Category: Features

Beware: Boxwood blight is here!

The Maryland Department of Agriculture urged residents to use caution when buying fresh holiday decorations and greens containing boxwood this past season, noting that using boxwood greens could potentially introduce a serious fungal disease called boxwood blight to surrounding boxwoods. Heading into the spring and summer months, the disease can easily move by attaching to gloves, clothes and tools so even though holiday decorations are down, it’s still something to watch out for. Boxwood blight is caused by a fungus called Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum. Symptoms begin as leaf spots followed by rapid browning and leaf drop starting on the lower branches and moving upward in the canopy. The key symptoms that make Boxwood Blight different from other boxwood diseases are numerous thin black streaks that develop on the green stems. Boxwood blight infects all above ground portions but does not appear to infect the roots. Fungus can remain alive in fallen leaves, which may serve as the source of infection for subsequent years as infected plants are exposed to moisture and temperature, severe blight and decline can occur. This fungus also produces sticky spores, which can be easily transported by human activities. The major means of transmission for boxwood blight is through moving plants and contact with contaminated clothing, tools or equipment according to the MDA. Sanitation is essential. Keep all tools clean and change clothing when working in the...

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How smart is your home?

Science fiction seers have long prophesized a golden age of automated home nirvana. Those who grew up watching “The Jetsons” cartoons, believed it was bound to happen, but in a someday off in the distance. Alexa wasn’t around then to ask when it would begin. But Amazon Echo’s iconic voice-activated assistant, whose “powers” derive from Cloud computing technology, seems to be everywhere today, announcing the future’s arrival. Thanks to the “magic” of WiFi and the Internet of Things, that long-promised era isn’t merely on our proverbial doorsteps, it has literally crossed the threshold into our living spaces. Now, at the touch of an app or voice command, we’re able to customize and control our residential environment with almost cinematic virtuosity, even remotely view and speak with whoever’s at our door, from anywhere around the house, or around the country. For tech savvy savants with the financial resources, there’s almost no limit to devising the digitally enhanced home of their dreams. But even for those with far less know-how and fewer dollars to invest, a world of possibilities awaits. It can actually be as simple as screwing in a smart lightbulb or plugging in a smart WiFi plug to any outlet, which can render regular devices Internet controllable. No matter the level of smart home brilliance you aspire to, the foundation remains the same: good WiFi coverage, coupled with a...

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Try these remedies to break past cabin fever

We all like to snuggle in the winter with blankies, hot cocoa — and then day three comes and we might be in the same outfit and looking a little deranged, and feeling like it too. • The weather outside can be frightful, but truth is, it can still be delightful! It does a body good on so many levels to get outside. If the wind isn’t blowing and there’s something that resembles sunshine, get dressed and go on a walk to the mailbox, fill up your bird feeders, pick up a few sticks that have fallen, or just find a reason to get yourself out for a little bit. Even if it takes as long to get ready for your walk as you spend actually walking, you’ll feel better for it and it might energize you for getting things done inside the house afterwards. Another good way to keep moving is to check with nature groups, local parks and arboretums for birding walks, soup n’ walks, and other fun events in the winter geared at getting folks outside. Try making a walking date with a friend so the commitment and guilt will push you to leave your igloo! • Decluttering. While it may not sound that glamourous, it will keep you busy, get you organized and destress you as well! Getting organized is always trending early in the...

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Caring for orchids in winter can be a delicate balance

Considered to be the aristocrat of flowers, the orchid exemplifies the essence of sophistication and elegance. English merchant seamen brought the orchid home during the 19th century. The exotic colors and unique fragrances made them extremely popular among Britain’s wealthy, who were willing to pay extreme cost for these lovelies. Luckily, these flowers are now available to all at affordable costs. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture more than $123 million worth of potted orchids are sold in the United States annually. The most popular season for these sales is between October and Mother’s Day. Orchid sales are second only to poinsettias. The Physics Factbook reports that there are approximately 20,000 species and 900 genera known making orchids the largest family of flowering plants in the world. All orchids are not created equal and therefore require slightly different care. Orchid classification is based on winter temperature needs for the plant. The orchid is usually classified as warm growing, cool growing and intermediate. • The warm-growing orchid needs 65 degrees at night and a range of 75 degrees to 85 degrees during the day; • The cool-growing orchid needs 50 degrees at night and daytime temperatures under 70 degrees; and • The intermediate growing orchid needs a night temperature of 60 degrees and daytime temps of 70 degrees F to 85 degrees. The intermediate-growing orchid is the most suited...

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Plan now for good times on vacation

Some days you might not know what you are fixing for dinner that evening, but you know which speciality drink you are going to order at an exact restaurant in seven months when you are on vacation. Planning ahead for vacation is not only great for giving you something to look forward to, but it can also help your budget and help travel go more seamlessly. After you’ve decided the “where” of the place you’d like to visit, spend some time figuring out the when, what and how long part. When? Picking your destination is a good part of the planning, but equally as important is when. Check out the city and county’s tourism sites for the area — there’s nothing like finding out you missed a unique and popular festival by a week. … Or, if it is not something that interests you, plan on being there when the crowd of the event is not. You may also come across “off-season” deals which can be very tempting. Before you save a few dollars, make sure it doesn’t hinder the purpose of your trip. For example, if you are going on a beach trip you may not want to plan it in a month where it won’t be warm enough to get in the water regardless of the savings! Or if you are heading to a quaint little town,...

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Upcoming Events

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 River Arts

    March 1 @ 5:00 pm - March 31 @ 8:00 pm
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    March 24 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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    March 30