How much can come, how much can go when the December moon is bright, what worlds of play we'll never know sleeping away the cold white night after a fall of snow?

- May Sarton, December Moon

Dear AGC ladies,

Now that Christmas is one week away and we are all in full steam ahead mode, I am trying to find pockets of time to take a deep breath and reflect on the true nature of this special season. Being a part of this extraordinary garden club has bestowed so many gifts upon me including friendship, love of gardening and allegiance to being a better steward to Mother Nature just for starters! We are a phenomenal group and I am proud to be a part of AGC. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to each and everyone of you for all you do for this club. You are all the best gift I will receive this Christmas.

Claire Mellinger

Gimme Shelter

At Smithsonian Gardens, we strive to provide habitat for wildlife that goes beyond the arrival of killing frost in the fall. Here is why:

Habitat includes the food, water, and cover such as shelter and nesting sites that all living creatures need. Sometimes as gardeners, our need to clean and control our surroundings is overwhelming and the urge to "Mow and Blow" before winter is very strong: perennials and grasses cut back, all leaves removed, and everything cleaned up with the rake and the leaf blower.

However, many perennials and grasses provide an attractive winter aesthetic at the same time they offer food and shelter for overwintering species. For example, in the Washington, D.C. area, by January or February, many perennials and grasses look sloppy and flattened by ice and snow. In that mash of dead vegetation, many butterfly eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises will be overwintering and are counting on leaf litter and dead grasses left on the ground to provide shelter.

Birds are another backyard creature that depend on the plants in your yard. Leave the seed heads of coneflowers, black-eyed Susan and grasses as they will provide needed food for foraging. Birds also benefit from the height, the layered effect and the food from many of our native shrubs including the evergreen American holly, eastern redcedar, northern bayberry and southern waxmyrtle (evergreen in town) and inkberry. Deciduous shrubs that also attract a wide variety of bird species include arrowood viburnum, staghorn sumac, winterberry holly, red and black choke cherry. These native shrubs provide overwintering birds the height they need to protect themselves from predators, food in the form of berries and, in the case of evergreens, protection from winter winds.

submitted by Carol Carter direct from the Smithsonian Gardens newsletter

McIntyre Botanical Garden Update

The board of McIntire Botanical Garden has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for qualified firms to submit plans and bids for the design of the botanical garden in Charlottesville’s McIntire Park.

The botanical garden is included in the park’s Schematic Master Plan approved by City Council. It will be located on 8.5 acres in the northeastern section of the park, near the intersection of the John W. Warner Parkway and Melbourne Road.

“Announcing the RFP is a critical milestone for bringing the garden to central Virginia,” commented MBG Board President Dorothy Tompkins. “A very important step in creating this RFP was reaching out to the executive directors of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond and Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna,” Tompkins noted. “They reviewed our RFP and offered invaluable input.”

MBG’s RFP Committee includes two landscape architects and a Virginia certified landscape designer who also serve on the MBG Board. Other members are the director of Charlottesville’s Parks and Recreation Department, several business leaders experienced in procurement, the founder of the botanical garden initiative, and two current and previous MBG Board members.

To announce the bid opportunity, the RFP Committee emailed the announcement in October to a master list of known landscape architecture firms in Virginia. It also enlisted the American Society of Landscape Architects and its Virginia chapter to notify firms.

Interested vendors must attend a pre-proposal meeting Nov. 16, which will include a walk-through of the garden site and a question/answer session. The RFP is divided into three distinct phases, and prospective vendors will have to propose plans, a timeline, and budget for each phase. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2018.

More information is available at

reprinted from the Daily Progress

Thank you to all members for voting on the budget for this Design Forum budget. There was a majority vote of YES, so please take a look at the flyer that is now up on our website. This going to be a great Design Forum and what a honor to have such incredible speakers. We will have a dedicated web page up and running very soon. You will be able to purchase tickets and pre-order Meryl Gordon's book. You can find it all at

Conservation Wisdom

Beware of Chinese Privet! (Ligustrum Sinensis)

“Want a fast evergreen screen, cheap? Don’t mind pruning for the rest of your life? Ligustrum sinensis is the way to go.” WRONG! This is bad advice from a plant book published as recently as 2003! Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) is one of the most widely-found invasive plants in the South! It was first brought to this country in 1852 to be used as a hedge plant. Some of you may still have a privet hedge planted years ago, but it was recognized as seriously invasive by the 1950’s. But that did not stop nurseries from selling it and people from planting it. Just drive down many of our county’s country roads and you will see the results. Because it grows and seeds itself so fast, this plant can dominate the shrub layer, choking and shading out desirable plants.

For concise and timely advise, check out the website for the Blue Ridge PRISM, There you will find a fact sheet on privet, as well as many other invasive plants; detailing information on identification and how to remove and destroy them.

Since the privet is evergreen the best time to locate infestations in your woods and fields is during the winter months. Young seedlings can be easily pulled after a rain, while larger specimens should be dealt with during warmer months. (If you have large acreage, tag the plants in winter when they are easy to see.) According to Blue Ridge PRISM there are several ways to remove and control privet but the most effective is the ‘cut stump’ method. First you must cut, lop or saw stems to 6 inches from the ground and then immediately (within a minute) apply a concentrated herbicide to the cut stump. Watch over the treated stumps during the next year for regrowth and treat again when needed.

Take advantage of this time after the leaves have fallen, during the winter months to look for other evergreen invasive plants on your property such as honeysuckle, mahonia, and nandina; and while you’re at it, save some of those evergreens for wreath making!

submitted by Alexandra Shirley

Upcoming AGC Horticulture Flower Show

February 21, 2018

At our February meeting, Fran Carden will be leading the charge for our fabulous Horticulture Flower Show entitled Spring is in the Air. You can find the schedule on our website. Go to the MEMBERS AREA and click on STANDING COMMITTEES, then scroll down and click on FLOWER SHOWS and click on "Spring is in the Air" Read the schedule carefully and start thinking of what you want to enter. Questions? Contact Fran Carden

AGC Photography Workshop

On January 23, 9:30-11:30 we will host a club Photography Workshop: "How to Easily Submit your Photos for GCA/Zone Shows". Dana Parker our Zone VII Photography Rep (Virginia Beach GC) will be our guest speaker.

Even if you do not wish to submit photos for shows anytime soon, it will be a great session to learn skills in photography to create the best photos. Please contact Tori Macmillan of you are interested in signing up please email

Flower Arranging and Botanical Arts Workshops

Join award-winning GCV floral designers in a hands-on workshop and take home your creation! Space is limited.

When - Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 10:00 AM EST to Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 2:30 PM EST

Where - Kent-Valentine House

12 East Franklin Street Richmond, VA 23219

Beginning Flower Arranging

Tuesday, February 6

10 am - 2:30 pm

Your first step into the world of flower arranging! Learn how to choose and condition greens and flowers, and how to work with the "mechanics" of a successful arrangement. $100 fee includes all flowers, supplies, snacks and box lunch. Attendees will be sent a list of materials to collect for the workshop and suitable containers to bring. Class size limited to the first 36 members.

Advanced Flower Arranging

Wednesday, February 7

10 am - 2:30 pm

This workshop is perfect for experienced floral arrangers who are seeking to learn additional skills. You'll learn technique including handling flowers and greens, wiring, conditioning, basing, massing, bunching, bundling, grouping, layering, pave designs and manipulation of materials as you create a Creative Mass to keep. $100 fee includes flowers, supplies, containers, snacks and box lunch. Attendees will be sent a list of materials to collect for this workshop. Class size limited to the first 36 members.

Botanical Arts with Peyton Wells

Thursday, February 8

10 am - 2:30 pm

Join master of botanical arts Peyton Wells, Tuckahoe Garden Club, and try your hand at transforming natural seeds and pods to look like beautiful jewels. $100 fee includes all supplies and materials, snacks and box lunch.

To register, click here

GCA Year in Review Awards

Presented at the GCA Zone VII Awards Banquet on October 13, 2016

Zone Civic Improvement Commendation

City Schoolyard Garden, proposed by Albemarle Garden Club

Zone Historic Preservation Award

Melinda Frierson, Albemarle Garden Club

Zone Horticulture Commendation

Peggy Cornett, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, proposed by Albemarle Garden Club

Zone VII Flower Show Awards

from "Views from the Mountaintop"


Best in Show

Susan Lankenau, Albemarle Garden Club

Rosie Jones Horticulture Award

Dana Harris, Albemarle Garden Club

Corliss Knapp Engle Horticulture Sweepstakes

Albemarle Garden Club

Conservation and Education

Ann Lyon Crammond Award

Albemarle Garden Club

Marion Thompson Fuller Brown Conservation Award

Albemarle Garden Club

AGC Club Awards:

AGC Club Appreciation Awards

Brooke Spencer, Albemarle Garden Club

Club Floral Design Achievement Awards

Donna Ernest, Albemarle Garden Club

Club Horticulture Awards

Dorothy Tompkins, Albemarle Garden Club

Flower Show Awards Received by Zone VII Members at other GCA Flower Shows:


Claire Smithers Mellinger, Creativity Award, Albemarle Garden Club, “Master Works - Art From Nature’s Bounty” - GCA Flower Show hosted by The Knoxville Garden Club

Click here here to see ALL GCV 2017 Symposium awards


Merry Christmas to all and thank you ladies for your dedication to AGC!

Beautiful ornament needlepointed by our very own Liza Egerton dressing up the tree at GCA Headquarters.

#DesignForum #conservation #Horticulture #FlowerShows


Albemarle Garden Club

P.O. Box 5746, Charlottesville, VA  22905