A Summer Intern Speaks Out

Native Bumble Bee makes use of Purple Milkweed, (Asclepias purpurea). Virginia's largest population of this plant lives at Huntley.

The listing of the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, (Bombus affinus), on the Endangered Species Act hit me as a surprise. It made me begin to think about bee habitat and how little the public knows about how to help this species. This bumblebee, along with many other pollinators, needs cover for protection throughout the year, but… [Read More]

Eastern Red Cedar in the Landscape

Cedars create privacy

Though many view Eastern Red Cedars, (Juniperus virginiana), as weeds in abandoned sites, we love the native Cedar for its sturdy evergreen structure in the landscape. In our native plant landscape designs, here at  The Natural Garden we use Red Cedars as a dense native hedge or scattered in groups in savanna and meadow plantings. As… [Read More]

Walk With A Botanical Bunch

Who wouldn't want to be able to recognize this moss by name? Wavy Starburst Moss!   Atrichum altecristatum

Many are the pleasures of a stroll into shady woods or floriferous meadows on a fair summer’s day.  Exuberant spring is spent and plants still verdant and youthful now assume attitudes more calm and serene. But when you go out to walk with a Botanical Bunch, you can forget serenity. What you get is a… [Read More]

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]