By Mary Reid Barrow
Photos Courtesy of Virginia Beach Master Gardeners
Easy on the pocketbook and easy to put in the ground, plant plugs of native bloomers, such as blue mist flower, black-eyed Susan, swamp milkweed and more, will be looking for homes at the Virginia Beach Master Gardener Fall Flower Festival Saturday, September 23rd.
If you want to get a jump start on a native plant garden or you are expanding yours, the master gardeners will be ready for you from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center on Diamond Springs Road.
Plugs are young and healthy plants that you can buy several of for the price of one large potted plant, said Master Gardener Ruth Burch, who is in charge of ordering the plugs. Plants are about 6 inches tall and grow in tiny containers.
Plugs, three of one species in a bag, will cost $8. An information sheet on how to care for the plugs until you get them in the ground is included.
“Plugs are a good way to get inexpensive plants in the hands of people,” Ruth said. “And all they have to do is make a hole, with or without fertilizer, and keep them moist for six weeks.”
Other plant plugs for sale at the festival include swamp milkweed, blue mist flower, spotted Joe Pye weed, swamp sunflower, scarlet rose mallow, seashore mallow and big blue lobelia.
But plugs aren’t all you will find at the Fall Flower Festival. For the first time, the group will sell worm castings in 5-pound bags, and a variety of bulbs, said Master Gardener Terri Belkov.
The master gardeners also will hold their traditional sale of plants they have grown in their own yards, Terri added. Plants included flowers such as blue star amsonia, mountain mint, pipevine and threadleaf coreopsis. Trees and shrubs include buttonbush, beauty berry, red bud, tulip poplar, oak, and maple.
And that’s not all. Other groups, such as the Butterfly Society of Virginia, also will have plants for sale at the fall festival. And several environmental groups, including Lynnhaven River NOW, will be on hand with exhibits and information.
Workshops include a make and take mason bee house and a session on how to plant a tree in conjunction with a tour of the research station’s arboretum.
The festival is dog friendly and a bake sale and a food truck will insure humans don’t go hungry. Join the fun and taken some gifts home to your garden. The rain date is Sunday, the 24th.
Find out more at www.vbmg.org.