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Our Newsletter is Hot Off the Press!
Details with a click here.

Give Nature a home! Jim Manion, an Extension Master Gardener since 2010, is crossing the water from Portsmouth to talk to Norfolk residents about “Wildlife in the Garden.”

Join us on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 7pm, at the Pretlow Anchor Branch Library to learn how to create a wildlife habitat in YOUR backyard.

Volume 03  | March 2017
Fake Spring...Real Winter
February gave us a taste of spring - enough to make our fingers itch to be in the soil again. Peach trees bloomed early and perennials shot up through the winter mulch. Don't let the warm temps and garden center displays fool you - winter is still here and our last average frost date is still a month away. For most in Hampton Roads, that date is between April 10 and April 21. It is still too early to leave tender plants outdoors. It is okay to plant certain things, though. Hardy trees and shrubs that are still dormant can go in the ground now, but be careful of planting anything that has "broken bud" and started to develop flowers. Those plants are in danger of frost and freeze damage. It is safe to plant certain vegetable crops this month, too. A reference chart from Virginia Cooperative Extension can show what should be planted in March and early April, and what should wait until soil temperatures rise and we're past the danger of frost.

If the early warm temperatures have already brought your garden back to life, you can protect new foliage and buds during the cold nights. An old bed sheet, blanket, or burlap can be used to cover them. To avoid breaking stems, use supports under the sheet to keep it from touching the plant, and weight it down around the edges. The cover will help keep the earth's heat trapped around the plant. Use caution if you are covering with plastic - if the plastic touches your plant, you can still have cold damage. All covers should be removed when temperatures rise above freezing so that light, water, and air can reach the plant. For small plants, a bucket or empty milk jug with the bottom cut out can be used for cover.

Don't forget Daylight Savings Time on Sunday - it's time to Spring Forward one hour on the clocks.

Have gardening questions? Help is available year round through the Master Gardener Help Desk by calling 757-385-8156 or email your question to

Upcoming Events
Mar. 25 - Plant Doctor Clinic
The first Plant Doctor Clinic will be at the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market, Dam Neck Rd., from 10 am - 2 pm. Volunteers can help answer your gardening and plant questions and assist in troubleshooting any problems you've encountered.

Mar. 27 - Gardening Talk
Vegetable Irrigation Methods - Joey Elliot, VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener.
Learn how to improve your watering methods while conserving water, reducing runoff, and preventing potential weed growth.
FREE, No registration required. 7-8pm, Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library.

Spring Lawn Care
Whether you have a cool season or warm season grass lawn, March is the time for some maintenance.   

Cool Season Lawn Maintenance

Francis Land House Vegetable, Flax, and Herb Garden

The Francis Land House gardens include an heirloom vegetable garden, flax garden, and herb garden. The vegetable garden consists of 35 raised beds, and volunteers grow approximately 150 varieties of vegetables each year. Additionally, there are three 10’ x 10’ plots to grow flax, cotton and the Three Sisters (corn, pole beans and squash) and one 10’ x 15’ pollinator flower bed. Volunteers in the herb garden grow colonial-appropriate herbs used by the Land Family from 1806 forward. Herbs have been labeled with names and uses. The gardens are all located on the grounds of the Francis Land House at 3131 Virginia Beach Blvd, and are open to the public. Volunteers work on Tuesday mornings, mid-March through mid-December.

Plan Ahead
Apr. 25 & May 4 - Master Gardener Intern Orientation
Interested in becoming a Virginia Beach Master Gardener? Attend one of our Orientations to find out more! 10am - 12 noon, 1449 Princess Anne Rd, Building 14 - upstairs conference room.

May 6 & 7 - Spring Plant Sale
Virginia Beach Farmer's Market, 3640 Dam Neck Rd. Saturday: 9am - 3pm
Sunday: 10am - 2pm

May 22 - Gardening Talk
Fighting Mosquitos in a Pollinator-Friendly Landscape - Demaris Yearick - VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener and Jessica Ruthenberg, Watchable Wildlife Biologist
Jessica will focus on the habitat that discourages mosquitos, and Demaris will discuss preventative methods of control.
FREE, No registration required. 7-8pm, Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Jill Wright at 757-385-4769 during the business hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event. TDD number (800) 828-1120.   

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.


Use the TCC search field for "horticulture" with a click here!!

Greetings from
The Butterfly Society of Virginia

For more information, contact Manuel del Toro, Publicity at (757) 748-7036 or email at

Visit our website with a click here!

Manuel del Toro

BSV Publicity Manager

Click here to enlarge photo above!

Muse News: March 24, 2017

1-Teen Open Mic Tonight; 2-Spotlights: The Galaxy, Style, The Future, Submission, Tense, Punctuation, Food Writing

3-Register Now for Spring Classes & Seminars; 4-Wed. Happy Hour at Toast; 5-$500 Scholarships; 6-The Muse Open Tues. & Wed.


Winter/Spring 2017 Classes & Seminars Announced!

See below for more information and to register.


Muse Teen Open Mic

Friday, March 24, 7-9 p.m., at The Muse (2200 Colonial Ave. Suite #3, Ghent, Norfolk, 23517)

Open to Teens 12-17. Come read original short stories, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Sign-ups begin at 7 p.m. Approximately 5-minute slots available. The event will be chaperoned, and the teens request the audience be mostly teens beside the chaperones. Snacks & refreshments provided! More Information: or let us know you’re coming on Facebook: Join other 12-17 year olds for a fun night of listening to and reading original writing!


Spotlight: Beyond Earth: Geography of the Galaxy


Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., a 1 meeting seminar

Only 5 seats remain. Visit or call 818-9880 to register.

Whether your characters are exploring alien ruins on a sunless planet or commanding an interstellar battlefleet, how you present the geography of space can lend verisimilitude to your science fiction writing. In this Research for Writers Seminar, we will start with our local stellar neighborhood and examine some classic nearby stars—including Alpha Centauri, Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani—before moving out to explore the broader structure of the Orion Arm. We will survey star clusters, rogue planets, pulsars and nebulae, and then consider the galaxy on a grand scale, including halo stars, globular clusters and satellite galaxies, before venturing across the intergalactic void to the Andromeda Galaxy and beyond. We will also explore the resources available to help you chart new worlds and develop your own interstellar settings—whether a unique planetary system or a future galactic empire. Instructor: John Aguiar. Open to: all.


Spotlight: Writing with Style


Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., a 1 meeting seminar

Only 6 seats remain. Visit or call 818-9880 to register.

A writer’s style is a writer’s trademark. Readers are moved not just by content or plot, characters or settings, but by how the author uses their voice to color and shape the story. In this seminar we will explore how style is affected by active and passive voice; showing vs. telling; varying sentence length and structure; the author’s choice of verbs and nouns; repetition; descriptive details; and the use of figurative language to convey emotion, setting, character, and more. Join us as we add some polish to our style. Instructor: Karen Tatum. Open to: all.


Spotlight: The Future of Society and Conflict


Saturday, March 25, 1-3:30 p.m., a 1 meeting seminar

Only 1 seats remain. Visit or call 818-9880 to register.

"Wars are always a race between belligerents to correct the consequences of the mistaken beliefs with which they entered combat." (Colin Gray) This Research for Writers Seminar (led by a defense futurist and international security analyst) will explore how war and society co-evolve over time. You’ll be provided some of the same tools, perspectives, and ideas that are currently animating the intelligence community, Department of Defense, NATO, and even Chinese and Russian future thinking about man, the state, society and war. This seminar will help you think through the social implications of change and the military meaning of international, social, and technological change to help you develop your own well-rounded stories about or within the future or past. Topics covered include trends analysis and military futuring, violent ideological conflict, societal patterns, the future of homeland defense, geopolitical balancing, conflict in the sea, air, and space, the future of cyber operations, and shattered and disordered regions. We will begin with a presentation with ample time for questions. Instructor: Jeff Becker. Open to: all.


Spotlight: How to Submit Your Work to Magazines and Journals

Saturdays, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., a 2 meeting session beginning April 1

Only 6 seats remain. Visit or call 818-9880 to register.

You’ve crafted your writing; now it’s time to get it published! This two-session seminar will guide you through the world of submitting to literary journals and magazines from start to finish. First, we'll discuss our individual publishing challenges, review our work in an optional short workshop, and then start pulling together a submission while we learn about file organization, proper formatting, crafting a cover letter, finding markets that fit our work, and how to utilize social media. Then after we've had time to research and hone our submissions we'll meet again to review our cover letters, share the markets we found, discuss copyright, fees, paid markets, time management, review some exercises to help you keep writing and submitting. learn how to handle the enviable rejections and answer any additional questions. By the end of this two-session seminar you will have learned everything you need to know to confidently send your work into the world! Instructor: Shannon Curtin. Open to: writers with some workshop experience.


Spotlight: Tense: Moments and the Shades of Time

Saturday, April 1, 1-3:30 p.m., a 1 meeting seminar

Only 8 seats remain. Visit or call 818-9880 to register.

The tense of a story sets everything from style to thought. There’s a reflective advantage of the past tense as a road to revealing a character's deepest thoughts or interiority in storytelling (try to imagine Proust, James, or Austen without it). But how does right now differ from right then? The present tense ignites Molly Bloom's monologue in Ulysses. Some of the most memorable characters experience intertemporality. In this seminar we’ll explore the best expressions of tense, using examples from great work. Kurt Vonnegut is a genius about time. So is Milan Kundera, in Slowness. Best of all, there's Mikhail Bakhtin, the literary theorist who differentiates between real time and great time in literature in a way you'll never forget. His ideas are a revelation. Instructor: Colin Sargent. Open to: all.


Spotlight: A Punctuation Refresher

Saturday, April 1, 1-4:30 p.m., a 1 meeting seminar

Only 4 seats remain. Visit or call 818-9880 to register.

"Let's eat Grandma" or "Let's eat, Grandma." Commas might not save lives, but they sure help clarify written work. Can you imagine reading a story with no punctuation? It would be like driving with no traffic signs to guide you. Those little commas, semicolons, apostrophes, hyphens, quotation marks and periods help us navigate written work. Correct use of punctuation marks is governed by specific rules. Learn them in this seminar. When you submit your work, you don’t want editors to reject it because of avoidable mistakes. Instructor: Linda Carol Cobb. Open to: all.


Spotlight: Noodle, Nibble, & Scribble

Sunday, April 2, 1-3:30 p.m., a 1 meeting seminar

Only 6 seats remain. Visit or call 818-9880 to register.

Hone your creative food writing skills in this open-forum workshop with Virginia’s Secretary of Taste, chef and award-winning food journalist Patrick Evans-Hylton. You’ll noodle ideas, or use a supplied writing prompt or two, and get guidance and feedback as you commit your tastebuds' deepest, darkest secrets to paper. This is a great class for food writers on all levels to scribble about their nibbles, network with others, and work with an experienced writer. Instructor: Patrick Evans-Hylton. Open to: all.


Register Now for Winter/Spring 2017 Classes & Seminars

Visit for class descriptions, tuition, and to register online. Tuition assistance and flexibility is always available. Visit the website, call the office at 818-9880, or email us at for more information.


We have many new classes... Plus great new craft, research, & professional development classes like Beyond Earth: Geography of the Galaxy; and more! Please help us spread the word!


Classes to Jumpstart Your Creativity & Writing

·        Exploring Our Voice as Women NEW!

·        Seven Habits of Creative People



·        Saturday Morning Sonnets NEW!

·        Creations and Armageddons: Poems of the Endings and the Beginnings NEW!

·        The Poetry Studio


Writers Craft, Research, & Professional Development

·        The Future of Society and Conflict NEW!

·        Beyond Earth: Geography of the Galaxy NEW!

·        Writing with Style NEW!

·        Making Historical Writing Real NEW!

·        How to Submit Your Work to Magazines and Journals

·        Tense: Moments and the Shades of Time NEW!

·        A Punctuation Refresher

·        Copy Editing

·        Advanced Scrivener NEW!

·        Between the Book Deal and Your Publication Date NEW!

·        Crime Scene Investigations: Research for Writers NEW!

·        The Glory of Fantasy: Creative Secondary Worlds NEW!

·        Making Stories Move: Plot & Action NEW!

·        Preparing for Your Reading


Food Writing

·        Noodle, Nibble, & Scribble NEW!


Writers Happy Hour Every Wednesday!
Join us every Wednesday from 5:15-7 p.m. at a different location in Norfolk's Ghent for an informal get-together where area writers and Muse teachers, students, and friends enjoy conversation, camaraderie, and drinks. Feel free to let us know you’re coming on Facebook:


Calendar of Wednesday Writers' Happy Hours:

·        Wednesday, March 29: Toast (2406 Colonial Ave., Norfolk, 23517,, $1 off all drinks.

·        Wednesday, April 5: Tortilla West (508 Orapax St., West Ghent, Norfolk, 23507, 440-3777), $1 off drinks, $3.50 well drinks.

·        Complete calendar and more information:


FlickIt! at The Naro Theater: 1984 National Screening Day

The Naro Gals have joined with The Muse Writers Center and are taking over the theater Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. and throwing a movie party. The film is 1984, and along with all of the usual delicious concessions, The Muse Writers Center will be selling beer. Proceeds will benefit The Muse's scholarship funds. (Cash only for beer sales). The Naro Theater is at 1507 Colley Ave. in Norfolk's Ghent. More information:


Enter the WC&C Scholarship Competition Today

The WC&C Scholarship Competition is currently accepting submissions in three genres, as judged by francine j. harris for poetry, Brian Oliu for creative nonfiction, and Naomi J Williams for fiction. $500 in prize money can be applied to attendance at any of the 150+ writers' conferences, centers, festivals, retreats, or residencies in our WC&C Directory (including at The Muse Writers Center!). The deadline to enter is March 30, 2017. More information:


We're Open on Tuesdays & Wednesdays!

In addition to being open Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., we are now open to the public Wednesdays from 12:30-5 p.m. Come join us and write, read, or learn more about The Muse. The Muse Writers Center is at 2200 Colonial Ave. Suite #3 in Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood (23517)—in the Ghent Market Shops.

Visit the
Weyanoke Wildlife Sanctuary
with a click here!

Visit the
Hoffler Creek Wildlife Foundation & Preserve
with a click here!

The Chesapeake Arboretum

Eggleston Garden Center

Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center
High Street - Portsmouth, VA 23704

Ferguson Center for the Fine Arts
Newport News, VA

Email Us!

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