Bed of the Month
The VCE Master Gardener Demo Bed and Arboretum are located at Bluebird Gap Farm in Hampton, VA. The vegetable and flower beds are maintained by the Hampton Master Gardeners with the goal of providing a memorable educational experience utilizing native species, traditional gardening techniques, and our Cooperative Extension resources to teach and inspire visitors.
Ground Covers and Lawn Alternatives
It is hard to miss the Ground Cover bed in the Arboretum; partly because it is one of the first that you'll encounter upon entering, but also because it is such a welcoming and tranquil space. Pavers invite you to meander through the various sedums and bugleweed with their springy greens, pale pinks and lush violet tones. A bushy fig tree guards scarlet colored salvia tucked away, waiting to be discovered.
In speaking with Maria (who is a wealth of information) it is clear that every design choice has intention behind it. The plants chosen, ajuga, mondo grass, and sedum, all prevent soil erosion, provide ground cover, and require less maintenance than the traditional lawn. The garlic chives that border the fence were planted to deter voles and other unwanted visitors. Those chives along with the wiegelia also attract beneficial insects such as bees, moths and butterflies. She installed a 12 inch border of chicken wire underground to keep voles and moles from burrowing into her bed and it is believed that the vibration from the small windmill is also a deterrent. Even the weeds have a purpose according to Maria who has found that they help to stabilize the cinderblock border as well as provide an added bit of greenery. Many of the plants in this bed are available at our upcoming Fall Plant Sale, so be sure to visit the main page for more information.
The next time you are visiting the Arboretum, be sure to take some time to check out the all of the different beds that our volunteers work so hard to maintain.