The Teaching Garden welcomes visitors!

DSC_0054   DSC_0050  DSC_0051  Even though it was drizzly last Friday, the Teaching Garden welcomed the “Free Range Painters” to the garden to take advantage of the quiet day. The Woodland Garden was glowing with fresh green of the foliage and brilliant blooms.


Harriet Carter, MG Volunteer and Woodland Garden Bed Leader explains to “artist’s muse”, Christine, how the plants and trees in this garden will translate to her home woodland garden.


Solomon’s Seal, in lush bloom in the Woodland Garden!

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Just a couple more ways the Teaching Garden rolls out the “welcome mat” for visitors is with shallow dishes to collect rainwater for visiting bees, birds and bugs and an attractive red butterfly house.

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Our weary 2-legged visitors will find several places in the garden to rest and take in the garden.

The MGPW Plant sale is coming! Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 9 am – 12 noon during, before and after Saturday in the Garden. Do you have plants that you are dividing to share? Please 1 and 3 gallon plants only. No invasive plants, please. Please bring your plant donations on May 19th and 20th or on Saturday, May 21st to the Teaching Garden, labelled (popsicle sticks and markers available in shed, if needed). There are also some pots behind the shed. Thanks for helping out with this!

>Jan Gubrud, MG Volunteer

And the beat goes on . . .

So much work going on this beautiful Tuesday morning among friendly chatter.

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Joe Ray and Fred Rash are preparing a new bin of this season’s garden waste compost. This bin, above, started in mid-March, is mostly dry material. There has been little breakdown so a layer of chicken droppings has been added as the green material, along with water, to speed the curing process. Finished product expected in August.


Above, you’ll see how last fall’s waste is now this season’s compost.

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Lynn Lanier is tending to the Plant Sale Nursery. This very popular event is Saturday morning, May 21st. Leslie Paulson would like to remind PW Master Gardeners to bring your empty 1 and 3 gallon pots any time now and to bring your potted plants Thursday and Friday, May 19th and 20th after 5:00 PM. BE SURE TO IDENTIFY YOUR PLANTS.

DSC_0043 DSC_0042 DSC_0041  Just a few of the features that add charm to the many gardens out at the Teaching Garden. They bring out the inner child in visitors and are delightful!

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Leslie, Kathy and Joanne are busily trimming and adding over-abundant bulbs removed from the 4-Seasons Garden to the Deer Resistant Garden.

The season is in full swing, so come out and spend an hour or two among the Master Gardener Interns and Volunteers. Your time WILL make a difference!

Perfect weather for the first Saturday In the Garden of 2016!

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Master Gardener and Beekeeper, Linda Ligon offered great ideas for attracting Mason Bees and other native pollinators. She also showed us what can be used to build a variety of homes so the queens can stay busy with her job of laying eggs. Below are a couple of examples that have been installed in the Teaching Garden.

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Next, Celia Vuocolo, Agent specializing in Bumble Bees with the Piedmont Environmental Council presented “The Buzz on Bumble Bees”. Bumble bees are large-bodied, yellow and black (sometimes brown), very hairy and carry pollen in corbiculas on the side of their legs. Bumble bees have different tongue lengths (long, medium and short) which influences their choices of foraging preferences.

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Thomas Bolles, VCE Agent and BEST Lawns Program Manager, updated gardeners on “Growing Turf with Pollinators in Mind” and then led a tour of what’s new in the Cooks’ Garden. If you can wait a bit longer before you mow, the early arriving pollinators are looking for flowers, but they aren’t blooming yet. A couple of the most available flowers now are dandelions (before they get fluffy) and ground ivy. That’s an easy way to support your yard’s pollinators.

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Brenda Hallam is seen watering new veggies in the Cooks’ Garden. This little sheep is ever-vigilant over the Teaching Garden. Plus, it won’t sample what’s in the garden.

This Saturday – first of 2016 “Saturday in the Garden” lecture series

Saturday in the Garden is taught by Virginia Cooperative Extension – Prince William Staff & Master Gardener Volunteers.  Each class held at the Teaching Garden at St. Benedict Monastery, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, 20136.  All programs are free and run from 9:00am – Noon.  Registration is requested to ensure adequate handouts and weather cancellations, please call 703-792-7747 or email master_gardener@pwcgov.orgPlease dress for weather.

On Saturday, April 16, 2016 — Native Pollinators & tips from the Cooks’ Garden. 
This class will introduce you to important native pollinators, what to plant to attract them to your garden, lawn, and landscape and what practices to avoid to have a successful buzzing garden.  Also enjoy timely tips from the Cooks’ Garden Team.

Come hear the talks, ask questions to the Master Gardener Volunteers and see the lovely spring flowers in bloom in the various gardens!

Plan ahead and save these dates for upcoming 2016 “Saturday in the Garden” talks:

May 21 — Container Garden Mania!  Join us for some new ideas for successful container gardening.  Tips will be presented on planting, irrigation, cut-and-come-again vegetables and ornamentals.  Pick up some new plants at the Master Gardener Plant Sale

June 18 — Lessons from the Deer Resistant Garden, Woodland Garden and The Four Seasons Garden. Nibbling, munching, rubbing can destroy your landscape and budget.  The Deer Resistant Plant Garden at the Teaching Garden will be featured in this class.  You will see what plants deer leave alone at our Teaching Garden and what techniques have worked.  Then take a walk around the Four Seasons and Woodland Gardens and learn what plants you can add for seasonal interest and dry shade.  Also enjoy timely tips from the Cooks’ Garden Team.

July 16 — Getting Your Lawn, Landscape and Vegetable Garden Ready for Fall.  Fall is the right time for fertilizing and preparing for winter.  Be ready for tasks this fall by learning from Master Gardener Volunteers and staff the best practices for your garden, lawn, and landscape. Also enjoy timely tips from the Cooks’ Garden Team.

August 20 — Cover Crops, Succession Planting, Rotation in the Vegetable Garden.  After harvesting vegetables, learn which cover crops or succession/double cropping and rotation techniques work best in your cooks’ garden.  Director of the Fauquier Education Farm, Jim Hankins and the Cooks’ Garden Team will share their expertise.  The Fauquier Education Farm supplies fresh produce to local food pantries.

September 17 — Plant Propagation.  Do you wish you had more plants but your budget won’t allow you to purchase everything you want?  If you are thrifty, have friends that share, and are willing to do minimal work, your wish may come true!  Explore various propagation methods including cuttings, division, layering, and sowing seeds.  Also enjoy timely tips from the Cooks’ Garden Team. Pick up some new plants at the Master Gardener Plant Sale

October 15 — What’s That Weed? & Master Gardeners’ Favorite Plants.  As the season winds down at the Teaching Garden, learn some new plants that are among Master Gardener favorites, then join us for a weed walk/talk on the grounds of the Teaching Garden to learn benefits and control methods for common weeds.  Also enjoy timely tips from the Cooks’ Garden Team.

Bluebells are out!

The Woodland Garden, perfect spot for plants that don’t mind being planted around trees or in shade, has a wonderful show of its spring flowers including bluebells, yellow wood poppy and bleeding heart.
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The Woodland Garden also has Epimedium Barrenwort and Palmonaria saccharata commonly called Lungwort, Bethlehem Lungwort or Jerusalem Sage.  What a wonderful array of colors in this garden – definitely worth a visit!
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A very early lilac in full bloom is Syringa reticulata mandschurica.

Also making a show is the Miniature Dwarf Bearded (MDB) ‘Blue Ash’ Iris.wp-1460468051552.jpg

The Cooks’ Garden Master Gardener Volunteers were busy cutting down the cover crop in the vegetable garden.  Cover crops are used as they benefit the soil by putting nutrients back into the soil and also prevent the soil from blowing away with the wind. They are employing several different tactics with the cover crops.  With one method, they cut the cover crop and lay the cuttings on the ground.  It will dry and act like straw, limiting weeds and providing moisture. They can use this straw-like material when it comes time to hill the potatoes.  With another area of cover crops they chopped the growth and put black plastic over the area.  The cover crop roots will die under the plastic.  An added benefit, the black plastic will also heat up the soil.  Squash is planned for this area.
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Going into the garden are leek, broccoli raab, cauliflower, mesclun, pak choi and lettuce.  wp-1460469911405.jpg   wp-1460469725250.jpg
Spring is here!




Teaching Garden’s loveliness is more than pulling weeds

The compost area has been expanded and it’s as neat as a pin! The first pic is the new cold compost area that is made with hay bales. Great work, Compost Team! New signs for the various bins will arrive soon.

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DSC_0013 (2)  Here are Jean Meink and Amye Foelsch all bundled up against the chilly day, in the Plant a Row Garden, hand tending kale that was planted in the fall. If you stop by to say “Hi”, they’ll offer you a taste of what they’re working on.

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New frames have been installed over berry shrubs and young plants that will support netting to keep our local critters and/or birds from beating us to the harvest.

Jan Gubrud, sitting in for Bev Veness this week