Posts by Year: 2014

A Different December Tradition: Counting Birds

Beginning on December 14, thousands of volunteers will leave their warm homes, brave the cold and count birds. Why, you might ask? To be a part of the longest running wildlife census in the world, the Christmas Bird Count, keeping up a family tradition that spans generations. Before the turn of the century, hunters partook in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas Side Hunt.


'Northwind' Will Blow You Away! An Interview with the Perennial of the Year

Winning awards isn't just for movie stars, musicians and the like; plants also compete for accolades. Each year since 1990, the Perennial Plant Association nominates a number of perennials that can stand up to some tough criteria: relative disease and pest resistance, suitability for a wide range of climatic conditions, low maintenance, availability and multiple seasons of interest.


Bye-Bye, Fireflies?

When we think of our favorite signs of summer, surely fireflies are at the top of the list. Many of us have memoires of spotting and catching them as they light up a warm summer evening. But some scientists suggest that our children may not have the same firefly memories we had. The firefly population is on the decline; they are disappearing from fields, forests, and our back yards across the globe.


Community Gardening

Not enough space or hours of sunshine to grow what you love at home? Try community gardening! Counties throughout Maryland and Virginia have set aside areas where gardeners can rent plots to plant their favorite flowers, fruits and veggies. These gardens provide fabulous opportunities using public space to enhance environmental benefits, aesthetic value, and economic impacts in our local neighborhoods. And community gardens are a great place to meet people, a place that transforms strangers into garden buddies.


Law of the Lawn: Updated Lawn Fertilizer Guidelines

Beginning in October 2013, Maryland updated its lawn fertilizer application guidelines. This new law helps protect the Chesapeake Bay from excess nutrients entering its waterways from a variety of sources, including many thousands of lawns. The main components of lawn fertilizer are nitrogen and phosphorous. When it rains, excess amounts of these nutrients are carried away by runoff water, empty into our Bay and there can endanger underwater life.


Composting: Because a Dirty Rind is a Terrible Thing to Waste!

In the garden, there is no denying rot is hot! Composting is an effective, inexpensive and natural way to manage organic waste. It truly is a gardener's best friend. According to the Department of the Environment, organic matter such as yard and food waste makes up about 20% of the refuse generated in the United States. They say one man's trash is another man's treasure; and for the gardener, this 20% trash is 100% treasure!


My Yard's a Mess! What's Happened to My Plants?

Is your yard a hot mess? Don't worry, you're not alone! This winter has done its fair share to test the limits of your shrubs and trees. Our stores have received several calls from folks particularly concerned with the status of their evergreens. While things might look bleak, there is good news: Most winter damage will correct itself in time - and with warm weather... if it ever shows up!!


Words of Winds-dom: Protecting Your Plants and Home from Winter Winds

Has it been cold enough for you this winter? Temperatures have certainly been low and the wind chill makes some days feel even colder. Wind chill is how cold the air feels on your skin, resulting from the combined effect of low temperatures and wind. Fortunately, because plants don't have skin, they aren't affected by wind chill the same way we are. If the temperature is 40°F, and the wind chill makes the air feel like 30°F, the plant still behaves as if it is 40°F.


The Silver Lining to Falling Mercury: Celebrating a Deep Freeze

Has everyone thawed out from last week's deep freeze? While for most of us the plummeting temperatures meant staying indoors or wearing an extra layer of clothes, some rejoiced at the dropping mercury. Who would those crazy people be, you might ask? Entomologists, foresters, and naturalists see a silver lining to the extreme cold, a cold which has the potential to thwart or even kill invasive insects attacking our treasured native plants and trees.