Downloadable June 2016 NSVMGA Newsletter


June, 2016


  • Sunday, June 12, 4-6pm, Brick House Nursery, Luray.
    (Note: The second Sunday in June to avoid Father’s Day)
    Owners Denie and Sam Smith, graduates of the University of Vermont, will share information about the site and their wholesale nursery business.  We will learn about the various trees and shrubs that they grow for retail sale.  Also on the property are an historic log cabin and a brick home, the latter built after the American Civil War.  Denie and Sam, have graciously made available plants for us to purchase on June 12.  A list is shown below.  

Please bring a chair and water or other beverage.  You may want to check out the Luray website or trip advisor for suggestions about places to eat or visit in Luray.  

If you have time, Lesley and Tom Mack invite you to tour their gardens, Birdsong Pleasure Gardens (   Or, if you are touring Luray, find the Chinquapin Oak tree, the third largest in the Commonwealth of Virginia at 250 years, located at 101 South Court Street.  

Directions: Brick House Nursery is located at 363, Luray, VA.  The telephone number is (540) 743-2694.  From the junction of US 211 and US 340, go south into Luray on North Broad Street (US Business 211).  Broad Street becomes Virginia Avenue (US Business 340).  Follow Route 340 Business South for about 4 miles to Redman Store Road.  On the way, you will pass Comcast business and Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.  Both of these are on your left.  Look for Redman Store Road on your left soon after you pass Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.  Less than one-tenth of a mile, you will see Brick House Nursery on your left.  Turn into the driveway and continue to parking.   

  • Sunday July 17, 4-6pm, Shenandoah County Government Center, Woodstock.  John Eckman, Executive Director of the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, will present topics of importance for VCE-MGS as we interact with the public:
  • options for “green infrastructure,” from rain barrels to landscape conservation
  • mimicking natural hydrology through environmental site design, using the Edinburg Mill rain garden as an example
  • best practices for stream management and riparian buffer restoration
  • living with legacy pollution such as that from nitrates in groundwater to industrial leftovers
  • agencies and resources that work cooperatively to conserve, preserve, and protect our streams, watersheds, and rivers.  


Saturday, August 27, 2016, 10am-4pm, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley’s Taste Fest, 901 Amherst Street, Winchester.  The Shenandoah and Potomac Iris Society will sell Irises at their booth.  For more information, contact Sheryl Campbell at (540) 868-2123 or  In addition to the Iris sale, there will be a variety of gardening booths and cooking demonstrations.  


Lots of groups of plants are not available due to recently being potted or are reserved for customers.  They will be marked with an orange ribbon with a name on it.  Please bring cash (exact amount) or a check to pay for the plants that you plan to buy, as the Smiths do not accept credit cards.  Tax is included in the price.  Please make your check out to Brick House Nursery.  This is a one-time offer and will use its discretion on quantities, etc., that each individual may purchase.


Abelia x ‘Canyon Creek’    #3 $15.00
Aronia arb. ‘Brilliantissima’ #5 $17.00
Azalea ‘Fragrant Star’ #3 $17.00
Buddleia ‘Lo & Behold’ Blue #3 $20.00
Callicarpa dich. ‘Issai’ #5 $15.00
Ceanothusx ‘Marie Blue’ #3 $15.00
Clematis x ‘Double Rose’ #2 $12.00
Clethera aln. ‘Hummingbird’ #3 $15.00
Eleagnus ‘Olive Martini’ #5 $20.00
Forsythia ‘Show Off’ #3 $13.00
Hibiscus s. ‘Satin Blue’ #3 $17.00
Hydrangea arb. ‘Incredible’ #3 $20.00
Hydrangea arb. ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ #3 $20.00
Hydrangea m. ‘Endless Summer’ #5 $27.00
Hydrangea m. ‘Let’s Dance Moonlight’ #3 $17.00
Hydrangea m. ‘Twist n Shout’ #5 $27.00
Hydrangea pan. ‘Limelight’ #5 $20.00
Hydrangea pan. ‘Phantom’ #5 $20.00
Hydrangea q. ‘Pee Wee’ #5 $20.00
Hydrangea q. ‘Ruby Slipper’ #5 $20.00
Hydrangea q. ‘Vaughn’s Lillie’ #5 $20.00
Hypericum a. ‘Albury Purple’ #3 $15.00
Hypericum f. ‘Sunburst’ #3 $15.00
Lagerstroemia ‘Strawberry Dazzler’ #5 $20.00
Lagerstroemia ‘Sweetheart Dazzler’ #5 $20.00
Myrica Pennsylvania #5 $15.00
Nandina domestica #5 $20.00
Rhododendron ‘Sugar Puff’ #3 $17.00
Rose Red Knockout #3 $18.00
Rose Double Red Knockout #3 $18.00
Rose Pink Knockout #3 $18.00
Sambucus ‘Blacklace’ #3 $24.00
Sambucus ‘Lemony Lace’ #3 $24.00
Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’ #5 $20.00
Syringa x ‘Bloomerang’ #3 $24.00
Viburnum dent. ‘Blue Muffin’ #5 $20.00
Vitex agnus-castus ‘Shoal Creek’ #5 $20.00
Weigela f. ‘Midnight Wine’ #3 $15.00


June is upon us which means summer is here.  I cannot believe how fast time is going by.  Thank you to those members who have entered their hours on VMS. Kudos to those members who have already met their 20 project/8 education hour requirement already!  

If you have not already done so, please enter your hours onto VMS.  

Please take a look at the VMS calendar and sign up to volunteer for any of the wonderful projects going on at the county level.  We need volunteers to staff the help desks, to monitor the green lines, to man the tables at farmers markets, to participate in workdays at community gardens, to reach out to children at JR MG sessions, and to volunteer at Corhaven Graveyard workdays, just to name a few.  

Education hours can be earned by attending monthly association meetings, by visiting the Barn Series at Belle Grove, by participating in symposiums and workshops, and by watching approved webinars.  If you need help entering your hours, please let me know.  Please contact me or any NSVMGA county coordinator to learn about projects in your counties because we need your help.


President1I recently had the privilege of traveling through Normandy.  One stop was at a little village called Giverny, which is famous because Claude Monet, the famous Impressionist painter, lived there–and perhaps more importantly, gardened. Although his paintings eventually made him wealthy, and are the work for which he is best known, he once wrote, “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”  

His gardens are a photographer’s dream, as you can see in the picture above.  They are also a source of inspiration for his art.  One of the paintings from Monet’s famous “water lily” series is shown below.

President2Monet wrote, “I must have flowers, always and always.”  We VCE Master Gardeners understand that kind of enthusiasm.  How wonderful it is to know we share our passion with gardeners all over the world–famous gardeners like Monet, and ordinary people like you and me.  We see a bunch of those kindred spirits at Gardenfest, the 700 or so gardeners who frequent our plant sale and ask questions about how to improve their gardens.  

Being a gardener is great–and there are a lot of us!

FREDERICK COUNTY REPORT by John Kummer & Helen Lake

May started with plenty of rainy days, followed by sunny periods, and photosynthesis erupted throughout the valley.  An explosion of green and spring bloom colors.  As you might expect, the result was a busy month for Master Gardeners. 

The Friday morning Greenline handled calls and emails in routine fashion.  Thanks to the volunteers who staffed it and to Russ Watkins the coordinator for their continuing help this spring and for the summer months to come.

Rita Guevremont, Denise Howe and Bob Gail at Lowe's Help table in Winchester, 14 MayRuss Watkins, Carolyn Rutherford and Bob Gail at MG Help Table at Lowe's 28 May

Helen Lake has organized the Winchester Lowe’s Help Desk this year.  Teams manning the desk in May had two very busy Saturdays.  Many thanks to team members Rita Guevremont, Denise Howe, Russ Watkins and MG Interns Carolyn Rutherford and Bob Gail.  Bob reached the magic number of 50 hours participating in both events. 

Congratulations!  Our third and last Saturday is June 11.  We still need one or two additional MG volunteers (veteran or intern) to help Russ manage the crowds.

The Timbrook community garden is being worked by children from the Fremont Nursery this year under the supervision of intern Mary Turner.  The youngsters have weeded, planted, and watered, with the help of Mary, the nursery staff, and a master gardener.  This will be a continuing project for the group through the summer, then to harvest time.

Master Gardeners worked an information desk at the O’Sullivan Films Wellness Expo on May 26.  Well over 100 employers came by, picking up literature and learning about programs offered by our association.

Angie Hutchinson presented a program to toddlers on gardening and plants at the Busy Beez Daycare Center in Clearbrook.  The experience for the kids included stories and singing and ended with planting vegetables in the Center’s back yard. 


All projects are moving forward smoothly.  We had a busy day at the South Street Barn Market on May 28 with “Kids ROC” activities featured.  Many parents and little ones came to participate, and all received a Garden Fest flyer.

The Green Help Line volunteer rotation is working well.  We continue to get questions about Leyland cypress, among other topics.

The awards ceremony for Strasburg High School was Friday, June 3, and we were there to publicly recognize one of our scholarship recipients.  She is obviously an outstanding student and is planning to attend Virginia Tech and major in agriculture.

Clarke County Report by Ginny Smith

IMG_2017Gardens and greenhouse completed at Johnson Williams Middle School in Berryville.

Farmers market is being held twice a month. Tree planting and mulching at the high school was a great success due to Suzanne leadership. Next project is getting ready for the county fair.


Publicity SalviaThis Salvia is located beside my home entrance, and it brings me smiles every time I see it.  I noticed that I’m not the only one who appreciates it.  It draws a bee.  

I’ll sit on my stoop and watch the bee enjoy the flowers.  I’ve noticed as time goes by, the bee must have spread the word about the Salvia as more bees are visiting.  

Now, when I sit on my stoop, I’ve probably counted 100 bees on it at one time. Well, okay, I may have counted the same bee 20 times, but I know a lot now visit the plant.  I can safely say that I have counted at least five at any one time.

If you appreciate a Master Gardeners’ event, the Master Gardeners’ organization, and the knowledge you share with and learn from other MG members, spread the word.  You can be that one bee who brings in others to enjoy what you yourself enjoy.

The Publicity Committee works on getting the word out electronically, but what if the audience doesn’t receive the word (doesn’t receive emails, doesn’t buy newspapers, doesn’t do Facebook)?  You as a MG can make a difference.  Talk with friends, family, and co-workers about Master Gardeners.  Post flyers of MG events at businesses you frequent.  

The Publicity Committee can be 100 strong.  Imagine how many bees that will bring in (and I bet I wouldn’t have to count the same bee 20 times)!

If you would like to be a member of the Publicity Committee, don’t hesitate to contact me, Kris Behrends, Publicity Chair, at


JrMG2The Junior Master Gardeners finally were able to plant the vegetable garden on Tuesday. Fair skies and lots of help got all the tomato, squash, pepper and cucumber plants in nice straight rows!

The kids planted rows of green beans and radishes supervised by Russ Watkins and Shan Kilby.  Theresa Krauss and Ginny Smith jumped in and made sure the plants were all tucked in and spaced correctly.

JrMG1 JrMG4This was the first day of the garden and the first day the kids could harvest and bring something into C-CAP.  We had oregano that survived the winter and the kids were able to harvest a full basket and bring it to

The herb bed has been updated this year.  Rodney Dowty made all the trellises work, and Larry Haun planned and planted the herbs. Sunflower Cottage owner Billie Clifton donated the herb plants.  Many of the herbs (like cilantro) will go with the hot peppers we plant and will appeal to many of the Hispanic clients that C-CAP assists.

JrMG1  JrMG3

The children come to the garden at least once a week throughout the summer to water and harvest.  If you are near North Kent and Sharpe Streets, feel free to look at the garden and see how it’s growing.


On Saturday, May 21, with a light intermittent rainfall, MGs Kris Behrends, Karen Brill, Angie Hutchinson, and Sue Rogers joined Colin Campbell at his family’s Iris Hills Farm, about three miles west of Middletown. As the crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips fade, bright irises greet us in mid-spring.  

At Iris Hills Farm, numerous iris varieties welcomed us at the farm’s entrance in a rainbow of colors. (Iris means “rainbow”.) Colin gave us a thorough tour of the iris beds surrounding the family’s home, and we saw his pale pinkish-white iris that has been selected for naming by the American Iris Society!  Finally, as we relaxed on the front porch, Colin showed us how he hybridizes irises. There is a three-year waiting period to find out the results of the hybridization process.  

Before we left, we selected our irises- and we are looking forward to receiving them in July to plant in our own gardens.

During his presentation to the NSVMGA May 15 Colin provided us with good advice on the care of our irises:

  1. Plant irises in June, August, and/or September
  2. Plant and divide irises in the summer, with July being the best month
  3. Plant irises about 24 inches apart, rather than 12 inches apart so they will need to be divided every three years instead of every four years
  4. Plant irises in a sunny location, with good drainage  
  5. Mulch lightly
  6. When the weather is warm, water irises only in the early morning or in the evening
  7. Cut down and remove iris stalks soon after the irises finish blooming.

As the temperature approaches 70 degrees, consistently, look for iris borers, which will make bites in the leaves and flower stalks.  Borers may appear as early as February or March.  Use a systemic spray–and spray early.  Colin recommends using Bayer All In One Rose Care®.  A second method to kill borers is to remove them by hand.  Clean up all dead leaves.  

For leaf spot and other fungal diseases, use Daconil®.  

If plants have soft rot, Colin suggests that we scoop out the rotted plant tissue and dispose of it.  Bacterial soft rot can be treated with a solution that is one part bleach to nine parts water.

After Colin’s presentation and my visit to Iris Hills Farm, I am inspired to continue my planting and care of irises.  My old-fashioned purple irises brighten a corner of my backyard, near my flowering dogwood.  And, my bearded irises from Colin’s farm will be a highlight in a sunny bed adjacent to my garage.  

As early spring flowers fade, we can find beauty in the varied irises in our landscapes!

To learn more about Irises, visit the American Iris Society website or check out William Shear’s book, “The Gardener’s Iris Book”.

EDITORS CORNER by Richard Stromberg

How do plants get named?  The question was brought home to me when I led a walk for the Virginia Native Plant Society Piedmont Chapter on May 15 on Dickey Ridge Trail, in Shenandoah National Park.

RattlesnakeFernI stopped the group to look at a Rattlesnake Fern (Botrypus virginianum).  I explained that the single, triangular, sterile frond spreads horizontally at an almost ninety-degree angle from the erect stalk, and the fertile frond, which develops the reproductive spores, grows vertically from the base of the sterile frond.  Then I admitted that I did not know why it was called Rattlesnake Fern.  

I know that the Rattlesnake Plantain orchid (Goodyera pubescens) and Rattlesnake Weed (Hieracium venosum) are so named because the vein pattern on their leaves resembles the pattern on a rattlesnake, or at least whoever named them thought it did.  

RattlesnakePlantain     RattlesnakeweedleavesOther plant genera have rattlesnake as part of their name because they were used to treat rattlesnake bites:  Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium) and Rattlesnake-root (Prenanthes or Nabalus depending on which taxonomist you talk to).

Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Master Naturalist and Piedmont Chapter Board member Kristin Zimet came to my rescue.  She explained that the spreading sterile frond and erect, bumpy fertile frond pointing up from it resembles a coiled rattlesnake with its rattling tail pointing vertically.

This struck home to me because on a hike the previous day I had seen a rattlesnake in just this position.

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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