Native Plants Demonstration Garden Dedication

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

Everyday is Earth Day for ARMN Volunteers

By Monique Wong

“Everyday is Earth Day for ARMN volunteers,” Robin Davis, ARMN Outreach Committee Chair, remarked at the April ARMN Board Meeting.

How right she is! Since ARMN’s mission is to provide environmental education, research, citizen science, outreach, and stewardship of Virginia natural resources and public lands, everyday is indeed Earth Day for all ARMN members.

Wherever you are volunteering your time on Earth Day 2012, enjoy your day, rain or shine!  E-mail armneditor@gmail.com to share photos, including the name of the photographer and a caption of your Earth Day 2012 volunteer service.

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ARMN First Anniversary of Barcroft Park Invasive Pull

By Jim Hurley

Dedicated volunteers help monthly with Barcroft Park Invasive Pull, an important ARMN Focus Project. Photo by R. Ayres.

The March invasive pull was the first anniversary of the Arlington Regional Master Naturalist monthly focus work on Barcroft Park.  Having bought coffee and doughnuts (hint, hint), I arrived to the area of Barcoft Park we were going to work on an hour before start time to tag Multiflora Rose stems for clipping and digging.

But what was this?  Blue dye on the Rose?  And then in the same area, blue dye on Japanese Honeysuckle?

Up to twenty people were about to show up to work on the area.  And after that, another twenty members of the current Master Naturalist training class were scheduled to arrive for two more hours of work.  What were we to do? Continue reading

Looking for the Perfect Native Plant?


Spring 2012 Native Plant Sales

Green Springs Gardens, Garden Markets
April 7, 14, & 21, 9 am to 1 pm
4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria, VA
www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/events.htm

Long Branch Nature Center Native Plant Sale
April 21, 1 – 3 pm
625 S. Carlin Springs Rd, Arlington, VA  22204
http://www.arlingtonva.us/calendar/#

Parkfairfax Native Plant Sale
April 28, 9 am to 2 pm
3601 Valley Dr., Alexandria, VA
http://www.parkfairfaxnativeplantsale.org/

Earth Sangha Native Ecotype Plant Sale
May 6, 10 am to 2 pm
Earth Sangha Wild Plant Nursery, Franconia Park, Springfield, VA
www.earthsangha.org/wpn/wpn.html

Green Spring Gardens Plant Sale
May 19, 9 am to 3 pm
4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria, VA
http://mgnv.org/events/may/

Download the flyer for native plants sources and to learn more about native plants.  Many thanks to Jen McDonnell and her colleagues for sharing the information.

Backyard Nature Photography

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By Monique Wong

When Christine Freidel moved into her home near Potomac Overlook Park five year ago, she inherited a typical suburban lawn in her backyard.  Inspired by the book “Bringing Nature Home,” Christine applied her training as a Master Naturalist and spent two years introducing native species to her backyard.

“We spotted butterflies and dragonflies almost immediately,” said Christine, “and during the first summer, different birds came to visit the native plants.  Ruby-throated hummingbirds, for example, love to nectar on our bright red Cardinal flowers.”

An avid photographer since high school, Christine enjoys nature photography.  Continue reading

Tree Lovers’ Dream Project: Arlington County Street Tree Inventory

By Kathy Philpott Costa

On March 13, a group of volunteers made up of Arlington Master Naturalists, Tree Stewards and Americorps members met with Arlington County Forester Vincent Verweij for basic training on how to conduct a street tree inventory. These volunteers will soon contribute to an ambitious project to update information on more than 21,000 street trees in Arlington County–including more than 1,000 empty planting spots–in its database.

The County’s street trees are those that have been designated as County-owned and are in a County right-of-way, or along the edge of streets and sidewalks.  Trees on private, federal or state property are not Arlington “street trees.”  Volunteers were interested to learn that Arlington County’s ownership of its street trees stands in contrast to much of Virginia, where the Virginia Department of Transportation owns and maintains most spaces adjacent to streets.  Needless to say, local ownership leaves the County with an overwhelming responsibility to maintain its trees and plant new ones where old ones are removed. Continue reading

ARMN Volunteers Contribute to Earth Sangha Seed Cleaning

By Julie Speers

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On February 13, 2012, ARMN and Earth Sangha co-hosted a seed-cleaning activity at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington.  Puffs of fluff and seed flew through the air as a group of ARMN volunteers threshed dried native-plants stems to release their seeds.  Lisa Bright, Director of Earth Sangha Wild Plant Nursery in Springfield, was endlessly patient Continue reading

Native Plant Sales

Spring is almost here which means it is the perfect time to enrich your garden and support the environment by planting some native plants in your garden!  There are many native plant sales in the region to check out:

Long Branch Nature Center Native Plant Sale
Saturday, April 21, 1-3pm (rain date Sunday, 4/22)
625 S. Carlin Springs Rd, Arlington, VA  22204

Earth Sangha Native Ecotype Plant Sale
Sunday, May 6, 10am-2pm
Earth Sangha Wild Plant Nursery, Franconia Park, Springfield, VA

Green Spring Gardens Plant Sale
Saturday, May 12
4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria, VA

ParkFairfax Native Plant Sale
Saturday, April 28, 9am-2pm
3601 Valley Dr., Alexandria, VA

1/12/12 Barcroft Sunny Workday Report

By Jim Hurley

Last Thursday, January 12, Master Naturalist (and current ARMN Treasurer) Josh Schnell enticed some 15 of his USDA OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) colleagues to Barcroft Park for a couple of hours cutting and digging Multiflora Rose, English Ivy and Japanese Honeysuckle.  Five Americorps volunteers supported the effort, as well as four other MNs Workers in park(thanks Jim Clark!), and tools were supplied by Sarah Archer.  The day was sunny and a balmy 58 degrees, and with the ground wet from the previous day’s rain, the invasives were very vulnerable.  We took full advantage of the conditions, and massive R. multiflora clumps and root systems yielded to shovels and pickaxes.  We continued to clear the area between the bikepath and drainage ditch, exposing the Lesser Celandine that is the dominant invasive there.  There were large numbers of Ranunculus ficaria bulblets and tubers just below the ground surface, which, no longer protected by their cover of Rose and Ivy, are vulnerable to spraying in spring.  For more on Lesser Celandine, including a shoutout to our own Steve Young, see:  http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/rafi1.htm. Continue reading