Garden tour weekend

The pollinator-friendly Plymouth garden of Heidi Heiland, owner of Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens, is one of six open for tours on July 15 as part of the 75th-anniversary celebration of the Men's & Women's Garden Club of Minneapolis. Other highlights include water features surrounded by Japanese gardens and a teahouse in Edina, a koi pond and fairy gardens in Bloomington and a landscape in Hopkins that was restored to its glory after the June hailstorm. The event is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 15 in the south and west Minneapolis suburbs. Tickets are $30 for an air-conditioned motorcoach tour, including lunch, or $15 if you drive yourself. The bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. from Eisenhower Community Center, 1001 Hwy. 7, Hopkins. For tickets, call 763-221-1466 or e-mail Denise Rust at

There are still a limited number of tickets remaining for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Auxiliary's annual garden tour. The four private gardens feature a restored shoreline providing a natural habitat for wildlife and plants, shady wooded areas as well as sunny gardens, water features, hosta and vegetable gardens.

The guided tours are on an air-conditioned motorcoach, followed by Sunday brunch on the Morgan Terrace outside the Snyder Building. Remaining tickets are $65 for 9, 9:45 and 10:30 a.m. July 16. To register, go to or call 612-625-9865.

Colors that sell

Color psychology probably doesn't affect your life on a day-to-day basis — until you're trying to sell your home. The color of your walls can actually raise or lower the value of your property, a dollar amount that changes annually along with the year's color trends. Zillow recently examined over 32,000 photos of sold homes around the country, dissecting how certain colors impact their closing price. While some of the don'ts from 2016 still stand, 2017 has ushered in brand-new swatches of profitable paint colors. Here are the dos and don'ts of paint colors in 2017, as originally reported by MarketWatch.

Do: Keep it light. "Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray, not only makes a home feel larger but also neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space," said Zillow's chief economist, Svenja Gudell. Homes with blue bathrooms, specifically lighter shades of blue or periwinkle, brought in roughly $5,440 more than expected. Similarly, light blue-gray kitchens sold for $1,809 more, while natural hues like oatmeal and pale gray consistently overperformed.

Don't: While a yellow kitchen brought in $1,100 more in 2016, the sunny hue is now lowering your home's value by an estimated $820. Similarly, walls with no color at all (read: stark white) had the most negative impact on sale prices. "Homes with white bathrooms, for instance, sold for an average of $4,035 less than similar homes," noted Zillow. Finally, terra cotta walls continued to slash a home's value by $2,031 — a $1,000 increase from last year.


Wrap up the perfect towel

Here's one way to find the best bath towel: Buy a hand towel from every towelmaker you can think of and test them by feel. That's what Chicago interior designer Alessandra Branca did years ago to find her favorite because bath towels are a matter of personal taste.

Consumers should look for the grams per square meter, or GSM, according to Jane Feller, senior buyer at online retailer Bellacor. "The higher the number, the heavier and denser the towel will feel," she said.

Erin Boyle, author of "Simple Matters," was given a set of Linen Chambray Towels for her wedding five years ago that she and her husband still love, from Fog Linen ($52, "They're very absorbent, and they hold up super well," she said.

The Moroccan Gate Bath Towels from Williams Sonoma ($44, are a favorite of Lizzy Ellingson, co-founder of website registry Blueprint Registry. "The sculpted Moroccan pattern is eye-catching and keeps the towel from looking too bulky hanging on a bar," she said.

Two tips for towel care: Never use fabric softener, which reduces absorbency. Instead, add a splash of vinegar in the wash, which "works wonders in brightening and removing stains," said Feller.

LINDSAY M. ROBERTS, Washington Post