Friday, August 19, 2016

Wildflowers of Southside Virginia - South Boston, VA - August 19, 2016

The Southside Master Gardener Association will present a two hour program (11am-1pm), August 19, 2016 on “Wildflowers of Southside Virginia”. 

Alex Reddy, an up and coming Liberty University student studying plant sciences, along with Kathy Cornell, Master Gardener educator, will discuss ten wildflowers that can be found locally in the Southern Piedmont region of Virginia, focusing on the many uses of these plants, how indigenous people in our region used them, and the value of these plants to our wildlife.  Also, they will share ideas and thoughts about the beneficial ways they might work in your garden.

You don’t want to miss this opportunity to hear these two presenters share their enthusiasm for these native wildflowers.  To register for this free program given at the South Boston-Halifax County Museum located at 1540 Wilborn Avenue in South Boston, please contact the Halifax VA Extension Office at: 434-476-2147 ext. 0.

Seating is limited to 50, so register as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Virginia Cooperative Extension/Nursery/Greenhouse Growers- Hydrangeas A to Z: Producing Excellent Hydrangeas Workshop -- Virginia Beach, VA and Smithfield, NC -- JULY 28, 2016 REGISTRATION DEADLINE

Please join us in Virginia Beach on August 2nd for a day long workshop that includes lunch: “Hydrangeas A to Z: Producing Excellent Hydrangeas”. The workshop will include presentations and hands-on demonstrations encompassing growing media, fertility, bluing, growth control including plant growth regulators, propagation, breeding, new releases, disease management and an update on Redheaded Flea Beetle by Dr. Pete Schultz. Register @ by July 28th to reserve your space. The workshop and low registration rates are made possible by our sponsors: Harrell’s LLC, Bailey Nurseries Inc., and OHP, Inc. A workshop flyer is attached below. More details, including other locations and dates, available via registration link and information below.

Hydrangeas A to Z: Producing Excellent Hydrangeas Workshop

-August 2nd - Virginia Beach, VA
-August 4th - Smithfield, NC

Cost: $50
Registration closes after the July 15 (TN) and 28th (VA and NC) deadlines.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kelley Gaske Writes about her first MG College Experience in the Central Rappahannock Area's Newsletter!!

Arlington/Alexandria August Events

The following events are scheduled by VCE Master Gardeners in Arlington and Alexandria in August. August events will be posted online at after July 15.

Wednesdays in the Garden, August 3, 10, 17, and 24 (No program on August 31), 7 to 9 p.m., Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy St., Arlington 22201. This series of indoor and outdoor programs, taught by Arlington Food Assistance Center volunteers and VCE Master Gardeners, is designed to teach gardening skills to a wide audience. Topics by date: August 3, Food Preservation: Can, Freeze, Dehydrate, Ferment (meet in Second Floor Conference Room); August 10, Hydroponics & PVC Pipe Gardening; August 17, Vegetables for Fall;August 24, Preparing the Garden for Winter, Tool Care. No registration required. To confirm topic and room number, check the Arlington Library Events Calendar at or call the library at 703-228-5990.

Saturday, August 13, Fall & Winter Vegetable Gardening: Extending Your Harvest, 10:30 to noon, Burke Branch Library, 4701 Seminary Rd., Alexandria 22304. Join us for a terrific session on fall gardening―what to plant when and simple tips for success. Think healthful greens like kale, collards, bok choy and a wealth of lettuces. Fall is a delightful time to garden, with cool autumn days and waning pest populations. Learn inexpensive techniques to extend your harvest and even how you can enjoy some of your crops in the dead of winter! We'll also cover end-of-season clean up, putting your garden to bed and tool care to give you a head start for next spring. Advance registration requested at mgnv.orgQuestions, telephone 703-228-6414 or email

Sunday, August 14Sunday in the Organic Vegetable Garden, 1 to 4 p.m., 2845 Marcey Rd, Arlington 22207. If you have questions about what is ailing your tomato plants or eating your zucchini, stop by the Organic Vegetable Garden to speak with a Master Gardener. The garden is located beyond the Nature Center. No registration necessary. For questions, telephone 703-228-6414 or email
Wednesday, August 17, through Sunday, August 21, Arlington County Fair, Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 Second St. South, Arlington 22204. “Groovy Since 1977, the theme of this year’s fair, celebrates the first fair and subsequent fairs that have showcased the best of Arlington. VCE Master Gardeners will provide staffing and judges for the Open Flower Show and the Open Herb, Fruit and Vegetable Competitive Exhibits.Together with members of Arlington Regional Master Naturalists, Master Food and Energy Masters volunteers, VCE Master Gardeners will staff the all-VCE booth on Thursday, August 18, from 5 to 10 p.m.Friday, August 19, from4 to 10 p.m.; and Saturday, August 20, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Master Gardeners will provide information and answer questions about gardening. More information is available at

Virginia Treasures - Cultural and Recreational Spaces - Looking for Nominations!

Go to this link for more information:

A focus on quality

The Virginia Treasures initiative focuses on quality rather than just quantity. The program stresses safeguarding significant sites and assets rather than just the numbers. The idea is to preserve, protect and highlight Virginia’s most important ecological, cultural, scenic and recreational assets as well as its special lands.
The conservation of working farms, forests, waterways and open space will continue. Most of this effort will be accomplished through conservation easements, which preserve land and improve the health of waterways, including that of the Chesapeake Bay. Particular attention will be paid to land with rare and endangered species and habitat.
The initiative also aims to identify and expand public access to the great outdoors through playgrounds, boat ramps, scenic byways, public gardens and so on. By increasing public access to and appreciation for Virginia’s outdoor treasures, public support for conserving, protecting and maintaining Virginia’s natural resources will likewise grow.
Virginia Treasures will be the scorecard by which the McAuliffe administration measures success at protecting land, water and recreational space. The goal is to identify, conserve and protect at least 1,000 treasures by the end of the governor's term.

Land Conservation Treasures

A land protection treasure is one permanent, fee-simple conservation or open-space easement, or an amendment of an existing easement that permanently protects significant resources. Significant resource protection is measured by means of 14 metrics; a treasure must protect at least one metric.
  • Cultural or historical assets
  • Agricultural land
  • Local agricultural and forest districts
  • Forest land
  • Virginia Natural Landscape Assessment
  • Natural Heritage Conservation Sites
  • Wetlands
  • Forest land with high water quality value
  • Riparian buffers
  • Recreation land
  • Land near protected land
  • Land near scenic rivers, scenic byways, the Appalachian Trail or the Potomac National Scenic Trail
  • Virginia Outdoors Foundation special project areas
  • The Nature Conservancy Focus Areas
Contact DCR's Natural Heritage Program staff for details about the above metrics.
A few land conservation treasure examples
  • Natural Bridge and more than 1,600 acres of wildlife habitat, streams and caves that are home to hundreds of wildlife species, rare bats, invertebrates and unusual communities of plants.
  • Dundas Granite Flatrock Natural Area Preserve in Brunswick County, which supports a globally rare plant community and two rare plant species.
  • Richmond National Battlefield Park, which added nearly 300 acres in 2014 through a partnership between the Civil War Trust and the National Park Service.

Natural, Cultural and Recreational Treasures

A recreational treasure is a one that provides new public access to a natural, cultural or scenic outdoor recreation resource. These are projects that help the public by enhancing outdoor recreation and foster stewardship of natural and cultural resources. Emphasis is on ventures that meet the public’s most needed outdoor recreational offerings. Treasures are added when they are opened to the public. To be eligible, recreational or cultural treasures must be owned by the federal, state or local government or, if privately owned, accessible to the public.
An asset must consist of at least one of the following:
New facilities
  • Trails
  • Water access
  • New park facilities
  • Gardens and arboretums
  • Playgrounds and natural play areas
  • Historic rehabilitation
  • Newly restored habitat for wildlife viewing
Special designations
  • Historic or cultural sites that receive state or national register designation and provide public access
  • Trails special recognition, such as national trail designations
  • Scenic river and scenic byway
  • Scenic viewshed
  • Recreational use agreement
A treasure is not
  • An event or program
  • A management or maintenance function (e.g., stocking a lake with fish, bush-hogging an existing viewshed, painting a building, dredging a boat ramp or conducting a routine prescribed burn)
  • Ball fields, golf courses, sports facilities, zip lines… i.e., facilities in which the primary focus is not on natural or cultural resources
Contact Virginia Treasures Program Coordinator Robbie Rhur, 804-371-2594,, for details on recreational treasure criteria.
A few recreation treasure examples
  • Tobacco Heritage Trail, a 17-mile multi-use trail in Southern Virginia.
  • Pitts Landing Boat Ramp, providing universal access to the Chesapeake Bay in Accomack County.
  • Canoe access at Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County, providing access to the Captain John Smith Trail, the Potomac Heritage Trail and the Star Spangled Banner Trail.

The Big Bug Hunt! Growing Interactive needs your help!

Knowing when pests might strike is an essential part of any gardener’s strategy to protect their crops from marauding bugs; if only we could predict exactly when they will arrive!

Big Agriculture depends on warning systems for major pests of crops such as corn and soy. Now a citizen science project is working to bring state-of-the-art pest and disease prediction systems to gardeners.

The Big Bug Hunt, a major international research project, is asking gardeners across the United States to report sightings of bugs as they appear this year. In what is possibly the biggest project of its kind, every report will then be analyzed to identify patterns in pest behavior with the ultimate goal of notifying gardeners when pests are heading your way.

Everything from aphids to slugs can be reported and it takes just seconds to register a sighting. Head over to to report a pest or register for updates about the project.

2016 Search for Excellence for the International Master Gardener Conference due August 1

If you have one or more projects in your region that seem to be worthy of this honor, please be aware that the deadline for submission of applications for the 2017 SFE is Monday, August 1, 2016.  Below, you will find a list of important dates leading up to the conference and a summary of the Search for Excellence application guidelines.  Please see the official guidelines at for further information. 

The International Master Gardener Committee appointed a site selection sub-committee to identify host sites for the 2019 and 2021 International Master Gardener Conferences.  We have a solid lead on the 2021 IMGC.  However, a host has not been selected for the 2019 IMGC.  If we can not identify a host for the 2019 IMGC, there will be no International MG Conference in 2019.  The site selection sub-committee, headed by Tony McCammon, is focusing on the north and northeast US or south or southeast Canada for the 2019 conference.  If you are even remotely interested in learning more about hosting the 2019 conference, please contact Tony ( and Gail ( They can both talk to you about support that the International Master Gardener Committee can provide, as you prepare to host.  

Also, looking forward to 2023, and based on the past history of the IMGC ( they will be looking to Canada (if they do not host in 2019), the Southwest Region (CA, NV, UT, AZ, CO, NM) or South Central region (TX, OK, AR, LA, MS, KY, TN) to host.  If you are interested in exploring what it would mean to host in 2023, please feel free to contact Tony and Gail.  

3)  If you have not already done so, please sign up to receive the IMGC newsletter:(


August 1, 2016:  Search for Excellence applications due (emailed to Sharon Box ( AND to our Box Account (
October 8, 2016:  Applicants will hear back about the status of their SFE application by this date.
October 10, 2016 – January 13, 2017:  2017 IMGC early registration
January 14, 2017 –  May 31, 2017:  2017 IMGC registration (no discount)
June 1, 2017 – June 9, 2017:  2017 IMGC late registration (as space allows)
July 10-14, 2017:  2017 IMGC in Portland, Oregon
Search for Excellence (SFE) is the recognition program of Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteer work throughout the United States, Canada and South Korea. SFE has seven categories in which EMGs can demonstrate their outstanding contributions to their communities: Youth Programs, Demonstration Gardens, Workshop or Presentation, Community Service, Innovative Projects, Special Need Audiences, and Research.  Only one project may be submitted by a group per category.
What makes a project SFE worthy?
1.      Choose the category that best fits the project. (See the Guidelines for Application at  Only ONE project may be submitted by a group per category.
2.      Projects will be judged on their merit from work done between the years 2014-2016.  Projects entered must have completed a full year to be entered.
3.      Projects must be able to be replicated
4.      They must be Practical: easy to use and appropriate to the situation
5.      Original and creative
6.      Compatible with Extension and EMG missions
7.      Have an educational component.
a.      Available to all, extend university resources to public, information provided should be research-based, and significant learning should occur for a number of people.
b.      Extend the resources of the university to the public
c.      Information provided should be university research-based.
d.      Significant learning occurred for a number of people.
Projects that have previously won SFE awards are not eligible in any category.

What must be included in an SFE application?
1.      SFE application must be written by the EMGs involved, not the Extension staff, and must use the template (found in the official guidelines at
2.      An emailed verification letter from your Extension Advisor/Coordinator is required and must come directly from that individual. And verify:
a.      EMGs involved are currently in good standing
b.      Photo releases are on file for all individuals in the photos or as required by 
         the applicable laws of the local state or province.
c.      All application documents have been reviewed.
d.      The deadline for this verification is the same date as the application 
         deadline, Aug. 1, 2016.
e.      Any project submitted without this document will be disqualified.

3.      The application document should be in Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF format and must be no longer than four pages in length using Times New Roman in a 12 point or larger font. Up to six digital photos in JPEG format may be submitted with the application. Your Extension Advisor/Coordinator must email the verification letter along with the application and pictures as attachments (pictures, application and letter must ALL be attachments) to: Sharon Box ( AND to the Box Account we are using to receive SFE applications (  
The Box Account will not accept emails that are sent without attachments (is only uploads the attachments).  Please put the MG program, county and state/province in the subject line of all emails. Questions should be directed to Sharon Box via email ( No hard copy of mailed applications will be accepted.

Do not send handouts or other large files with this application.  Size your photos to 640 X 480 pixels – no large picture files please.  Submit only the items listed in instructions 1 – 3 above. Any files, extra pictures, handouts, etc. will be disqualified. Any applications longer than 4 pages will also not be accepted for competition.

Receipt of the Extension Coordinator’s email containing the application and attachments along with the Extension Coordinator’s verification comments will be verified via email from the IMGC SFE Committee within two days of receiving it.  If the Extension Coordinator fails to receive verification within 4 business days of submission, contact Sharon Box at  We cannot be responsible for applications that we do not receive due to spam mail blockers, etc.

Absolutely No hard copy of mailed applications will be 


Before submitting a nomination, it may also be useful to read a bit more about some of the 2015 Search for Excellence Award Winners:

1.     Florence Community Garden (Community Service, 3rd place)
2.    Executive Residence of Tennessee (Demonstration Garden, 1st place)
3.    “The Misadventures of Peter Rabbit in Farmer McGregor’s Vegetable Garden” (Youth, 1st place)
4.    Garden Candy; a kindergarten tomato planting project (Youth, 2nd place)
5.    East Austin Garden Fair (Workshop, 2nd place)
6.    Seed to Supper (Workshop, 3rd place)
7.    Accessible Gardening for Life (Special Needs, 1st place)
8.    Twice on Tuesday Program (Special Needs, 3rd place tie)
9.    Project GROW Garden (Special Needs, 3rd place tie)
10. Plant Problem Scenario Training (Innovative Projects, 1st place)
11.  Sarah’s Garden (Innovative Projects, 2nd place)
12. Online Gardening Chats (Innovative Projects, 3rd place)
13. Researching Biochar (Research, 1st place)