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Seminary Valley

School is back in full swing, and all three of our local schools are bursting with students. Hammond Middle Schools 1, 2 and 3 started off the new school year with 454, 453 and 493, respectively. Polk Elementary has enrolled 642 students, and 586 students attend Patrick Henry. Remember to keep an eye out for the children as they walk to school; although some of the kids ride buses, many of our neighbors walk or ride their bikes to school, and they are often accompanied by parents and siblings.

Many of us are aspiring gardeners, and the heat of the past few months has led me to conclude that I may need to rethink the types of plants I use in my landscaping. Both Hammond and Polk have substantially revamped their "curb appeal" as they have gone through renovations, and ACPS and the City of Alexandria has taken great pains to install native plants and grasses that need minimal watering and upkeep. A partial list of plants and shrubs, most of which are native, include: switchgrass, blackeyed Susans, Knockout roses, inkberry, winterberry, sungold cypress, abelia, cottoneaster, purpleleaf, sandcherry and native sweetspire. Large boulders are used to enhance drainage and add visual interest.

It would not be a proper September column if I did not include the usual information on grocery store card programs that benefit our schools. You can register your Giant, Safeway and Harris Teeter card to benefit any number of schools right in the store or online. Even better, send your card information to Marianne Hetzer at marianne.hetzer@bsvca.net and she will happily register your cards for you!

A few dates to keep in mind: the Annual Mile-Long Yard Sale is fast approaching, kicking off at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 22. Come out to the new playground at Holmes Run and Ripley Street for the Playdate Kickoff on Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. Don't forget to come to the BSVCA meeting on Oct. 9; we elect officers and at-large representatives at this important meeting.

Mia Jones