Planting in a Shady Area?

Here are 7 plants that thrive in part sun to shade.  They are easy to grow perennials, so there is no need to replant them yearly.

Hydrangea ‘Bloomstruck’


This beautiful Hydrangea is the newest of the Endless Summer series in which they bloom on new growth.  With a light pruning after their first bloom cycle they will again flower.  Bloomstruck’s Mop head bloom clusters are blue to white to pink depending on the Ph level of your soil.  The new variety has a more dwarf, spreading growth habit than the Original Endless Summer and tend to have a much higher bloom count.

Japanese Ardisia


This evergreen is a terrific groundcover for a shady location and blooms small cluster of light pink flowers yielding red berries in the fall.


Philodendron ‘Xanadu’


This tropical looking beauty is hardy in the Baton Rouge area and has a dwarf growth habit (about 3’) compared to other Philodendron.


Brunfelsia (Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow)


This semi-evergreen shrub grows best in part sun and has large beautiful blooms in cycles from spring through fall.  It gets it’s common name because the flowers change colors.  Blossoms turn from purple (yesterday) to lavender (today) to white (tomorrow).


Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’


This new variety of Mahonia is in the Southern Living Plant Collection and is slow growing evergreen for the shade.  The soft textured foliage plant mixes great with other broadleaf plants.


The Impact of Swimming Pools on Your Homeowner’s Insurance

Swimming Season Is Under Way, Are You Covered?


Backyard swimming pools are a great place to spend time with friends and family during the hot summer months. And nothing helps beat the heat like taking a swim in your own backyard. But pool ownership also comes with responsibility. If the unexpected strikes, do you have the necessary insurance in place? Whether it’s damage to the physical structure of the pool or your own liability, you’ll likely want to have certain safeguards in place. You may want to start by considering the following questions.

Is a Pool Covered By My Homeowners Policy?

If you have a pool or you’re planning to install one, it’s a good idea to let your insurer know, the Insurance Information Institute (III) says. Pools are typically covered by homeowners insurance policies, but you’ll probably want to review your coverage to make sure you have the right amount of protection in place.

Property coverage. The property component of your homeowners policy likely extends to your backyard swimming pool, so if a tree falls on your pool, your coverage may help pay to remove the tree and cover repairs to your pool, up to the limits included in your policy. Your agent can help you determine whether you should consider increasing your policy’s property coverage limits based on the value of your pool and any accessories, such as a deck or water slide.

Keep in mind that most homeowners policies exclude coverage for damages caused if water freezes in your pool, so you’ll want to be sure you drain it at the end of each season.

Liability coverage. You’ll also want to take your liability coverage into consideration. Thousands of people go to the emergency room each year with pool-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If someone suffers an injury at your pool, you could potentially incur medical or legal expenses that stem from the incident. Liability protection is a standard part of a typical homeowners policy, but because a pool can increase your liability risk, says the III, you may want to consider increasing your coverage.

A homeowners policy typically provides $100,000 in base liability coverage. The III recommends increasing those limits to $300,000 or $500,000 if you have a backyard pool.

Do I Need More Protection?

To add an extra layer of protection, the III says pool owners should consider purchasing a personal umbrella policy (PUP). A PUP provides liability coverage above the limits of your homeowners policy — generally up to $1 million. PUP protection begins when you’ve exhausted the required underlying insurance amount of your homeowners policy. Your agent can help you determine whether you have appropriate protection in place on your underlying policy to help prevent a gap in your coverage.

What Other Precautions Can I Take?

By taking a few safety precautions, you can help reduce the risk of accidents at your pool. The CPSC recommends installing a fence at least 4 feet tall around the pool along with gates that are both self-closing and self-latching. Some states or municipalities have laws in regard to pool fences, so it’s a good idea to find out what might be required in your area.

Children should be supervised around the pool as well as taught water safety skills, CPSC’s Pool Safely program says. In addition, the program says parents should learn how to swim and make sure their children also know how to swim.

By being proactive with both safety measures and insurance protection, you can gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re prepared — and spend pool time enjoying your backyard swims.


Half Table Console

Unless you want to do a lot of sawing, the likely candidate for this project will have an extending mechanism to accommodate a leaf. (Hint: Any damage or wear — a missing corner block, a major crack — drastically reduces table prices at flea markets.)



  1. Simply unscrew the extension mechanism from the bottom of the table, sand the table, then prime and paint it.
  2. Nail or screw a 2-by-2-inch piece of wood to the wall at the height of the tabletop, so that the edge of the table rests on the wood support.
  3. For extra stability, screw through the top of the table to the wood support; fill the holes with wood filler, and paint over them.
  4. At last, you’ll have a place for your keys.

Kitchen Rack

Their sleek glass and porcelain rods long gone, enameled, ceramic, and metal towel-bar supports often turn up at flea markets. Attractive — but what can you do with them?

Measure and mark the desired height of the bar, then measure and mark the placement of the support for one end.

Attach support to the wall with the appropriate screws or bolts. Then, insert pipe securely into opening.

Insert pipe securely into second piece of towel-bar support, and slide it into place. Attach to wall with appropriate screws or bolts.

Paint the heads of screws or bolts to match support, if desired. Add S hooks to hang kitchenware.

DIY Nautical Towel Hanger

To bring an evocative touch of the sea to a powder room, opt for a nautical rope towel bar instead of a traditional metal version. First, cut a piece of cotton rope four to five inches longer than the desired bar length. Make a loop on one end; secure it by tightly wrapping the base of the loop with wire. Cover the wire with Ultrasuede tape in a matching color, as shown; glue the ends of the tape to secure. Screw the hooks into the wall, spaced to the rope’s length. Attach the loop to one hook and pull the rope taut. Repeat the process to create the second loop.

Single-prong robe decorative hooks, by Liberty, in Satin Nickel,


Cotton rope, 1/2 inch

Thin-gauge wire

Ultrasuede tape

Craft glue

2 hooks

Bungee Cord Shelves


Don’t hide pretty notebooks and reading materials inside your desk — organize them on ledges and secure them with colorful bungee cord. Get the corner molding and hooked cords at your local hardware store. Paint as desired, then attach them to the wall, and you’ve got a gallery you can stretch and switch up as often as you like.


L-shaped outside corner molding (1 1/8″ by 1 1/8″, $9.25 for 96″,
Semigloss interior paint and paintbrush
Drill and 1/8-inch drill bit
3 plastic wall anchors and screws (by Red Head, 1 7/16 inch and 1 1/2 inch, $7 for 20,
Patching compound (Ready Patch, by Zinsser, $9 for 1 qt.,
Fine-grit sandpaper
2 screw hooks
Craft paint and paintbrush
USA hooked bungee cord 36″


Have a hardware store cut molding to desired shelf length (ours is 3 feet). Paint molding with interior paint; let dry completely.
Drill 3 pilot holes through side of molding that will attach to wall: one hole near each end and one in center. Tap an anchor into each hole with hammer.
Paint screw hooks with craft paint to match bungee; let dry. Drill pilot holes 2 inches beyond and 5 inches above each shelf end. Twist screw hooks through holes into wall; attach bungee.
Sand smooth and paint to match molding. Paint screw hooks with craft paint to match bungee; let dry.
Attach molding to wall by driving screws into anchors, stopping when screws are flush with molding. Cover screws with patching compound; let dry.

Boost Kitchen Storage

Whether your kitchen is large or small, ample storage is always a selling point. Take advantage of unclaimed wall or corner space with open shelves to keep dishes, spices, and cookware within easy reach. Embellish plain shelves with decorative brackets to add personality. If you frequently entertain, consider mounting a wine rack next to cabinetry.