Home & Garden

Antiques expert to speak at Blue Grass Trust show

With our current economic struggles, now's the perfect time to brush up on the basics of recycling old items into newly valued treasures. A-Z of Antiques & Collectibles author and antiques expert Judith Miller will be the featured presenter at the Blue Grass Trust Antiques & Collectibles Show, March 13 to 15 at Keeneland.

She'll speak at 11 a.m. March 13 in the Keeneland Clubhouse. Miller's genius lies in gathering a knowledgeable team of experts and a well-organized approach to sorting out a multitude of objects from the past. Her annual price guides are more than dollar-amount references; they are investigations that research the history, creation and use of specific items.

The guide is an alphabetical listing that provides quick background information about all kinds of people and things, from Alvar Aalto, a 20th-century modernist Finnish architect and designer, through zwischengoldglas, a German word describing an ancient type of decorative ornamentation, revived in Bohemia in the 1700s, in which gold leaf is sandwiched between layers of glass.

Illustrated by a strip of color photographs along the bottom edge of each page, it's an across-the-board reference for inquisitive antiques aficionados. Need advice on addressing the damage to your trees and shrubs from the recent ice storm? From 1 to 4 p.m March 14, a panel of tree experts will talk at The Arboretum, 500 Alumni Drive, about how various types of trees fared under ice, and why.

The panel will include Ian Hoffman, certified arborist and owner of Big Beaver Tree Service; B.G. Hubbs, certified arborist and president of Community Tree Care Corp.; Dave Leonard, board-certified master arborist; and James Lempke, curator of native plants at The Arboretum.

The group will answer questions and will list points to consider before pruning. The program will conclude with a walking tour during which the most common types of ice storm damage to trees will be identified, and treatment options suggested.

Suggested donation: $5. Register in advance by calling (859) 257-9339.

For an online survey of articles and issues involving Kentucky's recent ice storm, and to share comments about your experience, go to my blog at Kentucky.com.

Visit N.Y. home show from home

If you can't make it to the Architectural Digest Home Show in New York City, March 26 to 29, you can enjoy a tour of exhibitors while sitting at your computer. Go to www.archdigesthomeshow.com, then follow links to "Show Information" and "Exhibitor List."

A quick glance under A, B and C will result in finding "Accents of France," where you'll discover what treillage, or the art of trellises, is all about; Beth Weintraub and her multipanel artwork, which includes a group called Waiting Trees with an appealing perspective; and Comfort Radiant Heating, whose portable snow- melting mats seem like something that could prevent slipping on ice the next time a storm hits. You're on your own for the rest of the alphabet.

It's the Great Tomato Celebration

Interest in kitchen gardens is on the rise, and tomatoes head the list of most sought-after vegetables. The folks at White Flower Farm are embracing the "love apple" in a big way this year by offering more than 145 types of tomatoes in their catalog, and by sponsoring a Great Tomato Celebration recipe contest.

Noting that "One of mankind's primal urges is the desire to bite into a sun- ripened tomato, fresh and warm from the vine," the contest offers the grand prize — a trip to the White Flower Farm nursery in Litchfield, Conn. — to whoever comes up with the most- smashing tomato recipe. Cook's Illustrated magazine publisher and editor Christopher Kimball will be the judge. But hurry: The contest ends March 15. For details, go to www.whiteflowerfarm.com.

Radicchio redux

While clearing away some fallen branches from the garden this week, I was surprised to discover a row of radicchio growing. The seeds must have gone unnoticed in a leaf lettuce mix I planted last spring, because there it was, a collection of shiny spheres, looking like little magenta-red cabbages, and completely unexpected against February's new snow.

I nibbled at a couple of the bitter leaves and decided to let them grow a bit more while investigating. I discovered that radicchio, or Italian chicory, has a strong flavor best used sparingly as a salad accent or cooked as zingy bits in risotto. Varieties carry Italian names, including Verona and Palo Rossa, and although it has been used for centuries in Italy, it's a relatively new taste treat here in the United States. Apparently it's simple to grow. Cool weather and lots of moisture bring out the best in radicchio.