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Features

  • Camellias bloom late fall, winter and early spring when few other plants do and have beguiled southern landscapes for more than 100 years. Camellias are usually thought of as a southern plant; they have been adapted to extend as far north as Long Island, N.Y. They can generally withstand winter temperatures as low as 10 degrees; they can be grown anywhere if you protect them and keep the roots from freezing. Camellias are shallow rooted, like the shade, and do the best in loose, fertile soil that is slightly acid. They do not like poor drainage.

  • Are you naughty or nice to your plants? The old adage applies here, “Too much of a good thing can kill you.”

    People who have purchased Christmas trees which can be used as landscape trees after Christmas must make sure they are properly cared for while in the home during the holidays. Too much or too little water plus exposure to indoor heat are common problems associated with Christmas tree short life. Try having the decorated tree only in the house for a minimum time and plant as soon after Christmas as possible.

  • Christmas arrives in a flurry of anticipation and dashed expectations. Weeks of hype, whispered hopes and circled desires swiftly end in a heap of torn paper and crushed bows.

    Gifts hoped for were not received. Unexpected presents did not always match desires.

    Children, overwhelmed by the abundance of toys, cannot express their gratitude in the face of such bounty. Despite our best efforts to ignore the feeling, I think we all sense the death found in birth, the cross that shadows Christmas.

  • Most builders can be seen with ladders and other tools of the trade in the beds of their pickup trucks, but members of the Brunswick County Home Builders Association recently loaded a truck with food bound for local food pantries.

    “When our association decided on a food drive as a community outreach project, our goal was to collect enough food to fill the back of a pickup truck, and we did,” said Tim Gallimore, president of the Brunswick County Home Builders Association.

  • Holiday events continue in coming days in Brunswick County and the surrounding area, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. The schedule includes:

    •Nights of a Thousand Candles, 3-10 p.m. Dec. 18, 19, 20, Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, S.C. Thousands of lights sparkle from live oak trees and illuminate garden paths as musicians perform, carolers sing and visitors experience the enchantment. Non-member tickets are $15 for adults and $6 for ages 6-12. (843) 235-6000 or 1-800-849-1931; www.brookgreen.org.

  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services are scheduled throughout Brunswick County and the surrounding area this week.

    •Candlelight Christmas service, 5 p.m. Dec. 24, Bethel United Methodist Church, 3909 U.S. 17 Business, Bolivia. Come dressed as you are. Brief Christmas service to include singing Christmas carols, a message and communion. For more information, call the Rev. Mark Murphy at 617-3245.

    •Christmas Eve candlelight service, 5 p.m. Dec. 24, Seaside United Methodist Church, 1300 Seaside Road SW (N.C. 904), Sunset Beach. 579-5753.

  • Who invented meatloaf, why and when? Food historians tell us from ancient times to the present cooks have been mixing ground meat with minced bread/rice/vegetables, spices, thickeners and serving them with sauce. But for what reasons?

    My best guesses are 1) to distribute meat to more people (protein economy); 2) to conserve resources (use it up, don’t throw it out); and 3) to make tough meat more palatable (aid digestion).

  • Isn’t it amazing how we can be wishing to turn 16 and get a driver’s license and then wake up a short time later and 30 years have disappeared? Something about this time of year always kicks the nostalgia into high gear, so bear with me as we look back on Christmases past.

    The first 10 years of my life were spent in a white, wood-framed house that was completed in 1912. It had the typical high ceilings, no insulation and was oriented just right to catch a summer breeze.

  • It is a wonderful thing for a gardener to find an exotic and interesting plant that is easy to cultivate. Pitcher plants are a rare and unusual carnivorous plant that are easy to incorporate into the garden and are especially amenable to container planting; however, their cultural needs differ from most plants, and it is necessary to understand the lifestyle of pitcher plants so you can give them a proper home in your garden.

  • Economically, these are tough times. People everywhere are hurting from a painful trickle down effect.

    Loss of money at the top of the scale has had its negative effect all the way down to those who had the least from the beginning.

    Charitable, nonprofit organizations are feeling the pinch along with their clientele. Fueled by financial deficits and exacerbating anger, abusers are even more violent.

  • More yuletide events will light up the season in coming days in Brunswick County and the surrounding area. Activities slated in coming days include:

    •“A Holiday Tribute to the Nightmare Before Christmas,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, and Friday, Dec. 12, at West Brunswick High School theater and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at New Beginnings Community Church, 730 Whiteville Road. Admission is $5 and $3 with two non-perishable food items.

  • Staff report

    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 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.

  • Santa can’t be everywhere—that’s where area animal shelters, rescue and support facilities come in.

    They provide food and care for homeless pets until, it is hoped, someone steps in to offer a loving heart and a good, forever home for an adoptable dog or cat, puppy or kitten.

    Now might be a good time to pay one of the facilities a “Santa visit” of your own.

    Most facilities in Brunswick County are filled to capacity and welcome visits from all who may be in search of the perfect canine or feline companion.

  • Santa can’t be everywhere—that’s where area animal shelters, rescue and support facilities come in.

    They provide food and care for homeless pets until, it is hoped, someone steps in to offer a loving heart and a good, forever home for an adoptable dog or cat, puppy or kitten.

    Now might be a good time to pay one of the facilities a “Santa visit” of your own.

    Most facilities in Brunswick County are filled to capacity and welcome visits from all who may be in search of the perfect canine or feline companion.

  • Mixing sour cream with one of those dry onion soup mix envelopes was a staple at parties at our house a decade or so ago. It was a cheap and easy way to make a pretty yummy dip. And, with a bag of nacho chips and a bottle of wine, the dip would make the occasion festive.

    Then one day, I read the label on the onion soup mix envelope. The company suggested mixing their onion soup with ground beef for an onion meat loaf. It really added some zest to it. I decided to ask some friends what they used it in.

  • For those of you suffering from an overdose of family, friends and holiday cheer, there’s another way to warm up on the short, chilly days of December. Get out and play in the dirt.

    Purists (and soil science professors) bristle at the mention of “dirt,” but “playing in the soil” doesn’t roll off the tongue. The stuff we grow plants in is soil. Once it’s under your fingernails or you track it into the house, it’s dirt.

  • If a lovely North Carolina Christmas tree is part of your home’s decorations this season, we have some tips to keep it looking its best:

    1) Keep the Christmas tree and all holiday plants watered and protected from hot or cold drafts. Christmas trees may take up lots of water the first day or two so keep a close eye on them. Christmas trees are not dangerous as long as they are green and pliable. If they dry out, they become dangerous.

  • As a continuation of last week’s column, following are other factors to consider in caring for indoor plants:

    Humidity

    In a moderate humidity range of 20-40 percent, it is possible to grow a variety of plants; however, cacti and other succulents do well in a humidity range of 5-15 percent.

  • All that one hears these days is a doom and gloom tale of woe, from Wall Street to Main Street and back again.

    The market is dropping, sales are down, money is scarce, foreclosures are rampant, and retirement funds are racing downward. Crisis is the word of the day and the power that fuels nightmares. Henny Penny is having a field day.

    As a result, some choose the path of avoidance and denial. They sit before a television set watching football games or soap operas, or “reality shows” that have little to do with the reality around them.

  •  Staff Report

    Get in the holiday spirit with an array of festive events planned this weekend and in the coming week in Brunswick County.

    The roundup of upcoming holiday happenings includes: