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September 2020 Update

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

At the bottom of this page, please see the short article on­­­­­ street-side landscapes, and share it as widely as possible.

Ask the Experts We continue our series of interactive videoconferences in which you can ask landscape designers for advice on improving your native plantings. Submit your questions and photos ahead of time if you can. Register on our website.

· Wednesday, October 22, 11:00 am – Barbara Ryan, Chain Bridge Native Landscapes

o Topic: Planning a pollinator landscape

Recordings of seven previous “Ask the Expert” events can be viewed on this YouTube playlist.

Grants for tree plantings (but note the imminent deadline)

In case your community is looking to plant trees and shrubs: Virginia Trees for Clean Water Request for Proposal Email the application package to U&CF Program staff (email on pg. 5) by 4:30 pm, Friday, October 2nd 2020 for applicants hoping to receive funding for fall 2020 and spring 2021 plantings. All applicants will be notified of grant status by October 13th 2020.

HOAs and Condo Associations: Planning and Managing Common Open Space

Join us for an engaging session on ecologically sustainable, community master planning and land management in Loudoun County. (The examples will be from Loudoun but the information is applicable anywhere, so all are welcome.)

The conference will be particularly geared toward community association decision makers: Board members, professional property managers, Architectural Review Boards, landscape companies, landscape committees, etc.

Saturday, October 24 (choose one) 1:00 – 4:00 pm Details here.

Loudoun County HOA/Condo Associations: Greening Your Neighborhood program

Dates TBD

Join the Audubon Naturalist Society this fall (and beyond) for a special, free Loudoun County program to help you lead ecological change in your community. You’ll commit to two half-day workshops, a tour of green infrastructure projects in Loudoun, and to completing a conservation project. Learn more and pre-register online!

Next Steering Committee meeting – via videoconferencing – All are welcome. Thursday, September 24, 10:30 am. Details on our Event Calendar.

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

A new take on “curb appeal”

A strip of lawn is the default landscaping choice for the area right next to a street. But is that the only option? Not necessarily, as gardeners are discovering. In many situations, boring lawn can be replaced with pizzazz.

Lawn has its advantages and disadvantages next to a road. It can be walked on, and short plants help preserve important sight lines. However, turf grass (which is from Europe) does nothing to support the local ecosystem which depends on native plants, and compacted lawn does a mediocre job at absorbing stormwater runoff.

Replacing lawn with native plants is an increasingly popular choice. The results can add a lot of character to a property. Certain native plants are particularly suited to the harsh conditions found next to roads, which often include compaction, salt and reflected heat. Deeper roots soak up and purify water before it ends up in our streams.

There are a number of considerations to take into account before planting. Do you actually own the strip of land next to the street? Does your neighborhood or jurisdiction dictate which plants can be used, or their height? If people park next to the curb, where will the passengers step when getting out of the car? Are underground or overhead utilities in the way? Do you know how to design the plantings so they don’t flop over the walkways? Check out the Plant NOVA Natives page on streetside gardens for details and for examples of how several residents have handled these challenges. Their practical solutions have turned ecological dead zones into an asset for the birds and butterflies as well as for the humans who get to appreciate them.


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