The Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic fact sheets were originally created to support a public education program, Making Your Yard Sustainable, developed by a team of Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia (MGNV) and first offered to the public in January/February 2013. They were later incorporated into a Digital Manual of Sustainable Gardening, used in an October 2013 MGNV program, Designing a Sustainable, Maintainable Yard. These programs were based on the Landscape for LifeTM curriculum developed by the U.S. Botanic Garden and Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas, among others. This set of nationwide teaching materials emphasizes the benefits of sustainable landscape design.
In June 2013, MGNV’s sustainable landscape education program received the Search for Excellence Award in the “Community Service Category” at Master Gardener (MG) College. MG College is an annual five-day event held at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia that provides continuing education to certified Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners.
Since the initial programs, the number of native plant fact sheets has grown and along with the companion Best Bets: Plants for Particular Uses and Problem Plants and Better Alternatives have become important additions to the MGNV Web site to promote the use of native plants to a wider audience. Again, in June 2014, Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia were recognized at MG College with a Search for Excellence Award. Their work on the native plant fact sheets earned a 1st place in the “Innovative Projects” category.
Master Gardeners have worked and will continue to improve and add to the Mid-Atlantic native plant selections. 2016 will be a transition year as fact sheets are reviewed, updated and added. An important enhancement is the addition of images of native plants photographed mostly in local public gardens.