Landscape for Life Offered this Spring

Are you a gardener new to Southside Virginia or the northern piedmont of North Carolina? Have you ever wanted to take the Master Gardener course but are still working or don’t want to commit to the volunteer obligation? The VCE Southside Master Gardener Association’s Landscape for Life may be just what you need. Landscape for Life is based on sustainable landscape practices. Think of it as a mini-Master Gardener training. The six classes will occur on Fridays January 26, February 9, March 1, March 15, March 29 and April 12, 2024. All classes are held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Halifax Extension Office. The Landscape for Life series starts off on January 26 with an introduction to soils by Kathy Conner Cornell. Most times we don’t give soil any thought. Soils are everything to the plant. It is through the interaction of roots and the soil that plants receive their nutrition and water. Healthy soils are the basis of a beautiful garden. You will need to bring a small baggie of soil from your garden to this first class.
It is important to have sustainable landscapes that attract pollinators such as this beautiful native Baptisia australis, false blue indigo. If you are interested in learning how to garden with nature, sign up for the Landscape for Life being offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Southside Master Gardener Association. Water Quality will be discussed on February 9. Stormwater management is very important no matter where you live. We need to garden and manage runoff in ways that protect our waterways. You will learn special techniques to properly manage rainwater in your landscape. On March 1, Kathy will review how to determine the right plant for the right place. It is important to avoid invasive alien plants that disrupt our natural habitats. Native plants can often be a good choice in the sustainable garden but not necessarily the only choice. You will learn what to consider as you make the best plant selections for your garden. Possibly there will be a special presentation on creating a wild flower meadow Landscape design will be discussed on March 15. A strong design is the backbone of any landscape. You shouldn’t put a shovel in the ground until you’ve assessed your space and determined what functions you want your landscape to serve such as play area, private area or entertaining area. The design development will be an ongoing project but to help with the plan Jean Blanton, VCE Southside Master Gardener, will guide you through the basics of landscape design principles. Materials, normally thought of as hardscape, will be discussed on March 29. In the landscape, hardscapes are often used for things such as fencing, arbors, trellises or pathways. This will be a fun session chock full of ideas on how to use repurposed/recycled materials to define areas in the garden. A main way we can recycle and repurpose is to compost. You will be guided through the steps to create black gold that is so important to our soils. Kathy will lead a presentation on Integrated Pest Management. Using chemical pesticides should be the last resort for garden pest problems. The IPM method details the steps to be taken before ever reaching for a pesticide and what improper pesticide use is doing can do to our wildlife especially honey bees. The last class on April 12 will be devoted to each member’s personal design and their specific issues. Some designs will be discussed in the class and everyone will have the opportunity for a personal consultation. You will leave the program feeling confident that you can have the landscape of your dreams and help protect the environment for enjoyment of future generations. There will be a $25 fee to cover the materials for the 6 sessions. Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions to get the maximum value out of the classes. However, if this just doesn’t work into your schedule, individual classes will have a $5 fee. The fee is for a family – husband and wife, parent and mature child or friends. Advance registration and payment is are required. Space is limited. To register go to the Halifax Extension Office to pick up an application form, or e-mail, to request an application form. Mail completed form and check made out to SSMGA to the Halifax County Extension Office, PO Box 757, Halifax, VA 24558-0757. The six classes will be held on 1/29, 2/9, 3/1, 3/15, 3/29 and 4/12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Halifax Extension Office located at 171 S. Main Street, Halifax. For more information email or call the extension office at 434-476-2147, option 0.