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Features

  • Poinsettia’s keeping quality depends on several factors. Many home gardeners have no trouble keeping a poinsettia looking good through the winter, but bringing it into “flower” in subsequent years is a challenge for the best of gardeners. They are still considered actively growing even now and will need water, sunlight, and fertilizing through February.

    Pruning Camellias

  • EDITOR'S NOTE: Part 1 of a two-part series on Lawn Care

    Now is a great time for planning weed control in your lawn. There are two different 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.

    Now is a good time to spot spray with a herbicide such as Weed-B-Gone for Southern Lawns or Speed Zone Southern. There are several other products that will work.

  • I don’t know about all of you, but my garden really starts to irritate me this time of year. Things just aren’t happening fast enough. I’m tired of looking at the bare stems of the deciduous trees and shrubs. The ornamental grasses have received their annual buzz cut, so they’re not exactly the Jessica Simpson of the horticultural world. The daffodil bulbs are just getting started. My severely pruned buddleias are several months away from attracting a butterfly.

  • I recently gave a presentation on wildlife photography to the Coastal Carolina Camera Club, of which I am a member. I hesitated at first because I am no expert, but finally agreed to discuss wildlife photography on a “what-I-know-for-now” basis.

    Since the ranks of amateur wildlife photographers are growing by leaps and bounds due to the digital camera revolution, I decided to share part of the presentation with you.

  • As Americans become increasingly overweight, scientists are finding more and more links between obesity and health. Weight management means adopting a lifestyle that includes a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity. Here are some tips to get you started:

    Accept Yourself

    Don’t compare yourself to images in magazines, on TV or in movies. They may be unrealistic and unhealthy. Find alternative methods to improve the things you do not like about yourself. We are all unique, so develop your own image and keep a positive attitude.

    Make a Commitment

  • Although it’s still too early to plant such popular garden vegetables such as tomatoes, beans and corn, it’s just the right time for Coastal Carolina gardeners to plant cool-season vegetables.

  • Now is the time of the year to start preparing for spring. One of the best activities any gardener in this area can accomplish is applying horticultural oil.

    The following article was furnished by Horticultural Agent Theresa Friday:

    February and early March is an ideal time to apply horticultural oil to your ornamental trees, shrubs and fruit trees to control scale and several other over-wintering insects. However, to prevent harm to your plant, it is important to understand how horticultural oils work and their limitations.

  • Pesticide class set

    Cape Fear Community College North Campus, 4500 Blue Clay Road in Castle Hayne, will present Pro Day–Prelude to March Madness on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

    Pesticide recertification credits will be available in aquatics, right-of-way, dealer, ornamentals and turf and private "X" categories.

    Contact the Brunswick County Cooperative Extension Service for more information at 253-2610.

    Coastal Gardener show

    Join Al Hight every Saturday morning on the Big Talker FM (106.3 and 93.7) from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. for the Coastal Gardener.

  • Even though it’s still early, our gardens are beginning to awaken from their short winter slumber. I’ve noticed new growth on daylilies and Knockout roses already.

    If a bit of new growth doesn’t quite chase away your winter blahs, consider adding Japanese flowering apricot to your garden. It always blooms in January and February in shades of white, pink and red.

  • During winter many species of migratory songbirds stay in our area while close and distant relatives head to the Caribbean and South America. This article is about three of the best “little guys” you may find this winter in your backyard or in nearby woods.

    Mostly they breed in northern boreal forest and eat insects plus insect larvae and eggs. How do they survive in Brunswick County in winter? Well, we still have insects during winter. Also, these songbirds shift to berries, sap, and seed when insects are not active.

  • “Too picky” might work when describing a stern college professor, parent, or ex-girlfriend. You can just ignore them or run for cover, absolving yourself of any wrongdoing on your part. However, when “too picky” applies to an animal with very specialized needs, in this case a woodpecker, it is not that easy. It cannot help itself so we must.

  • This is the story of a dog—a small red tick hound who, along with a lot of other dogs, strayed from home and wound up on adoption row at the Brunswick County Animal Shelter.

    It’s also the story of Janie Withers and Gail Colwell, two members of Paws-Ability, a nonprofit group devoted to raising money for assorted animal causes in Brunswick County.

    Withers, of Ocean Isle Beach and a founder of the group, frequently visits the shelter and has rescued a few animals in her lifetime.

  • Over the years, a number of techniques have been used to produce early vegetable crops. Many of these “tricks of the trade” were originated by growers and universities. By using one or more of these “tricks,” you can increase your annual vegetable yield. Check out these seven tips for growing vegetables early and getting a jump on the rest of the growers:

    Multiple plantings

  • The window is still open for pruning your shrubs and trees. Now is the time to cut back your pampas grass to within 12-inches of the ground.

    Use hedge clippers because of the vastness of the grass clump and wear gloves as the leaves have sharp edges. Make sure you remove the dead leaves and debris from the center of the clump so sunlight can get through to start the spring growing process. Established clumps of pampas grass can be divided and planted elsewhere in your landscape.

  • The temperature roller coaster continues here in southeastern North Carolina with nights in the teens followed a few days later with days in the 70s. While you won’t find me complaining about the days in the 70s, the erratic temperatures do create problems for our garden plants.

    Gardenias in some locations have been injured. If the warmth continues, you’ll see roses and lots of other plants starting to grow. And, the warmth really creates great conditions for winter weeds in lawns.

  • Today, we will find birds in salt marsh habitat. As an ecology lesson—and just for fun—let’s start at an altitude of 200 miles, as if were are a naturalist on the space shuttle, and zoom in.

  • Anthony J. Munna and Amelia Munna of Supply were preparing to celebrate 60 years of marriage when Anthony Munna died Christmas Day. The couple was married Dec. 28, 1947, in New York. The Munnas children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren want to honor his memory by paying tribute to the couple’s long life together.

  • With the excitement of a new year, you may be thinking about making resolutions for 2008. But have you ever thought to make a resolution to improve your landscape? Here are a few resolutions you may want to make for 2008.

    Resolve to remove the grass under your trees and put down a ring of organic mulch. Mowing equipment and string trimmers can damage trees if used improperly.

  • No, we’re not going to discuss crude oil prices more than $100 per barrel or the subsequent jump at the pump. This update concerns the horticultural oil we use to control scales, spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs and other critters.

    Ever wonder what the difference is between “summer oil” and “dormant oil”? How about “superior” and “supreme”? Let’s try to clear up some of the confusion.

  • I hope that each and every one of you had your holiday wishes come true.

    If Santa didn’t quite bring you exactly what you asked for, then you may be able to pick up some bargains priced just right for you to take home.

    Don’t forget to check on some of the gardening equipment needs for the coming spring season. You may find this to be just the right time of the year to pick up the items that will make your spring gardening chores easier to handle this year.