Lemon Tree, Oh Lemon Tree

“Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet/
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat”

While these lyrics from the  illustrious 1960 song “Lemon Tree” by Will Holt suggest that  lemons aren’t ideal for the taste palate, this zesty fruit is one of the most-used for culinary purposes (among many others) throughout the world. In fact, amongst all citrus trees planted and harvested for fruit across the United States, lemon trees are the most popular. And when it comes to aesthetics, they add a touch of tropical beauty to any backdrop.

If you’re thinking of growing one in your own backyard, keep this list of Lemon Tree Care Tips from eHow.com handy:

  • Use a shovel and soil (leftover from the hole or somewhere else) to construct a watering ring surrounding the newly transplanted lemon tree. Pile up the soil to create a wall around the tree that measures at least 2 feet in diameter.
  • Fill the ring with water and allow draining. Continue to water the new lemon tree every other day for two weeks and then water it weekly, until the water ring naturally disappears into the soil. After this time, only water the lemon tree when the top 1 or 2 inches of soil dries.
  • Add a 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch around the new lemon tree to deter weeds and to maintain moist soil conditions. Keep the mulch at least 1 foot away from the trunk of the tree and extend it out to a diameter of 3 feet.
  • Apply a small amount of citrus fertilizer around the lemon tree once growth begins. Repeat each six weeks through summer. Water the lemon tree after fertilizing to ensure the nutrients reach the soil.
  • Inspect the lemon tree often for any signs of diseases or pests. Check the entire tree for any changes in appearance. Contact your area extension office to identify the problem and to learn about the treatment required.

Do you have a lemon tree in your own yard?

Photo Credit: Club Algarve

Bring the Outdoors Inside with Mosaic Patio Tiles!

Interested in creating a new summery look in your in your kitchen? Consider tiling your patio and kitchen  floor with black and white mosaic tiles! While the idea seems simple, the outcome will be a dramatic one that seamlessly brings the outdoors right inside. Take a look at these mosaic tile examples from CocoCozy.

Photo Credit: CoCoCozy

Add a Touch of Cottage Style to Your Home

There’s no better time than summer to touch your home up with light cottage décor. “Cottage” style can incorporate so many different elements that make the season from –everything form the breeze of a beach house to the warmth of a county inn. In fact one of the most tantalizing things about cottage style is its implied “no-fuss” vacation-y energy, notes Freshome.com in a recent article of theirs called Simple Touches to Bring Cottage Style Decor into Your Home.

“Cottage style décor is reminiscent of vacation homes and small tucked away cabins that are no fuss, and all about leisure and a slower paced lifestyle.  You can achieve this look in your home with the following touches to bring cottage style décor into your favorite spaces. Whether its summer or winter, who doesn’t love laid back interiors to come home to?”

Visit Freshome to learn more about incorporating cottage-inspired décor into your home.

Whites, neutrals, and colors inspired by the beach are very common in cottage décor. Sun bleached hues of blues, and greens give a sense of weathered interiors. Cottage inspired décor looks like it has been there for years.
Try combining modern materials coupled with cottage décor – the results can be beautiful! The kitchen is the perfect place to add modern marble or granite counters, paired with cottage inspired cabinetry.

Photo Credit: Freshome

New Julia Rothman Patterns

They’re here! Julia Rothman’s latest collection of patterns have been unveiled this month! The Brooklyn-based illustrator and pattern designer has become recognized for her light and fun, whimsical patterns and is a fixture at a number of hip boutiques and retailers like Urban Outfitters and Hygge & West.  Her illustrations have even appeared in The New York Times, Details magazine and on a line of puzzles for Kid O. If you haven’t had a chance already to take a look at her designs, please do! They’re fun and can be used for a variety of projects. The possibilities are endless!

Visit Julia Rothman to learn more about her work.

Photo Credit: Julia Rothman

A Closer Look at Sister Parish

Did you know that many of the eccentrically traditional rooms that you see in magazines and around showrooms today have been influenced by American interior decorator and socialite Sister Parish? The New Jersey-born design partner of Albert Hadley, was first brought in to decorate the Kennedy White House in 1962 and has become known for her homey, cluttered traditionalism, her passion for patchwork quilts, painted furniture, and red-lacquer secretaries. Her stylistic influences can still be seen at the White House today, particularly in the Family Dining Room and Yellow Oval Room.

“It is only my eye that has helped me. I am still hopeless with that thing called a scale ruler. I love color, but that comes very naturally to me. From the beginning, I never followed trends. If I was aware of them, I didn’t care, for I believed as I do now, that rooms should be timeless and very personal. And I certainly don’t have a “look”-just a mishmash of everything that somehow, by instinct, usually turns out to be a warm, imaginative, ‘living room’.


-Sister Parish

The Yellow Oval Room at the White House during the administration of President John F. Kennedy, as decorated by Sister Parish
Parish influenced room by designer Bunny Williams.

Photo Credit: Sister Parish Design-a design essential

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Wainscoting in Bathrooms

Today we are featuring a guest post from our friends at Wainscot Solutions located in nearby New Milford, Connecticut.

One of our favorite techniques for adding personality and style to a basic bathroom is to add instant architectural detail with wainscoting.  Not only does wainscot look great in bathrooms it is practical as well.  People usually select wainscot because they love the look,.  However, historically it was used to protect the walls of high traffic areas.  No debating that in most homes bathrooms are definitely high traffic areas!

We really love using wainscot in powder rooms since they tend to suffer the most from the every day wear and tear of family life.  Dirty hands, swinging bags and high traffic do tend to take their toll on these small rooms.  Wainscot will add that extra protection to your powder room walls while offering endless decorating possibilities.

Go ahead and use wainscot in your full baths too since MDF will construction will hold up to these high humidity areas.  A bathroom that has wainscot walls and an interesting tile selection really stands out from the crowd.

Here are some favorite bathrooms.

Photo credit Wainscot Solutions
Red-and-White-Wainscot-Canandian-House-and-Home
Photo credit Canadian House and Home
freestanding-bathtub-bathroom
Photo credit Canadian House and Home

This Just In: HM Oliver gets a New Look and a New Name!

You’ve probably noticed a few changes to this blog if you’re a regular who visits daily to read our posts. We’ve changed our name from HM Oliver to that of our sister store, Marvin Gardens, since we’ve consolidated and moved to 713 Danbury Road. We’ve also got a new Facebook and Twitter account so be sure to add us! But don’t worry, you can still count on getting the usual garden tips and decorating ideas here, and remember, if you’ve got an idea for a post or simply a topic that you’d like to learn more about that we can help you explore, send your ideas our way!

Thanks for reading,
Amabel Chan
Marvin Gardens

The DOs and DON’Ts of Wall Ivy

If you’ve ever driven through a vine-covered stone tunnel or passed an ivy-blanketed garden fence, and thought to yourself, “How lovely!”, and had even the tiniest interest in creating a similar look in your yard or around your home, then this post is something you’ll want to read. While they may indeed look “lovely”, wall and fence vines can have some pretty detrimental effects on the structure they’re encroaching if the proper vine isn’t used. According to GardeningBlog.com, vines climb through a variety of methods: mechanically, by using tendrils, suction-type cups and piercing roots.

The two main types of ivy people grow are Boston Ivy and English Ivy. The latter is notorious for the type of structural havoc we’re referring to. If you allow it to grow up a wall or home side, it will use its little roots to claw into whatever material its climbing and eventually destroy it…imagine water expanding in a crack or a tree’s roots lifting a sidewalk. If English Ivy is allowed to grow up a tree, it will kill that, too. Needless to say, its damages can be pretty costly.

Boston ivy on the other hand looks great climbing up walls and uses suckers so it actually doesn’t damage what it climbs on, though it can ruin painted surfaces. Unlike the English Ivy, its not evergreen and will turn pretty colors and drop leaves in the fall — perhaps the trade off of having it not destroy your walls?

HM Oliver Interiors and Marvin Gardens Has Extended Their Moving and Consolidation Sale Until the End of June!

The moving and consolidation sales event will feature all regular retail at 20%-50% off and will take place at 632 Danbury Road. As part of the consolidation of HM Oliver Interiors and Marvin Gardens, we will incorporate furniture from different sources, warehouse and industrial furniture and bulk sales. All sales are final.

“If the warehouse/over stock sale works, we’ll create an urban market monthly (or biweekly) and invite other dealers to participate (Eleven Shades of Grey),” said HM Oliver Principal Amabel Chan. “It’s been done in Houston and Atlanta — maybe we can reinvent that type of retailing here on the East Coast.”

Doors will only be open from 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. through the end of the month. For more information, contact Amabel at (203) 856-0309

Please note that Marvin Gardens’ location at 713 Danbury Road, Wilton remains the flagship location.