You Bet Your Aster

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!

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