Category: Leslie Milby

Thinking outside the (planter) box

I don’t like to use the word “nag,” so I’ll say this- I asked my husband on a frequent and consistent basis to get our old barns cleaned up because they were full of junk. Absolute junk! One morning, pigs started to fly and he started this project while I was out in the yard, trying desperately to find a spot to plant some flowers that I had impulsively bought without a sure place to put them. And as my husband schlepped out some old tires, well, the tires started turning in my mind. So many odd things can...

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Would your boy be up for a Jurassic Garden?

Gardening is the perfect boy activity: Dirt, tools and their mommy. While fairy gardens have garnered a lot of attention, when it comes down to it, it seems their ideas are more of adding in action figures rather than setting up a teeny-weeny tea party. And so, for the little green thumb in your life, why not try a Dinosaur garden? To get started, read some favorite dinosaur books for some inspiration on how you want to do your project and to get excited for a roarin’ good time. You likely won’t need much you can’t find at home. First, find your vessel, and make sure it’s big enough to “play” and get creative in. It doesn’t need to be a traditional flowerpot. A cake tin with drainage poked or an old lidless Tupperware works well, even a plastic planter liner if you aren’t planning on moving it often. (In our version, Landon and I settled on a cheese box we had lying around. We have lots of strange things lying around at the Milby household). Have an old sandbox or other outside kid play area? You could make a large-scale area for continuous play and use some larger dinos in it! If you haven’t gotten into dinosaurs yet, grab a cheap pack at a dollar store. While the grown-up in you may be looking for the perfect ones...

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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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