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Features

  • Last week I had two appointments in Wilmington that were almost two hours apart. I try to double or triple up appointments to save fuel cost and reduce my carbon footprint.

    Also, not wanting to place my fate in the jaws of the green, demonic dragon that lies in wait, I always stay in Wilmington instead of returning to Brunswick County between appointments. I often spend an hour or two watching nature at the lake during my wait.

    If you don’t think Memorial Bridge is possessed, just try running a few minutes late for an appointment or meeting.

  • Mount Pisgah Baptist Church presented its second annual production of the interactive Easter drama, “Journey Through Jerusalem” March 13-21 on the church grounds.

    Written by church member Tracy King, the drama takes visitors through various stops on Jesus’ journey to the cross, his death and resurrection. The visitors “just miss” Jesus at various places but hear from his followers and others who come in contact with him about his journey.

  • Photographic works by Southport artist Lou Aliotta will be featured at Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash through April 12.

    The show, “Lou Aliotta: Photographer's Journal,” includes landscape photos from upstate New York and Southport, floral images and specialty images that were created with a series of color-saturated variations of the same photo.

  • March 20

    6:30-8:30 p.m., Spectrum Art and Jewelry, Wilmington. Fundraiser to help painter Anne Boysen in her battle with ovarian cancer. At the clubhouse of the Reserve Apartments at Mayfaire (1411 Parkview Circle). All proceeds will go to Boysen. For more information, contact 256-2323.

    March 26-April 9

    Annual juried student exhibition on display March 26 through April 9, UNCW, Wilmington. For more information, call 962-3500 or visit http://www.uncw.edu/arts online.

    Ongoing through March 28

  • Join the Museum of Coastal Carolina rain or shine for a two-day class of geocaching. This outdoor classroom activity is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. May 2 and from noon-2 p.m. May 3 for grades five through adults.

    Pre-registration is required.

    On day one, participants will meet at the museum in the computer lab and then walk to three caches hidden on the island.

  • Microorganisms that cause disease can be transferred from animal manures to humans.

    The pathogens Salmonella, Listeria and E.coli, as well as parasites, such as roundworms and tapeworms, have been linked to applications of manure to gardens.

    Publicity about illnesses due to E.coli 0157:H7 has made people more aware of the potential risk of food borne illness from manure contamination. As a result, many are now asking whether it is safe to use manure on their gardens.

  • I’ve never been one of those people who got overly excited about native plants. We do have some wonderful natives, but some of our southern favorites like evergreen azaleas, camellias, gardenias and crape myrtle have all been introduced from other parts of the world.

    Redbud is a native small tree that’s flowering right now that makes a great addition to the garden. It’s distinctive, heart-shaped leaves and reddish-purple flowers make it easy to recognize. “Forest Pansy” has dark purple leaves when they first emerge.

  • Spring, ah yes, spring, and a gardener's fancy turns to, “What else?” Planting!

    I know you’re not all bozos out there, but just a few reminders. Everyone needs to be preached to now and then, and I’m just the guy to do it. When I was a teaching, a student once came up to me and said, “You are a preacher teacher,” so who is so foolish to argue with the wisdom of youth? And if you've got it, why fight it?

  • You want attitude? Pound for pound—actually ounce for ounce—the Carolina wren is the Lower Cape Fear’s bird with the most attitude. The wren is only exceeded at times by an occasional mockingbird or a visiting New York cab driver.

    The mockingbird arguably has the baddest attitude because, when defending its territory, it sometimes attacks people, its own reflection in a window, and other birds. And who hasn’t seen a mocker terrorize a cat?

  • Herbert Pittman of Supply has been around the world, and seen and done things in days gone by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren may have never known about.

    He has boxes of pictures from his days in the U.S. Air Force on the beaches of Guam, the marketplaces of Turkey, the deserts of Libya and the rice paddies of Southeast Asia.

    He has official records from his military career and mementoes of his family and job that he’s saved over the past 50 years. He wants his four children, their children and their children’s children to know about his life.

  • St. Patrick’s Day is next Monday, but some of our lawns are already “wearin’ a bit ‘o the green” because of some warm days. This move out of dormancy means right now is the wrong time to stress your lawn with fertilizers or weed control products. Maybe you can just save some of that green beer for your grass.

  • Look at what is blooming now! The Brunswick County Botanical Garden is starting to show color. Our saucer magnolia is blooming and the forsythia in the woods has peaked. Some of our old bulbs are “poking” through the ground with promises of color soon.

  • As we all start looking for plants as spring approaches, the following may be of some help:

    Many gardeners are addicted to visiting garden centers and nurseries and greenhouses in search of plants, trees, shrubs, annuals and houseplants. They shop and compare prices but are never quite sure what a plant is worth. The problem is some sort of valuation is placed on the plant. We try to figure out the worth or value of the plant in comparison to another source of supply. To some extent, that is a reasonable approach.

  • Many of you have watched this bird on telephone lines all your life and may know it by its former name, the sparrow hawk. This certainly matches my experience growing up in Eastern North Carolina.

    My apologies to the American Ornithologists Union, I have to confess I sometimes use a former name for a species because it has a more down-home, nostalgia-invoking feel to it.

  • When Cpl. Todd Coring drives by in his night black SUV—silver rims gleaming, red letters emblazoned across the side—it’s hard to miss him.

    But that’s the way he wants it.

    Coring is Brunswick County’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer for the county’s nine elementary schools, and he says his SUV is “catching a lot of eyes.”

  • Whether we are suffering through a prolonged drought as we are now or just trying to have your garden make it through the sweltering summers of the Carolinas, wise use of water is important.

    Practicing water conservation not only helps protect the environment but also saves money and provides for optimum growing conditions.

  • Our typically erratic late winter temperatures may have your centipede pushed to the brink of disaster. We have problems just about every year with low temperature injury during the spring “green up” period. Keeping the nitrogen rates low, avoiding pre-emergence herbicides, and mowing at the right height can help minimize these “winter kill” problems.

  • Homeowners with excess moisture in their crawl spaces often wage war with wood-destroying organisms, such as wood-decaying fungi, termites and wood-boring beetles. But winning the war means first solving the moisture problem, not battling the bugs and fungi.

  • On the morning of the Feb. 18 total lunar eclipse, I was suddenly driven to photograph the event. Without planning and with little study, I grabbed my camera and birding scope, jumped in to my SUV, and headed to Fort Fisher’s rock seawall. I was the first to arrive around 6:30 p.m. and the last to leave around 11:30 p.m.

  • “New” is a great marketing campaign. Stop by the supermarket and you’ll find all kinds of “new and improved” stuff on the shelves. Gardeners are enamored with “new” just like everyone else. Take a look at your favorite garden catalog and you’ll see lots of space devoted to the new and unusual.

    During a recent visit with an old nursery friend of mine, I saw two new plants that have lots of potential for our landscapes: Taiwan cherry and Steeplechase arborvitae.