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Mark Your Ballot: Goldenrods or Asters?

0.jpgWhile humans are bustling about on election campaigns, the rest of the world’s citizens are frenetically preparing for winter. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators seek out the last of the flowering plants. In the Mid-Atlantic area, goldenrods and asters provide that critical food source (just as red maples fill that need at the other end of the growing season, when bees start to emerge in the spring before anything else is blooming.)

If you pause for a minute in front of blooming goldenrods and asters, you will be astonished at the number of bees foraging for nectar and pollen, including many of the hundreds of species of native bees and the non-native honeybees. If the sun is shining and the temperature is high enough, you will also be treated to the sight of butterflies and skippers flitting from flower to flower. Look very closely at the goldenrod flowers and you will find a whole world of tiny beetles and other creatures hiding between the blossoms.

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There are many species of goldenrods and asters, all very easy to grow. They come in different sizes, and asters come in different colors. Some self-seed exuberantly, some are more contained. You can find out the details by consulting the Plant NOVA Natives online search app. Late autumn is not too late to plant, as the roots will continue to grow even as the tops die back.

Cast your ballot on our Bloom Time Table page by clicking here to choose your favorite. Or vote instead on the Plant NOVA Natives Facebook page. Polls close at 7 pm on November 6, of course! We know who the insects are voting for: there is nothing elective for them about native plants, upon which they are completely dependent. To help you choose, check out the “campaign ads” on this short video.

Marion Lobstein presents the Flora of Virginia App

Photo: Barbara J. Saffir (c)

Sunday, November 11, 2018
1 – 4 PM

Green Spring Gardens
4603 Green Spring Road
Alexandria, VA 22312

Everything wonderful from the print version of Flora of Virginia can now fit in your pocket and make you feel like a pro in the woods. The app, for Android and iOS devices, features an easy-to-use Graphic Key, in addition to the traditional dichotomous keys. Species descriptions include photographs, and many include a botanical illustration.

Marion Blois Lobstein is Professor Emeritus of NVCC, where she taught botany, general biology, microbiology, and other courses over her thirty-seven-year teaching career.  For many years she conducted tours and taught classes for the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program.  Her academic degrees Include a BSEd (Biology) from W. Carolina Univ., MAT from UNC-Chapel Hill, and MS in Biology from George Mason Univ.  She is co-author of Finding Wildflowers in the Washington-Baltimore Area.  Marion serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation of the Flora of Virginia Project and is a former Board Member of the Foundation of the State Arboretum. Marion is a founding and active member of the Virginia Native Plant Society.

Virginia Native Plant Society  programs are free and open to the public. Prior to the talk, VPNS will conduct the business of their annual meeting, voting for chapter officers and approving the 2019 budget.

 

 

Write articles for FCPA ResOURces newsletter (yes, for credit)

If you enjoy writing about the natural world, and want to educate and inspire visitors to Fairfax County parks, consider becoming a volunteer journalist. In this capacity, you’ll choose a recreation center or park site and learn as much as you can about it. When you’re ready and the deadlines are within reach, you will write articles for the ResOURces newsletter. (And earn service hours–good deal in the wintertime, especially). Code EO12

Interested? Contact Tammy Schwab

Hidden Oaks thanks Fairfax Master Naturalist chapter

On 29 September 2018, Visitor Services Manager Suzanne Holland thanked Fairfax Master Naturalists for their many contributions to the Park Authority and Hidden Oaks.  The 10th anniversary celebration of FMN stewardship highlighted the chapter’s work on behalf of the limited impact development parking lot, the native gardens, and Nature Playce, the children’s playground. More than 125 visitors attended the festivities.

Volunteer with Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture

Ivy Mitchell, the farm education manager for Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, is seeking master naturalists to to help with their field trips this fall. This project has been approved for volunteer hours as E252: Sustainable Growing Educator.

What it involves: Each field trip begins with a garden tour, in which you can point out parts of the plant and talk about the life cycle of a plant, as well as taste the vegetables. Then each volunteer is assigned to teach one hands-on station, while the groups of children rotate through the four stations. The two stations relating most to our mission is 1) “Pests and pollinators” (bees as pollinators) and 2) “Superb Soil” (about compost), and you can request to be assigned to one of these two stations in order to earn master naturalist volunteer hours. (The topics of the remaining 2 stations are chickens–they help eat some of the garden pests–and healthy vegetables.)

Time: Volunteers generally choose one day of the week to volunteer–Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday–through the season (fall/spring). This fall’s season runs from 27 September – 2 November, or 6 weeks, with training days during the 2 weeks before field trips begin (Thursdays or Fridays). However, scheduling can be flexible, and even if you can only commit to some of the days, Ivy can make it work.

Location: 9000 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA. The farm is located on Woodlawn Estate, near Fort Belvoir.

If you’re interested, please contact Ivy Mitchell at fieldtrips@arcadiafood.org

Apply for Earth Sangha plant grant

The Earth Sangha Plant Grant supports small-scale, citizen-led restoration efforts across Northern Virginia. Twice a year, they accept applications for restoration projects on public lands in need of local-ecotype native plants. They then offer a matching grant on plants purchased (essentially a buy-one, get-one free offer) good for one season up to a certain dollar amount. No project is too small, whether it’s a community-led invasive pull, or a larger project with multiple partners, they want to support thoughtful restoration efforts on public lands.

More info and application

You and Your Land: A Guide for the Potomac Watershed

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District has published an online book for those of us who live within the Virginia portion of the Potomac River watershed. The discussion on soils and plants and the references cited are all specifically related to this geographic area. This publication offers practical information to aid homeowners in the economical care and maintenance of their property. It provides a simple step-by-step approach to solving common problems found in most yards, gardens or common areas. Topics include:

  • Climate and local conditions: Find out how our home landscapes are directly influenced by local climate and geology.
  • Soils and drainage: Many landscape problems are soil or drainage-related. Learn about common problems related to runoff, wet areas and erosion.
  • Landscaping and gardening: Learn how to choose and install plants, prune, compost and more!
  • Controlling pests: Environmentally sensitive management of landscape and garden pests.

And much more!  Find the book here.

Find new opportunities with Plant NOVA Natives

Label native plants in garden centers
Three nursery companies (Greenstreet Gardens, Meadows Farms Nurseries, and Merrifield Garden Center) have kindly agreed to allow volunteers to put Plant NOVA Natives stickers on their plant signs at a total of 12 garden centers. This will make it immensely easier for shoppers to recognize native plants. Plant NOVA Natives is looking for more volunteers to put on these stickers, so email plantnovanatives@gmail.com if you are interested in adopting a nursery. Experience is not needed, although the more familiar you are with Northern Virginia natives, the less time it will take you to do the job.

Sign up to be tapped as a volunteer
Whatever your experience or skills, the organization needs your help! If you tell them which county you live in and a bit about your background, then when opportunities arise, they will know whom to contact. You incur no obligation at all by signing up. Please fill out this form to get on their roster. They currently are seeking more help for their website from someone experienced in web design.

Volunteer for Earth Sangha Nursery workdays

Join Earth Sangha on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm for regular nursery workdays. Volunteers can help with the whole range of native plant propagation activities  from weeding, watering and transplanting.

Please wear shoes that can get muddy and bring your own water.

Please email Matt Bright if you’re interested in attending.

The nursery is in Springfield, Virginia, in Franconia Park, which lies just south of the Beltway, and just east of the Beltway’s intersection with Routes 95 and 395. Access is from Franconia Road (644). From Franconia, turn north on Thomas Drive, less than half a mile east of the 395/95 intersection. There is a traffic light at Thomas. From Thomas, turn right onto Meriwether Lane. Turn left onto Cloud Drive. Please park in the parking lot at the bottom of the entrance road, then walk down the dirt road along the community gardens. Our nursery lies beyond the community gardens.

Join or volunteer for the 2018 Sustainable Garden Tour, June 10

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District’s 2018 Sustainable Garden Tour  features rain gardens, green roofs, native plant landscaping, rain barrels, backyard wildlife habitat, composting, and more. Local residents open their gardens and share their experiences landscaping with natural resources in mind. Visitors on the tour are allowed to visit each garden at their own pace, and may visit as many or as few as they like. There is no RSVP required, and the tour is free and open to all: Sunday, June 10,  1-5 pm at sites throughout the Fairfax-Falls Church-Annandale area,

NVSWCD needs volunteers to assist garden hosts. Volunteers will welcome and guide visitors and provide information. Each volunteer will be assigned to one of nine sites:

  1. Booker Residence, 3442 Surrey Lane, Falls Church VA
  2. Sawhney Residence, 4212 Saint Jerome Dr, Annandale, VA 22003
  3. King Residence, 4023 Roberts Road, Fairfax VA 22032
  4. Belvedere Elementary School, 6540 Columbia Pike, Falls Church VA 22041
  5. Chesterfield Mews Community Association, BEHIND 3170 Readsborough Ct, Fairfax VA 22031
  6. Daniels Run Peace Church, 3729 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030
  7. Carosella Residence, 2903 Rosemary Lane, Falls Church, VA 22042
  8. Meara Residence, 7211  Arthur Drive, Falls Church, VA 22046
  9. Jones Residence, 3517 Queen Anne Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030

You can sign up to volunteer for the whole time (12:30 – 5 pm) or one of two shifts (12:30 – 3 or 2:30 – 5).

Please contact Ashley Palmer: Ashley.Palmer@fairfaxcounty.gov