Volume 02  | February 2017
Winter Offers Time for Planning
Since our last newsletter, we've seen a bit of winter! Our area received 6+ inches of snow, and considerably more depending on where you live. Add in some days when temps stayed at or below freezing and not much gets done in the garden. So what's a gardener to do? PLAN for SPRING! And summer, fall, and next winter, too...

Winter is a great time to assess your yard or garden's winter interest. Are there areas that look bare and boring? Make note of these spaces. Once planting season arrives, keep these areas in mind and choose plants to add that will liven up the garden when everything else is sleeping. Evergreen trees and shrubs, plants that bloom in winter, or deciduous specimens with eye-catching bark or shapes are all good choices. Be sure to consider other important site factors when choosing - sun/shade, mature size of the plant, and watering needs.

Order seeds from your favorite catalogs if you need to start them now. Many cold-season edibles can be started in the garden or transplanted early for harvest in the spring.

Winter is also a good time to take stock of your garden tools, clean and oil them, sharpen blades, and have everything organized before Spring arrives.

Several upcoming workshops have been scheduled to help you with your garden plans. On March 4, two workshops will be held at Hampton Roads Agricultural Research & Extension Center. Creating a Backyard Wildlife Habitat focuses on design and planting to support beneficial wildlife in your garden and landscape. Register at backyardwildlifehabitat2.eventbrite.com. A second workshop in the afternoon focuses specifically on attracting insects and pollinators to your garden. Participants will build and take home a free mason bee house. Register at insectsandpollinators2.eventbrite.com. Both workshops are FREE, but space is limited.

March also brings the start of Rain Barrel workshops with Virginia Beach Master Gardener Water Stewards. Workshops are offered on the second Saturday of each month, March - October, at the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market. Learn the importance of keeping storm water on your property, and how rain barrels can help improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay, while also saving you money in irrigation. The cost is $50 per barrel and includes a diverter kit for installation on an existing downspout. Family-friendly! To take part in any of the rain barrel workshops - Register for Rain Barrels

Take heart - winter won't last forever and soon enough we'll all be out, getting our hands dirty. In just over a month, the first day of Spring will arrive!

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
Feb. 25 - Tree Talks
This all day workshop covers planting and pruning basics, tools, and tree & shrub care. Guest speakers: Marcus Jones, ODU's Kaplan Orchid Conservatory; Michael Nentwich, City Forester, Norfolk; & Marie Butler, Chesapeake Master Gardener & retired Landscape Coordinator from the Virginia Zoo. Organized by VCE Master Gardener Tree Stewards.
FREE to the Public, but registration required: www.eventbrite.com/e/tree-talks-2017-tickets-27681044750. 8am - 2pm, HR Agricultural Research & Extension Center, 1444 Diamond Springs Rd, Virginia Beach.

Feb. 27 - Gardening Talk
Cherries and Berries - Doug Spencer, VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener
Discussion of urban fruit trees and shrubs including apple, pear, peach, cherries, grapes, hops, and 4 types of berry bushes. FREE, No registration required. 7-8pm, Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library.

Properly Pruning Crape Myrtles
February is a good time to prune trees and shrubs, but the oft-used practice of "topping" crape myrtles is not recommended. To learn the proper method of pruning these trees and shrubs, visit the link.  

Pruning and Care of Crape Myrtles
Children's Education Garden at the Market

Volunteers have created educational gardens behind the Rural Heritage Center at the Virginia Beach Farmers Market, located at 3640 Dam Neck Rd. Tours are conducted for pre-K through 5th graders. The goal is to connect children to agriculture through interactive experiential activities. The garden is open to the public during regular Farmer’s Market hours.

Plan Ahead
Mar. 27 - Gardening Talk
Vegetable Irrigation Methods: Joey Elliot, VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener. 7-8pm, Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library.

Apr. 25 & May 4 - Master Gardener Intern Orientation
Interested in becoming a Virginia Beach Master Gardener? Attend one of our Orientations to find out more! 10am - 12 noon, 1449 Princess Anne Rd, Building 14 - upstairs conference room.

May 6 & 7 - Spring Plant Sale
Virginia Beach Farmer's Market, 3640 Dam Neck Rd. Saturday: 9am - 3pm
Sunday: 10am - 2pm

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.