January, 2015


All meetings will be the third Sunday of the month, and we will meet at 4pm, except January, 2014 will be at 2.  All will be pot luck.  Each county coordinator will be responsible for providing the eating utensils, plates, coffee/drinks. (Check with hosts of private homes if you have any questions.)

  • Sunday, January 18, 2pm (not 4pm), Fort Valley Nursery, in Woodstock.  Terry Vogel  will be the speaker.

Directions:  From I-81, take exit #283 Woodstock. Go west on Rt. 42 and take left on Hisey Ave. (just past Tractor Supply Company). Fort Valley Nursery will be located on your left 1/4 mile.


  • Saturday, January 24, 10am-4pm, Blandy Seed Exchange at the State Arboretum.  For more information contact Donna Downing at 540-553-2981 or
  • Sunday, January 25, 2 pm, Virginia Native Plant Society Winter Speaker Series at Tri-County Feeds in Marshall.  Virginia Master Naturalist Richard Stromberg will describe tools, tips, and tricks he has used to unravel the mystery of the identity of the plants he has come upon on hikes in various places in the USA and Europe.  For more information contact
  • Sunday, February 8, 2 pm, Virginia Native Plant Society Piedmont Chapter Walk at Sky Meadows State Park, led by tree expert Chris Lewis. For more information contact
  • Sunday, February 22, 2 pm, Virginia Native Plant Society Winter Speaker Series at Tri-County Feeds in Marshall.  Dr. Emily Southgate will tell why she felt at home, botanically, in Eastern Siberia and will tell a tale of drifting continents and volcanoes and glaciation to help explain why we share so many genera of plants with eastern Asia.  For more information contact
  • Sunday, March 22, 2 pm, Virginia Native Plant Society Winter Speaker Series at Tri-County Feeds in Marshall.  Marion Lobstein, Professor Emeritus of Biology at Northern Virginia CC will talk about our spring wildflowers and their western U.S. relatives.  For more information contact


What is your New Year’s Resolution?  The 2015 New Year is upon us and everyone is making resolutions.  One of my resolutions is to get my garden better organized.  There’s not a whole lot to do in the garden this time of year, especially when the weather is cold outside.  So here it goes!  First, I have invested in a new calendar to track my hectic schedule.  I have decided to pencil in my favorite chores on applicable dates.  It seems to make more sense and brings some order to the chaos.  Of course, there are many tools to organize this information but I decided that simple was easier.  A monthly calendar works best for me as I look back through my entries.  I find that more information is always more helpful than less as I scribble in the color coded entries.  Every task and topic has an assigned color of importance that needs to be performed every month.  As I hang my calendar in the kitchen, it serves as a daily reminder which helps in performing these tasks.  So, while some of you may be giggling right now, indulge me as I hope to get my gardening really organized!


NewyearHappy New Year!  It’s going to be a wonderful year for the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association.  We have a strategic plan to work on.  We have a batch of new Master Gardeners from the Intern Class of 2014 to bring their creative talents to our work.  We have a new Intern Class in Warren County for 2015, and in the NSVMGA we have about 100 experienced MG’s with amazing experiences, histories, and accomplishments.  We have one of the best Extension Agent Advisors in the State of Virginia.  We’re ready!

We’d love to find a way for you to use your talents in the 2015 work of our unit of VCE-MGs as we serve our community.  Please speak to your County Coordinator or any member of the board.  And as your new president, please remember I would love to hear your ideas or concerns.


A NEW YEAR to be happy, and to do good deeds.

As you might think about New Year resolutions…here are six ‘small’ ways to think greener (Have fun checking off the ones that you already do):

  1. Consider your daily habits that affect precious resourcesUse less water for personal hygiene, washing dishes, plants and lawns
    — Use less power for lighting, or no lighting at all   (Think light pollution)
    — Buy products that are not over packaged, or that can be recycled
    — Drive lower than the speed limit
  2. Throw away as little as possible
    — Reduce – use refillable containers instead of purchasing individual containers (plastic or Styrofoam).  [editor’s note: bring your own bag to the grocery store  and bring your own container to the restaurant for the “doggy bag”]
    — Reuse  – catch rainwater
    — Recycle – at local collection centers:  clothes, plastics, metal, etc.; compost your food scraps
  3. Teach by example
  4. Replace with energy efficient products
  5. Prevent erosion
  6. Soil test and fertilize less.

You DO make a difference.  Be strong, make the effort daily.


We are looking forward to hosting the first meeting of 2015 at Fort Valley Nursery on January 18. The Nursery is closed on Sundays in January, so we have the facility to ourselves.  Terry Foley, one of the owners, will be the speaker and always has a unique presentation. (FYI: He frequently announces a special discount for various products at this meeting, so come prepared.)

Shenandoah County Green Line via phone and computer is ongoing with volunteers ready to respond to inquiries.  Garden/plant topic speakers are available as needed, and all other projects currently appear dormant, busy in the planning and application process stages, but waiting for the warmth of early spring to unfurl their new growth.

Of the ten Shenandoah County interns from Class of 2014, six now have active status and three are within a few hours of goal.  Stacey Martin was the first of the interns to achieve active status.  Sandy Ward (2014) volunteered to be Shenandoah County’s Coordinator for the Blandy Farm NSVMGA garden plot.  We are looking forward to the many opportunities this will offer the whole Association.

Congratulations and thank you to all our Shenandoah County volunteers, both active and interns,for their diligent efforts in all of our projects.

Our annual winter project planning meeting will be early February, as soon as we can include invitations to Shenandoah County members of the new trainee class.

MG SCHOLARSHIP 2015 by Lynn Hoffman

The MG scholarship committee will be forming for this upcoming year.  I need volunteers for each county to help spread the word about the scholarship by talking to the local HS guidance counselor and then determining who will be the candidate for the scholarship.  We also would like the county rep to attend the ceremony, if the HS has one, where scholarships are announced.  90% of the work will be done via computer.

If you are interested please contact Lynn Hoffman by January 10 at or 304-703-3739.  I need a minimum of one per county, but two would be nice.  So far Suzanne Boag has committed for Clarke.

EDITORS CORNER by Richard Stromberg

Save a tree!  The lady we bought our house from told us that she had had to fight to save the four oaks that grow outside our kitchen window.  They actually grow from basement level, so we are looking the trunks ten feet up from the ground.  They were been great for bird feeders until the lower branches gave way, but we have found other ways to hang feeds and the birds still love the trees.

But one of the trunks started to bang/rest against the corner of our porch roof.  We had roofers come last fall to patch and seal, and I asked them for help.  They said they could take the tree down, but I said, “No. No.  I want to take the corner of the roof off.”  It has a three foot overhang, and no one can see it through the woods.  So they did it.  Tree saved!

Roof corner 2

Roof corner 1




Printable Newsletter:
January 2014