SHRUB: Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This native deciduous holly produces prodigious quantities of plump, red, berry-like fruit (called drupes), which decorate the plant from mid-fall into early spring. ‘Red Sprite,’ a female dwarf cultivar, needs the services of the male ‘Jim Dandy’ to make fruit. Purchase at least two females and one male for a “berry” good show. Learn more . . .

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Selecting Native Plants Class Rescheduled! 3/6

Sustainable Landscaping: Selecting Native Plants  RESCHEDULED!

The butterfly garden at Simpson Demonstration Gardens in Alexandria, filled with native plants and pollinator attractors. All of Simpson Gardens is made on the site of a former paved road and parking lot. Photo: Christa Watters

The butterfly garden at Simpson Demonstration Gardens in Alexandria, filled with native plants and pollinator attractors. All of Simpson Gardens is made on the site of a former paved road and parking lot. Photo: Christa Watters

Wednesday, March 6, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Westmont Room
Columbia Pike Branch Library,
816 South Walter Reed Drive, Arlington 22204

There’s a palette of plants that is just right for you and that will thrive in your site’s conditions. Learn how to select appropriate plants for your site, what is meant by a native plant versus a cultivar, and some best management practices for installation and maintenance of your planting bed designs. This is the final class in a series on sustainable landscaping offered by Extension Master Gardeners to be held at Columbia Pike Branch Library in January/February 2019.Sustainable Landscaping Native Plants MGNV Logos

 

Free. Advance registration requested at mgnv.org. Questions? Telephone 703-228-6414 or email mgarlalex@gmail.com.

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2/20 Selecting Native Plants Class CANCELLED

The February 20th session of Sustainable Landscaping: Selecting Native Plants scheduled at Columbia Pike Public Library has been CANCELLED due to weather.

Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities CLOSED on Wed., Feb. 20.

Stay tuned for information on rescheduling of this popular class.

Posted in MG in the Garden

Planning for the Red, White, and Blue: Part 1

Part 1. Displaying the Colors Year-Round

By Mary Free, Certified Extension Master Gardener

As winter slowly winds down, you may find yourself yearning for those summer days that melt the cold and brighten the dreary. Perhaps you are dreaming of your summer gardens and feeling a bit patriotic this Presidents’ Day, wondering how they would look abloom in red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July. Or, perhaps you are feeling even more ambitious and would like to pursue a patriotic theme for various groupings or gardens year-round.

Bon Air Memorial Rose Garden in Arlington, Virginia flies the Red, <span style=

Bon Air Memorial Rose Garden in Arlington, Virginia flies the Red, White, and Blue every day, but when the roses are not abloom (inset July 4, 2018), then the drupes of Ilex verticillata color the Garden’s border red. Photo © 2019 Mary Free

Continue reading

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Are You Lichen the Bark? Lichens and Mosses

Part 3: Lichens and Mosses

By Mary Free, Certified Extension Master Gardener

Photo © Mary Free, 2019-02-05, Bon Air Park, Arlington, VA.

Lichens and Mosses on Quercus phellos (willow oak), Bon Air Park, Arlington, VA.
Photo © 2019 Mary Free

Trees sustain biodiversity. Quercus (oak) is among the trees considered a keystone species, playing a crucial role in how the ecosystem functions. Oaks provide food or shelter for over 600 different insect species, 513 lepidopteran (moths and butterflies) species, 100 vertebrate species, more than 60 bird species (Abugattas 2010), and earthworms. Crevasses in oak and other barks form important habitats and microhabitats for ferns, orchids, fungi, and epiphytes. Epiphytes include mosses, algae, and lichens, 324 species of which have been reported on oaks in the United Kingdom (Broad 1989, 17). Lichens and mosses are integral to biodiversity in North American woodlands. Continue reading

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March 2019 Public Education Events

MGNV LogoThese public education events for March 2019 are open to all, but space may be limited. To reserve a spot, please register online at https://mgnv.org/public-education-events/vce-horticulture-programs-registration/.


Plot Against Hunger Spring Garden Kick-Off:
Growing Food for Our Neighbors in Need

St. Andrews Plot Against Hunger garden

St. Andrews Plot Against Hunger garden

Saturday, March 2, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m
Arlington Central Library
1015 N Quincy St, Arlington VA 22201

Come learn how to support our partner Arlington Food Assistance Center with fresh produce from your garden or community plot. There will be presentations on seed starting, composting, and lasagna & container gardening; exhibit tables on winter gardening and edible landscapes; and demonstrations of fruit tree pruning.  Also free vegetable and herb seeds!

AFAC Logo

Free.  In sponsorship with Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC).
RSVP to: https://afac.org/afac-spring-garden-kick-off/.
Light refreshments served. Continue reading

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Are You Lichen the Bark? Five Birch Trees of the Mid-Atlantic Region

Part 2: Five Birch Trees of the Mid-Atlantic Region

By Mary Free, Certified Extension Master Gardener

Close-up of the lichen-dotted bark of a Betula nigra (river birch, red birch) tree in New London, Connecticut.   © 2019 Mary Free

Close-up of the lichen-dotted bark of a Betula nigra (river birch, red birch) tree in New London, Connecticut.
© 2019 Mary Free

The five birch trees listed below are native to different areas of the mid-Atlantic region. Their uses in a cultivated landscape are varied. Those with the showiest bark shine year-round as specimen, shade, or lawn trees. Some are at home in naturalist settings. Others thrive in poor soil and difficult sites. As with all plants, it is best to grow species native to one’s particular area, as they have adapted to local conditions and have the best chance for success. Numerous pathogens and pests can attack birches. They are most susceptible to these when grown outside of their native range. The stresses of inhospitable environments (hot summers, mild winters, dry and alkaline soils) weaken those birch trees, making them more prone to disease and vulnerable to pests, especially the bronze birch borer, which can kill them. Continue reading

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The Beauty of Birches

Here is the Birch Tree video featured in the January 30, 2019 article title Are You Lichen the Bark? Part 1: Beautiful Bark


The mid-Atlantic region is home to a number of native birch species, although not all are at home everywhere in the mid-Atlantic. Five of those birch tree species can be seen in “The Beauty of Birch” video filmed at the Connecticut College Arboretum in New London, Connecticut by Certified Extension Master Gardener, Mary Free.

Learn more about each of these species in Are You Lichen the Bark? Part 2. Five Birch Trees of the Mid-Atlantic Region on February 6, 2019.

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The Master Gardener’s Bookshelf – Epic Tomatoes

By Susan Wilhelm, Certified Master Gardener

Epic Tomatoes—How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time (Epic Tomatoes) by Craig LeHoullier, is a captivating book about growing heirloom* tomatoes covering everything from deciding what to grow to harvesting and eating the results. The author, a scientist by training and a long-time gardener, got interested in growing heirlooms, looking for tomatoes that were unique, had historical relevance, and good flavor. He has been growing heirloom tomatoes for over 35 years and his enthusiasm is contagious. Continue reading

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TREE: Acer rubrum (Red Maple)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Click on photos for full slide show.

The Red Maple tolerates the widest variety of soil conditions of any North American forest species.  Its leaves turn brilliant scarlet, orange, and yellow in the fall, making it a popular ornamental tree. Learn more  . . .

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