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Features (Gardening)

Time to transplant azaleas and other acid-loving plants

Mid-August to early October is the time to transplant azaleas, rhododendrons, mountain laurel, andromeda, leucothoe and blueberries.
    What do blueberries have to do with azaleas and these other landscaping plants?
    By Aug­ust, all have stopped producing top growth and are now making root growth. Transplanting them at this time of year enables the plants to become well established before the ground freezes.

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Garden in the evening cool

Gardening in the heat of the day is unhealthy. It’s one of those stresses those of us with gray or white hair in particular are told repeatedly to avoid during these hot muggy days when orange alert air pollution levels are anticipated.
    But did you know that gardening in the heat of the day also promotes the germination of weed seeds and the growth of weeds?

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If you’ve ever wanted your own fresh eggs, Michele Allman can help you decide if keeping hens is for you

I am not alone in imagining chickens in my back yard. Backyard flocks are on the upswing in suburban and urban America, Chesapeake Country included. Why, the state’s capital allows city-dwellers to raise them.
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You need bees to get fruit, nuts and berries

At a recent garden club lecture, a member complained that she was not seeing apples on any of the five trees she planted three years ago. The trees were growing in full sun and had a full compliment of blooms this past spring. All were of the Golden Delicious variety.
    Were any flowering crab apple trees in her area, I asked.
    She was not aware of any.
    That’s why her trees have no fruit.
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From Your Garden

Not too early for garlic

Gail Martinez of Fairhaven Cliffs reports with excitement harvesting the season’s first heads of garlic. Planted in fall and well composted, garlic puts its roots down before winter so it’s got a head start on the new year’s growing season.
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Gardening expert Rick Darke strives to create “liveable landscapes” using both natives and exotics

You won’t find the word invasive — at least in connection with plants — in gardener, award-winning author, photographer and consultant Rick Darke’s vocabulary. Meet him on March 2, when he makes the trek from his garden oasis in Pennsylvania to Annapolis, and you’ll hear about balancing natives and exotics in the garden....

Winter Cauliflower

I am at best a haphazard gardener. To my delight, I recently discovered these cauliflower, which I had given up for a loss, the leaves a lacy design after the insects had eaten their fill. I am amazed and feel the thrill of the winter gardener. I made cauliflower-cheese soup with this small head.
    –Gail Martinez, Fairhaven

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Out of the Hill of Giant Sweet Potatoes

The best thing about giant sweet potatoes is digging them up with seven-year-old grandson Aiden in the kitchen garden behind our house in northern Calvert County. Aiden and I picked out one of the largest hills. Mt. Kilimanjaro, we called it. When dug out, that hill yielded 55 pounds of potatoes, with one 20 inches long and big around as the calf of your leg. Another weighed 11 pounds.
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Fennel provides plenty for butterflies and me

Observe and serve. That could be my motto with our fennel plants.
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Jelly from Heaven’s Hedges

This is lemon verbena jelly I made from my garden. While Aloysia triphylla is not reliably hardy here, I’ve had good luck with it over the last several mild-winter years. If I could only have one herb, this would be it. Heaven’s hedges are surely lemon verbena.
    –Cathryn Freeburger, Prince Frederick

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