Halloween Treat Trail in the Town of Halifax
Imagine walking down a misty forest path, searching for mushrooms and peeking into hollows under trees.
Now imagine you are only 3” tall: the forest floor would be a very different place. Shadows would loom larger, dew drops would shimmer like pools and the fallen top of an acorn might make a spiffy hat. Soon, you find the stepping stones that lead to a fairy-size door.
On October 1st from noon to 2 pm, Master Gardeners invite fairy garden hobbyists of all ages to an afternoon of sharing ideas about creating outdoor fairy gardens. This free education session will be held at the Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens, located in Edmund’s Park, South Boston.
The Forest Trail at SVBG, a certified woodland habitat, is a perfect spot to showcase examples of outdoor miniature gardens. In addition to tours of the Forest Trail, participants can make their own fairy doors using polymer clay and natural materials.
According to Celtic myths, fairies live in trees. Planning an outdoor fairy garden often starts at the base of a single big tree, such as a mature white oak, red maple or loblolly pine. The weathered trunk provides the backdrop for doors and windows.
The roots of most trees spread out close to the surface, so it’s important to take care when digging around the trunk. Small plants can be introduced to add interest or color. Always check each plant for hardiness and requirements for light and water. Ground covers can minimize bare spots and help retain moisture.
For yards without large trees, other objects such as rocks, fence lines or the sides of buildings can create a background for the fairy garden. Tall stalks of rosemary, a dwarf spruce, small arborvitae, cypress tree or other woody perennial do nicely to fill in as a tiny “forest.”
Plant growth in a fairy garden is usually intentionally restricted. Fertilizer is diluted and added sparingly so that vegetation stays small and within scale. Perennial plants should be pruned and ground covers trimmed at the appropriate time. It’s also important to remove the conifer dieback that happens naturally in hardy miniature evergreens. A loose mulch of dried leaves should be added in the fall to help winterize the garden.
A forest scene wouldn’t be complete without a carpet of velvety green moss. To harvest natural moss, gently dig around the edges and insert the spade under the clump, removing as much of the substrate (a layer of soil and decomposing bark) as possible. Observe whether the moss was growing in full shade or dappled light – and match this exposure when replanting. Keep moss clumps uniformly moist as they establish themselves. Never harvest mosses from another property without asking permission.
As with container fairy gardens, outdoor scenes should tell a story or follow a theme. Outdoor accessories should always match the scale of the fairy door. Any accessories left outside all year should be protected with several coats of polyurethane and UV protection. Remove small items before periods of heavy rain or snow. In all seasons, protect the garden from excessive traffic, pets and wildlife.
Date: October 1, 12 noon to 2 pm Light refreshments - bring a lawn chair.
Location: The Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens at Edmunds Park, 3170 Dan River Church Road (Route 716), South Boston 24592. Take the first right, and follow the signs past the Halifax County Serenity Cancer Garden.
Local residents will work together to tackle litter in and around a portion of the Banister River this Saturday. The Flotsam Flotilla river cleanup will begin Saturday, September 10 at 9 a.m. at King’s Bridge Landing in Halifax.
“We are fortunate to have many people who enjoy our local rivers and are dedicated to protecting the Banister and our other waterways because a healthy community starts with a healthy river. We want to help maintain the beauty of our community and the outdoor recreation areas that so many enjoy,” said Town of Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy, himself an avid paddler.
The Flotsam Flotilla, done in coordination with the Wild Blue River Festival set for September 17, has taken place for the past two years. Not only does the cleanup help rid the river of manmade debris and trash, but it is also an opportunity to access the river for a clear path for paddlers during the Festival.
“The town has experienced success with our cleanup for the past two years and I’m sure this year will be no different. We’ve had several volunteers come out to float the river, and we hope to see some of those same people and small groups back with us again this year,” said Halifax Mayor Kristy Johnson.
The Virginia Department of Transportation – Halifax residency has generously donated orange trash bags for collecting trash. Volunteers should dress accordingly, including the use of bug spray and bringing gloves if available. Areas of cleanup will include land and water, so those wishing to be part of the river cleanup team should bring their canoe. Concentration of cleanup will be King’s Bridge Landing in Halifax, then down the river to Terrys Bridge Landing and the green areas immediately around both landings. The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) continues to support the seasonal clean up efforts by providing safety vests, gloves and trash grabbers.
DRBA Executive Director Tiffany Haworth commented on the community’s continued involvement, “Rivers connect us to each other, to nature, and to future generations. It is wonderful to see so many people in and around Halifax taking action to protect and restore their rivers and clean water.”
For more information on the Flotsam Flotilla river cleanup and the Wild Blue River Festival on September 17, visit www.halifax-events.com.