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

<lst>Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, is offering the following gardening programs. Prepaid registration is required; call the number listed to register.

* The Four S’s of Container Gardening, June 1, 10-11:30 a.m. Learn to use unique containers and unexpected plant combinations to create colorful living masterpieces. Light refreshments served. $10. 703-941-7987.

* Shady Characters: Plants for Shady Spots, June 8, 10-11:30 a.m. Learn which plants will thrive in the cool environment of a shady garden. $7.

* Propagation Workshop: Multiplying Your Treasures, June 15, 10-11:30 a.m. Learn techniques including stem cuttings, plant divisions and more. You will take home a 1-year-old hydrangea and some perennial favorites. $15.

* The Art of Preserving Flowers, June 22, 10-11:30 a.m. An introductory demonstration of drying and arranging flowers. Light refreshments served. $10. 703-941-7987.

* Vegetables and Herbs for Regional Cuisine, June 22, 10-11:30 a.m. Learn how to pair favorite vegetables with herbs from the same region for tasty meals. $7. 703-642-5173.

* Botany: Why Is It Called That? June 29, 10-11:30 a.m. Discussion of the principles behind botanical names, pronunciation, references and techniques for remembering and understanding the names you encounter. $7. 703-642-5173.

* Topiaries: Living Sculptures for Indoors and Out, June 30, 1-3 p.m. Creation and cultivation are the focus of this program. A full English tea follows. $20. 703-941-7987.

Should the predictions of a hot, dry summer hold true, gardeners in drought-stricken Virginia will have to practice water-wise ways if their gardens are to flourish. The following tips will help:

* Don’t let water go down the drain when it can be recycled for plants. Bath and dish rinse water can be used safely.

* Choose drought-tolerant plants.

* Mulch to hold moisture. Free mulch is available for pickup; call 703-324-5995 in Fairfax and 703-358-3636 in Arlington.

* Water gardens early in the morning to minimize evaporation.

* Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems.

* Sweep rather than wash driveways and patios.

* Don’t water the grass if a lawn is well-established. It will come back with cooler and wetter fall weather.

<lst>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: 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.

The area is currently experiencing a record drought, and trees and shrubs are suffering and struggling to get through. Stressed by drought, many trees are also vulnerable to a variety of illnesses and diseases. Area arborists caution that some of these trees may be lost if not given immediate attention.

What can homeowners do? Mulching, conservative watering and fertilizing can help.

Remember to water. Mulching helps to keep any available moisture in the soil. Inspect trees for signs of stress – leaves curling, changing color or falling off; an abundance of insects; powdery substance; blights or mold. Note any changes in color or continuity on the bark of the limbs and trunk.

A good fertilization program will help many trees and shrubs recover and, over time, return to a healthy state. Fertilizer combinations low in nitrogen are recommended for trees in this stressed condition, as fertilizer high in nitrogen will only cause more stress.

If you’re concerned about the condition of trees and shrubs, you may contact a certified arborist at The Care of Trees at 703-661-1700, or visit www.the/

Information provided by The Care of Trees.