Gardening & Horticulture

May 5th, 2021

Overcoming Obstacles: The Kroger Community Kitchen Garden

Everyone should be able to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables. The Kroger Community Kitchen Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden helps make that possible by growing and harvesting produce and delivering it to Feed More’s Meals on Wheels and Kids Cafe programs serving Central Virginia’s most vulnerable populations. We started the Community Kitchen Garden with […]

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Apr 30th, 2021

Frog Blog: Frogs in the Conservatory

Have you ever walked through the Conservatory and heard melodic chirping or deep croaks that sounded like the grunts of a monkey? You might be surprised to know that those are the sounds of the frogs that live throughout the jewel of the Garden, our Conservatory! The Conservatory Has Frogs? That’s right! Did you know […]

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Apr 28th, 2021

Elizabeth Fogel: Designing for Tomorrow

Senior Horticulturist Elizabeth Fogel studied the latest theories for sustainable and regenerative landscapes by visiting 10 eco-focused botanical gardens over the past two years. Her cross-country travel and hands-on research were made possible by the Frank L. Robinson Endowed Chair in Horticulture. In downtown Chicago, Fogel was awed by the Lurie Garden, 2.5 acres of […]

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Apr 25th, 2021

Building Biodiversity

Landscaping in Layers Nature loves a layer. She cements courses of sediment into solid stone. She laminates an annual succession of circles into living trees. She layers an onion in pungent iterations of itself, one inside the other. And, sandwiched between the strata of the earth and the envelope of its atmosphere, she has built […]

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Apr 19th, 2021

English Ivy: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

Have you ever looked along a highway and observed all the trees covered in vegetation from trunk to branches? It was most likely English ivy (Hedera helix), the final of our 12 Dirty Dozen plants.  H. helix certainly isn’t last in terms of its invasiveness in our region and at the Garden. We hope you […]

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Apr 12th, 2021

Japanese Honeysuckle: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

Our Dirty Dozen plant of the week is Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). This ornamental vine is still widely available in the horticultural trade, even though it has invaded all of the eastern United States (as far west as Texas) and caused considerable damage to native ecosystems. Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica is a member of the honeysuckle […]

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Apr 9th, 2021

Feed the Birds with Native Plants

Whether you enjoy bird watching or you like to feed the birds, native plants are a great way to attract them to your yard! Should We Use Bird Feeders? So you may be wondering, are bird feeders a good idea? Like many things in life, it depends on the circumstances. When we feed birds and […]

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Apr 7th, 2021

Save a Monarch, Plant Milkweed

Milkweed might need some rebranding. It’s unfortunate that “weed” is part of its name when this plant does so much good.  Asclepias is the botanical name for a genus of perennial flowering plants well known as the host plant for monarch butterflies.  The monarch butterfly population has declined 80% in the past 20 years, and […]

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Apr 5th, 2021

Elaeagnus: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

For this week’s Dirty Dozen plant, we have a triple threat: autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) and thorny olive (Elaeagnus pungens). All three Elaeagnus species are invasive, and E. umbellata and E. pungens are already widespread in Virginia (PDF). We invite you to join us in reducing their spread and ecological impact. […]

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Apr 3rd, 2021

Lotus Home Garden

Are you looking for a new plant to grow and to spruce up your home garden? Consider adding lotus! Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is a relatively easy way to bring beauty and peace to your home garden.  Planting Supplies You just need a few items to start things off: Lotus rhizomes or tuber  A watertight container […]

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Mar 29th, 2021

Cogon Grass: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

Cogon grass (Imperata cylindrica) is considered one of the top ten worst invasive plant species in the world. Even with its less-than-stellar reputation, it is a popular ornamental plant. Though not yet widespread in Virginia, we are struggling to control it here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (more on that in a minute), and it […]

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Mar 26th, 2021

Italian Arum: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

Our “Dirty Dozen” plant of the week is Italian arum (Arum italicum). Even though Washington is the only U.S. state to officially recognize arum as invasive, our horticulture staff have observed its invasive qualities in the Garden. You may not hear about arum from other invasive plant resources for Virginia, so we definitely think you […]

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Mar 18th, 2021

Cicadas – a Concern for Gardeners?

If you’ve been paying attention to the buzz, you may have heard about a special type of cicada that’s set to emerge by the millions on parts of the East Coast. The so-called periodical cicada, which comes out in huge swarms every 17 (or in some cases 13) years, is truly a sight (and sound) […]

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Mar 14th, 2021

Planting for Nature’s Best Hope

Teddy Roosevelt stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon in 1903 and, looking out across the country’s 1.2-million-acre National Park, made an impassioned plea to the American people. “Leave it as it is.”  “You cannot improve on it,” the president went on. Award-winning conservationist Doug Tallamy wants you to follow Roosevelt’s advice in your own […]

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Mar 4th, 2021

Nandina: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week, we are highlighting invasive Nandina domestica, commonly known as nandina, heavenly bamboo and sacred bamboo. Despite the name, this member of the Dirty Dozen is neither a true bamboo nor heavenly. Like mulberry weed, nandina has not yet been recognized on the Virginia Invasive Plant Species List, though it is a well-known invasive […]

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Feb 25th, 2021

Lenten Rose

If you ask my favorite flower, I will have trouble answering. It depends on the time of the year, my mood, and if I’m growing it in my own garden.  But, I can honestly say that Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) is one of my favorites at this time of year.  True, it doesn’t have much […]

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Feb 13th, 2021

A Lesson Learned: The History of Horticulture & Invasive Plants

Invasive Plants: How did They Get Here? If you’ve been reading our “Dirty Dozen” blog series, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme in several of the articles: many invasive plants were intentionally brought to the United States for ornamental purposes. Up until now, we have not featured Dirty Dozen plants that were deliberately planted at […]

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Feb 6th, 2021

Tree-of-Heaven: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week we are featuring tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) as our “Dirty Dozen” plant. While this tree may have been used in folk medicine or even as an insecticide, it is diabolical for our Virginia native ecosystems. Tree-of-Heaven Ailanthus altissima is a member of the quassia (Simaroubaceae) family (PDF). This small to medium-sized tree is dioecious, […]

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Feb 6th, 2021

Crape Myrtle: Pruning

February is the time of year you may notice stark “stubs” of crape myrtles in parking lots and other areas around town. Often crape myrtle is so harshly pruned only trunks are left, with the top half of the tree hacked off. The look is so prevalent that many believe this is the correct way […]

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Feb 1st, 2021

Oriental Bittersweet: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week’s Dirty Dozen plant is oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus). Since it is still available in the horticultural trade, we hope that the following information will convince you not to buy this plant. Oriental Bittersweet Celastrus orbiculatus is a member of the bittersweet family (Celastraceae). This deciduous, perennial, woody vine can grow up to 60 […]

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Jan 24th, 2021

Porcelain Berry: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week’s featured member of the “Dirty Dozen” is Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata, commonly known as porcelain berry or amur peppervine. Most horticulture staff agree that this is the most pervasive of all invasive plants that we are currently battling at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Porcelain Berry Ampelopsis glandulosa var. brevipedunculata (syn. Ampelopsis brevipedunculata), is […]

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Jan 15th, 2021

Chinese Privet: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week’s featured member of the “Dirty Dozen” is Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense). Though several southern states, including Virginia, have recognized this plant in their invasive species lists or laws,  unfortunately, Chinese privet remains a commonly sold and planted ornamental shrub. Keep reading to find out why you should stop planting it and how to […]

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Jan 12th, 2021

Mulberry Weed: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

This week’s “Dirty Dozen” plant is mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa). In recent years, we have observed this plant creeping into our garden beds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. So far, it has slid under the radar in Virginia, and only California, Alabama and Georgia include this plant in their invasive species lists or laws. We […]

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Jan 4th, 2021

Japanese Stiltgrass: A “Dirty Dozen” Plant

Last week, we shared that we will be covering the top 12 worst invasive plant species that we encounter at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden — the “Dirty Dozen,”  This week, we are introducing the first species on our list: Japanese stiltgrass.  Please note that we have not ranked the Dirty Dozen in any way, as […]

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Dec 22nd, 2020

Invasive Plants: The “Dirty Dozen”

Meet the Plants Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing 12 of the most problematic invasive plants that you’ll encounter in Central Virginia. Unfortunately, we also have to battle these even at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! While our list is by no means comprehensive for Virginia, Richmond, or even our Garden, we have […]

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