Category: Author

Peter principle: Tiny houses is a big idea

In his 35 years building custom homes, Mike Peter of Centreville has had a lot of unique projects. Over the past winter, Peter said he added a tiny house to that list when the carpenter took on the project to challenge himself after seeing the small dwellings featured on television shows. What started out as a “hobby” has gained a lot of interest, Peter said, to the point where he has plans to build more. “I had a ball building it,” he said. “I took my time with it. I like a little challenge.” With space in the tiny house at such a premium, Peter said he spent a lot time with the design, making sure every inch was maximized and efficiently used. It paid off with enough room for a full kitchen, full bath and two sitting areas. “Most people go, ‘Man it’s not that small, really’” Peter said of those who have toured the house. Peter opted to for a 10-foot width, a few feet wider than the typical houses he saw in researching the project but still able to travel down the road and it makes a big difference in the ease of getting from one part to another. “It takes a different type of planning,” Peter said. “You’ve got to fit all this into a neat and tidy space. The full kitchen and full bath...

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Family marks 90 years of Hemming and hoeing at Eastern Shore Nurseries

You’ll likely find it difficult to narrow down your choices from among nearly 30,000 beautiful plants at Eastern Shore Nurseries in Easton. The last retail nursery in Talbot County, Eastern Shore Nurseries has been serving gardeners in the tri-county area for 90 years. Ernest Hemming and his son, Sam, started what was then strictly an English boxwood nursery in January 1929. Nine months later, on Oct. 29, the stock market crashed, leading to the Great Depression. Ernest, who was trained at the Royal Botantic Gardens at Kew, in London, had immigrated from England and worked at nurseries in Colorado and Philadelphia before moving to Easton. Sam earned a degree in botany from the University of Maryland. To survive, the nursery diversified into a landscape nursery, doing anything and everything. Fortunately, in the summer of 1930, the new owner of an estate in Easton came in who wanted trees on the property moved. The Hemmings arranged for their eight to 10 employees to work for her from January through March for $1,000 a month. Out of that, the employees were paid their wages of about 25 cents an hour. That got them through the winter in a period when the liners they had planted in the ground were not yet ready to sell. Mike, born in 1943, started in the nursery — “getting in the way” — at age 5....

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The incredible Lapis Lazuli stone

Lapis Lazuli means stone of blue in Greek and Latin roots, and Lapis Lazuli is a compound made up of lazurite, a feldspar silicate. It originates in Afghanistan and is known for its blue color. Lapis has been used in pigment paint coloring, inlay on antique furniture, frames, boxes and even tombs of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Lapis Lazuli is found as a component imbedded in limestone in northeastern Afghanistan, where mine deposits have been worked for more than 6,000 years. Ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek and Roman civilizations obtained the bright blue rock from this region for their art and other uses. Trade routes were established near the mines since the Neolithic age for these ancient civilizations to procure the stunning stone. Lapis is also found in other places on the planet, but in smaller quantities. Some of the first uses of the blue stone were used for inlay of ancient worshipping figures, beads, jewelry components and handles of ceremonial knives. In the ancient poems of Epic of Gilgamesh, circa 17th century BCE, lapis lazuli is mentioned several times, showing its importance as a revered item in decoration to these early civilizations. The early Syrians used lapis lazuli as inlay for things like irises of the eyes in statues, inlay in ancient jewelry, and trade beads. Myceanaen jewelry from the people to the East of Egypt show the...

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Be careful not to over-water plants

Avoid over-watering in hot muggy weather, because it causes mildew. Powdery mildew often appears on zinnias, phlox and roses. I recommend using Bonide’s Infuse, Liquid Copper or Fung-onil, if plants are severely infected. Thin plants to allow better air flow. Be sure to clean up all pruned foliage, fallen petals and leaves, place in trash. Do not compost, as this will only harbor the disease and could possibly pass it to other plants. Week 1 • To have bigger and more blooms next year, fertilize all spring and summer blooming bulbs as soon as they are finished blooming with Espoma’s Bulbtone at the rate of 4 to 6 pounds for each 100 square feet. Repeat the process again in September. Week 2 • Every two weeks, add a dose of water soluble fertilizer when watering roses, annuals, perennials, and especially container plants. We recommend Greenlite’s Super Bloom. The off week use one tablespoon of Epsom Salt to one gallon of water when watering your plants. The trace nutrients and minerals are beneficial to the plants and create healthy, dark green foliage. • Apply Espoma’s Garden Iron around azaleas, hollies, laurels, junipers, pines, and spruce to help provide for better chlorophyll production by the foliage and to keep the plants healthy during the stressful summer months. Week 3 • Algae can turn your pond water murky green or even add...

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Butterfly weeds ready for spotlight in June

Asclepias tuberosa or the common butterfly weed is one of many native herbaceous perennials that burst into full bloom in June. The plants have very thick roots and form a mounded clump of green foliage in May, then in June the beautiful flowers begin to open, a bright orange, sometimes yellow or red in color. They grow in full sun and love our Eastern Shore sandy soils, and once established they are very tolerant of drought. As with a lot of native flowers, the Asclepias tuberosa has many common names including Butterfly milkweed, orange milkwed, chigger flower and pleurisy root. All of the common names are great at describing the plant, as butterflies flock to the bright orange flowers of the butterfly weed plants. The name “milkweed” comes from the milky white sap that seeps out of plants when the stems or leaves are broken off. Some find the milkweed sap irritating to their skin. The name “chigger flower” is a way to alert gardeners not to dig up the wild plants without walking into a possible pesky insect. Pleurisy root highlights the medicinal uses of the plants that in the past were very helpful in relieving the difficulty of breathing. Butterfly weed flowers cluster together to create a bright bouquet on the top of the plants, easy for many pollinators to find. The nectar in the bright orange...

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