April, 2017


Sunday, April 23, 4:00 p.m. Corhaven Graveyard, 2883 Quicksburg Rd. VA 22847.  The Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners will be hosting this meeting.  Sarah Kohrs, Northern Shenandoah Valley MG (Class of 2012) and the Corhaven Graveyard Project Leader, will be our guest speaker and tour guide.  Please bring a chair, remember to wear your nametag/badge, and bring a dish, dessert, or finger foods to share.  Weather permitting, we will be outdoors for a tour and to eat.  

Corhaven Graveyard is the final burial group for enslaved and formerly enslaved African Americans associated with Edge Hill plantation in Quicksburg, VA.  Known locally as Sam Moore’s Slave Cemetery, the site was salvaged from the briars and overgrowth in 2015, rededicated in 2016, and is now an NSVMGA project that offers hands-on educational opportunities for school children, community organizations, and other interested groups and individuals who want to learn from Master Gardeners on site.  Corhaven Graveyard offers a tribute demonstration garden in addition to (and outside of) the burial ground.  Master Gardeners maintain the plantings of violets and a grapevine that were intentionally planted by mourners of some of those buried in the graveyard. 

Parking is located in a cow field, but the ground is uneven pasture (no cows).  Also, there is an indoor space, a workshop used for retreats that can seat at least 40.  Bathrooms are on site.   There is an indoor space for Master Gardeners to place their potluck meal.

See more about Corhaven Graveyard at

Corhaven Graveyard is located on a wooded knoll near Holman’s Creek close to the intersection of Quicksburg Road (767) and Turkey Knob Road (698).  However, due to the uneven pasture parking on site, we recommend that everyone gather at the municipal parking lot in Mt. Jackson from 3:30 to 3:45, and then carpool to the site.  The Mt. Jackson municipal parking lot is at 5901 Main Street, Mt. Jackson, VA 22842.

Directions to the Mt. Jackson municipal parking lot: 

From Points North:
From I-81, exit 273 for VA 292/VA 703 toward Mt. Jackson/Basye
Left onto VA 292 E/Conicville Rd
Right onto Main Street/Old Valley Pike/Rt. 11 for 1 1/2 miles; Town Center is on the left and looks like a train depot. Parking lot is on it’s south side

From Points South:
From I-81, exit 269 for VA 730 toward US Rt. 11/Shenandoah Caverns/Mt, Jackson
Right onto Rt. 730, Caverns Road
Left onto Rt. 11/Old Valley Pike for 2.8 miles

Directions from Mt. Jackson Town Center municipal parking lot to Corhaven Graveyard:
Right on Rt. 11/Main Street, 0.3 mile
Right onto St. Rte 623/698 Bryce Blvd, 0.2 mile
Left onto St. Rte. 698 Orchard Drive (becomes Turkey Knob Road, 1 mile)
Left onto St Rte 767 Quicksburg Road, 0.1 mile
Corhaven, at 2883 Quicksburg Road is on the left — Total: 4.7 miles, 8 minutes

  • Sunday, May 21, 4pm, Belle Grove Plantation, Myron Kremer, Stone Mason, Hardscaping
  • Sunday, June 11,  4pm, TBA
  • Sunday, July 16, 4pm, Blandy Library, Paula Brownlee, Fall/Winter plantings
  • Sunday, August 20, 4pm, Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit, French Price, Shenandoah Valley Farm to Table, Buy Fresh, Buy Local
  • Sunday, September 17, 4pm, Shenandoah University Cool Spring Campus, Gene Lewis, Going native process & research at Cool Spring Campus
  • Sunday, October 15, 4pm, TBA
  • Sunday, November 2pm, 11/19, Warren County Govt Center, President/Volunteer Coordinator, Election/Business Meeting


  • Tues & Thurs, Apr 11 & 13, 9am-2pm, How to Use the Flora of Virginia.  Blandy Experimental Farm. A 2 day class to learn how to use the Flora of Virginia to identify wildflowers, led by Marion Lobstein and Sally Anderson.  Information at
  • Sunday, Apr 30, Belle Grove and Master Gardeners Barn Series.  The Barn Series will kick off with a Garden Craft class for kids with an adult.  The class will teach the kids three projects they can take home and put in their gardens.  The entire list of classes is listed on the web site and is being posted on Facebook.  
  • Sat. & Sun., May 6 & 7, Wildflower Weekend at Shenandoah National Park.  Appreciate the diversity of wildflowers growing in the Blue Ridge.  More than 1,300 species of plants thrive in Shenandoah National Park, a haven for native woodland wildflowers.  Choose from among many activities at the Park website,
  • June 22-25, the 2017 Master Gardener College at Virginia Tech  Enrollment will soon open.  More information, including the curriculum, is at

MG TRAINEE CLASS OF 2017 by Sharon Bradshaw

April marks the half-way point in this year’s course, and the 16 trainees are already getting practice in researching and answering typical Green Help Line questions. The way they have organized themselves and are progressing with their project of creating a map of the New Market Rain Gardens is most impressive.  The gardens were created at different times, but all three were professionally planned.  The larger one was a joint effort of Rutgers University and NSVMGA in 2011.  We were unaware of the history of the two smaller ones close to the library, but one class member checked with the Town Planning Office and learned that the engineer’s cross section drawings are on file.  The structure of the maps is in place and a board is being readied for display inside the library.  Carolyn and Elena created a plant list last year and Trainees are monitoring the gardens, identifying plants as they begin this year’s growth to pinpoint their correct placement on the maps. 


Shenandoah County, VCE Classroom
April 6: Trees:  Bart McDowell
April 11: Vegetables: Dr. Allen Straw
April 13: Propagation: Seeds: Lynn Hoffman // Division: Stacey Smith
April 15: Propagation and Pruning Workshop, TBA
April 18: Landscaping: Dr. Robert McDuffie
April 20: Green Help Line Demo and Green Help Line Practicum
April 25: PMG: Mark Sutphin
April 27: Plant –Insect ID Apps; Internet research: Stacey Smith // Physical Tools for Plant-Insect ID: Sharon Bradshaw  // Green Help Line Practicum
May 2: Pesticide Safety: Mark Sutphin  // Green Help Line Practicum
May 4: Habitat Gardening for Wildlife, Carol Heiser webinar
Pollinator Habitat Gardening: Marie Marajov
May 9: Volunteerism: NSVMGA Committee leads and Unit project leads
Youth in Horticulture, Carol Nansel, Helen Lake and Lynn Hoffman – Junior MGs
May 11: Green Help Line Practicum
May 16: Green Help Line Practicum  // Distribute Exams
May 18: Grade Exam: Management Team
June 3: Garden Fest and Graduation 


Come learn from your fellow MGs.  Entrance is free to all.  For more information, contact  You get MG education hours for attending any talks.  or see (for the Handley series) or (Shenandoah County series).

    • Saturday, April 8 @ 2 pm: Successfully Growing Vegetables and Herbs in Containers, by Paula Brownlee
    • Saturday, May 20 @ 2 pm: From Monticello to Your Backyard: Growing Your Own Historic Garden, by Sari Carp
    • Success in the Garden Bowman Library, 871 Tasker Rd., Stephens City
      • Saturday, June 10 @ 2 pm: I Love My New Home, But Where are the Flowers?, by Anne Dewey-Balzhiser
      • Saturday, July 8 @ 2 pm: Water Wise Gardening, by Carolyn Wilson
      • Saturday, August 12 @ 2 pm: Save Seeds, Save Money, and (Maybe) Save the Planet, by Elaine Specht
      • Saturday, September 9 @ 2 pm: How Not to See Your Neighbors: Successful Tree Screens, by Sari Carp
  • Clarke County/Handley Regional Library System   
    • Sustainability in the Garden Barns of Rose Hill (sponsored by the library), 95 Chalmers Court, Berryville
      • Saturday, April 15 @ 2 pm: Natives in the Garden: Identifying, Planting and Encouraging Native Trees and Shrubs, by Sari Carp
      • Saturday, July 15 @ 2 pm: Swat, Spray, Squash – or Smile? How I Learned to Love (Some) Garden Bugs, by Pat Casey
      • Saturday, October 21 @ 2 pm: Happy Soil, Happy Plants, by Elaine Specht
  • Shenandoah County Library System
    • Adventures in Gardening  This series will alternate monthly between the main county library in Edinburg (514 Stoney Creek Blvd.) and the branch library in New Market (160 E Lee St.). Fort Valley Nursery has kindly agreed to donate topic- or season-appropriate plants to be raffled off as door prizes each month, and there will be monthly seed and seedling giveaways as well!
      • Saturday, May 6 @ 3 pm (New Market):  Swat, Spray, Squash – or Smile?  How I Learned to Love (Some) Garden Bugs, by Pat Casey
      • Tuesday, June 6 @ 6:30 pm (Edinburg):  Water Wisdom in the Garden – A How-to Guide for Saving Time, Money and H2O, by Sarah Pak
      • Saturday, July 1 @ 3 pm (New Market):  Corhaven Graveyard: Using Plants as Tribute in an Historic Burial Ground for Enslaved African Americans, by Sarah Kohrs
      • Saturday, August 5 @ 10:30 am (Edinburg):  Enjoying the Harvest: Choosing and Growing the Right Produce to Preserve, by Stacey Morgan Smith
      • Saturday, September 2 @ 3 pm (New Market):  From Monticello to Your Backyard; Growing Your Own Historic Garden, by Sari Carp
      • Saturday, October 7 @ 10:30 am (Edinburg):  Bring Your Containers Indoors! Grow Fresh Herbs, Greens and More for the Winter, by Paula Brownlee
      • Saturday, November 4 @ 3 pm (New Market):  Happy Soil, Happy Plants, by Elaine Specht
      • Saturday, December 2 @ 10:30 am (Edinburg): Joy to Your Houseplants: Tips for the Holidays and Beyond, by Carolyn Wilson
  • Page County/Massanutten Regional Library System
    • Page County Library, 100 Zerkel St., Luray
      • Wednesday, April 19 @ 12:30 pm (Brown Bag Lunch): Natives in the Garden: Identifying, Planting and Encouraging Native Trees and Shrubs 


April 11Pollinators and Insects  Student Talks Russ Watkins Helen Lake
April 18Trees  The Forest Floor Tammy Epperson,   Larry Haun
April 25Alternative Gardening Shan Kilby
May 2 — No Class Apple Blossom week
May 16Herbs Student Talks Ginny Smith   Helen Lake
Week of May 22 plan on planting at the C-CAP garden.  Date depends on weather.
May 23Native Plants and Frank Baxter // Nature Walk at Westminster Canterbury
May 30 — Submission and Review of Lynn Hoffmann, Ginny Smith // Science Journals and Garden Talks
June 3  —  Gardenfest and Jr. MG Display table // Journals and Garden Talk Displays

The classes are going well for our homeschoolers.  We did get snowed out the second week but are still on schedule.  The homeschoolers got to plant and take home a garden guy.   The schedule is on the web page and if you want to stop in and observe, that would be great. 


Well, I guess March lived up to the old adage “In like a lion, out like a lamb”.  Thank goodness for that.  Now let’s see if April showers bring May flowers.  For the many MG volunteers it will bring many flowers if they can find time to tend to their own gardens. With all the Greenlines starting up and the many, many events scheduled it may be hard to find time to do it all.  When you look at your calendar and start entering the events you plan to volunteer for, you may want to schedule some time for your own gardening.  I do this, first to keep up on all the maintenance needed in the flower gardens and the start-up of the vegetable garden, and second just for my personal sanity.  Working in the gardens allows me to empty my mind of all the stresses it seems to collect.  After a weekend toiling in the dirt I always feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the new week.

Be sure to check out the VMS calendar and see what projects and events are available as well as the various Library Series educational opportunities.  If you know of something that should be included in the calendar but don’t see it please let Mary Flagg know and she’ll get it added.

And have a fun April everyone! 


  1. Did you know that while you are a Trainee and Intern (before you finish your Master Gardener classes and your 50 project hours), you are awarded 2 (two) Project Hours every time you attend a monthly NSVMGA Association Meeting?
  2. Did you also know that changes once you are a full Master Gardener?  After you become a Master Gardener, you are awarded 1 (one) Project Hour and 1 (one) Education Hour every time you attend the monthly NSVMGA Association Meeting.

p.s.  We are going to try and do a “Did You Know?” column for each newsletter.  If you have a question or concern or an issue that you think should be explained to the members, please let me know at 


Our county project planning meeting was well attended, with discussions including all in-county and several Unit projects.  Volunteers were recruited and project leads are in the process of contacting interested members.  Our Green Help Line (GHL) workshop covered the protocols in place for interacting with clients during our office hours setting as well as at farmers’ markets and information displays.

April is a busy month.  Our GHL office hours begin, as do the Strasburg Farmers’ Market and Lowe’s plant clinic help desk.  The New Market and the Edinburg Mill Rain Gardens are being evaluated and readied for a new growing season.  The duck population at Edinburg Mill seems to have been feasting on columbine and several other plants that were put in place last year, requiring a different approach to selecting appropriate plants.  Corhaven Graveyard is being primed for several informational group visits this season.  Wildflowers and last year’s plantings appear to be very healthy.  The Woodstock Community Garden’s workshops, named “Growing Groceries,” will be on Wednesday afternoons in April. 


We held a project review meeting on March 8 to discuss projects and will implement the following this year:

  • Clarke County Fair – Project leader Ginny
  • Greenline – Project leader Susan
  • Home Consultations – all
  • Xeriscape Garden –  Project leaders Ginny and Suzanne
  • The “Gathering Event” will be held in October and even though it is a unit project we will be asked to help with that. Details on that will be later.
  • Blandy Garden Fair will be a joint project of Frederick and Clarke and again it is a unit project but we will be assisting. Details later.
  • The following projects were deactivated:
    • Millwood Garden
    • Clarke High School
    • Clarke High School Tree Planting
    • VDOT Pollinator Planning

Due to declining vendor and visitor participation, the Farmer’s Market was put on hold until next year. Those attending expressed that Saturday is not a good day to volunteer due to family obligations.  


We hold a planning meeting on Wednesday, April 5 at 6:30pm in the Activity Room at Lawrence Hall of Westminster-Canterbury Retirement Community.  At the meeting you can sign up for our Greenline Help Desk, Old Town Winchester Farmer’s Market MG Help Desk, and Lowe’s Help Table in Winchester.  Project leaders will discuss ongoing county programs.  Agenda and Directions to the facility will be mailed to all Frederick County volunteers prior to the meeting.

On May 8 from 3:30-5pm Frederick County will host a Greenline Workshop led by MG Stacy Smith and Extension Agent Mark Sutphin in the ‘purple’ conference room on the first floor of the Administrative Building on 107 North Kent Street, Winchester.  This is an excellent opportunity for volunteers to review how to use research based data to respond to questions that come in to the Greenline via telephone or email and in face to face situations.  The workshop is on the General Calendar in VMS.  Frederick county MGs will be accorded priority in signing up, but all Master Gardeners from other counties are invited to attend if space is available.   Volunteers will be encouraged to bring their laptops or pads to use during interactive exercises in searching and researching topics online. 


About 15 Master Gardeners invaded Hilda J. Barbour elementary school bright and early on Wednesday, March 22.  We were ready to teach 85 third grade students that were eager, cute and very well behaved.  

The Circle of life included water, propagation, pollination and soil and worms.  Each instructor had a cadre of MG helpers that helped the students plant, measure soil, pour water and hot glue eyes and bow ties to sedum garden guys.  

This was our pilot program to see if we can have lesson plans on file so any MG can take this program on the road.  Schools often ask for classes or instruction about gardening and this may be an easy approach to provide classes that have meet the Standards of Learning.

The Northern Virginia Daily and the Warren Sentinel reporters attended the event to write great articles in the papers with pictures of the kids and some of our instructors.

The event went smoothly due to the great Master Gardeners who spent long hours’ preparing the lesson plans, gathering all the items for the classes and their willingness to get involved with the kids.  There are too many to list to thank, but everyone did a wonderful job and I can’t say thank you enough times.

By the end of the day, we were all ready to go home.  We grabbed our stuff and ran to get ahead of the school buses and loading all those students.  

We, or at least I, have a new respect for teachers who can go to school every day and teach for all those long hours and not collapse at 3:05 pm!  


Remember the time when we used the tips and advice guides for what to do this month?  For the first couple of weeks in April several suggestions were/are

  • When crabapples are in bloom, hardy annuals may be transplanted outdoors
  • Shrubs and trees that are best planted or transplanted in spring rather than fall include Dogwood, Black Gum, Chaste Tree, Red Bud, Magnolia, Tulip Poplar, Birch, Ginkgo, Hawthorn and most Oaks
  • Study your landscape for gaps that could be nicely filled with bulbs.  Mark these spots carefully and make a note to order bulbs next August.
  • Examine shrubs for winter injury.  Prune all dead and weakened wood.  Save praying mantis egg cases.
  • Transplant Virginia Bluebells after bloom, but before the foliage disappears.
  • Thin out crowded seedlings from early plantings of cool season crops such as beets, carrots, lettuce, onions and radishes.
  • Wooden clothespins make useful spreaders for training young fruits limbs.  Place pins between the trunk and branch to force limbs outward at a 60 degree angle from the trunk.
  • Check for white flecking on upper leaf surfaces on Azalea (Rhododendron) which is caused by the feeding of lace bugs (Hemiptera).  

The list seems endless.  

But, what should MGs do and tell homeowners to do if temperatures continue to fluctuate?  Useful tips and advice to pass on to home gardeners can be found in an article by Virginia Tech Horticulture Extension Specialists, Diane Relf and Bonnie Appleton (

  • Proper watering can is a critical factor.  If autumn rains have been insufficient, give plants a deep soaking that will supply water to the entire root system before the ground freezes.  This practice is especially important for evergreens.
  • Watering when there are warm days during January, February, and March is also important.
  • Mulching is an important control for erosion and loss of water.   A 2-inch layer of mulch will reduce water loss and help maintain uniform soil moisture around roots.
  • Mulch acts as a buffer to the soil.  It reduces the amount of alternate freezing and thawing of the soil which causes frost heaving.
  • A sharp temperature change between day and night may freeze the water within the trunk of a tree, causing it to explode or split open, a symptom called ‘frost cracking’.  Wrapping trunks with burlap strips or commercial tree wrap, painting white, or even shading with a board may prevent bark splitting.
  • The sun can also prematurely stimulate the opening of flowers or leaf buds in the spring.   Little can be done to prevent injury in these instances.

Let’s hope that the native species plants will be able to adapt to the temperature fluctuations, and the birds and insects that depend on those plants are able to adapt, as well. 

EDITOR’S CORNER by Richard Stromberg

I encountered a wildflower bonanza on both coasts.  A long-planned hiking trip to the south-eastern California deserts took me to the west coast in mid-March  

The first three days were spent above 3,000 feet in the Mojave Desert part of Joshua Tree National Park.  The Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) is endemic to the Mojave.  It has the typical Yucca rosette of sword-shaped leaves, but they grow at the tips of the plant.  Joshua Trees grow to 50 feet.  They branch after flowering.  

The name was applied by early settlers who thought the trees looked like Joshua raising his arms to keep the sun from setting.  They were flowering while we were there.  The inflorescences looked like white cabbages up in the air.  

Joshua Tree NP also has vistas across barren terrain to snow-capped mountains and unusual rock formations, some given names because of what they look like, such as Face Rock (left) and Elephant Rock (right).

When we went to the lower elevation of the Colorado/Sonora Desert in Anza Borrego State Park, the flowers were exploding because of all the rain California got last winter.  Visitors were pouring in from the big cities on the coast.  The first gas station we stopped at was out of gas and restaurants were out of food, even closing.  We found gas and lots of Mexican food.  While you were back here enjoying the snow, we were cutting hikes short because temperatures were in the nineties.  

The flowers were bursting in the State Park:  Chuparosa (Justicia californica) mounds topped with bright red, tubular flowers and Brittlebush (Encelia actonii) mounds topped with yellow, Desert Poppies (Eschscholzia glyptosperma) flowing over rocks.  Just as fascinating were individual plants popping out of the dry sand.  Several Cactus species had started to flower as well.

Back home the last week of March I found the snow and cold spell had not held up early blooming.  Flowers were out that I usually don’t expect to see until well into April.  For example, I know to look for Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) at the beginning of Dickey Ridge Trail just inside the north entrance to Skyline Drive.  Before March was over they were there and in greater profusion than I have ever seen.  

1 thought on “Newsletter”

  1. Glad to see the seed exchange was so well attended after so much hard work put into making it a grand event. Great articles on Ilex, too. Love the pictures.

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