PERENNIAL: Baptisia australis, Blue Wild Indigo

PERENNIAL: Baptisia australis Image by Elaine Mills

PERENNIAL: Baptisia australis
Photo © Elaine Mills

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Baptisia is a bold plant that in early spring produces multiple stems of beautiful gray-green foliage.  By mid-spring the foliage is topped by 1- to 2-foot flowering spikes that are a magnificent blue color.  Handsome blue-black seed pods follow the flowers and remain attractive until the first hard frost.

Learn more . . .

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Five Annuals for a Pollinator Garden

by Mary Free, Certified Master Gardener

A common eastern bumble bee forages on Lantana camera

A common eastern bumble bee forages on Lantana camara growing in the Scented Garden in Alexandria’s Simpson Gardens.
Photo © Mary Free

Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds gravitate to gardens that bloom throughout the growing season and that contain an abundance of the same plant species as well as a diversity of species of like colors arranged together. Annuals, with their extended bloom period, ensure a continual nectar source for pollinators when perennials have yet to flower or are in decline. Herbs are also an asset in a pollinator garden, but that is for a future posting. Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden

Five things you may not know about . . . annuals

The yellow-flowered melampodium brightens the landscape at the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden

The yellow-flowered melampodium brightens the landscape at the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden. Photo © Mary Free

by Mary Free, Certified Master Gardener

Unlike perennials, which live for more than two years, annual plants sprout, bloom, produce seeds, and die in a single growing season. If the garden was a stage, perennials would be the leads and annuals would be supporting performers. Colorful, long-blooming, easy care, and relatively inexpensive, annuals can be attractive additions to your pollinator garden. Continue reading

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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.

Application forms and more information . . .

Posted in MG in the Garden

VINE: Bignonia capreolata, Crossvine

VINE: Bignonia capreolata

VINE: Bignonia capreolata Photo © Christa Watters

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This semi-evergreen vine can cling to stone, brick, and wood without support. Found in forests and along roadsides mainly in the South,* its showy, two-tone flowers are an early nectar source for butterflies and hummingbirds. Crossvine refers to the cross-shaped pattern of the cut stem.

Learn more . . .

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July 2017 Public Education Events

The following are free public education events for July 2017.

Printable Flyer–MGNV July 2017 Public Education Events-July-v3
Printable Flyer – Garden Talks at Arlington Central Library 2017


Mosquitoes and Ticks:  Identification and Control

Monday, July 10, 7-8:30pm,
Barrett Branch Library, 717 Queen St., Alexandria 22314

mosquitoIn this fascinating presentation, you will learn the science of how to best control mosquitos and ticks and keep them away from you and your family. This includes how to identify the ticks and mosquitos prevalent in this area, their life cycle, how they reproduce, and where they go in the winter. We will focus on more sustainable options for you and your yard. 

Free. Advance registration at mgnv.org. Questions 703-228-6414 or mgarlalex@gmail.com. Continue reading

Posted in Event, Public Education

Calendar of Events

Continue reading

Posted in Event

SHRUB: Hydrangea arborescens, Wild or Smooth Hydrangea

SHRUB: Hydrangea arborescent Image by Elaine Mills

SHRUB: Hydrangea arborescens
Photo © Elaine Mills

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

The Wild or Smooth Hydrangea is a fast-growing, deciduous shrub with cane-like branches, large handsome leaves, and a mid-to-late summer show of large flower heads composed of dozens of florets.

Learn more . . .

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VINE: Wisteria frutescens, American Wisteria

Wisteria frutescens Image by Mary Free

Wisteria frutescens
Photo © Mary Free

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

The wild native wisteria is a climbing vine with chains of richly colored, sweetly fragrant flowers, although not as dramatic or as rampant as its Asian cousins. This member of the Pea family is native to wet forests and stream banks of the southeastern United States.*

Learn more . . .

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Two Of My Gardening Book ‘Favs’

By Judy Funderburk, Certified Master Gardener

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: The Essential Guide to Planting & Pruning Techniques By Tracy DiSabato-AustWithout a doubt, Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s The Well-Tended Perennial Garden is the most useful book I own and, to my mind, one of the most helpful “tools” a gardener can have at hand. Originally published in 1998, an expanded version followed in 2007. The newest version published in 2017 (with a gorgeous color cover) is just now available through the Arlington County Library system. This is a book that gardeners throughout the country want to own and use to renew self-knowledge and highly recommend to friends, neighbors and fellow Master Gardeners. Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Public Education

The Meyer Lemon as Houseplant

By Christa Watters, Certified Master Gardener

The ripe lemons, ready to use

The ripe lemons, ready to use
Photo © 2016 Christa Watters

Last fall I harvested five beautiful Meyer lemons from a potted dwarf lemon tree I had received as a Christmas present in 2015. Along with the plant came a handsome, generously large pot and a bag of potting soil for transplanting it from the smallish plastic nursery pot it came in. The new pot was made of light-weight resin that looked like blue ceramic and had good drainage holes. We moved the plant, spread the roots a bit, tamped down the extra soil, watered it, and set it in front of the big windows leading to the patio. It had one tiny, hard green fruit and a few clusters of fragrant blooms. Continue reading

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