GROUND COVER: Gaultheria procumbens (Wintergreen)

Gaultheria procumbens

Image by Lady Johnson Wildflower Center

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This charming member of the Heath family, noted for its lovely flowers, leaves, and berries, is widespread in woodlands of eastern North America from Canada to Alabama. An extract from its leaves is used as the familiar wintergreen flavor. The plant is named for Dr. Gaultier, a Canadian physician of the mid-18th century.

Read more . . . 

Posted in MG in the Garden, Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic | Tagged , , , ,

February Public Education Events

The following events are scheduled by VCE Master Gardeners in Arlington and Alexandria in February.

Downloadable PDF Flyer

Sustainable Landscaping 1: The DIY Sustainable Yard 

Saturday, February 11, 9am – noon.
Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, 22206

Fairlington Community CenterFirst in our new Sustainable Landscaping Series, this interactive class will provide you with ideas you can use now to create an easy-to-care-for and environmentally sustainable yard or common area.

We will include case studies and a site design exercise to present best practices for landscape planning and preparation, assessing sustainable landscape materials, and techniques for energy and water conservation.

Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden, Public Education | Tagged , , , , ,

TREE: Ilex opaca (American Holly)

Ilex opaca - American HollyTried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

In the 1930s Delaware surpassed all states in producing decorations made of American Holly, which flourished in its countryside and became its State Tree in 1939. Still common in the Coastal Plain and southeastern Pennsylvania, its frequency lessens moving through  the Piedmont into the mountains of Maryland and Virginia. Today commercial demand for holly has declined, but its value in the landscape has not. It comes into its glory as temperatures drop and berry-like fruits ripen to brighten the winter scenery.

Read more . . .

Posted in MG in the Garden, Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic | Tagged , , , ,

The Long View – Meditations on Gardening

Occasional essays by Christa Watters, Master Gardener

WinterHushSimpsonPreparing for Winter – a Satisfying Task

In these darkest days of winter, as we wait for the light to spiral back upwards from its nadir at the Winter Solstice, the garden is largely dormant, and the gardener is glad not to be out in the cold. But this procrastinator admits that this year, the last spring bulbs didn’t get in until the week between Christmas and New Year’s. By sheer luck a day of warmth and thawed earth permitted the digging. Fortunately it was followed by a day of cold rain to soak the bulbs in and keep the squirrels from digging them right back up.

Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden, Public Education | Tagged , , , ,

January Public Education Events

The following events are scheduled by VCE Master Gardeners in Arlington and Alexandria in January. Printable Flyer

microgreensMicrogreens: What Are They, Why They Are So Fabulous, and How to Grow Them

Tuesday, January 10, 7 – 8 p.m.
Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, 22206 OR   

Tuesday, January 17, 7 – 8 p.m.
Barrett Branch Library, 717 Queen St., Alexandria 22314.

Microgreens – You’ve likely seen them, but what makes them so good for you?  Join us to learn their many benefits, and some simple ways to grow these delicious, nutritious and inexpensive baby plants and sprouts in your own home.  Plus, we provide supplies for you to plant your own container!  For the Jan 10 session at Fairlington, come prepared to get a bit dirty while you make your own microgreen garden in class.

Free. Advance registration requested at mgnv.orgQuestions, telephone 703-228-6414 or email mgarlalex@gmail.com  Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden, Public Education | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Watering New Plantings in Winter

Written by Master Gardener Joyce Hylton and edited by Extension Agent Kirsten Buhls

Garden Hose

Photo © Junior Libby

As we go into the colder temperatures of the year, a very important concern now is water.  Our recent rains notwithstanding, this area has received very little rain in the last 2 months.  This fall, all of our plants are a bit ‘thirsty’ as they enter their dormant season.

Young or newly planted trees that have not spread their feeder roots into the surrounding soils will require more attention because of limited abilities in obtaining water in their growing environment.

Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden | Tagged , ,

Calendar of Events

Continue reading

Posted in Event

FERN: Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern

Photo © 2016 Dina Lehmann-Kim

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Christmas Fern is a forever plant, a lifetime fern with beautiful leathery lance-shaped fronds growing in arching, circular clusters from the crown. The common name is derived from its evergreen nature and from the shape of its pinnae which suggest Christmas stockings. This native is common throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Read more . . .

Posted in MG in the Garden, Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic | Tagged , , , ,

Protected: January Continuing Education Agent’s Plan of Work Meeting

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in MG in the Garden

SHRUB: Ilex verticillata (Winterberry Holly)

Ilex verticillata Winterberry

Photographed at the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden; copyright Judy Funderburk.

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. More information . . .

Posted in MG in the Garden, Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic | Tagged , , , ,

TREE: Taxodium distichum (Bald Cypress)

Taxodium distichum, Bald Cypress

Photo © Elaine Mills

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Found along wet stream banks, swamps, and river bottoms, Bald Cypress has a root system, which often produces irregular structures called “knees” that rise above the ground or water’s surface. The tree is referred to as “bald” since it is deciduous, losing its foliage in the winter. More information . . .

Posted in Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic | Tagged , , , , ,

Caring for your LIVE Christmas Tree

By Kirsten Conrad Buhls, Extension Agent for Arlington County and the City of Alexandria

Helping your tree survive its time indoors is a high priority for those who spend money on a live tree with the intention of replanting it outdoors when Christmas is over.  What tree owners need to do is to remember that the single most important goal is to keep the moisture level of the tree needles and twigs as high as possible and prevent it from drying out. Doing so will prevent needle loss and help to prevent tree mortality. Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden | Tagged , ,

SHRUB: Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel)

Hamamelis virginiana

Photo © 2012 Julie Mackin, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

It is in autumn that the twisted, spider-like, fragrant flowers of the species of Hamamelis illuminate the landscape in pale yellow. The Virginia Native Plant Society named Witch Hazel as Wildflower of the Year in 2002. More information . . .

Posted in MG in the Garden, Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic | Tagged , , , ,