An activity-packed Saturday in The Garden!

Although nearly 1 1/2 inches of rain had fallen overnight Saturday, the crowds came out to the Teaching Garden to attend the classes that had been moved to inside the Monastery as well as the spring plant sale. (You can enlarge any photo by clicking on it.)

DSC_0132 Master Gardener Volunteer, Gisela Glodeck was first on deck to a packed house to share her ideas on container gardening her favorite pairing: hot peppers together with nasturtiums. The audience loved her idea of using collected pinecones to fill the bottom of 5-gallon containers … makes the container MUCH lighter so you can easily move it around to keep up with sunlight needs. Gisela’s recommended potting soil recipe is: 1/3 composted manure, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 compost (by volume).

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Master Gardener Volunteer, Laurie Redfearn discussed the systems she’s created in her home garden for table top gardening, irrigation systems, and trellising. The photo on the right is a trellis she constructed that is just the right height for her reach. She attaches these to the 3-foot high table top gardens that she has constructed to be solid while not showing any nails or bolts on the outside. Ingenious! Laurie’s potting soil recipe is: 1/3 coarse vermiculite, 1/3 peat and 1/3 compost (by volume).

DSC_0140  Nancy Berlin, VCE Natural Resource Specialist, presented her favorite ideas for container gardening for miniature native plant gardens. Nancy selects plants with similar needs for water and sun. A container with a thriller, a filler and a spiller will provide maximum impact. In the pot next to Nancy, she has planted native bleeding heart (thriller) with coral bells (filler) and heuchera (spiller). What to do with the plants after the season?? Add them to your garden for a similar display next spring! Container gardening is the perfect idea for folks who don’t have a plot of soil to plant in…you CAN have a garden on your balcony, deck or patio.

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Paige Thacker, VCE Horticulture Agent, showed how to grow tomatoes in 5-gallon buckets (photo on right). Using her plan, you don’t need to have holes in the bottom of the container for tomatoes; line the bottom with large-ish rocks that will allow water to flow to the bottom while making it available to keep soil damp. In this instance, root-bound tomatoes are OK. When planting, tickle out the roots, remove leaves from the lower 1/3 to 1/2 of the plant and plant in soil to above where last leaf was removed. Water thoroughly, aiming water at roots only, not the plant. They will need daily watering as the season warms, checking for overwatering.

Friday evening many Master Gardener Volunteers gathered to put final touches on the plant nursery.

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A final meeting of the organizers, and the plant sale was ready!


The constant overnight rain subsided a bit just in time for the plant sale activities. Yes, it was wet to walk around, but that didn’t dampen the festive atmosphere.

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Hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Happy gardening!
Jan Gubrud


“Saturday in the Garden” and Plant Sale update

As the saying goes – the show must go on!  With 100% chance of rain on Saturday, the “Saturday in the Garden” class on Container Gardening and the Master Gardener Volunteers’ semi-annual plant sale will carry  on!!!

The “Saturday in the Garden” class on Container Gardening will be held inside the Monastery from 9 am  – approximately noon.  (If you are helping out with the program, please arrive by 8 am.) The location is the Subiacca Room in the basement.  We will have greeters out front and signs to show the way.  Enter the main entrance (at 12:00 on the traffic circle) and you will need to be buzzed in by the person at the front desk.

See map below for location.    RED DOT Container Garden Mania!   9 am – 12 noon – NEW LOCATION DUE TO RAIN – Subiacca Room in the basement of the Benedictine Monastery 9535 Linton Hall Rd. Bristow. (red line and red dot)

Master Gardeners of Prince William Plant SaleGREEN DOT – 9am – 12 noon RAIN OR SHINE at the Teaching Garden – Look for signs.    Parking area BLUE DOT

Google Maps

Be sure to wear raingear!  A fine talk and great plants for sale will be happening this Saturday morning despite the weather.  See you there!


Plants Awaiting a Good Home

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The above plants are waiting to go to a good home.  The semi-annual MGPW Plant sale will be this Saturday, May 21 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Teaching Garden.  There is never enough plants so Master Gardeners who have an abundance in their own gardens are encouraged to bring them in 1 or 3 gallon pots, labeled, on Thursday or Friday evening so they can be sold Saturday morning (pots and popsicle sticks are available at the shed if needed).  This is an important fundraiser for the Teaching Garden.   You can purchase your plants before or after the “Saturday in the Garden” program – cash or check only.  This Saturday the program will be Container Garden Mania!  Join us for some new ideas for successful container gardening.  Advice will be presented on planting, irrigation, cut-and-come-again vegetables and ornamentals.  A great time to pick up some tips and plants at the Master Gardener Plant Sale!

Saturday in the Garden 2016
Taught by VCE – Prince William Master Gardener Volunteers
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  Please dress for weather.

Tuesday’s rain was welcomed by all the plants at the Teaching Garden!  Many colorful blooms to awe!
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White clematis ‘Snow Queen’, bleeding heart ‘Alba’ and allium.

wp-1463494327883.jpg  Leslie’s favorite.

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Purple irises stand out.

wp-1463492216985.jpg   Starsisters Dahlia

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In the Native Bed, red Columbine with Green and Gold Chrysogonum virginianum and Golden Alexander, a great plant to attract butterflies.

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Visually interesting shrubs are the Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Mindia’ Coppertina cultivar, another Ninebark ‘Diablo’ and the majestic Mock Orange.  These are found in the Drought Tolerant Bed.

It is always exciting to find signs of critters in the garden.  A rabbit’s nest was found under the crimson clover cover crop.
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Butterfly bench has its permanent home in the Deer Resistant Bed.

The Lavender Bed has a new look/design this year.

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Work continues to make repairs to the fence surrounding the garden.

The Master Gardener volunteers are doing a great job with the garden.  Do come out on Saturday to see all the blooms, hear the free lecture on container gardening and purchase some plants for your own garden.  The Teaching Garden is truly magical!




Very busy Tuesday morning workday

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This lovely wooden bee house was built and installed in late April by Moira Johnson, an Ambassador Level Girl Scout in Gainesville Troop 3593. Moira is working on her Gold Award Project, entitled the “Pollinator Preservation Project” which focuses on preservation of native pollinator species in our area. Thank you Moira!

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Seen in the Red, White and Blue Garden is the blooming fringe tree, Chinonanthus Virginicus, with peony, Karl Rosenfeld, in front, just about to bloom. Click on any photo to see the picture in full screen. Stop for a moment to take in the gentle scent of the fringe tree’s blooms.


Speaking of lovely scents, here is a dwarf Lilac, syringa in bloom behind another peony in full splendor with a yellow iris leaning into the shot.

Seen in the Woodland Garden is an unusual tree, a Gray Dogwood! Bed leader, Harriet Carter pointed out wild ginger with the blooms barely seen until she moved some of the leaf litter. Do expand the photo to see the cunning smiles of the ginger’s flower.

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Here’s Linda Ligon at the base of a Mock Orange tree, tidying up her garden.

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Take a stroll over to the White Garden to see the clematis, Snow Queen blooming with her friends Lilium Formosanum and lamb’s ears. To another side of the clematis you’ll see a white blooming lily.

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Near the White Garden is Bio Bed B with a profusion of red clover. Cook’s Garden volunteers were caught preparing netting for the garden.

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So much activity is going on in the plant nursery to ready items for the MGPW plant sale (May 21st). Come on out, even for a little while to help out; there’s a lot of fun chatter going on while working. It’s easy to water or prepare plant ID tags!

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DSC_0090 DSC_0091 DSC_0093  Check out some of the plant sale’s offerings: top left are a few pots of Patio Peach (refer to the early April blog to see the one in the Zen garden in full bloom!); top right, Clethera, pink and Sweetspire; bottom, pots of Siberian Iris and sedum.

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!

Happy gardening!

Jan Gubrud


April showers bring new growth to the garden

Out in the Cook’s Garden there has been a flurry of activity. There is something new to be seen and learned every work day. Take a peak under the row covering and you’ll see successful interplanting of veggies.

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Amy Foelsch is planting the first tomatoes of the season…Jelly Bean tomatoes! Next, you see the recently “re-hilled” potatoes that are coming along nicely. Coming up in mid-May will be planting of sweet potato slips.

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DSC_0076 DSC_0079 DSC_0078 Top left is a wave of sedum under a Japanese Red Maple; Spiderwort, tradescantia; and at the bottom is Clematis with a single purple bloom, climbing quickly up its support.

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!

Happy gardening!

Jan Gubrud