It’s National Pollinator Week 2017!
About a decade ago, U.S. Senate unanimously approved for a week in June to be annually designated as National Pollinator Week. This year, from 19 – 25 Jun 2017, our Nation is celebrating this week to focus on pollinators, their conservation and ways to help continue to fight for them.
This week I’ll be providing some key events or tips to help out any pollinator in your garden. As many of your plants are well into their early summer bloom or just ending their spring display, the pollinators are hungry and busy feeding and helping to raise new young. In many cases, butterflies and hummingbirds have possibly traveled many miles to finally arrive back in Northern Arlington to raise a new brood. Exciting stuff!
Where can you go to find more? Check out the Pollinator Partnership website here: http://pollinator.org/pollinatorweek/. This site gives many tools and resources about pollinators, and specifically Pollinator Week.
Stay tuned this week for more information on this great effort and ways we can all take an active part.
Until next time!
Summer, it would seem, is here! It’s heating up, the pool is open and laughter and many in our community are walking about enjoying the sunshine. A few of the last landscaping projects around the community are complete. We have tackled two locations that have seen quite a bit of run off. In an effort to stop any further erosion, we decided to plant a number of plants that will grip the soil, and hopefully add to the content of the soil. Not to mention that this will greatly add to the opportunity for our neighborhood pollinators! Eventually. The two areas are at the end of Thompson Road, and at the end of Breckenridge Court. Both areas are quite different – one is mostly sunny, the other mostly shady. This means the types of plants are quite different, serving quite different functions. The similar to all of them is — soil retention, moderate growth, and pollinator benefit. The Thompson Rd site was planted with some native grasses-Little Bluestem, and Northern Sea Oats; Gray Goldenrod, Mountain Mint, Aromatic Aster, Pussytoes. This site is a bit steep and will likely see some movement but hopefully within a few weeks these plants will help to stabilize the site.
The Breckenridge Ct. side is a bit shadier. We planted Christmas Ferns, Northern Sea Oats, Golden Groundsel, Dwarf Crested Iris, Woodland Phlox, White Wood Aster, Bluestem Goldenrod. This site is a bit shadier and gets quite a bit of water run off.
For both sites additional watering will be required. If anyone would be willing to assist that would be great–especially at Thompson Rd. The extra care given in these next few weeks will greatly assist in the success of these plantings. So you are walking around the neighborhood and notice that some of these plants could use a bit of water–by all means help out.
Here’s what’s coming up: 19-27 June is Pollinator Week. I’ll give more information related to this national event on the 19th.
Until then happy gardening. Stay hydrated. Put on some sunscreen, and watch the activity around the garden. Right now what is blooming in my garden is the Penstemon/Beardtongue with its tubular white flowers are open and accepting pollinators. Spiderworts that open up during the day that close up shyly at night. My garden is getting ready to show the Liatris, Joe Pye Weed, and Swamp milkweed. Can’t wait!
Until next time!
Hello Strathmeade Square! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend. As it is sometimes hard to remember the sacrifices of so many in the service of our country, these are touching moments that cause us to reflect on times that truly create a community. Here’s to all who have gone before us.
Some planting happenings. I connected with the great folks with Fairfax Re-Leaf who provide native plants throughout Fairfax county to have plants planted at places such as schools, HOAs, businesses, and other official buildings-all for free! They have biannual opportunities for residents interested in participating in the spring and in the fall. This year, I was given a few great species from them. I was able to plant Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana; http://grownative.org/plant-picker/plant/witch-hazel/), Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis; http://grownative.org/plant-picker/plant/buttonbush/), Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea; http://grownative.org/plant-picker/plant/serviceberry/), and Spicebush (Lindera benzoin; http://grownative.org/plant-picker/plant/spicebush/) (don’t worry about pronouncing the scientific names—they are a challenge to remember). The majority of these were planted between the back side of Whipple Court, and the Woodburn Apts. This site has been a challenge and many trees had to be removed this year due to lack of growth or issues. These species are all meant to be in moist to wet soils, full sun—this is the perfect spot for them. So, we’ll see how well they do. Fingers crossed, these large shrub/small trees will be quite happy in their new home. I also planted as series of Spicebush along Tobin Road. The areas where there is a lot of mulch run off and an open clearing due to other tree removals, seemed like the perfect spot. Shady, part sun, and moist soils. These sites were chosen based on the type of species provided by Fairfax Re-Leaf. The fall will be another time to check in with what they are offering. If we have some good spots for them when their fall call goes out, we’ll try to pick some up.
These new spots will need our help to ensure they are given the right conditions to grow and thrive. Primarily marking and keeping them well visible to grounds crews, and residents. These plants are all in their very early growth stages at only about 2ft tall, they are very hard to see and can easily be mistaken for simple twigs in the ground. I assure they are trying to get established with good root structure and will reward us all for years to come—if they can at least make it to this point next year. While they will not grow super-fast—many of them will grow at least 2’ per year. They will have markers like pink flags, marked off areas, or whatever else we can find to ensure they are VERY visible.
Next project: there are a few areas around our community that could really use some erosion control. Whether shady or full sun, native grasses, quick spreading native bloomers are some great choices for some these types of areas. We’ll be trying to plant these in the coming weeks and hopefully before the heat of summer. Feel free to come out and help dig some holes, plant some plants, talk about plants, whatever. More to follow on this.
If you have other areas that could use some attention or just some other planting or growing questions don’t hesitate to ask!
Until next time…let’s get dirty!
Based on weather forecasts of rain for tomorrow we are postponing the Yard Sale and the Spring Clean-Up day until next Saturday, May 20th.
However, the Bulk Trash Pick Up will still happen tomorrow, May 13th at noon — please get all items to the curb (not behind your gate) no later than noon tomorrow. No bulk trash pick up will be made on the 20th. I have uploaded the Republic Service note
about what will and will not be picked up from the curbside.
Bulk Trash Pick Up
May 13 – Trucks come at noon.
Neighborhood Yard Sale
Saturday, May 20
9 am – noon
Neighborhood Spring Clean-Up
Saturday, May 20
8 am – noon
Friday, May 12th is National Public Gardens Day! It’s always the Friday preceding Mother’s Day. Our local area is chock full of wonderful garden areas to view and visit and get your botanizing on! Here is a small local list in case you were so inclined. You can check their websites to see what events or special exhibits are on display or just go and enjoy because you love to see things growing around you.
James Madison’s Montpelier
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Green Spring Gardens http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring
U.S. Botanic Garden
Tudor Place Historic House and Garden
This Saturday, May 13th is also Spring Clean up day. While anything you may need to get out of your garden or just spruce things up a bit you may want to consider:
1) Additional mulch
2) A water feature this year?
3) Bagging up invasive plants and weeds
4) Adding a different edge or border to your space.
Whatever you do, keep the “-cides” at bay and enjoy your time in the space.
I have uploaded the most recent newsletter, May 2017, to the Newsletters page. If you wish to receive your own electronic copy, please contact email@example.com.
Marquee planting project: COMPLETE! We have our front marquee planting area completely planted for this year’s (and many more) planting season. The final step was to plant a series of annual plants in and around the spaces of the perennials that were planted a few weeks ago. These will add some pop of color to this season’s planting and hopefully you will all get a chance to enjoy them.
We planted a set of Celosias and Zinnias as they will bloom for quite a long time this season and provide a lot of pollen sources for our native pollinators. The Celosia’s will grow about 10″ high and have plumes of bright yellow, pink or magenta flowers. Their name comes from the Greek which means “burning” as our species will look like little fires. The Zinnias will also be a colorful bunch ranging from white, yellow and magenta. They may get to about 1-2ft tall. The full sun area of the marquee will be a great habitat for both of them.
The landscape crew has done their part to cut down the grass and trim all edges. If you notice any unwanted weeds coming up in your yard try to get at the flowers first. You’ll want to get them before they set seed–some of these weed seeds can be in the thousands. Seed heads will appear when the weather begins to get really hot, or the water levels begin to drop causing the plants to “stress.” A little picking will do wonders. You can also use boiled water or a dilution of boiled/hot water and vinegar will also get rid of some of those pesky ones. There are some great resources on how to get rid of some common lawn weeds that I will share in the coming weeks.
Enjoy the outdoors and the wonderful weather.
Let’s get dirty….
Updated Pool documents (Instructions, Registration Form, and Rules) have been added to the Rules and Regulations page. Contact Sequoia Management if you have any questions.
Calling all Strathmeade able-bodied residents. We have another shipment of plants arriving to complete our beautification project of the Tobin/Beverly marquee. This Saturday, April 29th, I am calling all green thumbs, brown thumbs, gardeners, non-gardeners, and anyone else who would like to come and assist the planting of our newly arriving plants. We’ll begin at 9:00am! Bring some shovels, work gloves, water, and let’s get into the dirt! Hope to see you there!
-Strathmeade Landscaping Committee
Happy Earth Day Strathmeade Square! I trust that even on this rainy weekend you are able to enjoy time out and about. In celebration of Earth Day I participated in the Northern Virginia Soil & Water Conservation District (NVSWCD, http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd) native seedling sale. They do this event each year selecting a group of small shrubs and trees that are important species to our native habitats. The plants they offered all came as bare roots (essentially small roods with a little bit of growth on them–which helps in transplant but requires planting very quickly) and I was able to plant some Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), Grey Dogwood (Cornus racemosa), Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra) and Arrowood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) in a few common areas around Breckenridge Court. If you come by I’ll be sure to point them out. Each one adds seasonal interest and provides great ecological and habitat benefits for our native pollinators and birds. These will take a little while to really be established and get showy but once they do — they’ll be hard to miss. The NVSWCD is a great resource for native plants. They also offered trees for purchase at very reasonable prices. So if you have a need and would like to increase the habitat in your own back yard, this annual sale is a great place to start (they always have extras too). They also provided rain barrels for purchase.
As many of you have probably been busy cleaning and sprucing up your garden spaces (even if you haven’t that is not a big deal), some things to keep in mind in your garden this season is — what is visiting your flowers? Are there any birds using your plants for nesting material? Have you seen any caterpillars? While some plants will demonstrate a few holes here and there–that is actually a good thing. It means that key food sources have been found and those that eat your leaves will soon be eaten by this year’s brood of new birds. Some areas of your garden that are begging for some attention—maybe consider leaving some areas bare from mulch. Pollinators will use the mud after it rains for key micro nutrients and some native solitary bees (i.e. ones that do not sting and do not operate in hives) use the ground as nests. Its a great way to keep them coming around your flowers, pollinating your tomatoes, squash, or pepper plants.
Weeds & Invasives–this is the perfect time to get rid of these pesky buggers. Some have very cute blooms like violets or even the barren strawberry but each of these can take over very quickly. Some are ok but be sure to watch them. They are great for early season pollinators but can take over and crowd out any native species (which are better suited for our area anyway) very quickly. Most of these weeds are best handled early before they set to seed. If you see a flower pick them out and throw them away. That is the only way you can ensure they will not stay in your yard. Otherwise some species can regrow from just a bit of leaf matter. English ivy will start is growth now too and the juvenile leaves are the only ones that can be affected by any sort of herbicide–though manually pulling and cutting them down are preferred methods. Dandelions do provide some much needed food sources for early emerging pollinators but you may want to get rid of these as well soon before their fluffy seeds begin to open.
Do you have an area you’d like to plant more plants in? Do you have an area that just doesn’t seem to be growing anything? Reach out to the landscape committee and we’d be happy to offer suggestions on what plants to plant, ways to improve some drainage or even ways to add more life to your garden. DISCLOSURE–while we love to collaborate with you all as our neighbors we are NOT licensed horticulturalists or landscapers. We are just very avid gardeners with a passion to increase the enjoyment of all in the community to enjoy time out in their garden.
Til next time—let’s get dirty!!