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Votes

Gardening Notes

The Garden Gate Plant Shop is open. Shop hours are Monday-Saturday, 9-4 p.m., and Sundays, 10-4 p.m., at 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria.

Garden ABC. Learn the necessary steps to create a simple garden that both children and parents can grow and enjoy together. Make a small container filled with spring seedlings to take home, water and watch grow. $15 per project. At Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria.

Garden Sprouts. Preschoolers 3-5 discover the world of plants through stories, walks, activities and crafts. For more information, visit www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173. At Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria. Register and pre-pay for event.

Pond Scum. Saturday, June 19, 2-3:30 p.m. Follow Green Spring's water cycle down to the ponds. Bring boots to splash around with dragonflies, crawfish, frogs and fishes. $15. For more information, visit www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173. At Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria. Register and pre-pay for event.

Propagation by Cuttings Workshop. Saturday, June 12, 9:30-11 a.m., work alongside Mary Frogale, Green Spring's propagator, and lean the importance and advantages of propagation by cuttings. Practice this new skill and take home some of Green Spring's treasures. $15. Visit www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173 for reservations.

Essence of Tea: Green Teas. Sunday, June 13, 1-3 p.m. The health benefits are well known, but what about the taste benefits. $22. Includes full English tea. Visit www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173 for reservations.

The Potomac Rose Society Meeting and Bench Rose Show, where new exhibitors can practice, take place June 17, at 7:30 p.m. ARS regional director Nita Bowen will judge and offer advice. The event takes place at the McLean Government Center, 1437 Balls Hill Road, McLean. Entries must be on the tables by 8 p.m. All are welcome. Free.

"Hummingbirds: Flying Jewels of the Garden." On Saturday, June 19, come search for hummingbirds and learn facts about them. Brenda Skarphol leads a tour through the garden, highlighting nectar plants that attract the birds. $9. Visit www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173 for reservations.

Garden Sprouts, "Sunshine and Shadows." Saturday, June 19, 10-10:45 a.m. It's summer solstice time. Learn fun facts about the earth and sun, tell time at the garden sundial, then make a sunshine wand. For more information, visit www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173. At Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria. Register and pre-pay for event.

Summer Solstice Celebration. Wednesday, June 23, 7-8 p.m. Bring a picnic dinner and listen to music in the gardens. Free. Visit www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173.

Perennial Artistry: Creating Colorful Combinations. On Saturdays, June 26, July 17 and Aug. 21, 9:30-11 a.m., Sandy Austin, landscape designer and author of 'Color in Garden Design,' points out combinations in the garden and explains why they are successful. Classes are outdoors; dress appropriately. $15 per class, $40 for the series. Visit www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173 for reservations.

Tisanes and Other Cooling Beverages. 1-3 p.m., Sunday, June 27 at Historic Green Spring, 703-941-7987. Tisanes are herbal infusions that can be mixed with tea. Sample different flavors that provide and healthy thirst-quenching options. $22. Visit www.greenspring.org or call 703-642-5173 for reservations.

Ferns and Fern Identification. Thursday, June 24, 7 p.m., at Green Spring Gardens Park, 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria. Cris Fleming leads a short walk along the Native Plant Trail at the park and then give a slide presentation in Green Spring's multipurpose room on ferns and fern identification. For more information, call Marianne Mooney at 703-534-8179.

Tips for Watering Lawns:

* Balance is key. Don’t assume during a warm spell that the more water soaked into the lawn the healthier it will be. Depending on the soil type, a lawn can use about one or two inches of water per week. To measure how much your grass is getting, put a few graduated cups or cans in the sprinkling area to see how much water is collected. Run your sprinkler or irrigation system for 15 minutes, then measure the water in the cans. Multiply that number by four to get the average total for one hour of watering time.

* A good rule of thumb is that it is better to water for shorter periods of time but to water more often. Keep the soil consistently moist but not wet. This ensures that the grass gets a study supply of moisture without wasting water.

* Timing is everything. Don’t water at night - water can sit on the lawn and may cause disease. Don’t water at midday - the most water evaporates at this time. Do water early in the morning - evaporation is minimized and the lawn utilizes the most water.

* Trust a timer. Installing an automatic timer on a sprinkler or irrigation system ensures that the water doesn't keep running, over-soaking the grass. Timers are great for conserving water.

*Applying too many chemicals on a lawn could kill more than weeds. Organic lawns require less water then chemically treated ones, especially in hot weather. Try using a mulching mower and leaving clippings on the lawn during mowing. This returns valuable nutrients to the soil and helps retain moisture.