April/May 2018
Welcome Spring with Local Plant Sales
Spring temperatures have finally arrived and with the nice weather comes Plant Sale Season! Master Gardeners around the region begin their annual sales this month. Below you'll find a list of sales happening in the area through May.

Whether you purchase plants from Master Gardeners, garden centers, or other retailers, here are some things to look for in choosing healthy plants.

  • Good Roots - Roots should be white and actively growing. Brown or tan roots may indicate the plant has been overwatered, is diseased, or suffering from other stress. Don't be afraid to tip the pot over and get a look at the roots.
  • Color - Green plants should be green. While some plants are meant to have variegated or colored foliage, green leaves that appear chlorotic (yellow) or have purple splotches may be suffering from a nitrogen or phosphorus deficiency, respectively. You don't have to pass on these plants, but be aware that a little extra TLC might be required.
  • Insects - Inspect plants for signs of insect damage or infestations. Pay special attention to the area where leaves attach to the stems and the underside of leaves.
  • Size - Bigger is not always better. Plants with balanced "root to shoot" ratios will establish faster in the landscape. Look for compact plants with thickened stems that won't be easily damaged by wind or handling.
  • Vegetables - Plants that are already producing fruit are not good choices. Choose vegetable transplants with few to no flowers & fruit. If fruit or flowers are present, remove them before planting so the plant can put its energy into establishing a root system in its new home.

Master Gardener Plant Sales:

  • Chesapeake Master Gardeners: April 27 & 28 - Great Bridge Community Center, 212 Holt Dr, Chesapeake, VA
  • Portsmouth Master Gardeners: May 5 - 105 Utah Street, Portsmouth, VA
  • York/Poquoson Master Gardeners: May 5 - 301 Goodwin Neck Rd, Yorktown, VA
  • Virginia Beach Master Gardeners: May 5 & 6 - Virginia Beach Farmer's Market, 3640 Dam Neck Rd, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Norfolk Master Gardeners: May 19 & 20 - Stockley Gardens, Norfolk, VA

The Virginia Beach Master Gardener Plant Sale will feature over 200 varieties of plants from our personal gardens, demonstration gardens, and greenhouses. Vegetables, herbs, native perennials, pollinator plants, tropicals, trees, shrubs, and annuals will all be available, as well as native plant landscape plugs. We'll be open Saturday, May 5, 9am - 3pm, and Sunday, May 6, 10am - 2pm. To see a full list of what we'll have, check out our 2018 Plant List and see photos of some of the plants below.

Happy Gardening!

Have gardening questions? Help is available year round through the Master Gardener Help Desk by calling 757-385-8156 or email your question to vbmghelp@vbgov.com
Bleeding Heart Vine
Brazilian Petunia
April & May in the Garden
Camellia, Japanese
Camellia, Sasanqua
Jasmine, Winter
Privet (Ligustrum)

Warm season annuals
Summer & Fall blooming bulbs
Onion sets
Squash (summer & winter)
Sweet Corn

* - transplants only
  • Keep perennial & vegetable beds weeded
  • Water new plants frequently until established
  • Replenish mulch to conserve moisture and deter weed seeds
  • Cut back yellow/brown foliage from spring blooming bulbs
  • Deadhead roses
  • Check Columbine leaves for leafminers - visible as white lines scribbled through leaves. If present, cut plant back after blooming to allow new, healthy foliage to regrow
Common Name: Swamp Milkweed
Scientific Name: Ascelpias incarnata
Bloom Time: May - August
Color: pink
Size: 2-5 feet
Zone: 3-8
Native range: Eastern United States
Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade; moist/wet areas; tolerant of clay soils.
Host plant for Monarch butterfly.

Common Name: Wheel Bug
Scientific Name:  Arilus cristatus
Time of Year Active: summer/fall
Where to See Them: Trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants
Benefits: Wheel bugs are general predators, especially of caterpillars.

Plant bush beans, pole beans, cucumbers, summer squash, sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos every 10-14 days from April - mid-July to have successive harvests of vegetables and flowers.
Upcoming Events
Apr 30 - Gardening Talk - Straw Bale Gardening
Fred Ball, VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener
Straw bale gardening is fun and easy, especially if your space is limited.
Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, 7-8pm. Free & open to the public.
May 5 & 6 - Spring Plant Sale
Held at Virginia Beach Farmer's Market, 3640 Dam Neck Rd. Free admission & parking. Cash, check, or credit. Rain or shine.
May 5 - 9am - 3pm
May 6 - 10am - 2pm

May 12 - Rain Barrel Workshop
All rain barrel workshops are held at the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market, 3640 Dam Neck Rd., 9 - 10am.    Cost: $50 per barrel. Pre-registration required at www.vbmg.org

May 12 - Seed Library Talk
Topic: Container Gardening
Meyera E. Oberdorf Central Library, 2pm. Free & open to the public.

May 21 - Gardening Talk - How to Make Compost in 30 Days
Alice Brown, VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener
Learn how to quickly turn your kitchen and yard waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment to improve your landscape and garden beds.
Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, 7-8pm. Free & open to the public.

Jun 23 - Children's Workshop - Paper, Paint, & Petals
Linda Edwards, VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener
Create your own paper seed bomb from recycled paper. Identify and use flowers to create your version of a Monet painting.
** This workshop is geared towards children, grades 2-4. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
10:00 am - 12 noon; HRAREC
Free, but pre-registration is required. Registration will open on May 23, 2018. Register at vbmg.org .

Plan Ahead
Jun 25 - Gardening Talk - Pruning: It's All in the Timing

July 30 - Gardening Talk - Succulents in the Local Landscape

Sept 15 - Fall Gardening Festival

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Jill Wright at 757-385-4769 during the business hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event. TDD number (800) 828-1120.  
Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.