top of page


Community Newsletter - The Garden Gate

Each month we will be publishing a community newsletter, bringing you relevant seasonal horticultural information for Rockbridge County. If you would like receive our newsletters as soon as they are published, enter your email address and click on the Subscribe button to the right.

Upcoming Programs

March 16th at 10:30am: "Virginia Truffles" with Pat Martin and Olivia Taylor from Virginia Truffles, Rixeyville, VA. Location TBD

April 20th at 10:30am: Asian Jumping Worms with Jordan Thompson, Virginia Tech MS Candidate
RARA Community Room, 350 Spotswood Drive.
 Slides from this program may be viewed by clicking here.

May 18th at 10:30am: Feeding Baby Butterflies with Anita Tuttle, RAMGA, Piovano Room at the Library in Lexington, 138 S. Main St.

June 15th at 10:30am: Ornamental Grasses with Faith Vosburgh, RAMGA, Piovano Room at the Library in Lexington, 138 S. Main St.

July 13th at 10:30am: Hands-On Houseplants with Mary Katherine Lawrence, RAMGA, RARA Community Room, 350 Spotswood Dr.

Virtual Plant Clinics

This year, due to the need for social distancing, we are taking our Plant Clinics virtually through Zoom presentations. Upcoming Zoom presentations may be found on the Home page. Following are recordings of recent virtual Plant Clinics:

Growing Plants from Native Seeds

February 16, 2023

Slides from this Plant Clinic

View video



Identifying Plant Diseases

July 16, 2022

View video


Plant ID: There's an App for that!

June 18, 2022

Slides from this Plant Clinic

View video


To Lawn or Not to Lawn?

April 23, 2022

Slides from this Plant Clinic


The Healthy Gardener

March 19, 2022

Slides from this Plant Clinic

No video is available

Feeding Birds Naturally

February 19, 2022

Slides from this Plant Clinic

View Video


Starting Plants from Seed

January 15, 2022

View Video

Winter Fun: Hunting for Invasive Plants

November 20, 2021

Checklist for Fall Gardening

October 16, 2021

View Video

Planning…..Purchasing…..AND Planting Tips…

It’s that TIME!  May 8, 2021

Slides from this Plant Clinic

The 3 Gardening P's - Planting - Propagation,

AND Plant Sale Preview - April 17,2021

Slides from this Plant Clinic.  


March 17, 2021

Slides from this Plant Clinic.

Winter Plant Care

February 13, 2021


The Joy of Seed Shopping

January 16, 2021

Resources from this Plant Clinic.

View Video                 



Upcoming Programs
Newsletter Extracts

From our Newsletter

Faith’s Garden Notes…

By Faith Vosburgh


Looking for large trees to screen your property? Instead of purchasing a Leyland Cypress, why not consider, say, a Cryptomeria? Leylands have been massively overplanted, probably due to the fact that they are an evergreen that can grow about 3’ per year. But the ultimate height for a Leyland is about 100’ and too many times I have noticed plantings in smaller residences where the trees are planted only a few feet apart. Leylands need to be 12-15’ apart for good air circulation and to allow space for the plant to mature.


Leylands are very susceptible to several fungi. Probably most common is a fungus called Seridium canker dieback (Seridium unicorne) which will ultimately kill the tree. If you notice lots of dead branches on your tree, look for dark, oval or elongated lesions on stems and branches oozing resin. These are the cankers. Drought seems to make the trees more susceptible to the disease. Young Leylands can also suffer from Phytophera Root Rot, another fungus and a problem that is often due to poor drainage. This fungus lives in the soil and enters the plant through the succulent part of small roots. And there is Bot canker (Botryosphaeria dothidea). The first symptom of this disease presents itself with yellowing branches. Dead stems will reveal v-shaped cankers, often girdling a stem. There is little to no oozing with this canker. It also differentiates itself from the other cankers in that the needles don’t fall off the affected stem or branch. One more fungus is Passiflora Needle Blight caused by the fungus Passalora sequoia. Needles will brown and drop from the inside of the tree outwards. This starts on the lower branches and eventually moves its way to the top, leaving a tree with green needles only at the tips of the branches.


All this Leyland talk leads me to my favorite tree for screening, the Cryptomeria, common name, Japanese Cedar (although it is not a true cedar). Cryptomeria are native to Japan (it is their national tree) and are highly prized both as an ornamental and as a wood. They are evergreen with awl-shaped needles spirally arranged with a bark that is a beautiful reddish color. In the winter, the evergreens may take on a bronzy tinge. There are pretty rosebud-like spherical 1” cones.


There are lots of cultivars out, both large and small. I have not had much luck with the smaller varieties (3-5’) as our hot sticky summers often cause them to brown out from the inside. The foliage on the small Cryptomerias tends to be very dense. The larger ones work better here. ‘Yoshino’ is the most popular, reliable, and readily available cultivar to use for screening. This plant gets to be about 30’- 40’ with a 15-20’ spread. It has bright blue-green foliage and the characteristic reddish bark. It's easy to grow, has a medium growth rate, and transplants easily.


Sources: “Leyland Cypress Diseases, insects, and related pests. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.

Dirr, Michael. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. 6th edition. Stipes Publishing, 2009.

Continuing Ed

Continuing Education Opportunities/Area Gardening Events:

Here are a few more webinars, thanks to Jan Smith, to help you with your Continuing Education hours:


Virginia Native Plant Society recorded webinars

From all the chapters' programs.


Maryland Native Plant Society recorded webinars

Note the webinar on sedges


VA Master Naturalist High Five for Nature

Short webinars featuring 5 species .... plants, animals and insects.


OH State - long but very good series on bees


Plant Virginia Natives 2 part series of webinars

On the left side there is a list of resources - look for Spring Landscaping and Fall Landscaping. Each has multiple topics covered.

Following are additional online and in-person continuing education opportunities:





VCE offers a variety of video on topics geared to both beginner and more advanced gardeners. Examples of topics include:

Fall Cover Crops and Soil
Firewise Landscaping
Pressure Canning
Cedar Apple Rust
Common Diseases in the Home Garden

For these and many more videos that address specific topics or those of more general interest, visit this link.


The Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener YouTube channel has lots of instructional videos.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond has a slew of online classes, but all do have a fee. This is an amazing world class garden practically in our own backyard.


The Penn State Extension has a number of online classes and webinars:


Another sources of webinars is the Xerces Society’s website:


Mt. Cuba Center, a native plant garden in Delaware, has a series of excellent Classes on Demand, 90 minutes classes on topics such as soil, butterfly gardening, weeds, native groundcovers for $15 apiece.

American Horticultural Society

The American Horticultural Society has just published their catalog for their new Lifelong Learning program featuring many celebrated horticulturists and plant professionals. The classes look like they are on Wednesday evenings for the most part. $15 for hon-members and $10 for members. Check it out. And they all count towards RAMGA Continuing Ed. hours.

As a note – joining AHS is well worth it. Their bi-monthly magazine is excellent and as a bonus, you will be a member of their AHS Reciprocal Admissions Programs (RAP) which gets you in free to more than 345 public garden and arboreta across the county. Boxerwood is a RAP member, so your Boxerwood membership card also gets you free admission to all those gardens.

Other Continuing Education Opportunities

Friday, September 15, Waynesboro Tree Workshop, “The What and Why of Mature Tree Care”, Best Western Inn and Conference Center, 109 Apple Tree Lane, Waynesboro. Master Gardener fee: $75.


Saturday, October 6-8. Annual Meeting of the Virginia Native Plant Society, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester, VA. Registration opens after September 7th and includes one day options.

bottom of page