Northern Virginia Bird Parents Face Caterpillar Shortages

What You Can Plant to Help
By Kimberly Marsho, Extension Master Gardener

Bringing up Baby

It’s spring! And as you may have noticed from all of the early morning chatter outside your windows, bird parents in Alexandria and Arlington have been hard at work. From dawn to dusk they are busy collecting caterpillars to feed their hungry baby chicks.

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Invasive Plant Factsheet: White Mulberry (Morus alba)

This native of northern China was introduced in colonial times as a food source for silkworms. Although the silk industry did not succeed, the non-native tree thrived and has since spread throughout almost the entire U. S. It aggressively colonizes open areas, displacing native species, and is considered problematic in many states. Both Alexandria and Arlington list it as invasive.

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TREE: Malus coronaria (Sweet Crabapple)

2020 Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

New Fact Sheet in 2020!

MGNV - Native Plants Logo

This native* member of the Rose Family has four-season interest from showy, fragrant spring blooms to a distinctive winter silhouette. It has high wildlife value, attracting a wide variety of pollinators, serving as the host plant for many Lepidoptera, and providing support to birds.

*In the Mid-Atlantic Region, it is native to DC, MD and mostly the mid-section of PA. Its status is undetermined in DE. It is infrequent but widespread in the mountains and inner and northern Piedmont in VA.

Learn more . . .

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In this moment,
there is the silvery sound of wind chimes,
a soft breeze,
birds chatting,
the rustling of leaves.

Raucous chirping now.
Someone must be telling a funny story.
What would that be in bird?
The worm that got away?
The squirrel that fell off the bird feeder?
The gardener broadcasting seeds in plain view?

We’ll show her!

Wendy Mills

Like this piece? We’re trying out short form thoughts on gardening and gardeners. If you have something to say in 300 words or less, poem or prose, send it to us at

Posted in Garden Musings, MG in the Garden