Curious cats: Exposing the hidden dangers of houseplants

Winston loves biting the leaves of the money plant (Pachira aquatica), which is in the mallow family and is cat-safe. “He bites and bites and bites, but never eats,” according to his owner.

People often wonder if they can have both cats and houseplants.

Much depends on your cat’s personality (and yours). Is your cat curious about every new thing that comes into the house? Are your cats diggers or climbers? Do they embrace the challenge of reaching a plant on a high shelf or behind a barrier? And can you restrict yourself to cat-safe plants, tolerate some plant damage and try different strategies to keep both cats and plants healthy?

Professional organizer offers storage dos and don'ts

Photos Courtesy of Amanda Kuzak
A filled-to-the-brim storage unit, above, requires attention from professional organizer Amanda Kuzak and her crew. Among the first steps? A visit to a shredding service, below, to offload 127 boxes of outdated paperwork. Shredding the contents and disposing of the boxes enabled the owner to downsize his storage needs, saving him money in the process.

The Kuzak’s Closet organizing team recently tackled a large storage project in Menlo Park. The action shots I shared on social media caused a sensation – likely, a nervous sensation – as many readers recognized their own storage experiences.

Below I share the dos and don’ts of storage based on my years of experience as a professional organizer.

Play it cool: Backyard structures spark kids' imaginations

Photo courtesy of Barbara Butler
This Butler creation, the “Playhouse in a Tree,” includes a rope ladder and a fireman’s pole.

Go outside and play!

This parental admonition is easier said than done, what with iPads, iPhones, computer games and the like. And, of course, there’s the frenetic lifestyle that’s commonplace in Silicon Valley.

Light-catchers and beetle banks

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Blue fescues are bunchgrasses, forming small, undulating mounds either as single plants or as a groundcover. The striking blue to blue-green color can combine in interesting ways with other foliage colors or with flowers.

Native grasses and sedges are some of the most versatile landscape plants. They can:

• Enhance seasonal interest.

Do-it-yourself tips

Following are tips from Barbara Butler on how to create fun and magical backyards to encourage kids to go outside and play.

• Use full round log cut-offs to create a circle in your backyard. It doesn’t have to be high off the ground to create a fun space of “inside the circle” and “outside the circle” and “walk the circle.”

Filoli celebrates the holiday season with an array of events

Filoli has scheduled its annual “Holidays at Filoli” events Nov. 18 through Dec. 23. With the theme “A Century of Traditions,” the country estate will feature a story of Christmases from 1917 to 1975, with every room decorated; illuminated Garden Nights; holiday shopping in a setting reminiscent of European Christmas markets; entertainment; classes; and teas.

Filoli, a National Trust for Historic Preservation property, is located at 86 Cañada Road, Woodside.

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