By Sue Dingwell
The Potomac Overlook Park Native Shade Garden is growing up! ARMN members have been carefully tending this little niche, encouraging the natives, discouraging the weeds, and doing battle royale with the deer. This is the garden’s second spring. Volunteers were greeted on Tuesday, April 23 with colorful blooms and vigorous green shoots as preparations continue for the Open House at PORP on May 11.
It has been fun to watch the progress and evolution of this space, which was created to provide education for homeowners by showcasing native plants that thrive in the shade. Joanne Hutton, who is one of the the garden’s moms, says that the Packera aurea, commonly known as Golden ragwort, has done a marvelous job of filling in, making a dense patch that keeps out weeds. In fact, ARMN volunteers had to remove some of it from the pathways and surrounds of other desirable groundcovers!
If you visit the site this week, you will be welcomed into the garden with sunny ragwort blossoms gracing the entrance.
Golden ragwort & tools.
By Joanne Hutton
If you had been out volunteering with Meet Me on a Sunday on this glorious afternoon, you too might have enjoyed the chorus of woodfrogs spawning at the pond and in vernal pools.
Thanks to Sherry McDonald for the great shot and for throwing herself into the Master Naturalist enterprise with whole heart!
Meet Me on a Sunday (MMOAS): Instituted summer of 2012, volunteers help set up and staff information or interest-area tables in Potomac Overlook Regional Park on Sunday afternoons for two hours, from 1:30 – 3:30, just outside the Nature Center. Volunteers work alongside Nature Center staff, and you are welcomed to set up your own display on a topic of your interest, or to use a range of interpretive materials already there. Most park visitors are families with young children. The Native Plant Garden is a new addition to the park, and ARMN has created a box of information and display materials on invasive and native plants to help with that.
Willing to talk with the public about most any subject of interest to you?
Want to help develop children’s activities to supplement our box?
Want to lead short nature hikes for mixed audiences – e.g. to see wood frogs in action?
If so, this activity could be for you!
By John Bernard
Several endeavors by Arlington Regional Master Naturalist (ARMN) on education of invasive plant species and alternatives converge at Potomac Overlook Regional Park (PORP). One is the ARMN Audubon at Home (AAH) focus summer project which had its kick off meeting on June 24 at ARMN’s native plant garden after “Meet Me On A Sunday” at PORP. The program included AAH ambassadors and potential future ambassadors with a schedule of site visits to ARMN member yards.
ARMN members gathered to hear from Joanne Hutton (ARMN, MGNV),
Kathy Landis (ARMN, Landscape Designer), Alan Ford (President, Potomac
Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society, Terry Liercke (Audubon Society of
Northern Virginia), and Cliff Fairweather (Long Branch Nature Center) about
ways to create habitat-friendly yards using native plants.
Garden creators Joanne Hutton and Kathy Landis gave an overview of the AAH focus project and a tour of the shade garden to show ways to enhance habitat.
Good table top display and training references for the program.
By Kathy Landis and Joanne Hutton
On Sunday May 6, 2012, Potomac Overlook Regional Park (PORP) held a dedication ceremony that marked the official opening of the new demonstration native plant garden for shady backyards.
The garden is adjacent to the Master Gardeners’ demonstration vegetable garden, across the driveway from the Native American garden. Next time you are at the park for a hike or to work on a volunteer project, please stop by to visit the garden.
Demonstration garden at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. Golden Ragwort blooming in mid-April. Photo by K. Landis.
The garden space inherited by the design team comprised both native plants such as American holly, dogwoods, spicebush, snowberry and sweetshrub and exotic plants such as thorny pyracantha, heavenly bamboo, boxwood, azaleas, and varieties of weeds. A lot of thought went into which plants to preserve and the decisions help make the point that it is possible to incorporate native plants into all gardens.
Azaleas, for example, were retained because they define the space well and are likely to be found in many of our shady backyards. A few other herbaceous exotics such as hellebores, lungworts, toadlilies also remain in the garden because they seem to be deer resistant and add interest to the design. Continue reading
By Joanne Hutton
Variety of ground covers, ferns at the Demonstration Garden, Potomac Overlook Park.
Photo by K. Landis.
We look forward to seeing as many of you who can come to the dedication of our new demonstration garden showing off native plants suitable for backyards on Sunday, May 6th, at the annual May Day Fair at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. The dedication will take place tentatively at 2:30 p.m. with Mary Hynes, Chair of the Arlington County Board, in attendance and doing honors. We hope to have a tree planting as part of the ceremony and celebration of our new ARMN focus project.
To prepare the area for this high-profile event, please come out on Friday morning, May 4th, 9:30 – noon or as long as you can, for a work party and training about the plants we’ve included in the design. We have invasives to remove, mulching, and raking to do. When we’re done, I will show off the box of informational materials on invasive and native plants developed for Meet Me on a Sunday, and we’ll talk about how to interpret the garden or host a short tour even if you don’t consider yourself an “expert.” This will be especially appropriate for any of you folks in training as Audubon at Home Ambassadors. Continue reading
By John Bernard
Arlington Regional Master Naturalists (ARMN) partners with regional parks for great volunteer outreach opportunities. One such weekly outreach is Meet Me on a Sunday at the Potomac Overlook Park in North Arlington run by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. Among numerous activities on this beautiful Easter Sunday, I joined fellow Master Naturalist Nancy Bagwell at the park from 1:30 – 3:30 to talk to visitors about a couple of subjects dear to our hearts.
First, Nancy shared her knowledge of hawks, owls, and other raptors and birds with guests using some great exhibits. She generated a lot of interest from park visitors. Second, not as jazzy, but just as important, I spoke to passing visitors regarding invasive plant species. Continue reading
“Meet Me on a Sunday . . . every Sunday afternoon at Potomac Overlook Regional Park!”
Almost everyone needs more time in the great outdoors – time to take a walk, enjoy each others’ company, or to just sit and do nothing! So, come make a “natural connection” at Potomac Overlook Regional Park. Every Sunday afternoon, between 1:30 and3:30 p.m., the park provides refreshments, games and hands-on nature exhibits, and a fun place to meet and hang out. You take it from there: come alone or with family or friends; go on a walk; visit the nature center and chat with a Master Naturalist; or, just enjoy the day! Continue reading