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Today's Features

  • Garden gurus like Jerry Baker often suggest there’s nothing better for your lawn than a brewski.

    According to them, beer contains vitamins and minerals for better growth and has beneficial microorganisms that will help develop great roots. This recommendation has always sounded bogus to me, but, believe it or not, someone finally did a scientific study to find out if a bit of beer builds a better lawn.

  • Many residents in the Cape Fear region are looking for ways to lower energy costs and may supplement their energy needs for heating by using firewood.

    January and February are typically our coldest months for the winter. I am always looking for some good information to pass along to clients when I came across this information on firewood from John Church from the Rockford Extension Center, affiliated with the University of Illinois.

  • (The following information is provided by Bob Westerfield, Cooperative Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.)

    Perhaps no landscape plant is more durable or comes in as many shapes and sizes as the holly.

    Hollies come in more than 300 recognized varieties, with more introduced each year. They belong to the genus Ilex, which is native to every continent except Antarctica.

  • As I marched determinedly through Walmart many months ago, an intriguing book title caught my eye. “Eat, Pray, Love” was its command. Thinking it was another of the many spiritual books on dieting and knowing I’d not follow through, I continued my trek through the store. Groceries purchased and placed in my various tote bags, I drove home. But the book title sang in my head, a mantra that impelled a future trip to the library so I could peruse the writing at my leisure.

  • Now is a great time to launch a new shape-up program with the Brunswick County Parks and Recreation Department’s 2009 spring fitness schedule.

    A variety of classes are slated throughout the county, kicking off this month and continuing in coming weeks. They range from Zumba fitness and Aido Shokai JuJutsu martial arts to cardio and strength training and dance classes.

    For more information or to register, call 253-2670.

    The schedule and fees are as follows:

  • John and Tracy Hobgood of Ocean Isle Beach are the parents of a daughter, Noelle Ann Hobgood, born at 3:45 p.m., Dec. 12.

    She weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces and measured 21–1/2 inches long.

    She joins a brother, Nathan, 23 months.

    Maternal grandparents are Cliff and Lynn Errickson of Sunset Beach.

    Paternal grandparents are Bob and Nancy Hobgood of Greenville.

    Great-grandparents are Sam and Dottie Panettiori of Sunset Beach and Doris Hobgood of Jacksonville, Fla.

  • Have you ever tried to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds? It is a Cuban New Year’s tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, signifying the last 12 months of the year.

    As New Year’s Day approaches, people around the world will plan for the coming year, eager to get off to the best possible start. Many people will “eat for luck” by planning to eat special foods that, by tradition, are supposed to bring them good luck.

  • Last year about this time, we looked at some attainable resolutions for gardeners, including enjoying the garden more and obsessing less, using soil and water samples and not trying to grow turfgrasses in the shade. Here are a few suggestions for garden resolutions for 2009:

    If having a great looking lawn is high on your priority list, resolve to figure out what should be done and do it in a timely manner. The warm-season grasses we grow are different from cool-season grasses like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass that are commonly grown in colder climates.

  • Camellias may be propagated from seed (5-6 years), by cuttings (3 years), by grafting (2-3 years), or by air layering (1 year).

    Camellia blooms will last four to five days when floated in water in a shallow bowl. Most of the shown blooms are treated with gibberellic acid, which forces the flower to be larger and bloom earlier.

    Some recommended varieties for beginning growers are:

    1) Debutante: Light pink, medium bloom in a full peony form.

    2) Alba Plena: White, medium bloom, formal double bloom.

  • We are already seeing the effects of early cold temperatures. Daffodils are blooming at the Brunswick Botanical Gardens and in my yard as well.

    Plants become confused when temperatures fluctuate between warm and cold, especially at this time of year. It is nice to see the color but did you really want the bulbs to bloom this early? If you want to delay the flower set for bulbs, you may have to plant them in cooler spots in the landscape or perhaps plant them a little deeper next time.