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From Halloween to Thanksgiving, these versatile fall decor pieces will see you through | Home/Garden

Spiff up your space with versatile fall decor.

Season opener

Dress up this classic autumn wreath with something black and spooky for Halloween, followed by something abundantly golden to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The Plant Gallery, 9401 Airline Highway, New Orleans, (504) 488-8887, theplantgallery.com. Handmade 16-inch orange pinecone wreath, $98.



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Bugging out

Because Louisiana mosquitos don’t have an offseason, an all-natural citronella candle is a must for alfresco family dinners. Tie an orange ribbon around it and you have an instant Halloween decoration.

Phina, 3717 Veterans Blvd., and 2561 Metairie Road, Metairie, (504) 827-1605, phinashop.com. 12-ounce insect-repelling citronella eucalyptus candle with 90-hour burn time, $32.



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Leaves at home

For anyone foregoing a fall foliage pilgrimage this year, this leafy, welcoming mat might just make you happy to be safe and sound in your Southern home.

Lucy Rose, 3318 Magazine S., New Orleans, 600 Metairie Road, Metairie, (504) 895-0444, shoplucyrose.com. Falling Leaves doormat made of natural coir and grass, $36.



Cool fall skulls

A living reminder

Memento mori desk decor with living plants inside? A healthy reminder of one’s mortality never looked so fresh. Display these geometric skull planters more prominently — perhaps by candlelight — as chic Halloween accents.

Etsy, etsy.com. Handmade geometric skull concrete planters (available in six colors) by You Concrete Me Shop, $29.74 each.



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Fall, softly

If you’re on the hunt for understated autumn accessories, this velvet throw pillow is top-notch. It features designer Lasse Kovanen’s Aspen autumn leaves pattern embroidered with shimmering gold thread.

FinnStyle, finnstyle.com. Pentik Haapa velvet throw pillow (17.75 inches) in mustard yellow, $45 for pillow cover only, $55 for cover with insert.

For local stores, call to check availability before you go.

Multilevel and nesting pieces offer built-in variety and flair.

Keep things interesting with colorful patterns and prints.

Functional decor for seating, storage and more

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‘The Farm,’ a healing garden at Pennington Cancer Center, honors a beloved wife, mother and friend | Home/Garden

Charlotte Ferguson Murrell loved the outdoors — gardening, raising chickens and working on the tract of land, where she and her husband, George, raised their three children.

The former pediatric nurse also loved her coffee club of friends, close for more than 30 years.

When the 54-year-old Murrell died two years ago from colon cancer, some coffee club members decided, as a memorial, to spruce up the coffee service at the Baton Rouge General Pennington Cancer Center of Bluebonnet Boulevard, where the young wife and mother had spent many hours in treatment.

Then George Murrell designated the cancer center as a place where friends and family members could make donations in his wife’s memory.

The money poured in.

“It was unlike anything we have seen,” said Erik Showalter, president of the Baton Rouge General Foundation. “Contributions came from all over the country.”

That’s when the small, thoughtful project grew into a big, thought-filled project that patients and families will enjoy for many years to come.

“Our little coffee service project snowballed into a lovely healing garden,” said Leslie Gladney, who worked on the project with fellow coffee clubbers Pamela Gladney, Cheryl Kirchoff and Connie Miller.

The garden is nestled in a space between the buildings that house Pennington’s Infusion Center and the oncology waiting room at the Baton Rouge General Medical Center, just off Bluebonnet Boulevard. 

A balm to the senses, the garden is filled with white and pink flowers including a Natchez crepe myrtle, sweet olives, boxwoods, hydrangeas, foxtail ferns, azaleas, Shi Shi camellias, yew and agapanthus, along with blooming annuals. 

“The plan is to have something blooming year-round and something with a soft scent year-round,” Leslie Gladney said.

They’ve even given the tranquil spot a name.

“Charlotte was a farm girl, so we decided to call the garden

Make it a tasty fall by planting your own veggie garden with root crops, garlic and greens | Home/Garden

Now that we are moving into the cooler weather of October, it’s time to start seriously thinking about your fall vegetable garden.

If you don’t keep your vegetable garden productive through the winter, you are missing out on some of the most delicious vegetables we can grow. There is an amazing selection that can only be grown here during the cool season from October to May.

Another reason for putting in a fall vegetable garden now is the mild weather. No matter how much you love gardening, you have to admit that it’s more enjoyable when the daytime highs are in the 70s rather than the 90s. And during the cool season, we generally have fewer insect, disease and weed problems to deal with compared to summer gardens.

Make your bed

Whether you are planting into an existing vegetable garden or starting a new one, you must pay careful attention to bed preparation to ensure success. Before planting, do a thorough job of removing any weeds that may have grown in the bed, or remove existing turf if this is a new bed. Spray existing weeds or turf with glyphosate herbicide to kill the weeds before removing them. Check the label for waiting periods between treating and planting.

Turn the soil to a depth of 8 inches and spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic matter over the bed (compost, composted or processed manure, soil conditioner, grass clippings). Sprinkle a general purpose fertilizer over the organic matter following package directions. For more specific information on what fertilizer to use, have your soil tested through your local LSU AgCenter Extension office. Finally, thoroughly incorporate everything into the soil of bed.

If you prefer to garden in raised beds, which are generally less labor-intensive and easier to manage, kill and remove

1920s complex built to house orphans offers a taste of Spain — in the middle of Marrero | Home/Garden

Some buildings are eye-catching because they’re so grand. Others are eye-catching because they’re unique. Still others stand out simply because they feel somehow out of place.

Reader Brian Gros recently came across one that fits all three of those descriptions.

“Can you tell us about the white Italian villa on Barataria Boulevard in Marrero?,” Gros recently wrote.

Architecturally speaking, it’s Spanish, not Italian — but if you’ve seen the complex about which Gros writes, chances are you remember it.

Covering an estimated 10 acres and including several buildings in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, it looks like the sort of mission complex you’d come across in San Antonio or a Clint Eastwood movie.

It is Hope Haven, founded in 1916 as an industrial cooperative farm by the Rev. Peter Wynhoven to serve as a home, school and source of practical training for orphaned boys who had aged out of the system.



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SUSAN POAG / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Bill Curtis and Craig Guillory of Duff Waterproofing worked their way top to bottom pressure washing the Chapel of St. John Bosco on the Hope Haven campus in Marrero Tuesday, September 13, 2011. The ornate chapel was built in 1941. The pressure washing is part of the ongoing renovation of the buildings on the historic campus, one of which currently houses Cafe Hope, a non-profit restaurant program which trains young adults in both the kitchen and dining room skills.




“The orphan asylums can care for these boys only until they are 12 years of age, and that is too young for them to be thrown on their own resources,” Wynhoven told The Times-Picayune. “It seemed to me that they could be taken away from the evil influences of the city, taught some useful trade, given proper guidance and be

Those tiny moths you see are producing webworms that are killing your lawn; here’s what you can do | Home/Garden

Across the state, lawns are in trouble.

Sod webworms are the main culprit this year, said LSU AgCenter Extension specialist Ron Strahan.

“The numbers are biblical,” Strahan said. “We have observed nearly every house on a single street with damage in the lawn.”

The first sign that your lawn might have a problem are small moths that are light brown to dark brown with striping on the wings. They fly around as you walk through the grass or around outdoor lights at night. These moths lay eggs on grass blades.

Larvae hatch a week or so later, maturing into adult moths in three to five weeks. There can be two or more generations each year.

Larvae are amber in color but become greener as they feed on the blades of grass at night, causing damage to the lawn.

Another sign of sod webworms are yellowing and browning patches of dead lawn. Look at individual grass blades for a chewed appearance, with pieces of missing or chunks bitten out. The caterpillars are making a feast of your lawn.

Worm castings (caterpillar poop) in the ground are another clue. The castings, which are digested grass, appear as light beige pellets at the base of the plants just above the soil level.

In the early morning, when the dew is still on the ground, water droplets from the dew will be trapped in the webbing, and this is where sod webworms get their name. If you dig thoroughly in the soil, you can usually find a tiny caterpillar about ½- to 1-inch long.

Sod webworms seem to especially love St. Augustine grass.

If you see birds going into a feeding frenzy, pecking around in the grass, that’s usually an indicator sod webworm caterpillars are there.

Heavy infestations can lead to stress, causing your