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Home & Garden Notebook
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For those who dig bulbs

There is still time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. As long as the ground isn't frozen, you are good to go. White Flower Farms catalog calls tulips "The Lipsticks of the Garden" and offers double beauties such as 'Lilac Perfection' and the pink-and-yellow 'Crème Upstar.' Also available are a number of tulip mixes like the 'Impression Mixture' of big Darwin Hybrids that blooms in shades from pale pink through cherry red, or 50 bulbs in tones of cream and melon called the "Pastel Stretch Mixture." ( or 800-503-9624)

Breck's ("direct to you from Holland since 1818") is less pricey but still good quality. This fall they have several new lilies, such as the hot-pink 'Starfighter,' as well as a new tulip called 'Orange Flight' whose fragrant flowers start as green-striped pink buds and open to clear orange. The company offers several varieties of pink daffodils, including the almost too-sweet-to-be-believed 'Pink Charm' with snow-white cups trimmed in baby pink. Breck's also has a good selection of the minor bulbs, like aconites, crocus, snowdrops and grape hyacinths. ( or 513-354-1511)

There's nothing minor about the showy selection at B&D Lilies in Port Townsend, whose catalog alone provides a lesson in growing lilies. Check out the new 'Sweetheart OT' lily, which grows 4 feet high and has an apple-red center edged in mango-yellow. As always, B&D carries plenty of Oriental lilies, some freckled, some in soft pastels, all highly fragrant. ( or 360-765-4341).

Wherever you get your bulbs, be sure to plant them in a sunny spot with well-drained soil.
 Photo Easy-to-grip handles are a feature of Garden Gals tools from Garden Pals.
Gardening made easier

In these last frenzied days of fall gardening, how often have your wrists and hands grown tired long before you wanted to stop? Unfortunately, most garden tools are designed for men, and are too large and heavy to be used easily by women. Now Garden Pals has introduced a line of tools designed by women for women, smaller and lighter to make gardening tasks easier and less stressful. Garden Gals tools have easy-to-grip handles and lightweight design to prevent fatigue, plus they're rust-proof and durable. The thinning shears and bypass pruners have earned the Arthritis Foundation ease-of-use commendation, and you'll want a pair of the utility scissors for the kitchen as well as the garden. (Ask at your local garden center, or order at 800-666-4044;

Concrete solutions

Sometimes it's hard to get a concrete idea for finishing touches either on a new home or for a remodel. But at you can do exactly that. Ideas in concrete abound here. There are concrete countertops, floors, mantels, sinks and even furniture. Colors run the rainbow among micro-toppings, self-leveling overlays, acid-etch stains, water-based stains, stenciling, sandblast templates, stampable polymers and other applications. It comes smooth, disguised as stone, or rough. Concretenetwork can also be reached at 866-380-7754.

'Green' paint
Rodda Paint offers Horizon-brand interior paints that are free of solvents.
Paint is getting more user-friendly all the time. There are those that dry quickly, clean up with water and pollute less.

Rodda Paint has had a line of environmentally friendlier interior paints and primers, called Horizon, since 1995. And earlier this year, the acrylic interior and exterior paint line was certified by Green Seal, a nonprofit organization that rates products on both environmental impact and performance. Rodda is one of only three companies to have received Green Seal certification, and it is the only one in the country to have Green Seal-approved exterior paint.

Horizon interior paints are 99 percent free of solvents, and essentially free of volatile organic compounds. These are the ingredients in paint that produce the odor and fumes. Horizon therefore has minimal odor during painting and none when it dries, about two hours after application.

For more information, visit, or call 800-452-2315.

Seattle free-lance writer Valerie Easton and Seattle Times staff writer Rebecca Teagarden contributed to this notebook.

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