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Sunflowers are icons of summer, and best known for the large-flowered, stout-stemmed annuals that we are fortunate to enjoy in sweeping fields around the county. Less well-known are the perennial forms, durable, long-blooming workhorses for the garden. True sunflowers are Helianthus, which i…

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BRADY TWP. — The Mid-Michigan Old Gas Tractor Association Executive Board voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with the 47th annual Old Gas Tractor Show — slated for Aug. 19-22.

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One of the first fruits of summer is strawberries. While we can enjoy fresh berries almost year-round from the grocery store, there is no substitute for the sweet, juicy flavor of home-or locally-grown.

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The graceful, cascading branches of my bridal wreath spirea are lined with buttons of tight green buds. A few more warm, sunny days and the shrub will burst into bloom, providing a fountain of milky white flowers.

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OWOSSO — The Downtown Owosso Farmers Market will kick off its 2021 season Saturday with more than 60 vendors selling their wares along portions of Exchange and Ball streets.

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We’re just starting the exuberant display of flowering shrubs that heralds the arrival of spring in Michigan: forsythia, lilac, bridal wreath spirea, quince and viburnum are familiar favorites.

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We’ve been blessed with unusually warm weather, and with the recent rains, the landscapes are bursting with life. Once the season starts rolling, there’s no stopping it, yet we longtime Michiganders know that we can expect frost any time up to Memorial Day weekend, and occasionally later than that.

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SHIAWASSEE TWP. — Citing health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, Shiawassee County Fair organizers opted to cancel the 2020 fair, marking the first time the event did not take place since World War II.

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Today we are left with our Easter treasures. Baskets filled with chocolate rabbits, candy eggs, and jelly beans, maybe some leftover ham, and if we’re lucky, a few pots of lilies and other spring flowers.

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Most gardeners consider growing food plants at some point, especially when trying to stretch the food budget. It’s not always cheaper to grow one’s own food, but careful choices can make a big difference, and it’s hard to put a price on home-grown freshness and having control over chemical u…

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Houseplants have been cultivated for centuries. However, until relatively recently they were an indulgence limited to the elite upper class and warm-winter climates where the line between indoors and out is less distinct.

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SHIAWASSEE TWP. — Beef market animals to be shown at the 2021 Shiawassee County Fair, Aug. 8-14, must be owned by the exhibitor and be in the exhibitor’s possession by Feb. 15, fair officials said.

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Plants make fantastic holiday decorations. The poinsettia is the familiar favorite — abundant, easy, long-lasting and come in wide a range of colors and prices to fit any décor or budget.

Tye and Anthony Karhoff, owners of Karhoff Farms outside Bancroft recently welcomed a new litter of piglets from a special pig. In 2020, when the Shiawassee County Fair was canceled, the Karhoffs helped 4-H and FFA members by purchasing a pen of guilts raised by the Hendzel Family of Perry. …

Most gardeners consider growing food plants at some point, especially when trying to stretch the food budget. It’s not always cheaper to grow one’s own food, but careful choices can make a big difference, and it’s hard to put a price on home-grown freshness and having control over chemical u…

Basil is an essential herb for the home garden; it’s easy to grow and versatile, in both the kitchen and landscape.

Houseplants have been cultivated for centuries. However, until relatively recently they were an indulgence limited to the elite upper class and warm-winter climates where the line between indoors and out is less distinct.

SHIAWASSEE TWP. — Beef market animals to be shown at the 2021 Shiawassee County Fair, Aug. 8-14, must be owned by the exhibitor and be in the exhibitor’s possession by Feb. 15, fair officials said.

Plants make fantastic holiday decorations. The poinsettia is the familiar favorite — abundant, easy, long-lasting and come in wide a range of colors and prices to fit any décor or budget.

Poinsettias are the most recognized Christmas plant, with brilliant red flowers that complement the classic holiday color scheme. How did it come to be such a staple of our Christmas decorating palette?

CHESANING — When Sterling Tomac and Luke Peters began work on their agriscience project last fall, the goal was simply to make it to nationals.

Spring flowering bulbs are an excellent garden investment. At a time when the landscapes are shutting down, dormant bulbs are tucked into the ground to quietly grow roots. Plants emerge and bloom in spring, bringing an early start to the gardening season, often well before we can work the soil.

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PERRY — Members of the Benjamin family gathered recently to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the family’s farm in Perry.

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Fall is for planting. It’s become a slogan for the nursery industry, and it is truly an excellent time to plant hardy trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs.

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Peonies are queens of the spring garden. Deep red shoots of new growth begin to break the ground early, with the first of the flowering bulbs. Lush foliage develops slowly in coppery tones, gradually revealing fat buds that will swell and burst into voluptuous, fragrant blooms.

The Downtown Owosso Farmers Market was in full swing Saturday, with vendors selling their wares to customers. The market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 31, and offers fruits, vegetables, meats, food, cheese, honey, handmade crafts and more.

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OWOSSO — No chickens will be coming home to roost in the city of Owosso any time soon, since a majority of Owosso Planning Commission members dropped the issue after a discussion via Zoom Monday.

Most of the ornamental flowering onions are fall-planted bulbs that bloom in the spring. There are a few, however, which are just now hitting their stride — beautiful plants that are well worth considering for your garden.

I’ve been enjoying an abundance of butterflies in my gardens this summer, especially the large, brightly colored species such as the Monarch and the Swallowtails. Butterflies are as pretty as flowers, and add color, motion, and life as they flutter through the landscape. Fortunately, it is e…

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Thistles are not welcome in most gardens. Bold, tall, and very spiny bull thistles are quite literally painful to remove. Canada thistles are prickly and very persistent, seeming to come back tenfold from every attempt to pull them.

SHIAWASSEE TWP. — With the cancellation of the 2020 Shiawassee County Fair, officials have undertaken an online auction to allow exhibitors to sell their animals.

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More than 30 vendors welcomed customers at the Downtown Owosso Farmers Market Saturday. The market, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October, offered such things as fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods and jewelry. Customers were encouraged to wear masks while shopping but wer…

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OWOSSO — The Home Garden Business EXPO, which had been rescheduled for August, has been canceled because of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order preventing indoor gatherings of more than 50 people due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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If you’ve dreamed of sweeping displays of your favorite flowers or carpeting that hard-to-mow hillside with durable ground cover, but get sticker-shock when pricing out the plants, remember that you have other options. With a little time and effort, you can multiply the plants that you alrea…

I think we all have a vision of grandmother’s garden, even if we didn’t know our own grandmother or she didn’t garden. It’s a nostalgic idea of simple flowers from a simpler time, home grown food, and a sense of gardening as history handed down through the generations.

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German-bearded irises are one of our most showy spring perennials. Large flowers come in an amazing array of sizes and colors, and to sort through them all it is helpful to have a basic familiarity with the flower parts.