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“Nothing beats a home-grown tomato,” proclaims Arlene Trombley of Timberwinds Nursery in Ellisville.  “I love growing them, and I love eating them,” echoes Abby Elliot of Kirkwood’s Sugar Creek Gardens.

Their love of one of summer’s best treats is probably why both women are considered tomato experts by their respective garden centers. We asked them to dish up a bit of advice to help all of us produce a better crop this summer….or maybe inspire those who have never attempted to grow tomatoes.

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The Missouri Botanical Garden grows more than 250 magnolia specimens, which can be seen from late March through mid-June in Magnolia Grove. Magnolia Grove, also known as Kiefer Magnolia Walk, provides a beautiful walking path between the Linnean House and the Climatron. Head to the Garden to see these flowers that have been frozen in time, yet remain vibrantly alive.

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In my three short years here, one Midwestern generalization has been proven true, time and time again, by both county and city dwellers. The moment the freeze warnings lift, the ice turns to rain and the brown of winter gives life to the electric-green haze of early spring, Missourians are outside fussing with whatever patch of land they can get their hands on, be it county-style acreage or a strip of sun-soaked alleyway downtown. 

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“You’ve probably seen Turfstone, and haven’t even noticed it was there,” says Ryan High, a territory manager for Belgard. The gray pavers look like lattice, and that grid-shaped design is what distinguishes Belgard’s Turfstone from other paving materials. Once set, voids – those gaps between the concrete panels – can be planted with grass or filled with another aggregate, allowing stormwater to move through the surface, eliminating the need for an irrigation system.    

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When Elaine Herbst moved into her Eureka home two years ago, she looked forward to downsizing from the sprawling home and 3-acre lot she’d maintained before. But with an aging cedar deck threatening to thwart her move, she put a redesigned outdoor space at the top of her priority list. The result is a safe and functional deck and porch that effectively expand her living space into the great wide open.

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Bring the entire cooking experience outdoors with a well-equipped outdoor kitchen. Go all out with a grill, beverage center, pizza oven and more, or create an understated space with just a couple cooking essentials. 

1. Outdoor kitchen, by Poynter Landscape Architecture. Photography by Don York. 

2. Pool house kitchen, by Rill Architects. Photography by Lydia Cutter/Rill Architects.

3. White pergola kitchen, by Passiglia’s.

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