Friday, September 27, 2019

Monarch Butterflies

Pam, in the center, with her crew of volunteers, including Terri Ferguson, Mary Anne Pakark Carroll, and Steven Michael Wilson. 
On Saturday, September 14, we had the honor of having Pam Spencer, her husband, Steven, a Master Naturalist, and several Master Gardener volunteers, at our store to help children and adults tag and release Monarch Butterflies. Over 100 people took part.
A certificate, with the tag number, will allow participants to follow the migration. Last year, 4 of Pam's Monarchs were recorded in Mexico

Tiny tag carefully attached

The family is learning more about our natural world

The butterflies were released and will be heading south to Mexico. The volunteers were amazing, allowing each participant to hold the butterflies by their wings, and attach the tiny label that will track the Monarchs on their flight. As soon as we opened our palms, the butterflies headed up and away.

This little girl watches as the butterfly takes flight

It's rewarding to watch as a connection is made

 A few stragglers seemed reluctant to leave.
Getting to know each other pre-flight
We hope to do the event next year after holding a class that will teach us more about the metamorphosis of this winged wonder. We released them near our walkway butterfly habitat. Our butterfly garden near the pond posed a bit of a risk to the butterflies who may have gotten too close to the resident koi.

Immediately following the release, I left with two friends and headed up to Maine, to the Schoodic Peninsula. Just east of Bar Harbor, the peninsula is home to a smaller section of Acadia National Park. Early Sunday morning, we headed to Schoodic Point.
Goldenrod at Schoodic

They seemed to like the ferns too
What a wonderful surprise...Monarchs were taking advantage of some wild plantings of Solidago, Goldenrod, right there! A National Park Naturalist nearby was leading a migratory seabird count. She informed me that in the past week, she'd seen 500 Monarchs migrating through the area. The rest of the week, as we hiked through Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge, and several botanical parks along the coast, we saw Monarchs.
Other butterflies were present in Thuya Gardens

We saw the butterflies feeding on Goldenrod, Joe-Pye Weed, Salvias, Dahlias, and scores of other plants. We need to have plenty of fall-blooming natives in our own gardens to create islands of food and shelter for these and other wildlife as they travel through our areas. To learn more about the migration of butterflies, follow their journeys. Monarch Watch is another website dedicated to education about Monarchs. And, visit our store to pick up a free handout on Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to the garden.
Hummingbirds are on the move south as well. Look at this fat little guy

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Seminars and Events this September-December---WOW!

We love fall! Cool-weather, fall planting, piles of pumpkins, the haunted house, the straw much fun for families. Here are some of the seminars and events coming our way this fall!

Plant a Bonsai Forest will be hosted by Martha Meehan, with help from bonsai club members.   Five trees, for indoors or outside, will be styled and planted in a larger pot or forest tray. There is a 90 dollar fee for this class. September 7 at 9 am.

Monarch butterfly emerging from the chrysalis
Monarch Butterfly Tag and Release, hosted by Monarch butterfly enthusiast Pam Spencer. About 100 butterflies will be tagged and released from our butterfly garden, with your help. Tags will have a corresponding certificate so that participants may check to see if their butterfly has been spotted on its way to Mexico. The event is free. The first 100 people will be able to participate in the release.
September 14 at 11 am. (Raindate September 15)

John testing soil pH
The Fall Lawn Clinic will be held by our own lawn and garden experts. Please bring a soil sample (Solo cup-sized) for free pH analysis. Also, feel free to bring in weed samples for identification and control options. Fall is the best time to seed or reseed a lawn. Brian Brannan and his team will help you have the best lawn ever! September 28, 9 am

The Autumn Garden, presented by Cynthia Mann, will showcase many of the shrubs, trees, and perennials that go dormant late in the season. Extend the gardening season by choosing plants that thrive in the fall garden. September 28, 11 am.

October brings with it tons of activities, color, and fun at the garden center. Bring the kids and the camera to create a memorable adventure.

The arrival of one of our giant pumpkins
The Arrival of the Giant Pumpkin is always a special event at Valley View Farms. Pumpkin hunters Andy and Matt will deliver the giant orb to our north gate, then onto the stage on Wednesday, October 2 at 10 am. The pumpkin will remain onstage until October 26th; we will open the pumpkin and count the seeds inside.

Bonsai Show and Tell give our bonsai enthusiasts a chance to brag about their bonsai projects. They may count on each other to tweak the various projects. October 5, 9 am

Ryleigh showing off houseplants as Eric moderates
Hip Houseplant Revue II presents houseplants on the runway! Look for the new, fascinating, fun houseplants while learning great care techniques. Our employees and volunteers will showcase the plants as our staff talks about each 'model'.October 12, 11 am

Owls visit us every October thanks to Kathy
Owl-o-ween has become an annual event for us. Wildlife rehabilitator Kathy Woods heads up the Phoenix Wildlife Center. Birds of prey, including owls, are taken care of after an injury, then released back to the wild. Get a close look at these beautiful creatures up close. October 19, 1 pm

Laurie Tasslemyer gives Tom a helping hand during the seed count
The Great Pumpkin Seed Count, featuring WBAL meteorologist Tom Tasslemyer, is always fun. Tom will count all of the seeds in the giant pumpkin. Contestants who have put their guesses in our book, have a shot at a 300, 200 or 100 dollar gift card to Valley View Farms for their correct prediction of the number of seeds. October 28, 12 pm

November and December are all about getting ready for winter and the fast-approaching holidays. More events are will be posted regarding our Christmas Shop Events as we get closer. 

WinteringYour Bonsai, featuring Martha Meehan, will go over the best ways to care for bonsai trees during their slower growth or dormant season. Bonsai classes are open to beginners to expert enthusiasts. November 2, 9 am

Winterizing the Water Garden helps gardeners prepare elements of their ponds for winter. Tips on fish, plants, and pond elements will be presented by Tim McQuaid. November 9, 9 am

 Creating Winter and Holiday Container Gardens is a great way to decorate porch pots. Our specialists will demonstrate the elements needed to arrange greens and branches for a beautiful winter planter. November 23, 11 am
Bonsai Winter Work, presented by Martha Meehan, is a class detailing projects that can be completed over the next few months caring for a bonsai tree. December 7, 9am.

Our annual Live WBAL Radio Broadcast takes place on Thursday, December 19 from 5 am-9 am and on Friday, December 20 from 5 am-6 pm. This fundraising event will feature radio personalities, area choirs, bands, Santa and much more.

Stay tuned to facebook and our homepage for updates, additional seminars, and events with our Christmas Shops. 

For additional information, or to set-up a class for a group, including garden clubs, school fieldtrips, scouts, and civic organizations, contact