VNPS News & Updates

The Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly and its Native Host Plants

By VNPS Communications | September 9, 2020

By Mary Lee Epps, Jefferson Chapter I decided to write this article for our chapter Newsletter, The Declaration, because of an experience I had two years ago. On a family outing to the Dripping Rock area of the Blue Ridge Parkway, we explored a trail that leads from the west side of the Parkway. After… [Read More]

All About the Stamens

By VNPS Communications | September 2, 2020

By Betty Truax, Jefferson Chapter Years ago, when I lived in Northern Virginia, my mom gave me a Mock Orange plant that had no scent. It was a shared plant from her friend Anna Davis in Rochelle, Virginia. The plant was important to my mom because it reminded her of being young. With this particular… [Read More]

Purple Passionflower Pops in Summer

By VNPS Communications | July 30, 2020

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Driving along sandy roadsides and fields of the coastal plain in summer, it is always a delight to find our native Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), a deciduous vine with dark green, three-lobed leaves and exquisite, showy flowers and edible fruit. This vigorous vine is native to the southeastern United… [Read More]

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

By VNPS Communications | May 26, 2020

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 VNPS Communications | May 12, 2020

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 VNPS Communications | April 23, 2020

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 VNPS Communications | April 7, 2020

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 VNPS Communications | February 16, 2020

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)

By VNPS Communications | January 22, 2020

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 VNPS Communications | January 7, 2020

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]