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Green Spring Master Gardeners Program


  • Green Spring Gardens
  • Green Spring Gardens
  • Green Spring Gardens
  • Green Spring Gardens
  • Green Spring Gardens
  • Green Spring Gardens
  • Green Spring Gardens

[ 4603 Green Spring Road ] [ Alexandria, VA 22312 ] [ 703-642-5173 ]

Master Gardener Program

VCE MASTER GARDENERS

OUR ROOTS

HISTORY OF GREEN SPRING GARDENS MASTER GARDENERS


VCE Master Gardener programs first began in the United States in 1972 at Washington State University, where Cooperative Extension Agents trained interested volunteers to serve as a community resource for reliable horticultural information. University affiliated Master Gardener programs are now active in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Virginia, there are 62 active Master Gardener units affiliated with Virginia Tech.

In January 2002, a VCE Master Gardener Training program was launched at Green Spring Gardens to complement and expand the outreach of the existing Fairfax County program beyond plant clinics and diagnostic labs, and to meet the increased demand for training locally. Training sessions are held during daytime hours at Green Spring Gardens Horticultural Center. Including the service commitment that follows the training, the program is designed to be completed in a year. Since 2002, over 280 volunteers have received training at Green Spring Gardens.

HOW WE GROW

BY VOLUNTEERING AT

BY SOWING SEEDS IN OUR COMMUNITIES THROUGH OUR

  • Adult Educational Seminars including our annual EcoSavvy Symposium
  • Ready, Set, GrowTM gardening curriculum for elementary students
  • Speakers Bureau Presentations on sustainable gardening practices
  • The Master Gardeners of the Green Spring High Tech Team are proud to make available the following presentations for the community. Each presentation (listed by topic) has colorful slides and speaker talking points in the notes view of the presentation for a 60 minute talk. Each presentation also has a list of recommended handouts.

    The presentations are sponsored by the VA Cooperative Extension and are supported by Green Spring Gardens and the Park Authority. Please complete and submit the form below to request a presentation for your group:
  • Walk in Plant Clinics
  • Support of the VCE Advice Help Line 703-324-5369 or mgfairfax@vt.edu
  • Staff Information Booths
  • Care of the Demonstration Gardens at Green Spring Gardens

RESOURCES

Virginia Cooperative Extension Publications can be found at pubs.ext.vt.edu

WORDS TO GROW BY

RIGHT PLANT ... RIGHT PLACE

Learn why this is the ROOT of all we do.... Shade Loving Plants

The Virginia Native Plant Society suggests replacing English Ivy (Hedera helix) with some of these alternatives:

EVERGREEN OR SEMI-EVERGREEN FOR SHADE

Creeping phlox
Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera) mats together to make a spectacular display of blue/violet in early spring and stays low and green throughout the rest of the year.
Virginia ginger
Virginia ginger (Hexastylis virginica) is a beautiful evergreen ground-hugger.
Foam Flower
Foamflower (Tiarella codifolia) has frothy little spikes of white flowers in May and the foliage lasts all year long.

EVERGREEN FOR SEMI-SHADE

Mouse-eared coreopsis
Mouse-eared coreopsis (Coreopsis auriculata) with yellow blooms attracts many butterflies and bees.

DECIDUOUS FOR SHADE

Violets
Violets (Viola Canadensis) disappear in winter, but they provide nectar in early spring and are hosts to several butterfly larvae. Ants will spread the seed around.

VINES

Virginia creeper
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is taller and less dense than English ivy, but looks beautiful under trees. It will grow up trees without harming them because it is deciduous. Bird love the berries. It is aggressive, so be sure to put it in a place that you don't mind it spreading.

HERBACEOUS PLANTS

Virginia knotweed
Virginia knotweed (Tovara virginiaa/Persicaria virginiaa) will completely fill a large space in a couple of years and looks very nice in a "shaggy, woody way." In addition to the straight peices there is a colorful cultivar with variegate leaves, tiny red flowers and seedheads, called "Painter's Palette." Cardinals and other birds love the seed or knotweed.
Heart-leafed aster
Heart-leafed aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium formerly Aster cordifolius) is similar to white wood aster, but with pale blue flowers.
Zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) is very attractive to pollinators in fall.

TEST YOUR SOIL: www.soiltest.vt.edu/

A GOOD READ

Book Suggestions:

  • Bringing Nature Home, Doug Tallamy
  • Garden Insects of North America, Whitney Cranshaw
  • Attracting Birds, Butterflies and other Backyard Wildlife, David Mizejewsiki National
  • Wildlife Federation
  • Planting in a Post-Wild World, Thomas Rainer and Claudia West
  • Invasive Plants, Sylvan Ramsey Kaufman
  • Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants, C. Colston Burrell
  • The Garden Primer, Barbara Damrosch
  • The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer, Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra
  • Taylor's Master Guide to Gardening

Want to become a Master Gardener?

Find Your Passion In order to become a Master Gardener (MG), approved candidates must complete a 13 week course that meets Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 pm and one Saturday lab. Included in the training course are assignments and exams. Once trainees complete the classroom portion of the training, they graduate to MG interns. MG interns are required to complete, within one year, 50 volunteer project hours including 15 hours working at the MG Help Desk in order to become fully certified. There is a $250 fee due with the application. MGs retain their certification by completing 20 hours of volunteer service hours and 8 hours of continuing education classes per year.

The Green Spring Gardens MG training program is designed to prepare interested participants to work within the community to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices.

STILL INTERESTED?

The Green Spring VCE Master Gardener Volunteer training is held each fall beginning in September and ending in late November. The training generally requires two three-hour classes per week and one Saturday lab.

We interview all applicants and select approximately 30 trainees by the end of July. Selection criteria include the ability to commit to the training schedule with no more than three absences and adequate time and commitment to follow through on VCE approved Master Gardener volunteer projects.

Please put your name on our waitlist and you will receive an invitation by email for an informational meeting in late May about our Green Spring Master Gardener program.

>> Waitlist Sign Up

The Virginia Native Plant Society suggests replacing English Ivy (Hedera helix) with non-invasive alternatives. Move your mouse over the ivy to see recommendations.

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
Creeping phloxCreeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera) mats together to make a spectacular display of blue/violet in early spring and stays low and green throughout the rest of the year.
Virginia gingerVirginia ginger (Hexastylis virginica) is a beautiful evergreen ground-hugger.
foam flowerFoamflower (Tiarella codifolia) has frothy little spikes of white flowers in May and the foliage lasts all year long.
Mouse-eared coreopsisMouse-eared coreopsis (Coreopsis auriculata) with yellow blooms attracts many butterflies and bees.
VioletsViolets (Viola Canadensis) disappear in winter, but they provide nectar in early spring and are hosts to several butterfly larvae. Ants will spread the seed around.
Virginia creeperVirginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is taller and less dense than English ivy, but looks beautiful under trees. It will grow up trees without harming them because it is deciduous. Bird love the berries. It is aggressive, so be sure to put it in a place that you don't mind it spreading.
Virginia knotweedVirginia knotweed (Tovara virginiaa/Persicaria virginiaa) will completely fill a large space in a couple of years and looks very nice in a "shaggy, woody way." In addition to the straight peices there is a colorful cultivar with variegate leaves, tiny red flowers and seedheads, called "Painter's Palette." Cardinals and other birds love the seed or knotweed.
Heart-leafed asterHeart-leafed aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium formerly Aster cordifolius) is similar to white wood aster, but with pale blue flowers.
Zigzag goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) is very attractive to pollinators in fall.

VCE

The Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program is a national program of trained volunteer educators. Virginia Master Gardeners work within their local communities to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management education and training. As an educational outreach component of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), the Master Gardener program brings the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities – Virginia Tech and Virginia State University – to the people of the Commonwealth. The Green Spring Master Gardener Program (GSMG) is one of two MG units located in Fairfax County. It is supported by Fairfax County Park Authority and its offices are located at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria.


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