PERENNIAL: Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) close-up fo flowers and buds.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster) close-up fo flowers and buds.
Photo © 2018 Elaine Mills

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Daisy-like asters bloom profusely late summer to early fall. Native to more northern parts of the Mid-Atlantic Region and mountains of Virginia, in NoVA they may have spread from cultivation where they are often used in wild gardens and roadside plantings. For smaller gardens, the dwarf cultivar ‘Purple Dome’ has a low, bushy habit that does not require staking and produces abundant bright, royal purple flowers.

Learn more . . .

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

Between the Rows – October Edition

Welcome veggie gardeners! 

It’s time to check out the October 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

 

Posted in MG in the Garden, Organic Vegetable, VCE | Tagged ,

SHRUB: Euonymus americanus (Strawberry Bush)

Euonymus americanus (Strawberry Bush) fruit.

Euonymus americanus (Strawberry Bush) fruit.
Photo © 2014 Elaine Mills

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

One of the few “good” Euonymus, this native shrub gives a spectacular show each fall. The raspberry color husks of the seed capsules burst open to reveal DayGlo orange covered seeds, hence the common name Heart’s-a-Bustin’. This surreal effect is fun to show children and adults!

Learn more . . .

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

Stop by the Simpson Gardens 25th Anniversary Open House and see . . .

Asters rank second, after goldenrod, in supporting Lepidoptera (112 butterfly and moth species) according to Doug Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home. This video, filmed at Alexandria’s Simpson Gardens in early October, shows monarch butterflies foraging on asters, including native Symphyotrichum novae-angliae. You can view asters along with many other colorful, pollinator attracting flowers during the 25th Anniversary Open House at Simpson Park Gardens Sunday, September 30th. Maybe the monarchs also will stop by for a visit.

– video by Mary Free, Certified Master Gardener

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

Simpson Park Gardens 25th Anniversary Open House Reminder

Come Celebrate Our 25th Anniversary Sunday!
September 30, 2018 from  1:00–3:00 p.m.

Simpson Park Gardens 25th Anniversary Open House Come celebrate with us! Sunday, September 30, 1 pm–3 pm Simpson Park Gardens, 420 E. Monroe St. (by the YMCA), Alexandria 22301. And see the gardens in their early fall glory, with lots of pollinator attracting flowers, riots of color, bees and butterflies, and seeds forming for birds. This is a Free Event! Simpson Park Gardens was created 25 years ago and is a green and peaceful space representing a collaboration between the City and Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, built atop an old road bed. It is also certified as an Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuary. Extension Master Gardener volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on sustainable gardening. Simpson garden beds feature waterwise gardening, scented plants, pollinator plants, plants that prefer shade, and beds that illustrate the use of structure & texture in the garden. Free seeds and refreshments will also be offered! Questions? Tel.  703-228-6414 or email: mgarlalex@gmail.com. 

Posted in Event, Simpson Gardens | Tagged ,

Sowing Beauty – Designing Flowering Meadows from Seed

Book Cover of Sowing Beauty by James HitchmoughSowing Beauty—Designing Flowering Meadows from Seed by James Hitchmough
Reviewed By Susan Wilhelm, Certified Master Gardener

If you have ever been tempted to purchase one of those seed packages promising an instant meadow garden, you will benefit from doing a little research first. One of the sources you might consult is Sowing Beauty—Designing Flowering Meadows from Seed  by James Hitchmough. Professor Hitchmough heads the Department of Landscape Architecture at Sheffield University in the United Kingdom. In Sowing Beauty, he shares what he has learned about growing meadow and meadow-like gardens from seed based on 30 years of university research and practical applications in public and private settings. Even though Hitchmough’s research and many of the gardens he has designed and implemented are located outside Plant Hardiness Zone 7, many of the technical issues he addresses such as seed mixes, sowing techniques, and maintenance are applicable anywhere. Continue reading

Posted in The Master Gardeners' Bookshelf | Tagged , ,