December 2019 Update

Another short article to share – At the bottom of this page, please see the short article about native plants in commercial spaces and share it as widely as possible.


2019: Another big year for promoting native plants!

The hundreds of volunteers involved in spreading the word about native plants have been very busy in 2019. In addition to the outreach done by the many partnering organizations, the Plant NOVA Natives campaign organized the following:

Website additions, including new sections for community associations and landscape professionals. The website was visited 36,000 times in 2019 by 23,000 unique visitors.Red stickers on native plants at 20 garden centers with the help of 46 volunteersSymposiums

Our first symposium for landscape professionalsA training for volunteers attended by 75 peopleTwo symposiums for community associationsOur third annual meeting of partnering organizations, attended by 50 leadersSocial media

Over 2,500 followers on Facebook5 Facebook ads, generating 5,000 link clicksNextDoor.com postings in 36 neighborhoods reaching hundreds of thousands of peopleA team of artists to reach people through artEvents

Tables at 26 eventsNumerous presentations to groupsOutreach materials

Sold over 800 Native Plants for Northern Virginia guides11 new videos for our YouTube channelPublished and distributed 11 short, shareable articles that were seen by thousands of peopleDisplays at Prince William librariesPromoted City Nature Challenge 2019


Give the gift of trees!

Reforest Fairfax has some new partners along with a new web address and website just in time for the holiday season. While Fairfax ReLeaf will continue its mission of planting native trees, proceeds from Reforest Fairfax will now go to Plant NOVA Natives to support our mission of outreach, education and promotion of restoration using native plants. Honor your friends and family members with tree seedlings to be planted in their name. Once planted, the recipients will be able to see their location on a map. www.reforestfairfax.com/


Thank you, Corey Miles!

As co-chair of Plant NOVA Natives, Corey has shepherded Plant NOVA Natives from its beginning. She will continue with the campaign but is stepping back as co-chair. Joanne Hutton is taking her place as co-chair along with Alan Ford.


Upcoming events:

Saturday, December 28 – Deadline for applications for Fairfax Master Naturalists spring training.Saturday, February 8, 9 am to 3 pm - Stop Mowing, Start Growing - 2nd Annual Native Plants for Beginners. Northern Virginia Community College, Woodbridge. Registration begins soon.Sunday, February 23, 3-5pm -  Manassas Park Community Center. Doug Tallamylecture.Friday, March 6 -  “Native Plants for Landscaping Headaches” symposium for HOAs and Condo associations (our third time presenting this material.) Location TBD.


Next Steering Committee meeting – All are welcome! Tuesday, January 14 at 10:30 am (but please always check our Event Calendar in case there is a change.)


This month’s newsletter article to share – Please distribute as widely as possible. Use this link for social media.



Native plants in public spaces

Shopping center parking lots and other public spaces can be tree-lined havens from the summer heat, with beautiful blossoms to induce people to linger. Imagine yourself resting on a shaded bench, listening to the birds as you enjoy watching the people stroll by.  Do the commercial spaces in your town look like this, or do you find yourself hurrying from car to building to get out of the glaring heat? Wouldn’t you prefer to do your shopping at the place with more greenery?

Commercial establishments across the region are starting to appreciate the return on investment of native plants. There are practical reasons related to the fact that they are adapted to the Virginia climate. Native Virginia plants require less watering (once established) than rows of annuals and only need to be planted once. Native shrubs such as Virginia Sweetspire require no pruning and provide more natural-looking alternatives to conventional landscaping choices that get leggy with continuous trimming. No fertilizers and pesticides are needed, either. Beyond the practicalities, though, companies that choose native plants are signaling to the public that they are good corporate citizens who care about our common home and are working to preserve our heritage.

In many cases, property managers are taking the simple step of swapping out the non-native in their curbside beds for reliable natives such as Threadleaf Coreopsis, Common Yucca, Black-Eyed Susan and Common Yarrow. Winterberry Holly, with its bright red berries, has become a popular choice to place next to buildings. Some landscapers are installing innovative designs that give the property a whole new look, incorporating a wide variety of shrubs and ornamental trees such as Redbud and great swaths of native grasses such as Switchgrass waving in the breeze. An example of that can be seen at Caboose Commons in Fairfax, where imaginative landscaping adds a new dimension to the dining experience. Still other establishments such as Vienna Vintner have planted extensive pollinator gardens leading up to their entrances, with flowers that bloom in succession and attract butterflies from early spring to late fall.

You may have noticed sidewalks and parking lots that have sunken islands. Stormwater retention areas, which are mandatory for new development, provide an opportunity for creative landscaping. Water and drought tolerant trees such as Red Maple and Serviceberry can provide shade while their roots absorb the runoff. Native grasses, perennials and shrubs help clean the water while adding color and interest to the design.

Photos and details about landscaping with native plants in commercial spaces can be found on the Plant NOVA Natives website. The Caboose Commons project is highlighted in the first Plant NOVA Natives video for landscape professionals. Produced by volunteer Joe Bruncsak, owner of Blue Land Media, this series of very short videos will feature projects that exemplify landscape design at its best.

Help reverse the decline of native plants and wildlife in Northern Virginia by supporting our campaign.

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