February 2022 Update

Updated: Apr 11

Short article to share

Each of our updates has a short article which we hope you will share in newsletters and on social media. Help us spread the word about native plants! See this month’s article on plant combinations for your yard at the bottom of this page.

Instagrammers needed! If you enjoy posting on Instagram and would like to support native plants, please join our little social media team. Email plantnovanatives@gmail.com. Volunteers are needed for the other social media platforms as well.

February 23, 7 pm - Identifying Trees in Winter: The How-Tos of Twigs and Bark Bradley Simpson of the Audubon Naturalist Society will teach us how to use buds, twigs, pith, bark, and fruit to help distinguish our native trees from one another without leaves. Details and registration here.

Other online events

Seeding sale – ever popular! Six tree or shrub seedlings for $15. Ordering starts March 1 at 10 am (and may sell out fast, so order promptly. Other sources of free or low-cost trees may be found on the Plant NOVA Trees website.)

Sign up to staff a table at a spring event to hand out materials to the public about using native plants in their landscaping and about the native tree campaign. No experience necessary.

Want to engage your community? Arrange a virtual Hometown Habitat showing! You can get a discount through Plant NOVA Natives for the screening rights to this lovely movie featuring Doug Tallamy about why we need to plant native plants. You can pick out the chapters to show that are most relevant to your audience.

Do you like to give talks about native plants? We get frequent requests for people to give talks, both virtual and in-person, and to small audiences and large. We have a whole library of Power Points that you can adapt. Let us know if you can help out occasionally. plantnovanatives@gmail.com

Report your native tree and shrub plantings

Please help Virginia meet its tree-planting obligations by reporting your tree and shrub plantings here.

Next Steering Committee meeting – via videoconferencing – All are welcome. Thursday, March 3, 10:00am-12:00pm. Check our Event Calendar for future meetings.

This month’s newsletter article to share – Please use this link for social media.

Easy plant combinations for your yard

Are you ready to brighten up your yard but not to spend hours researching plant choices? You may be a candidate for a native plant “package” that includes plants that thrive in similar landscape conditions. Grouping them together will quickly beautify your property while benefitting the local ecosystem.

Trees, shrubs and groundcovers are the backbone of any landscape and are in fact all that most people want to bother with. You can find combinations for nine common situations on the Plant NOVA Trees website. If, for example, the ground in your yard gets soggy at times, you might choose a Wet Areas package and include a Sweetgum tree for shade, American Hornbeam in the understory, and a couple Smooth Hydrangea shrubs. If you underplant them with Golden Ragwort, you will have an evergreen groundcover that has the added bonus of bright yellow flowers for two months in the spring. If you don’t have room for a canopy tree, choose the Small Space Combo instead and pair the Common Witch Hazel shrub with its November blooms with the shorter spring-flowering Virginia Sweetspire.

When practical, there is a great deal to be said for planting each member of a grouping at more or less the same time, minimizing root disturbance by installing the specimens when small. Whether planting all at once or in stages, though, the healthiest landscape is one that is densely planted with native species, healing the soil and providing food and shelter from the ground to the canopy for our local birds, fireflies, butterflies and other residents. Professional gardeners of course need to be adept at exactly matching plants to the microclimates within a landscape, but the rest of us can do quite well just using the obvious sun, soil and water conditions as our guide.

Those with a flower garden in their yard can speed up its evolution into a native paradise by choosing combinations that will result in blooms over the course of the season. In a sunny areas, if you are guided by the spring, summer and fall packages on the Plant NOVA Natives website, the result will be a stunning combination of well-behaved plants that will attract butterflies throughout the growing season. Suggestions for shady or wet areas are included, as are ornamental grasses. You can also find locations of garden centers that stock native plants.