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Features

  • My guess is gardening resolutions for the New Year are still sounding good and achievable this early into the year. So what happens later on to those resolutions? Hopefully, they were made based on some sense of reality.

    We must learn how to cope with things beyond our control. Ground pearl and certain invasive weeds come to mind. Major weather events had us scrambling last year to keep our plants alive. You can’t always be able to correct some of these problems and the best we can do is minimize their impacts on the landscape.

  • Do you want to develop healthy lifestyle changes for 2009? If you are interested, please join me by adopting the following tips developed by Alice Henneman, food and nutrition extension specialist, University of Nebraska:

    Health: Make health a priority this year. Health should be more than the absence of disease.

    Attitude: A positive attitude may not cure a disease; however, thinking positive can help you deal with misfortune, make the most of your situation and enjoy life more.

  • Winter is prime time for planting spring flowering bulbs. Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocus bulbs will happily burst into bloom for you this spring.

    Be aware tulip bulbs rarely bloom more than one time in this part of the country. They need a long winter chill to set flowers. When planting, work some fertilizer into the soil surrounding the bulbs rather than just throwing it into the hole. The developing roots will get a more even boost this way.

  • I was intrigued by the movie’s title, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” My interest was further piqued by the dichotomy of opinions regarding its three and a half star rating. While some praised its story, others found the nearly three hour viewing period to be boring, slow, and generally not worth their time.

  • KURE BEACH—2009 marks the 144th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.

    To commemorate the Second Battle of Fort Fisher, the largest land-sea battle of the Civil War, the Fort Fisher State Historic Site will stage “Fort Fisher Then and Now,” an all-day event on Saturday, Jan. 17, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

  • 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:

  • Fennel is a perennial, aromatic plant indigenous to the Mediterranean and southwest Asia that grows to a height of 4-5 feet.

    Savored by the ancient Greeks, it has been utilized throughout history to treat an assortment of physical maladies, including keeping witches at bay during medieval times. Perhaps this is how fennel pollen, an expensive spice still popular in Italy, came to be known as the “Spice of Angels.”

  • 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:

  • 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.

  • Ignorance is bliss. I have heard that aphorism ever since I was a child. It provided a safe haven, an excuse, a reason to avoid risk-taking and profound thinking. Other maxims followed in its wake.

    “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” “Don’t ask...don’t tell.” “If you keep silent, no one will know that you don’t know. If you speak, all doubt will be removed.”

  • Comedian Jon Reep will be the featured headliner in the first “Stand Up For Charity,” a fundraiser sponsored by the Shallotte Junior Women’s Club set for this Saturday, Jan. 3, at Odell Williamson Auditorium at Brunswick Community College.

    Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

    Reep, originally from Hickory, is the 2007 winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and is also known as “the Hemi guy” in the Dodge commercials.

    The show will also feature two opening acts—Brad Reeder and Brooklin Green.

  • For the 12th year, Brunswick Nuclear Plant employees have come together to give back to the community for the holidays through bicycle donations.

    Since its inception, the program has provided more than 1,200 children with bicycles and helmets. The annual bike drive gives employees at the nuclear plant the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child through donating money and time, and this year’s participation rate has been record-breaking.

  • What began as a senior project for West Brunswick High School seniors Ainsley Wood and Meredith Cox turned into a life-changing experience for an autistic 9-year-old boy and his family.

    Wood and Cox each began their projects with a different subject area of research—Wood focused on autism and Cox on the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding.

    “I thought it’d be interesting to know about [autism],” Wood said.