Simpson Gardens Fall Round Up 2017

By Christa Watters, Certified Master Gardener

Denise gives rosemary to visitor

Denise gives rosemary to visitor.
Photo © 2017 Carol Kilroy

Simpson’s Fall Open House took place on a warm, sunny late September Sunday with the asters and goldenrod in full bloom. We offered tours of the garden, with explanations of its history and the various beds and their purposes and seasonal strengths. Along with informational handouts and refreshments, we gave away small rosemary plants propagated by one of our gardeners.

 

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Posted in Simpson Gardens

SHRUB: Viburnum prunifolium (Black Haw)

Viburnum prunifoliumTried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

This elegant large shrub to small tree, found in woods and thickets, has an upright oval crown when young, often becoming irregular with drooping lower branches.  Creamy-white flowers give way to edible pink berries that ripen to deep blue-black. More Information . . .

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PERENNIAL: Symphiotrichum cordifolium, Blue Wood or Heart-leaved Aster

Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Blue Wood or Heart-leaved Aster

Symphyotrichum cordifolium, Blue Wood or Heart-leaved Aster
Photo © Mary Free

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Formerly classified as Aster cordifolius, this native, found along forest edges and ledges in the eastern half of North America,* would be a welcome addition in a residential shade garden. When summer flowers are fading through mid fall, the delicate blue flowers of this prolific bloomer attract numerous pollinators. 

Find out more about Symphyotrichum cordifolium and see a great video with pollinators . . . 

Posted in MG in the Garden

Chanticleer Gardens—the Book and the Garden

By Susan Wilhelm, Certified Master Gardener

“To create a garden is to search for a better world.  Every gardener is like Oscar Hammerstein’s Optimist, for the very act of planting is based on hope for a glorious future.”

Adolph Rosengarten Jr., founder of Chanticleer Garden

The Art of Gardening—Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer by R. William Thomas

The Art of Gardening—Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer by R. William Thomas and others, is the next best thing to actually visiting Chanticleer Garden (Chanticleer), an amazing public garden in Wayne, PA. Filled with fabulous photographs and detailed descriptions, the book is both inspirational and practical.

The Art of Gardening was written collaboratively by Chanticleer’s executive director and head gardener, R. William Thomas, and the horticulturists responsible for each of Chanticleer’s seven distinct gardens. The introduction starts with an informative discussion of what Chanticleer is—a pleasure garden of plants and art, a demonstration garden, and a museum, and what it is not—an event location or arboretum. Next is an overview of Chanticleer’s history, starting with Adolph Rosengarten Sr.’s purchase of seven acres in 1912, and going on to describe the property’s subsequent evolution from a private estate to a public garden under the stewardship of Adolph Rosengarten Jr. and his wife Janet. Continue reading

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Native Grasses for Fall and Winter

By Elaine Mills, Certified Master Gardener
Photos: Elaine Mills 

Want to learn more about Native Grasses?
Sign up for Elaine’s October presentation!

Green seed heads of northern sea oats backlit by morning sun at the National Arboretum

Green seed heads of northern sea oats backlit by morning sun at the National Arboretum

As summer’s annuals are beginning to fade and fall perennials are putting on their last show of bloom, native grasses take on a more prominent role in the natural landscape. Some of these members of the Poaceae family are well-suited to the home landscape, where they can bring structure, subtle color, texture, and even sound to garden beds well into the winter months.

A tall woodland grass that can be seen in the southern parking lot bed of our own Glencarlyn Library Community Garden is northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium). This perennial grows in upright clumps with arching stems, bamboo-like leaves, and eye-catching oat-like seed heads that rustle and shimmer in the breeze. The green spikelets are beautiful in summer when backlit by the sun. Continue reading

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Sunny/Shade Garden Tour – This Sunday!

Tour our Gardens logoSunday, October 1, 2017 2–4 pm

Get ideas for the right plant for that special place in your yard:

  • Tour the gardens
  • Get advice from Master Gardeners
  • Pick up helpful information and resources
  • Get free seeds
  • Try your luck in a plant raffle

Location and Directions

The Sunny and Shade Gardens are located in
Bon Air Park off Wilson Blvd. at 850 N. Lexington Street. The Sunny Garden is located adjacent to the parking lot near the rose garden. To find the Shade Garden, walk along the paved path by the left side of the Sunny Garden around the corner.

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TREE: Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, Black Tupelo

Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, Black Tupelo
Photo © Elaine Mills

Found in a variety of sites from creek bottoms to upland slopes in eastern North America, Black Gum is noted for its beautiful yellow to orange to scarlet fall foliage.  Bees make a flavorful honey from the nectar-rich flowers, while many birds and mammals enjoy the juicy fruit. Learn more . . .

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Tastings: Herbal Additions Can Make All The Difference 

by Judy Funderburk, Certified Master Gardener

Judy Checking Fennel

Judy Checking Fennel
Photo © 2017 Elaine Mills

This is the first in an occasional series of short articles on herbal additions to food and drink. Each featured herb  is grown in the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at the Glencarlyn Branch Library in Arlington County, Virginia, and used to make food or drink to be served as “tastes” at our annual AutumnFest celebration in September. The recipes used to make these “tastes” will also be included in this series of articles.

The Library Garden is a place of respite and beauty, filled with a huge variety of flowers, trees, and shrubs. With these aids, Master Gardeners teach about pollinators, shade gardens, native plants, and much more. Teaching from the Garden is one of our favorite things to do.

­In this article we hope to entice you to taste a leaf of chocolate mint or chew on a fennel seed. Chocolate mint brownies and lemon fennel cookies are just two of the many free herbal tastes and drinks that were available at this year’s AutumnFest celebration, on Sunday, September 17, 2017.  Continue reading

Posted in MG in the Garden

VINE: Passiflora incarnata (Maypops)

Passiflora incarnata

Photo © 2013 Alyssa Ford Morel

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Found naturally along roadsides, pastures, and open woods, the exotic flowers and edible fruit of Purple Passionflower make this unique vine a striking ornamental plant for the garden. The common name, Maypop, refers to the fruit, which makes a loud popping sound when stomped on.

More  . . .

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

Come to the Simpson Park Demonstration Gardens Fall Open House!

Sunday, September 24, 2017  1 – 3 p.m.

Simpson Gardens in September is always a delight to behold, and abuzz with pollinators of many sorts, as well as birds visiting for water and seeds, worms and insects.

Simpson Fall 2017 Open House - Simpson Gardens in September is always a delight to behold, and abuzz with pollinators of many sorts, as well as birds visiting for water and seeds, worms and insects. Master Gardener and Audubon at Home Ambassador Joanne Hutton will stop by as a resource for gardeners interested in having their home gardens certified as Audubon Wildlife habitats and to give general advice on how to make your garden more hospitable to birds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, as well as other desirable wildlife. Refreshments and garden tours offered.

400 Block of East Monroe Ave., Alexandria
Located between Route 1 and Mount Vernon Ave.
Park in the YMCA lot

Free and open to the public.

Printable Flyer for the Simpson Gardens Fall Open House

Posted in MG in the Garden