Old-Age Forest at Chapman State Park

Evergreen foliage of White Bear Sedge (Carex albursina) . Photo by R.H. Simmons

The old-age forest section of Chapman State Park is a fascinating and regionally unique meeting ground for plants with a primary range in the inner Piedmont and mountains and those of the Coastal Plain. This section extends from the low river terrace and extensive Water-willow Shrublands along the Potomac River to the marl cliffs and… [Read More]

Morella on the Barrier Islands

Young Wax Myrtle close-up showing clear spiral pattern of leaf growth and leaf glands (not on Hog Island).

The barrier islands are one of Virginia’s last great wilderness areas, virtually uninhabited by humans. They have one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on the eastern seaboard, and the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier islands in the global temperate zone. The roughly 23 islands that make up this group are owned by The Nature… [Read More]

The Bug Guy Talks Zika

Professor Michael Raupp, "The Bug Guy'

The hot topic of mosquitoes and the potential for spread of the dreaded Zika virus created quite a buzz at the May 12 chapter meeting of Potowmack chapter. Michael Raupp, Ph.D., Professor of Entomology at the University of Maryland, was scheduled to speak on the topic “Bugs Make the World Go Round,” but the recent news… [Read More]

Best Management Practices for Lawn Care

Healthy, low maintenance glade of upland oaks and Poverty Oatgrass (Danthonia spicata), woodland sedges (Carex spp.), and diminutive wildflowers on the flat, gravel terrace at Arlington Forest Park, Arlington County, VA.  Photo by R.H. Simmons.

Important decisions about how to maintain a lawn area have received a lot of press as ideas  change about the ways we use, and treat, this part of the landscape. Rod Simmons spoke on the subject recently, and has kindly agreed to share answers to some of the follow-up questions from his presentation at the… [Read More]

VNPS 2016: Full Steam Ahead!

Field trips help us understand and expand!

We have a serious commitment to a lofty Mission Statement, we better be going full steam ahead! For those who would like a short version, our mission statement pretty much says we’re tryin’ to save the world. As in: protect and preserve native plants and their habitats discourage and combat practices that endanger or destroy… [Read More]

Interview with Izel Plants: An Online Nursery

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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]

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]

Generation Y Won’t Garden Because of Fear of Failure?

Millennials are becoming parents now. Who will gently lead them in?

Millennials, especially the Gen Y batch, are proving a hard target for the nursery industry to get a bead on. They have a fear of failure, said a recent article written for professional growers. Furthermore, the article states that Gen Yers were urged to their best in school every day, (surprise!) to beat the competition;… [Read More]

Report From A Tagalong Spouse

A 1700s Irish farm at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton. Photo used with their permission.

Hosting the VNPS Annual Meeting at the Frontier Culture Museum was a great choice. If you haven’t been to the museum, it consists of about twelve exhibits of typical homesteads, (houses, barns, fields, etc.), of the people who originally inhabited North America, including the American Indians and those people who immigrated to the Atlantic coast… [Read More]

The Right Kind of Pollinator Garden

Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) in the “pollinator garden” planters at the entrance to Tarleton Park in the City of
Alexandria, Virginia.  This historically known species in Alexandria was reintroduced to its original habitat and general location
in the City from locally sourced and propagated stock.  Photo by Sue Dingwell.

A couple of reminders, if folks will, regarding pollinator gardens, especially those to attract and host Monarch butterflies: The overarching principle for all ecological restoration plantings (i.e., those involving the correct use of native plants in parks, waterways, and natural areas) is to “Do No Harm” to the native flora, communities, wildlife, and natural landscape… [Read More]