Tips To Know If An Online Nursery Is Reputable

After hours of eye strain, you finally order a bunch of plants for your garden. For weeks, you wait in excited anticipation, but when your plants finally arrive, they are much less than you expected. Based on the pictures you had seen online, you thought you were ordering large, lush plants and getting them for a steal with the low price tag and shipping cost. However, when you open the small box shipped to you, you find it full of dead-looking bare roots or pathetic little sprigs of plants. Continue reading for advice on buying plants online and tips on finding reputable online nurseries. Buying Plants Online When looking for the best place to order plants online, first, start by reading all the information on the nursery’s website. Many online nurseries will show pictures of lush, established plants but then state in the fine print that they ship only bare root or young cuttings of these plants. Read about their shipping methods – are plants individually packaged and protected? Are cuttings shipped in soil? These are important things to know before buying plants online. Next, fully read all plant descriptions. Reputable online nurseries will have detailed plant descriptions, as well as planting instructions. Plant descriptions should include the plant’s hardiness zone and mature size details of the plant, as well as tips on how to properly care for the plant, along with its botanical name. What are the plant’s soil and moisture needs? What are the plant’s light requirements? Are there details about deer resistance or if it attracts birds? If an online nursery does not have detailed plant descriptions, it’s best to keep searching for one that does.
Friends or family may be able to help you find the best place to order plants online. Word of mouth goes along way. If someone suggests an online nursery to you, ask questions about the shipping and quality of the plant’s they received. Ask if the plant’s survived the winter. Reputable online nurseries will also have customer reviews and comments. Be sure to read these before ordering plants. You can also search gardening forums and ask about people’s experiences will certain online nurseries. It’s also important to keep in mind that supporting local small businesses is good for your community. While not all local garden centers have that unique or exotic plant you are looking for, purchase what you can from local businesses. Usually, these local garden centers will have plants guaranteed to grow in your location and staff that can answer all your questions.

Tips For Selecting The Best Plant Nurseries

New and experienced gardeners rely upon a well-run and informative nursery for all their plant and landscaping needs. Picking a plant nursery that is reputable and has healthy zone appropriate plants can be the key to a successful gardening project. Online plant nurseries can be part of the process and cementing a relationship with bonafide electronic sources can be difficult since the product isn’t right before you. For both online and home-based businesses, it is crucial to know how to choose a reputable nursery for the best selection, knowledge and pricing. How to Choose a Reputable Nursery Those first trips as a novice gardener can be overwhelming and the guidance and suggestions of a professional nursery team can make all the difference in the world between a healthy garden and one planned to fail. Choosing the best plant nurseries depends upon more than simply healthy looking plants. Staff should have excellent customer service skills, garden knowledge, reliable information about gardening in your zone, and the availability to help you choose the right plants and products for the way you garden.

One of the first steps in picking a plant nursery is to check out their products. This means investigating the health of the plants but also what other items you might need in the garden. Are they good quality, durable, readily available consistently? Is staff knowledgeable and willing to help even if it means directing you to a competitor who has a better line of products in a specific range? The hallmark of any good business is good customer service and the ability to fully satisfy customer needs. Think of your personal nursery as a font of information and a tool to use in your gardening adventures. In combination with your local Extension office, your nursery can help you transform dreams into realities and be part of the maintenance and future planning processes. Gathering Plant Nursery Information As you assess your nursery options, it is important to gather any pertinent plant nursery information. This includes looking into their Better Business Bureau rating, talking to other plant enthusiasts about their opinion of the business and watching sale sheets when they come out to get the best buys on the products that you need. A personal visit to the location will further determine which are the best plant nurseries for you. This is when you get to experience the service level but also touch and feel all the specimens to determine fitness, adaptability and selection. Don’t be afraid to touch and investigate plant specimens to ensure that there are no disease, pest issues, stress, or weeds. Remember, what you bring home can infect your garden and a reputable nursery will only carry healthy plants with a good chance at thriving in your garden and no chance of starting an infestation or rampant disease. Online Plant Nurseries Who can resist those plant catalogues that come in winter? They bear the promises of spring and summer, warm weather, sun and flowering beauty in the landscape. However, be wary of wild sales and promises from electronic retailers. There are good deals to be had but not every online source is dependable. Again, ask around to plant friends to find their opinions on the business but also do some homework. Some of the most trustworthy online nurseries will offer plants suitable for your zone with excellent shipping practices, including the timing of delivery. They will know what plants cannot be delivered to your region and should have an online chat available to help inform you of the best options for your landscape. There are many consumer websites which can help rate the best nurseries for you. Angie’s List, Garden Watchdog are excellent resources to help you determine which nursery can meet your needs.

Get the most from the money you spend

Here are some shopping tips to help you get the most from the money you spend:

At the store

  • Resist impulse buying! Ask yourself:
    • Do I really need it?
    • Do I need it today?
    • What if don’t buy it now?
    • Can I do this at a lower cost?
  • Limit the cash you carry.
  • Shop with your budget in mind.
  • Avoid ATM fees.
  • Watch for sales.
  • Wait for the right price.
  • Look for coupons and rebates.
  • Shop for value!

Food shopping

  • Save money by eating at home.
  • Make a shopping list for the grocery store.
  • Watch for sales and coupons.
  • Buy products you use frequently in large sizes or bulk quantities.

Credit card tips

  • Get a credit card with a low annual fee and low interest rate.
  • Don’t use a credit card if you can’t afford the price.
  • Pay your credit card bills on time.
  • Avoid cash advances.

Keep track of your spending

  • Keep your receipts.
  • Check receipts against statements.
  • Check statements against your budget.

Cell phone tips

  • Shop for a package deal.
  • Ask questions.
  • Read the contract before you sign.
  • Understand the features and prices.
  • Watch out for high text messaging charges!
  • Keep track of your usage.
  • Pay your bill on time and in full.

When making major purchases

  • Consider your needs.
  • Determine your budget.
  • Research before you buy.
  • Comparison shop.
  • Research product claims.
  • Try before you buy.
  • Ask family and friends.
  • Confirm the full price.
  • Watch for sales, coupons and rebates.
  • Consider negotiating.
  • Find the best overall value — quality, service and price.
  • Inspect products before you buy.
  • Understand the warranty.
  • Know the return policy.
  • Save your receipt.
  • Speak to the manager if you have a problem.

Love With Pullout Shelves

You might not think that making a small change to your shelves can have a large impact on your life, but that’s exactly what pullout shelves do! By simply adding professional grade sliding rails, sliding your shelves out will be a breeze. With just a touch of a finger, pullout shelves will provide the easy kitchen access you’ve been waiting for.

Pullout Shelves as a solution

If you are tired of having to deal with inefficient storage, you should consider retrofitting your existing cabinets with pullout shelves. They provide the most access to your storage areas with the least hassle. Pullout shelves make even the deepest parts of your cabinets easy to reach; and they save time by enabling you to instantly see where everything is located in your cabinets, so you won’t have to waste time searching for what you need.

Don’t settle for a kitchen that isn’t customized the way you use it. You deserve a kitchen that you love, and installing pullout shelves will finally give you that feeling. ShelfGenie® specializes in creating customized pullout solutions that can help overcome the hurdles of having traditional shelves.


The Colour
Let go of your colour-phobia! It’s easy to fall into the safe rut of having a colour monotone closet, filled with pastels, blacks, beiges or navy. Take the plunge this year and reclaim your rainbow! Orange is the No. 1 colour in fashion this season, with red and yellow following in second and third.

If you are feeling reluctant about being too bold, ease into colour by adding it in small but dynamic accents. Bright jewelry or shoes are a safe way to excite your outfit without overwhelming yourself – and others – with a loud colour.

The Prints/Graphics/Lace
Have fun with graphics! Sharp geometric shapes and graphic designs are back in style this season. The great thing about embracing prints is that they can be very forgiving with any physical imperfections you feel you may have.

By paying attention to the print’s blocking (the way the colours fall on your body), you can accentuate your goods with simple optical illusions. Remember, if you are going to wear a busy print, keep the rest of your outfit simple.

Do you wanna be fashionista this summer

Finding your own personal fashion style from season to season doesn’t mean spending a lot of money. The keys to success are being strategic and, of course, having fun! Here are some tips on how to revamp your wardrobe, and showcase your vibrant personality through your fashion choices:

The Colour
Let go of your colour-phobia! It’s easy to fall into the safe rut of having a colour monotone closet, filled with pastels, blacks, beiges or navy. Take the plunge this year and reclaim your rainbow! Orange is the No. 1 colour in fashion this season, with red and yellow following in second and third.

If you are feeling reluctant about being too bold, ease into colour by adding it in small but dynamic accents. Bright jewelry or shoes are a safe way to excite your outfit without overwhelming yourself – and others – with a loud colour.

The Prints/Graphics/Lace
Have fun with graphics! Sharp geometric shapes and graphic designs are back in style this season. The great thing about embracing prints is that they can be very forgiving with any physical imperfections you feel you may have.

By paying attention to the print’s blocking (the way the colours fall on your body), you can accentuate your goods with simple optical illusions. Remember, if you are going to wear a busy print, keep the rest of your outfit simple.

Ocean prints and nautical graphics are also a good pick for a casual look. Blues and turquoise colours complement paler skin. Asian-influenced prints are not a new trend, but are worth a look. Elegant and often unassuming, they give the illusion of class and the exotic (perfect for summer), even on a simple t-shirt.

Lace and sheer materials are a great way to spice up your look, while still keeping it casual. Choose items with small lace or sheer detailing rather than risking overkill. Sometimes less is more.

The Fit
Finding clothing that works with your body and not against it can sometimes be a difficult task, especially for mature women. The issue with many reasonably priced retail stores catering to women over 50 is that they don’t actually cater to woman over 50. We find ourselves stuck with limp, baggy t-shirts and tank tops that just cover the body, but don’t celebrate it.

Unless you have a large clothing budget or a personal seamstress, finding apparel perfectly suited to your body can be challenging and time consuming. A quick and economical solution is to have your clothing altered – by a professional or do it yourself. When you find an item you love, buy a size larger, and have it customized for your body. It will make all the difference in how it fits and how you feel.

The Accessories
Scarves and earrings and belts – oh my! One of the best ways to create your own unique fashion personality is with your accessories. It’s all you need to crank up the style on any outfit! Floral printed summer scarves add elegance to an otherwise one-note outfit.

The Bohemian look is back, which means there is an immense variety of beautiful prints for scarves available at retail outlets, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your ensemble.

Another of my favourite accessories this summer is the clench belt. A throwback to the ’80s, they are back with a vengeance and work for most body types. Try one with an oversized shirt or dress. It instantly gives you an hour-glass figure by redefining your waist. Be adventurous! You will be surprised how much a unique accessory will liven up an otherwise dull outfit.

Targeting the Senior Citizen Population

As the population of our country ages and the demand for senior-friendly housing increases, are you ready for the challenge? Communities catering to the “active adult” are springing up everywhere as these retirees who want housing that meets their lifestyle and needs are looking to perhaps make a move. But what about the senior who wants to stay in the home in which they have made a lifetime of memories?

For the senior who wants to remain in that home but might need to supplement their income or have a particular financial goal in mind, there is another option. And that option is one little known insider secret that savvy real estate professionals across the country are embracing in record numbers. It’s the reverse mortgage.


A reverse mortgage?

Isn’t that for seniors who want to stay in their homes? As a real estate professional why do I need to even think about this product? The answer may surprise you. There are a few very creative ways to build your business and enhance your position in the industry as specialist in working with the senior market using the reverse mortgage as a financing tool.

As the baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) approach retirement age, they are having a real impact on the real estate market and the economy in general. Companies are implementing strategies geared to capturing the attention of the baby boomers. How can you position yourself to serve their real estate needs as this next generation of seniors makes their home buying and selling decisions? And just how could the reverse mortgage fit into this picture?

Let’s consider for a minute the definition of a reverse mortgage. It is a loan product that enables people age 62 and over who own a home to take a percentage of the equity out of their home without having to sell the home, move, or take on a new mortgage payment. Some of the more common uses for reverse mortgage proceeds include supplementing one’s income, paying for expensive medications, paying off a mortgage, basically uses that would be considered “needs”, as opposed to “wants”.

As the reverse mortgage gains popularity (record numbers of reverse mortgages have been originated in recent years) the uses for the proceeds have become more and more creative and these proceeds are being used to meet the “wants”. Increasing numbers of seniors are using reverse mortgages to fund travel, gifts to children and grandchildren, and charitable giving. But there is one more use that will be of particular interest to real estate agents.


What if a senior could use reverse mortgage proceeds to purchase another home?

Yes, indeed, the proceeds can be used for virtually any purpose, so why not help your senior clients meet their real estate goals by utilizing the reverse mortgage? Let’s say you have a senior couple whose dream it has been to own a vacation property that all of their children and grandchildren could enjoy together. They have been struggling to figure out how they can afford it. The savings they have available are not enough for a cash purchase and they are hesitant to take out a “forward” mortgage for fear of the monthly payment.

Tips for safe online shopping

If Black Friday is the traditional holiday shopping kickoff for bricks (i.e., brick-and-mortar stores), then Cyber Monday is considered the kickoff for clicks. This term was coined for the phenomenon involving the Monday after Thanksgiving – the one day out of the year when people rush to work… so they can use their high-speed office computers to take advantage of fantastic online sales.

Though it’s still a massive holiday sales day, thanks to huge deals and free shipping, Cyber Monday is really just the beginning of the online holiday shopping season.

Now, people shop all season long from the convenience of their couch, commuter train or local coffee shop, using phones, tablets and other mobile devices

In a recent survey of 1,215 mobile device users, Webroot found that 50 percent of respondents are likely to purchase holiday gifts using their smartphones or tablets this shopping season – up from 22 percent who did so in 2010.

There is no better time to shop online than the holidays, when the hoards of shoppers can sap your energy and holiday spirit. But the Grinch may be stealing more than the presents from Whoville; he might be stealing your personal information if you don’t take precautions for safe online holiday shopping.

1. Ho-ho-hold on before you click on a link delivered to you in an email. Can’t wait to buy that Chia Pet for 80 percent off? Beware clicking on links you receive from unfamiliar websites. It could be a “phishing” scheme, where shoppers who click through are led to a false site developed to steal their data. If the deal is too good to pass up, enter the website name by hand into your browser.

2. Santa’s watching! And so are thieves unless you lock your device. Webroot found that a surprising 53 percent of respondents leave their devices unlocked, which can expose their personal information to prying eyes. Most devices request that you lock it with a password or code; take advantage of this feature to keep your information secure.

3. ‘Appy holidays: For safe online shopping, make sure your apps are downloaded from a trusted source, such as the Android Market, Apple App Store or the Amazon App Store. When you download the app, it will ask for various “permissions.” Be sure to read through them and note whether they make sense… for example, does a shopping app need access to your contact list? Another way to check on the safety of apps is to read through the feedback in the comments section of the market and choose apps with a high rating.

4. There’s no place like home for the holidays… for safe online holiday shopping. Remember, a secure network connection – like that in most homes or workplaces – is ideal. Public Wi-Fi can be hacked by someone with the right tools, exposing your passwords, billing information and other sensitive data. Therefore, if you’re using a public connection, it’s best to limit yourself to window-shopping and price comparing, rather than buying.

5. Deck your halls: A security app is more than ornamental window dressing -it’s vital for online shopping. Webroot found that only 40 percent of respondents have a security app installed on their smartphones and tablets, putting their devices and personal information at risk. Take a hint from older surfers: While younger users more often use their devices for shopping – to place orders, compare prices and download coupons – the survey found that users ages 50 and older were more likely to have security on their device.

Wedding dress shopping tips

You’ve got the ring, now it’s time to find the dress! Wedding dress shopping can be very exciting, and is no doubt a moment that you will want to cherish and make the most of. Just remember, it’s never too early to shop for a dress, especially if it’s for an event that happens once in a lifetime!

If you’re not sure where to start, or maybe you’re a little nervous, here are some essential reminders to help you when shopping for your wedding dress…


Know your look

You’ve worn many dresses and perhaps it’s about time to figure out which showcases your character and form. This is the best foundation in purchasing your best dress style: are you going for a mermaid, an A-line or a ball gown? What shapes fit your body shape best, and what design elements enhance your features? These are all things to consider when you begin shopping for your wedding dress.


Do it early

Start looking for your wedding dress at least six months before your wedding day, (some eager brides even start 12 months before!), this allows time for finding the gown and then any alterations or changes you may want to make. ‘Do it early’ also applies to your appointment time, if you’re planning to go to a few boutiques during the day you may want to book your first appointment as early as you can.


Set a budget

Setting a budget means you can go in with a game plan, and will help give the salon assistants an idea of what gowns to suggest. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a gown that is ridiculously over budget. Also remember that without setting a budget and using planning tools like a budget calculator, it is easy to let the expense of a wedding become much greater than you expected.


Book your appointment on a weekday

Weekdays make great salon appointments and mean you can avoid the crowds. If it’s possible for you, schedulea working day appointment and leave your desk for that all-important fitting.


Ask for opinions…but not too many

Ask the opinions of those closest to you. Bring your best counsel around and let them give opinions about the dress and the look you’re going for. However, sometimes letting too many people voice their opinion can become quite overwhelming so limit you shopping party to as small a number as possible.

Tips For Ordering Plants

Winter doldrums are soon swept away by the appearance of seed and plant catalogs in the mailbox. Usually around the New Year, gardeners greet the postal person with uncharacteristic glee. Seed and plant catalogs are the harbinger of finer weather and fun times in the outdoors. Using mail order catalogs, and now online companies, requires a little know how and sometimes some translation. Here are some guidelines on how to decipher plant catalogs and get the right plants for your garden and the best value. Tips for Ordering Plants First, you have to decide what is important to you as a gardener. Ask questions. Do you only want organic selections? Seeds that are part of the national seedbank? A company that gives back to community and global concerns? Is price your main concern? Many questions go into the decision regarding what company to use as your seed and plant catalog connection. References from publications you trust, veteran gardeners and even the local master gardener’s organization can clear up which companies are reputable and which are “seedy.”

Now that you know which nurseries and seed suppliers you want to work with, you must decide on the types and varieties of plants you require. A primary concern is the United States Department of Agriculture zone in which you garden. This knowledge ensures that you choose plants that will thrive in your climate and that are hardy. Hardy refers to the maximum cold temperature the plant can withstand and survive. Next, you should see which varieties of plants do best in your zone. Just because a tomato is hardy in your zone if planted at the right time of year doesn’t mean it will produce well. There are cultivars that are designed for wetter areas, drought prone zones or difficult soils. Know your basic horticultural terms such as annuals, which only come once per year; perennials, which grow year after year, and cultivation terms like disease resistant. Your garden’s soil, local moisture, amount of sun and a variety of characteristics should influence your seed and plant choices. Using mail order catalogs lacks the personal touch and advice of a local nursery, so do your research before you complete your order.

Singapors shopping strips

Singapore’s mania for shopping almost rivals its obsession with food, and barely a year goes by without a vast new retail monolith flinging open its doors. Prices may be higher than in Malaysia and Thailand, but Singapore beats its neighbours for sheer convenience and familiarity. Electronics and computers are no longer the steal they once were, but they can be cheaper provided you do your homework and shop around. Clothes are cheaper than in most Western countries, and you can pick up reasonably priced Asian antiques provided you know what you’re doing.

This 2.2km shopping boulevard inspires awe and horror in equal measure. Packed with more than 20 shopping centres, from label palace ION Orchard to the high street staples of 313@Somerset, the sheer scale of this retail onslaught is overwhelming. As if there weren’t enough malls already, another giant – Orchard Gateway – opened in 2014. You have two options on Orchard Road: dive in, or run screaming.


Haji Lane

Blink and you’d walk right past this narrow alley in Kampong Glam without a second thought, but Haji Lane is a place of pilgrimage for Singapore’s hipsters. Boutiques here open and close faster than local fashion bloggers can keep up with, but you can be sure to find a great range of cool womens and menswear, accessories and homewares during any visit – along with a handful of cute cafes and bars. One of the more popular stores that has stood the test of time is quirky womenswear boutique Dulcetfig.


Tiong Bahru

Singapore’s hottest new shopping enclave rivals Haji Lane for its selection of hip fashion and lifestyle boutiques such as Nana & Bird and BooksActually. Reward your efforts with a leisurely brunch at Tiong Bahru Bakery, PS Cafe Petit ( or 40 Hands Coffee (


Little India

A world apart from the gleaming malls of Orchard Road, Little India’s ramshackle streets are a treasure trove of art, antiques, textiles, food and music, while the infamous 24-hour Mustafa Centre department store is an experience in itself. Keen bargainers can score cut-price electronics here, while computer enthusiasts will do well at Sim Lim Square. Heading down towards Kampong Glam, you’ll find handicrafts, textiles and boutiques and, sandwiched between the two areas, the thoroughly un-Singaporean ‘thieves’ market’. A short walk away is the old neighbourhood of Bugis, which, while strictly located neither in Little India or Kampong Glam, has something of the atmosphere of both.

Common Pot Sizes Used In Nurseries

Inevitably you’ve come across nursery pot sizes as you have browsed through mail-order catalogs. You may have even wondered what it all means – what is #1 pot size, #2, #3 and so on? Keep reading for information on the common pot sizes used in nurseries so you can take some of the guesswork and confusion out of your selections. About Nursery Plants Pots Nursery containers come in a number of sizes. Oftentimes, the particular plant and its current size determine the pot sizes used in nurseries. For instance, most shrubs and tree are sold in 1-gallon pots – otherwise known as a #1 pot size. The # symbol is used to reference each class number size. Smaller containers (i.e. 4-inch pots) may also include SP in front of its class number, indicating a smaller plant size. In general, the larger the # is, the larger the pot and, thus, the larger the plant will be. These container sizes range from #1, #2, #3 and #5 to #7, #10, #15 on up to #20 or higher.
The gallon nursery containers, or #1 pots, are the most common nursery pot sizes used in the industry. While they normally only hold 3 quarts of soil (using liquid measure), they are still considered to be 1-gallon pots. A variety of flowers, shrubs and trees can be found in this pot size. As the plants grow or mature, nursery growers may step up the plant to another larger size pot. For instance, a #1 shrub may be stepped up to a #3 pot. Variations in plant pot sizes can be quite different among individual nursery growers. While one nursery may ship a large, lush plant in a #1 pot, another might only send a bare, twiggy-looking plant in the same size. For this reason, you should research beforehand to make sure of what you are getting. Grade of Nursery Plant Pots In addition to the various pot sizes, some nursery growers include grading information. As with the variations among sizes, these too may vary among different growers. These are usually dependent on how a particular plant has been grown (its conditions). That said, the most common grades associated with plant pots are: P – Premium grade – plants are normally healthy, big and more expensive G – Regular grade – plants are of moderate quality, fairly healthy, average cost L – Landscape grade – plants are of less quality, smaller and least expensive choices Examples of these might be #1P, meaning a #1 pot size of premium quality. A lesser grade would be #1L.

How To Tell If A Plant Is Healthy

Plants are expensive and the last thing you want is for your beautiful new plant to keel over and die shortly after you bring it home. Even lush, full plants can develop problems fairly quickly, but knowing how to tell if a plant is healthy may prevent trouble down the road. Healthy Plant Selection Learning the signs of a healthy plant is the first step in ensuring its overall success. Choosing healthy plants involves looking closely at all parts of the plant, beginning with the most obvious part – the leaves.

Foliage growth – A healthy plant should have plenty of healthy new growth. With the exception of plants with bi-colored or variegated leaves, most plants should display green leaves with bright, even color. Don’t buy a plant if the leaves are pale. Avoid plants with yellowing or brown leaves, or if the leaves look brown and dry along the edges. Signs of a healthy plant include a full, bushy growth habit. Avoid long, leggy plants and, instead, choose compact, sturdy plants. Watch out for plants that look like they have been pruned; this may indicate that diseased or damaged stems have been removed to make the plant look healthier. Pests and disease – Look closely for signs of pests and disease. Check the undersides of the leaves and the joints where the stem attach to the leaves, as this is where common pests are often found such as: Aphids Spider mites Scale Mealybugs Roots – Healthy roots are signs of a healthy plant. Roots are difficult to see when a plant is in a pot, but you can definitely tell if the plant is rootbound. For example, pick up the plant and look at the drainage hole. If you notice roots growing through the hole, the plant has been in that pot too long. Another big sign that a plant is rootbound is roots growing on top of the potting mix. A rootbound plant isn’t always a bad thing if the plant is otherwise healthy because it demonstrates that the plant is actively growing. However, keep in mind that if you buy a rootbound plant, you will have to repot it soon.