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]

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]

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]

Rescue, Reclaim, Restore: Annual Meeting 2015

Nancy Vehrs leads quarterly in dairy barn - milked for all it was worth!

In the unusual setting of a dairy barn, VNPS President, Nancy Vehrs, opened the 2015 Annual Meeting in Staunton with the quarterly gathering of the Board. After the traditional business session, (the nuts and bolts that keep VNPS running), Rod Walker, from the Blue Ridge Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) was on hand… [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]

A Call for Citizen Scientists from Virginia Working Landscapes

Virginia's rich biodiversity

 Our partners at Virginia Working Landscapes are conducting important surveys this summer, and Celia Vuocolo, their Plant and Pollinator Survey Coordinator is making a special call to readers of this blog for their help. In her post, Celia will tell you about the reasons for the research being done, and what it takes to become… [Read More]

Second Annual Poison Ivy Day

Poison ivy is a beautiful red color in fall.

You didn’t know? Well, it’s true.  April 1, 2015 is officially the Second Annual Poison Ivy Day. You missed the first Annual PI Day? For goodness sake, you need to pay closer attention! Virginia is the pioneer state on this one, but we are pretty sure others will be following our lead by next year. California… [Read More]

Manage White-Tailed Deer to Protect Our Natural Heritage

Left: Forest with healthy understory   Right: Over-browsed forest with no understory. Photos by Charles Smith

Most residents of Virginia understand the need to change human land use practices to stop or minimize habitat destruction and preserve our native plant communities. An increasing number of people also support combating the spread of non-native invasive species to include problem plant species and insects such as the emerald ash borer beetle which girdles… [Read More]

Adventures In Plant ID

A member of the Fabaceae family, Calliandra eriophylla, or fairy duster. This Arizona native was identified through the presence of the recognizable family characteristics.

Every chair was taken and extras had to be brought in for the first of the Piedmont Chapter’s Winter Speakers Series this afternoon in Marshall, VA. An appreciative audience paid close attention as the speaker, Richard Stromberg, revealed some of the tricks of his trade during his talk: ‘Adventures in Plant Identification: Tools, Tips, and… [Read More]

Winter Solstice Field Trip and Hooley, 2014

Revelers in Rich Cove Forest at Ferry Hill, Washington County, Maryland. Photo by Steve Young.

Many thanks to all the participants, over 60 in all, who made the December 21, 2014 Winter Solstice Field Trip and Hooley at Ferry Hill, Washington County, Maryland such an enjoyable and memorable outing! This event, traditionally held at one of the region’s old-age forest communities, is always a great way to welcome the winter… [Read More]