“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.” – Elsie de Wolf

Elise de Wolf was born in 1865 and died in 1950. She was an American actress and renowned interior designer. Her book, “The House in Good Taste,” remains a classic work of timeless design information. And, her quote continues to speak about what we should strive to achieve in our homes and communities.

Today, more than ever, people are busy trying to juggle careers and families. Certainly, it is understandable that thoughts of making life more beautiful are not a priority. However, beauty in our lives and surroundings is central to our well-being. And, small improvements do not take considerable time or energy. Therefore, the question is: Would you like to make everything around you more beautiful? “Imagine if” everyone on your street, neighborhood, and town chose beautification as a common goal and made a commitment to work toward its success. What a lovely community. Embrace this thought a moment while I share with you the reverse – “The Broken Window Theory.”


I first read about the “Broken Window Theory” several years ago in a garden magazine, although it first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1982. The theory was the work of Professor James Q. Wilson and Professor George Kelling. The concept of the theory is: If a window is broken and left unrepaired it appears to others that no one cares, which leads to another window being broken, so on and so forth. This leads to unloved and uncared for communities. My translation: Little things matter and criminals don’t live in beautiful gardens.

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Dear friends, we can make everything around us beautiful. Honestly we can, and it is our responsibility. It begins by sharing our thoughts regarding beautification and improvement with friends and neighbors. Beauty has a ripple effect and will happen if we each do our part. I have long held the belief our actions inspire others to do more, become more, and specifically to learn more. This does not require extravagant spending. It involves little things such as cleaning up and clearing out. Make sure the grass is mowed and trimmed. Pay attention to the sidewalks in front of your home. Remove the weeds from between the cracks and pick up any and all trash that blows your way, or your neighbor’s way. If you can see it, pick it up. These little things can have the greatest impact. And, as you go about your work, enlist the help of the “little ones” in your life. It is so vitally important for children to learn an appreciation for beauty and the respect of home early in their lives.

A great opportunity for our homes and communities to dress up and shine is a special week near and dear to my heart – National Garden Week, June 5-11, 2016. Homes and communities all across our nation will be wearing their “Sunday Best” and Harrison County should be dressed up as well in honor of this special week. I have seen entire neighborhoods, with every home displaying a container of a certain color flowers, signifying support of this important week. Let me just say, when you drive down a street and all the homes have a container of, for instance red flowers, it makes a statement. A very positive statement.

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So, here are a few ideas for you, if you are interested in supporting National Garden Week. First: Give your home a tidy-up check. Second: Spread the word about National Garden week and share your ideas or plans. Neighbors can quickly become friends through such joint efforts. Third: Place a pot or basket of something beautiful in a highly visible location outside your home. Remember, it need not be extravagant. By doing this, you clearly state, “Beauty Matters.” Now, stand back and watch the ripples. I promise, you will see them.

Together, we can win the war against blight and broken glass in our communities by nurturing beauty, setting examples, caring for the Earth and being advocates for all living creatures. By succeeding, we will make life more beautiful for ourselves and future generations. And, in the process, we will become better people. Because, you see, beauty gives us reason to pause, reflect, be kinder and stand in awe. Surely, each of us want this for ourselves, our families, and everyone we love.

Enjoy National Garden Week and Make Life More Beautiful!

See you soon,