Category Archives: Tips

Plants We Love: Turtleheads -- Snap Them Up!


Chelone, (it rhymes with phony and baloney) is a native member of the figwort family. It is more commonly known as turtlehead. It's not hard to figure out how it got its common name; those blooms shaped like turtleheads are so adorable that even someone who is not a fan of turtles can?t resist them. They remind me of kids running around in the rain with their tongues sticking out to catch the droplets. Chelone was a nymph in Greek mythology that offended the gods by not attending the wedding of Zeus to Hera. To punish her, they turned her into a turtle. Continue reading

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Native Plants for Every Environment


Natives are great for many reasons. But to give them a great start, they need to be planted in the proper environment. Whether you have shade, part shade to sun, moisture or a dry landscape, there is a group of plants that would be perfect for that site. Continue reading

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Plants We Love: Bloodroot

Warning: Bloodroot can be extremely toxic, even fatal.

I'm not going to discuss the medical uses for bloodroot. There is plenty of information on the web (and from professional herbalists, which I certainly am not) explaining its benefits and dangers. Just let me say do your research very well. Also, consider pets and children before planting it in your landscape. As beautiful as this plant is, it is not worth risking loved ones? health or possibly even lives. Continue reading

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Plants We Love: Oakleaf Hydrangea, A Seasonal Delight

My favorite shrub is oakleaf hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia (querci- oak, and folia - leaf). This native plant ranges from Tennessee to Florida and west to the Mississippi River. In Virginia, we are a bit north of its native range but it grows very well here. It grows naturally in forests, along streams and on forested hillsides. Continue reading

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Plants We Love: Iris Cristata

Iris is one of my favorite perennial genera consisting of over 300 species. When growing iris it is important to determine the species. Some like sun others like shade and some want wet. Others can't tolerate wet feet at all. They can be 4 inches or they can grow to be over 3 feet tall. Continue reading

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Composting in Autumn

Many of you may already know that adding rich compost to your home garden can greatly increase the health and yield of your herbs and vegetables. But by recycling some of your own household scraps into compost, you can significantly reduce the amount of waste you produce. Not only do you decrease the volume of your garbage, but you can also cut down on the pollution created by landfills. Continue reading

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Make a Day of It at Norfolk Botanical Garden

Garden lovers should mark their calendars for Sept. 22, when the Norfolk Botanical Garden will host two great events focused on conservation landscaping.

Start the day off with the Garden Symposium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The theme of this symposium is "How Sustainable Gardening and Landscaping Projects Improve the Health of Your Garden." Guest speakers will explain how gardeners can create nature-friendly landscapes and improve the health of their gardens at the same time. Lunch will be served, and door prizes will include a rain barrel and gift certificates for professional landscape consultations. Continue reading

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Working Together to Protect Riparian Buffers

In 2010, the Chesterfield County Environmental Engineering Department and Friends of Chesterfield's Riverfront launched the Riparian Stewardship Program. The program encourages county residents to cherish and protect the riparian buffers on their land. Riparian buffers are areas of vegetation along waterways that protect water quality by filtering pollutants from stormwater runoff, preventing erosion and providing shade and wildlife habitat. Continue reading

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Surviving the Dog Days of Summer

It is the season of "dog days," days so hot and humid that you can cut the atmosphere with a butter knife. Or, as our grandparents said, "days fit for a dog's activity - lying in the coolest spot available." The challenge for both people and plants is to keep cool. Continue reading

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Gardener's Dilemma: What To Do With All Those Plastic Pots?

I'm not ashamed to admit I haven't thrown away a single plastic pot from this year's spring planting. Right now, my porch is a sort of plastic pot graveyard, where old pots have found (seemingly) eternal resting places over in a far corner.

I imagine lots of gardeners experience this, um, "attachment" to their plastic pots and flats. Most curbside recycling programs won't accept them, so what's an eco-conscious gardener to do? There's got to be a clever way to reuse them, but I haven't figured that out yet. Continue reading

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