PERENNIAL:  Phlox divaricata (Woodland Phlox)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

MGNV - Native Plants LogoThis lovely wildflower is native to rich forests and fields in portions of the Mid-Atlantic Region including NoVA (except Prince William County). As the species name divaricata suggests, this shade-loving phlox has a spreading habit, making it a good woodland ground cover.

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Garden Musings: Live in Your Hands

A musing by Judy Funderburk

An old sage speaks to me saying,
“Live in your hands.” The words “Lovely image” come to mind.
I feel my brow crinkle as thought interrupts my ability
to just be with that first image and see what it opens in me.
Thought says, “Live in your heart.”

I am interrupted now with two images:  hands and heart.
Confusing, perhaps conflicting …
How often I am interrupted by thought … taking me from present moment.
I take a deep breath and slow my self down.
Now I can picture …

my hands touching the papery petals of Oriental Poppy,
the waxy yellow flowers of Buttercup,
my eyes caressing the voluptuous shape of Iris,
fingers touching its soft beard.
Breathing in brings me its slight scent.

As I slow down to touch, see, smell
I feel the flower energies enter and touch me,
Opening my heart.


The May 2nd reading from my daily meditation book (The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo) led me into this musing.

Creating this piece allowed me to notice and play with my responses to images and words that arose, creating a deep gratitude for language that invites a kind of silent presence and reverence.

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Word of the Week: Pubescent

pubescent [ pyoo-besuhnt ] adjective: covered with hairs (noun: pubescence)

 

Flora of Virginia describes Phlox divaricata (woodland phlox) calyxes as “densely glandular,” leaves as “sparsely villous or pubescent, some trichomes glandular,” and flower stalks as “glandular-hairy.”
Photo © Mary Free

Generally, the hairy surface (indumentum) of a stem, leaf, calyx, or corolla is described as pubescent. The individual hair (trichome) is an outgrowth of the epidermis. There are a number of different terms to describe hairiness, and these depend on the type (simple or glandular), shape (straight, sickle-shaped, hooked), length (minute, short, long), density (scarce, moderate, dense, heavy), and growing direction (relative to the surface they grow on) of individual hairs. Pubescent type may be used as a diagnostic tool in species identification, but can differ during the various stages of development from seedling to senile as well as among the seasonal forms of a particular species. Continue reading

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PERENNIAL: Geranium maculatum (Wild Geranium)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Click on images for larger views and captions.

 

MGNV - Native Plants LogoThis lovely and adaptable native wildflower grows in deciduous woods and dappled meadows throughout the eastern half of North America.  Its alternative common name, Cranesbill, refers to its distinctive seed capsule, which resembles the bill of a crane.

Learn more . . .

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Indoor Houseplants Become Outdoor Plants for the Summer

By Linda Cornish Blank, Extension Master Gardener

Houseplants on fence shelf
Photo © Linda Cornish Blank

At the end of a long winter indoors, houseplants often become spindly and tired-looking. You can renew your plants by moving them outdoors for the summer. Finding the right spot for their “summer vacation” is key.

Moving houseplants outdoors requires the plants to acclimate to their new environment. Be patient, as initially upon moving, houseplants may become droopy and experience minor defoliation. This should subside within ten to twelve days as plants adjust to their new location. Keep in mind that each time you move plants they will experience an acclimatization period. Properly acclimating plants to a new environment is important for health and growth.

Temperature, light, and wind are major factors in how houseplants adjust to the outdoors. Continue reading

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Latest Public Education Videos

The four most recents Public Education class recordings are now available in the Public Education Virtual  Classroom. Each class has an individual page with a captioned and edited video as well as additional resources. Chapter breaks are also provided so you can focus in on the part of the video you are most interested in viewing.

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Word of the Week: Palmate

palmate [ pal-meyt, -mit, pahl-, paa-mayt ] adjective: of a leaf, lobed, veined, or divided from a common point with the veins forming a branching pattern that radiates from the place where the petiole joins the leaf blade, like fingers from a hand

Click on images for larger views and captions.

Two common forms of venation that are the starting point for many plant identification systems are palmate and pinnate. A third venation pattern is fan-shaped, as in gingko trees (though in some identification systems Gingko biloba is treated as a variation of two-lobed venation, as the Latin name hints). A fourth form, arcuate, has a strong midrib, but also curved secondary veins in a more heart-shaped arrangement. The parallel venation of a fifth form appears in most monocot plants. (Refer to this Broadleaf Forms and Arrangements chart for illustrations of phyllotaxy, types, shapes, margins, and venation.)

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Brood X Cicadas Mating & Making Egg Nests

Video by Mary Free, Extension Master Gardener

Birds chirp and male cicadas sing as a Brood X pair mates on a young native Acer rubrum (red maple) on May 31, 2021. On the same tree, a female has made a slit in a branch with her sharp ovipositor and pulses her abdomen to push eggs through the ovipositor shaft still embedded in it. Background voices are from the playgrounds of the Fairlington Community Center. The second part of the video features a female Brood X cicada laying eggs in the third nest that she created on the branch underside of a mature Abelia shrub on May 26, 2021. Besides the din of the cicadas, around the one minute mark, wings rustle as more cicadas land on the shrub. For more information, read the text accompanying the picture gallery posted earlier: Brood X Cicadas Mating and Creating their Egg Nests. Video © Mary Free

 

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