Plant of the Month
The beautiful Purple Beautyberry shrub at the foot of the Viettes driveway.
A Beautiful Shrub
Callicarpa or Beautyberry is a fantastic though often underused shrub that is covered with colorful berries in the late summer and fall. Callicarpa dichotoma, Purple Beautyberry is one of the most popular varieties. Vibrant lavender-purple berries line the arching stems of this 3-4 foot deciduous shrub from late August through the fall and into winter. Stunning!
Callicarpa berries in September
Every fall around this time people visiting the Viette gardens begin to ask, "What is that beautiful shrub along the driveway with the bright purple berries?" You can't miss it! The berries are brilliant! They catch your eye even from a distance and in the late fall, when the leaves drop, the show of vivid purple berries is even more spectacular! The berries persist well into winter and the leafless, fruit laden branches can be used to create attractive natural arrangements for indoors and out.
Callicarpa var. albifructus has beautiful snow white berries.
There is also a beautiful white berried variety, Callicarpa dichotoma var. albifructus, which produces pure white berries. Both the white and purple varieties are outstanding in the garden and in my mind, should be used much more than they are in our gardens. When planted en masse, the effect is stunning!
Callicarpa americana, is a taller species that grows up to 6 feet tall. This species also produces attractive lavender-purple berries in the fall.
The berries stand out even more once the leaves drop.
Callicarpa is easy to grow and the berry production is very reliable year after year. Plant them in full sun or light shade and fertilize them with Plant-tone organic fertilizer in early spring and again in the fall. Since they produce flowers and fruit on the current year's growth, pruning and thinning should be done in the early spring before growth begins. They can be cut back to 8"-12" from the ground just like Buddleia (Butterfly bush).
More attractive berry producing shrubs for fall
There are many other wonderful shrubs like hollies, Euonymus, Nandina, Pyracantha, and Viburnum which bear a wealth of brilliant berries that bring welcome relief from the drabber hues of winter. Besides looking beautiful in the garden, many of these berries are tasty to the birds in your backyard and also make attractive decorations for fall and at holiday time.
Ilex 'Sparkleberry' brightens the winter garden at Viette's.
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|Congratulations Andre and Claire|
Andre and Claire Viette
One of the American Horticultural Society's main fundraising events is its annual Gala held at River Farm in Alexandria, VA. It's also a chance for the Society to show off River Farm's unique beauty while celebrating gardening champions.
This year, Andre and Claire Viette were the honorary co-chairs of the AHS's 18th annual Gala on September 24th with the theme, "Growing Inspirations." Known throughout the mid-Atlantic region for their first-class nursery in Virginia and gardening radio show, the Viettes are familiar faces and voices in American horticulture.
"With their amazing horticultural knowledge and production of exciting new cultivars of many varieties of plants, the Viettes are truly the embodiment of growing inspirations," said Leslie Ariail, chair of the gala host committee.
|Visit our Friends|
Mulberry Hills Farm Pumpkin Patch
A family farming operation that specializes in growing a wide variety of pumpkins and gourds.
Choose from a large selection of pumpkins
Pick Your Own
In addition, find all your fall decorating needs like straw, mums, Indian corn, and corn shocks.
Located 8 miles south
6442 Cross Keys Road
Mt. Crawford, VA 22841
Visit their website
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lohr's U-Pick Pumpkins
over 50 varieties of
pumpkins and gourds
on 10 acres of farmland with breathtaking views.
Also available: indian corn, mums, straw bales, corn stalk bundles, and more.
The Playland area is sure to satisfy those who love adventure. Great for all ages, it features hay rides, 2 corn mazes, petal car race track, tumble tubes, and more!
Located 10 miles north
on Rt 11 near the Mauzy/Broadway exit.
Visit their website
October is a glorious time to be outside in the garden!
|Tip of the Month|
Keeping Unwanted "Bugs" Out of the House
"Help! Stink bugs are swarming all over my house!"
Our phones are beginning to ring off the hook and the e-mails are pouring in! And it's only going to get worse!
Stink bugs will soon be trying their best to make their way into your house!
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys) has not only become an annoying invader of our homes but their populations have exploded to the point that they have become a major threat to many agricultural crops including both ornamentals and food crops.
Native to Asia, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is a relative newcomer to the US being first reported in Pennsylvania in 1998. Since then their numbers and range have slowly increased and they are now found in 30 different US states and are still on the move.
Late September and October is the time of year that these nasty pests begin to congregate around the windows and doors of our homes seeking entrance to a nice warm, cozy, place to spend the winter.
Keeping them out!
Because this particular species of stink bug is having such an impact on fruit and vegetable crops, a lot of research is being directed towards developing control methods. Some of this research is focusing on natural enemies and pheromone traps in addition to chemical controls. For the time being, exclusion is one of the best preventative
measures for controlling populations indoors. Carefully examine the foundation and around windows and doors for cracks and crevices where they can sneak into the house. They will seek out these entry points in an attempt to find overwintering sites. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal any cracks
such as Bonide Household Insect Control
kills stink bugs on contact but also has some residual action that creates a relatively effective barrier around windows, doors, and other areas where they might gain entrance to your home.Stink bug traps
have also been developed. Some like Bonide Stink Bug Traps
, which can be used indoors or out, or the Rescue Reusable Stink Bug Trap
use pheromones to attract and trap the bugs. The Rescue Stink Bug Trap has an optional light attachment
to attract and trap stink bugs that have made their way into your home. I've never tried the traps but if you have large numbers of stink bugs in
your home, they might be worth a try!
Adult boxelder bug. Photo by Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org
The boxelder bug is another nuisance insect that can invade your home in droves at this time of the year. Like the stink bugs, they are seeking protected overwintering sites and your warm home fits the bill perfectly! I'm thinking that these pests might be pretty bad this year as well because the other day Andre asked me to come down to the gardens with my camera to take pictures of boxelder bug nymphs that were swarming all over a statue and several different plants in the gardens. There were literally hundreds of these immature boxelder bugs crawling over the concrete statue and the vegetation surrounding it. Creepy!
Boxelder bug nymphs swarming on a statue in the garden.
Control of these invading insects is similar to that for the stink bugs. Since they also sneak into the house through cracks and crevices in the foundation and around windows, doors, and air conditioners, sealing these with calk and weather stripping will do wonders in keeping them out of the house.
Control products for boxelder bugs are similar to those that can be used for excluding stink bugs.
October Lectures and Events at Viette's!
Saturday, October 1st at 1:30 pm
Fall Decorating Extravaganza
Tips for creating exciting fall displays using pumpkins, gourds, ornamental grasses, dried pods, fresh and dried cut flowers ...
Sam Harris will present this timely demonstration workshop to welcome the fall season! Fall decoration takes a bit of creativity to carry color beyond the life of your blooming perennials. Sam is a master at decorating using all kinds of material gleaned from the garden! From colorful pumpkins and gourds to the wispy plumes of ornamental grasses and interesting seed pods, Sam will give you valuable tips on how to add a bit of long-lasting festive color to your own home and gardens. Join us for a wonderful seminar and learn some of Sam's secrets to making these beautiful autumn arrangements. Free lecture
Wednesday, October 5th at 1:30 pm
Saturday, October 8th at 1:30 pm
Customer Appreciation Days & Fall Garden Tour
PLUS enter a drawing for a $100 Shopping Spree
Enjoy a guided tour of Andre's beautiful fall gardens with a member of our Garden Center staff and enter a drawing to win an on-the-spot $100.00 Perennial Shopping Spree!
Saturday, October 15th at 1:30 pm
Attracting Wild Birds to your Home & Garden
Join Mark Viette for this informative seminar and learn the best ways to attract a wide variety of our feathered friends to your property. Mark will discuss how different types of feeders and even different food types will bring many different species of song birds to your home and gardens. Free Lecture
Saturday, October 1st
Fall Festival Event at
Staunton Store Location
Great Savings and Discounts All Day
Fun for the Entire Family
- 10am - 11am: Mark Viette will be in the store to answer your gardening questions
- 11am - 12pm: Mark will present a seminar on
"Gardening in the Fall"
Click for more details
|A Great Idea!|
|Planting Cover Crops!
A fall cover crop just coming up
in late September.
Planting a cover crop after harvest in your vegetable garden is a great way to replenish soil nutrients (especially nitrogen), loosen the soil, rebuild soil structure, reduce weeds, and control erosion over the winter months. It is also a great way to add some often much needed organic matter to the soil. This practice of planting a cover crop to revitalize your vegetable garden soil is one way to make your garden more sustainable.
Winter cover crops, often referred to as "green manure", are generally sown in the fall, allowed to grow all winter, and then are cut (if necessary) and tilled into the soil in the spring before the planting season. The nutrients that have been assimilated into the roots and foliage are then returned to the soil to be used by your vegetable plants during the growing season.
A fall mix consisting of various brassica species including winter radish and turnips.
There are a variety of different types of seed that can be used for cover crops. Probably the most common are some of the rye grasses, clovers, alfalfa, oats, and buckwheat.
Winter rye is a good cover crop for colder areas. It is hardy to -30�F, has a fast growth rate, and an extensive root system that helps with soil aeration. The seed is relatively inexpensive and it's easy to grow. It can be planted from August through October. To plant winter rye, first clear the garden of all the leftover summer vegetable crops and weeds. Rake the soil to loosen it and broadcast the seed evenly over the area according to the rate recommended on the package. Lightly rake the area again to work the seed into the soil. Water it periodically if necessary until the seed germinates and the seedlings are established. In the spring, mow or cut the winter rye and then till it, roots and all, into the soil. Soil organisms will soon break it down and the stored nutrients will become available to your vegetable crops when they are planted later in the spring or early summer.
Crimson clover is another excellent winter cover crop. Clovers are legumes and have the added advantage of fixing nitrogen, converting it to a form that is available to plants growing in the soil. Crimson clover should be planted about 4 weeks prior to the average first hard frost for your region. The seed germinates a bit slower which is why it needs to be seeded earlier. In the spring, about four weeks before you will begin planting your summer crops, cut the clover down, rake it up and compost the foliage. Turn the clover under and let it decompose in the soil for 4 weeks before you plant.
|Listen to Andre on the radio
every Saturday morning
from 8-11 on
"In the Garden with Andre Viette". Click for a station in your area!
Streamed live from our
flagship station WSVA.
Listen to podcasts.
Now you can listen to Mark
every Sunday morning
from 8-10 on "Easy Gardening"
with Mark Viette.
Visit the "Easy Gardening"
website for live streaming and podcasts of Mark's NEW radio
show as well as tips and other gardening information.
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|Andre's Next AAA Trip|
including Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and the Cotswolds
July 3 - 13, 2012
Join Andre and Claire Viette on this fabulous adventure to England. Visit England's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and HRH Prince Charles' gardens at Highgrove House, and journey to the picturesque Cotswolds. Enjoy guided tours of many beautiful, historic gardens including Hidcote Manor and Blenheim Palace. Also visit Bath and Stonehenge.
Don't miss this wonderful 10-day trip!
Click here for more information.