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By Beth Monroe, Public Relations and Marketing Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

MI love you mom plant markerother’s Day is THE day to show appreciation, whether it’s for your mom or another nurturing caregiver. I always want to find a special gift, but end up procrastinating.

Now here we are, the week before Mother’s Day. If you’re like me and need help, here are 5 gift ideas from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Garden Shop. It’s open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sundays, noon – 5 p.m.

1. Garden Marker Spoons; $13.95
Spoons upcycled as garden markers with special messages, such as “I Love Mom” and “Mom’s Garden.”

Vases with flowers in the Garden Shop

2. Mom’s Little Vase; $20
As the accompanying card reminds us, “some of the most beautiful flowers we receive are not from a florist, but are offered  by small, grubby hands.” These little vases are made in the USA; handblown by Henrietta Glass Studio in Providence, RI.

 

 

3. Felco pruners and saw gift pack for mom $85Felco Pruners and Saw Gift Pack; $85
Top-of-the-line, high quality tools for the mom who loves to garden. (Looking ahead to Father’s Day, you can buy a matching set for dad!)

 

 

 

4. Bracelet from the Garden ShopEnamel & Crystal Stretch Bracelet; $26.95
Featuring a flower motif and beautiful colors to go with everything. By Rain Jewelry.

 

 

 

 

5. Comic Latin for the Witty Gardener  $10.99Comic Latin for the Witty Gardener;   $10.99
For moms with a sense of humor! Plant markers with “Latin” names: Mudus Alloverus, Costa Fortunuii and Flora Incognito. (Hey, I think I have some of those plants in my garden!) By Amaranth Stoneware.

 

 

If you’re still looking for more, there’s also Garden Membership, which allows mom to visit Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and many reciprocal gardens year-round for FREE. Garden Memberships  can be purchased online today; could it be any easier?

The Garden’s Mother’s Day Weekend Celebration (May 8 – 10, 2015) presented by Patient First also provides a great opportunity to spend quality time with mom. Whether it’s tours of historic Bloemendaal House on Friday, activities in the Children’s Garden on Saturday, or a concert on Sunday, you can pick the best experience for your mom and all activities are included in regular Garden admission. The Butterflies LIVE! exhibit is open daily, too. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

by Janet Woody, Librarian, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The Pocahontas Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society,  a mission-related group that meet here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, recently gave the Lora Robins Library funding to purchase books about native plants and related topics. We were able to acquire five new titles you might be interested in. We are very grateful to our VNPS plant partners for their generous donation.

Fall Color and Woodland Harvests: A Guide to the More Colorful Fall Leaves and Fruits of the Eastern Forests is the kind of book you take with you when you hike in the woods.  Use it to identify leaves, nuts, pods, flowers, ferns, cones, and all the good stuff you’re likely to see on trees and find on the ground during your hike.  Written by botanists C. Ritchie Bell and Anne H. Lindsey, published in 1990 by Laurel Hill Press in Chapel Hill, NC.

Fall Color and Woodland Harvests: A Guide to the More Colorful Fall Leaves and Fruits of the Eastern Forests

Best Native Plants for Southern Gardens: A Handbook for Gardeners, Homeowners, and Professionals by Gil Nelson. This guide to the best native garden plants covers 8 states: from Virginia to north Florida, over to Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.  Addresses the history and use of native plants, dealing with invasives, and how best to use native plants in your garden.  Plenty of color photos liven up the narrative.  Nelson is a writer, naturalist, and field botanist. Published in 2010 by the University Press of Florida.

Best Native Plants for Southern Gardens: A Handbook for Gardeners, Homeowners, and Professionals  book

Appalachian Wildflowers: An Ecological Guide to Flowering Plants from Quebec to Georgia is another book you’ll want to take along on your hikes, particularly if you like admiring wildflowers and want to know what they are.  Author Thomas Hemmerly, an ecologist and botanist, wants us to read the landscape to learn about plant habitats, use, and distribution all along the Appalachian range.  Published by The University of Georgia Press in 2000.

Appalachian Wildflowers: An Ecological Guide to Flowering Plants from Quebec to Georgia  book

Plants of the Chesapeake Bay: A Guide to Wildflowers, Grasses, Aquatic Vegetation, Trees, Shrubs & other Flora is the book you take with when you go to eastern Virginia. Which is not to say that you won’t find these plants in central Virginia, because you will.  The focus here is on plants that are found near or in water.  Written by wetland scientists Lytton John Musselman and David Knepper, this guide offers beautiful photos and detailed descriptions.  Published by The Johns Hopkins Press in 2012.

Plants of the Chesapeake Bay: A Guide to Wildflowers, Grasses, Aquatic Vegetation, Trees, Shrubs & other Flora book

And my personal favorite, because it has chickens, as all good books should, is Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard.  Aimed at elementary-aged children, this book does a great job of showing the joys of planting seeds and anticipating the first sign of leaves, combined with scientific facts about the biology of soil, plants, and the food chain.  The humans in the story handle the gardening and the chickens handle the scientific explanations.  The drawings are colorful and charming, and the science is fun.  Written by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont and published in 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf. Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard book

Many thanks to our friends at the Pocahontas Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society for these and other great books.

by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Have you entered our A Million Blooms Instagram contest? You still have time! We have a great prize package from VMFA Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Blooms at the Jefferson Hotel, and passes to come see Butterflies LIVE! at Lewis Ginter.   Rules & Details: http://bit.ly/InstaBlooms
Here are a few of our favorite submissions so far.

Best of all, follow the contest and truly beautiful photos of the blooms displays by searching #MillionBlooms on Instagram.
Also, follow us on Instagram for the latest updates of what’s blooming at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden!  
Instagram Million Blooms Collage

Entries are from (top to bottom, left to right): @vcuhavocfan @lifeintheviewfinder @burstsofcreativity @fangirl35 @rninterrupted @chrismissparty @blueridgeexplorer @riveraartistry @cassiesdavis

by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Volunteer Nancy Penick with a Tillandsia planted in cork.

Here Volunteer Plant Sale coordinator, Nancy Penick hold up a tillandsia and cork wall hanging.

The Spring Plant Sale is Friday and Saturday, May 1-2,  and we’ve got some wonderful new treats for you this year. Of course we’ll be featuring staff favorites, butterfly kits, and seasonal selections (see photos of : cherry sage (Salvia greggii) ‘Maraschino.’ and Phlox stolonifera ‘Sherwood Purple’  below). And of course we’ll have plenty of expert vendors specializing in everything from day lilies to carnivorous plants. But this year we’ve got some new finds for you too!

Tillandsia or air plant in a shell

Tillandsia or air plant in a shell. Perfect gift for mom!

For starters, we’ll be selling “air plants” or tillandsia in shells, hanging cork ornaments, and in a variety of pots.  Tillandsia is very fun because it doesn’t need soil and it doesn’t need to be watered either! It just needs a moist living environment (like near a shower in a bathroom) or to be soaked in a bath of water now and again. These little plants are pretty amazing. If you know someone who loves plants but who doesn’t have alot of time to take care of them, this could be a great gift.

blooming aloe in hypertufa pot

Succulents and a spectacular blooming aloe in a hypertufa pot.

The other new thing we have at this year’s plant sale are hypertufa containers. Have you ever heard of hypertufa? I hadn’t! Our volunteers had a workshop where they made these rustic post out of Portland cement, peat moss and perlite. Then, they filled them with a bit of soil and some lovely succulents. If you are looking for a nice gift for mom on Mother’s Day, these lovelies might be just the thing. They are also very low maintenance as far as plants go.

hypertufa pots

A variety of shapes and sizes of succulents in hypertufa.

As always, all proceeds from the Plant Sale go directly to support the Garden’s educational mission. A huge thank you to our huge crew of volunteers who work for months and months getting ready for the plant sale. Did you know the Lewis Ginter Spring and Fall Plant Sales are entirely volunteer-run?

 Cherry sage (Salvia greggii) 'Maraschino.'

Here’s another highlight for sale at the Spring Plant Sale (May 1-2, 2015): Cherry sage (Salvia greggii) ‘Maraschino.’ Fun!

Be sure to visit our Garden Shop for outdoor pots and statuary, a variety of special gardening tools, gardening books, decorative accessories. Members receive a 15 percent discount during Plant Sale!

creeping phlox - purple

Phlox stolonifera ‘Sherwood Purple’ for sale at the Spring Plant Sale

by Hilaire Ashworth, Assistant Butterfly Curator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

We are so excited that the time has finally come for the opening of Butterflies LIVE! On behalf of all of the curators, we say hello and want to officially introduce ourselves. Each butterfly curator was asked a series of questions and we picked some of their best answers.  Stop by and say hello, we would love to meet you too!

Lisa Shiffert – Lead Butterfly Curator

Butterfly Curator Lisa Shiffert sitting in the conservatory next to a plant bed

Lead Butterfly Curator Lisa Shiffert

Q: How long have you been at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden?
A: I have been at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden since 2007, first as the Bright Spots volunteer then as a part time seasonal gardener from 2008-2013.

Q: Where do you call home?
A: Born in DC, I grew up in Northern Virginia, then my parents retired to Florida so I consider Virginia my home, and Florida my second home.

Q:  What do you do in your spare time?
A: I try to spend my spare time with my two children and husband in the outdoors as much as possible.  It is high school soccer season, so I am currently watching my son play for his high school soccer team.

Q: What did you do before becoming a butterfly curator?
A: Before becoming a butterfly curator I was a gardener and before that a stay at home mom. I have a horticulture background and previously mainly worked in the interior landscaping industry.

Sherry Giese – Assistant Butterfly Curator 

Butterfly Curator Sherry Giese standing in the conservatory next to stone plant bed

Assistant Butterfly Curator Sherry Giese

Q: How long have you been at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden?
A: I started volunteering at the Garden in 2003 at the plant sales after taking a Master Gardener course,  I have continued volunteering with the plant sales.  I am a Garden Guide, volunteer in the greenhouse, conservatory, and at Dominion GardenFest of Lights.  I am starting my second year as a Butterfly Curator.

Q: What did you do before becoming a butterfly curator?
A: I have volunteered with several different organizations:  Hanover Master Gardeners, Hanover Land Care Stewards, Hanover Master Naturalists.  I also worked 33 years as a Scientist in the Metals Division and the Enteric Disease Branch at the Consolidated Laboratories (State Health Department).

Q: Where do you call home?
A: I grew up in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.  I lived in Illinois, New Mexico and Mississippi before moving to Richmond in 1978.  I guess Richmond is home since I have resided here the longest.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Run, garden, and play with my three dogs, two birds and a rabbit.

Caroline Meehan – Assistant Butterfly Curator

Butterfly Curator Caroline Meehan outside with floral backgrop

Assistant Butterfly Curator Caroline Meehan

Q:  If you were a butterfly, which one would you be?
A: Julia (Dryas julia).

Q:
How long have you been at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden?
A:
In 2009 and 2012 I was a assistant butterfly curator, and served as the lead butterfly curator in 2013. I have also volunteered off and on since 2009.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I volunteer at Lewis Ginter and actively participate as a member of Virginia Native Plant Society & Virginia Master Naturalist. I also enjoy working in garden at home as well as canoeing and kayaking Virginia rivers.

Q: What do you love most about Richmond?
A: Sunshine, location, history, culture, universities, and people.

Sally Stockslager – Assistant Butterfly Curator

Butterfly Curator Sally Stockslager standing in the conservatory next to the vestibule

Assistant Butterfly Curator Sally Stockslager

Q: If you were a butterfly, which one would you be?
A: Banded peacock (Papilio palinurus).

Q: Choose one word to describe yourself.
A: Honest.

Q: How long have you been at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden?
A: I have been volunteering here for about 8 years and served as an assistant butterfly curator for 3 years.

Q: Besides butterflies, what are you passionate about?
A: The environment.

 

Matthew Daniel – Assistant Butterfly Curator

Butterfly Curator Matthew Daniel sitting in the conservatory next to a plant bed

Assistant Butterfly Curator Matthew Daniel

Q: If you were a butterfly, which one would you be?
A: Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella) . They are the commonly seen “wooly bear” caterpillars that can survive extreme subzero temperatures; coming back to life even after all cellular respiration stops.

Q: How long have you been at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden?
A: I have been a volunteer and employee off and on over the years since high school — since 1999.

Q: Besides butterflies, what are you passionate about?
A: Teaching people about the environment.

Q: What do you love most about Richmond?
A: The amount of parks, but especially the James River.

Hilaire Ashworth – Assistant Butterfly Curator

Butterfly Curator Hilaire Ashworth sitting in the conservatory next to stone plant bed

Assistant Butterfly Curator Hilaire Ashworth

Q: If you were a butterfly, which one would you be?
A: Bat Wing (Atrophaneura semperi)! I love the vibrant red against the black and white wings.

Q: Where do you call home?
A: I am originally from Ashland but moved to Colorado to pursue my undergraduate degree in 2009. After college I moved to Costa Rica for about 5 months, which I absolutely loved, but ultimately moved back  to the Richmond area to be closer to family.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I spend most of my spare time with my adopted street cat and organic gardening. However, I love rock climbing, hiking, and spending as much time outdoors as I possibly can.

Q: What do you love most about Richmond?
A: I love all of the awesome festivals that Richmond has to offer. The Richmond Folk Festival and Broad Appetite have to be my two favorite though.

Tori Trevillian – Assistant Butterfly Curator

Butterfly Curator Tori Trevillian sitting in the conservatory next to stone plant bed

Assistant Butterfly Curator Tori Trevillian

Q:  If you were a butterfly, which one would you be?
A: I would be a Tailed jay (Graphium agamemnon). Jays have a delicate pastel green and pink pattern on the underside of their wings but a very loud, bright green spots on the dorsal side. They rest with their wings closed, so you rarely see the bright green spots on top when they open them in flight. I identify with the tailed jay because there are certain facets of my personality which are very strong, but that I can’t always be open about, and which I must present more gently to people in my life.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: In my spare time I enjoy searching for snakes other swamp critters, Lindy hop and hiking, working in my garden and trying to make my violin playing sound less painful.

Q: Choose one word to describe yourself.
A: Analytical.

Q: What did you do before becoming a butterfly curator?
A: Before becoming a butterfly curator I taught wildlife classes at Jamestown 4H, and before that worked in the Busch Gardens zoo.

A Million Blooms continues daily through June 1, 2015. Don’t miss it!

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers year-round beauty on a historic property with more than 40 acres of spectacular gardens, dining and shopping. More than a dozen themed gardens include a Healing Garden, Sunken Garden, Asian Valley and Victorian Garden. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers year-round beauty on a historic property with more than 40 acres of spectacular gardens, dining and shopping. More than a dozen themed gardens include a Healing Garden, Sunken Garden, Asian Valley and Victorian Garden.
Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

by M. Christine Watson, PR & Marketing Intern, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Contorted filbert, Corylus avellana 'Contorta', Harry Lauder's Walking Stick in the Grace Arents Garden

Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’

Harry Lauder in 1922

Sir Henry “Harry” Lauder, 1922.

Did you ever wonder how Corylus avellana ‘Contorta,’ got its common name — “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick?” Sir Henry “Harry” Lauder, a Scottish vaudeville theater singer and comedian, was a rockstar in his day, one of the highest paid performer in the world at the time. He was knighted in 1919 for raising funds to support WWI efforts. Lauder’s trademark outfit consisted of somewhat of a spoof of the traditional Scottish garb — a tam o’ shanter, kilt, sporran, pipe and fantastically crooked walking stick. Funny that this generation may only know him by the name given a botanical specimen, which is a sought after twig for flower arranging and garden favorite — the contorted filbert. The fun specimen in the photo above can be seen in Grace Arents Garden, to the right of Bloemendaal House, near the side porch.

Photo credit: Sir Henry “Harry” Lauder, 1922. Photo by White Studio, New York [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photos & text by Jay Austin, Horticulturist, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Pitcher Plant Sarracenia leucophylla

Pitcher Plant Sarracenia leucophylla

If “Feed me Seymour!” is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “carnivorous plants” you are probably not alone.
Have you ever seen a carnivorous plant?  Did you there really is such a thing — it’s not just  someone’s imagination gone wild. Some carnivorous plants are even native to our region?  And guess what, we’ve got a special treat for you: Here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, there is a very unique area, the Martha and Reed West Island Garden, filled with a variety of carnivorous plants!  This garden is comprised of three islands built to highlight the natural beauty of a wetland environment, specifically featuring plants native to this region.  The most unique of these plants are the carnivorous plants.

Sarracenia in the West Island Garden.

Sarracenia in the West Island Garden.

Carnivorous plants grow in environments that are very challenging.  Typically the wetland soil they grow in has little to no nutrient value.  The plants are able to thrive in this environment because they can do what no other plants can do — eat bugs.

There are many species of carnivorous plants in the United States,  most of which are found in the Southeast.  In fact, there are several species found here in Virginia, including pitcher plants (Sarracenia) and sundews (Drosera).  If you travel to North Carolina, you will even see Venus’ fly traps (Dionaea).

The reason you probably have not just stumbled across any of these plants is because their habitat is one of the most endangered ecosystems around.  Estimates show that only about 2.5 percent of the pitcher plant habitat that existed pre-European colonization still remains. Development, lower water tables, poaching, fire suppression and many other factors are all contributing to the loss of the specialized habitat these plants need to survive.

Sarracenia

Sarracenia in the West Island Garden.

There are many groups working for the conservation of these unique plants.  The North American Sarracenia Conservancy and Meadowview Biological Research Station (located right here in Central Virginia) are just two examples.

Here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden we are committed to the conservation of these rare species.  Stop by and have a look for yourself at some of the more interesting oddballs of nature.  And don’t forget to come back in summer to see their alien-like blooms too!

 

 

Pitcher Plant Sarracenia leucophylla

Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia leucophylla, blooms

by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Pipevine swallowtail butterflies mating.  photo by Jonah HollandPipevine swallowtails (Battus philenor) mating in the Butterflies LIVE! exhibit.

by Laura Schumm, Community Kitchen Garden Horiculturist, Lewis Ginter Botanical GardenHarlequin bug tweet

A recent Tweet from the folks over at Kersey Creek Elementary School in Hanover County got us thinking about Harlequin bugs and how we can help provide suggestions for combating them organically.

There are many pesky insects pest that you will most likely run into sooner or later while tending a vegetable garden. The harlequin bug is one of them.

These bright red-orange and black insects are close relative to the stink bug and they love to feast on your vegetables. Harlequin bugs are known to be a major pest for plants in the Brassica family including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, turnips, radish and Brussel sprouts, but they also might attack you tomatoes, corn, okra, squash, and asparagus.

Harlequin bugs are shield-shaped like stink bugs, but their bright colors give them away. The eggs are striped and barrel-shaped, and you will find them in masses. This is an insect that causes damage by sucking sap out of your plants, and they are dangerous to your crops at multiple life stages. The damaged caused can kill young plants and stunt the growth of more mature plants.

There are several organic options to consider when trying to control harlequin bug populations.
• Look for resistant varieties of vegetables.
• Keep the areas around your garden weeded —  harlequin bugs prefer to overwinter in weedy/bushy areas.
• Inspect your plant often and hand-pick the insects and eggs that you find. Drop the insects into a bucket of soapy water.
• Use diatomaceous earth or organic insecticidal soap. This will strip the waxy coating from the exoskeleton of the harlequin bug, causing them to dehydrate.
• Use garlic/onion spray to repel the harlequin bugs; they can’t stand the smell.
• Plant companion plants. Try either nectar plants like borage or sweet alyssum to attract beneficial insects that will destroy egg masses or highly aromatic plants like garlic or mint to deter harlequin bugs from feeding.

To learn more about identifying bug and determining which are helpful bugs and which are harmful, be sure to read our blog post: Friend or Foe.

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