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Features

  • Even though that silly Pennsylvania groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that in our neck of the woods.

    After a cold blast, we’ve had a few warm days. That means it’s time to get some late winter chores done.

  • Spring is coming around the corner. I have made statements in the past calling for gardeners to be patient. I am about ready to cut you loose and let you go full steam ahead with your gardening activities, but let’s not go overboard.

    There are still cold days ahead and winter may not truly be over until mid-April. The last frost-free date is around April 20 for much of this area. That can vary by a couple of days either way depending on where you are in the county.

  • February is the ideal time to cut back ornamental grasses and liriope before new growth begins to emerge. For large pampas grass mounds, a hedge cutter or a chain saw does the job efficiently.

    Prune summer-flowering shrubs such as beautyberry, butterfly bush, Clethra, vitex and summer-blooming spireas in late winter to encourage lots of new growth and heavy flowering.

    Do not prune back hydrangeas, azaleas or other spring-blooming shrubs or you will loose this year’s blooms. Camellias can be pruned back after they have completed their blooming cycle.

  • I am always surprised by the suggestions I receive as topics for “A Second Look.”

  • Local rock group Blackwater Outlaws will perform at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at Odell Williamson Auditorium to benefit Brunswick County’s fire and rescue squads.

    Every 100th ticket sold receives a free Blackwater Outlaws sticker. Band members will be on hand after the show to sign autographs.

    Band members include Jason Coveyou, 28, of Ash on guitar and vocals; Myron Norris, 27, of Ash, on guitar and vocals; Travis Norris, 32, of Ash, on vocals; William Norris, 53, of Ash, on bass guitar and vocals; and Butch Register, 51, on drums.

  • With Valentine’s Day just a week away, Silver Coast Winery in Brunswick County is setting the stage and mood with its annual Wine and Chocolate Pairing from noon-5 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 7.

    Participants will enjoy four award-winning wines paired with four scrumptious handmade chocolates by an award-winning chocolatier and a Silver Coast signature wine glass for $15.

  • “Garden” may not come to mind when you think of the Brunswick County Government Complex in Bolivia, but the areas around buildings N and F are currently evolving into a great place to learn about plants that work well in our area.

    One of the wonderful things about having a local garden is I get to plant things and see how they perform. That’s what we’re doing with the collection of crape myrtles that’s up to about 40 or so now, and you’ll find all 23 of the Encore azalea selections plus lots of other trees, shrubs, vines and perennials.

  • Driving around and visiting various gardens, I treasure the times I am able to find Hellebores tucked away in gardens. They are quite interesting and have a unique flower display.

    One of the best things about the plant is it is deer resistant. That is probably due to the toxins contained in its leaves.

    Tony Avent from Plant Delights Nursery has provided some interesting information about hellebores. I have included some excerpts from Tony, which has been edited for this column.

  • First and foremost, do not fertilize your lawn at this time. The Extension Master Gardener hotline has received several calls on lawn fertilizing. As warm season grasses are grown in this area and the grass is just now starting to break dormancy, fertilizing now is a waste of time and money.

  • Lean and boneless flank steak is one of only two steaks cut from the underside of a steer, the other being a skirt steak. It’s a thin, oblong cut mingled with tough meat fibers and loaded with great flavors.

    A thin steak, it responds well to marinades and to high heat cooking, if only for a brief amount of time.

  • People usually react negatively to the label: simple. It evokes a sense of naiveté and oversimplification that borders on avoidance and denial. We know the agony of being considered a simpleton. Somehow simple and simplistic have become identified, but there is a significant difference. To be simple is to model divinity. God is simple. Union with God is simple. Yet, neither is simplistic.

  • Kermit is a 6-month-old special-needs Doberman mix who was born without the use of his hind legs due to severe hip dysplasia. When Kermit was 4 months old, he was brought to a veterinarian by his owner, who asked that he be euthanized. But the vet fell in love with Kermit and his endearing personality, treated and healed his sores and outfitted him with his very own wheeled cart to get around in. Now all he needs is a home. Volunteers with Adopt-An-Angel say Kermit would be great in a home with children or serving as a therapy dog with children who have physical disabilities.

  • When the temperature dips into the 20s and 30s this time of year, sometimes even the teens, maybe it’s time to start thinking about making some good, slow-simmered stew on the stove.

    Using a combination of small cuts of meat (beef, pork, veal or lamb) along with bunches of carrots, celery, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions and any other vegetable of your liking, and then placing them in a large covered pot and simmering them in a seasoned liquid for a long period of time would probably constitute being called a stew or a “burgoo.”

  • We had a bit of excitement last week as “Old Man Winter” dusted us with snow, temperatures in the teens and lots of wind. As a southern boy born and raised in the heat and humidity, that’s pretty miserable for me, but more importantly, what has the cold weather done to our gardens?

    The short answer is not much, but our Taiwan cherry tree and camellias have suffered.

  • Now is a great time for planning weed control in your lawn. There are two kinds of weeds to consider. Winter weeds will be discussed first.

    The majority of winter weeds are annual weeds. They grow during the winter, flower and produce seeds, and die during the first hot spell in the spring.

  • What kills plants? As a time of reflection of last year and for many of the years I have been involved with diagnosing plant disorders, I find plants dying mostly from being planted too deep, from under- and over-watering, and from fertilizing too much. Someone once told our class to look in the mirror to find your plant’s number one enemy. We are often the ones to kill our plants with kindness. Too much of a good thing can be bad especially when it comes to watering practices.

  • Typically, I avoid Clint Eastwood movies. The violence disturbs me, but I was advised to see “Gran Torino” and to report my thoughts and feelings about the film. So I did. And, I was amazed at what I saw.

    The first surprise was there was a nearly full house on a Wednesday afternoon. Gray and graying heads bobbed in conversation, since we all arrived many minutes before show time. I caught bits and pieces of the varied dialogue, mostly about golf, taxes, and maladies—speech that seniors find interesting and informative.

  • CALABASH—Sunset River Marketplace, an art gallery in Calabash, is featuring “Art Glass: Summerfield & Friends” through Feb. 6.

    The group showing of contemporary art glass consists of new works by Scott Summerfield, Kakie Willcox Honig and Fyreglas Studio (husband and wife team, J.J. Brown and Simona Rosasco).

  • BOLIVIA—Two weeks ago, they were patrol officers. Last week, they were investigators.

    In the coming weeks, they’ll prepare their cases for court—running the gamut of law enforcement from taking the original reports to trying their cases before a judge.

    For the students in the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy, each week brings a new challenge, and last week was no exception. Students, divided into five groups each investigating seemingly unrelated incidents, took reports, processed crime scenes and collected evidence.

  • CALABASH—Sunset River Marketplace, an art gallery in Calabash, is featuring “Art Glass: Summerfield & Friends” through Feb. 6.

    The group showing of contemporary art glass consists of new works by Scott Summerfield, Kakie Willcox Honig and Fyreglas Studio (husband and wife team, J.J. Brown and Simona Rosasco).