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Some favorites wear out; some are good for a lifetime

     With Christmas around the corner, there are a lot of gift choices for that special gardener in your life. After gardening for more than 40 years, I’ve compiled a list of useful products and tools.       My favorite tool is my Felco pruner. There are right- and left-handed types and even a lightweight version. They range from $40 to $70; rather pricey, but I’ve had mine for more than 30 years.

Nature provides the raw materials

      The traditional Christmas colors of red and green mimic the reds and greens in nature this time of year, specifically, the holly trees that bear their red jewels of berry clusters against their evergreen foliage. Their evergreen nature has long represented life everlasting.

Take a walk in the woods to fill a vase with color

     A seasonal arrangement on the Thanksgiving table helps set the mood. I find native foods to use in recipes from our colonial ancestors for the Thanksgiving feast. A walk through my garden also gives me a lot of beauty from native plants for the table centerpiece.

If the food is good, most anything else can be forgiven

     The holiday commemorating the first communal meal with native Americans and the early colonists now brings families together to enjoy a feast. I strive to gather our Thanksgiving meal from our garden and to include free-range poultry. I also like to use ingredients and recipes that our foremothers and fathers would have used.      On this holiday for memories, many rise from the creation of the annual feast. Catastrophes in their time are now family legend.

There’s truth behind the old saying

      Apple season’s harvest is August through November. Take advantage of fresh apples from many farmers markets or visit local Maryland orchards. 

Preserve and hang your flowers and herbs to enjoy through the winter

     The art of making wreaths is an ancient tradition. In the first century and long before that, wreaths were sold in the market in Athens, Pompeii and other cities, often outside the baths where the society of the city gathered. Girls came in from the farms with their collection of garlands, wreaths and chaplets for all occasions. They used different plants for their specific meanings. Bay leaf was used for scholars. A wreath of myrtle or parsley was used to dispel the effects of wine.

How to plant, carve, scare and eat

     Pumpkin time is upon us. I hope you plan to have a ghoulish pumpkin on your front porch with a flickering candle inside. The custom comes from a phenomenon of a strange light, called will-o’-the-wisp or jack-o’-lantern, that flickers over peat bogs. It’s also tied to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a drunkard who bargains with Satan and is doomed to roam the Earth with only a hollowed turnip to light his way.
Grass is greedy and needy; plants are generous
      A lawn is a lot of work. If you’re committed to having a good lawn, now’s the time to get to work. On the other hand, it’s also a good time to transform a demanding lawn into a beautiful garden. You can design a garden to grow vegetables, herbs, perennials, annuals and native plants.

The Annapolis Sailboat Show ­celebrates its half-century

      Like many great ideas, the Annapolis Sailboat Show was born in a bar. Legend holds that someone — exactly who is lost in history — jumped into a conversation at the bar of the Annapolis Yacht Club with a prophetic suggestion: Why don’t we just have them come to see the boats already in the water?       Jerry Wood saw opportunity. 

You can do it on your own, but we have goat help

     The vegetable garden is waning especially as the nights get colder. It’s time to start cleaning it up to prepare for next spring.