The Fred Heutte Center Online Newsletter

    The FHC Newsletter


Volume 35 Number 2

UPDATED 2/3/15

Join us on the FHC
Bus Tour to the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show

Details with a click here!


Thanks to Tom West, Hoyt March, and Bill Smoot for another successful pansy sale fundraiser!


Garden Volunteers from the Old Dominion University
Service and Civic Engagement
Late August 2014

Volunteers and Montessori School Students
Clearing Late Winter Garden



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presented to

Donald R. Snipes

Bill Smoot, Board of Directors President presents Donald R. Snipes with the foundation's volunteers service award for his many years of volunteerism. Mr. Snipes served as a helpful board member for 10 years and has worked most Thursday mornings in the gardens of the center.


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In the Spirit of Volunteerism!

Volunteer Vaughan Privett and his "Youth For Work" summer crew, which consisted of two of his grandsons and three other Norfolk Christian students and their friends, have pitched in from time to time to help take care of the grounds at the Fred Heutte Center. His and the mothers of the crew objectives included providing the students summer opportunities to learn and helping them appreciate things they have learned at the Huette Center. Vaughan enjoyed teaching them on tools, beds, trees, and general tasks in the garden. They all worked with cooperative spirits!


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New Additions to the Herb Knot Garden

Smithfield Gardens and Monrovia Nursery recently donated new bayberry shrubs in the herb knot garden on the north grounds of the center property. Special thanks to Les Parks of Smithfield Gardens and Jack Gearing of California's Monrovia Horticultural Craftsmen for contributing these fine plants and labor these fine contributions to our gardens.

Our Center is a drop off point for the
Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia

We glady accept food and monetary donations on the Bank's behalf!
Please call ahead 441-2513 to schedule your drop off!

Reminders from Fred Heutte's

© 1977

Late Winter/Early Spring Work Schedule Checklists


___To accomplish the most in the home garden, we must take advantage of every opportunity presented by those occasional temperate days in January when we can work with comfort and still be within the time schedules best suited for the plants involved. One of the first chores that comes to mind is pruning, and you should probably start with rose canes. Since winter winds tend to whip rose canes about and loosen their root systems, January is the time to remove about one-half of their previous year’s growth for plants three feet tall or taller. Climbers should be tied back to their supports; this is not the proper time for their annual pruning.
___Grape vines bleed readily when pruned later than February or March. Although severe bleeding will not be fatal, January pruning tends to conserve their strength and, more importantly, lightens our work load in the busy season ahead.
___This is also the time to obtain free bulletins on fruit trees, whether you plan to prune established trees or contemplate purchasing new ones. Dwarf forms of most fruiting trees are now available and are an excellent choice for many home gardens. The final selection of fruit trees should be guided by your county agent or local authority.
___One of the few ornamentals that requires January pruning is the Sasanqua Camellia, which flowers in the fall and will now be all bloomed out. This is more or less in keeping with the good practice of pruning a plant after it flowers.
___One of the most timely chores for winter work is dormant spraying, which is consistently emphasized by experimental stations and professionals. A dormant spray is a spray applied to a dormant plant, which hosts overwintering insects such as scale, spider mites, and even aphids. Most fruit trees benefit from an application of dormant oil spray after pruning. Hence, apple, pear, peach, and cherry trees should be included in this month’s schedule, with certain precautions. The spray must be applied when the thermometer rises above 45° and is due to stay there for the next 24-hours.
___Sanitation is important in your garden for much more than appearance’s sake. We must be reminded that many insects, and some diseases, over-winter in garden debris, and it becomes imperative to remove this litter in order to eliminate a future breeding place or beachhead of unwanted problems.
___Most garden chores are elementary and require only good common sense. For instance, the slack month of January is the perfect time to clean and sharpen your garden tools, with lawn-moving equipment heading the list.
___Gardening, especially during our leisure months, should be inspirational and this can best be accomplished by reading good books and looking through garden catalogues. I might suggest reading two books, This Green World by Rutherford Platt and The Story of Gardening by Richardson Wright. Both will inspire you with their stories of the progress of gardening from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the Hanging Gardens of New York!


Even in the warmer areas of the South, February is not an ideal month to work in the garden. Yet wherever we may live nature is slowly awakening from its hibernation. The first stirrings of spring often take place in the insect world, such as over-wintering egg masses that lay within the upper folds of the earth or along the crevices of some fruit trees, just waiting to hatch and forage again on their favorite host plants. The strange metamorphosis of nature that triggers off insects is still a puzzle to scientists. Yet we know that no matter what the weather presents, insects awake at the right time to forage on their favorite food. Tent caterpillars are a perfect example of scales which remain hidden and camouflaged until hatched. If you were unable to use a dormant oil spray in January, make sure that you do so this month. If you wait as late as March 15 to apply your spray, the dilution must be greater, as directions on the can will indicate, especially as applied to roses. Dormant oil applications do not control all insects, but check many, such as aphids, mites, and certain scales, at their source. The success of any garden depends in great measure on the condition of the soil for root penetration, and the mere breaking up of six inches is not sufficient. The soil must be prepared and conditioned at least fifteen inches in depth for raising seeds or seedlings. From farmers we learn that the earlier we start this process, the better the crops. But whatever our time schedule, aeration of the packed soil is a good tonic, and some even claim that it is equivalent to the application of fertilizer as it allows the nitrogen and other elements in the soil to reach the air, which activates the micro-organisms. Tillers have become popular for home soil preparation. However, many gardeners will rely upon the old-fashioned method of spading the ground by hand. This sounds like a back-breaking job, but I have a system which allows me to work at my own pace, doing only the work that I feel comfortable doing in a day. My secret is to plan my work so that I have only to do a small section a day, such as 250 square feet, which I can work in an hour. Before digging any garden plot we must determine what additives are necessary to bring the soil to the proper nutrient value needed for what we plan to grow. This is best done by taking a soil test to the nearest soil-testing laboratory. To take a soil test, dig six trowels full of soil, taken at random at least ten feet apart, then mix them thoroughly. From this extract one trowel and place it in a disposable container and take it for analysis. Once we know what is needed in our garden, we are ready to prepare the soil. I define the area that I wish to improve and dig my first spadeful at one end of my garden, depositing it at the outer edge of the area I intend to prepare. I then dig a trench of at least fifteen inches deep across the width of my planned garden. Into this trench I put at least one inch of humus and the needed additives, refilling it with the soil from that trench that I made immediately adjacent. This way I can do as small or as large an area as I like, and the fluffed layer of soil that I create is ideal for root penetration. By using this method, we can develop a deep, rich top-soil, exposing some of the sub-soil to the surface and incorporating a form of humus each year. Try it; you will benefit from the exercise as well as the results. While some pruning may have been accomplished on favorable January days, it becomes a must during February and mid-March, especially for fruit trees. Where fig trees are prevalent, they should head the list since they are prone to bleeding. We prune fruit trees to increase quality so that each fruit can become an “apple of your eye.” The process must involve removing all injured limbs, leaving an open-headed tree which allows the sunlight to penetrate. This pruning results is fewer fruit of higher quality. And now is the time to start your indoor spring sowing of seeds!


March is prevention month (not to mention it is the busiest of garden months), as many of the ills that befall plants can now be eradicated at their source, as many insects have hibernated over the winter and will soon breed along the stems of plants and litter. After debris from pruning and after litter are removed, a dormant spray should be applied under high pressure, but without insecticide abuse. Because of the constantly changing use of insecticides the best advice is to consult your local experts! Also, begin your growing year with good sanitation. Remove all waste and debris from last year's garden and place in your compost heap. A good pruning knife and shears with two cutting edges is essential for sanitary gardening as well as for shaping the destiny and character of the garden. “Nature has the will, but not the power, to reach perfection.” But your help in the garden can make all the difference. Shrubs complete their flowering sequence and are ready to renew themselves for another season's go-around. There will be new growth and older limbs will die out. Good gardeners must intervene with their pruning shears to keep their dream garden in the continuing state of perfection. Pruning should start right as the forsythia goes out of bloom along with other early flowering shrubs and plants. Heavy pruning intended to rejuvenate an old plant or reduce its size should also be accomplished at this time. For your lawn, this is the time to apply pre-emergent crab grass control and then your fertilizers. Many of the latter do contain pre-emergents, so check on this when purchasing. March is an excellent time to plant ground covers which can act as buffer zones among plants and your lawn. Change is the theme of March, and this is the month best suited for grafting of camellias. And remember, roses and vegetables need attention during March as they begin their spring and summer growing.

The 2015
Membership Drive
Year Round


Student $7.50 | Senior Citizen Individual $15 | Individual Adult $25 | Family $35
Merit $50 | Club $50 | Honor $100 | Sponsor $250-499  
Capital Fund $ ____ | Endowment Fund $ ____ | Gift for Friend $ ____

As you know, the Fred Heutte Center newsletter is no longer prepared in print form and mailed through the postal service.  Instead, the newsletter has migrated to the Internet (visit  Therefore, our annual membership drive is now conducted via email.  If you know of people who do not use email and need a copy mailed to them, please let us know.

For over 30 years, the Fred Heutte Center - at the intersection of Westover Avenue and Botetourt Gardens in the historic Ghent community of Norfolk, Virginia - has been the focal point of the Friends of Fred Heutte Foundation. Our members work to continue Mr. Heutte's wish to enrich our community by sharing his ideals of urban beautification through horticultural education and by caring for the center gardens and the terminal building.

We continue to make great strides in providing a vibrant center where members, gardeners, horticultural speakers, instructors, as well as city, social, business, and private organizations and their guests come together.

However, we can't make it without the financial support of kind members and organizations like you! As we continue to honor Fred Heutte's wishes, membership fees and donations are vital to our efforts and their outcomes. As you have generously done so in the past, please take the time to print-out the form below and send-in your renewal or new membership. For those who have already sent in their renewals and new memberships, we thank you!  Please be advised that annual memberships have reverted to a period of one-year from the receipt of your donationFor more information, please call us at 757.441.2513.


Mail your membership to:
Fred Heutte Center
1000 Botetourt Gardens
Norfolk, Virginia 23507-1866


Cynthia L. Anstrom ~ Ann & Dr. Larry Atkinson ~ Charles & Bettie Minette Cooper
Dr. Gary E. Copeland ~ Mrs. & Dr. T.W. Hubbard
The Herb Society of America - Tidewater Chapter
The Norfolk Master Gardener Association
Hoyt March, Horton Nursery ~ Dr. Ula Motekat ~ Vaughan Privett
The Prime Timers of Southeastern Virginia
Captain Douglas M. and Mrs. Sally G. Simon
Donald R. Snipes ~ William C. Smoot ~ Thomas West
Hampton Roads Community Foundation
The City of Norfolk, Virginia

The FHC Webcam

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Planting your garden? Check out the CoCoRaHS "Climate Resources Guide for Master Gardeners"

Last summer, CoCoRaHS released an on-line guide for our master gardeners  ( out there. The HTML version of this guide( ) introduces elements of large scale and local climate important to gardeners. An overview of climate patterns and differences are shown. Links to local climate information are provided. Topics include: Climate & Gardening, Sunshine, Temperature, Humidity and Dew Point, Precipitation, Wind, Evapotranspiration, Climate Resources, Climate Change and CoCoRaHS.

We hope that you'll take a look at it, use it for your own gardening needs and pass along the URL link to other gardeners you know who may be interested in gaining a better understanding of climate and how climate might effect their local gardening efforts . . . and watch out putting out your tender plants in those areas where frost could still show up in May!

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation ~

The Herb Society of America - Tidewater Unit also meets on the 2nd Sunday of the month at 1PM

To join our foundation, print-out your membership form by clicking here!


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The Ghent Square Community Association

Email Us!

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