Volume 10 | December 2017
Greening Your Holiday
Just in time for holiday decorating - it's time to prune most evergreens in your garden! To preserve the health of your evergreens, take care when harvesting from the landscape. Use proper pruning cuts, be aware of signs of disease or pests, and take cuttings from areas that already need pruning. This evergreen pruning calendar and shrub pruning calendar tell you which trees & shrubs to prune now and gives some information about proper pruning.

Boxwood cuttings are popular this time of year and can be harvested from home landscapes or purchased at garden centers. Be aware that Boxwood Blight is a pathogen that can spread to boxwood plantings from these cuttings. Signs and symptoms of Boxwood Blight include leaf spots with a dark border, white masses on stems and the underside of leaves, and defoliation. To prevent the spread of the blight, inspect boxwood cuttings before introducing them to your home. These photos can help you identify signs of Boxwood Blight. If you use boxwood in your decorations, bag them for disposal when you are through with them.

December Garden Chores:
  • prune evergreens and many shrubs
  • remove fallen leaves from lawns - mulch and use to suppress weeds in garden beds
  • clean up debris from frost bitten plants***
  • incorporate soil amendments and compost into garden beds
  • assess the garden for areas that need more winter interest - you'll know where to focus planting later

*** If you wish to cultivate habitat in your garden, you may want to leave a lot of fall debris in your garden. However, dead vegetable plants, plants that had disease or pest problems, and plants that turn to "mush" after frost should be removed now to help prevent the spread of disease next year. Do not compost plant material with disease or pests.

As the year wraps up, Virginia Beach Master Gardeners would like to thank everyone who attended our events, read our newsletter, visited our website, or followed us on social media. Our key mission is to provide education and it is at the heart of all we do. If you'd like to see a particular topic covered, please let us know. You can email suggestions directly to vbmgevents@gmail.com.

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
Upcoming Events
Jan 26 - 28 - Virginia Flower & Garden Expo
Come visit our booth at the Virginia Flower & Garden Expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Jan 29 - Gardening Talk - Beekeeping Basics
Pam Fisher, VCE Chesapeake Master Gardener and beekeeper will teach the basics of keeping bees, as well as how to be around bees safely.
Free and Open to the Public; No Registration Required. Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452; 7-8pm.

House Plant Care
Growing plants indoors during the winter? Check out these tips on containers, soil, water, and fertilization.

New Programs for 2018

Virginia Beach Master Gardeners will be introducing four new projects in 2018 and expanding two existing projects. Look for more details on our website, as features in this newsletter, and on our Facebook page.

  • Seed Library
  • The new seed library will be housed at the Virginia Beach Central Library at 4100 Virginia Beach Blvd. Different seasonally timed seeds will be available to the public at no charge each month. Opens January 20, 2018.
  • School Garden Workshops
  • This project will provide training opportunities to school employees who manage or wish to develop a school garden program. Registration for workshops will open in February 2018.
  • Sentara Seniors
  • VBMG volunteers will work with seniors at the Sentara Nursing Center, providing education and hands on activities.
  • Tree Stewards Legacy Tree Program
  • Tree Stewards will provide grant money to schools, nonprofits, and community groups who wish to increase Virginia Beach's tree canopy.
  • Expanded Plant Doctor Program
  • Our Plant Doctors are adding a special event coordinator to arrange appearances of Plant Doctor Clinics at events sponsored by other organizations. Dates and times will be announced as they become available.
  • Gardening Workshops
  • The Gardening Talks and Workshop series have added even more hands-on experiences, free and open to the public. Registration information for each workshop will be posted on our Facebook page and website. For a complete schedule, see the link below.

Plan Ahead
Feb 26 - Gardening Talk - From the Ground Up - 5 Steps to Vegetable Gardening

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.