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Ask sunset: have a question about life in the west? we have the answers.

Q: My dog tracked mud on my lovely Moroccan kilims.

How do I clean the rugs without damaging the colors and fibers? -ALEXANDRA MARTIN, REDWOOD CITY, CA

DEAR ALEXANDRA First off, don't reach for water. It creates visible rings after it dries that are difficult to remove, says interior designer Brian Paquette. Instead, he suggests saturating the stains with club soda (the bubbles help break up the mess). Let the rug dry for 24 hours, then douse with club soda again, but this time sprinkle on large-grained salt. Leave for another 24 hours and gently vacuum. But if your rug is especially valuable, or the stains are really bad, send it to the cleaners.

Q: My husband and I come from New England originally and love fall color.

Where in the West can we go for a long weekend with nice lodging, good food, and spectacular views?--R.D., HENDERSON, NV

DEAR R.D. Near you, high up 11,916-foot Mt. Charleston, The Resort on Mount Charleston Ontcharleston is homey, not too pricey, and gives you easy access to fall-color hiking. More glamorous but farther afield--good for, say, a four-day weekend--Utah's Sundance Mountain Resort (sun has superior food at The Tree Room and spectacular fall color in the surrounding Wasatch Range. A little closer, Flagstaff and the nearby San Francisco Peaks are a good bet--stay in town at The Inn at 410 (, grab coffee and a pastry at Macy's (macys, then head up to Coconino National Forest's Inner Basin 'frail for aspens at their most brilliant.

0: We recently moved here. I just planted flowers marked okay for six-plus hours of sun, but they're getting fried--and water is so expensive. Am I limited to cactus? -TAMI SHEAD-AUGUSTYN, OCEANSIDE, CA

DEAR TAMI Take heart--you don't have to embrace the Mojave look if you don't like it. Many gorgeous yet tough flowering plants can thrive where you live. In general, however, planting anything in full sun during summer is a challenge, particularly a tiny annual straight out of a cell-pack (even sun lovers won't sustain themselves long without established roots).

Fortunately, fall is nearly here, which is the ideal time to put new plants in the ground (learn more on page 45). Best bets for your sunny coastal garden are Mediterranean-climate shrubs and perennials from 1-gallon containers, such as rockrose (Cistus), sea lavender (Limonium perezii), and trailing African daisy (Osteospermum fruticosurn). Also Euryops (shown left)--it gets a bum rap for being commonplace, but given the right conditions (including where you live), it's bulletproof.

Email your questions about Western gardening, travel, food, wine, or home design to

SUNSET (ISSN 0039-5404) is published monthly in regional and special editions by Sunset Publishing Corporation, 80 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, CA 94025. Periodicals postage paid at Menlo Park and at additional mailing offices. Vol. 233, No. 3. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright C., 2014 Sunset Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved. Member Audit Bureau of Circulations. Sunset, The Magazine of Western Living, The Pacific Monthly, Sunset's Kitchen Cabinet, The Changing Western Home, and Chefs of the West are registered trademarks of Sunset Publishing Corporation. No responsibility is assumed for unsolicited submissions, Manuscripts, photographs, and other submitted material can be acknowledged or returned only if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sunset, Box 62406, Tampa, FL 33662-4068, or call (800) 777-0117 U.S. subscriptions: $24 for one year.
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Date:Sep 1, 2014
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