Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reader's Questions: House & Garden

Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless. ~Charles M. Crowe

When should we plant gladiola bulbs in order to have them blooming for my nieces wedding on September 12? I live in northern lower Michigan. Her colors of choice are red and white. Thank you! ~Tina

I have never tried to time out blooms for an occasion, but perhaps this will help:

The University of Minnesota recommends this:
Start planting in mid-May, then again every two weeks through mid-June. This schedule will keep the flowers coming form July through August. You could also choose early, mid-season, and late cultivars, plant them all in May, and still enjoy continuous bloom for much of the summer. The final strategy to extend bloom time would be to plant different sized corms. Larger corms bloom somewhat earlier than smaller corms of the same variety.

Make sure the glad corms you buy are at LEAST 1 1/2 inch big or larger. They shouldn't be shriveled or too dry either. That's not a good sign. I wish you luck, and hope the wedding is wonderful:)

A reader wanted to know about a method of making caramel that involved boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for several hours. There is a method going around like this but it is not safe. Yes, I'm sure it's worked for some, but it also could explode the can and cause horrible burns. I do not recommend this. On the Eagle Brand® site they say this:

For safety reasons, heating the unopened can (old cooking method) is NOT recommended. Instead use one of the following methods.

Oven Method: Pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk into a 9 inch pie plate. Cover with aluminum foil; place in larger shallow pan. Fill larger pan with hot water. Bake at 425ยบ for 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel colored.

Stovetop Method: Pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk into top of double boiler; place over boiling water. Over low heat,simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel colored. Beat until smooth.

I have a substantial stain on my carpet from candle wax. When the candle was dropped I clean up the wax the best I could, but the stain remains between the fiber. Any suggestions? ~Bernice

One year, my husband had just gotten a new coat-- it was vinyl, but looked like leather, and I knocked over my melt warmer, which splattered his coat. I took plain paper, laid it on top of the spots, then used a warm iron to "iron" the paper, which made the wax soft and the paper absorbed the wax. I think you could try this on your spot, but be very careful, and touch the warm, not hot, iron to the paper only. Take it slow and I think this may work. I used a brown craft paper, and a white paper that I used for packing-- but any white paper would work too.

You can find great ideas for Easter egg hunts on OFL :

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