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TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2007
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Garden Briefs

DEVICE

Garden-waste chute

(Available at www.yardbagchute.com, $22.95)

Grass clippings in summer and fallen leaves in the fall are just two kinds of garden detritus that have to be wrestled into yard bags en route to disposal. The Yard Bag Chute is designed to make lawn and garden cleanup easier.

The Yard Bag Chute is a corrugated plastic insert-liner for paper yard-waste bags. Many local municipalities across the country require yard refuse to be placed in paper biodegradable yard bags for pick up. But the bags can tear or be difficult for one person to handle.

“Mowing the lawn and trying to fill those bags was terrible,” the Yard Bag Chute’s designer and inventor Bart Mulle said, speaking by phone from Hammond, Ind.,

The rigid, 36-inch-high Yard Bag Chute is designed to keep the paper bag open while it’s being filled with grass clippings, and prevent the paper bag from being torn when twigs and branches are pushed into it..

When the chute is full, it’s pulled out of the paper bag using its two hand holes, leaving the waste in the bag. It fits standard yard bags, and after use can be collapsed flat for easy storage. It weighs less than 2 pounds, Mulle said.

ADVICE

Floral lore

If you want to bring some spring inside by buying flowers, here are some tips for care from the Society of American Florists.

For an arrangement in a container:

  • Keep the vase filled (or floral foam soaked) with water containing the flower food provided by the florist. If the solution turns cloudy, pour it away and replace it. If possible, re-cut stems by removing 1 to 2 inches with a sharp knife.

  • Keep flowers in a cool spot (65 to 72 F), away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, directly under ceiling fans, or on top of televisions or radiators.

    For loose bunches or boxed flowers:

  • Keep flowers cool until you can get them into a flower food solution.

  • Fill a clean, deep vase with water and add the flower food.

  • Remove leaves that will be below the waterline. Re-cut stems by removing 1 to 2 inches with a sharp knife.

  • Place the flowers in the vase and solution you’ve prepared.

    When you are buying loose flowers for your own arrangements:

  • Look for flowers with upright, firm petals and buds beginning to open. Yellow, spotted or drooping leaves are signs of age.

  • When using woody stems and branches (such as quince, forsythia or lilac), cut the stem with sharp pruning shears. Place them in warm water containing fresh flower food to promote flower opening.

    The Associated Press

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