How does your garden grow? Native Plant gardening in Your Penn Branch Yard
With a grant from the Anacostia Watershed Society, our Penn Branch 9/11 Memorial Park will be planted with local, native plants. The Anacostia Watershed Society is working to restore the natural habitat of the river. Native plant propagation supports restoration along the river and can help the ecosystem in our neighborhood.
What are native plants and why should we care about them?
Native plants are those that occur naturally in the region or ecosystem in which they evolved. Birds and insects have co-evolved with plants specific to a region and cannot survive long term without them. Gardening and landscaping with native plants adds beauty to your yard while improving the District’s natural environment. Even the smallest piece of native plant habitat becomes a part of sustaining the landscape for birds, bats, bees, and insects. We need these bees and insects to pollinate our vegetable gardens and to maintain the natural environment. Many butterflies and moths need specific native plants as food sources while in the caterpillar stage of development. The seeds and nuts from native plants are essential food for many types of local wildlife.
Plants that are native to the DC region evolved to perform well in our soil and climate. They do not require fertilizer and should not need to get watered when they become established after the first year unless we are in drought conditions. Keeping your dried native plant seed heads uncut provides food for birds through the fall and winter months. Using less chemicals or no chemicals in the yard and reducing water use creates a healthier, more sustainable environment for us all.
Non-native plants may become invasive and harm the natural environment. Invasive non-native plants grow aggressively and do not have other plants and natural predators to keep them in check. When invasive non-native plants escape to natural areas they outcompete native plants and disrupt the ecosystem and food cycle for wildlife and insects. A walk in our gorgeous parkland show what happens when invasive non-native plants such as English ivy, Periwinkle, and Japanese barberry get into natural areas.
How to get started.
You don’t have to switch out your entire yard to native plants to help the environment. Every small step helps. Some native plant gardeners set a goal of 70/30 native to non-native but even that is a big change for many. Others take gradual steps to incorporate native plants into their home landscaping. One strategy is to always plant a native tree or shrub when you are adding or replacing trees or shrubs, and every time you plan to add more plants, make them native. Native plants can even be planted in pots.
Although you can find some native plants at local garden centers and big box stores, there are a number of nurseries that sell native plants exclusively, including Chesapeake Natives, Inc. in Upper Marlboro, Maryland which is a non-profit that sells plants native to our region. Learn more at www.chesapeakenatives.org
A handful of local Facebook gardening groups that focus on local native plant gardening provide helpful tips on choosing native plants, including Maryland Area Environmentally-Conscious Gardening and Gardening with Maryland’s Native Plants. Members of these groups often hold free plant swaps and give-aways.
The DC Department of Energy and the Environment has a useful list of native pollinator plants and non-native invasive plants to avoid:
The DC Department of Energy and the Environment RiverSmart program will plant native shade trees on your property for free:
The Anacostia Watershed Society has a beautiful guide to wildlife and plants that are common to our Anacostia River watershed:
PBCA will host an informal Penn Branch Playdate at the playground so that families with children in the neighborhood can get together. Join us at Pope Branch Park Playground from Date / Time: 2:00pm. –4:00pm Saturday, March 19 (Rain date: March 24) Light refreshments will be served.
Happy almost Spring, Neighbors. It’s a bit of a difficult time at the moment with the war in Ukraine and lots of global tension in the air. Locally, we also had our fair share of issues with two attempted car-jackings in our community.Locally, we also had our fair share of issues with two attempted car-jackings in our community. Terry Clyburn, our Safety Chairperson, will arrange a Public Safety / Carjacking Safety training session, facilitated by MPD later this month. In addition, we’ll have a ‘Ward Walk’ with 6th District MPD Commander Darnel Robinson on March 26th, from 9:00am-11:00am. He’ll walk the neighborhood
Tonight PBCA will build on recent communty wide conversations about the proposed Phase II development at Penn Branch Shopping Center by discussing community-owned grocery stores. Mike Houston, General Manager, of the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-Op is our invited guest speaker for our General Body Meeting tonight at 7:00pm. Click Link Below to Join Zoom Meeting Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8756147925?pwd=MHlLaEI2dlVqOTI1OHUzenRWVmQ4QT09Meeting ID: 875 614 7925 Passcode: 766049One tap mobile: +13017158592,,8756147925#,,,,*766049# US (Washington DC) Dial by your location: +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
The owner of The Shops at Penn Branch (Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners) recently made public their plans to develop Phase II, an apartment building that will be built over the rear parking lot of the renovated shopping center located at along Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues. Their current building design and plan includes: Four stories plus penthouse 175-185 single and family size rental units A parking lot underneath the building (73 spaces) Landscaped transition sections where the site borders single family homes on O Street 10% of the units designated as “affordable” at 60% Area Median Income (AMI) as required
At Tuesday’s meeting PBCA will hold elections for the following candidates and positions on our executive board: POSITIONS 1st Vice President 2nd Vice President Recording Secretary Parliamentarian Treasurer CANDIDATES Sarah Byun Marie J. Fritz Erica Nichols Natiya Curtis VACANT Candidate Bios Marie J Fritz Marie Fritz | Marie was born and raised in northeast Pennsylvania and has lived in DC for over 20 years. After college she participated in a one-year volunteer service program in New York in which she lived and worked in a homeless shelter for women and children. She has worked in community development, direct social services,
Hopefully everybody’s enjoying the New Year so far. ‘New Year, new opportunities,’ as they say. For PBCA, that means new officer positions that we need to fill on the board. Our First Vice President, Kyle Murphy, will not run for re-election, and our current Treasurer Moh Williams has decided to step down. I’d like to give some appreciation to Kyle and Moh for stepping up to the challenge. The good news is that we’re finally holding our elections next week and we have some amazing candidates ready to go. This includes Secretary Marie Fritz, who is seeking to fill our