Education Page

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January Garden Notes

Here are a few cold weather garden tips.  Learn more from Boxerwood's January Garden Notes at our website.

Weather Warnings: Hasn’t this weather been unbelievable?  I am nervous about some of the plants.  We live in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6B (although I think it is getting closer to 7).  The low end of that zone is 0 to -5, with zone 7’s being 0 to 5 degrees.  Our Crape Myrtles are only root hardy here.  If your Crape Myrtle doesn’t start to leaf out in late spring, you may have to cut it back drastically.  Crapes leaf out late so give it a chance before whacking away at it.  At home we wrap some of our new dwarf evergreens with burlap in the winter.  The cold wind can be very damaging to evergreens.  Plants transpire water through their leaves, so evergreens continue to loose water during the winter.  When the ground is frozen or dry, the plants are not getting the moisture they need and start to draw water from living cells.  If too much water is given off, the cells die, the leaves turn brown and the plant dies.   Winds accelerate that moisture loss, especially if the plant has been planted in a sunny open area with no protection.  The following suggestions for protecting plants from the cold come from the North Carolina Extension:
1.    Plant varieties that are hardy to your area.  I have to confess I sometimes bend this suggestion a bit.  I might try a zone 7 plant, iffy out in the county where I live.  Partly, that is the plant collector in me, always trying something new, but there are a few protected microclimates near our house where it stays a little warmer.
2.  Try to locate less hardy plants in the highest part of the yard, as cold air tends to settle in the lower areas.
3.  Add an extra layer of mulch in the fall to help preserve moisture
4.  Try to shade more tender plants from direct winter sun.  Here is where a burlap wrapping helps.
5.    Don’t feed quickly available nitrogen to your plants in the fall, encouraging new growth.  You want growth in the spring and summer, not in the fall where it might be susceptible to early frosts.
Heavy wet snow can also be a problem.  Remember March of 2013?  The heavy wet snow caused more damage here at Boxerwood than the derecho.  We are still clearing up brush from that storm.  It is a good idea after a storm, to brush the snow off of arching evergreens, small trees, shrubs, and woody plants that have a very dense twig structure, such as Japanese Maples to prevent breakage.

Endowment For Boxerwood


 CFBRA Opens Boxerwood Education Fund

January 23, 2014

The Community Foundation for Rockbridge, Bath and Alleghany has recently opened the Boxerwood Education Fund to aid in the future financial stability of this important resource in our community. The establishment of this Fund was made possible by a match challenge gift from a private anonymous donor.  Members of Boxerwood then met that challenge through their generous support of this project.  “We are excited to have the opportunity to provide funds for the BEA mission and help them do good work in the community” said Lori Keckler, Executive Director. 

Boxerwood - a Nature Center and Woodland Garden located in Lexington, Virginia - is the legacy of Robert S. Munger (1911-1988). It is situated in a rolling Virginia valley nestled between the Allegany and Appalachian Mountains. The site contains habitats ranging from wetlands to forests to meadows and fifteen acres of mature, naturalistically planted trees and shrubs, featuring both native and unusual plant specimens.

Boxerwood provides robust environmental learning that is made available to every student in Rockbridge County’s three school systems from pre-school through middle school.  Each semester more than 2,000 students benefit from Boxerwood programs which afford them the opportunity to connect their classroom learning to the real world.

BEA Board Member Joe DiNardo is enthusiastic about this new partnership with the Community Foundation.  “Boxerwood is not only an organization that teaches both young and old about how to care for our world, it is a place to go where one can see, touch, enjoy and understand why it is important to do so ... Truly a unique place to experience and to be part of.  This new fund will be instrumental in keeping Boxerwood’s role in our community a reality.”

The Boxerwood Education Association (BEA) is the non-profit organization founded in 2000, which oversees Boxerwood programs in line with their mission "to educate and inspire people of all ages to be successful and environmentally responsible stewards of the earth”.

To learn more about the Boxerwood Education Fund contact Lori Keckler (Executive Director) or call 540-463-0943.  To give to this fund please visit and use the PayPal link or email check to: CFRBA PO Box 20 Lexington, VA 24450.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Changes Coming To Boxerwood

The old NEWTS Education Tent is gone; the new concrete pad is complete; and construction on the new permanent Outdoor Classroom structure is scheduled to begin the first week of February. This new metal roofed shelter will provide Boxerwood with extended opportunities for education programs and events.