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County Extension

  • Addressing cold weather plant damage

     It’s been a couple of weeks now since the winter blast that sent the temperatures plunging into the teens. From what I’ve seen at the New Hanover County Arboretum and at my humble abode, the usual suspects — oleanders and sago palms — got fried. While that was no surprise, the level of flower damage on pansies and violas was a bit worse than I expected. And, my poor ornamental beets look like they may have gone to the great compost heap in the sky.

  • Shopping cart makeover

     It’s the third week into 2017 and I’m going to bring up those New Year’s resolutions again. If your goal is to eat more healthfully this year, I have some simple ideas to try in the grocery store. Rethink what you’re putting in your cart.

  • Chaste tree: A stunning plant for a tough climate

      By Sam Marshall

     

  • Back to basics of growing plants

     The end of a tumultuous year has many of us wishing for simpler, and seemingly better, times when we weren’t bombarded with “news” 24/7 and there was no such thing as Twitter, Facebook or selfies. The good, old days may not have been as great as we remember them, but in a time of rampant smart phone addiction, getting back to the basics of life, love and growing plants certainly is appealing.

  • Going gluten-free

     Going gluten-free is something we’re hearing more and more about these days, but it also causes a lot of confusion. You may actually be wondering, “What is gluten anyway?” My husband’s favorite comedian, John Pinette, has a routine where he says, “I don’t know what gluten is but apparently it is delicious.” Well, it isn’t quite as simple as Pinette claims, but there is some truth to that statement.

  • Med instead of meds

     Bet you’re expecting a New Year’s resolution column. Everyone else is writing them this week. I do have an idea for you on a way to eat healthier in 2017 that doesn’t involve excessive dieting, a major lifestyle change or unusual foods. I’m suggesting eating the “med” way.

  • Prevent party crashers

     New Year’s Eve parties are always such fun and joyous events when friends and family get together for the final big event of the season. The last thing you want to invite to your party is a foodborne illness.

  • Last-minute healthy gift ideas

     It’s getting down to the wire. Are you still looking for gifts for those health-conscious people on your list? You can encourage and support their efforts by giving them a health-related gift. While it’s tough (or maybe even insulting) to buy a gym or pool membership for someone unless you know that’s something they really want, here are a couple of ideas sure to please. You might even want to get a duplicate for yourself in the process.

     

    Fruit/vegetable basket

  • Recycling Christmas trees

     By Sam Marshall

    Horticulture Agent

     

    As so often happens, the holidays will be gone almost as soon as they arrived and soon it will be time to think about what to do with your old Christmas tree. Though there may be no task more disheartening (or messier) than removing your Christmas tree, it does not necessarily mean its last stop is the curb with the empty gift boxes. How about this year going for a greener approach and extending the life (and function) of that old tree this year?

     

  • Turf transition help

     This time of year, I usually write about poinsettias, Christmas trees or something sentimental (some might say “sappy”) about family, friends and days gone by. The plant breeders have made poinsettias so good, most of the things we once discussed don’t really matter anymore. Fraser fir trees are durable enough to last well into January without becoming a fire hazard. And, for whatever reason, the sentimental stuff hasn’t kicked in yet.

    So, let’s talk about the subject that always generates the most questions in my world: lawn care.