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County Extension

  • Diva-like flowering dogwood needs extra attention

    Flowering dogwood, one of the superstars of the spring flower show, is taking center stage. The excitement over this small tree is understandable, but, before you decide to plunk down the cash to add one to your landscape, remember our official state flower can be a bit of a diva.

    You’ve probably heard that dogwood was the wood of choice for the cross used to crucify Jesus. That’s a good story but, based on the horticulture, highly unlikely. Flowering dogwood is an understory tree that would never be considered for timber.

  • Bringing lesser-known wild and not-so-pretty North Carolina fish to the table

    The seventh annual NC Catch Summit was recently held in Southport. This two-day event was sponsored by the NC Catch folks and hosted here in Brunswick County by Brunswick Catch and N.C. Cooperative Extension.

  • Spring is a time of transition

    Spring is a time of transition in the garden as the cold and wind of March give way to the pleasant temperatures and light breezes of April. Milder temperatures of the last couple of days have kicked the flower show up a notch as the flowering dogwoods and azaleas take center stage. This is truly a glorious time in the garden.
    My retirement from North Carolina Cooperative Extension is official. Stepping away on April Fool’s Day was certainly appropriate.

  • Key messages to ‘go further with food’

    I don’t want March to get away from us without mentioning National Nutrition Month. This nutrition and education campaign is celebrated annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I have worked closely with members of this academy for many years and admire and respect them and the work they do.

  • Harness spring fever by sprucing up landscapes

    New landscape projects may be on the top of your list as spring fever progresses through the population. It will continue unabated until June’s mid-90’s temperatures have us scurrying for the beach or the a/c. Projects range from the simple “spruce up” to elaborate redesigns.

    If you like the basics of your garden, just freshen the bed edges and add new mulch. Crisp edges where the lawn meets the beds and along sidewalks and driveways really make a difference. 

  • ‘Raising Kids, Eating Right, Spending Smart, Living Well’

    I’ve been writing these columns in the Beacon for about eight years. I know some people think I work for the newspaper, but I don’t. At the end of each column there is a statement that says I’m part of the Family and Consumer Science team at the Brunswick County Center of N.C. Cooperative Extension. I know some of you really don’t know who we are or what we do. Since this is Living Well Month, I thought I’d take some time to share a little more information about the FCS program and Cooperative Extension here in Brunswick County.

  • Crimson Fire loropetalum at the New Hanover County Arboretum Welcome Garden

    Winter’s relentless grip held through most of the week, but it looks like warmer temperatures are on the way. That’s good news for Wilmington’s North Carolina Azalea Festival and Cape Fear Garden Club’s annual garden tour. There should be plenty of azalea blooms for all of the festivities.

  • What are your chances?

    I frequently write about pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses. I think the one people are most familiar with is Salmonella. But, what really are your chances of getting ill from salmonella in your chicken, or beef or pork?

  • Redbuds are showing that spring flower time is here

    Loropetalums, phlox, daffodils, crabapples, redbuds and cherries are in various stages of bloom. That must mean we’re in the main spring season in southeastern North Carolina. It’s a bit overwhelming with everything blooming at once. Sometimes I wish I could spread it out a bit.  But, it is a glorious time in the garden so get out and enjoy it.

  • Cleaning and sanitizing

    Looking to keep the germs down and prevent a foodborne illness in your home? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the two things you can do that make the biggest impact are washing your hands and cleaning kitchen surfaces.

    There are two steps to having a clean and sanitary kitchen. Think of this as if brushing your teeth is the cleaning and using mouthwash is the sanitizing. Two steps. Clean first and then sanitize.