Buffer Landscape Committee
The Buffer Landscaping project is a partner of the Smith Mountain Lake Association, Appalachian Electric Power, Virginia Master Gardeners and Virginia Master Naturalists. Its mission is to work proactively on behalf of the entire Smith Mountain Lake Community to encourage the mitigation of excessive run-off of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, snow melting chemicals, and other hazards to our water and wildlife habitats through the use of riparian buffer zones. The BLAST (Buffer Landscape Advisory Service Team) committee is an effort to promote its mission to "slow the flow, filter the flow" and provide adequate buffer
Ferrum College Holocaust Garden
This is a project composed of Master Gardeners working in conjunction with Professor Susan Mead, Associate Professor of Sociology at Ferrum, to restore and re-design a garden on campus which was created by students over the years as part of a Holocaust course of study. Each year for about 10 years students have planted various plants of their choosing and the 1000 square ft. garden has become overgrown and haphazard. It also includes a number of brass and stone monuments containing quotes and dedications.
The Riparian Buffer Demo Garden at the Skelton 4H Center, Wirtz, VA
Habitat for Humanity House Garden
landscaping to ensure the SML water quality.
Our committee promotes and educates on the need to plant more native vegetation around high-risk run-off and erosion areas to reduce the amount of toxins in our lake. We do this through: on-site meetings with homeowners to evaluate problem areas; maintaining a website with lists of appropriate plants and information about building and maintaining riparian buffer zones, rain gardens and other tools to protect the lake; providing outreach and education through presentations to community groups
FCVMG became involved in 2013 and began with cleaning up the garden and transplanting, dividing or removing some of the plants that have taken over. We are working on a plan for a beautiful, meaningful and lower maintenance garden that also has a teaching component regarding tolerance and diversity. It is hoped that we can incorporate flowers and shrubs that have a meaningful connection with lessons to be learned from studies of the Holocaust, and also incorporate tiles made by the students each semester as artistic representations of feelings generated by their studies.
The Riparian Buffer Demonstration Garden, designed in 2005 by Leslie Santapaul, was installed at the Skelton 4H Center by the Franklin County Master Gardeners to provide inspiration for Smith Mountain Lake homeowners to utilize buffer strategies which would reduce runoff into the lake. Trees and shrubs including Lacebark Elm, Magnolia, Serviceberry, Redbud, Viburnum, Black Gum, and Fringe trees were installed in 2006, followed by native perennials and wildflowers such as amsonia, asters, coneflowers, and monarda. Consisting of five beds, the highlights of the garden are the River Birches, the Grey Owl Junipers, and the native grasses. The Buffer Garden was the focus of a Virginia Master Gardener conference on Waterwise Landscaping in 2011 held at the Skelton Center. In 2015, the garden also played a role in the Waterwise event held at the 4H Center and hosted by the Buffer Landscape Committee. Attendees toured the garden and lists of the native plants contained in the garden were distributed.
Franklin County Master Gardeners provide landscaping design, material, installation, information, and training on the maintenance of landscaping installed at houses built by the Habit for Humanity organization in Franklin County. Not only does this effort enhance the beauty of the property, it also helps with water runoff and related drainage issues. Support to this project is provided by Willow Tree Nursery and Hilltop Mulch.