We gather every Wednesday morning in the VNPS propagation beds at Green Spring Gardens from April through October. We spend our time potting, watering, weeding and discussing native plants. We also offer plants for sale on the first Wednesday of the month.

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Our main task is potting plants for our annual sales in spring and fall. The two Margarets are shown getting ready to pot some Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) that has been taken out of the propagation beds. Most of the plants we sell come from our beds but others are brought in from various sources (like the homes of chapter members) and potted for sale.

The hours are nominally 9:30 a.m. to noon but they’re flexible. Some people come early and leave early, some come late and stay past noon. We don’t punch time cards but our volunteer hours are reported to Green Spring Gardens and benefit them. If it’s your first time, you might want to show up around 10:00 when most people are there. Be sure to wear comfortable work clothes. We have all the tools needed to work in the beds and nitrile gloves to protect your hands while potting plants.

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Leon Molye is watering the beds. Watering is important during the hot days in the middle of summer. Volunteers are often needed to water the pots and beds on other days of the week besides Wednesday. You may notice Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa L.), Oxeye Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides L.) and Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.) from left to right in the beds. This picture was taken on July 2nd and Leon had a close up view of all the bees and monarchs visiting the milkweeds.

The propagation beds are located across the driveway behind the Horticulture Center. Look for a cream colored shed marked “Virginia Native Plant Society Potowmack Chapter” near the fence and that’s where we’ll be.

Healthy snacks are provided but you should bring your own water if it’s a hot day.

You’re welcome whether you’re a newbie or an expert. If you’re new to native plants, it’s a good chance to learn more about them first hand. If you’re an old hand, then it’s a good chance to spend an hour or so sharing experiences with like-minded people.

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Alan Ford is shown with some Virgina Wildrye (Elymus virginicus L.) he’s taken from the propagation beds. Most of the plants we pot are natives that have over grown their space in the beds or strayed out of their space into adjoining areas. We dig them out and pot them for our sales. Alan is president of the Potowmack Chapter of VNPS and a frequent volunteer at the Wednesday Work Parties. He invites you to come by to “learn more about native plants, help the chapter and have fun with a nice group of people”.