Help Desk Highlights, Vol. 3

By Jolene Mafnas, VCE Agricultural and Natural Resources Intern

Anthracnose on Hydrangeas

Anthracnose on Hydrangeas
Photo © Leslie Fillmor

Our Horticultural Help Desk receives many queries each week. Thanks to Jolene Mafnas for pulling together some of the common questions and providing answers and additional resources.

This edition focuses on:

  • Lace Bugs
  • Verticillium Wilt of Trees and Shrubs
  • Hydrangea Anthracnose

Continue reading

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Arlington County Fair

Arllington County Fair Logo

Wednesday, August 16 thru Sunday, August 20.
Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 Second Street South, Arlington, 22204

Did you know that the Arlington County Fair is one of the largest free events on the East Coast and has been providing fun and interesting experiences for all ages for over 40 years? Join your neighbors in competitive horticulture, home crafts, and other exhibits; midway rides and games; entertainment; vendors; racing piglets; and more. Come visit the VCE Master Gardener booth to get advice and get solutions for your plant and gardening questions, or just to say “Hi”.

Shuttle service is provided from locations throughout Arlington. For more information and specific schedule of events, see http://arlingtoncountyfair.us/ or https://www.tripsavvy.com/arlington-county-fair-1040023.

Posted in MG in the Garden

SHRUB: Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush)

SHRUB: Cephalanthus occidentalis

SHRUB: Cephalanthus occidentalis
Photo © Elaine Mills

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

The sweet-scented, fuzzy white globes of Buttonbush are familiar to those who spend time fishing or lounging along a river or pond. This widespread native, a favorite of wildlife, is so common it is often overlooked.

Learn more . . .

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The Master Gardeners’ Bookshelf―Planting in a Post-Wild World

by Susan Wilhelm, Certified Master Gardener

Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West (2015) provides concrete advice for designing, planting, and managing sustainable landscapes based on what we know about how plants grow in nature. While written for professional landscape designers, it is full of ideas and practical tools for anyone interested in sustainable landscaping.

Palnting in a Post-Wild WorldMr. Rainer, a certified landscape architect, teacher, and writer who lives in Arlington, Virginia, and Ms. West, a landscape designer, lecturer, and consultant based in White Hall, Maryland, take their inspiration from naturally occurring plant communities. The book opens with an in-depth discussion of how plants co-exist in natural settings. It then shows how this knowledge can be used to design sustainable landscapes that introduce nature to urban and suburban settings. Individual chapters address natural plant communities, the principles of designed plant communities, the design process itself, and creation and management of designed plant communities. The book has many wonderful photographs, illustrations, several handy tables that complement the text, and an extensive index.

Planting in a Post-Wild World is available at the Arlington Library. It can be purchased from its publisher, Timber Press, and national book retailers. The list price is $39.95. You can read Thomas Rainer’s blog at thomas rainer’s grounded design .

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The Square Foot Garden

By Madeleine Faust, Certified Master Gardener

Square Foot Garden

Square Foot Garden with cool harvest crop
Photo © 2017 Madeleine Faust

A stroll through the Demonstration Gardens of Glencarlyn, Simpson, and Bon Air leads one gently along the curves that define the paths and plantings. The softness and seemingly indeterminate order comfort the eye and make one anticipate the next bend. By contrast, a stroll through the Organic Vegetable Garden (OVG), in Potomac Overlook Regional Park in Arlington, Virginia, is a study in protracted straightness. Bean plantings form straight lines, their pole supports vertical and sturdy. Tidy pathways surround other rectangular beds of eggplant, tomatoes, and chard. Groomed and towering, the garden visually satisfying and inspiring. But tucked in a corner of the OVG, near the country-red shed, lies a bed that is different from all the others. It is neither large nor long nor rectangular. Its crops are not in straight rows. It is a 4-foot by 4-foot square overlaid with a grid of 16 1-foot by 1-foot squares. This is the Square Foot Garden. Continue reading

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Calendar of Events

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September 2017 Public Education Events

The following are free public education events for September 2017.

Garden Talk at Arlington Central Library:
Cover Crops for Healthy Soil 

Wednesday, September 6, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Arlington Central Library, 1015 N Quincy St, Arlington VA 22201

Sowing cover crops can add nutrients & structure to your soil during the winter months for next spring

AFAC logoFree. No registration necessary. Presented with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden, Public Education Events

Become a Master Gardener in 2018

The 2017 Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Training is FULL!

2014-master-gardener-of-northern-virginia-annual-plant-sale-at-green-spring

Please check back in the spring of 2018 for information about the 2018 class.

Offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), Arlington County Office, in partnership with the City of Alexandria, the VCE Master Gardener program trains participants in best management practices of gardening and landscaping techniques that preserve and sustain the environment.

For more information about training or becoming a Master Gardener, please contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Horticulture Help Desk at 703-228-6414 or email mgarlalex@gmail.com;  or visit us at 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington VA 22206.

Posted in MG in the Garden

PERENNIAL: Phlox paniculata, (Fall Phlox, Garden Phlox)

PERENNIAL: Phlox paniculata

PERENNIAL: Phlox paniculata
Photo © Mary Free

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Phlox paniculata has large trusses of fragrant, showy flowers that come in a range of purples, pinks, reds, and white atop two-to-five-foot stems in summer.

Learn more . . .

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Meet Jolene Mafnas, the 2017 Summer Intern

Jolene MafnasBy Susan Wilhelm, Certified Master Gardener

Jolene Mafnas, our 2017 Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) summer intern, is a senior at William & Mary studying public health and environmental science policy. Jolene’s focus is sustainability. Last fall she began a William & Mary Dining Service sustainability internship. Jolene says her passion is sustainability, and as a sustainability intern, she has worked on a farm that grows food for the William & Mary Dining Services, helped manage the dining hall composting site, supported recycling, and promoted healthy eating.  Jolene pursued the VCE internship to learn more about gardens and gardening as they relate to sustainability.     She cites the Help Desk Highlights, which she authored, as just one example of the projects she is working on that support sustainability.   

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SHRUB: Clethra alnifolia (Sweet Pepperbush, Summersweet)

Clethra alnifolia, Sweet Pepper Bush, Summersweet

Clethra alnifolia, Sweet Pepperbush, Summersweet
Photo © Mary Free

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Summer sweet and spicy is the pleasant fragrance of this pollinator magnate. This tall shrub, common in the Coastal Plain of the Mid-Atlantic Region, naturalizes readily in shady, damp places as well as coastal landscapes. Though not native to NoVA, it grows well in cultivation here.

Learn more . . .

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Help Desk Highlights, Vol. 2

By Jolene Mafnas, VCE Agricultural and Natural Resources Intern

Anthracnose of maple

Anthracnose of maple
Photos from UMass Extension

Our Horticultural Help Desk receives many queries each week. Thanks to Jolene Mafnas for pulling together some of the common questions and providing answers and additional resources.
This edition focuses on:

  • Anthracnose of Maple
  • Volutella Blight of Pachysandra
  • Dutch Elm Disease

Continue reading

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