Sunny Garden Kicks Off the Season

What’s with all the Weeds?

By Joe Kelly, Master Gardener

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Where did all those weeds come from? Yes, the overabundance of weeds has been our greatest challenge so far this spring in the Sunny Garden. Worst of all were the traditional offenders: chickweed, henbit, oxalis, etc.  But, we’ve also had our usual struggle with things we planted that have run rampant and met the definition espoused by our garden’s Founding Master Gardener,  Alice Nicholson, who said “a weed is a plant growing where you don’t want it to grow.”  In our garden, these include larkspur, lady bells, daisies, and others that sometimes defy containment. Thanks to many hours of volunteer work, we now have curbed the spread and almost all the garden is weeded and mulched.

This March, as in many previous years, two of our earliest work parties were propagation sessions at which Master Gardener Bob Lund led us in potting up newly sprouted perennials from our beds. These plants will be tended by volunteers until they are put up for sale when MGNV participates in Green Spring Garden Park’s spring plant sale. The two 3-hour work parties yielded almost 400 plants.

A multi-year renovation of the Sunny Garden is now almost complete (although we’ll always be adding, removing or transplanting because that’s just what gardeners do). Our goal this year is to try to get all the plants properly labeled by fall. Two very talented interns from last year’s Master Gardener training class are concentrating on that task. And, following a meeting with representatives from the other demonstration gardens, we’ve joined with them to look at more efficient labeling practices. An outgrowth of this cooperation is the anticipated creation of a database of demonstration garden plants from which information not only for labels but also for plant lists, brochures, and other MGNV documents can be more readily extracted.

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)

Finally, this June marks 25 years since the Sunny Garden was established in Arlington’s Bon Air Park. Although specific plans remain up in the air, we will certainly do something to celebrate the occasion. Meanwhile, it’s back to the weeds!

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