I’m a gardening pro and found the eight laziest ways to keep your plants alive – plus they’ll only cost you pennies

A GARDENING pro has shared eight of the easiest tips to keep your plants alive – and they’ll only set you back pennies.

Armen suggested using a tablespoon of cinnamon to keep pesky insects away, and a sponge at the bottom of your plant pots for a no-effort solution to watering.

Armen took to TikTok to share eight easy ways to look after your plants - including using cinnamon to ward off pesky insects


Armen took to TikTok to share eight easy ways to look after your plants – including using cinnamon to ward off pesky insectsCredit: TikTok/@creative_explained
He also recommends using cellotape to remove spider mites from leaves, and leftover potato water to add key nutrients back into your soil.


He also recommends using cellotape to remove spider mites from leaves, and leftover potato water to add key nutrients back into your soil.Credit: TikTok/@creative_explained

He also claimed keen gardeners can use cellotape to quickly remove spider mites from leaves.

Known online as @creative_explained, the content creator regularly shares life hacks and green-fingered tips with his 5.9 million followers.

In a new TikTok reel, he said: “Gardening hacks.

“If you put a sponge in the bottom of a pot it will act as a water reserve for your plants, keeping the soil nice and moist.

“Sprinkle cinnamon on the soil to keep ants away and stimulate root growth!

“Misting your plants with chamomile tea will boost their growth and prevent diseases on the leaves.

“If you want your plants to bloom, sprinkle some Epsom salt on the soil.

“To quickly remove bugs off leaves, just wrap some tape around your hand and then just tap away.

“Check this out…dead on contact. Sorry spider mites.

“After you’ve done boiling potatoes, all that water is packed with nutrients.

“Don’t dump it out. Save it and use it to fertilize your plants!

“Clone your plants with honey! Just get a clipping, cut the bottom at an angle, dip it in the honey and plant it in soil. done.

“Put a whole egg in the hole next time you plant something – it’ll enrich the soil.”

Fans loved his quick, green-fingered tips, with the video gaining more than 32,500 likes and 344,400 views.

In the comments, other TikTokkers shared their reactions, with one writing: “So many ideas!”

“Okay the cinnamon and epsom salt are true and will work. They are not long term like everything in this video, but it works,” another commented.

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A third added: “I love this guy! He has all kinds of tricks for plants and stuff.”

Someone else put: “Constantly learning. Love your info. I use it offensive.”

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Blackstone’s Real Estate Co-Head Reveals How It Will Spend New $30B Fund

Blackstone has just raised the biggest real estate fund in history. But amid the most volatile market in a generation, the big question is just how and when the world’s largest alternative asset manager will spend $30B of equity.

Blackstone Global co-Head of Real Estate Kathleen McCarthy told Bisnow where the new fund will be putting its money, and even more interestingly, where it won’t be following the final close of Blackstone Real Estate Partners X — the largest fund ever raised, not only in real estate but in private equity writ large.

She also explained why the current volatility is different to the post-Lehman crisis, but will still offer up great deals, outlining how the company will structure its giant portfolio to avoid becoming prey rather than predator when the market does turn.


Courtesy of Blackstone

Blackstone’s Kathleen McCarthy

“We made a huge pivot in our business,” away from US traditional office assets, toward industrial, rental housing, data centers and life sciences, with hotels holding a place in the firm’s heart, McCarthy said.

“Those sectors were 3{b5e4caabb46945dac267f6fa1789e0b2b1831cce91f79b27f72a0de22e4bb018} of our portfolio a dozen years ago, now they’re more than 80{b5e4caabb46945dac267f6fa1789e0b2b1831cce91f79b27f72a0de22e4bb018}. We’ve got that right, and that has allowed us to perform in a choppy environment, but [it has] also given us so much data to go on the offensive now in those sectors where we shine the brightest.”

Blackstone is a bellwether for the industry as the manager with the largest portfolio in real estate — $326B at the end of 2022. It got there by making large profits on huge deals during and after the 2008 financial crisis, so how it spends its latest opportunity fund in the most significant period of disruption since then will be closely watched by the market.

McCarthy told Bisnow where the new fund will be putting its money and where it will hold it back, namely traditional offices, and why the current volatility is different from the post-Lehman Brothers crisis, but will still offer up enticing deals.

“We’re starting to see interesting opportunities where you have willing sellers, what I’d call motivated sellers,” McCarthy said.

“Real estate is being painted with a pretty broad brush as if everything is the same, but the sectors we’re focusing on are actually in good shape. We’re starting to see deals where the assets themselves tend to be high-quality, we can build conviction around them. But the seller needs liquidity, and these are the most salable assets in their portfolio.”

Blackstone has been sitting on $24B of its $30B haul since the middle of last year. As of the end of 2022, it had only spent $674M of that, its annual report showed. Like everyone else in the market, the company has been waiting for the shrinkage of the gap between what sellers think an asset was worth yesterday and what buyers think it will be worth tomorrow.

That moment is coming, McCarthy said, as owners increasingly need capital to complete business plans and developments, or to

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EnviroProjects Named SBA’s Maryland Home-Based Business Of The Year

EnviroProjects LLC in Severna Park has been named the 2023 Maryland Home Based Business of the Year, by Stephen D. Umberger, district director of the US Small Business Administration’s Baltimore District Office.

Aaron Keel, principal of EnviroProjects, along with 13 additional award winners from Maryland, will be honored at the 37th annual Maryland Small Business Week Awards Luncheon on June 8 at Martin’s West in Woodlawn, Maryland.

The company assists clients with advanced environmental compliance needs through strategic, cost-effective, accurate and productive solutions. Since 2009, EnviroProjects has specialized in providing natural resource services and regulatory and cultural services while conducting due diligence and contamination assessments. Keel has more than 25 years of experience working with both private development and public infrastructure projects throughout the mid-Atlantic region. He is a member of numerous environmental and civic organizations, most recently serving as chair of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Baltimore District Regionalism Committee, and volunteers with local restoration efforts of the Severn Riverkeeper and Patuxent Riverkeeper organizations.

Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week. This year, the dates are May 1-5, with national events planned virtually and in select cities across the country.

For information on the 2023 Maryland Small Business Week Awards Luncheon or for tickets, visit www.mdsbwawards.org or contact rachel.howard@sba.gov.

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Actor Tyler James Williams Takes His Love for Gardening Beyond ‘Abbott Elementary’

On the award-winning series, Abbott Elementary, actor Tyler James Williams often shows us his Black boy joy through gardening. However, what many don’t know is that his love for beautifying urban spaces and vacant stems a lot beyond the television screens. It’s something he’s passionate about in real life. To celebrate National Gardening Day, which is today, April 14, 2023, the Everyone Hates Chris star is teaming up with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day for an initiative that not only honors his love for getting his hands in the dirt, but one that also seeks to bring joy to communities across the country.

“Growing up in New York, I never really saw gardens or spaces like this, so I didn’t know much about it,” the actor shares with EBONY. “It wasn’t until I got older and had money that I was able to experience the joy that gardening brings. Oftentimes, things like this [gardening] are reserved for the affluent, but the Lots of Compassion initiative with Mrs. Meyer’s will help to change that. So I am always down to team up with something that helps to better our communities.”

For every Compassion Flower product sold on mrsmeyers.com & Grove Co., $1 will go to the Lots of Compassion Program. The goal is to fund $1 million in grant programs over the next 5 years so that local community gardens and their surrounding communities can thrive.

Williams shares that by allowing Black and Brown communities to have resources to spruce up the often run down vacant lots found in inner cities, it can help not only transform that area, but it can positively impact the residents’ mental health as well. Off camera, he often spends time helping out in gardens around Los Angeles. He even recently helped plant Compassion Flowers in the Third Street Elementary School garden.

But, for him, it’s also about increasing representation in the gardening space.

“When most people hear gardeners, they think of their grandma or aunties. But Black men garden too,” shares Williams. “I am proud to help bring that representation to light, but I think the pandemic also really heightened the visibility as well. We’re seeing more and more men in the gardening space, and I love it.”

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The Bombshell Real Estate Lawsuit Has Just Exploded | Inman

In these times, double down — on your skills, on your knowledge, on you. Join us Aug. 8-10 at Inman Connect Las Vegas to lean into the shift and learn from the best. Get your ticket now for the best price.

Judge Andrea R. Wood’s certification of class in the Moerhl “bombshell lawsuit” potentially opens the door for millions of homeowners to be reimbursed for the commissions they paid to buyer agents between 2015 and 2020. Faced with a prospect of a judgment that could be billions of dollars, what will the defendants (NAR, Anywhere, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Keller Williams and RE/MAX ) do next — settle, go to trial and/or file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

In three previous columns (March 16 and March 19, 2019, and May 4, 2022) I outlined the numerous issues with both the Sitzer Burnett and the Moerhl complaints.

The Moerhl complaint states:

The Buyer Broker Commission Rule ensures that price competition among buyer brokers is restricted because the person retaining the buyer broker, the buyer, does not negotiate or pay his or her broker’s commission. In addition, the seller’s inflated commission offer cannot be reduced by buyers or their brokers, as Defendants also prohibit buyer brokers from making home purchase offers contingent on the reduction of the buyer broker commission.

The Moerhl complaint is based primarily upon the NAR’s Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy and NAR’s Code of Ethics without regard to the extensive amount of local, state and federal legislation and regulations that govern price fixing and commissions. Also, the term “The Buyer Broker Commission Rule” was made up by the plaintiff’s attorneys and does not appear in either of those documents.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys ignore the various types of direct buyer representation

This includes Exclusive Buyer Agreements, fee-for-service models, one-party listing agreements for a single buyer, and various types of rebate models. Furthermore, builders and For-Sale-by-Owners typically pay the buyer’s agents directly as well. In fact, the Census Bureau currently projects there will be 643,000 new home sales in 2023; that’s 13.5 percent of NAR’s predicted sales of 4.78 million for 2023.

Challenges with the expert witness testimony and theories in the certification

The plaintiffs’ motion for class certification relies on the opinions of two experts, NYU economics professor Nicholas Economides and Harvard law professor Einer Elhauge.

  • Elhauge compares the real estate industry to air travel and trading stocks. The comparison fails to address that purchasing an airline ticket or stock can be done with a few simple clicks. Closing a real estate transaction involves hundreds of pages of documents including contracts, titles, loan documents, mandatory disclosures, agencies, etc. It also involves the coordination of the agents, the buyers and sellers, titles, mortgage professionals, appraisers, as well as the company or attorney responsible for closing the transaction and making sure the conveyance is properly recorded.
  • Elhauge also states (and the judge agreed) with his application of “the undisputed economic principle that decreased demand results in lower prices.”
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