The Fairy Garden

Fairy gardens are a trend which recently have become very popular in the United States. Garden centers everywhere now have sections with plants and accessories for the fairy gardener. Early fairy gardens are believed to have existed to draw good luck. According to legends, fairies are typically harmless creatures but they can have a dark side. During the ancient times, many new parents believed their babies could be replaced by baby fairies, called “changelings.” These replacements would have odd characteristics that included physical defects and developmental problems. Keeping a fairy garden was believed to please the fairies and lowered the chance of your child being “changed” or replaced.  First introduced in the US in 1893 at the Japanese Pavilion of the Chicago Worlds Fair, fairy gardens began as bonsai dish gardens and became popular after a feature article in the New York Times.

A Fairy garden can be found at the Teaching Garden and is lovingly tended by Master Gardener Eileen Murphy. Eileen has been a MG since 2015. and the bed leader of this garden since 2016.  She describes her garden as a “magical place, a little kingdom for fairies to romp and play”. You can find Eileen at her garden on most Tuesday mornings with various interns as helpers. This bed is in full, hot sun so Eileen has chosen plants that do well in these conditions including a Sedum ground cover.  She does not water except in times of extreme drought since the garden contains many succulents. Eileen  removed a weeping pussy willow since it attracted Japanese beetles, and has added dwarf spruce and other plants. She has also added some great fairyland miniature decorations that make the garden special including a main house, swimming pool and paths. The fairy home even has its own vegetable garden on the property! This year Eileen is adding some small annuals such as ice plant for pops of color.

 

 

Home gardeners can also create a magical fairy gardens with tiny houses, chairs, lawns and ponds – fairy worlds which can be created in any space – inside or out. A corner of a flower bed, under a tree, in a pot on the patio; they are so small they’ll fit in any space.  Fairy dish gardens or terrariums make an excellent gifts and most garden centers have plenty of decorations you can add. Design ideas can be found on social media and in gardening books. We have included references below.

The plants you select should naturally stay small or  trimmed to stay tiny.  Choose annual and perennial flowers that bloom at the height of your growing season and if brought indoors, will do well as indoor plants the remainder of the year.  When selecting plants for your garden, consider choosing varieties that will allow you to create a realistic miniature landscape. Fairy garden enthusiasts recommend at least one plant from each of the following categories:

  • Groundcovers that mimic grass
  • Shrub-like plants that imitate bushes
  • Trailing plants that creep over tiny arbors and gazebos
  • Tree-like plants providing the perfect shady spot

Be sure to think about the location where you’ll keep your Fairy Garden and select plants that will thrive in its conditions.

  • Full sun means plants will perform best with eight or more hours of direct sun per day.
  • Sun means plants will perform best with six to eight hours of direct sun per day.
  • Part sun means plants will perform best with four to six hours of direct sun per day.  If you live in a very hot dry climate, plants that say “full sun” or “sun” generally perform better in part sun conditions in the summer months when the heat is especially intense.
  • Part shade means plants will perform best with no more than four hours of sunlight.
  • Shade means plants will perform best with no more than two hours of diffused sunlight.
  • Full shade means plants will perform best in situations where there is never direct sunlight (i.e., a northern exposure).

Have fun creating your Fairy Garden! Its a great way to get children involved and a fun place for them to play. They enjoy helping pick out decorations and a fun way to teach them about gardening basics.

 

 

Fairy Garden Plant List: Fairy Garden Plant List

https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dmp/palette/100321.html

https://www.thespruce.com/flowering-fairy-gardens-1315891

https://www.homelovr.com/diy-miniature-fairy-garden-ideas/

https://www.countryliving.com/gardening/garden-ideas/g3417/fairy-garden-ideas/

https://homebnc.com/best-diy-miniature-fairy-garden-design-ideas/

The Fragrance Garden

Master Gardeners of PWC , Teaching Garden

A very unique garden at the Teaching Garden is the Fragrance Bed, which is designed to give us scents throughout the year.  Master Gardener Ruth Johnston  (Scizzorhands!) has been the bed leader for this garden and a Master Gardener for 9 years. Other bed leaders at the Teaching Garden rely on Ruth to help with deer repellent spraying and answers to many questions about insects and plant diseases. She has much experience from her many years of gardening at home.  Ruth came up with the idea for this garden, designed it and brought many plants from her home gardens.  You can find Ruth tending to this bed most work days. Throughout the season, interns and other master gardeners help Ruth with the weeding, mulching and edging.

Ruth describes the Fragrance Bed as a mix of shrubs and perennials with year round fragrance and beauty. Among the spring bloomers are the…

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Cooks Gardens Update, 5/29/18. by Amye Foelsch

Gardening tasks grow like weeds!

When we started this season, our initial focus was all about installing the fence around our new cook’s garden, but April quickly turned to the end of May. The ever-growing list of gardening tasks could not be ignored: cover crops needed to be managed, compost added, weeds removed, trellises erected, seeds spread, cool season crops harvested, all our heat loving vegetables needed to get into the ground, and work still needed to be done on the new fence. Slugs and rolly pollies decided our Napa cabbage and potato plants would be their meal of choice and a decent size black snake kept things interesting at the compost pile. That weedy list of gardening chores did not deter us and as we exchanged stories, laughter, skill-sets and noshed on Charlene’s delicious baked goods, those early gardening chores were happily completed. As we enter the month of June our garden is in good shape!

These past weeks have been a good reminder of the power of teamwork. I’ve never built a fence before and mentally tagged it as a daunting task, but when surrounded by good teachers, hands-on experience, and an encouraging environment, the sky’s the limit when it comes to learning and tackling those intimidating tasks.

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Parsnip muffins made by our creative baker Charlene Toloso

 

When visiting the Teaching Garden  at the Benedictine Monastery,  9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136, here are the maps of the Cooks Gardens for 2018

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The Fragrance Garden

A very unique garden at the Teaching Garden is the Fragrance Bed, which is designed to give us scents throughout the year.  Master Gardener Ruth Johnston  (Scizzorhands!) has been the bed leader for this garden and a Master Gardener for 9 years. Other bed leaders at the Teaching Garden rely on Ruth to help with deer repellent spraying and answers to many questions about insects and plant diseases. She has much experience from her many years of gardening at home.  Ruth came up with the idea for this garden, designed it and brought many plants from her home gardens.  You can find Ruth tending to this bed most work days. Throughout the season, interns and other master gardeners help Ruth with the weeding, mulching and edging.

Ruth describes the Fragrance Bed as a mix of shrubs and perennials with year round fragrance and beauty. Among the spring bloomers are the Heirloom daffodils and Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus), and the lovely peonies. The “Carefree Beauty” Rose provides continuous blooms until frost. Some of Ruth’s favorites are the reblooming iris, early dwarf iris, ever blooming rose, early red peony and later blooming white peony.  Another favorite is the early-spring heirloom narcissus brought from her 100+ year old homestead in Pennsylvania.

The Carefree Beauty rose with beautiful pink and fragrant blossoms is also known as an Old World rose, that likely immigrated from Europe with early settlers of Texas.  Rediscovered in Katy, Texas,  it is also known as the Katy Rose.

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Beneficial pollinators are attracted to the fragrant  Calamintha and edible thyme that Ruth uses as edging. One can find many solitary bees foraging, especially in the mornings and early evenings. There is also English Lavender, Anise Hyssop, Bee Balm and Salvia, also popular with foraging pollinators.

The irises in the Fragrance Bed are one of its main features and provide a “pop” of color in early spring and fall. Dwarf iris, ‘Making Eyes’,  is white and purple and blooms early in the season. The reblooming irises are yellow and purple and bloom spring and fall.  Ruth “deadheads” the reblooming iris to encourage it to bloom again in the fall.

The two fragrant peony plants in this garden are white (blooms late spring) and a bright red one (blooms mid-summer).  The white peony often blossoms during our typical May showers, making the blooming period short.

A very unique and fragrant shrub is the native Carolina Allspice, Calycanthus floridus. Also known as Carolina Spicebush or Eastern Sweetshrub, this deciduous rounded shrub reaches 6-9 feet. It produces maroon to reddish brown flowers which have a sweet banana-strawberry fragrance and bloom from April until early July. These fragrant flowers are pollinated by beetles who are attracted to the fruity scent.

https://mtcubacenter.org/plants/carolina-allspice/

The Fragrance Garden also contains Lavender cotton, Santolina, an evergreen herb that is easy to shape and adds a bright green color year round. When brushed, it gives off a strong herb scent reminiscent of olive. Santolina has tiny yellow flowers that bloom in spring and fall.

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Korean Dwarf Lilac,  Syringa, is a small shrub with a rounded shape that reaches 4 feet in height and 5 feet wide.  It makes an excellent foundation planting.  Syringa blooms in mid to late spring and produces red, fragrant flowers. It is powdery mildew resistant and fits in small areas.

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http://www.hortmag.com/plants/plants-we-love/dwarf-korean-lilac-a-better-lilac-bush-where-size-matters

Ruth finds it satisfying to educate the public about plants at the Teaching Garden plant sales. She enjoys working with interns and engaging in garden talk with veteran Master Gardener friends. 

Fragrance Garden Plant List

Remembering Two Very Special People

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There will be a Memorial Service for Master Gardeners Mariann Carpino Blasingame and David Leiss  on Saturday, May 12, 1:00 p.m. at the Teaching Garden (9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow). Please join us in dedicating their bricks and supporting their families; light refreshments will be served afterwards. 

Mariann Carpino Blasingame

Marianne Blasingame, passed away this past December at age 98. She was our dearest and oldest Master Gardener.  This dear lady volunteered 75-100 hours a year until last spring. Here are just a few of her accomplishments:

♦ She began a dialog and conducted research for a pollinator meadow at her assisted living center.

♦ She designed gardens at her assisted living center, researching options, costs, and design plan.

Mariann presented this plan to the management. Went (in her scooter) to the garden center to select healthy plants and supervised the planting process with landscape contractors. She encouraged best practices for irrigation, mulching, and pruning for future plant health.

Mariann served regularly as a Neighborhood Plant Expert people in her retirement community knew they could come to her for research-based advice for their indoor and outdoor plants.

Sister Pat Hagarty, Nancy Berlin, Marion Ashley, and I visited Marianne last December for lunch and presented her with her Emeritus pin. Emeritus Master Gardeners “contribute wisdom and continuity, and are highly valued volunteers.” A dedicated Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener who “retires” due to health or other reasons after 1,000 hours of service is considered Emer-itus status. Emeritus status is an honor.

The title is specifically for individuals who can no longer complete the requirements for remaining active Master Gardener Volunteers, but would like to have continued affiliation with Virginia Cooperative Extension.  Marianne accumulated an astounding 89.5 continuing education hours and 1,430.5 volunteer hours. When she would call Nancy with her hours report (she had macular degeneration, therefore had difficulty with the computer), she was always apologetic about not contributing more hours! Her calls were always a sweet spot in Nancy’s day! What a privilege to know her.

 

David Leiss

David served 6 years in the US Navy on the submarine Will Rogers and 37 years as an applications engineer designing and teaching on radar systems.  Once retired, he enjoyed serving God through various capacities: as head of maintenance at Grace Life Community Church (our neighbor across Linton Hall Rd), and a Stephen Minister church greeter.  The MG training fit very well with his healthy lifestyle classes, which featured healthy eating, and lifestyles.  His classes taught in the Manassas area changed many people’s health and lifestyle.

David Leiss’s father was a Master Gardener and a huge influence on his son.  David inherited his father’s keen intellect and curiosity.  National Gardening Magazine featured photos and articles about his father, Bill Leiss, experiments with growing tomatoes and other vegetables.  He also led MG workshops on several topics, including ferns, low cost greenhouses, native plants, hydroponics and cacti.  Since then, David knew he wanted to be a volunteer for Extension.  The MG training fit very well with his healthy lifestyle classes, which featured healthy eating, and lifestyles.  His classes taught in the Manassas area changed many people’s health and lifestyle.

Nancy Berlin remembers David as a highly intelligent, gentle man, who always had his friend, Winston, a golden retriever with him, as he was training him to be an assistance dog.  David graduated in December 2016 and persisted with Master Gardener activities and requirements until early summer.  He offered me many gentle, gracious suggestions to improve the program and training experience.  We will miss him.

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My Tribute to David Leiss,  by Glenda Browder

 I met David Leiss at  a healthy foods group about five years ago.  He was (as usual) volunteering his time to teach others about how healthy, raw food feeds the body and mind.  David was truly a man of many and varied talents.  He was always willing to help a person in need or want.  Teaching was a passion and he never passed up an opportunity to share his knowledge and wisdom.  He taught my husband,  Bill, and another friend, Dave Neuberger, how to set up Ham Radio equipment and all the gadgets that go with it.  Men and their toys!  The bond between Dave, Doug and Bill was precious and won’t soon be forgotten.

 Dave was inspired by his father, a Master Gardener, to become one himself.  He was looking forward to retirement so he could dabble more with his in-ground watering system for raised boxes and learn about new plants.  With his volunteer/teaching addiction, he was a perfect fit for this Prince William County Master Gardner Program.

David loved God, his wife Laurie and his dog Winston, and EVERYONE in his life loved David.  He gave so much to his church and his community.  He is missed.

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From Nancy Berlin:

David Leiss came for an interview to be a MG volunteer in 2016 and mentioned that his father was a long time MG volunteer in Florida in the 80’s. His father, Bill Leiss was a huge influence.  Mr. Leiss was a professor of Engineering research at Penn State for 30 years.  David Leiss inherited his father’s keen intellect and curiosity.  National Gardening Magazine featured photos and articles about David’s father’s experiments with tomato growing and other vegetables. He also led MG workshops on several topics, including ferns, low cost greenhouses, native plants, hydroponics and cacti.  Since then, David  wanted to be a volunteer for Extension.  The MG training fit very well with his healthy lifestyle classes which featured healthy eating and lifestyles.  His classes taught in the Manassas area changes many people’s health and lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

The Woodlands Garden

The Woodlands is a beautiful, natural garden that is maintained by Master Gardener Harriet Carter. Harriet officially became the leader of this garden in 2015 after assisting two others for her internship. She has been a Master Gardener since 2014, and is married to Bob Carter, a MG since 2013.  Harriet has had interns and other MG’s help her along the way, but is actively looking for a Co-leader! Harriet comes to the garden every workday and loves working here. You can also see her at just about every MG volunteer activity!

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Harriet describes the Woodlands as “Heaven”. There are times it can be a challenge, especially after a storm when branches fall from the trees.  There are several large trees in the bed one of which is a white oak. We know that an owl sits in this oak from time to time because we have found an owl pellet at its base.

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Owl Pellet

When Harriet first started helping in Woodlands, she says that she didn’t “see it”. She describes her first impressions as  “a lot of foliage in in various shades of green, and I didn’t know the plants, flowers, and shrubs.” In the early spring of 2015 she came out and had an “awakening”! The leaves had not leafed out, but the redbuds were in full bloom and there was color throughout the bed. Hellebores were blooming in pink, white and red and everything in between, and  yellow wood poppies were blooming next to the purple phlox. She remembers this day and how really  beautiful the Woodlands are in the early spring!

Many of the spring flowers are ephemeral and when their blooms fade, the foliage dies back. They rely on either wind or early spring insects for pollination. Three Virginia woodland ephemerals are: Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica), Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) and Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis).  There are some late blooming plants in the Woodlands as well and one of Harriet’s favorites is Toad LilyTricyrtis spp.  One of the best features of Woodlands are the naturalized ground covers. One especially notable is Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense), which does well in deep shade or part sun. This plant can be found growing in deciduous forests throughout the east coast. Despite its name, it should not be used in cooking as it contains a carcinogen!

The Woodlands garden is an example of the Temperate Deciduous forest. These forests have a great variety of plant, animal and fungus species.  Most deciduous forests have 3 layers of plants, some even five.  The forest floor contains a rich organic layer where nutrients are recycled. In this layer it is common to find fungi in the spring and the fall.  Fungi spread by spores and mycelium, the structures used to absorb nutrients through decomposition. In the Woodlands, we found two types of mushrooms this week. Stinkhorns are mushrooms from the Phallaceae and are notorius for popping up suddenly and unexpectedly in urban settings. In our area they can be transported in mulch, sod, or wood chips so can be found in many garden settings. The foul smelling slime they create attracts flies who love to eat it. When feasting on the slime they spread the spores.  We did not identify, yet, this white mushroom.

Understory trees in this garden include Red Bud, Witch Hazel (which blooms in winter), Dogwood, Wild Azalea, Smoketree, and  Boxwood.  Ferns are one of the great features of this garden found in the shade, and these include Christmas fern and Wood Fern.

Harriet classifies this garden as a “dry shade” bed, meaning that plants can survive periods of drought.  There are three rain barrels  hooked up to soaker hoses that have been laid throughout the garden. When water is needed, the master switch on the main barrel can be opened and gravity feeds the collected rainwater to the garden.  Shade plants such as those found in Woodlands require little water and care throughout the season. A true woodland bed also does not need to be mulched. Leaves from autumn leaf fall are hand raked to uncover plants in the early spring.

If home gardeners are interested in planting a woodland garden on their property, Harriet recommends avoiding sun loving plants. If you want to add them, plant them on the outer edges of the garden. Focus on adding color and and variety of foliage. As with this garden, deer will probably be a problem. This is their natural habitat and they may even sleep there at night.  If you have cedars as this area does, you may find it hard to grow plants under them. Harriet has had some success with Epimedium under the cedars here. It is also nice to add pathways and statues for interest and a bench to enjoy the cool shade in summer.  Using native plants for the shade and part shade in such a planting will attract many beneficial insects and butterflies. You may even find the Eastern Box Turtle laying her eggs!

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Plant List:

Woodlands Bed Plant List

The History of Earth Day

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”  -Margaret Mead

Many of us have become accustomed to Earth Day, an annual international event held on April 22 to celebrate our Earth. We go out into our communities and join others in celebration and work together to pick up trash, clean streams, plant trees and teach our children about the importance of a sustainable environment. This year VCE Master Gardeners of PWC join hundreds of volunteers and staff in Prince William County to work on many different projects, including Keep Prince William Beautiful, Prince William County Schools, Prince William County Schools Energy Team, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Prince William County Libraries, Prince William Wildflower Society and many other local volunteer organizations, to keep this tradition going.

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 in the United States, and became International in 1990. It is now celebrated in 191 countries with an estimated 200 million people, and is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

In 1969, before the first Earth Day, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor our Earth at an UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The 1960’s was a very dynamic period for grassroots eco-activism, inspired in part by Rachel Carson’s devastating book, Silent Spring, (1962). After a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, and the cumulative impacts of decades of environmental degradation, US Senator Gaylord Nelson (WI) founded the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Intended as a nationwide environmental education “teach in” held on campuses across the nation, 20 million citizens took to streets, parks and auditoriums coast-to-coast, in the largest peaceful demonstration in US history. For many people, this was their first opportunity to join in a nationwide demonstration for a healthy and sustainable environment. As a result, by the end of 1970, President Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This law requires that the federal government use “all practicable means to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in harmony” and to “promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man”. The Environmental Protection Agency was also created in 1970, followed by the Clean Air Act (1970), Clean Water Act (1972) and the Endangered Species Act (1973).

So as you enjoy Earth Day 2018 with family and friends, remember that all it takes is that “small group of committed citizens” working together with shared goals to keep our small patch of Earth in Prince William County beautiful. Thank you for all you do!

 

The Official Earth Day Anthem from the European Union. 

Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment

Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch

We make our home a newborn world

 

https://nerc.org/news-and-updates/blog/nerc-blog/2018/04/17/remembering-the-rich-history-of-earth-day?gclid=CjwKCAjwwuvWBRBZEiwALXqjw9YgfLhMF3QKEptLXBAjpWNAtJWDx9pALqlg9VWb0KyrTZw615vlShoC8TIQAvD_BwE

https://www.earthday.org/about/the-history-of-earth-day/

Cooks’ Update, April 10, 2018, by Amy Foelsch

Happenings in the Cook’s Garden…

New skill sets, tools, and muscles were used as we began constructing the new deer fence. Jean and Thomas prepared the day before by measuring and marking exactly where each fence post would go. We also prepped ourselves by watching some short how-to videos on the bennersgarden.com site. Using a sledgehammer, eight sleeves were pounded into the ground. Steel posts then slid into these sleeves.  It’s a two-person job: one holds a board on top of the sleeve, the other does the pounding. A level is used to periodically check and straighten the sleeve as it moves into the earth. This part of the project requires a serious amount of partner trust; the goal is that the person holding the board will walk away with all fingers intact. I’m happy to report all our fingers are in good working order! Due to the loud pounding we initially wore ear protection, but quickly learned this was not a good idea. The earmuffs did such a great job of muffling sound that Jean couldn’t hear us when we needed her to stop pounding. Needless to say, if Pam had her video equipment at the garden, we would have had new material to add to our growing bloopers reel.

Stay tuned, as next week we hope to finish the job. In the meantime, we have this Saturday, April 14 to look forward to.  Master Gardener Nancy Hanrahan will be kicking off Saturday in the Garden 2018 at 9:00 am by discussing plant propagation.  Make sure to register at master_gardener@pwcgov.org. It’s free!

Best, Amye

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