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Features

  • Once upon a time in America, you could find seaside amusement parks in virtually every beachfront resort town from Maine to Florida.

    Today, fewer than 20 oceanside parks dot the entire East Coast.

    One of them is Family Kingdom Amusement Park just down the coast in Myrtle Beach, S.C., which is still providing family thrills after more than 40 years.

  • Those of you who are “mature” enough to remember Jackie Gleason before his Smokey and the Bandit days may remember his catch phrase, “How sweet it is.”

    While he was talking about life in general, he could have been describing a great native plant with sweet-scented blooms that are open right now—sweetbay magnolia. Even when the flowers have faded, you’ll be left with interesting leaves with a silvery underside that look great when the wind blows and bright red fruit.

  • Many trees and shrubs are selected because of their flowering habit. It can be discouraging when they fail to bloom or set fruit. It is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a plant’s failure to bloom, however, here are some possibilities:

  • The landscape will be viewed from within the house as well as out-of-doors, and this must be taken into consideration.

    My patio is an extension of the indoor room it adjoins. I consider it an outdoor room. Some homeowners want weed-free turfgrass in the public area while another might plant an English-type garden of colorful blooms.

  • West Brunswick High School students kicked off their Sunday shoes last weekend when they performed the musical “Footloose.”

    A cast of 40 students and 14 members of the show choir rehearsed since March for the show. Kate Flynn, Leslie Jackson and Allie Marshall helped backstage and behind the scenes.

    Amanda Penegar, theater arts director, said she has always loved the movie version, and the students couldn’t have agreed more.

  • SHALLOTTE—As Gerald Hewett stood in his back yard, a chortle arose from rows of gourds suspended on frames high overhead.

    “They’re getting fussy now,” Hewett said of the purple martin swallows that fly into his yard every spring to nest in the gourd houses he grew and crafted just for them.

    The 70-year-old said he’s been cultivating martin houses for 60 years, using gourds just like Native Americans did.

  • SUNSET BEACH—Starting Sunday, hard-shelled marine reptiles will once again be the talk of the town as seasonal sea turtle programs launch at the beach.

    During the summer months, Sunset Beach’s “Turtle Time” educational and informational programs take place on Sunday nights on the island and on Wednesday afternoons at Ingram Planetarium.

    Weather permitting, the season’s first session is scheduled to launch at 7 p.m. this Sunday, June 1, in the parking lot of Sunset Properties, 419 S. Sunset Blvd. on the Sunset Beach island.

  • Ongoing

    Oak Island Art Guild exhibit, Oak Island Recreation Center, 3001 Oak Island Drive, 6:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday. Exhibit renewed every 60 days. For more information call exhibit coordinator Miriam Pinkerton at 278-5562.

    Ongoing through Aug. 3

    Robert Delford Brown, “Meat, Maps and Militant Metaphysics,” Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington. This is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. For more information, call 395-5999 or visit www.cameronartmuseum.com.

    Ongoing through June 15

  • No, you haven’t passed through a time warp where Zeros are swooping in to drop torpedo bombs on the U.S.S. Arizona. But, we do have a Japanese invasion that’s just getting started—the annual invasion of our gardens by the Japanese beetle.

    While these coppery-brown and green beetles have a voracious appetite for several hundred different plants, they really like to skeletonize the leaves of roses and grape vines. White or yellow roses are especially attractive.

  • Poison ivy is an unwanted weed that shows up in residential home and commercial landscape projects. To sensitive individuals, the effect of poison ivy can be an interference with daily contracting activities. Some people are more sensitive than others to the effects of poison ivy; however, sensitivity can change from time to time so that someone who was not affected by it at one time can get a reaction at another time.

  • The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service defines landscaping as “the art of organizing and enriching outdoor space through the placement of plants and structures in agreeable and useful relationship with the natural setting.”

  • I left Ocean Ridge for an adventure of a lifetime in Antarctica’s White Wilderness at 8:45 a.m. Feb. 27. My wife Carol opted not to join me (as did many other saner Ocean Ridge residents) as she had a healthy fear of the ship ride from Argentina through the Drake Passage (the roughest body of water in the world as the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the turbulent waters of the Antarctic converge).

  • Ongoing

    Oak Island Art Guild exhibit, Oak Island Recreation Center, 3001 Oak Island Drive, 6:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday. Exhibit renewed every 60 days. For more information call exhibit coordinator Miriam Pinkerton at 278-5562.

    Ongoing through Aug. 3

    Robert Delford Brown, “Meat, Maps and Militant Metaphysics,” Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington. This is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. For more information, call 395-5999 or visit www.cameronartmuseum.com.

    Ongoing through June 15

  • Wherever I look in landscapes and turf, I see winter annual weeds going to seed. Now is a great time to assess the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of fall weed management programs. If henbit, speedwells, annual bluegrass and other winter annuals are plentiful in your beds, consider using a pre-emergence herbicide next August to prevent these pesky weeds from being as much of a nuisance next year.

  • Many questions have been asked about lichens. The following is a great article by Dan Mullins, Extension agent in Santa Rosa County, Fla.

    Things aren’t always what they seem in the landscape and such is the case when lichens infest shrubs. These gray-green scaly, crusty or hairy structures found on the branches of landscape plants are often unfairly blamed for causing sickly, dying shrubs.

  • A physically active lifestyle enhances the quality of life and benefits health at any age. Physical activity does not need to be strenuous to achieve health benefits. In fact, participation in moderate amounts of physical activity helps lower the risk of some diseases and provides other health benefits. Below you will find health benefits of being physically active:

    Increases in physical activity

    •Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints

    •Helps weight loss, maintenance of weight loss, and prevents weight gain

  • Southern magnolias have already begun their summer show and the early-blooming crape myrtles like Natchez won’t be far behind. Included are a few of the things I learned after observing these plants since last year.

    Little Gem continues to be the most popular southern magnolia in the trade. There are some perfectly good reasons for that. It fits better into most gardens since it only reaches about 30 feet or so. Little Gem also blooms heavily at an early age. That’s something many of the southern magnolias don’t do.

  • The Winding River Players theatre group hosted a dinner theater on Saturday, April 26, with more than 150 guests. It was in celebration of Winding River Plantation’s new Property Owners’ Club. A cast of 44 and more than 10 behind-the-scenes volunteers worked together for eight weeks to produce “Celebrity Apprentice,” an original script written and directed by Sue MacCallum.

  • BALD HEAD ISLAND—The community, businesses and developer of Bald Head Island recently teamed with the Wounded Warriors Project to host three soldiers and their families on the island for a weekend retreat.

    The soldiers, who visited April 10-14, have all suffered severe injuries during service.

    While on Bald Head Island, the families had a chance to spend quality time together to relax and heal while escaping the rigors of everyday life.

  • Mallory Ward has been named as Honorary Skipper for the Southport Leukemia Cup, according to a news release.

    The 9-year-old daughter of Sabrina Ward of Nakina will serve as hostess for the May 16-18 event.

    The Leukemia Cup is a regional fundraising event, hosted by The Cape Fear Yacht Club and Southport Sail and Power Squadron, with proceeds going to the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.