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    Long lasting hanging baskets

    As I look around my neighborhood I now see hanging baskets with few or no flowers, brown leaves, just a few sticks in some cases. A month ago these same baskets looked great. So what has gone wrong?

    In the early summer lots of people go to the garden centre. They fork out lots of money to buy beautiful, imaginatively planted baskets.

    They take them home and hang them up. Their property is transformed so every morning and every night they water the baskets. Feed them too. And they look great. Then along comes the summer holiday. It’s difficult to find someone to water them.


    Even if you do they maybe don’t have the care and attention you would yourself. After two weeks the baskets are in decline. The ones on the local pub look better. The pride is gone. Now it’s a chore to water them. But…

    …it need not be this way. It is possible to feed and water your baskets automatically. It is not expensive, it is not difficult. It is the solar garden irrigation system. This will water your baskets every 3 hours in the daytime.

    It uses water from your water butt or even a cistern if you have no garden. No taps, hosepipes or electric wires are needed. No water up your sleeve.

    The tubes are only 6mm – not much bigger than a phone line, so they are easy to conceal. You can hang the pumps out of reach so no one can steal them.

    Add some Miracle Gro to the water. Then you know the secret of really good baskets that last and last. People will start to ask how you do it. Just smile sweetly.

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    Garden Urns Add Elegance to Your Garden

    Urns can add a hint of formality and timelessness to your garden. If you want your garden to have a dignified, stately look, garden urns may do the job. They look especially impressive in pairs. Symmetry and multiplicity bring out the elegant quality and ancient aesthetic of the garden urn.

    The right finish adds to the effect.

    For example, a gothic urn might have a mossy jade, a warm rust, or a formidable stone finish. You might keep to one finish, or skillfully blend more than one.

    A rust bench, for example, can look great next to a stone urn, but if you have too many contrasting colors and finishes, your garden might look like a junk store. If, for example, you combine terra cotta with jade and rust, your garden might look messy.

    Urns are also popular in public places, especially for dealing with cigarette butts. It’s better to have smokers toss their butts into an urn filled with sand than onto the ground where they have to be swept up. To find the best variety of quality urns at a discount, go online.

    There you can find high-quality urns with ease. Choose urns made of quality materials to ensure that your purchase will be an investment and not a maintenance problem.

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    Quick Fixes for Business Writing by Jim Taylor (Review)

    An indispensable book on editing for the layperson that applies to more than just business editing–the cover does not do the content justice.

    What drew me to the book

    Jim Taylor, the author of Quick Fixes for Business Writing, was giving a workshop on his eight step editing process through the Editors Association of Canada (EAC). I wasn’t inclined to go until other editors (some with 30 years of experience) raved about previous workshops by Jim Taylor. I reconsidered, but ultimately couldn’t make it but there was mention of a book based on the workshop so I tracked that down at my local library.

    My thoughts on the book

    I have a confession to make: You know the person who judges a book by its cover? I have to admit that’s me. The cover of Quick Fixes for Business Writing has a very low-budget feel to it that would have put me off without the background that pushed me to check out the book in the first place. It’s also double-spaced (which seems an odd choice to me) and has neither a table of contents nor an index. The content, however, is great. So great that I actually ordered my own copy from the publisher (they only sell direct) for my reference library (that would be the bookcase next to my desk).

    So why did I like this book?

    It helped me get a handle on one of the toughest problems of editing, which is fixing a piece of writing without imposing your own style and voice onto it. This book’s subtitle is An Eight-Step Editing Process to Find and Correct Common Readability Problems and that’s what makes it valuable: It gives you a system to assess a particular writer’s most pressing editing needs as well as a system for pinpointing what types of things need changing and why. The why is important because as an edit becomes more invasive it becomes more noticeable to the writer (and many writers will question why you are rearranging or changing their words).

    This book is written for the layperson, in particular the business manager who has to edit reports or other documents written by subordinates and co-workers. The eight steps move from least invasive (changes least likely to be noticed by an author) to most invasive (rewriting sentences and rearranging paragraphs). It is written in a straightforward and conversational way that guides you through what to do, how to do it and why to do it.

    Although the focus of the book is editing business writing, the principles and steps can be adapted to other types of writing. If I’m faced with editing my own writing, I now pull the book off the shelf and start going through the eight steps. Having the steps prevents that paralysis phase of not knowing where to begin–especially with a long piece of writing.

    About the book author

    Jim Taylor can be found online at his blog.