Oakleaf hydrangea may not be indigenous to the Mid-Atlantic Region but this southern native can still be at home in local landscapes unless deer are frequent visitors. In late spring, white flowers bloom in showy pyramidal panicles and turn shades of pink as they age in summer. Each shrub’s large, oak-like leaves display a variety of brilliant colors in fall.
Have you ever looked around your yard and thought that it was time to shake things up and reinvigorate the garden? Maybe you will benefit from the experience of the dedicated team at one our demonstration gardens, who have spent the last year working hard on renewal of the garden.
Last fall, after Simpson Gardens celebrated its 25th anniversary our team of regulars took a look at the future. The Waterwise Garden at the entrance to the area where we garden was dedicated in 1993. The other beds that now represent the majority of our garden were begun in 1997–98. Not surprisingly, as the gardens matured, they changed, as did the principles of gardening taught to and by Master Gardener Extension volunteers. Some of our beds were overgrown and overcrowded – plants had become too large, or natives planted with good intentions had become overly aggressive and taken over. Other beds were increasingly shaded out by tree growth, so we needed to reevaluate what would succeed there. Our crew of Extension Master Gardener volunteers decided it was time to review and renew. Continue reading →
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) seed heads in October. Photo by Elaine L. Mills, 2014-10-30, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Fluffy deep purple blooms atop 8-foot tall sturdy stalks draw bees and butterflies from mid-summer into fall. This member of the daisy family is at home in fields, along stream banks, and in freshwater marshes. The Virginia Native Plant Society named New York Ironweed Wildflower of the Year in 1995. Learn more . . .
Herbal Teas at Glencarlyn Library Community Garden Autumnfest, 2019
Do you savor the flavorful taste and smell of freshly brewed homegrown herbal tea? For their intern project, Valerie LaTortue and Mary Lou Leary (MGNV Class of 2018) developed a 90-minute presentation on growing, harvesting, brewing, and enjoying herbal teas. Extension Master Gardeners Kathryn Kellam and Susan Wilhelm served as mentors and co-leaders of the project over a four-month period. Read more to find out about the development of their presentation and to download recipes and handouts on herbal teas. Continue reading →
Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States: The Guide to Creating a Sustainable Landscapeby Tony Dove and Ginger Woolridge By Susan Wilhelm, Extension Master Gardener
Fall is the optimal time to plant trees and shrubs in Northern Virginia. If you are interested in planting native trees or shrubs, Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States: The Guide to Creating a Sustainable Landscape, by Tony Dove and Ginger Woolridge, is a helpful resource to determine which native trees or shrubs will succeed in your garden. Dove has a long history of working with native plants in his own woodland garden, and in many public gardens on the east coast. He is currently Chief Horticulturalist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, in Maryland. Woolridge is a landscape architect and Maryland-based garden consultant with experience in commercial and residential development. Together they bring 75 years of experience to their topic.
The following public education programs, scheduled by Extension Master Gardeners in Arlington and Alexandria in November & December of 2019, are open to all, but space may be limited. To reserve a spot, please register online.
Home Owner Associations and Condo Associations:
Sustainable Solutions to Landscaping Headaches
Is your community association board or property management company wrestling with problems like erosion, flooding, unused lawns and unattractive green spaces? This half-day symposium will focus on how HOAs and condo associations can develop plans to upgrade the green infrastructure in their communities. Learn about the role of native plants in sustainable landscaping, the resources available for investing in ecologically focused community projects, and how to work with your community bylaws or committees to ensure positive outcomes. Success stories from local communities will be featured and a variety of experts in the field will be on hand to answer questions at a poster session.