Newsletter articles – please submit everywhere you can! See below. All you have to do is copy and paste.
Slogan contest results – Thanks to those who submitted their slogans. Now to make them into Facebook “memes!”
· Be a 3 B Buddy – Plant Native Plants!
· Diversity Begins at Home. Plant Nova Natives!
· Native Plants for Native Gardens
· Make American Gardens Great Again!
· Creating Gardens is for the Birds and the Bees.
· Brother can you spare a bee? Plant NOVA Natives!
· Growing (& Preserving) Virginia history (here)!
Library exhibit cases – help us put up displays
Many public libraries have exhibit cases to hold displays by community organizations. Please approach your local library and find out the procedure. We can help you develop a display to promote NOVA native plants.
NVRC resolution on designed natural landscapes
On December 8, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission accepted a resolution that supports the use of designed natural landscapes. Click here to view. This sets the stage for local jurisdictions to examine their weed ordinances to see if they permit property owners to create home habitat.
The Grand Partnership
Representatives from 40 local private, non-profit, and governmental organizations met on January 24 to discuss ways to promote the use of native plants in Northern Virginia landscapes. The mailing lists of these organizations reach more than 22,000 people. The Plant NOVA Native campaign is designed to be a tool to help these groups and individuals to spread the good news about supporting wildlife on our own properties. Would your organization like to join?
NOVA Native Champion – Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Plant NOVA Natives presented a NOVA Natives Champion award to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. In addition to using NOVA native plants extensively around their green building, they are selling the Native Plants for Northern Virginia guide in their store where realtors buy gifts for clients. Read about them and the other two awardees here.
Do you know any institutions that use their properties to promote native plants to the public? Nominate them for a NOVA Natives Champion award.
Help your local garden center promote NOVA natives. There are 40 garden centers in Northern Virginia. So far, 27 volunteers have been working with 24 of them to help them promote native plants. Can you make it 25? The conversation is as simple as running down a checklist. Let us know if you can help. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming screenings of Hometown Habitat (Could you plan a screening of your own?)
March 9. 7:00 pm. Oakton Library. The Friends of Oakton Library have arranged a showing of Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home, a documentary showing how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems. Click here to register
March 17. 7:00 pm.
Accotink UU Church (10125 Lakehaven Court, Burke, Virginia 22015
March 25. 9 am to 1 pm. The Unitarian Universal Congregation of Fairfax (UUCF) is planning a community Environmental Stewardship Fair including a Hometown Habitat showing, exhibitors, speakers, and a tour of the campus.
This month’s newsletter article –
Please post these articles on social media and in any newsletter you can – work, faith community, HOA, club, etc. Or link to them on our blog, which includes the previous articles in this series (“Why plant native plants?” and “Do native plants sound foreign?”)
Accidental environmentalism – the case of the unexpected butterflies
This is the story of a gardener who discovered that less was more. For years, she had been weeding out the Common Violet from her garden. Violets are unassuming plants that tend to pop up all over the place, including flower garden beds, which the gardener thought should be kept clear to allow other plants to grow.
One year, a small construction project on the lawn resulted in some bare soil in semi-shade. Luckily for the gardener, that disturbed soil did not become covered by invasive introduced plants (which is the most common result of leaving soil bare in Northern Virginia) but rather produced a bumper crop of violets. Their thick, low growth habit seemed like a reasonable substitute for lawn, and so she left them alone.
The next year, the gardener walked out her back door only to be greeted by six huge orange butterflies feeding on her Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa). She was very excited to think that she had finally attracted Monarch butterflies by planting this type of milkweed, but as she got closer, she discovered that they were actually not monarchs but the equally beautiful Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly, something she had never heard of before that day. Yes, the Butterfly Weed – a wonderful plant for attracting butterflies - was providing food for the adult butterflies, but it turned out that the Common Violet is a host plant for the caterpillars of Fritillary butterflies. Without their host plants – almost all of which are native plants – butterflies cannot reproduce.
So yes – plant NOVA native plants. Let the ones there already flourish as well. And don’t be afraid to layer them together. A native plant garden will resist weeds the best if the bare ground is covered by plants.
Plant NOVA Natives is a joint marketing campaign over forty private, public, and non-profit organizations and hundreds of individuals. Our mission is to educate the community and to promote the benefits to water quality and natural habitat of planting beautiful Northern Virginia natives, through the efforts of committed volunteers using multimedia outreach and events, and by working with local growers and sellers of native plants. All are welcome to participate in this collective action movement.