quickly or protect against injury, the heart pumps harder to oxygenate the muscles to mobilize. Even if there is no ‘real’ threat, when the brain thinks there is one, it mobilizes the body for self-protection. And because the survival part of the brain doesn’t differentiate between emotional or relational threat and physical threat, when we experience — or perceive — any threat, the part of the brain tasked with protecting you jumps into gear.”

For people with public speaking fears, the old adage “imagine them in their underwear” is often used to help make a crowd feel less intimidating. But for William, slipping out your contacts is an easy way to take the bite out of a crowd: make them all just a bunch of blurry faces.

We always appreciate a deceptively simple hack for making a situation a little less stressful. Way to go, your highness!

Whatever works, I guess.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/royals/this-is-prince-william-s-technique-for-dealing-with-public-speaking-anxiety/ar-BB14MmXe?ocid=msedgntp

Little-known facts about Disney history die-hard fans should know

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was the first Disney park to open back in 1955. Since then, Disney has opened five additional parks and a variety of other themed travel experiences, and, along with them, a rich history that many visitors may never even notice without a little digging.

See, you don’t need to know Disney’s secrets or history to enjoy a vacation there, but one could certainly argue that a trip to Disney becomes even more enjoyable when you do learn these fascinating bits of Disney’s past.

Walt Disney had plans to build a ski resort.

Ski Resort
The ski resort might have looked something like Disneyland’s Matterhorn Bobsleds (pictured above). 

In the 1960s, after the opening of Disneyland in California, Walt Disney set his sights on building a ski resort in Mineral King Valley. According to the OC Register, Disney did purchase the necessary land and was in the planning stages of building the resort, but the project was held up by locals and environmentalists who opposed the project. After Walt’s death in 1966, the project was dropped.

It’s not all bad news, though, because management shifted their focus to an even bigger project in Florida called Disney World. And those Country Bears who so happily perform at Disney World were planned to take up residence at the ski resort, making it technically one of the last attractions Walt Disney personally worked on.

Dole Whip most popular pineapple treat at Disney.

Dole Whip
Dole Whips are arguably the most popular snack at Disney. 

Although you can probably purchase a Dole Whip at your local zoo or make it yourself at home, the tropical soft-serve treat has become synonymous with Disney.

Many of the dinosaur fossils used at Animal Kingdom are real.

Dinosaur Fossils
Disney World’s dinosaurs are as real as they come. 

Joe Rohde, the Imagineer who headed up the team that brought us Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, often reveals inside information on the park and its inspiration, including the fact that anything “that looks like a fossil of a prehistoric creature…is either a real fossil of a prehistoric creature or a replica of the real fossil.

He specifically mentions that the fossils inside the queue for Dinosaur are very much real. Even the fossils that aren’t real are usually casts of real fossils, including Dino-Sue, a 13-foot tall, 40-foot long T-Rex, and the largest, most complete T-Rex fossil ever found.

Legendary cast members are honored throughout the parks, but you have to know where to look.

cast member memorialization
Disney legends are often recognized in a way that honors their hobbies and passions. 

Next time you are walking down Main Street U.S.A. in one of the Disney parks, make sure to look up. Disney legends are often recognized with their very own window, usually depicting a fictitious business inspired by their real-life hobbies and passions. Often, Disney finds other ways to immortalize these individuals that aren’t as obvious to passersby, but are possibly even more meaningful for their sheer creativity.

One of the original Disneyland train cars was named for Walt Disney’s wife.

Disneyland Train
The Lilly Belle train car (not pictured) has a heartfelt backstory. 

Walt and Lillian Disney first met when she worked in the company’s Ink and Paint Department. Walt would sometimes drive her home from work in his car, and later named one of Disneyland Railroad’s original train cars after her. After they were married, Walt built a miniature steam power train in his own backyard and named it “Lilly Belle” after his beloved.

When the Disneyland Railroad opened in 1955, Lilly’s namesake train car could regularly be seen on the tracks. While no longer being used in Disneyland’s day-to-day operations, they do sometimes bring the car out for special occasions.

Tarah Chieffi of Insider has written more interesting Disney tidbits that can be read here:

https://www.insider.com/disney-history-fun-facts-trivia-fans-should-know

6 Best Road Trips From Chicago

Do you live near Chicago or are planning to visit soon ? Discover 6 nearby destinations to visit besides the Windy City. Check out this article by Adam Lapetina for Travel & Leisure.

Cities can sometimes feel like endless stretches of concrete — especially in the hot summer months — and Chicago is no exception.

Fortunately, there’s a whole world out there beyond the city limits. While it doesn’t always feel like it, there are so, so, so many worthy escapes within a few hours’ drive of Chi-town: storybook towns studded with ice cream parlors, lakeside cities with entirely different cultures, and even places where you can connect with nature among waterfalls and lush trees. Waterfalls! Outside Chicago!

The Windy City’s location, in this case, is your ally. Pack your car with some picnic accoutrements, and maybe some hiking gear just in case, and head off. You’re within driving distance of some truly great, out-of-the-ordinary places that make for wonderful road trips. Here are six of them.

Madison, Wisconsin

a view of a city street: Getty Images© Provided by Travel + Leisure Getty Images

Imagine a state already known for its beer and cheese having to cater to over 30,000 college students, and you’ve got some idea of the earthly delights that await in Madison, Wisconsin. This state capital could have been a destination in its own right for its unique geography — located on a narrow isthmus surrounded by two large lakes, it’s beautiful even during cold Wisconsin winters — or its remarkable breadth of shopping, cultural events and festivals, and architecture, but its food scene is virtually unrivaled for a city of its size.

The streets are filled with an eclectic mix of professors, politicians, businesspeople, street performers, and health nuts, and if you ask any of them for their favorite spot, you’ll likely get a range of answers as large as the city’s 250,000-plus population: American small bites at the new and renowned Mint Mark, tacos and margaritas at Canteen, Lao-Thai noodles from Vientiane Palace, and the list goes on and on.

Most students, however, will drive you toward craft-beer watering holes like The Malt House or Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry, which purportedly serves one of the best burgers anywhere. Wash it down with some Wisconsin beer from New Glarus as well as some fried cheese curds, and you’ll have yourself a real Madison, Wisconsin, night.

Madison is about two and a half hours from Chicago.

Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

a large waterfall over a rocky area: Todd Ryburn/Getty Images© Provided by Travel + Leisure Todd Ryburn/Getty Images

Yes, Illinois isn’t known for its natural beauty like some other states. Yes, its highest natural point is Charles Mound, a diminutive 1,235-foot hill. But that doesn’t mean that hidden gems don’t exist here. For a true escape from Chicago’s steel-and-stone skyscrapers that’s still within the state limits, drive to the area around Starved Rock State Park.

Visitors expecting more flat Illinois farmland will be surprised to find an incredible valley around the Illinois River, with lush trees, striking bluffs, and 14 gorgeous waterfalls feeding into the roaring waters. Starved Rock is a choice destination for camping, hiking, kayaking, and white-water rafting, and after you’re exhausted from a day of physical exertion, it’s also got a place to hang your hat: the Starved Rock Lodge.

However, if you feel like experiencing a bit more of the local flavor, the towns around the river valley provide it in buckets. Tiny, charming Utica is home to the August Hill Winery and some wonderful antique stores, while the historic towns of Oglesby and Ottawa are chock-full of Americana: small museums, galleries, and great food, particularly at the Red Dog Grill in Ottawa and The Rootbeer Stand in Oglesby.

Starved Rock State Park is about an hour and a half from Chicago.

Allegan County, Michigan

a body of water next to the ocean: Getty Images© Provided by Travel + Leisure Getty Images

Lake Michigan is huge. And in the summertime, when the heat gets a little unbearable, you could easily just jump into the lake in Chicago. But there’s something to be said for taking a jaunt out to Michigan to visit a string of lakeside towns that bring some truly unique qualities to the mix.

Douglas, Saugatuck, and Holland — and Fennville, though it’s not right on the water — epitomize small-town charm, while still offering some truly city-sized amenities for city-sized appetites. Fennville is known as the fruit basket of Michigan, with apple orchards, vineyards, and berry farms alongside delightful creameries and even corn mazes, while Saugatuck and Douglas consistently take the cake as two of the best lakeside towns in the Midwest, with incredibly charming downtown areas, gorgeous undulating sand dunes, pristine blue water, and more art galleries than you can shake a stick at. In fact, it’s here that two School of the Art Institute of Chicago instructors founded their own art school and residence, Ox-Bow, establishing an artists’ colony right on the shores of Lake Michigan. Their legacy endures to this day.

Further up the road, you’ll find a truly unique destination in Holland, where Dutch colonists established a foothold in the 1800s, bringing with them their culture, architecture, pastries (check out DeBoer Bakkerij), and even fields’ worth of tulips, which you can find at Veldheer Tulip Gardens.

Fennville is about two hours from Chicago.

Indianapolis, Indiana

a bridge over a river in a city: Getty Images© Provided by Travel + Leisure Getty Images

Among the many types of travelers out there — people who crave solitude, people who don’t want to leave the 100-foot radius of their resort’s pool — there are those who are fascinated by city life, jumping from one urban area to another. If you count yourself among them, a road trip from Chicago to Indianapolis is certainly warranted.

First off, it’s the 17th-largest city in America, with a vast population and penchant for festivals, parties, and overall pageantry (it is the Racing Capital of the World, after all, and its famous month of May includes tons of smaller celebrations leading up to the Indy 500). No matter the time of year, though, you’ll find Indianapolis in full swing, whether you’re in the midst of its rollicking IndyFringe Festival in August and September or its Wine & Food Festival in June. It’s also a museum hub, with the world’s largest children’s museum, several art museums with broad and granular focuses, and small museums focusing on its favorite children, from Vonnegut to President Benjamin Harrison.

But one of the main reasons visitors flock to Indianapolis is its incredible food scene, which has, in recent years, exploded into national prominence. Hot new restaurants like Bluebeard, Milktooth, Crispy Bird, Oca, and more have all contributed to its reputation as a gastronomical powerhouse, while iconic institutions like Workingman’s Friend have been, well, working behind the scenes to keep Hoosiers well-fed for decades. It’s about time their city gets noticed.

Indianapolis is about three hours from Chicago.

Traverse City, Michigan

a herd of cattle grazing on a lush green field: Getty Images© Provided by Travel + Leisure Getty Images

If you’re craving a real getaway, you can’t do much better than northern Michigan — it’s still within driving distance of Chicago and not as remote as the state’s Upper Peninsula, while still providing a wilderness-tinged escape for city dwellers. The de-facto capital of the region, Traverse City, is a city in name, but its population of around 15,000 means it’s got small-town charm and accessibility, making it a perfect gateway to the region’s breathtaking sights. Stop in for a glass of beer or wine at one of the many famous wineries and brewpubs, like Mari Vineyards or Mackinaw Brewing Company, before heading into the wilderness.

From Traverse City’s quaint streets, you can head north and explore the Leelanau Peninsula, or veer west to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Better yet, take scenic M-22 to tick off both boxes. Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of the country’s best stretches of shoreline, with incredible dunes and westerly views that mean it’s got some of the best sunsets east of the Mississippi.

From there, mosey up M-22 to continue exploring the Leelanau Peninsula, where wilderness encroaches a bit further and small towns, each with a population under 1,000, dot the roads. Hike through the dense forests, pick apples and berries at the region’s many farms, and be sure to grab a heaping sandwich from the Village Cheese Shanty in the county seat of Leland (population 377).

Traverse City is about five hours from Chicago.

Galena, Illinois

a large red brick tower with a clock on the side of a building: Getty Images© Provided by Travel + Leisure Getty Images

In rare cases, a road trip doesn’t just mean traveling great distances — it can also mean traveling back in time. That’s what’s figuratively the case when you drive west from Chicago to Galena, consistently rated as one of the best small towns in America. For decades, Galena has been on a mission to preserve its rich history, meaning it has one of the most unspoiled historic town centers in the country.

The town’s good fortune started back in the mid-1800s, when it was the beneficiary of government grants to begin mining precious minerals located under the town. Since then, the town has focused on maintaining the buildings from that boom time, and there are architectural landmarks around every corner. The Galena Historic District is a particular delight, comprising more than 1,000 buildings, including the home of Ulysses S. Grant, a prime example of the Italianate style and now a dedicated memorial to his legacy. The town even has trolley tours that take you to its major historical and architectural benchmarks, contributing to its overall throwback feel.

Galena’s best eating institutions don’t necessarily date all the way back to 1850, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t also great — Durty Gurt’s Burger Joynt was founded in 2007 and serves gigantic, almost architecturally impressive stacks of meat and cheese. Looks like everyone’s concerned with building a legacy here.

Galena is about three hours from Chicago.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tripideas/6-best-road-trips-from-chicago/ar-BB14QaEI?ocid=msedgdhp

Using Architectural Plants in the Garden

Article by Kathy & Steve of The Garden Glove

Some quick tips on using architectural plants, and then some of my favorites for you to try!

  • Remember that many of these plants get large, so make sure you plan for their mature size. They lose their effect if they are swallowed up by the rest of the garden bed. Many of the more dramatic architectural plants look best set a bit apart in any case, so there is space between them and other plants.
  • Don’t forget to pay attention to their sun/shade and soil needs. Just because an Elephant Ear may look amazing in your herb bed, doesn’t mean it can handle the full day of sun. Basic plant care can’t be forgotten!
  • Decide whether your structural plant will be the star of the bed, or whether it will have supporting players. The more attention directed at a structural plant, the more dramatic the planting, so keep your supporting players to a minimum if thats the look you are after. On the other hand, if you want a more casual look, but with the focal pop, feel free to add a few more colors and textures to the bed.
  • Make sure you do your proper trimming and deadheading in a timely manner. While I’m not usually uptight about minor garden chores (ask Steve!) in this case all the attention will be on your focal plants. You want them to look their best.

Photo by ‘Urban Farming‘.

There are many plants that have strong structural presence in the garden, from palms to cactuses, sedums to tropicals. I’m going to encourage you to look into those types of plants if you live in a zone that can support them, because their exotic nature make them prime focal loin candidates. But I’m going to stick to perennials here because I think they have a broader range over a lot more garden zones, and because that’s where my experience lies. Here are a few of my favorites, and how to grow them!

Yucca – Famous English garden designer Gertrude Jekyll used Yucca as a mainstay in her beautiful cottage style gardens for architecture. Hardy down to zone 4, these evergreen spiky wonders are a great structural plant any time of yea,r but they have a secret… when in flower, they give a spectacular show! Stalks of flowers 6 feet high are common, and last for weeks in June. Leaves can be green, red, or variegated, and all they want out of life is well drained soil and lots of sun. Drought resistant too!

Using Architectural Plants in the Garden

New Zealand Flax – Another beloved strappy leaved plant that is actually related to grasses, New Zealand Flax is grown as a perennial in mild climates, and an annual in colder ones. Red or green leaves can reach up to 10 feet in those mild climates, they are much smaller in areas that frost as they only grow one season. Make a great container plant in colder climates. Photo by ‘Grows on You‘.

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Rodgersia – A large, tropical looking plant that comes back year after year down to zone 5. Three to six feet high and wide, they love shade to part sun, lots of moisture and protection from wind and afternoon sun. This makes a dramatic statement in any bed! Photo by ‘Fine Gardening‘.

rodgersai_podophylla_mg_lg

Ornamental Grasses – There are more ornament al grasses than I can cover in this post, but you can learn more at our post on, well… ornamental grasses! They all make a statement in the garden, I have numerous varieties and at least one in every bed. Calamagrostis “Karl Foerster” is my fav upright variety, though there are several new ones that deserve attention. Any Miscanthus also makes a statement, especially the variegated ones. There is an ornamental grass for almost every zone and situation. Photo by ‘Country Gardener‘.

Eupatorium-well-bed-1

Giant Elephant Ear – Talk about architectural plants! This is a tuber that grows large, tropical looking leaves and stands up to eight feet tall, and is a wonderful addition to any shade or part shade garden. Only hardy down to zone 7, you can lift the tubers for winter if it isn’t hardy in your area. Loves water, fertilizer and shade in the afternoon in hot areas. Photo below from Houzz.

Using Architectural Plants in the Garden

These elephant ears are from ‘Longfield Gardens‘, and are paired gorgeously with some richly colored caladiums. Perfect tropical look! Longfield has one of the best selections of elephant ear varieties… we love the upright forms!

Using Architectural Plants in the Garden

Sea Holly/Eryngium – Sea Holly is a striking plant just made for that hot, sun baked spot. Needing full sun, very drought tolerant, and thriving on neglect, these plants are perfect for xeriscaping. Blue, unusual blooms in midsummer. These plants can grow 6-8 feet tall in some varieties, but they tend to not grow very wide, so plant several 2-3 feet apart for a good show. Hardy down to zone 2, they do not transplant well so make sure you put them where you want them!

Using Architectural Plants in the Garden

Globe Thistle/Echinops – Another spiky looking blue plant, grown almost exactly like sea holly… Lovely blue balls of flowers mid to late summer. Dry well! One of the shorter plants on my list at only 3 feet, they are hardy to zone 3. Mass these for the best effect…and it is some effect to see a bed of this electric blue color and amazing texture! Goes well with yarrow…

Using Architectural Plants in the Garden

Joe Pye Weed – A native to the prairie state, this large perennial grows 6-8 feet high and wide. Blooming in late summer with broad, plate like flowers that resemble sedums, in a dusty purple. A dwarf form is available. Make sure you buy a named variety, like “Gateway” in order to get large flowers and a stronger plant. Prefers sun, moist soil, and looks best if cut down to the ground in early spring. Photo by ‘ISU Extension‘.

JoePyeWeed1

Finally, we have horsetail. Horsetail reed is a grass that dates back to a prehistoric age. A water loving plant that can actually grow in swampy soil, this plant loves sun but will tolerate some shade. Evergreen in mild climates. Great used in a modern or contemporary garden for it’s structure and texture. One of our very favorite architectural plants to use. Fast growing to 3-4 feet, it spreads underground and will spread indefinitely if not contained. Because of this, a great container plant.

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Image Credits: Urban Farming, Grows On You, Fine Gardening, Country Gardener, Houzz, Longfield Gardens, ISU Extension, Pinterest

Job Hunting ? Do some Basic Research First.

What is Culture?

Defined expectations of behavior, words, symbols, habits, values, and beliefs that directly impact an organization’s work environment, vision & mission, ethical practices, objectives, and performance standards.”

Culture is the “secret sauce” that makes a company succeed. It is based on the belief system of its founders, which includes:

  • What they value,
  • how they reward staff,
  • what they do for fun, and
  • the structure (or lack of structure) they create.

Here is more for you to read about culture and how to choose what company you want to work for. It can make a difference in your job satisfaction.

Here’s How Sleepy Teas Actually Work

Some nights, sleep can come to you so easily. But other times, you find yourself staring at the ceiling for hours on end, desperate to catch some shut-eye. Whether you’re wired from an evening run or just can’t unwind your busy mind, nights like these might have you searching for any kind of sleep aid to help you get some rest. a close up of a coffee cup on a plate: Here’s how Sleepytime tea actually works, according to experts. © Jennifer A Smith – Getty Images Here’s how Sleepytime tea actually works, according to experts.

A natural option to consider—one that many people swear by to help them fall asleep—is Sleepytime tea. But does drinking it, or other similar bedtime teas, really work to lull you to sleep, and what is it about the ingredients that make these teas a beneficial addition to your nighttime routine?

We asked three nutrition experts to give us the scoop.

What is Sleepytime tea?

“Teas, such as Sleepytime, are generally marketed as bedtime teas and are based around calming ingredients, like chamomile, which is known to calm the nervous system. They act by modifying certain neurotransmitters that are involved in sleep,” Sarah Schlichter, M.P.H., R.D.N., says. “Lavender, which has a soothing and calming scent, is also commonly included.”

Other ingredients found in sleepy teas include valerian root, passionflower, lemon balm, spearmint, and lemongrass.

Does Sleepytime tea actually make you sleepy?

Chamomile has also been studied for its sleep-inducing effect. “Its calming effects are attributed to the antioxidant in chamomile tea called apigenin,” Charlotte Martin, M.S., R.D.N., says.Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea © amazon.com Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea

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A short-term randomized control trial of 40 healthy adults found that those who drank a sleep tea daily (with standardized extracts of valerian root and passionflower) for one week reported better sleep quality than those who did not drink the tea. And while science may back up the ingredients, it may also just be the act of tea drinking itself that induces the sleep.

“For many people the ritual of drinking tea is relaxing, and it may cause sleepiness as a result,” Keri Gans, M.S., R.D.N., says.

It can also be a great way to decompress after a nighttime workout.

“An evening cardio session gets your heart rate up and releases endorphins, making it difficult to wind down at night, possibly derailing your sleep,” says Martin. “Drinking a sleep tea afterwards can help calm you down so that you’re better able to fall and stay asleep.”

Keep in mind that to get the most out of your tea, steep time is critical.

“The longer you allow [your tea] to steep, the stronger it is. I suggest steeping it for up to five minutes before drinking,” Martin says.

How long before bed should you drink tea?

You should try to drink it with enough time to hit the bathroom before bed to keep your sleep uninterrupted.

“I always advise my athletes to stop drinking liquids at least one to two hours before bed to prevent having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I think it can be a great way to start your wind-down routine after dinner,” Schlichter says.

Are there other teas that will help you sleep?

A general chamomile or lavender tea that may not necessarily be advertised as bedtime tea can also work to bring on some zzz’s.

“Although the evidence is limited, the relaxing aroma coming from a hot cup of freshly brewed lavender tea might help you unwind before bed,” Martin says.

Just make sure your tea is caffeine-free.

“If athletes enjoy a warm, caffeine-free tea before bed, I often recommend chamomile-based teas, or soothing flavor combinations like honey lavender or peppermint,” says Schlichter. “Additionally, tart cherry juice is known to help with sleep, as it contains natural melatonin, a sleep hormone, and can also help with recovery.”

Are there any risks or side effects?

In general, sipping these teas regularly before bed is safe. While chamomile is listed on the FDA’s list of ingredients generally recognized as safe (GRAS), some people may experience some side effects. And, there are certain teas or ingredients you may want to avoid if you are taking certain medications, so it’s best to check with your doctor.

“There have been some reported allergies in some people to some ingredients in herbal teas, like chamomile,” Schlichter says. “Also, pregnant and nursing women and those suffering from low blood pressure may be more apt to risks and side effects and definitely want to check with a healthcare provider.”

One ingredient in particular—valerian—may also cause some unwanted side effects. A variety of sleepy tea called Extra has valerian in it, and some studies have found that this herb can cause headaches, dizziness, and an upset stomach, Gans says.

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The bottom line

If you struggle with sleep, it may be worth a shot to implement a cup into your nightly routine.

“There’s not any evidence on sleepy teas specific to runners, but they can be used as one of many tools to help support relaxation and healthy sleep hygiene in athletes,” Schlichter says.

For example, if you find yourself energized after an afternoon or evening run, steeping a cup of sleepy tea may help kickstart the relaxation process. And, you should be sure to give yourself time after your workout to prepare for sleep.

“Athletes should try not to do strenuous exercise in the hours before bedtime when possible and allow enough time for food and liquids to be digested before sleep,” says Schlichter.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, try implementing other sleep hygiene techniques. Make sure your bedroom is dark, the temperature is no higher than 68 degrees, and the room is quiet from outside noise, Gans recommends.

And, avoiding blue light; minimizing screen time; and incorporating relaxing activities, such as reading, journaling, light stretching, or meditation may also help, adds Schlichter.

For anyone of any age who has trouble sleeping, consider seeing a sleep specialist.

Article by Emily Shiffer for Runner’s World

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/weightloss/heres-how-sleepy-teas-actually-work-according-to-experts/ar-BB14Mcol?ocid=spartanntp

A Step-by-Step Guide to Tie-Dying At Home (You Know You Want To)

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, tie-dye was having a high fashion moment; the psychedelic swirls were all over the S/S20 runways. Fast-forward a few months, and the trend has evolved from high fashion to “home fashion,” thanks to tie-dye sweatsuits becoming the unofficial quarantine uniform. There’s no need to splurge on “luxury loungewear” for this trend, because you can get the look at home. Honestly, you can tie-dye anything: Sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, sheets, shirts, even shoes. So grab an old item of clothing, and let’s get going!

a person standing on a city street: A beginners' tutorial on how to tie-dye your favorite items of clothing with dye or bleach — and some patterns to experiment with. © Melodie Jeng – Getty Images A beginners’ tutorial on how to tie-dye your favorite items of clothing with dye or bleach.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

I suggest getting a tie-dye kit—this one includes everything you need and has 15 different colors. Your must-have items include:

  • Squeeze bottles for the dye
  • Gloves
  • Dye or bleach
  • Rubber bands

Step 2: Get Your Workstation Ready

Tie-dying is a messy activity. I suggest you work outside, or somewhere like a garage or an unfinished basement. If you’re doing this inside, make sure you lay down towels or plastic to protect your space.

If an outdoor space isn’t an option, try your bathtub or shower.

Step 3: Pick Your Design

There are so many different swirls and patterns when it comes to tie-dye. There are no wrong answers here—you can go bold and bright with several shades, or stick to one color. The beauty of tie-dye is that the basic steps are the same no matter which design you choose. Once you have the steps down, the ways you twist, fold and place rubber bands on your shirt will determine the design.

I’m going to break down the classic spiral on a T-shirt, because you can’t beat the classics, but feel free to follow these steps with your own original design or a different pattern.

The Classic Tie Dye Spiral

Prepare the item. Start out with a pre-washed T-shirt that is still dampdamp, but not dripping wet. Lay the shirt flat on a surface that can get messy.

Twist the fabric. Pick a spot in the center of your shirt. Pinch the fabric and twist it in a spiral motion. Continue twisting the shirt until it looks like a cinnamon roll.

Work your rubber bands. Grab your rubber bands and wrap them around the shirt, creating six or more wedge shapes. This will create our spiral design. The placement of your rubber bands and how your twist your shirt will determine the end design.

Dye it. Throw on some gloves, grab your squeeze bottles of dye, and apply a color to each wedge.

Let the item sit. The shirt needs to sit in order to absorb the dye. Place your shirt in a Ziploc bag for anywhere between eight and 24 hours (the longer the dye sits, the more intense your color will be.)

Rinse it.After you let your shirt soak, it’s time to rinse it under cold water. Rinse until the water turns clear. Remove the rubber bands and rinse again.

Wash it. There will still be some dye left in your shirt. Throw it in the wash, but separate from your other clothes so that the dye doesn’t bleed on anything else.

Allow it to dry. Finally let the shirt dry. You can either throw it in the dryer or hang to dry.

You’re done! VOILA! Enjoy your new tie-dyed item.

Written by Shelby Comroe for Marie Claire

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/fashion/a-step-by-step-guide-to-tie-dying-at-home-you-know-you-want-to/ar-BB14Mu6o?ocid=spartanntp