Category Archives: Gardens

Reaping the Benefits of Gardening ? at Work

For most people, gardening is an at-home activity, a hobby for the weekend or a way to unwind after a day spent sitting behind a desk.

But for several employees with the Virginia Department of Health, the joys of gardening are part of the daily work routine. They participate in a program called Plaza Planter Adopt-a-Box at their department?s headquarters ? the Madison Building in downtown Richmond. 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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Why Fall is for Planting

The Central Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association is spearheading a "Fall is for Planting" campaign in and around Richmond, Va., to emphasize the benefits and advantages of planting in the fall. Every independent garden center and nursery in the metro Richmond area has agreed to promote this campaign. "Fall is for Planting" banners (pictured here) are proudly being displayed all across town. 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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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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Perfecting The Rain Barrel, Piece By Piece

This is a continuation of Jan-W.'s rain barrel blog series. To read his other posts, click here.

After constructing my first rain barrel and talking with friends, I came to the conclusion I needed to make a few adaptations. The small spigot was OK, but it took a long time to fill a watering can. In addition, when I started to build rain barrels there was no easy way to connect a spigot to a barrel and making that connection waterproof. Friends of mine had been successful; however, somewhat frustrated by the low water pressure, they eventually connected a soaker hose to the spigot and told me it took five hours for the barrel to empty. This may actually be great if you need to water a vegetable garden, but they ended up emptying their barrel after one time. 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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We Need Plants, Plants Need Pollinators

June 20-26 was Virginia Pollinator Week, a time when we focus with others across the United States on the irreplaceable value of bees, butterflies, moths and nature's other pollinators.

There is an alarming and discernible decline in the population of these fascinating creatures that make seeds and fruits magically appear on plants, shrubs and trees. While this decline is not news for those of us interested in gardening and farming, the week reminds us how much we need to ramp up our efforts to reverse this trend and educate everyone about the far-reaching effects a loss of our pollinators will have on everyday life. Continue reading

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Our Backyards - They're For The Birds!

Who doesn't enjoy hearing a songbird or catching a glimpse of their bright colors in the backyard? Some people garden specifically for wildlife, including birds, by choosing all of their plantings based on how they function for wildlife in the landscape. While you don't have to replace everything you have, certain additions can help attract our feathered friends. Continue reading

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