Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden campaigned in Charlotte, NC on Wednesday where he spoke to the “Black Economic Summit.” During a rare Q&A at the end of the event, Biden spoke about a new plan to move the Civil Rights Divison out from under the preview of the Justice Department and directly into the White House.
The final question Biden answered had to do with reforming the Justice Department, “and especially the civil rights division after four years of Trump?”
Biden said Trump has used the Justice Department like his own personal law firm and if he is president it will be “totally independent of me.”
Biden said the Civil Rights Division would also have a direct office “inside the White House.”
“So I would make sure there’s a combination of the Civil Rights division having more direct authority inside the Justice Department.”
“But most of all,” Biden said, he would have an attorney general who “understands” the DoJ is not supposed to be “the Department of Trump.”
“I’d make sure there’s a combination of the Civil Rights Division having more direct authority inside the Justice Department and be able to investigate, than in fact it has now,” Biden said. “I’ll do what the Justice Department says should be done and not politicize.”
A colleague recently enlisted my advice about replanting the front and side yards of his Capitol Hill townhouse. Thankfully, there was little existing vegetation (or he had cleared it already) and it was spared the tired, overgrown fate of many small urban yards.
We are entering prime season for renovating landscapes, and his project got me thinking about what folks need to know about successful makeovers and why so many small gardens go wrong. Before speaking to the right way, let’s imagine the ravages of time on a city garden the size of my colleague’s. His corner lot features an entrance garden of about 20 by 20 feet, bisected by a brick path. The connected side yard is about six feet wide and 25 feet long.
This blank slate seemed primed for a wholesale replanting that would grow into a fresh, beautiful and deeply satisfying landscape. Such a garden would stand out too against all those urban lots whose plantings had grown to blur the original spatial relationships and design intent.
Typically, hedges planted when the “Jurassic Park” film franchise cranked up in 1993 have become themselves menacing dinosaurs. They were originally intended to define the property or to provide screening but are now too broad at the top and too thin at the bottom. Similarly, both deciduous and evergreen shrubs expand into paths and shade out other plants around and beneath them. Time flies, time fudges.
Large trees provide their own conundrum. You don’t want to take down a mature shade tree — and in some jurisdictions are constrained from doing so — but at the same time you shouldn’t live under a constant gloom of shade and tree litter. (The worst offender might be a Southern magnolia.) Often, you can remove the lowest limbs and thin out the canopy to reclaim space and light. This can go badly wrong in several ways, though, and is a job for a competent and qualified certified arborist.
All gardens sag with time, all gardens need constant tweaking and adjustment, but ones that are put together with careful consideration of plant choices will age slowly and even gloriously. After removing old vegetation from the site (and improving the soil) consider my general principles for planting in small gardens:
Don’t plant for instant effect. Perennials and grasses take two to three years to reach established size, ground covers can take as long or longer to fill in, and trees and shrubs should take at least five years to have any real presence. Anything rushed or planted too thickly will come back to bite you. Central to the last point is this: Don’t plant fast-growing trees and shrubs. A variety with an annual growth rate of more than 12 inches (high or wide) would raise a flag to me.
Reduce the number of prospective ornamental trees and shrubs, and regard each one you do plant as a piece of sculpture, to be positioned and spaced with utmost consideration.
Cozy nights at home have taken on new meaning with the pandemic. Now that summer is coming to an end and life indoors will become the norm, what better time to invest in décor that will elevate your space and have you loving it even more?
Enter Pom Pom at Home, a super chic, family-owned, sustainable home décor brand known for their ‘lived-in elegance’ aesthetic.
“When we started, a textile brand with this ‘lived-in’ elegant look wasn’t readily available, so I had to create it myself. Most other textile companies at the time were very formal,” CEO and Creative Director, Hilde Leiaghat tells me. “Whereas, we curate the designs for our brand with a sense of calm and comfort in mind. Everything has to FEEL good. The touch and hand feel are truly what sell our products.”
Pom Pom at Home grew out of LA-based retail furniture and accessories store, Pom Pom Interiors, where Leiaghat was importing antiques and vintage textiles from Europe.
“At our retail stores, there was a constant demand for vintage linens. I saw this gap in the market and the growing need and seized the opportunity in launching my own line,” explains Leiaghat. From the start, Pom Pom at Home has focused on textiles that have a ‘vintage feel’ at an accessible price point. “Linen fibers lend themselves best to this look and growing up in Belgium where linen is a very common fiber and part of our heritage, it felt natural for me to start this way. As a result, Pom Pom at Home was created in the fall of 2007.”
Derived from the flax plant, linen requires significantly less fertilizer and water than other plants used for fibers and lasts longer than other textiles due to its durability. In addition to linen, Pom Pom at Home offers alternative fibers to gives customers a range of product looks and feels.
“We are known for our hand-loomed products made with high-quality, sustainably sourced materials but with unique attention to detail. We offer more than just bedding, our line includes everything from beautiful duvets, to decorative pillows, throws, tabletop linens and even rugs,” says Leiaghat. “All of our collections use an underlying soothing color palette that allows the customer to combine other pieces to create their desired look.”
“Although linen continues to be our main focus and what we are known for, throughout the years we have expanded our brand by adding other fibers such as cotton, bamboo, recycled fibers and more. In doing so, we are able to curate a variety of products, such as silky sheets, hand loomed linens and textured throws,” continues Leiaghat.