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Expert tips for the new year and beyond

That’s our hope for you in 2017

Your pot must runneth over

A triumph of hope over experience

We’ve saved the best for last


My favorite stories of 2016

Treat yellow-green leaves with ­compost or fertilizer

If your hollies are heavily loaded with berries this fall, most likely the foliage will turn yellow-green, downgrading the contrast with the red berries. It takes a lot of energy and nutrients for plants to produce fruit. This is especially true if the branches are heavily laden with large clusters. Heavy-fruiting hollies generally appear chlorotic. This problem can be corrected by applying a nitrogen-rich mulch such as lobster compost, chicken manure compost or lawn fertilizer between the...

Marvel gets metaphysical with this superhero romp

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch: Zoolander 2), the world’s most sought-after neurosurgeon, has an ego as big as his brain. He is smug and calculating, cold and talented.     But his talent means nothing after an accident cripples his hands.     Scorning the physical therapy recommended by intellectual inferiors, Strange spends all his money on experimental surgeries that leave him broke, alone and hopeless. He spends his last pound to fly to Nepal...

Our estimable forefathers were as bad — maybe worse

If you’re disheartened by the tone of this year’s presidential election, you won’t find refuge in the good old days.     Historical presidential contests were as bad as — perhaps even worse — than what we’re seeing. In fact, we seem downright civil compared to some of the low-down dirty tricks and harsh rhetoric of prior elections.     The 1800 election, pitting then vice president Thomas Jefferson against president John Adams...

The cookie moms and girls of Central Maryland have got you covered

Are you hungry for Girl Scout cookies?         If you haven’t stashed boxes in your freezer, you’ll be glad to know that now through December 7 is cookie season for the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. Anne Arundel County is part of that Council, as are Baltimore City and County and Howard County.     You folks in Calvert and Prince George’ counties, as well as in Montgomery County and Virginia, whose Girl Scouts are part of the...

Deputy director Sherrod Sturrock steps up to lead

Calvert Marine Museum keeps track of the ages. You learn about the prehistoric Chesapeake there by encountering creatures that lived in that shallow, warm ocean and on its shores. About the humans who followed ages later, and how the water enriched their lives. About the creatures that evolved, died and live in Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River.     Over 46 years, it’s grown steadily. From the old Solomons Island School, now its administrative building, it’s...

For Annapolis Maritime Museum, a giant step across the creek

With the flourish of a pen, Annapolis Maritime Museum took a giant step into the future. From two-thirds of an acre — its Eastport campus on Back Creek — the 26-year-old environmental education center grew to almost 13 acres.     Like a small snake swallowing an elephant, the Museum made the ambitious expansion in a single bite. That bite is the Ellen Moyer Nature Park.     Twelve acres of potential is what board chairman Eric Rubin saw on a chance...

The Patuxents used to live here; some still do

How hard is it to prove a hunch?     It took 75 holes a foot deep by a foot wide followed by five three-by-five-foot excavation pits dug with exacting symmetry in the unyielding earth to document the late naturalist Mitzi Poole’s suspicion. Her girlhood swimming hole on Battle Creek might, she believed, be a Native American site.     It was a good place to call home, this rise above the creek’s winding curves. Captain John Smith had found a...

Four generations later, returning to a home they’ve never known

See a monarch this time of year, and you’re seeing an insect with superpowers. Passing through Chesapeake Country is the migrating fourth generation of the distinctive butterfly whose orange wings are patterned like leaded glass. The great-great grandchildren of last spring’s migrating monarchs, these featherweights are repeating the 3,000-mile journey to Mexico, flying on instinct.     Leaving Chesapeake Country, these long-distance fliers funnel through Point...

Three steps to keep them happy indoors

Some houseplants have to be repotted every six months, while others can stay put for two or three years. Frequency of repotting also depends on container size, quality of care, productivity of the rooting medium and frequency of nutrient applications. Annuals — such as grape ivy, begonias and marigolds — have very vigorous habits of growth and should be repotted at least twice yearly. Foliage plants such as ficus, schefflera and crotons tend to grow slowly and can be left alone for...

Give yourself plenty of options for catching stripers this time of year

I knew exactly what I wanted to do. With ice in my cooler, a couple of bottles of water and a box of surface lures, I headed out just before sundown for the mouth of a nearby tributary. Planning a top-water assault to repeat a recent evening’s triumph, my hopes were high.     Everything was perfect: low light, high water, moving tide and no wind. The only missing element was the fish. I worked up and down the shallow shoreline to no avail. Finally, searching in my boat bag...