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Harnett County,
North Carolina

Cooperative Extension 

What have you learned about horticulture and how has this knowledge changed your life?


Question What have you learned about horticulture and how has this knowledge changed your life?

Answer This question is actually from me to you. While I am curious about the effect my columns have on readers, my boss (NC Cooperative Extension) uses documentation of this effect to evaluate my performance. If a person reads one of my columns and uses the information to make a decision, I would like to know this. I really would like to know the impact of this decision. For example, Rick read one of my columns (including the attached link) and gained enough info to modify the landscape around his house. Of course, the impact would be money saved and/or pleasure gained. If Rick hired a landscaper, he may not have saved money, but he might have been able to enhance the landscaper’s services by better explaining his needs.

I wrote 7 columns about landscape design in 2008. These included “Gardening with Young Children”, “Lowering your Energy Bill”, “Landscaping to Look Good”, “Mulch isn’t a Fire Hazard” and “Ginkgo for Fall Color.” Two columns were about designing for smell – “Bradford Smells up the Spring” and the infamous “Sweet Smells of Winter Flowers.” The design category of hort columns were specifically written to help you save money and/or enhance your landscape.

Another part of landscape enhancement is plant diversity. Hopefully, you learned about different plants. I wrote about chocolate beans, black gum, serviceberry, Bradford pear, redbud, hops, ginkgo and groundsel bush. If you planted some of these or refrained from planting them as a result of reading my column, then I want to know.

I get a lot of questions about pests. Since my columns are guided by questions, I wrote more columns about pests than any other specific category (13). Some of these pests included snakes, fire ants (2), moles, pecan weevils, pecan girdlers, plum curculios, black spot, wilt, mice, weeds and others.

Three columns targeted lawns (not including lawn pests). These columns were “Grass Fertilization”, “Warm Season Grasses” and “Environmental Turf.” Not including pests, three columns were also written for vegetable gardening – “Starting Vegetable Seeds”, “Top Hot Pepper” and “Collards and Frost.”

Of course the “catch all” or “general” category is the largest. Topics ranged from wreath making to migrating hummingbirds. Try to remember the ones written about dry hands, drug interactions, Epsom salt, music and wound (pruning) paint.

While many of the columns had historical references, three columns were steeped in history. “Arbor Day”, “War of the Roses” and “Olympic Olives” all tied horticulture to current events. I’m sure they all had impact on your day to day life. If so, let me know about it.

To view past columns, visit If you don’t have internet access, then call 910-893-7530 or email me

While I wrote 47 columns in the past 12 months, one July column was written about me instead of by me. Remember this one? July 3rd

Gary L. Pierce

Horticulture Extension Agent

Harnett County

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