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Today's Features

  • You hear the mantra every year that “fall is for planting.” The cooler days and nights of autumn place less stress on the plants and allow them time to get roots established before the ravages of next summer’s heat.

    In fact, our soil temperatures rarely drop low enough to suspend root growth, so your new plants will be adding roots throughout the winter. If you’re like me and get bored easily, you’re always looking for new plants to add during this great planting time. I’ve included several for you to consider.

  • Some areas are having an excellent year for caterpillars, butterflies and moths. If you lose foliage from a deciduous tree this time of the year, it will not hurt the tree. The leaves have already produced plenty of food for the tree and they would fall anyway in another month.

    The main reason to kill these fall caterpillars would be to keep the droppings off the sidewalk or out of the pool. Any pesticide labeled for caterpillars would work. Be sure to use one labeled for fruits or nuts if you plan to spray something edible.

  • Many of my friends were talking about “Julie and Julia.” I got the clear message that I had to see that movie. Awakening on a Friday morning with an awful headache, I told myself that the perfect cure would be time spent in a darkened theater where I’d suspend any disbelief that was engendered by reviews that judged the film to be mediocre at best. Instead, I would focus on the story unfolding before me.

    If my headache disappeared, I’d give the movie an excellent rating. If not, I would still deem it time pleasantly spent.

  • Just in case a tropical storm or hurricane approaches our area, it would be nice to be prepared. This is a keeper to put on your refrigerator door for tips on how to deal with things…

    After the storm

  • A spate of recent feline returns, along with a promotion borrowed from the Michigan Humane Society, have spurred Cat Tails cat rescue to offer its own promotional adoption campaign for ‘certified pre-owned’ cats. A poster is being used during Cat Tails’ adopt-a-thons at PetSmart in Wilmington. Pictured is Billy Bob, an affectionate, playful orange 5-year-old adopted from Cat Tails in 2004. Billy Bob was recently returned to Cat Tails because a child in his household had an allergy. His front paws have been declawed.

  • If it’s September, it’s time to party hearty in the manner of Germany.

    Stage II Productions is celebrating the season with its annual Oktoberfest celebration this Saturday, Sept. 19, from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Stage II Studio, 807 N. Howe St. in Southport behind Smithville Commons.

    Described as a celebration of beer, bratwurst and ballyhoo, highlights include traditional German food, drink and dancing to authentic music by the Harbour Towne Fest Band, described as the premier Oktoberfest band for Wilmington and the Cape Fear region.

  • The Brunswick County Parks & Recreation 2009 Amateur Photography Contest received 61 photo entries. They will be on display Sept. 6-26 at Franklin Square Art Gallery in Southport.

    The gallery is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Winning photographs will have ribbons affixed for identification of winners.

    Brunswick County Amateur Photography Contest 2009 winners:

    Best in Show

    “Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird” by Jerry Koons of Shallotte.

    Colors Rivers/Coasts

  • The transition between seasons always frustrates my gardening efforts. Those zinnias that produced such wonderful cut flowers earlier are covered in powdery mildew and leaf spot. The lantana has swallowed the coneflower and the Walter’s viburnum. The Goldsturm rudbeckia is reduced to brown seed heads with a stray golden flower. Most of the petunias melted in the August heat.

    So what can we do to get through this summer-into-fall transition time?

  • Trends in gardening are always evolving. The national economy sometimes dictates our activities and that is the case with our landscapes. People often turn to the outdoors for a way to enjoy life more and to help out with their own finances at home.

  • We are approaching one of the most beautiful times of the year, the seasonal changes that occur between the coastal plain, piedmont and the mountains provide us with an extended viewing of the colors of leaves as winter approaches.

    A trip through North Carolina in the next few weeks will dazzle your eyes. After viewing the magnificence of the mountains in full color, you can almost wear your eyes out.