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How to grow trees in a small garden | James Wong

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Think you don’t have the space for a tree in your garden? The simple solution is to use pots

As we head towards midwinter all seems quiet in the garden, but now is the perfect time for the most exciting of horticultural new beginnings: planting a tree. Worry you don’t have the space? Gardening on concrete? Concerned about the foundations of your house? There is a simple solution to all of these common problems: grow a small tree in a pot. This is often overlooked so, in an effort to change that, here’s a round up of the best species for pot culture, which will work well in even the tiniest of city gardens.

The most commonly suggested candidate for this treatment is an olive – and with good reason. They are evergreen, have character from a young age and, hailing from the often thin soils of the Med, don’t mind the root restriction and the faster rate of drying out that inevitably happens in containers. The ability of small trees in pots to be sited up against the walls of houses without affecting foundations means these exotic trees can benefit from the warm microclimate the brickwork creates as it absorbs heat in the day to then emit it overnight.

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Stuck for gift ideas for the gardener in your life?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Seeds, string and secateurs… A few present suggestions for the green-fingered people you know

All I want for Christmas is a steaming pile of manure, though I’m always happy to be given seed. Brown Envelope Seeds in West Cork does a Christmas card packed with seed. I like their ‘Peas on Earth’, and their gift boxes, too. I have ordered a Baby’s First Dinner Box for a friend who brings her newborn to the allotment. I’d love to find a Tomato Rainbow Box under our tree. I am also taken with Piccolo seeds, packaged like posh chocolate bars, a fine gift for any kitchen gardener. Or a sweet pea selection from Roger Parsons. I have a hankering for his Spencer or Old-Fashioned mixes.

Earlier this year, we lost our Implementations copper trowel, though I’m still hoping to discover it buried with the beetroot. A straight replacement of a shiny Castor trowel would make me happy on Christmas morning. I am almost addicted to their dibber and my short-handled Phoenix hoe.

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More than 40 needy Kiwi families have moved into new homes in time for Christmas

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Forty-three families - who had been on the housing emergency waiting list - will enjoy the gift of a rental home roof over their heads this festive season thanks to the Community Housing Trust.All up, 72 people have been able to...

'Be prepared to play'? a glorious converted semi in west London

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Huge murals and humorous details work together to give this 1930s semi a bold and modern look

Pop art, industrial-inspired design, global handicrafts and antiques, 70s glamour and lots of colour: you could never say that Preston Schroeder was afraid of mixing it up. “I’ve always wanted to develop a house that reflects my personality,” says Schroeder, who lives here with his partner Marcus and their teenage daughter Dulcie. The couple had renovated and sold homes, but when they found this 1930s semi in southwest London, it was time to stay – and inject the individuality that had been missing.

“I initially discounted this house because it was on a busy road, but property was so scarce I ended up looking at it anyway,” says Schroeder. “It was rented out, and the tenant hadn’t looked after it. The garden was like a forest. But I knew that we could completely reinvent it. I remember standing on the first floor, looking out to the garden, with a smile on my face, thinking: ‘This is the one.’”

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Ask Real Estate: Why Do Buildings Blow Leaves Into the Street?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Spraying debris onto the sidewalk and into the street isn’t just counterproductive — in some instances it is illegal.

How to ease a cold with herbs

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Our gardening export on how common culinary herbs can make brilliant medicines

There’s nothing like a long-distance flight to test your immune system – my neighbour spluttered while the row behind hacked and the other side sniffled. Once home, and with the day the right way up, I lost no time in gathering some herbs to keep those germs at bay. The common cold is a beast, I believe, that cannot be tamed – you just have to ride it out – but a choice handful of our common culinary herbs are brilliant medicine. And they are far kinder to you, the environment and your purse than many over-the-counter cold medicines.

Rosemary and sage are classic herbs for colds and sore throats. Both are known for their antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Rosemary is said to stimulate the circulatory system and thus is thought to encourage blood flow to the brain to relieve headaches. I find a steam inhalation of a handful of bruised stems and leaves works wonderfully for blocked sinuses.

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My Favorite Room: Fashion designer David Meister’s packed den gets an exemption from minimalism

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Minimalism reigns in fashion designer David Meister’s Los Angeles home, with the exception of his dark and cloistered den — “the one place filled with stuff.”

The intimate space barely holds the coffee table and sectional couch, but manages a built-in shelf teeming with books — Jackie Collins is...

What should first-home buyers ask the bank?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

We're hoping to buy our first home in the new year and people keep telling us that it's a really good time to get a mortgage because interest rates are low. Apart from my student loan I've never really borrowed money before and I'm not sure how all this mortgage stuff works. My partner is from overseas so he's not very clued up on the New Zealand system and we're both a bit freaked out at the thought of signing up to 25 years of debt! I feel like I've done heaps of research about what to look out for when you're buying a house, but when it comes to banks, I'm a bit lost. What do we need to look out for when we're shopping for a mortgage and who can help us?

Apartment living success secrets

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Many Kiwis love the apartment life — but the smaller the home, however, the bigger the questions buyers must ask. Some of those questions are tricky. In Auckland the median price for an apartment is $530,000, compared to $900,000...

Relax right on the beach

Saturday, December 15, 2018

When Graham Milne bought this beachfront property there was just a basic sleepout on the land. It was called the old cowshed, acknowledging its original purpose in life."We used to camp in it," he says. "It was originally a cowshed...

Pilot's Auckland landing delayed

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Hong Kong-based Kiwi pilot Jon Moore drew on his North Shore roots when he chose this angular house as an ideal family home.He'd been living and working in Hong Kong for 17 years before deciding in 2013 to bring his wife Julia...

We audit KiwiBuild: Hammering out the wins and losses after 6 months on the job

Saturday, December 15, 2018

KiwiBuild was always a huge call, with its target of 100,000 affordable, high-quality houses in a decade.For a start, given New Zealanders' traditional voting habits, it seems highly unlikely that this Labour-led coalition Government...

Hot Property Newsletter: Homes for the holidays?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

And the closings just keep on coming. This week we toast successful sellers, including a filmmaker and his actress wife, TV and movie producers and an NFL cornerback. On the listing side is the onetime haunt of the legendary Western actor known as “the Duke.”

Nothing says warm welcome like a fire-lined...

Let’s move to Littlehampton, West Sussex: ‘A surreal mishmash’

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Several eras have left an imprint on this south-coast seaside resort, right up to today’s star architects

What’s going for it? What will future historians make of Littlehampton? It’s a curious place, stitched together from various patches that align but somehow don’t connect. At its centre, an old Sussex port on the River Arun, church, quayside, winding lanes and still intact. To the south, facing the sea, a 19th-century resort from the era when salt water and bracing breezes were the cure for all ills. To the west, the dunes and silence of Atherington beach. East? 1920s and 1930s private estates of luxury villas, high walls and climbing roses, as if the upper crust cast of various Agatha Christie whodunnits had settled en masse. Laid over the top, a layer of 1930s to 1960s municipal seasideness – seawalls, proms, concrete, the marvellous bleached-white shelters of Mewsbrook Park, the miniature railway terminus. Here and there, arrivals from the era of regeneration and seaside gentrification (Littlehampton has never quite become the new Margate), designed by assorted young and star architects. It makes for bizarre juxtapositions, surreal even. Littlehampton is a curious place. But all the better for it.

The case against… That English south-coast bleakness, the sea often “indistinguishable from the sky”, as Virginia Woolf once put it. Still old-fashioned, in good and bad senses.

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The Fix: Spying on the Dog (or Cat)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Do you really want to know what your pets are doing while you’re away?

Got Mice? Time for a Working Cat

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Feral cats that have been spayed or neutered can be adopted — not to be pets, but to be mousers.

Forget the Suburbs, It’s Country or Bust

Saturday, December 15, 2018

For some New Yorkers, being priced out of the city means it’s time to move to the woods.

Film director Jonathan Heap looks to call it a wrap in the Hollywood Hills

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Film director and producer Jonathan Heap is gearing up for a closing act in the Hollywood Hills, listing his home of more than two decades for sale at $2.995 million.

Set on a half-acre of grounds, the Midcentury-vibe two-story makes the most of its location in the Hills with walls of windows that...

Music producer Adam Anders seeks $7 million for Hidden Hills home with recording studio

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Record producer Adam Anders and his wife, singer Nikki Anders, are hoping to spin up some interest for their home in Hidden Hills. The equestrian estate, complete with a recording studio, is on the market for $6.995 million, records show.

Past a circular driveway, the home opens through a red front...

Sports radio’s Jim Rome sells lakefront home in Indio for $2.5 million

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Sports talk radio host Jim Rome and his wife, Janet, have signed off in Indio, selling their Tuscan-inspired home in a resort community for $2.5 million, records show.

The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house, built in 2009, sits on a lakefront lot of about two-thirds of an acre. Designed for outdoor...

Adam Carolla nabs a contemporary home in La Cañada Flintridge

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Adam Carolla is swapping styles in La Cañada Flintridge. A few months after listing his Midcentury spread for sale, the comedian has paid $7.327 million for a contemporary-style house in the area.

Designed by architect Vaughan Trammell and built in 2013, the house sits at the end of a leafy cul-de-sac....

Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane evokes an old-fashioned holiday

Saturday, December 15, 2018

In an era of mega holiday displays — holographic Santas, animatronic penguins, snowflake laser lights — Altadena’s Christmas Tree Lane can strike some as a December dud.

One Yelp reviewer reported that her son was “near tears with disappointment” after they drove the lane — a near century old tradition...

Homes for sale in former churches – in pictures

Friday, December 14, 2018

Spend a silent night at these former places of worship, from Somerset to Scotland

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7 dreamy bedroom tips from professional homebody Joanna Gaines

Saturday, December 15, 2018

In a world stuck on spin cycle, home design trends are increasingly focused on helping us create the kind of inner sanctum that is equal parts personal style and psychological retreat, something celebrity designer, author, television producer and mother of five Joanna Gaines knows something about...

Top sales: Custom Bel-Air contemporary digs pace L.A. County's priciest home sales of November

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Bel-Air mansion built on speculation, the onetime Hollywood Hills address of a Hilton sister and a television host’s Beverly Hills home were among the priciest real estate transactions in Los Angeles County in November. Here’s a closer look.

$20.5 million — Bel-Air

On Orum Road, a contemporary-style...

Hot Property: Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann fall for prized penthouse in Santa Monica

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Filmmaker Judd Apatow and his wife, actress-comedian Leslie Mann, have paid $14.5 million for the Santa Monica penthouse of skincare entrepreneur Howard Murad.

The 8,000-square-foot abode sits on the top floor of a building with its own slice of Hollywood history. The 13-story development, designed...

Neighborhood Spotlight: Oil and the sea built Wilmington's future

Saturday, December 15, 2018

In 1861, the port city of Wilmington — then called New San Pedro — became the West Coast headquarters of the Union Army for the duration of the Civil War.

New San Pedro had been founded just three years earlier, when transportation magnate Phineas Banning built a wharf and cargo facilities at the...

Home of the Week: Playing up a classic in Beverly Hills

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Charles Infante, a Hollywood production designer, wanted the home to tell a story when he reimagined this charming Monterey Colonial home in Beverly Hills. The renovation retained the classic shell of the 1932-built house, including its original weeping brick, while creating a modern indoor environment...

The Pitch: Weighing options on the Westside

Saturday, December 15, 2018

In the high-caliber housing market of Los Angeles, every neighborhood has a distinct style, offering a list of pros and cons that can leave even the surest of buyers second-guessing.

Better views lead to longer commutes. Living closer to the action may mean sacrificing space.

The Pitch digs into...

Starting in 2020, all new homes in California must come with solar panels. Builders are getting ready

Saturday, December 15, 2018

When Irvine-based City Ventures started sticking solar panels on all of its homes six years ago, the builder emerged as a front-runner in the race toward energy-efficient home building. Soon it will be joined on the track by every developer in California.

Starting in 2020, California will become...