PERENNIAL: Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal)

Polygonatum biflorum

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This native understory plant of moist woods is noted for its graceful arching stems, its dainty bell-like flowers, and the conspicuous veins of its leaves.  Its name may come either from the scars on the leaf stalk that are said to resemble the ancient Hebrew seal of King Solomon or from its wound sealing properties.

More information . . .

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Sunday in the Garden at Organic Vegetable Garden

The Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia invite you to Sunday in the Garden Sunday,June11,2017 1 to 4 pm at the Organic Vegetable Demonstration Garden Explore the June garden and ask questions about  Tending the summer garden  Planting a square foot garden  Growing vegetables in containers  Using irrigation ollas  Whether you are a young seedling or a grand old tree, come enjoy the garden with us!   Location and Directions The Organic Vegetable Garden is located at Potomac Overlook Regional Park, 2845 N. Marcey Road, Arlington, VA 22207. Park in the lot and walk past the Nature Center to the garden. If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact the Arlington County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension at 703-228-6400/ TDD/PC1-800-1120 to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event.

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Become a Master Gardener! Sign Up Now!

The 2017 Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Training is open for registration!

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

VCE Master Gardener Training Open House will be held on May 24th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Fairlington Community Center 3308 S. Stafford St. Arlington VA 22206.  Let us know you are coming by contacting the VCE Horticulture Help Desk at 703 228 6414 or by email at

Application forms and more information . . .

Posted in MG in the Garden

GROUND COVER: Asarum canadense (Wild Ginger) – flowers Apr-May

Asarum canadense

Mary Free, Quarry Shade Garden

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Native to rich, deciduous forests in the eastern half of North America, Wild Ginger is common in much of the Mid-Atlantic Region* although infrequent-to-rare in the Coastal Plain. It naturalizes to create a lush ground cover with velvety, heart-shaped leaves. Historically used as a flavor substitute for culinary ginger, consumption today is ill advised. The Virginia Native Plant Society selected Wild Ginger as Wildflower of the Year for 2010.

More information . . . 

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View from the Glencarlyn Library Demonstration Garden

By Paul Nuhn, Certified Master Gardener

Magnolia Bud

Magnolia Bud
Copyright Karen Arnold

As I write this column, we have experienced a warmer February but a typically cold and windy March. This warm spell sent many of our plants into believing spring was upon them. Mother Nature sometimes plays us for fools. Plants too.

Flowering trees and shrubs were tricked into opening their buds early only to be hit by winter’s return in early March.

Magnolias were hit the hardest. Though these fragrant trees are early bloomers, their blossoms turned brown with the sudden drop of temperatures. Flowering cherries and their prunus relatives were also affected.

But do not despair, as Mother Nature is always watching our back. While this year’s blooms were off schedule, the long term prospects are good for your trees and shrubs to remain healthy.

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Regional Gardens: The National Garden

Text and Photographs by Elaine Mills, Certified Master Gardener 

Sign at the entrance to the National Garden

Sign at the entrance to the National Garden

10th Anniversary National GardenLast October marked the 10th anniversary of the National Garden, the three-acre outdoor garden adjacent to the conservatory of the U. S. Botanic Garden in Washington. This urban oasis, consisting of four interconnected thematic gardens, is intended to serve as a “living laboratory” for ecologically sound gardening practices. Continue reading

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Glencarlyn Library Community Garden Plant Sale

Plant Sale Sunday, May 7, 2017 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Rain or Shine) ♦ Native Plants ♦ Tropicals ♦ Trees Glencarlyn Library Community Garden 300 South Kensington Street, Arlington Plants propagated from the Library Garden, plus hundreds from Rhonda Stevenson's nursery, Country Gardens, in Toms Brooks, VA. Master Gardeners will be available to help with plant selection and gardening questions. All proceeds support care and maintenance of the garden. Glencarlyn Library is located off Carlin Springs Road at South 3rd and South Kensington Streets. Cash or check only, please. Come early in the day for the best selection. For more information, call Alyssa Ford Morel at 703-908-9318.

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Calendar of Events

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May Public Education Events

The following are free public education events for May 2017.  They are open to all!

Printable Flyer – MGNV May 2017 Public Education Events
Printable Flyer – Garden Talks at Arlington Central Library 2017

Container and Balcony Gardening

Tuesday, May 2, 7-8:30pm,
Fairlington Community Ctr, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, 22206

Container GardenIf you have a balcony or a sunny porch, you can have a garden! Learn easy steps to add color with flowers and foliage, create a little privacy, and grow edibles. Transform your balcony or concrete jungle into a garden oasis.

Free. Advance registration required as space is limited, at
Questions, telephone 703-228-6414 or email Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden

TREE: Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) – blooms April

Cercis canadensis

Eastern redbud tree (Cercis canadensis) Photo ©2016 Dina Lehmann

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Copious clusters of fabulous pink to fuchsia flowers hug bare branches in early spring giving way to heart-shaped leaves. This Pea family member often grows as an understory tree in mixed forests in the Mid-Atlantic Region* from southern Pennsylvania through Virginia. The Virginia Native Plant Society named Eastern Redbud as Wildflower of the Year for 2013.

More information . . .

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Dealing with Cold and Frost Damage to Landscape Plants

Tulips in snowBy Kirsten Conrad, Extension Agent Arlington County and City of Alexandria

The late frost and cold that Northern Virginia has experienced over the past month has resulted in damaged leaves and flowers on plants that responded to the warm spells with new growth.

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