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Environment Blog Posts

Green garland on a table.

December 9, 2022

I love Christmas decorations. There’s just something about the twinkly lights and greenery that makes my heart flutter. Over the years, I’ve experimented with making my own garland and arrangements from evergreens and other plants.

Gardening tools.

December 2, 2022

The holiday season is officially upon us, and Christmas shopping is probably at the top of your to-do list. To me, it’s important to gift people with something thoughtful, meaningful, and that they will enjoy.

Lush green plants.

November 22, 2022

If you have an area in your yard where you want to create a border between property lines, reduce noise from busy streets, or soften a fence line, we have a solution

collage of cornucopia designs

October 31, 2022

The cornucopia, or horn of plenty, is most often associated with Thanksgiving. It is generally depicted with the fruits of harvest overflowing its horn-shaped form and serves as a reminder to be thankful and grateful. If you like do-it-yourself projects, making your own cornucopia is an easy project.

Bats on a tree limb

October 25, 2022

Bats have long been associated with Halloween, and this has fostered many myths about them. They may look spooky to some, but they perform critical tasks in the environment that help humans. The 1,400 species that are spread across six different continents serve an important purpose in our ecosystem. They pollinate plants, distribute seeds, and control insect pests, including mosquitoes. Fifteen different species of these small mammals live in Mississippi.

A bouquet of flowers.

October 21, 2022

I love filling my home with fresh flowers. I always have to browse the floral section at my local grocery store to see if there is a bouquet that must come home with me.

Turban Squash

October 17, 2022

Pumpkins, gourds, and squash, oh my! With fall in full effect, I’m buying fall décor all the time. Do I already have several pumpkins on my porch? Yes. Will I be buying more? Also, yes. 

Japanese Maple Tree

October 14, 2022

Being able to identify trees is an impressive skill to have. Some trees, like the magnolia tree, are easily recognizable. Others, not so much. Identifying a tree is like solving a mystery. There are several different puzzle pieces to put together before you know for sure what kind of tree it is. 

Campfire

October 6, 2022

Fall is the perfect time to enjoy fire pits and camping trips! Firewood is a necessity for both activities, so it’s important to know how to properly collect and manage it. Be sure to get your firewood within 50 miles of where you will burn it whether that’s in your backyard or at a campground several miles from home.

Field corn.

September 27, 2022

As you travel Mississippi roads, it’s common to spot a corn field or two during your travels. Corn is the fourth ranked crop in the state, bringing in over $700 million each year!

A field of grass.

September 23, 2022

As we all know, good things require time and effort. That same concept applies to having an award-winning yard. You’re probably thinking, “Winter is around the corner. Why should I be worried about my lawn now?” A great spring and summer lawn is made possible by the work you devote to it during the fall. 

Ruby throated hummingbird on a leaf.

September 16, 2022

Hummingbirds are fascinating little creatures and are adored by many people. If you’re a hummingbird lover, you’re probably giddy to have them flock to your yard again this season. 

golden rain tree

September 8, 2022

Pruning is one of the least understood gardening tasks and for good reason – it’s confusing. When, how, and if you should prune depends on the type of plant or tree you have and your goal for the plant. Check out these pruning tasks for the last one-third of the year.

A fly on a window with homes in the background.

August 29, 2022

There are not very many things quite as annoying as a pesky house fly in your home. House flies will buzz inside anytime a door or window is opened. Airconditioning, modern sewage management, and the lack of livestock near our homes means most people don’t see large numbers of flies in their homes these days. Think about how bad they were back in the day before proper window screening existed! But there are times when flies will occasionally get inside and certain settings that can increase the fly population around your home. 

Figs

August 22, 2022

With figs in season, they’re on my mind a lot these days. The sweet, Southern decadence is quite the treat! I associate figs with my grandparents since they had a tree in their backyard. I remember helping them pick buckets full of figs when I was younger and eating them soon after they were picked. 

Closeup of an armyworm

August 10, 2022

If you’re a homeowner who loves your bermudagrass lawn, be on the lookout for fall armyworms. These caterpillars can eat voraciously, devouring yards within just a day or two. These pests show up every year from late summer to early fall, and you never know exactly when or how many there will be.

Woman in blue lab coat holding up paper.

August 5, 2022

Having healthy soil in your garden results in healthy plants. Whether you’re planting vegetables, flowers, grass, trees, shrubs, or anything in between, a soil sample is the first thing to check off the list. Gathering a soil sample from your landscape and having it tested by MSU Extension’s Soil Testing Lab should be the initial step in any gardening adventure. Plus, it’s pretty easy to do!

rosemary, basil, and dill collage

July 28, 2022

Many herbs are easy to grow in the garden or in containers. Rosemary, basil, and dill are mainstays in my garden because I like to use them while cooking in my kitchen.

a snake

July 22, 2022

In my opinion, snakes are not cute and cuddly like some other wildlife, such as rabbits and baby deer. However, they do an important job in nature and benefit humans by controlling pests, including mice and insects, that can spread disease and damage property.

Snakes do not seek out humans, but we can and do come across them. If you happen to encounter one, it’s unlikely it will bite unless it feels threatened or you surprise it.

Six of the 55 different kinds of snakes in Mississippi are venomous. Although the risk of a venomous snake bite is low, it can happen. It’s...

Three photos of butterflies in a collage.

July 14, 2022

Butterflies are a fan-favorite insect among many people. Not only are they pleasing to watch, they also play a vital role in our environment. Butterflies are pollinators, meaning they move pollen from one flower to another, fertilizing plants so they can reproduce. They’re both beautiful AND beneficial! 

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About Extension for Real Life

Extension for Real Life is a product of the MSU Extension Service’s Office of Agricultural Communications.

That’s a long way of saying we are professional communicators who get to talk about food, families, 4-H, flowers, and farming for a living. Pretty good gig, right?

The three main writers for the blog are Ellen Graves (Seamstress of Social Media Strategy), Susan Collins-Smith (Content Connector) and Keri Lewis (Captain Cat Herder). But we get by with a lot of help from our friends in Ag Comm and Extension!

You can reach us at 662-325-2262 or extreallife@msstate.edu

Recent Posts

Green garland on a table.
(Photo by Kevin Hudson)
How to Decorate with Evergreens
Four mini wonton quiche sit on a plate.
Mini Wonton Quiches make an excellent quick appetizer for your upcoming events.
The Food Factor: Mini Wonton Quiches
Gardening tools.
Seeds, gloves, pruning shearers, hand cream, plant stakes, tags, and ties are all great stocking stuffer gifts. (Photo from Canva)
Gifts for Gardeners