SHRUB: Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry)

American Beautyberry

American Beautyberry

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Lavender flower clusters appear on new growth on this shrub from June to August, followed by clusters of fruit in show-stopping magenta in autumn. In the Mid-Atlantic Region, American Beautyberry is reported to be native only in Virginia’s south and central Coastal Plain.

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VINE: Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine)

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

The fragrant yellow bells of Carolina Jessamine are a sure sign of spring. A profusion of flowers appear for several months, and the glossy, oval leaves remain attractive all year. This native is at home from Guatemala north to the southeastern United States. It is South Carolina’s state flower.

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Five things you don’t know about . . . Paula Kaufman, Master Gardener Coordinator, Virginia Cooperative Extension-Arlington-Alexandria

Paula Kaufman in the garden

Photo © Judy Funderburk

If you’re a Master Gardener of Northern Virginia, have attended an MGNV public education event, worked in an MGNV garden or stopped by the VCE office at Fairlington Community Center, you’ve probably met Paula Kaufman. She’s seemingly everywhere. Continue reading

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The Long View – Meditations on Gardening

One of a series of occasional essays by Christa Watters. Certified Master Gardener

Color and Texture Sustain the Winter Garden

Lavender

Lavender

It’s not all bleak out there, not even in our gardens. If we’ve planted wisely and well, plant life continues even in this chilly, dank and gloomy season. Evergreen plants that in summer deliver masses of color can also provide winter interest through their foliage. Lavender, for example, has no showy purple flower heads in winter, but the feathery gray-green foliage catches the eye and softens the aspect of otherwise bare beds.

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February Public Education Events

The following events are scheduled by VCE Master Gardeners in Arlington and Alexandria in February.

Downloadable PDF Flyer

Sustainable Landscaping 1: The DIY Sustainable Yard 

Saturday, February 11, 9am – noon.
Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, 22206

Fairlington Community CenterFirst in our new Sustainable Landscaping Series, this interactive class will provide you with ideas you can use now to create an easy-to-care-for and environmentally sustainable yard or common area.

We will include case studies and a site design exercise to present best practices for landscape planning and preparation, assessing sustainable landscape materials, and techniques for energy and water conservation.

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Calendar of Events

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March Public Education Events

lawn closeupSpring Lawn Care, You Can Do It!  (note that class is offered twice)

Saturday, March 4, 10–11:30am.
Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, 22206 OR

Tuesday, March 7, 7-8:30 pm.
Westover Library,
1644 N McKinley Rd #3, Arlington 22205

Have the healthiest lawn in your neighborhood! Learn what you can do now to improve and maintain your lawn. We will discuss the best types of grasses for our area, specific springtime turf management practices, nutrient management and soil testing, and basic pest and disease management.

Free. Advance registration requested at mgnv.org. Questions, telephone 703-228-6414 or email mgarlalex@gmail.com. Continue reading

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TREE: Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar)

Juniperus virginiana

Photo © Mary Free

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Eastern Red Cedar’s dense foliage provides excellent roosting and nesting cover for birds. Besides being a favorite wildlife food, the fruit gives gin its characteristic flavor. This long-lived juniper, which is native to eastern North America, was prized by Virginia colonists for its wood. Today, its wood is favored as a closet/chest lining and oils are distilled for use in fragrances.

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SHRUB: Physocarpus opulifolius (Ninebark)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This drought-tolerant, adaptable shrub is found in open woods, lake shores, stream banks, and rock outcroppings.  Its papery bark continually molts in thin strips, revealing multiple layers of reddish to light brown inner bark.

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GRASS: Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats)

Chasmanthium latifolium, Northern/Inland/River Sea Oats

Photo © Mary Free

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This beautiful, tall woodland grass grows in upright clumps and produces fresh green leaves that are held perpendicular at intervals on stiff, wiry culms (hollow stems). Spangled over drooping culms that stand well above the foliage, the eye-catching oat-like seed heads rustle and shimmer in the breeze.

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New Free Public Education Series on Sustainable Landscaping

Library Street Front GardenThe MGNV Public Education Committee is proud to announce our new 5-part public education series on Sustainable Landscaping beginning February 11. Sign up for as many as you want; all workshops are FREE and held at:

Fairlington Community Center,
Room FC100
3308 S. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA (off Quaker Lane south of I-395).

Download the brochure!

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GROUND COVER: Gaultheria procumbens (Wintergreen)

Gaultheria procumbens

Image by Lady Johnson Wildflower Center

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This charming member of the Heath family, noted for its lovely flowers, leaves, and berries, is widespread in woodlands of eastern North America from Canada to Alabama. An extract from its leaves is used as the familiar wintergreen flavor. The plant is named for Dr. Gaultier, a Canadian physician of the mid-18th century.

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