Ho Thi Ky Flower Market: A Taste Of Old Saigon In Ho Chi Minh City

Fresh lotuses at Ho Thi Ky Flower Market

When I travel, I like to go where the tourists are not. So on Thursday I was thrilled to visit Ho Thi Ky, the largest flower market in Ho Chi Minh City. Continue reading

Clear the Air With These 10 No-Fuss Houseplants

Peace lilies can help clear the air of harmful toxins

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans on average spend 90 percent of their time indoors. And indoor environments can be poor, trapping dangerous chemical toxins as well as bacteria, pollens and mold. Continue reading

Seasonal Eating: The Best ‘Warming’ Foods To Try This Winter

cover garlic

Winter has its challenges if, like me, you’re looking for fresh produce. And that makes it hard to resist all those imported fruits and vegetables. Continue reading

10 Great Christmas Tree Ideas From Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens

OK, so maybe you won’t be copying the tropical tree above. But in December, Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens is teeming with Christmas tree ideas.  And the displays are nothing short of astonishing. Continue reading

New Hybrids Promise To Rock Your Poinsettia World

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New hybrids are changing the poinsettia world

December 12 is National Poinsettia Day. That is to say, the day set aside to honor a plant that has become synonymous with the holiday season. And while not everyone’s a fan, it’s hard not to marvel at the species’ growing popularity. Continue reading

Mistletoe: The Poisonous Plant We Love To Hang At Christmas

European or Common mistletoe, Viscum album

This season many of us will be hanging mistletoe as part of a long-standing tradition. And while kissing under its evergreen branches is a holiday ritual, the plant doesn’t necessarily have our best interests in mind. Why?  Because mistletoe contains a Christmas cocktail of toxins that can be harmful to human and pet health. I’d advise keeping it out of reach if it’s going to be part of your seasonal decorations. Continue reading

Daffodil Dreaming: Top Varieties To Plant Before Winter

Yesterday I planted the last of my daffodils for the season. As I dropped the bulbs into their egg-shaped holes, I could already envision their bright yellow cups emerging like trumpets come spring. Which got me thinking: what is it about daffodils that make us so happy? And how many varieties are there? I set out to find the answer. Continue reading

Nature’s Flu Remedy: Antiviral Anti-inflammatory Lemon

Now that flu season has begun, most of us are looking for ways to stay healthy. For some, this means getting the flu shot, for others it means restocking their arsenal of home remedies. For many, it means a combination of both. However, sometimes it doesn’t take more than opening your refrigerator to uncover one of the best flu fighters of all. That’s the humble lemon. Continue reading

Great Pumpkin! It’s A Fruit, Not A Vegetable

Pumpkin is a fruit, not a vegetable

For those of you who thought pumpkin was a vegetable, think again. It’s a fruit. For me, that changes everything when it comes to baking pies for Thanksgiving. Continue reading

The Curious Story Of White and Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum)

The dried fruits and white seeds of black pepper, Piper nigrum

I’ve been a fan of black pepper since early childhood when my mom would sprinkle my morning eggs with the aromatic spice. Later I grew to love the coarser varieties. Ground at the table, the dried fruits tumbled onto my salad leaves, invigorating my meals with their gritty flavor. White pepper came later. A key ingredient in many Swedish dishes, it enlivened all of our family smorgasbords. Continue reading