Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginiana)
To increase awareness of the importance of native trees, the Plant NOVA Trees website has a page dedicated to “October is Native Trees Month.” The site lists garden centers offering discounts on native trees, shrubs, and perennials; tree giveaways; and tree-related events in October. Now is your chance to plant native trees while saving money!
The Plant NOVA Trees campaign is part of the Plant NOVA Natives campaign to promote native plants in Northern Virginia. (Hint: bookmark these as they also list native plant sales). Plant NOVA Natives is one of 9 regional campaigns with the Plant Virginia Natives in the commonwealth.
Fall is an excellent time to plant hardy perennials, shrubs, and trees. The cooler temperatures, increased moisture, and decreased sun/heat allow the plants to settle in the ground, send out roots, and get established before winter. While the soil is still warm, roots continue to develop until the ground freezes so the plant’s energy is devoted to getting firmly settled in the soil, not developing new top growth. The plants you buy now can be planted with minimal stress to them and often, with minimal stress to your wallet as many garden centers discount plants to move the inventory before winter.
My family and I had a great time at Green Spring Garden’s Plant Sale this past weekend. It seemed there were many more vendors than in the past. There were so many plants to choose from, as well as a baked goods sale and representatives from several local garden clubs. One interesting gem of information that I wanted to pass on is a new guide called Native Plants for Northern Virginia. Volunteers of the Plant NoVA Natives Campaign were selling the guide for $5.00 but the four-color guide can be downloaded from the Plant NoVA Natives Campaign website free (http://www.plantnovanatives.org).
Published in March 2015, this 48-page guide lists plants native to Northern Virginia (residents of the greater Washington DC area also can benefit from this guide). The guide was not meant to be comprehensive but rather a showcase of natives that are attractive, easy for home gardeners to acquire and grow, and beneficial to wildlife and the environment. The guide is organized by the type of plant: perennials (forbs); grasses, sedges, and rushes; ferns; vines; shrubs; and trees. For each plant there is a photo, cultural requirements, size and shape, and the insects, birds, or wildlife that benefit from the plant. The guide also lists native plants that would do well in particular situations such as wet or dry places, additional resources on native plants, native plant demonstration gardens, and invasive plants.
The Plant NoVA Natives Campaign is a partnership of the organizations listed below. Its goal is to promote the use of these plants in the urban and suburban landscapes in Northern Virginia for their social, cultural, and economic benefits, and to increase the availability of Northern Virginia native plants in retail nurseries throughout the region. For homeowners and gardeners interested in native plants or new to Virginia, this guide is a great introduction and a useful compendium of local resources.
- Audubon Society of Northern Virginia
- Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy
- Mason Sustainability Institute
- Nature by Design
- Northern Virginia Regional Commission (lead organization)
- Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District
- Potowmack Chapter, Virginia Native Plant Society
- Prince William Wildflower Society Chapter, Virginia Native Plant Society
- Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program
- Virginia Cooperative Extension
- Virginia Department of Forestry
- Virginia Master Gardeners
- Virginia Master Naturalists
The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (NVSWCD) has an annual native tree and shrub seedling sale, making low-cost native shrub and tree seedlings available to Northern Virginia residents. Seedling packages go on sale each year in January and are available for pickup in early May. Trees and shrubs help cleanse water, prevent soil erosion, provide habitat, cool our climate and clean our air. This year’s seedling sale features shrubs and trees from the Plant NOVA Natives guide and campaign, a regional effort to promote native plants. For more information and to download a copy of the guide, see www.plantnovanatives.org. For more information on the NVSWCD shrub and tree seedling sale, including photos and descriptions of the plants, see www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd/seedlingsale.htm
The 2015 Shrub and Small Tree Package features 10 seedlings for $16.95. The Tree Package includes 6 seedlings sold for $11.95. A full, nonrefundable payment must accompany your order by Monday, April 22, or until supplies run out. You will receive a confirmation receipt and a map to the pickup site (in central Fairfax County). Orders may be picked up on Friday, May 1, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., or Saturday, May 2, 9:00 a.m.-noon. NVSWCD will start to accept orders for the seedling sale starting mid-January 2015.
Shrub and small tree package includes two seedlings from each of the following plants (photos are my own):
- Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
- Silky dogwood (Cornus amomum)
- Eastern red bud (Cercis canadensis)
- Red chokeberry (Photinia pyrifolia)
- Arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
Tree package includes two seedlings from each of the following plants:
- River birch (Betula nigra)
- Willow Oak (Quercus phellos)
- Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata)