Got Plants? Get Answers.

Green Spring GardensSee spot. See spot grow. See spot grow on plant. See plant wither.

If you have a yard or if you have plants, you probably have problems and questions. There’s an endless variety of questions for an endless variety of plants, including “will it grow in my yard”, and the ubiquitous “what’s that”.

When you need or want information, the first two questions are always, “Who do I ask” and “What do I ask.” At Green Spring Gardens, the Who is our Master Gardeners and our staff.

Every day at the park, a staff person is assigned as Gardener on Duty. You can bring a photo or plant sample in a plastic bag to the Horticulture Center’s front desk. If the Gardener is out and about and not able to come to the front desk, our front desk staff can take notes for the Gardener, who will get back in touch with you.

Every Saturday from 12:30-3:30 p.m. through September, Green Spring Master Gardeners are at the tent you’ll see in front of the park’s Horticulture Center. The Master Gardeners are specially trained to help answer your questions. Bring your questions, photos or plant samples and sit down for a moment to talk.

Our Master Gardeners also help staff the Horticulture Helpline at the Virginia Cooperative Extension office. Phone 703-324-8556 to leave a detailed message for someone to return your call. The Master Gardeners also staff information booths at the county farmers markets.

The “what do I ask” query might better be phrased as “how do I ask.” Here are some tips for bringing real or photographic samples to Green Spring. If you need plant identification help, try to get a plant sample that includes the flowers and a few leaves still on the stem. If you take a photo, try to capture both flowers and leaves. If you can show the whole plant, that can be helpful, too.

If you need help diagnosing a disease or insect problem, try to get a sample from both a healthy and an affected plant or plant part. Place any diseased plant parts or insects in a separate, sealed plastic bag so that you don’t inadvertently spread pests around. Plant problems that we cannot identify, we may be able to send to Adria Bordas, our Virginia Cooperative Extension agent. Keep samples fresh by storing them refrigerated with a damp paper towel in the bag until you can bring them to Green Spring within a day or two.

Sometimes, heading over to Green Spring Gardens does not work for you. Here’s another option. You’re always welcome to send me an email with your question and, if you wish, a photo. If I can’t answer your question, there are several gardeners on staff who can help.

Whether you ask a staff member or a Master Gardener volunteer, we love plant question challenges. Bring your samples and come talk to us!

Author Mary Olien is the Site Manager at Green Spring Gardens. Green Spring Gardens is located at 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria, Va. The park’s phone number is 703-642-5173.

Shop for unique plants at Spring Garden Day on Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

HISTORY: • On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. • To date, 11 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2008. Another Park Bond Referendum will be held in November 2012. Today, the Park Authority has 420 parks on approximately 23,168 acres of land. We offer 371 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park System is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: o Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist. o Eight golf courses including Laurel Hill, our newest, upscale course and clubhouse located in Southern Fairfax County o Five nature and visitor centers. Also seven Off-Leash Dog Activity areas o Several lakes including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax o The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter o Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel o An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter o Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel o Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent o A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly o A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale o Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community o Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center o Provides 274 athletic fields, including 30 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 500 school athletic fields PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: • A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. %

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