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Houseplants’ spotlight time is winter

Winter weather adversely affects growing conditions for houseplants. Proper care during the winter months can help insure the health of houseplants. Most houseplants grow well with daytime temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees F and night temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees F. Temperatures below 50 degrees F or rapid temperature fluctuations may damage some plants. Keep houseplants away from cold drafts, radiators, and hot air vents. Also make sure houseplant foliage doesn’t touch cold windows. Many houseplants prefer a humidity level of 40 to 50 percent. Unfortunately, the relative humidity found in many homes during the winter months may be only 10 to 20 percent — a level too low for many houseplants. Humidifiers are an excellent way to increase the relative humidity in a single room or throughout the entire home. Simple cultural procedures can also increase the relative humidity around houseplants. Group plants together. The water evaporating from the potting soil, plus water lost through the foliage’s transpiration will increase the relative humidity in the immediate vicinity of the houseplants. Another method is to place the houseplants on trays or saucers filled with pebbles or gravel and water. The bottoms of the pots should be above the water level. Misting houseplants is not an effective method to raise relative humidity. Misting would have to be done several times daily to appreciably raise the humidity level and...

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Can you plug in to unplugging yourself?

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I limped into the final month or so of December without a lot of energy left for the busy holiday season. I am not sure if I overestimate my time or just need to budget my time a bit better but the past few months have reiterated my need to simplify my schedule. While simple living is different for each person, for me and for most folks in general, a simplified life means that you are getting rid of any extra mental and physical clutter, so that you can have more time for the things that actually matter to you. In 2019, my challenge to myself and to you — is to identify those things that bring you joy and purge those things that do not. Get Organized: I don’t know about you, but I waste a lot of my time looking for things. Statistics indicate that the average person spends 12 days a year looking for things. Can you imagine what you could get accomplished if you had that dozen or so days back? Use the New Year as an excuse to hit the reset button on your life and get you and your family organized! Buy an organizer, subscribe to one of the many organizational apps and purchase storage cubes or other organizers to help consolidate your physical...

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Admire how morning frost can dazzle

January may be a winter wonderland or just really cold and the plants we have in the garden can take a new look that might just dazzle the eyes. A light dusting of snow can change the look of a garden from brown ground with brown sticks to white sparkly groundcover and each branch of every plant outlined in white. Living so close to water, from the coastal bays to the Chesapeake Bay, the humidity, even in winter, can add to the landscape. A very cold morning may find all of the garden plants rimmed with clusters of diamond bright frost that melts away with the bright sunshine. There are not very many gardening chores in the winter, but a few of them may make the difference between beautiful plants in the spring or just dead sticks. Snow is lovely on the plants and it can be left on the deciduous plants — the ones that lose their leaves in the late fall — and some of the evergreen plants. Snow on many of the southern evergreen plants can be dangerous to those plants even if it looks beautiful on them. Evergreen plants have leaves or needles which will hold more snow on those plants and if the snow is heavy it can bend the branches too far and break the internal working of those plants. When uncovering Southern...

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There’s always work to be done with plants

A new year has begun and though it’s not the heart of the gardening season, there’s work to be done to get the best out of your plants this year. Here are 10 suggestions for care of your plants inside and out. • When the flowers on Christmas Cactus fade, pinch off the blooms and begin a five-week dormant cycle. Do not touch the plant for five full weeks, meaning no water and no fertilizer. In the second week of February, begin bi-weekly feedings of 20-20-20 fertilizer, and a second round of flowers will come after March 15. • Mulch perennial beds or plants with 3 to 4 inches of mulch to keep plants frozen in place and to prevent them from being heaved out of the soil. Dusty Miller must also be mulched if it is to re-grow in the spring. • Be sure all outdoor potted container plants are watered if needed and have a good layer of hardwood mulch to help protect the root system of the plants. • Spray all snow shovels and discharge chute and impellers of snow blowers with silicone spray. This will allow the snow to slide off and not become impacted. • Use calcium chloride or granular urea (46-0-0) instead of salt crystals when attempting to melt snow or ice. Both these products will work faster and more efficiently than salt,...

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The Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered linen cloth that is nearly 230 feet long, and depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England, famous warriors, and the ultimate Battle of Hastings. It is said that it dates to the 11th century, and most scholars agree that it was made in England. The tapestry is miraculous because it has survived almost intact for over nine centuries. It fascinates restoration experts and admirers for it’s subject matter, workmanship, coloring and condition. The tapestry’s earliest known recognition comes in the form of a 1476 inventory of Bayeux Cathedral. French legend says the tapestry was commissioned by Queen Matilda, William the Conqueror’s wife, and her ladies-in-waiting. Analysis and research of this time period conclude that it was probably commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half brother. It is said it was possibly commissioned to coincide with the building of the cathedral for display at the dedication. There are many theories about who ordered the design of such a large work of art. The tapestry is actually an embroidery, not a tapestry, which is woven into a piece of cloth. It is crewel wool yard on a woven linen. The colors used in the tapestry were primarily terracotta, dull gold, blue, olive, sage green and later repairs worked in orange and lighter tones. It used two different types of stitch, an outline...

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