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TIPS

Starting a terrarium

Some recommended plants for terrariums: needlepoint ivy, polka-dot plant, pilonia (trailing plant), African violet (miniature form) and dampened forest sheet moss.

Bamboo clumps on the march

Look for emerging new stalks in and around existing stands. The soft, fleshy stems are easily cut down; use hand pruners at ground level. Remove them before their leaves unfurl to build more underground runners. Small stands can be contained with flagstone pavers set vertically into the ground and butted together.

WEB SITES

www.yarddoctor.com

Got a problem?

Recent rain has brought greener grass, but also greener weeds. Identify the problematic plants and find out how to control them with help from a "Yard Doctor."

Briggs & Stratton's Trey Rogers shares his expertise on turfgrass with information about weed, insect and disease control. Photos and descriptions help gardeners identify problems. Rogers prescribes solutions to these problems with tips on proper care.

"I've found that 70 percent of lawn problems homeowners see are preventable and related to mowing practices," says Rogers, who is a consultant to the engine manufacturer. "My standard rule of thumb is to never cut more than one-third of the grass blade during mowing. By following this one-third rule, you'll allow the remaining two-thirds of the grass plant to develop deep roots and create dense, healthy turf that will choke out weeds, reduce insect infestations and retain moisture."

TOOLS

No more slouching plants

Plant Ties by Velcro: This 30-foot roll of cut-to-length plant-tie material has the adjustability of traditional Velcro, using just one piece of fabric that grips as it overlaps itself. The ties are reusable and weatherproof, and the color is relatively unobtrusive. They also can be nailed, screwed or stapled to wooden surfaces ($3; Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, True Value Hardware or www.velcro.com).

CLIPPINGS

Occasional excerpts from fertile sources.

Shed-building 101

Outdoor Woodwork: 16 Easy-to-Build Projects for Your Yard & Garden, by Alan and Gill Bridgewater (Storey Books, $17.95):

"Sheds are defined and described by the shape of their roof. There are two basic types: the gable roof, which slopes down from a central ridge board, and the shed roof, which has a single gentle slope. A shed roof is much cheaper and easier to build than a gable roof because it can be made from large sheets of board. When you are planning a shed you need to consider the head height required inside the shed."

_ Compiled by LYRA SOLOCHEK from Times and wire reports

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