Gardening Notes

Gardening Notes

To have gardening information, classes and demonstrations happening in Fairfax and Loudoun listed free, mail to 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102 or fax to 703-917-0991 or e-mail

DeBaggio Herbs, 43494 Mountain View Drive, Chantilly, is hosting a series of free programs on Saturdays at 1 p.m. Space is limited. Call 703-327-6976 for reservations.

* April 20, Growing Herbs in Containers. Tips and ideas for growing herbs in pots.

* April 27, Summer Bounty. Discussion of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and basil and how to avoid problems with pests, diseases and poor harvests.

* May 4, Herbs in the Cutting Garden. Herbs that can be used to make spectacular and singular arrangements.

* May 18, Favorite Culinary Herbs and Edible Flowers. Cookbook author and herb expert Susan Belsinger returns with her traveling kitchen to demonstrate some favorite recipes using herbs and edible flowers.

The Garden Conservancy's Open Days program will return to the Northern Virginia area on June 15 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with seven private gardens for the public to enjoy. These will be among the 453 private gardens throughout 26 states that will be open for visits.

Four of the gardens are in Arlington, including the Burnet-Deutsch Garden, the garden of Linda Scott and Mary Dufour, the garden of William A. Grillo and Cozy Shack. Two gardens, Hilltop Cottage and Ridder Garden, are in McLean, and Dorothy and Art Phinney's garden is in Fairfax.

The gardens are listed in the Garden Conservancy's Open Days Directory, a 512-page book that includes driving directions and vivid descriptions of each garden Call the Garden Conservancy at 1-888-842-2442 to order the book, which may also be purchased wherever books are sold. Admission to each garden is $5, no reservations are necessary. Call 1-888-842-2442 for more information.

Learn how to use Feng Shui elements to balance the yin and yang energy in your garden at “Feng Shui Garden Design,” Saturday, April 20, 1-2:30 p.m., at Green Spring Gardens Park in Alexandria. Reservation and $7 prepayment are required. Call 703-642-5173.

No artistic experience is necessary to enjoy “Botanical Sketching,” being offered by Green Spring Gardens Park in Alexandria. Working both indoors and out, Barbara Stewart, botanical illustrator, will share techniques for capturing plant characteristics on paper. Bring a sketch pad and No. 2 pencils. Reservation and $20 prepayment are required. Call 703-642-5173.

This flower-watching bus tour begins with the tidal basin’s cherry blossoms. A stop at Hillwood Estate’s Japanese Garden is followed by a picnic at the National Arboretum. Tour ends with a visit to the Arboretum’s Asian Valley Exhibit. April 23 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $65. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

Ten free oak trees – red oaks, pin oaks, bur oaks, scarlet oaks and willow oaks – will be given to each person who joins the National Arbor Day Foundation during April. The free trees are part of the Trees for America campaign and are being given in recognition of the oak’s selection as the People’s Choice for America’s National Tree. More than 440,000 people made their selection in the Vote for America’s National Tree, hosted by the Arbor Day Foundation between Jan. 1 and National Arbor Day 2001. The oak was the favorite, winning 101,000 votes, with the redwood earning second place, with nearly 81,000 votes. The 6- to 12-inch trees will be shipped at the right time for planting during April or May and are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced. To become a member, send a $10 contribution to Ten Free Oak Trees, National Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410, by April 30.

In Fairfax County a battle is being fought to keep non-native plants from taking over the parks. Without any natural checks on their growth, invading plants can quickly crowd out indigenous plants needed by native wildlife. County parks can be preserved by following these general guidelines:

*Yard waste: Do not dispose of yard waste on parkland. Non-native plant seeds in the waste can spread. Learn to “grasscycle,” a practice that improves your lawn and keeps your parks safe;

*Plant disposal: Remains of invasive plants should be put in Fairfax County trash to be burned at the I-95 Waste-to-Energy Facility. Seeds and plants in landfills may still grow;

*Native plants: Use native plants for your grounds and garden.

Especially invasive species include Tree-of-Heaven, Orientalo Bittersweet, Purple Loosestrife, English ivy, Japanese stilt grass and Japanese honeysuckle.

For complete listing of invasive plants or information on native species, call Green Spring Garden Park at 703-642-5173. Information on yard waste and grasscycling, call Fairfax County at 703-324-5052. More information on plant invaders can be found at The Virginia Natural Heritage Web site ( or the Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group Web site (