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Votes

Gardening Notes

<mh>Benefits of Proper Tree Pruning

<bt>One of the best ways to improve the health of trees is through routine pruning. Proper pruning prolongs the life and improves the appearance by removing undesirable branches, which are dead, weakened, interfering, diseased or insect-infected. Pruning helps prevent storm damage by removing weak branches that might be snapped off during heavy winds; decreases wind resistance, helping trees move with the wind which reduces the chance of breaking limbs; and restores the shape of trees that are out of proportion.

Proper pruning should not be confused with the disfiguring practice of topping. Topping is the indiscriminate removal of a tree’s main branches resulting in stubs. The cut surfaces of stubs do not close readily and accelerates internal decay. Topping leaves a tree highly susceptible to damage from strong winds, sunscald, winter injury, insects and diseases.

Information provided by The Davey Tree Expert Company.

<mh>Gardening Class

<bt> Get tips on garden installation and maintenance, plant selection, and soil preparation from a professional horticulturist. Meeting is Feb. 16 from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $5. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

<mh>Pruning Tips

<bt>Demonstration and lecture of pruning tips for shrubs and small trees. Talk addresses pruning for young and old trees, creating decorative hedges and reducing shrub overgrowth. After the lecture a separate hands-on workshop will be held to demonstrate good pruning techniques in practice. Meeting and workshop are at Green Spring Garden Park. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

*Meeting is Feb. 23 from 10 - 11:30 a.m. Cost $5.

*Workshop is Feb. 23 from 12:30 - 2 p.m. Cost $25.

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<mh>Starting from Seeds

<bt>Propagator/horticulturist Mary Frogale will conduct instruction and demonstration in seeding. Topics to be discussed include seed treatments, potting mixes, lighting, watering among others. Meeting Feb. 9 from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $5. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

<mh>Native Plants in the Garden

<bt>Carole Ottesen, associate editor for “The Native Plant Primer”, will discuss the best native plants to use in your garden. Meeting Feb. 10 from 2 - 3 p.m. at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $5. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

<mh>Flowering Shrubs for Spring

<bt>Going beyond azaleas and forsythia, garden designer Rober will discuss a range of flowering shrubs suitable for the garden. Meeting Feb. 17 from 2 - 3 p.m. at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $5. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

<mh>Garden Ornaments

<bt>Adding personality to a garden may be as simple as adding an obelisk, a fountain or a spitting frog. Garden designer Lucy Hardiman will show and discuss how ornaments add whimsy, structure or regional feel to gardens. Meeting Feb. 24 from 2 - 3 p.m. at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $5. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

<mh>Keep Plant Invaders out of Parks

<bt>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 park land. Non-native plant seeds in the waste can spread. Learn to “grasscycle” a practice which 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 website (www.state.va.us/~dcr/dnh/invinfo.htm) or the Plant Conservation Alliance Alien Plant Working Group website (www.nps.gov/plants/alien).

<mh>Longwood Gardens & Brandywine Museum

<bt>This bus tour begins the day visiting Longwood’s three acres of greenhouses. Ending the day the tour views the Brandywine River Museum’s art collection Meeting Feb. 6 from 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $5. Cost $68. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

<mh>Philadelphia Flower Show

<bt>“The Pleasures of the Garden” is the theme of this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show. Join the bus tour visiting the show and its 125 vendors, 60 landscaped displays and free demonstrations. Meeting Mar. 5 from 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $62. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.

<mh>Japanese Garden

<bt>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. Meeting Apr. 23 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. at Green Spring Garden Park. Cost $65. Registration and information at 703-642-5173.