Starting Saturday, Como's Japanese Garden opens for another summer season. The garden, created by a landscape designer from Nagasaki, is a blend of East and West because it uses ancient Japanese design principles and plants, trees and shrubs that are hardy in Minnesota. The garden, which is on the grounds of St. Paul's Como Park, is open until Sept. 30. For more info, go to and click on "Gardens."



Yes, we've had a weirdly warm spring. Yes, the temperatures are ahead of the calendar, but you'd still be taking a chance if you put tomatoes in the ground now. Unless you have a cold frame or mini-greenhouse, you'd be wise to wait a bit before planting heat-seeking veggies such as tomatoes, peppers and melons.


Would you like a little pine tree with your Big Mac?

McDonald's restaurants in Minnesota and western Wisconsin plan to serve up free seedlings along with the fries and shakes on Arbor Day, which is Friday. The seedlings will be red (or Norway) pine, the Minnesota state tree. No purchase is necessary, but they're expected to go fast, so if you want a tree, you might want to make it a breakfast run.

This is the ninth year that McDonald's has teamed up with Minnesota Forest Industries and KARE-11 TV for the tree give-away. If you're not the patient type, you can enter a contest to win one of five mature trees. For details, visit www.minnesota


SALA architect Timothy Fuller's "New Houses in Old Neighborhoods" workshop explores the process of tearing down an old home and building new in an established urban area. It includes tips on designing a home that's a "good neighbor," finding the right property and limitations of small lot development.

The workshop is at 6:30 p.m. April 28 at SALA Architects, 326 E. Hennepin Av., Minneapolis. Cost is $10 with proceeds benefitting Project for Pride in Living. Call 612-379-3037 or e-mail


In the second installment of our live/work series, we look at two couples who have retrofitted their homes to double as their company headquarters.