They are called Chinese lanterns. You can see why from the shape of the flower. They are also known as winter cherry or bladder cherry. They are a member of the nightshade family like potatoes, peppers and tomatoes. The plant is used primarily for its decorative qualities. It dries well and makes a nice arrangement.
It has been around since the 16th century, primarily in Europe. The fruit has also been harvested, mostly in the past. It was valued for many years as being rich in Vitamin C. It is actually hidden inside the lantern-like flowers. Inside each one is the fruit which resembles a cherry tomato. Seeds are plentiful in the fruit and that is how you plant them.
Sow the seeds lightly in loose soil, pressing gently. Planting inside first is best then transplant in about 14 days. They will do well in sun or partial shade. The seeds scatter when left to themselves as soon as the sepals dry. This can be a problem with so many seeds. if you don’t want them to spread, pull off the flower before they re-seed.
This plant also has a problem with rhizomes so you might want to restrict its root growth by planting it in a pot.
The plant is very pretty, delicate and colorful, especially since it is vibrant at this time when so many other plants aren’t blooming anymore. It makes a nice centerpiece, dried, for your table too.
The weather is cooler and the kids have gone back to school. It’s time for fall festivals. The summer was very hot this year. Maybe it’s been a while since you spent a day outside. Pack up the kids, wear your comfortable shoes and bring some cash, not all festivals take credit cards although the list is growing. You’ll have a good time.
Some of these festivals charge admittance but many are free to enter. If you have a small budget this year, look for the free festivals and bring your own drinks and snacks. There are always samples and other freebies.
Fall festivals were started by farmers who wanted to celebrate and mark the end of the growing season. Original competitions were who could cut the most hay fastest and who could catch the most greased pigs.
You don’t have to own pigs or be able to cut hay to have a good time at today’s festivals. Just bring an umbrella in case it rains and be prepared to have a good time. Continue reading
An anonymous friend has given Mint Hill Arts an important challenge grant of $10,000.
This means that for every dollar the group raises (up to $10,000) it will be matched by this donor. Meeting this challenge means MH Arts will have raised $20,000, which is a great start for their 2012 goal of $50,000.
The group said in a statement, “We realize that these are challenging financial times for many. This is also true for Mint Hill Arts. Although we have no salaried staff and rely exclusively on volunteers, there are ongoing operating expenses such as rent, utilities and supplies that we simply must cover to remain viable and provide the services and programs enjoyed by members.”
MH Arts said they have plans for significant improvements to their facility, but annual operating funds are their first priority. That’s why this challenge grant is so important to them.
You can donate at the gallery where cash, personal checks and credit cards are accepted on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. You can also send a check to Mint Hill Arts, 7714 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, Mint Hill, NC 28227. Make checks payable to Mint Hill Arts and indicate “Matching 10K Donation” on the Notes line. Also online with Paypal or credit card.
For more information, contact the gallery at 980-226-5532.”
It’s time for the North Carolina Sales Tax Holiday weekend to begin. It will happen this Friday, August 5 and runs through Sunday August 7. It’s a good time to save some money on everything from clothes to computers.
There are rules for not paying sales tax. Certain items are exempt while others are not. Just because your child’s school requires a certain article doesn’t mean it will be exempt.
Clothing and shoes are exempt if they are $100 or less per item. School materials such as calculators or notebooks of $300 or less are exempt. Sports and recreational equipment less than $50 is tax free. Computers of $3,500 or less can be purchased and computer supplies of $250 or less will also be exempt from sales tax.
Fabric, thread, yarn, and other such items purchased to make clothing are taxable. Clothing accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, protective equipment, wallets, furniture, items used in a trade or business, and rentals are not covered by the exemption and will be taxed.
Participation in the sales tax holiday is required. Retailers can’t decide if they want to participate. Be wary of being charged sales tax and if you are, address it immediately with the retailer. The state won’t refund this money to you but the retailer should. Continue reading
Speakers during the Mint Hill Board of Commissioners meeting on July 21 were emotional during the public comments period. They were concerned about the new Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP). Each had an opposition to “urban style, high density neighborhoods”.
Their concerns included increased congestion, less of small town feel and overcrowding. Each person said they had received a flyer illustrating these points and had taken the survey which was available on the town’s website until June 20.
A few wondered why the 2000 land use plan, which was supposed to be viable for 20 years, is already being changed.
Mayor Ted Biggers addressed the speakers when the public forum was over. “Most of the members of this board endorsed the 2000 land use plan. We are well aware of what is on it. The new plan is not finished yet. It hasn’t been officially presented to the board to be considered. The public will be well advised when we are considering a vote on that. Once board members are able to look at the survey data, we will open it to the public.”
In other matters Continue reading