N° 51 — April 28, 2021
FONA Field Notes is moving to Wednesdays!
Please enjoy our regular updates and insights from FONA, the U.S. National Arboretum, and our award-winning Washington Youth Garden.
The National Arboretum has implemented a new temporary traffic plan through mid-May to keep the grounds safe for drivers, walkers, and all visitors. Vehicles will enter the Arboretum only using the New York Avenue entrance (3501 New York Ave, NE) but may exit using either the New York Avenue or R Street gates.
Digging In: Understanding Organic Lawn Care
Get to the roots of organic lawn care with Mary Travaglini of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection in the latest segment of Digging In, our new virtual event series. Learn how you can maintain an organic lawn without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, understand soil health, and discuss organic soil amendments.

Did you know FONA members get to participate in these events live as part of their member benefits? Become a member so you can dig in with the experts.

Happy lawns play a big part in maintaining healthy ecosystems. From soil health to water quality, lawns impact the environment far beyond your yard. Dig into organic lawn care further with these resources from the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.

The Frederic P. Lee Garden was dedicated on April 30th, 1971. Photo from: American Rhododendron Society
Azalea Anniversary
The Arboretum's Frederic P. Lee Azalea Garden turns 50 this week! Originally dedicated in April 1971, this garden features late-blooming azaleas, primarily those of the Satsuki cultivar. The Lee Garden spreads throughout Mt. Hamilton's northeastern slope and surrounds a shaded pond.

This garden is dedicated to Frederic P. Lee, a lawyer and horticulturalist who served as chairman of the U.S. National Arboretum's Advisory Council for over 20 years.
The pond in the Lee Garden underwent a major renovation from 1993-1995 to stop water from seeping into downhill azalea beds. Once this renovation was complete, the Arboretum repopulated the lower bed with 40 Satsuki hybrid azaleas donated by Phil Normandy, a horticulturalist for Brookside Gardens.

This garden comes alive around June as these late-blooming azaleas show their full colors. Stop by next time you're at the National Arboretum, sit by the pond, and take in the garden's azalea display just as Mr. Lee imagined it.

The pond in the Frederic P. Lee Garden underwent major renovations between 1993-1995. Photo from: U.S. National Arboretum
Washington Youth Garden has been full of busy bees this spring. While we lost one bee hive this winter, our second has grown and thrived!

Two weeks ago, our Garden Coordinator Emilia and Toni from DC Beekeepers Alliance split the growing hive to repopulate the empty one. While they split the hive almost evenly, they gave the new hive most of the forager bees so they could collect more food to grow the hive strong enough to accept a new queen. They supplemented the original hive with sugar water until they could regrow their forager population.
According to Emilia, both hives are doing well and the new hive has accepted their queen. The team is testing for mites this week to get a full picture of their health.

Bee swarms are often seen this time of year — they are the natural way colonies reproduce. If you see a swarm of honey bees, give DC Beekeepers Alliance a call and they will help the bees find a permanent home!

Photo from: Anacostia Riverkeeper
From our Friends: Anacostia Riverkeepers
Anacostia Riverkeepers is starting up their Anacostia River Explorers educational boat tours again! These tours are free and depart from a variety of locations up and down the Anacostia River (including the National Arboretum's riverside pier upon request). This tour is for anyone excited to learn about the ecosystem and conservation of the Anacostia.

Arboretum Activities
Join the U.S. National Arboretum and U.S. Botanic Gardens this Saturday, May 1st from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM for a free, exciting look into the lives of cicadas.

Entomologist Dr. Mike Raupp from UMD will explore the natural history, ecology, and behavior of the seven species of periodical cicadas indigenous to North America. Learn when these cicadas will appear, how they survive, and how they will impact humans, pets, wildlife, and plants in our region.

Photo from: wonderferret via Flickr
Spring in the City
Azaleas have arrived at the Arboretum! Take a walk on Mt. Hamilton over the next few weeks and explore the incredible variety of azaleas the Arboretum has created and introduced to the American nursery industry.

There are three different gardens that comprise the collections, each with its own history and style.

Vendor Corner
Although the Lahr and Garden Fair plant sales are both cancelled this year, there are still ways to support the wonderful vendors.

Three Stone Steps sells recycled metal art from Haiti, which is able to be displayed inside or out. It's a perfect accessory for your backyard, deck, or patio.

The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM - 5 PM except December 25th. Some buildings and collections remain closed to ensure visitor and staff safety.
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