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]

A Suburban Mushroom

morel

Just a few weeks after learning about mushrooms at the VNPS Workshop, Plants and Their Friends: Exploring Partnerships Above and Below Ground, I got out of my car, wandered across to see what was blooming in the front yard. There, in bloom, was a wood poppy that a friend had given us a few years… [Read More]

Imperiled Purple Milkweed at Huntley Meadows Park

HMP purple milkweed 2015

Huntley Meadows probably has the largest population of purple milkweed in the state according to Gary Fleming, Vegetation Ecologist for Virginia’s Natural Heritage Program. For a number of years, through efforts begun by its Past President, Marianne Mooney, the Potowmack Chapter has been providing support to Huntley. When recent water control efforts caused major disruption… [Read More]

Landscape Design for Biodiversity Education and Restoration

Gifts for our children: Education and Hope!

Part I.  Hope ~Paying attention to local natural systems teaches us how to bring forth the hidden potential of nature in areas where others have lost hope.  During our ecosystem surveys one of the primary things we find is hope. Although 300 years of landscape degradation have had a profound negative effect on the biodiversity… [Read More]

Here Come the Bryophytes!

Liverwort, Riccia, in Dismal swamp.

All of a sudden, mosses, liverworts, and friends are on a minor upswing in popularity. That thin green mat cushioning your feet and plastering tree trunks, that lowly layer of who-knows-what, is now more popular with the botanist and gardener than ever; it has spawned new field guides, classes, and restoration projects, as well as… [Read More]

Trout Lillies and Trouts Signal Spring!

Erythronium americanum, Trout lily

I am a gardener and an angler.  In the spring, these two passions vie for my attention simultaneously because gardens and trout streams wake up from winter at around the same moment.  Just as warming ground stimulates seeds to germinate, bulbs to flower and trees to leaf out and bloom, warming activity on a trout… [Read More]

Post-Wild Planting Solutions

Plants are sociable. They grow in communities. Photo: spd

We may be planting in a post-wild world, but all the things we love about nature and the natural world are still the things we need and should be planting in our landscapes today. Thomas Rainer spoke to a full house Sunday at the Manassas Community Center, delivering a message that spoke right to the… [Read More]

Big Tree Hunt

Champion red oak, (Quercus rubra). Photo by Robert Llewellyn

The College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech is the creator of the  Virginia Big Tree Program, and the New River Chapter recently took a field trip to learn more about it.  The purpose of the program is to  find and record the biggest examples of many species of trees in Virginia.  Measurements… [Read More]

Wetlands

Overhead shot of Huntley Meadows. Photo courtesy of Wetland Solutions, Inc

I cringe when the word ”Improve”, or “Improvement” is used about land. It’s applied, of course, to describe the process that adapts land for human uses such as farming or construction. This isn’t improvement in any conventional sense of the word. In the 500 or so year history of European use of American land, the… [Read More]

A New Native Plant Mini Series on YouTube

Pussytoes, (Antennaria plantaginifolia)

Introducing a new series of videos! These are truly Mini in length, but mighty in content; each featuring one or two native plants at a time. Plant characteristics, faunal associations, and uses in the home landscape are covered. We think you will love these informative little doses of native love! The producer, a member of… [Read More]