October, 2014


  • Sun., Oct 19, 4-6pm – Southern States, 447 Amherst St., Winchester
    Directions:  Amherst Street is U.S. 50 on the northwest side of Winchester
  • Sun., Nov. 16, 2-4pm – Warren County Government Center, 220 N. Commerce Ave., Front Royal, Election/Annual Business Meeting


  • Sat-Sun, Oct 11-12, 9am-4:30pmArborfest, State Arboretum at Blandy
  • Oct 11, 11am – State Arboretum Native Plant Walk, State Arboretum at Blandy.  A leisurely, informal tour of meadow and wetland to enjoy and identify native plants and grasses.  Meet at the VNPS tent.
  • Sat. Oct 25, 8:30am-3:30pm – Strategic Planning Workshop, Warren County Government Center


I love the trees in my back yard.  I love them in the black and white of winter, and I love them in gorgeous bloom in spring, and I love the green canopy which is so welcome in the heat of a Virginia summer.  But like so many of you, I love them most in the fall when the leaves are turning.  The yellows and reds and oranges and greens—just gorgeous!


It’s interesting that I find them the most interesting when they are the most diverse.  The picture above has three maples turned red, a Japanese maple turning yellow, a green pear tree with just a hint of red, and a stubbornly green crape myrtle and miniature lilac.  It’s because of the different colors that the picture really works.

I think of our Master Gardener Association like that.  It’s best when it’s full of variety.  We all have different temperaments and different ways of looking at things.  We are a variety of ages and life experiences.  We don’t always agree on everything.  But the best way for any organization to move forward is to have a lot of different voices, because out of the different perspectives comes new insights.  If we didn’t have people with lots of experience as MGs, we wouldn’t be grounded.  If we didn’t have new voices, we might not be able to move into the future.  It’s when we’re all in the picture, blending all of our perspectives together, that we experience the true splendor of the wonderful organization that we call the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association!


We need rain, we need rain, we need rain.  Did I say we need rain?  Well, I do not want to overdo it, but probably like you all, we are on the dry side.

And like you all, we are encouraging folks to take care of their fall “to do” list, such as removing dead limbs from trees, reusing fallen leaves to improve garden soil, planting trees (esp. great trees that are on sale), planting spring bulbs, planting a winter cold frame garden, deep watering for trees and shrubs, and deciding how to spend winter ‘free time’!

The 44th annual Page County Heritage Festival will take place on October 11th and 12th at the Page County fairgrounds:  4-H apple butter making and sales, steam engines, crafts, cloggers, music, food, and more.

We had one very interesting MG question about a fruiting tree she saw at Agecroft Hall, in Richmond.   She took this  picture and asked us what it was.  Do you know?   It took awhile to find the answer.  See the answer on the last page.

Jujube tree


Frederick County by the Numbers:

We had 1 Master Gardener, John Stevens, who the NSVMGA voted into honorary status.  It is given to a person who has “rendered outstanding contributions to the Association” and is renewed annually.  Congratulations to John!  On behalf of Frederick County I extent my thanks to him for all his efforts through his 9 years as a Master Gardener!!

Frederick County Master Gardeners had a great meeting early last month.  Ten Master Gardeners attended.  We discussed county projects and how they, and we, are doing.

Our Greenline is still doing very well.  We have had 200 client contact hours so far this year.  The number of Master Gardener Volunteer hours stands at more than 257 hrs. That is a lot of work and a lot of helping the public.  Well done to all who help, especially the project leader Elizabeth Bevan.  Along with Elizabeth, we have another new project leader for the Belle Grove Demonstration Garden, a new Master Gardener from Warren County, Clare DeMasi. That makes 2 new project leaders!

Agricultural Day in downtown Winchester also was a great success. We had great participation from 8 Master Gardeners and help from VCE staff. Our volunteers spoke to many member of the public, over 300. The water conservation model was a great hit; especially with the kids. Thanks to 2 VCE staff Rebecca Davis and Tammy Epperson for their help.

Next week, 2 Master Gardeners, Cindy Adams and John Kummer, are giving presentations to Frederick County 6th Graders.  The subject will be the ever popular brown marmorated stink bug.  Thanks in advance to these two volunteers who will be teaching over 200 students.  John is new to master gardening this year but is doing a great job, jumping in where we need help and accruing more than 70 volunteer hours. Thanks also to the 3 Master Gardeners who participated in the Lowes helpdesk, Rita Guevremont, Brenda Powell, and Denise Howe.  Unfortunately, they had little traffic but their efforts are still greatly appreciated.

Volunteer hours and client contacts are important to NSVMGA and VCE.  I encourage all of you to make sure to report all of your hours and client contacts.  Client contacts come in many types and are an indication of how we as a group are doing.  Volunteers’ hours show your dedication to the public for advancing best horticultural practices. Thanks to the Master Gardeners from all counties, who have reported approximately 470 hours of volunteer service and 367 client contacts for Frederick County projects.

EDITOR’S CORNER by Richard Stromberg

Susan Garrett talked about the beautiful fall colors, and Lesley Mack, about a fruit.  I have been thinking about some unusual native fruits.

Have you noticed the fruit on Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)?

They make it clear why the genus is in the Olive family.

Desmodium seeds on pantsTick Trefoils (Desmodium) belong to the Pea family, so the seeds are in pods.  Each seed is in triangular a segment.

The segments break apart and attach to anything brushing by.

Here is a picture of my pants after working in the fields at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute near Front Royal.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) fruit fascinate me.  They look like little, black, golf balls on top of bright red tees.  Bears love them.  We find trees bent over the trail this time of year.


Sassafras also offers brightly colored leaves, yellow or red.






The answer to the fruiting tree question is Ziziphus jujuba (from Greek zizyfon), commonly called jujube (sometimes jujuba), red date, Chinese date, Korean date, or Indian date.  Ziziphus is in the Buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae).  It is used primarily as a shade tree that also bears fruit.  It is not native though there are some native species of Ziziphus in Florida and the southwestern part of the U.S.  Don’t mix them up with these:


Printable Newsletter:
October 2014