Early Explorations of Elephant Ears (Magnolia macrophylla): A Personal Note

By Marion Lobstein From the age of 9, I grew up as Marion Louise Coble in Stanley, NC from 1955 through 1968. As a child I explored the woods about my home on North Peterson Street. An intersecting street was East Poplar where I found a woody plant with very large leaves. I even pressed… [Read More]

The First 10 Years of VNPS: How We Began

By Ed Ballard, 1992 This retrospective account of VNPS and Potowmack Chapter beginnings shows that volunteers can make a difference with knowledgeable leaders, willing associates and continuity of purpose. In April 1982, District Naturalist Susan Allen (now long-range planner) with the Fairfax County Park Authority enlisted plantsperson Mary Painter to conduct three meetings at County… [Read More]

Pinxterblooms: Performing Now

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter As I write in mid-April, the lovely Pinxterbloom Azaleas (Rhododendron periclymenoides) are blooming along our roadsides, stream-sides and on forested slopes around Northern Neck. Found from New York to Georgia, these graceful deciduous shrubs flaunt eye-catching clusters of tubular rosy pink flowers at the tips of their branches. If… [Read More]

Elizabeth Rawlinson: Virginia Plant Pioneer

By Nancy Sorrells Almost a century ago, a bright, intelligent woman named Elizabeth Rawlinson roamed the Augusta County countryside in the southern Shenandoah Valley looking for plants and writing about her observations of the natural world. She was a well-known horticulturalist and writer and, and I would also categorize her as an early Shenandoah Valley… [Read More]

Book Review: Nature’s Best Hope by Doug Tallamy

By Sue Dingwell In his new book, Nature’s Best Hope, Dr. Doug Tallamy has delivered a deep and powerful wellspring of inspiration for the many people craving an opportunity to be part of transformative change for our challenged world. Even more compelling than his first book: Bringing Nature Home, a seminal work in itself, Nature’s… [Read More]

Wildflower of the Year 2020 Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Wild Geranium is a woodland perennial herb. Plants emerge from stout, shallow, rhizomes bearing knobby leaf scars and thin roots. Aerial stems attain heights of 2 to 7 dm; stem hairiness ranges from a few scattered trichomes to densely pubescent. Leaves are crowded basally, but well separated and opposite on flowering stems. Overall leaf shape… [Read More]

Downy Lobelia: An Overlooked Garden Native

By Betsy Washington Several of our native Lobelias are well loved and absolutely beautiful. Cardinal Flower with its brilliant red flower spikes, and Great Blue Lobelia with its crowded spires of deep blue flowers, are familiar to many gardeners. Downy Lobelia (Lobelia puberula), which is less well-known, graces roadside ditches, low and upland woods, riverbanks… [Read More]

VNPS Funded Research Reveals Which Trees are Dying and Why

Editor’s Note: This post describes the 2019 research project conducted by Alyssa Terrell and supported by a VNPS Research Grant and was edited for publication. Our Research Grant Program awards funds for well-defined projects whose results can be evaluated and which address the VNPS Mission and Goals. The 2020 Research Grant Application Period opens January… [Read More]

Pawpaws And The Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

By Mary Lee Epps Pawpaws have a great deal to offer—handsome flowers in the spring, delicious and highly nutritious fruit in the early fall, plus they are the only host plant of one of our most beautiful butterflies, the zebra swallowtail. Our pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is the northernmost member of the mostly tropical Annonaceae (or… [Read More]

Save Plants, Save The Planet, Save Ourselves — Native Plants and Nature Based Solutions to Climate Change And Other Threats to Humanity

By Emily B. Roberson and Doug Tallamy for the Native Plant Conservation Campaign Sea level rise, record breaking heat waves, floods, pollution, mass extinction — 2019 is frightening! What if there were one simple thing individuals, businesses and communities could do to address these problems? There is! Plant native plants! Native wildflowers and trees are… [Read More]