GROUND COVER: Iris cristata (Dwarf Crested Iris)

Iris cristata, Dwarf Crested Iris

Iris cristata, Dwarf Crested Iris
Photo © 2017 Elaine Mills

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Indigenous mostly to southern Virginia, this diminutive iris is also native to Fairfax and Prince William counties as well as seven counties in Pennsylvania and Maryland and in the District of Columbia. Its colorful blooms and easy culture make it a valuable addition to a woodland garden. Spring flowers in various shades of purple form a lovely carpet.

Learn more . . .

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Between the Rows – April Edition

Welcome veggie gardeners! 

It’s time to check out the April VCE Garden Guide for vegetable and herb gardening!

VCE supports local gardeners with a host of resources, including free classes, plant clinics and this newsletter. Want to know more? Subscribe here to receive future editions.

All the garden guides are available at VCE Garden Guide under Resources on the MGNV site.

VCE Garden Guide - Between the Rows


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GROUND COVER: Packera aurea (Golden Ragwort)

Packera aurea, Golden Ragwort

Packera aurea, Golden Ragwort Flower Detail
Photo © 2015 Elaine Mills

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Earlier classified as Senecio aureus, this native wildflower grows in moist
fields and woods throughout much of the eastern half of North America
and as far west as Texas. Golden flowers bloom for about three weeks and
after they have faded, shiny basal foliage serves as a pretty ground cover.

Learn more . . .

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Ladybugs and Their Larvae

By Mary Free, Certified Master Gardener

If you are outside working in your garden, or just enjoying the many flowers that bloom throughout the growing season, then you may happen upon ladybugs or lady beetles. The most common ones in this area, though, are not native to North America.

The number of lady beetles native to the eastern United States has decreased dramatically since mid-1980, concurrent with the establishment of non-native lady bugs and changes in agricultural land use. Concerned about this decline, Cornell University researchers coordinated with 4-H Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners in 2000 to undertake The Lost Ladybug Project to survey ladybug populations in New York State. In 2006, an exciting discovery occurred in our own backyard–in Arlington, Virginia. The ten- and eleven-year old Penhale siblings discovered a scarce native nine-spotted ladybug, last sighted in the northeast in 1992. Their keen observation provided valuable information to researchers. With development of survey methods and a database, The Lost Ladybug Project secured grant-funding and expanded nationwide. Learn more about our native ladybugs and how to particpiate in finding, collecting, and photographing ladybugs for this Project.Coccinella septempunctata or the seven-spotted lady beetle is known as the Ladybird of Europe and was first introduced in the 1950’s to control aphids. Most have seven black spots on a red or orange body. Usually there are three black spots on each elytron (the hardened forewing) plus one black spot bridging the two elytra with a whitish patch on either side.  Continue reading

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Garden Myth Busters!

Releasing Lady Beetles to Control Pests

Based on an intern project by Rachel Vecchio, Certified Master Gardener

Hippodamia convergens—convergent lady beetle.

Hippodamia convergens (convergent lady beetle) 
Photo © 2017 John Rusk

THE MYTH: It’s a good idea to release lady beetles in the garden in summer to help control pests.

THE REALITY: Despite their adorable appearance and gentle nature, lady beetles are proven voracious eaters, particularly of aphids and mites. The question, though, is whether this appetite justifies releasing lady beetles in the garden to help control those pests and others.

Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden

SHRUB: Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf Fothergilla)

Fothergilla gardenii

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Native to southeastern coastal areas, Dwarf Fothergilla shines three seasons of the year. Spring brings sweetly-scented, white bottlebrush flowers that welcome pollinators. Its summer dress is a pretty green. Fall leaf color is spectacular, turning exquisite shades of yellow, orange or red that brighten up the woodland garden.

More information . . .

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