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Meridith Ingram

In a group text thread with my college friends, we recently covered the topic of “birds,” how we’re totally into watching them, and wondering if we’ve lost our mojo if we are discussing birds at length on a group text. (The answer is no, we’re still cool.) Call it middle age, call it staring out the window too long, call it what you will; I’m here to tell you that birds are a really important part of the ecosystem, and our appreciation of them is a step in helping protect the pollinators this planet so desperately needs. In fact, in this issue of HOME, you can read all about the importance of protecting pollinators and their habitats and how to take simple steps to do so.

Our appreciation for nature was likely amplified by the past year-plus of the pandemic. In this issue, we also celebrate other gifts that come from staying close to the homes we work hard to create and maintain. What’s better than entertaining at home, gathering friends or family on a sunny day? In this issue, we offer an updated menu for your next backyard soiree, as well as other entertaining ideas and inspiration that you can customize to your own COVID comfort level. And though you may relish summer, you may find that you need a respite from the sun; learn all about shade options like awnings and pergolas to help keep you cool. Got a hankering for fresh-grown berries, a true sign of summer? Learn how to grow some in your own backyard.

If you need a break from the outdoors, we have cool ideas for your interiors as well. Christy Rippel explores the local art scene, reminding us that art is more than a pretty painting to hang on the wall. Botanicals are a timeless design element— in wallcoverings, fabrics and more—and we explore ways to embrace this natural motif, no matter your style. We also take you into the home of Virginia Episcopal School’s Head of School, newly renovated to create a welcoming, beautiful space not only for Garth and Anne Ainslie and their family, but also students, faculty and other visitors. There’s nothing institutional about this home away from home.

Whatever your summer holds—entertaining al fresco, home projects inside and out, or even birdwatching—we hope these articles and more in our pages inspire you to enjoy your home in new ways this summer.

Thanks for reading!
Meridith Ingram

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