Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
September 26, 2012     The New Era Paper
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September 26, 2012

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IT, f ra - Septembei 26, 2012 . Page 9 Banana t:ree takes off in local man's yard by Scott Swanson Of The New Era Don Ross admits he wasn't expecting much when he planted a banana tree "start" in his front yard in Meridian Heights. Ross had been living in Washougal, Wash. after managing the Sweet Home Sprouse-Reitz store for years, and had a neighbor who'd been a missionary in Af- rica. "He'd spent most of his life in Africa and he moved in across the street," said Ross. "He brought a start back and a couple of years after he had it, he gave me a start." When Ross moved back to Sweet Home eight years ago, he brought the start along in a pot and stuck it on the hillside next to his home. It grew. When the plant started to break the ground, in the middle of that first July, Ross noted that it seemed to be doing fairly well. "I came out and I was like, how much did this grow?" he said. He staked the plant and measured it. It grew 12 inches in 24 hours. "It was unreal," Ross said. The plant dies down every winter, but comes back in the spring, he said. The recommended climate for bananas, according to the website www.banana-tree. com, is "Constant warmth" - "the ideal night temperature would be 67 F. The day temper- atures would be in the 80s." High humidity is also recommended. But according to the Oregon Associa- tion of Nurseries, gardeners in the milder areas of Oregon have had success growing palm and banana trees, despite the chilly winters. Nurseries have been selling increas- ing amounts of both. Photos by Scott Swanson Don Ross, right, stands in front of the banana tree in his yard. Above, some small bananas are visible above the blossom on the tree. This year, for the first time, Ross's tree actually produced a blossom and some tiny bananas. "Somebody told me that in this area, they just don't bloom," he said. "You would think it would need a lot of water. I don't wa- ter it. It just does its thing." Thinking ai'000000ut redesigning? Make personality a focus Fall is the time of year when thoughts turn back toward the home. With kids back in school and the holidays approaching, many homeowners look for ways to make their rooms more stylish, but struggle to find the balance between beautiful and livable. "Of course your home should be stylish. But if you can't enjoy living in it, what's the point?" says Erinn Valencich, a Los An- geles-based interior designer and blogger for HGTV's Design Hap- pens. "I believe in creating beau- tiful spaces that are fun, elegant and livable." Redecorating a space with a few key elements can completely transform the look and feel of the room without breaking the bud- get. "When starting the room re- fresh process; keep the livability of the design elements in mind to make sure you have a balance that works within your lifestyle, but still gives the room personality and a special flair for style," notes Valencich. One of the easiest ways to breathe new life into a room is by refreshing the floors. A dull or scuffed floor can make a room look tired. Selecting the right flooring will create the perfect canvas to help tie all a room's de- sign elements together. Flooring is one of the key design elements that will bring both personality and livability together. Adding personality "Great rooms have a person- ality ... a mix of vision, style and inspirations from everyday life, all while being comfortable and easy to live in," says Valencich, who shares her tips at www.quickstep- style.corn/videos. Blending a variety of influ- ences will add distinction to a room. Start off by having a clearly defined color palette. One option Valencich suggests is selecting a rich-toned floor to serve as a warm background for furniture. "I like the Burnished Walnut planks from Quick-Step's Ver- esque collection to really help ground a room," says Valencich. "These floors feature exclusive GenuEdge Technology, which provides a realistic hardwood edge visual. The floors stand up to busy lives, and stay looking great." To add contrast to a warm floor, add a subtle color to the walls. Then, incorporating a col- lection and variety of prints and frames will help break up the wall color and add visual interest. Once all these elements are brought to- gether, Valencich recommends adding a few pieces and accesso- ries that will add dimension, such as a chandelier or colorful accent pillows to tie the entire room's personality together. Livability within design Authentic style that works in real life is key to achieving a beautiful and comfortable room. Valencich's recommendations in- clude: Keep both comfort and style in mind when selecting fur- niture pieces. Develop a list of how the room will be used by your family and guests. Keep it top-of-mind when determining the layout and flow of the room. Select flooring and furni- ture that is durable. Be sure to re- view all the warranty information before making a purchase. Consider how much main- tenance will be required to keep Photo courtesy of.ARA Content Beautiful rooms are meant to be lived in. the pieces in your room looking fresh. Don't let the room get too cluttered so that it becomes un- comfortable for guests to relax. If you are going the D1Y renovation route, seek products that are easy to install. "Keep all these different piec- es in mind while going through the design-planning process. Then, mix in your sense of style and per- sonality for a room that will fit all your needs," says Valencich. Getting started If you are considering pur- chasing a new floor, quickstep. com offers a floor configurator that allows you to choose both wall color and floor styles to see how they work together. To make floor selection even easier, Valencich has curated her own collection of Quick-Step "Designer's Choice" floors, which can be viewed at quickstepstyle. com. - ARA Content