Lovin’ the Lichens!

Top left: Common Greenshield. Top right: Powdered Ruffle.  Bottom left: Hammered Metal. Bottom right: Sinewed Ramalina

The 2016 VNPS Annual Meeting was a lot of fun; full of laughter and mingling with old friends as well as making many new ones. The highlight of the weekend for me was a Lichen Walk at Wildwood Park. To our delight only four of us joined Gary Cote for the walk, and we were… [Read More]

Pollinator Week: Something to Celebrate!

"The future flies on wings of pollinators"

The fascinating process of pollination, and the beautiful creatures who perform it, these are indeed wonderful things to celebrate. Pollinator Week 2016, June 20 – 26, comes at a good time for us to focus on something we can all appreciate, understand, and support. Certainly there is more to know, but what fun would it… [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]

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]