Landscape Committee – April 22, 2021 is Earth Day!

What have you done for Earth Day? My 5 year old granddaughter was here and she told me in science they discussed Earth Day. I asked what she learned and she replied, “we’re supposed to pick up trash.” So we did, all along the King Street fence, which amounted to 2 paper bags full. We bet you can find some place near you that needs a little cleaning up, weeding, or a native plant.

That is the perfect segue to the Conservation Garden Update.

The Conservation Garden next to the single tennis court by the swimming pool is doing so well, beyond expectations. The original hope was that it would absorb water run off from tennis court and help eliminate the standing water issue, and mosquitos, that occur during the summer.

To see how it’s working, here is a photo taken at March 24, at 4:44PM after a heavy rain event. The standing water is quite evident.

By the next morning, March 25 at 7:34AM the water has all but vanished.

I stopped by again on the morning of April 15, to see how the garden was doing after the all day rain the previous day, to find that someone decided this is a perfect place to dump unwanted potted plants and soil.

They also dumped stones (maybe from the bottom of the pot?). And a brick? Remember your money paid for this garden. Please leave it alone so that it can continue to work as it should.

Please do not dump your unwanted plants and garden materials in the community garden, please place it in the trash.

Respectfully – Sue Davis, Landscape Committee Co-Chair and the team 

Landscape Committee News – April 2021

Shade Gardens

Unfortunately, not everyone in the Mews has sunlight on their patios and this can be a dilemma, especially if you enjoy gardening.  There are plenty of shade tolerant annuals at the local garden center, but another good alternative is a native plant.  Many native plants are perennials returning year after year, require little watering except in drought, and best of all, look great.

Years ago, native plants were harder to find so I used Monticello’s Center for Historic Plants as a source for older, less used varieties.  Today there are numerous options for obtaining Native and other historic plants. Below are just a few that are good for shady areas.

Maple Leaf Viburnum (Viburum acerifolium) is a native, shade, loving shrub: https://www.monticelloshop.org/bare-root-mapleleaf-viburnum-viburnum-acerifolium/

Obedient plants (Physostegia virginianum) bloom later in mid-September at a time when the garden looks like it’s done for the season (see right): https://www.monticelloshop.org/obedient-plant-physostegia-virginianum/

Finally, Short-Toothed Mountain Mint (Pycnanthenum muticum) is another selection.  The information page at Monticello says that this prefers sun to shade, but it has grown well for me in shaded areas. https://www.monticelloshop.org/short-toothed-mountain-mint-pycnanthemum-muticum/

For other Native plant suggestions for sun and shade, visit the All Fairlington Bulletin “For the Love of Nature” column for April. http://www.fca-fairlington.org/wp-content/uploads/april_2021_afb.pdf

Keep up with the latest Fairlington Gardening news here https://www.facebook.com/FairlingtonGardening/?comment_id=Y29tbWVudDoxMTQxODgxOTcxMDI4NDRfMTIwMTcyNjEzMTcxMDY5

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY WEEDS?

You can’t always get what you want.

The Landscape Committee has received several complaints about the weeds this spring.  Several years ago, Mews residents were upset about the use of chemical weed and feeds being used on the lawn.  With chemical products, residents were asked to stay off the grass for several days after application.  Our demographic now includes more families with small children and pets.   The Landscape Committee was asked if we could change to an organic product instead.  That said, organic products work differently and there are more weeds.  Fern Birtwistle wrote a great article about the product we are currently using last March.  You can find it here: https://fairlingtonmews.org/mews-news/page/5/

The bottom line is that we can’t have it both ways. 

GREEN THUMBS UP – WE NEED VOLUNTEERS

An Invitation to Volunteer was sent to Mews residents at the end of March.  We received  several responses.  So here’s a GREEN THUMBS UP to Nancy Sween (Ct 1), Jackie Livingston (Ct 5), Elta Wilson (Ct 12), and Janice Peters (Ct 13).  We still need volunteers for the other courts.  Often the job is relatively easy, such as filling a tree bag with water twice a week, or just keeping an eye on plants in your neighborhood.  We hope that all of you will consider helping.  

NATIVE PLANT OF THE MONTH

Golden Ragwort – a spring bloomer that does well in sunny or shaded areas.   https://mgnv.org/plants/ground-cover/packera-aurea-golden-ragwort/

Landscape Committee News – March 2021

Spring Equinox happens on March 20th this year.  Hands that have been biding time all winter are ready to dig in the dirt.  Dirty and broken fingernails, scratches and bruises, are all part of a gardener’s wardrobe and are worn with pride. 

This March also marks an active campaign by the Landscape Committee to recruit volunteers to assist us in each court.  The truth of the matter is that the committee is aging.  Among the three active members, we had four major surgeries last year.  With that said, we still managed to complete the King Street Rejuvenation Project, plant small butterfly gardens throughout the Mews, and apply for and receive three free trees from EcoArlington.

In the near future, all of the Mews will receive an email regarding volunteering.  The goal is to have (a) representatives from each court.  These residents along with others within the court will organize to water new trees, weed, and most importantly, serve as a liaison between the courts and the committee.  Communication is essential, and admittedly, we have not always been as good about that as we should.

So keep watching, an email will be coming to you soon.

Kudos and a Green Thumbs Up

One of the residents in Court 10 discovered that plants surrounding the ‘big green box’ behind her house had become so overgrown she could no longer get out her rear patio door.  Thanks to Judith Guerny and Sharon Webster, this is no longer the case.  These two super heroes filled three bags with debris.  Thank you, thank you. 

Trees

Hurray!  Fairlington Mews was awarded three new trees.  Two of these will go in Court 1.  Kudos to all of you who answered the emails regarding tree choice and placement.  The remaining tree will go to Court 6.  These will arrive in late Spring.

Compacted Soil Issues

Compacted soil is threatening the two large Willow oaks in court 4.  This situation is occurring throughout Fairlington and was the topic of ‘For the Love of Nature’ department in this month’s All Fairlington Bulletin.  

http://www.fca-fairlington.org/wp-content/uploads/march_2021_afb.pdf

This issue was discussed at the February Board meeting and we are waiting for contractor proposals prior to deciding the best way forward.  

Happy Spring from the Landscape Committee!

Fern Birtwistle, Sue Davis, Penny Glass, Judith Guerny (emeritus), and Sharon Webster

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