A touch of blue for the holidays; putting on compost in the cold
Eastern red cedar can have lovely blue “berries” with a light frosting of white. Only the female has the (technically) blue cones. The male cones are yellow-brown. You may want to plant several cedars to ensure a female, or purchase one of cone-bearing age.
Juniperus virginiana is a tough native, tolerating poor soil. It wants sun and moderate moisture. Its berries are relished by more than 50 species of birds. Both sexes make handsome additions to the landscape. As they mature, lower trunks become bare, displaying rugged bark like ropey muscles, that exfoliates. Some varieties have been selected for bluish foliage. Deer-proof!
You can incorporate the compost into your garden now or in the spring. Cold weather slows down biological activity. The soil organisms will not be as active, but they will not be killed. Do not leave your soil bare over the winter, as it is prone to erosion and nutrient runoff. Cover with shredded leaves or straw.
University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information at extension.umd.edu/hgic. Click “Ask Maryland’s Gardening Experts” to send questions and photos.
Clean lines and decluttered spaces were popular in 2018. But Birtcher believes we will soon tire of the totally streamlined look and throw in a dash of nature.
“I am seeing more influences from Morocco and reduction of the midcentury modern minimalist for more vintage, organic and layered textures incorporating bespoke pieces,” she says.
Birtcher also predicts a new take on the all-white color palette. “All-white kitchens and baths will remain popular, but I think homeowners will incorporate organic texture within them,” she says. “I think marble and lighter wood tones will continue into 2019.”
Design trends have encouraged a complete rejection of wallpaper since the 1980s. And people have been replacing busy, oldfashioned wallpaper in favor of beige and white walls ever since. But Birtcher is confident that new styles of wallpaper will be all the rage in 2019.
“My favorite new trend is the re-emergence of wallpaper,” Birtcher says. “It appears that it’s making a comeback, and I am loving this new trend! I believe it will be with us for a while. There is so much creativity, texture and art that we are seeing being transformed into beautiful papers.”
The Pantone Color Institute selected Rose Quartz as its Color of the Year in 2016, alongside a dusty blue called Serenity. This launched blush and rose gold into mainstream home design — popularly paired with creamy whites and marble finishes.
Birtcher predicts that in 2019, interest in these shades will be exhausted. “I don’t believe the blush pink and rose golds will continue,” she says. “I believe they are difficult for most people to incorporate into their homes. I think metallics will replace this look.”
It seems Pantone would agree. The institute released a 200-color collection of metallics called Pantone Metallic Shimmers in October, and it’s certain to inspire fashion and product designers into the coming year.
Bold accent walls have been a popular design choice for many years. But Birtcher thinks that 2018 is the last year this look will trend for a while, as we lean toward more calm, neutral looks.
Birtcher is prepping her clients for the change. “If my clients really want that look, I try to incorporate it with just a hint of a darker hue, but not anything that is a huge contrast,” she says.
Style options for tile expand with every year, given enhanced manufacturing technology, new designs and easy peel-andstick products. But as with anything that presents near-limitless possibilities, some experiments stick and some get tired quick.
Birtcher thinks horizontal mosaics are tired. “Tiny, offset horizontal tiles in contrasting colors on a backsplash for the kitchen and in bathrooms are so busy, and I think this product dates the home,” she says. “Using a softer pattern tile, coordinating granite splash or subway tile is a much better alternative. It will retain a time-honored element in the space without dating it and making your eyes blur.”