Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I'm in Heaven!

I finally have a sunroom, and my plants are happily overwintering in it.  I have a space heater to keep the temp around 60.  On warm winter days, I might take a few plants outside for a spraying of insecticidal soap for aphids.  While checking on the plants, I noticed this Key lime tree, amazingly full of flower buds!

I can't wait for them to open and fill the air with fragrance!
Happy gardening, outdoors and in!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Handsome Plant Spells Trouble

You know the phenomena that, when you learn about something (in this case a plant), you begin to see it everywhere?   I first encountered Japanese knotweed near the home of a family member. She said it reliably grew every year and was attractive.  It took me awhile to identify the plant, I kept forgetting to do the research. Then, at a botanical garden, I learned that it was Japanese knotweed, an invasive import.  While on trips to Pennsylvania I saw it.  And again.  And again.  I saw hillsides of it, I saw it lining the highway.  It is all over the northeast US too. It seemed to be everywhere.  This plant can grow by the foot in a day and it crowds out native plants,  in Great Britain, mortgages have been denied until the homeowner eradicates it from the property.  Beware this plant!



From Wikipedia: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallopia_japonica :

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spotted Lantern Fly

A new imported, exotic pest threat to gardeners, especially those who grow fruits 😔 and and a nasty one it is:


Saturday, February 21, 2015


Poor tree!

This poor tree was damaged in a bad storm, and 4 limbs needed to be removed.  Three were properly removed, but you see the one near the top of the photo, with the notch but out of the bottom?  It may be that this was the way that the storm damage occurred, but it also the kind of thing that can happen when you fail to make an undercut when you take down a limb.  If you do not make an undercut, you can even sometimes see a long, vertical strip of bark that tears off when the limb succumbs to gravity.  The notch taken out on the top cut may create an entry point for disease or pests, or the tree may seal it over and be ok.  So, if a storm does this, do the best you can.  But, if you are pruning, make an undercut to reduce the possibility of further damage!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Invasive Plants to Never Buy!

Just a quick post: a list of 16 invasive plants to NEVER buy (though they might look pretty!)


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Feed the Birds via a Leftover Christmas Tree

This is the third time I have put my Christmas tree, still in its stand, outside with suet cakes and bird seed bells on it to feed my garden friends.  The tree provides a perch and shelter and the birds can feast!

Happy Gardening!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Confession: Raised Beds

I have a confession to make: I have never had formal, raised beds in my garden, just piling up the soil to create a mound into which I would plant.  But now, I have joined the Community of Gardeners who "work smarter, not harder" and am building raised beds.  Raised beds with sides have a lot of advantages: they drain better, warm up faster in spring and have fewer weeds.  You can make a good soil mix, adding compost each season, and it won't wash away in heavy downpour.

Here are three of the four my husband and I built (guided by my Dad).  They are not yet in their final spots, nor are they filled (which I intend to do with garden compost, and a mix of topsoil and mushroom compost).  Due to a vole problem, I am lining the bottoms of the frames with fine mesh hardware cloth/fencing, to deter the pests (we will flip the beds after I affix the cloth on each).  
For some instructions in building raised beds, go to:
Happy Gardening!