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Consumer reviews are a two-way street

Online sites that allow consumers to describe or rate their experiences with contractors and other service providers are a fact of modern life.

Accurate rain measurement crucial to gardening

Earlier this spring, as rain showers skipped around Wichita, hitting some areas and leaving others high and dry, the need for rain gauges was more apparent than usual.

A retro home on the road

There’s camping and there’s art, but it takes special people to blend the two.

This week in the garden: Planting corn

Master gardener Everett Price of Haysville has planted sweet corn, and placed okra seed in the ground between the lettuce plants so that the okra will grow up to take the place of the lettuce as it succumbs to the heat.

The Grapevine (June 7)

Admission to Botanica will be free for everyone on Father’s Day, June 15, during the first Father’s Day Kite Festival. The festival, from 1 to 5 p.m., will feature an 80-foot-long megakite, professional kite fliers, hot-air balloons, arts and crafts, face painters, a balloon artist, food trucks and music. You can bring your kite, and kites also will be for sale.

New nostalgia: home decor with a retro vibe

If you spent childhood summers on a northern lake, grew up lunching at diners and shake shacks, or took a college road trip, you’ll be all over the next big home decor trend: American retro.

Gardener’s almanac (June 7)

Plant – Beans (snap and lima), pumpkins (wait until late June to July 4 for a Halloween harvest), sweet potatoes, sweet corn, squash, tomatoes.

North Riverside gardens deliver shots of color for tour

North Riverside gardens deliver shots of color for tour.

Rain brings growth to the garden

Rain and warmer weather have produced nice growth in master gardener Everett Price’s garden in Haysville.

How to clean windows like a pro

Don’t let dirty windows obscure your view of nature in its summer glory. Whether you do the job yourself or hire a pro, few home investments are as immediately satisfying as clean, sparkling windows.

The Grapevine (May 31)

The opening of the Butterfly House at Botanica will be an event of Riverfest this year, from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The first 100 children will be able to release a butterfly. Admission is free for members, and $3 for non-members if they have a Riverfest button. There will activities and crafts for kids during the day. Admission will also be discounted $2 with a Riverfest button each day of the festival.

Gardener’s almanac (May 31)

Plant – Beans (snap and lima), cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, okra, pumpkins (wait until late June to July 4 for a Halloween harvest), sweet potatoes, sweet corn, squash, tomatoes.

Function with style: Bathroom grab bars are no longer looking institutional

The renovation of the master bathroom in my 83-year-old father’s new house turned out beautifully, with a frameless glass shower and handmade ceramic tile accents. Neither of us wanted to make it look institutional with a grab bar.

The Grapevine (May 24)

Wichita Clean Streams, a group working to improve the water quality of the Arkansas River, will be taking orders online and at the Wichita River Festival for discounted $80 rain barrels. Barrel pick-up will be 8 a.m. to noon June 14 at Beechcraft during the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day & Voluntary Vehicle Emissions Testing.

Contemporary design explained

Are you into contemporary design? If you’re unsure, here’s a primer on the design style.

Gardener’s almanac (May 24)

Plant – Beans (snap and lima), cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, okra, pumpkins (wait until late June to July 4 for a Halloween harvest), sweet potatoes, sweet corn, squash, tomatoes.

Escape to a treehouse

Who doesn’t love a treehouse? The escape, the cool leafy cover, the feeling of floating above the earth.

Make the most of a small outdoor space

If your space for gardening is limited to a balcony or a spit of land outside your apartment door, make the most of it by choosing the right plants and decorating with pots, statuary and maybe a birdbath that pack a punch.

Babied barrier keeps Bermuda at bay

How did I get by this long without knowing about a gas-powered edger?

DIY bloggers update home, with help from TV design pro

Last year, Bruno Bornsztein and Alicia Lacy did something controversial: They painted the dark-stained woodwork in their century-old Dutch Colonial a crisp white.

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