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January 2019 Update

As always, we have a short article for you to share. Please see it below and send it out via any newsletter or social media you can think of. Feel free to adapt it for your own needs – no crediting is necessary.

Looking for a professional landscape designer? We have a list of companies that work almost exclusively with native plants. Do you know of anyone we should add (either a company, or an individual within a company?) Soon there may be many more – with the help of numerous professionals from the landscaping industry, we are planning a major outreach effort in 2019. We now have a section for professionals on our website. Serious home gardeners may find it interesting as well.

Need more details to help you choose the right plant? Much of the information we researched for landscape professionals is also available on our searchable web-based app. You can figure out which of the many oaks or pines would be right for your property, for instance, or how far apart to space plants when you are creating a groundcover.

Do you have expertise at working on vegetated roof projects? We are forming a little working group to encourage the use of native plants in this expanding industry. Email if you can help.

Upcoming native plant sales - Several seedling sales and giveaways are starting now. Native plant sales start in March – we are updating our web page as the information comes in.

Spread the word – The bad news about threats to our ecosystem keeps piling up. The time to act is now. We hope everyone on this mailing list is spreading the word about home habitat and native plants. In addition to doing that in your own communities (we can help you with that), volunteers are needed to help with some specific projects which you can find here. And we already have three tabling events scheduled for April and expect to add others for as early as February – sign up here. No experience necessary, only enthusiasm!

iNaturalist City Nature Challenge April 26-29, 2019 - Join people across the world as we document life on earth in a gigantic citizen science project. You can do this on your own, but volunteers are also needed to host events in their communities (parks, HOAs, faith communities, school properties, etc) any time on those dates to take photos of all living things present and document them on iNaturalist. This is a great opportunity to inspire people to take action on their own properties to protect the local wildlife that they observe. Learn more here.

Five thousand Guides are waiting to be sold – We sold out the last batch and ordered more from a new printer, which allows us to lower the price to non-profit organizations who buy ten or more copies ($3.50 each). For individuals and for-profit companies purchasing ten or more copies, the price is $4 each. See our “store” for details.

Educational events

o Sat, February 23, 2019 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

· Prince William - Balancing Natives and Ornamentals in Your Garden

o Saturday, February 23, 1:00-3:00pm

o Old Historic Manassas Courthouse, Manassas

o This lecture from the Master Gardeners of Prince William Education Committee discusses the benefits of native plants and features 25 specimen plants. The lecture is led by Keith Tomlinson of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. This is a free program, but please register by email or call 703-792-7747.

· The Balanced Garden: How to meld beautiful and sustainable native plants with favorites from around the world

o Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

o Green Spring Gardens 4603 Green Spring Road Alexandria

o Registration: (703) 642-5173 or online at Code: 986.B59A

o Sunday, Feb 17 3:30 pm

o Manassas Park Community Center, 99 Adams St

o Saturday, March 23, 2019 │ 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

o Talks by Larry Weaner, Barbara Pleasant, Sara Via, and Nancy Lawson.

· Green Matters Symposium – Doug Tallamy speaking.

o Feb 22, 8:00-4:00.

o Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring, MD

o Thursday, February 14, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Next Steering Committee meeting – All are welcome! March 19, 2019

This month’s newsletter article – Please reprint or link to this article on our blog, which includes previous articles in this series. (For posting on, use this URl instead.)

“Road projects” for wildlife: Your hedge as sanctuary

If you are the only turtle living in someone’s yard, where are you going to find a mate? Asphalt and lawns are fine for moving people around, but they create barriers for wildlife. Fragmentation of our natural areas has a lot to do with why box turtle sightings are an increasingly rare occurrence in the suburbs.

Our parks, only some of which are large enough or undisturbed enough to nurture biodiversity, make up a small percentage of the land in Northern Virginia. It is up to us to connect those natural areas into wildlife corridors by using our own yards. By lining our properties with hedges, we can create pathways for turtles and other wildlife to navigate the landscape. Ideally such pathways would be uninterrupted, but even creating a series of islands is effective. Not only can native plants provide shelter, but the fruits, berries, and seeds they produce will attract songbirds to liven up our landscapes. Have you ever noticed that birds congregate on properties that have thickets?

Creating a hedge is very simple. Start by planting two or three native shrubs where you now have lawn, allowing dead leaves to create a ground layer. Add more shrubs and trees as your time and energy allow – the wider the corridor, the better. Many suggestions for suitable plants of various heights can be found on this page of the Plant NOVA Natives website. Hedges, which can be clipped and formal or more naturalistic, provide the additional benefits of capturing stormwater and enhancing privacy.

For a little more inspiration, watch our two-minute video about the secret goings-on within native plantings.

By the way: if you ever stop your car to help a turtle cross the road, be sure to deliver it to the side where it was heading, and no further. Box turtles are territorial and will not survive if you move them any distance.


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