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A weekend of Christmas, holiday open houses

Halloween is officially over, so you know what that means. The holiday countdown is on. To get you in the spirit, nurseries across Metro Detroit are hosting holiday open houses with tons of trees, decor and decorating ideas. Thirteen themed trees will be on display at English Gardens’ Christmas Open House, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at all five of its locations (go to englishgardens.com). Detroit Garden Works, 1794 Pontiac Drive in Sylvan Lake, meanwhile, will hold its Holiday Open House from Nov. 8-11 with drinks, treats and unique decor; go to detroitgardenworks.com for hours. And Farmer John’s Greenhouse in Farmington Hills will hold its Holiday Open House on Saturday and Sunday; go to farmerjohnsgreenhouse.com or call (248) 553-7141.

Messiest Room contest will tame one room in your home

Is clutter your worst enemy? You're not alone. Studies have found links between clutter and higher levels of anxiety, depression, even the stress hormone cortisol. But a new contest could help you tame the clutter quotient in one room of your home -- and give you tips for transforming the rest. Homestyle is teaming up with the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of  Productivity and Organizing Professionals on a Messiest Room contest. One lucky reader will be chosen to have a team of organizing professionals come into their home, tame the clutter, organize the rest and give your space new life. A few rules do apply: No garages, outbuildings or basements will be considered. Rooms must be safe and dry (no mold) and rooms with extensive paperwork will require additional consideration. To enter your room, go to napomichigan.com and fill out an application. The deadline to enter is noon Nov. 15. The winner will be announced Dec. 7 and the makeover will happen in January. Questions? Call (810) 348-1772 or email betty@logicalplacement.com.

Rain gardens are focus of Troy Garden Club meeting

Rain gardens are an increasingly popular type of garden that help absorb water on your property. To learn more about creating your own rain garden, the Troy Garden Club will host "Rain Gardens: How to make your gardens look great" at 1 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Big Beaver United Methodist Church, X. Matthew Bertrand, a pollution program coordinator for Friends of the Rouge, will be the featured speaker. He'll address how gardens are an essential part of the effort to restore Michigan's creeks, lakes and rivers. He'll also present ideas for attractive rain garden models and design tips. A lunch will be served at noon before Bertrand's presentation at 1. The cost is $7 for guests. Reservations are strongly encouraged. To reserve your seat, send an email to infoandideas@aol.com.

Art and Antiques raises funds to restore Alger House

The historic Alger House will provide the backdrop for this weekend's Art and Antiques, a four-day fall fundraiser for the War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms. Almost two dozen dealers from across the country will display their items in the historic Alger House and ballroom for the event, which will have general admission Friday through Sunday. There will also be lectures throughout the weekend along with ArtFest, An Evening at the Alger, on Saturday evening. Proceeds will go toward restoration of the house, along with the War Memorial's Patriot Initiative Fund. For information, hours and ticket prices, go to www.warmemorial.org.

Former NKOTB star lands HGTV show

Former News Kids on the Block star Jonathan Knight has the right stuff to restore an old New England farmhouse and HGTV plans to share his journey on TV. Knight, part of the popular boy band that teenage girls everywhere adored in the late 1980s and early 90s (me included), will star in "Farmhouse Fixer" to air next year on the network. It will follow Knight as he brings a centuries old farmhouse back to life. Knight is an experienced flipper, according to a press release from the network, restoring more than 200 homes over the last two decades. 

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