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Gardening

When to repot a budding gardenia and when not to use insecticides

After years of failure, I’ve gotten a gardenia to grow and it is going to bloom! At least, it has buds. It’s growing so well, however, it is much too big for its pot. I read this is a good time of year to transplant, but I’m nervous. Good idea? …

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Surprises and mortgages from the ‘seventh circle of hell’: Things I wish I knew before buying my first home

There will be surprises. And hidden costs. And more paperwork than you ever thought one person could file in a lifetime. Oh, and it might take you a while to settle into this giant commitment you just spent your pretty pennies on. Buying a home is a lot of things …

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When to clean out your garden in winter and apply lime to your lawn

I’m confused. Should I clear out my garden at the end of the season or not? I’ve been leaving my flowers’ seed heads for the birds and the dead stalks for pollinators and overwintering beneficial insects. Also, the structures look beautiful, especially in ice and snow! Recently I read that …

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What to do with all your stuff now that you’ve been watching ‘Tidying Up’

Just two weeks into the year, professional organizer Marie Kondo appears to be the most influential woman of 2019. Since the series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” first aired on Netflix on Jan. 1, countless people have begun to pile all their earthly clothes onto beds, holding each item to …

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America’s love-hate relationship with Marie Kondo and our clutter

First, let’s take a moment to thank the device you’re using to read this story, or the table holding up your newspaper. Your computer and phone and furniture work very hard for you. They’re inanimate objects, yes. But think of how you’d feel if you lost them. We all have …

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What kind of beetle is this I found in my kitchen?

Holiday cleaning turned up lots of things, including this bug. It was in my kitchen, but I don’t see it in the Pantry Pest section on the University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center website. Now I’m nervous. What is it? The larder beetle with its broad panda-like …

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Boxwood blight can spread easily though it’s not active in the winter

I’m horrified to see that the Christmas wreath my relative sent me has boxwood leaves infected with boxwood blight! What do I do with it? I would hate to spread this infection to my neighbors. To make matters worse, I live near a historic area with ancient boxwoods. Brown spotted …

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Decorative evergreens for the yard and how to give bat houses as gifts

I miss having an evergreen to put lights on, since my blue spruce died. Can you suggest a nice pyramid-shaped tree for the front yard? I don’t want it to grow as fast as Leyland cypress, though. Japanese cedar — Cryptomeria japonica — is a popular option. It’s a stately …

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By the numbers: A Government House Christmas returns in Annapolis

Gov. Larry Hogan’s re-election meant a lot of things in November. For Republicans, Hogan’s ride to success atop the blue wave was monumental to the party in Maryland. For the Government House staff, Hogan’s win was the moment to start preparing for Saturday’s holiday open house. The public is invited …

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