Visit the Extension Office Demonstration Garden
The garden at the Extension Office was created by the Hanover Master Gardeners using native plants leftover from a horticulture display at the Virginia State Fair several years ago along with a few packages of zinnia and cosmos seeds, with the idea of planting and thinking this will be a nice native plant garden.
It didn’t quite turn out like that.
It was realized that the location between the asphalt parking lot and the building on a southern exposure was a hot and dry site with poor soil from when the building was constructed. It was impossible to keep it watered. Those plants that were not drought-tolerant died and the reseeding zinnias and cosmos took over, crowding out other plants. It was time to research some new ideas and plants.
Plant Selection for Lessons Learned
With a fresh approach, in the Spring of 2022 the garden was replanted to represent a sustainable conservation native plant residential landscape garden rather than just a native pollinator garden. The booklet, Native Plants for Virginia’s Capital Region, was the guide for plant selection. It was planted with drought-tolerant native plants, and a drip irrigation system was installed.
The native plant garden’s progression.
Native Plant Demonstration Garden at the Hanover Extension Office
Native Plant Spring Installation
Plant Selection and Easier Maintenance
Plant selection was aimed at having a four-season interest and to be a native plant example of a home landscape. To give the garden interest in the winter months, the bamboo trellis and tower were included along with a planting container that will contain pansies during cold weather.
A sustainable conservation garden is low maintenance, supports wildlife, conserves resources, is environmentally friendly, and uses sustainable materials. To represent a sustainable conservation landscape garden, local native plants are used that are appropriate for the hot dry site. These plants are supporting a wide variety of beneficial pollinators (bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, and moths) and birds (goldfinches and hummingbird), including the recently listed endangered species, Monarch Butterfly. Now established, the garden takes minimal maintenance during the summer.
The drip irrigation watering system is the most efficient means of providing water and maintenance free. The soil and environment are protected by the non-use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and mulching will be with chopped leaves supplied by a master gardener, which will amend the soil as they decompose. Lastly, the use of a sustainable product, bamboo, is used for the garden structures rather than chemically treated lumber and the planted garden container is a repurposed item, a must see.
Here are some of the native plants we chose to use in our location.