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Good Source of Information

For answers to your gardening questions, try HGIC, more properly known as the University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center.


The Cooperative Extension Service was born from the land grant college system, as a way for universities to get information on nutrition, gardening and home economics to small town and rural families and the latest scientific agricultural information to teachers, farmers and nursery owners. Over the years, Extension has been invaluable as a source of information through brochures and classes, and most recently, through the internet.

The Home and Garden Information Center was developed to offer an efficient way of answering questions from an increasingly urban population. HGIC staff, all of whom are Certified Professional Horticulturists, answer questions from gardeners via telephone and email. The website is excellent, with many free online publications, others that may be ordered, ( including the newly updated Master Gardener Handbook), and self-led discovery of plant/pest problems under ‘plant diagnostics’.

If you have questions on deer repellents, how to grow tomatoes, or the best grass seed varieties for our area, this is the place to look for information. And the key is—for our area. This is locally produced information with local relevance.

The toll-free phone number for Maryland residents is at 1-800-342-2507 and the web address is www.hgic.umd.edu You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I purchased a plant at Home Depot about 10 days ago. I live at Riderwood Village and have the plant on my shelf outside my apartment and receive many compliments for its beauty.
    The plant container foil says “Cyclamen 4.5 — next line, PBS 229-884 PBS — barcode 7 0328710988 5 —following line, Grown for BN-USA, Burtonsville, MD 20866, 1.25 pt (594 ml)”.
    I watered it the first week alternate days as directed and it thrived and did great! But now its lined green veins on dark green leaves and its deep red flowers are deteriorating. Some leaves are turning white and the buds are drooping and coming out in a pink shade and dying. How can I saved this lovely specimen? Should I continue more frequent watering and should I transplant it to a larger container? PLEASE HELP !!!! Margaret Schill

  2. There are three keys to good cyclamen.
    Good light. Cool temperatures. Careful watering.

    Light: best on a window sill, in winter east or north. The fading of the flower color and the turning white of some of the leaves sounds to me like less light than optimum.

    Cool temps: they like it in the 60’s or lower at night to stay compact. Another good reason to be in a window.

    Water: they are alpine plants, they need to dry out some between waterings. In a 4.5 inch diameter pot, under the conditions I suggested, it may be only once every 4 or 5 days. With frequent watering they rot off.

    These are basically winter gift plants, and with good care will give you flowers for 4 to 8 weeks. Eventually they go out of bloom and are programmed by Ma Nature to drop their leaves as you reduce watering, and spend the summer as a bulby thing in a pot of dirt. They start to leaf back out in the fall, but they seldom look as nice as they did the first year.

    My recommendation is to enjoy it, and discard it when it starts to look a little ratty. (It can look nice for a couple of months as just a foliage plant before it wants to sleep). At that point, hint around for a replacement; maybe time it with your birthday and start over with a new, seasonally appropriate plant.

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