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The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.
— Alfred Austin
 
Dear Friends and Neighbors, 
 
This is clearly an unsettling time. Our routines have been shattered and our ability to connect with each other severely curtailed. The importance of community has never been more pronounced. Our deepest hope is that you have the support of friends and family -- even if virtually. We may find some solace that this period of increasing isolation is taking place as spring dawns, and the comfort of the natural world is apparent. 
 
We had planned several walks and opportunities to come together in the Garden during the early spring. We will hold out hope that our small group gatherings -- abiding by all necessary precautions -- may still take place, but we will provide updates on our Facebook page.  
 
In the meantime, please take care and stay safe. We will see you all in the Garden soon. 
 
Staff and Board of Directors 
McIntire Botanical Garden
 
Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship
 honors a friend to MBG
 
 
 
More than 200 supporters and friends gathered at Farmington Country Club on Sunday, March 8 to hear MBG Master Plan lead designer Mikyoung Kim speak. The presentation was part of the Ian Robertson Legacy: Lectureship, which honors the beloved landscape designer while raising funds for McIntire Botanical Garden’s educational programs.
 
Mikyoung’s presentation to the near sell-out crowd focused on her agency’s approach of telling the unique story of the communities for whom they design gardens. She explained two-fold design objectives for MBG:  to create a place of discovery, wonder and healing, as well as to build a place where visitors could learn the benefits of lingering. Mikyoung also shared how the Schematic Plan of the Garden was designed to adapt to the challenging topography of the site, as well as how the plans that her design team, together with our local partners Waterstreet Studio, included innovative solutions for turning potentially damaging storm water into a dramatic waterfall – certain to be a popular draw.
 
Special thanks to the all-volunteer committee which put forth a tremendous effort to ensure the entire event went off seamlessly, from coordinating the silent auction and vendor tables, to securing sponsorships and producing the beautiful commemorative program.
 
We are deeply grateful to the area businesses who sponsored the event: Bank of the James, Grelen Nursery, J.W. Townsend Landscapes, Ace Contracting, Barret-Johnson Associates, L.H. Gardens, Piedmont Landscape Association, Panorama PayDirt and Plow & Hearth. Additionally, we are extremely thankful for the support of Bailey Printing.    
 
Species Spotlight:  The White Walnut
by Charlotte Devine
 
Butternut Tree
“White walnut… What’s that?” If this is your first thought, you’re not alone.  The white walnut tree, or Juglans cinerea, is the reclusive cousin of the more common black walnut, Juglans nigra. This beauty has buttery-tasting nuts that are sometimes used in baking...which explains why it is nicknamed the “butternut tree.” You can find these trees growing from Mississippi into eastern Canada, and in fact two have taken up root in our Garden.
 
White walnuts prefer the nutrient-rich soil of hardwood forests, but they can live in a variety of soil types as long as they get plenty of sunshine. They have relatively short lifespans, but white walnuts can reach up to 60 feet in height and 50 feet in canopy.
 
Historically, the white walnut has been used for dyes, furniture and even medicine. It also provides great habitat value by serving as food for animals. Sadly, the tree is under great threat today. The invasive fungus Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum has extended across the white walnut’s range and kills any tree it infects. The fungus causes deep sores called cankers, which look like wide black slits bordered with white. Once it finds an opening, the fungus enters the veins of the tree and destroys its ability to transport both nutrients and water. When looking for the fungus, you should examine the trunk and base of the tree for cankers and check the crown for dieback. The fungus can survive for up to two years after a tree dies, so be wary about planting new butternuts too close to diseased ones.
 
White walnut trees are relatively hard to find given their recent decline and likeness in appearance to black walnut trees. In order to identify a white walnut, you should look for a couple of tell-tale features. First, look for plated, silver-gray bark with dark crevices, which differs from the blockier, dark bark of black walnut.  Second, look for the mustache.  Each branch has a leaf scar with a little mustache-like band of hair hovering right above it. Third, you can search for the nuts that are likely spread on the ground around the tree. White walnut nuts are shaped like slightly fuzzy footballs and are smaller than the nuts of the black walnut.
 
If you’d like to see some white walnuts, take a stroll through the Garden. We’ve added some plaques to identify several special varieties.
 
Charlotte received a M.A. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia in 2018. We welcome her contribution to our newsletter. 
 
Meet our Board Members...
 A Q&A with Carolyn Achenbach 
 
Q) What do you love most about gardening?
Gardening is my therapy.  I think it started with the beauty it produces, but it has become so much more.  I love the feel of the dirt and the air, the buzzing and tweeting of bees and birds, the peeps and croaks of toads and frogs.  I love the smells of the earth and the flowers. I love that the plants don’t talk back.  (They don’t always do as I wish, but we reach accommodations that give me satisfaction.)  Gardening fills my heart and lets me breathe…I guess I couldn’t pick a “most.” 
 
Q) Why did you get involved with McIntire Botanical Garden?
It has always been ironic to me that here, in a garden capital of the world, where we have such a plethora of special private gardens, we have no public garden.  We have visited many gardens all over the globe and so often, I have thought about how much I would like to be able to take a class or go back and see what is happening the next week or month in a garden.  When asked to join the board at McIntire Botanical Garden, I realized that if I want this, I had better get to work!
 
Q) What is your role on the Board of Directors?
I chair the Development Committee which is tasked with raising funds to support the Garden's growth.  We do this by reaching out to donors of all sizes to talk about how the Garden can be relevant to them. We are in the midst of planning our Spring Appeal, so as your gardens grow, we hope you'll consider a gift to help us grow ours. Please check our website for more details.
 
Q) What should the public know about McIntire Botanical Garden?
The Garden will be for everyone.  It will be a place where children and families will be able to enjoy the benefits of nature, learn about an environment often taken for granted and be surrounded by beauty.
 
Q) What is your favorite flower/shrub?
Flower is easy - since early childhood…the Daffodil.  Shrub…that changes but I’d have to say Pieris japonica…oh, or maybe Camellia sasanqua.
 
Q) When not supporting the Garden, what are you doing?
Well, gardening…and traveling, practicing yoga, walking/hiking, reading – often about gardens –  and enjoying my grandchildren.
 
Come take a walk in our Garden 
 
Now that spring has sprung, we have planned a number of walks throughout the Garden led by local experts. Check our Facebook page and Website for more details where you can register. See you in the Garden!
 
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BIRD WALKS
 
Come for a bird walk in McIntire Botanical Garden during peak spring migration, led by our guide Andy Josselyn. Andy has been birding in Central Virginia for the past eight years with his wife and the Monticello Bird Club.  Andy is also an English teacher at Charlottesville High School.
 
In addition to seeing familiar local residents like Redbellied Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird and Red Shouldered Hawk, we will greet the return of familiar feathered friends like Tree Swallows and Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. If we're lucky, we may see brightly colored members of the Warbler family passing through, like American Redstart, Northern Parula, and Chestnut Sided Warbler. Bring binoculars to experience critical habitat for one of nature's most impressive journeys. 
April 18 - 8:00 am
May 9 - 8:00 am
TREE WALKS
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Come “Forest Bathing” with us!  Explore the trees of McIntire Botanical Garden with Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards Tom Wild and Donna Vinal. We all benefit from the treasures which are trees. Learn how to identify trees from their leaves, bark, form, flowers and seeds.  Registration is required (Limited to 25 participants).  Please wear appropriate clothing as ticks and poison ivy also live in our garden forest.
 May 23 - 10 am and 1 pm
 
 
Bird Walk Image Credit:  Abby Newton
Tree Walk Image Credit:  Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards
 
Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day
with MBG   
 
 
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April 22 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, and we are partnering with our friends at Panorama Pay Dirt to get our hands dirty in celebration!
 
Join us in the Garden from 10 am - 6 pm for free Panorama Pay Dirt available by the bucket. (No truck loads). 
 
Panorama’s Compost is expertly formulated to feed your soil. It has been made using the same recipe since 2001 including leaves, poultry litter, and water, and is screened to 1/2” with a trommel screen. This Compost is a rich, deep brown color, has a consistency similar to course coffee grounds, and is OMRI Listed for organic use. It’s great for incorporating into brand new garden beds, existing annual or perennial beds, and vegetable plantings.
 
Learn more about compost by visiting their website at panoramapaydirt.com.
 
Many hands make MULCH!!
 
 
On January 25, McIntire Botanical Garden held its third volunteer work day. More than 80 hardy souls braved fog, rain and eventual sunshine to help clear brush, spread mulch, build paths for our bird and butterfly walks, and install posts that will mark the site of future sub-gardens and buildings.
 
Article ImageWe are particularly grateful to the team from Bartlett Tree Experts, who partnered with us once again to prune trees and remove invasive species while keeping us safe, Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards who continue to contribute their equipment and expertise, and for the energy and enthusiasm of more than 25 students from the University of Virginia’s APO Fraternity and Alternative Spring Break program who joined our core volunteers and board members.
 
 
It is truly breathtaking to see the work that was accomplished. Please join one of our spring and summer Garden walks and see the clearing for yourself.  Or, better yet … register as a volunteer on our website and come get your hands dirty the next time! 
 
 
Volunteer Spotlight: Kate Beadle
 
 
MBG Marketing & Communications Committee volunteer Kate Beadle grew up in Virginia Beach and works for State Farm Insurance in Charlottesville where she has lived for 22 years.  She has been a great asset to the committee even with a busy travel schedule.
 
WhArticle Imageat inspired you to volunteer with MBG?
Inspiration started early, since my mother and stepfather are passionate Master Gardeners.   Gardening is in my DNA, and I have always valued the role public gardens have played in their communities.  I have many treasured memories of spending time with family at the Norfolk Botanical Garden and know what this Garden will mean for Charlottesville.
 
How did you get involved?
After reading about the Masterplan in the paper, I got excited about the prospect of a botanical garden here in our own community.  I reached out to MBG through their website offering to volunteer.  After discussion with the Volunteer Coordinator about my skills and interests, I was placed where I was the best fit.
 
What type of work have you done?
I have been a volunteer on the Marketing & Communications Committee, primarily managing social media accounts.  I have also had a voice in newsletters, website, media relations and community events.  It has been a great way to use and enhance my professional skills.
 
What is your favorite thing about volunteering for MBG?
It is rewarding to see the progress that has been made over the past few years, the growing momentum, and the support of the community for this public Garden.  I am delighted by the Mikyoung Kim schematic design developed in collaboration with our own Waterstreet Studio and look forward to the day it becomes a reality!
 
How do you balance full time work commitments and volunteering for the Garden?
There are numerous roles volunteers can fill in these formative years based on skills and availability.  In my case, committee meetings are scheduled in evenings and by phone to be flexible.  I can accomplish the work at home on my own computer and the community events are scheduled in advance so I can plan around them.  I encourage interested volunteers to reach out to MBG and see how your skills fit their needs.
 
Please consider making a gift today to McIntire Botanical Garden and join your neighbors in establishing this compelling new community resource that will benefit our region for generations to come!
 

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McIntire Botanical Garden
200 Garrett Street, Suite H
Charlottesville, VA 22902