help! how should i care for this plant?

I rescued this plant from the test kitchen where I’ve been working; we walked in one morning to find it on the counter. It was falling over in a pot that was clearly much too small for its 16-inch height — it needed a bigger pot stat and a stake to hold up the stalk. I offered to take it home and give it some TLC, but now I’m not sure what to do. So far I’ve re-potted it in a larger planter and tied the stalk to a piece of a vintage yardstick to keep it upright. Does anyone know what type of light this plant needs, or how much water it likes? Should I attempt to put it outside on the fire escape, or will it do better indoors? Help! –Erica P.

From our partners

field trip: chicago gardens, past and present

If you want a vast, yet fast, tour of Chicago gardens, try Chicago Gardens: Past and Present at the Chicago Tourism Center. The show covers dozens of topics superficially — there are tips on how to make your own dandelion wine and coffee, images of neighborhood rooftop gardens, and a photography tour of local celebrity chef Rick Bayless’ herb garden (where he grows food to serve in his restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo). Visitors get a look at Chicago green spaces from conception to fruition — original garden plans painted in delicate watercolors hang alongside current photographs, illustrating a lush “before and after” of public parks. My favorite part is Danny Mansmith and Catherine Schwalbe-Bouzide’s life-size, handmade “Tree of Knowledge” installation. Visitors are invited to add gardening tips, poems, and other comments to the tree via paper “leaves.” (I added a first hand warning against amateurs trying to tend orchids.) The show is free and open to the public now until August 16. Visit the Explore Chicago website for hours of operation, directions, and more details. –Katie D.

By the way, if you need help growing an orchid, this post is still going strong.

From our partners

check these out: crocheted lawn chairs!


I recently inherited a bunch of fabulous stuff from a friend’s mother who was moving out of her home. Pyrex bowls, clothes, and sewing patterns, yes, but the greatest find were these two crocheted lawn chairs. I have never in my life seen anything like them — it’s nylon yarn woven over an aluminum frame — which is why I grabbed them. When I got them home, I was even more delighted to realize that the chairs don’t have just an abstract pattern, but are representations of a squirrel and deer. They are the perfect summer chairs! Has anyone out there seen anything like these? Were they homemade? I just may have to learn how it’s done so I can make myself some more! –Megan B.

Update: See kourtney’s link in comments — looks like they’re macrame!

From our partners

help! how do we build a pergola?


Reader Cassy writes to us with this question:

My husband would like to build a deck (low to ground) that will hold a hot tub. He wants to put a pergola over the hot tub. I have never seen one and was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to build one, pictures, or good places to shop for one???

Cassy, thanks for writing! A quick online seplace found a few sites that might help you out. Lowes has an online how-to on building a pergola — you’ll probably notice that the skill level is listed as “advanced.” Does that describe you? Popular Mechanics also has a pergola DIY — and not only does this one have 3D animation, it calls the project “simple”! And here’s another good article at Reader’s Digest.

We like the look of a pergola, too. Readers — have you built one? Any advice for Cassy?

From our partners

it’s the little things: talkative trader joe’s tissues



I like even minor items like tissue boxes to have a little personality, so it’s no wonder I came home with two boxes of these very friendly tissues from Trader Joe’s. They’re decorated with some old-timey artwork, but it’s what the tissue is “saying” to me that I like. “I’m there when you need to pick up icky things,” it says. “I’m there when you run out of toilet paper.” It even offers a kindly reminder to check my pockets before tossing my pants in the laundry. Where the tissues fall short are, sadly, softness. Simply put, they aren’t! (They’re like the Clint Eastwood of facial tissues.) But for 99 cents a box, I guess I won’t complain. –Mary T.

From our partners