A touch of blue for the hol­i­days; putting on com­post in the cold

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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