Category Archives: general nature

Hydrangeas are many and varied


Asking if you like hydrangeas is like asking if you like dogs. There are so many types. There are bigleaf hydrangeas, mountain hydrangeas, smooth hydrangeas, oakleaf hydrangeas, panicle hydrangeas, and climbing hydrangeas, just to name a few. Hardiness and adaptation … Continue reading

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Surprise – They’re back


Now that fall is here, take a walk along the roadsides and you’ll see them popping up everywhere. Clusters of stems with reddish flowers and no leaves seem to come from nowhere. Sometimes we see them where an old homestead … Continue reading

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Joe-Pye weed is a pasture nightmare but a hot perennial ornamental


My father-in-law fought this weed voraciously. It would sometimes fill up the hillsides and bottoms, hiding his cattle. Sometimes it seemed the more he clipped it, the thicker it got. He would turn over in his grave if he saw … Continue reading

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Rhinoceros beetles are menacing looking but completely harmless


Occasionally, someone will bring in a large curious-looking insect for me to identify. Males have a big horn-like structure on their heads. Females have no horns. These insects are in the group called scarab beetles. Their major colors are greenish … Continue reading

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Burning fields is an old practice that still continues


When I first moved to North Carolina, I was surprised farmers were still allowed to burn wheat fields, especially in places where neighborhoods were close. That was twenty-some years ago. Even in the mid-90s, there was a growing group of … Continue reading

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Mulching can benefit vegetable gardens too.


Last week I discussed how mulches are used on our landscape beds. Vegetable gardens can also benefit from a good mulching now and then. Often, our goals will determine the type of material used. In spring, we can speed up … Continue reading

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How do we decide about landscape mulching?


Most people spread a layer of mulch around their landscape beds. Some even mulch vegetable gardens. With so many types to choose from, it’s often a confusing situation. The main reasons we mulch are to conserve water, suppress weeds and … Continue reading

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