Native plants are the best plants that can be used locally to grow sustainable and ecologically valuable gardens. A set of classes offered by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, or VCE, will help people learn to garden using those plants that naturally help the environment.
"A sustainable landscape is one that supports our wildlife, but also one that has a lower maintenance and less input, such a fertilizer, pesticides and mowing," said Nancy Berlin, natural resource specialist with the VCE. "Natives are really important for beneficial insects that are predators or pollinators, as well as birds."
To learn more about native plants, their importance and how to plant them, the public is invited to attend any of the following, free classes:
- On Feb. 3, at 1 p.m., there will be a discussion regarding the role of native plants in local ecosystems.
- On Feb. 11, at 2 p.m., Larry Weaner will speak from his book "How Our Landscape Can be a Source of Environmental Change."
The classes on Feb. 3 and Feb. 11 will be held at the Manassas Park Community Center located at 99 Adams St. in Manassas Park.
- On Feb. 10, the class will focus on preparing to plant a vegetable garden where site selection and soil building are important.
- On Feb. 17, the class will include information about maintaining the vegetable garden with an emphasis on the importance of crop rotation, composting, planting calendars and small-space gardening.
The classes on Feb. 10 and Feb. 17 will be held from 10:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Potomac Community Library located at 2201 Opitz Blvd. in Woodbridge.
- A class on Feb. 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Haymarket-Gainesville Community Library, will focus on soil, seed starting, container gardening and rain gardens. For more information about these free classes and others, visit www.pwcgov.org/vce. To register, visit www.pwcgov.org/grow or contact the Extension Horticulture Help Desk at 703-792-7747.