Take A Walk On The Wild Side: Travilah Barrens

Serpentinite boulder outcrop in the stunted old growth forest.

Standing in a cul-de-sac of the development, where every lawn was manicured to within an inch of its struggling life, it was impossible not to think of the song. The crowd gathered for the Annual Solstice Walk on December 20 listened carefully to an explanation of what they were about to see ‘on the other… [Read More]

Fundraiser Celebration In Richmond

The Governor listens as Clyde Cristman explains how VNPS rose to the challenge of "bringing a check twice as big" this year!

Governor McAuliffe expressed great appreciation as he accepted our ‘Big’ check from a VNPS Elf on December 17 in Richmond. President Nancy Vehrs had pulled out all the stops to make sure the event was a memorable one! The VNPS 2015 Fundraiser was a resounding success, by any measure; we were able to give $22,… [Read More]

Interview with Izel Plants: An Online Nursery

home

The newest nursery listing on our VNPS website is Izel Plants; a retail nursery of a different stripe! Find out all about how it works in this interview with Claudio Vazquez, who is the co-owner, and co-founder of this brave new enterprise. Sue:  Claudio, when I heard about your retail nursery, which is an online… [Read More]

Into The Swamp at Cypress Bridge

Cypress arch  - skeletons of the bald cypress, (Taxodium distichum)

Champion Trees, Notable Trees, and Just Plain Wonderful Trees at Cypress Bridge Swamp! We waited for over a year and we finally made it to the 380 acre Cypress Bridge Swamp Natural Area Preserve!  We  had been disappointed when our trip during the 2014 annual meeting was postponed due to a canoe-supply problem.  And then… [Read More]

Finding and Losing Ginseng

Genseng

One of the highlights for me of this year’s VNPS Annual Meeting was the opportunity to explore a colony of ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.). On a walk led by Tom Dierauf, our congenial group explored the plants and geology of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the eastern edge of the Shenandoah Valley. Walking off-trail and… [Read More]

Red-berried Greenbrier: A New Record

Alsonso, main

Made a nice if small discovery. While accompanying a field trip, I noticed some unusual Greenbrier, (Smilax),  plants. It wasn’t just that they were growing in the water, but the color of the berries was not your typical purple/black of ones I’m used to. I snapped a couple of pics and, after downloading a couple… [Read More]

Journey To A Native Yard

Donna and Mark preferred a more naturalistic style rather than formal one. They used hardscape features to bring a sense of order into the design.

Thirty four years ago there was not a single tree, and no lawn, on the site where Donna Murphy’s new house was sitting. She knew very little about native plants at the time, and was planning on  establishing a traditional lawn, with  perhaps a vegetable garden for some fresh food and a good experience for… [Read More]

Who Belongs to the Dead Plant Society?

Bye-bye bittersweet!

How often do you get to kill something and feel good about it? It’s good anger management therapy! There we were, hiking up Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, going through one of the smallish wooded areas (most of it is bare granite). When what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a bunch of bittersweet….oh, my… [Read More]

Salt-Tolerant Native Shrubs

Groundsel Tree Female Painted Lady HLH

In our area of southern tidewater Virginia, three salt-tolerant shrubs (or small trees) grow on pond shores and marsh edges. The most striking is Baccharis halimifolia, covered with white fuzz; the white blooms indicate the female plant. The fruits are covered with tufts of white silk that carry them to new destinations. It is known… [Read More]

Raise Your Voice

Alan Ford pulling invasive plants on Invasive Plant Removal Day last year.

A conviction that native plants are important is what motivated Ruth Douglas to raise her voice. Deciding to become active in their support was not an easy choice for Ruth, who had to overcome an inherently shy personality, but it’s a decision she does not regret. Her journey through deeper levels of commitment has given her… [Read More]