Category: Leslie Milby

There’s always a few shady plants

In a perfect world, we’d all have sunny, weed-free gardens but the truth is, it’s just not possible! Perhaps your only possible garden site is along a woodsline, or your yard is surrounded by woods, or, your garden might consist of planting boxes on your patio. While shade isn’t a deal breaker, you will have to take it into consideration. How Shady is it? If you know you have to deal with shade in your garden, the next step is to figure out how much shade you have by doing some “shade mapping.” Before you get to planting, take a day to watch the sun patterns. How many hours is your garden completely sunny, partially shaded, or fully shaded? Peek out your window between chores and jot down some notes. Be sure to note where the shadiest parts are if, like my garden, the sun is passing around something such as a tree or structure. No time to sit and watch the sun rise and set? There also are products that you can stick in your garden to give you a shade report after a 12-hour period. Generally, though, you can follow the rule of thumb that a north-facing garden will likely be shady while south-facing will get the full brunt of the sun, barring any special land characteristics. Shady Plants Turning to the back of your seed packet,...

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Knock the dust off your garden

After being cooped up all winter, we all have visions of the weed-free, bountiful garden we’ll have this year. However, when we can finally venture out in weather warm enough to spare wearing a knit hat and flannel pajama bottoms, further investigation might show that while we are ready to garden, our garden is not ready for us. Groundwork This winter seemed like non-stop wind storms, so if your garden is anything like mine, you’ll want to set aside a stick cleanup before you get into anything else. Save some of the longer, straighter pieces for staking up plants...

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Squirrels are all about the nuts and bolts

Do you (and likely your dog) love watching the curious adventures of squirrels as they jump tree to tree and scurry around in your yard? While many people know that squirrels like acorns and have bushy tails, what else are the crazy critters up to as they bark, squeal, purr and squeak around the tree tops? While there are more than 280 species of squirrels in the world, in Maryland, you’ll only see a handful of them. The most common being the gray squirrel (which can actually be black, white or blonde), the southern flying squirrel, and the eastern fox squirrel. Red squirrels are also in the state, however, they live in the slopes of western Maryland and, so far, have yet to have migrated to the Eastern Shore. Meanwhile, the Delmarva Fox Squirrel stays primarily on the Eastern Shore and into Pennsylvania. After significant efforts and intervention, the Delmarva fox squirrel was officially taken off of the Threatened and Endangered list in 2015 after being listed since 1967. Nuts As squirrels prepare for the colder weather, they dart about and will eventually create hundreds of caches of food, most of which are only a quarter of an inch underground but which can be up to a foot down. So do they actually remember where they hid the nuts? Studies show that they do recover about 85 percent of...

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Herbs offer an ideal accent to your garden

With many gardeners putting their attention on their vegetable gardens with spring upon us, herbs could get some due consideration as well. Their green foliage and aromas in the air could add some atmosphere to a windowsill or plant beds, and can work as wonderful seasonings to accompany your harvest from your vegetable garden. Herbs fall into a few main categories: Flavoring, food, medicine, and perfume and many gardeners planting multiple herbs choose to group their plantings by category as well. The herb garden at Pickering Creek, which has been managed by the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society, since 2003, offers inspiration with its beds being planted with groupings like “Pizza,” “Tea” and “Remedies.” The Pizza nook of the garden has different types of parsleys, sage, and oregano. If you are trying out a small herb garden for children, “Pizza Gardens” is a popular choice because they house some of the more recognized herbs and end with a fun cooking project recognized by all children. Another fun herb niche is a Chocolate garden, with the star planting being Chocolate Mint, an herb that is growing in popularity. After being dried, it can be ground up and used in hot chocolate, frostings, and anywhere else you’d like a hint of something different. Team it up with other chocolate fragrant plants such as Chocolate Daisies and chocolate colored blooms such as Chocolate...

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