My Journey With the Flora of Virginia

By Marion Lobstein My interest in plants goes back to my childhood exploring and earning Girl Scout nature badges. As an undergraduate at Western Carolina University in the 1960s, I took my first plant identification class and really got hooked. Later, At UNC-Chapel Hill, I had the opportunity to take a plant taxonomy class with…

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Narrow-leaf Mountain Mint: Pollinator Magnet

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter All of the species of Mountain-mints are virtual pollinator and butterfly magnets! They are always “humming” with butterflies and pollinators and their handsome foliage and long-lasting flowers make them summer garden stars. Of the twelve species in Virginia, Narrow-leaf Mountain-Mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium) is certainly one of the most attractive…

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Tom Wieboldt: Profile of a Virginia Botanist

An Interview with Tom Wieboldt by Nancy Vehrs Tom Wieboldt retired five years ago as the longtime curator for the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech. He grew up on a farm near Covesville in Albemarle County and currently lives in Giles County just west of Blacksburg with Ali, his wife of 38 years. They have…

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Showy Swamp Rose

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter June is always an exciting month in the many freshwater wetlands in the Northern Neck and beyond as many plants come into bloom. And one of the showiest blooms belongs to our beautiful Swamp Rose, Rosa palustris, an upright, deciduous shrub typically reaching 3 – 6’ high and wide,…

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Blue-Eyed Grass Blooms for Bees and Butterflies

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Narrow-leaved Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) is a lovely small perennial typically reaching only 6 – 12” high and wide but in late spring it lights up the landscape wherever it grows. This is a “grass” only in name as it is a member of the Iris family, with linear,…

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Marsh Marigold: A Spring Tonic

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Today, the first day of April, has dawned cold with rain and winds after a week of mild weather, and I seek solace in the first harbingers of spring. A hike to Cabin Swamp in Hickory Hollow Natural Area Preserve is just the spring tonic needed. Sure enough, the…

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Redbud is Ready for Spring

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter As signs of spring fill the air, I find myself eagerly anticipating the vibrant magenta pink blooms of one of our most beautiful flowering trees, the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis). This small tree is a common sight along roadsides, woodland edges, and old fields in Virginia in late March…

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Beyond the Field – Enter

By Nicola McGoff, Jefferson Chapter You drive by it every day, without notice. It is just a field. An ordinary everyday field. Square shaped or almost anyway, with very defined boundaries. Manmade boundaries stretching back through time. The sedentary, fallow field. Static and uninviting for most. A place where utility trumps esthetic. Perchance, one day…

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Phasing Out the Sale and Use of Invasive Plants

Virginia House Joint Resolution 527, approved unanimously in 2021, calls for a study that will explore options for phasing out the sale and use of invasive plants in Virginia’s horticultural industry, and to promote the sale and use of native plants. The study may include potential legislative action to be brought to the 2022 General…

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Skunk Cabbage Secrets

By Nancy Sorrells On this winter weather Valentine’s Day I decided to journey back into the forest behind our property to the secret place I know where the globally rare Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata) grows. Today’s visit was not to see Swamp Pink, which is still sleeping and will not send up its amazing pink…

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