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Mother Nature's Garden

Naming plants

When people on my Facebook wildflower page talk about plants, there can be massive confusion. Many of them are intimidated by scientific names so they ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Virginia Creeper: vibrant color to brighten a fall day

Visit that massive stone heap, Blenheim Palace, in October and you’ll find the walls near the main entrance and clock tower glowing red in the ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Blue Mushrooms and Hens for Dinner

When I was a kid, about a 1,000 years ago, mushrooms were an exotic food that came in small cans. They were precooked, brownish gray ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The Wild Onion Controversy

As many of you know, I manage a Virginia Wildflower Community Page on Facebook. It has just under 2,000 members, many of whom are very ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Dodder: An interesting parasite

Yesterday I was driving on the Powhite Parkway, getting ready to merge onto 288 S. when something bright orange caught my eye. There in some ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Thugs and potential thugs

I’ve been searching for wildflowers since I was about 12 years old. It’s what my dad and I did on Sunday afternoon. One summer when ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Species of roses

Roses are very old flowering plants. Fossil evidence shows that they’re around 35 million years old. The cultivation of roses probably began in China over ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

The mystique of lady’s slippers

Virginia has quite a few species of native orchids. Some are showy, while others are almost drab by comparison; they don’t look the way most ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Yellow confusion in Mother Nature’s garden

It all began with a series of posts on my Facebook wildflower community page. There was a flurry of photos of plants with yellow blooms ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

A tale of two plants

Walk through just about any wooded area in Prince Edward or surrounding counties and you’re likely to find a short perennial plant with thick, dark ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Old friends rediscovered in new places

Nearly 10 years ago, I found some trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens) at Holliday Lake on the Lakeshore Trail. It was more than halfway around the ... Read more

3 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Consider the dandelion

Dandelions. Children are endlessly fascinated by them. They’re often the first flower that kids can identify, and probably the only one that they can pick ... Read more

4 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Native Plants for winter interest

It’s still cold in the woods, so February is the perfect time to take a leisurely stroll through your home garden to see how it ... Read more

4 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Thugs and potential thugs

Just like people, plants manage to slip into our country uninvited; they hitchhike in packing materials or grain, for example. Some are well behaved and ... Read more

4 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

In my father’s time

There is renewed interest in using natural, native materials for holiday decorations. It’s part of the nativist movement that’s so prevalent in gardening. Think fresh, ... Read more

4 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Pokeweed is an amazing plant

It’s been immortalized in song, grown at Kew Gardens as an exotic, used to make ink, eaten as an early spring green and is a ... Read more

4 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Embracing creativity and diversity

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful and very thoughtful young woman who wanted to have the perfect early summer wedding. You know the ... Read more

4 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Quite a find — the scarlet cup

Several months ago, a friend went for her regular morning walk. As usual, she took photos of snails, interesting clouds and whatever else struck her ... Read more

4 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Black cohosh — 2017 Wildflower of the Year

As soon as the new year begins, I’m always anxious to learn what the Virginia Native Plant Society’s wildflower of the year will be. The ... Read more

5 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Help! My Azaleas have yellow leaves

Several weeks ago, a friend emailed me a question about his azaleas. They’ve been planted in the same location for many years and have always ... Read more

5 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Butterfly weed: 2017 Perennial of the Year

You probably know it as that bright patch of orange you see when you’re driving along back roads in our area in mid-summer. If you’ve ... Read more

5 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Annual ramble in the woods

My family has a long-standing tradition of taking leisurely walks in the woods during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s a great way ... Read more

5 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Apples part of culinary heritage

When I was a little kid growing up on a local farm, we had a very scraggly looking, old apple tree that was much loved ... Read more

5 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Ironweed: The pollinators’ friend

You probably saw it growing along the back roads in late summer/early fall. With its tall, dark red stems and clusters of small purplish-red flowers, ... Read more

5 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Time to tuck your garden to sleep?

For years, we gardeners were told we should spend the last glorious days of fall cleaning up our yards. Remove dead foliage; deadhead spent flowers; ... Read more

5 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

Asters: Late Summer Splendor

It’s been so hot and dry recently, I just haven’t had much interest in walking trails. Nevertheless, I packed up Navi, my favorite walking companion, ... Read more

5 years ago by Staff Report.

The classic Virginia garden

If you grew up in Virginia, chances are gardening is just an inherent part of who you are. You know what I mean — you ... Read more

5 years ago by Dr. Cynthia Wood.

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