TREE: Amelanchier arborea (Downy Serviceberry)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Common in woodlands throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region, this native provides seasonal interest from early spring blossoms through vivid fall color. Edible fruit is ready for picking early summer, but there will be fierce competition with the 58 wildlife and 35 bird species that use this tree. Learn more . . .

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I See Differently Now

By Alyssa Ford Morel, Certified Extension Master Gardener

The Virginia state insect, the Swallowtail butterfly, nectaring on Phlox paniculata, garden phlox, at the Glencarlyn Library Garden. Photo © Alyssa Ford Morel

The Virginia state insect, the Swallowtail butterfly, nectaring on Phlox paniculata (garden phlox), at the Glencarlyn Library Garden.
Photo © Alyssa Ford Morel

Nearly 20 years ago, I had a life-changing surgery. Since adolescence, my vision had become progressively more near-sighted, and by my early thirties, my uncorrected vision was 20/800. Contacts or glasses were a constant necessity. When I read without glasses, the pages of a large book would brush my nose when turned. Then a co-worker discovered that our agency’s insurance would pay 100 percent of the newly popular lasik surgery. Word spread through the office as one employee after another had the procedure, raving about the results. I became the 12th member of our work team to undergo the treatment.

The result felt like a miracle. The day after my procedure I was gardening in my front yard (with safety glasses  on to ensure no debris would damage the surgeon’s work), unable to stop laughing with sheer amazement at how sharp everything looked. Passers-by gave me strange looks – which I could see!

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Ready, Set, Adapt! Climate Change – What’s a Gardener to Do?

Part 2: What’s a Gardener to Do? 

By Wendy Mills, Certified Extension Master Gardener

Increasing winter temperatures are expected to result in a northward shift of the zones conducive to growing various types of plants, known as plant hardiness zones. These maps show the mean projected changes in the plant hardiness zones, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), by the late 21st century (2070–2099) under a higher scenario (RCP8.5). The USDA plant hardiness zones are based on the average lowest minimum temperature for the year, divided into increments of 5°F. Based on these projected changes, freeze-sensitive plants, like oranges, papayas, and mangoes, would be able to survive in new areas.142 Note that large changes are projected across the region, but especially in Kentucky, Tennessee, and northern Arkansas. Sources: NOAA NCEI and CICS-NC  

Increasing winter temperatures are expected to result in a northward shift of the zones conducive to growing various types of plants, known as plant hardiness zones. These maps show the mean projected changes in the plant hardiness zones, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), by the late 21st century (2070–2099) under a higher emissions scenario (RCP8.5). Sources: NOAA NCEI and CICS-NC

While predictions about climate change and its impacts appear nothing short of apocalyptic, adapting to the changes to come will require a return to gardening fundamentals.

Illicium floridanum (Florida anise tree) flowers in April at the National Arboretum. Photo © 2017 Elaine L. Mills

Illicium floridanum (Florida anise tree) flowers in April at the National Arboretum.
Photo © 2017 Elaine L. Mills

  • Select Plants Carefully
    Although Arlington and Alexandria are in USDA Hardiness Zone 7a, plants that thrive in zones 7b and 8 increasingly are doing well here.

“As gardeners we need to be aware that changes in climate will increasingly affect the choice of plants we can grow,” says Kirsten Conrad, Agricultural Resource Extension Agent. “We can expect species migration and the movement out of our growing zone of plants  like sugar maple and rhubarb that prefer cooler, moister summers.”

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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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Instagram Posts: The Beauty Is in the Details

By Elaine Mills, Certified Extension Master Gardener

Screenshot of Instagram Post on PhoneOn Tuesday, January 1st, the Social Media Committee began a new weekly photo series on the MGNV Facebook page. Each Tuesday morning, I post a photo of a beautiful or intriguing detail of a “mystery plant” selected from the thousands of photos I have been taking of native and non-native plants over the past six years. That same afternoon, I reveal the identity of the plant and post a collage of additional photos, each with an educational caption on the habit or the care of the plant.

With support and advice from fellow committee member Rachel Vecchio, I began a parallel series of posts on our Instagram account (@mgnvsocialmedia) on January 2nd.
The Instagram account had remained inactive since May of 2017 when there were only a handful of posts. Now the account is active with different captioned photos of the week’s mystery plant posted each day. Continue reading

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FERN: Athyrium asplenioides (Lady Fern)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Lady Fern (formerly A. filix-femina) typically grows in wooded ravines, moist woods, and floodplains from southern New England to the southern United Sates. This native is common throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region, except for northern/northeastern Pennsylvania where it is mostly absent. The delicate and graceful appearance of feathery fronds gives rise to its name. Learn more . . . 

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