5 Plants to Grow to Give Your Yard More Privacy

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1. Bamboo – but beware! Choose clumping varieties of this large grass family member over running ones, which are much more invasive and difficult to control. If you want to be extra safe, plant bamboo in containers, which has the added advantage of giving more height to your green wall.

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2. Bouganvillea – This beautiful vine comes in many colorful varieties. The ‘flowers’, which are modified leaves, range from deep purple to bright yellow. Plant a few varieties to give your property a full spectrum of colors. Beware the thorny nature of the trunk!

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3. Banana – Technically giant herbs, many varieties of banana exist with beautiful broad leaves that give an instant feeling of privacy and exude the calm and peace of the tropics. Also in this category are larger varieties of bird of paradise.

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4. Rosemary – typically thought of as an herb garden staple, rosemary may be grown and trained as a hedge (or virtually any other shape). It smells amazing and is happy in many sunlight conditions.

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5. Papyrus – Take a page out the pharaoh’s book and walk like an Egyptian with this more exotic plant. Leaves poof outward from a central green stalk, providing gentle edging for your space or may be grown in higher density to create a wall.

5 Ideas for DIY Windchimes

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1. Up-cycle Utensils! This DIY wind chime is perfect for a back porch or a window outside of your kitchen! Attach your old kitchen utensils (whisk, spatula, measuring cups..etc) to a wire basket from your local thrift store with twine. Ensure that the utensils are hanging close enough together to create a soft metallic tinkle in the wind!

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2. Bottle Business! Start saving wine bottles after dinner parties until you have three white wine bottles. You can use red wine bottles but the light will shine much better through the green glass! Carefully use a glass cutter and sander to cut of the bottom three inches of each bottles. Then, thread a chain with hooks through all three bottles (the corks will hold the chain in place). At the bottom of the chain, you can attach beads or any extra old metal jewelry you have, to create the chime effect against the glass!

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3. Key Cacophony! If your junk drawer has a surplus of old keys and no one in your household can remember what they belong to, it is time to upcycle an old wind chime that you can pick up at your local thrift store! Using twine, you can add your collection of old keys to the wind chime, creating a memory piece of all of the keys from your past!

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4. Seashell Sounds! Here is yet another use for the seashells and sea glass that you collect from family trips to the beach! Carefully drill holes in around 30 seashells and thread them together with fishing twine in columns of about 5 or 6. The sea glass can be attached at the bottom of each column by wrapping the twine around them and then super gluing the twine to the glass! Knot the twine to a piece of wood and you have yourself a beautiful and soothing wind chime from the sea!

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5. Wonderful Wood! Take a browse through your attic, your basement, your storage unit, and your home to see if there are any pieces of wooden furniture that do not get used enough to warrant keeping them around! If so, consider recycling pieces of them into painted pastel wind chimes that create a lovely soft wooden music when placed in the wind!

5 Ways to Care for your Citrus Plant

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1. Iron – Citrus benefit from semi-annual soil fortification with iron; they’ll be happy to tell you that they might be a little anemic with leaf yellowing.

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2. Pest removal – Some varieties of citrus, especially from nurseries, may have scale infestation. These look like small turtle shells attached to branches or the undersides of leaves. Minor infestations may be handled with isolation of the plant, gentle removal of the scale with your finger or tissue paper, and gentle washing of that part of the plant with mild soap and water.

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3. Pruning – Citrus may be trimmed to many shapes: bushes, along walls, or as full trees. Prune your tree in the fall (before freezing), cutting branches to shape the tree to fit your home orchard. Decreasing branch density improves air circulation and allows more sunlight in.

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4. Propagation – Unlike many fruit trees, citrus seeds must be planted immediately after extraction from the fruit and cleaning. While citrus fruit from stores may not have viable seed, try planting varieties from farmer’s markets or wild ones and increase your home orchard size!

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5. Enjoy the fruits of your labor – The many varieties of citrus and trees, as well as the long maturation time of their fruit guarantees you will have at least one delicious, round, colorful fruit to eat, turn into juice, or give away throughout the year!

Make Flowers Last Longer

Long live your flowers! Beautiful bouquets from the grocery store deserve to be kept alive in the beauty for as long as possible. Here are some tips to help keep those flowers.

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Prepare a vase with four inches of cool to room-temperature water. Add the floral food if small packets of it are provided.

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Flower stems should be cut diagonally about one inch from the bottom. This allows for more surface area so that water and nutrients are easily absorbed. Don’t remove the thorns.

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Remove any leaves found under the water line. If you don’t, harmful bacteria can develop and cause your flowers to wilt faster.

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Let your flowers hydrate in the vase for several hours before you move them around.Keep the floral arrangement in a cool area and away from direct sunlight or blasts of air. Make sure to change the water in the vase every 24 to 48 hours.

Add a penny to make use of copper’s natural antibacterial features.

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Add aspirin or sugar to fight signs of aging, gain more nutrients, and retain water better.

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Bleach, vinegar, and alcohol serve as disinfectants against mold.

Soda also provides nutrients to the plants.

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For clear vases, use clear liquids like white-vinegar, lemon-lime soda, or vodka.