Got Shade? Need Plants?

Deep Shade Plants Thrive Beneath Tree Canopies: A condition found in most gardens is deep shade. Canopy-loving plants like hosts and ferns thrive in these locations.

If you love green in your garden but have a plethora of shade from a canopy of trees here are some great plant ideas. These plants thrive in shade adding color and contrast at the same time.

Hostas Love Shady Areas of the Garden I love the two toned Hosta in this picture. It is a popular midsized plant with pointy leaves that vary in color from frosty blue green to variegated bright green. The hosta is a superb grower with slug resistant thick leaves and flowers that attract hummingbirds.


Hydrangeas love shade and reward you with a variety of long lasting blossoms.

Beautiful Hydrangea

Heuchera Coral Bells

Heucheras come in a wide variety of colors—from chartreuse to red to purple to pink—and can be paired with other vibrant foliage plants like foamflower (Tiarella) or hosta varieties.


Ferns, ligularia, variegated Solomon’s sea combine to create a soothingly cool spot to relax, read a book or just enjoy a peaceful moment.
Throwing Some Shade
Image courtesy of Kim Visokey
Summer Flowers Thriving in Partial Shade
Some varieties of flowers that thrive in shade are viburnum, flowering tobacco, honeysuckle, cardinal flower and aruncus.

If your garden area is dark and damp, rodgersias are extremely handsome plants primarily grown for their foliage and love wet soil. The woodland plants perform well in water gardens and shade gardens. Other plants that thrive at the edge of a shady pond include giant rhubarb, sedge and rush which can tolerate standing water.

Wetland Plants
Photos courtesy of Dorling Kindersley, Lynn Coulter, Proven Winners

Cool Fencing Ideas ~

Establishing an aesthetic boundary …. while protecting your foliage from our voracious deer population!
While privacy in our homes seems to be of paramount importance in this time of internet exposure, I love the melding of property separation with the beauty and creativity of these fences.
The combination of the open fencing set into a lower wall adds a creative contemporary design perspective.
Posts anchor nearly transparent vinyl-coated stainless steel mesh to provide safety yet still allow the visibility of the pool.

Here is a cost effective way to create an open fence concept on a budget.  Lumberyard wood and Re-bar. Good idea for keeping dogs out of fruit bearing orchards!


Buy vs Rent ?

That old question deserves a new look….not that there is much change in the answer though. Here are some thoughts and stats that might help. With the trend in home prices increasing the thought begs asking, ” do I rent and wait out the market or jump in and buy?”. With mortgage rates  still at all time lows, combined with the tax advantages of home ownership – which so far are still protected – this is an excellent time to turn your dream of owning a home into reality. So the next question is, “can I afford to buy?”.

Does it cost me more to rent? No matter what you are currently paying for rent, your total cash outlay over a period of several years will add up to a higher total than you may have realized. The following chart shows what your rent payments would add up to with an appreciated 5% interest rate of investment. On average for the past 10 years our home values experienced an average 10% increase in value per year. This year in many cities of San Mateo and Santa Clara County our property values increased  as high as 25%. Although not always a reality it does beg the question,  “why would I not want to own a home when it provides a permanent roof over my head and returns a rate of appreciation that high?”.

With the money you are currently spending on rent,you could be building equity in your home. Keep in mind, too, that over the years your income most likely
will increase faster than any increase in your mortgage payment. Rent payments, on the other hand, tend to increase – right along with your paycheck. Ask your loan officer or mortgage broker for financial plans that are available to you.

Homeowner Tax Advantages
When you’re figuring out how much you can afford to commit to monthly mortgage payments, don’t forget the tax advantages of homeownership. Both property taxes and interest payments on a mortgage for an owner-occupied home are currently tax-deductible. In the early years of a typical mortgage, all but a small percentage of each monthly payment is used to pay off the interest on the loan. This means that as a homeowner, your annual taxable income could be
substantially reduced by deducting the payments you make on property taxes and yearly mortgage interest. Ask your CPA (certified public accountant), attorney, or tax preparer how buying a home now would affect your tax situation.

Home Value Appreciation
In addition to tax advantages, you can also benefit from any increase in the value of your home through appreciation and improvements you add for your own comfort and enjoyment.

You Can Make Home Ownership a Reality
Take a good look at your personal financial situation in comparison to housing price trends and mortgage plans available in your community. You will probably discover that you are closer to homeownership than you had realized. Buying a home is probably one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. And when it’s your first home, it is especially important that you seek qualified assistance. Call me I’ll find and help you purchase – the home of your dreams!

Here is a link to a chart that the NY Times recently published that actually plots the financial advantages.  It’s easy and absolutely right on the money!

Make Up Lighting

bathroom lighting

When natural light is not possible….because you are up at the crack of dawn and the natural light is still asleep…the right light bulb is the next best thing. Selecting light bulbs may seem straightforward in theory, but finding exactly what you need can be overwhelming—especially for bathroom or vanity lighting. When choosing light bulbs for the best makeup application, be sure look for the CRI (Color Rendering Index) number on the packaging. The higher the CRI number, the closer the bulb is to providing true and natural light. For the perfect morning makeover, purchase a bulb with a CRI of 90 or higher.

Light bulbs with dimming capabilities are ideal for makeup application. The dimming switch will allow you to see what your makeup will look like in various settings, from your meeting in a brightly lit conference room to the dinner party on a lantern-lit rooftop.

Of course, getting the bulbs is only half the battle: Position the light source to shine on you directly from the front for ideal results; lighting from above or below will cast shadows that won’t let you accurately see what you are doing. So consider sconces on either side of a bathroom mirror or vanity to create even light and help you avoid major makeup mess-ups.

With the flip of a switch on your new lighting, you will be able to perfect your daily beauty routine—leaving you looking flawless every day, and in every setting.

Excerpted from an article in Veranda magazine.