Meadowlark: A First Glance at a Winter Garden

By Jennifer Naughton, Fairfax Master Gardener

bloodtwig dogwood

Bloodtwig dogwood Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’

“The meadowlark inhabits North American grassy fields. Known for their melodious singing, they sing while they are flying, unlike most other birds, who only sing when perched. Larks have a crescent shape across their breasts, which signifies lunar qualities, and the moon is often linked with the concept of self. Lark encourages us to explore our inner selves and sing out loud.

A mother of three, I began the Fairfax County Master Gardener Association, Inc. (FCMGA) program when my youngest was in preschool. It was a thrill to learn again, especially about plants and gardening. I grew up making my mother bouquets of lily-of-the-valley, corn flowers, buttercups, violas, mint, playing in dirt and grass from dawn to dusk. I started a marriage and first garden in California where camellias, bougainvillea and roses climbed up the wall to my windows and a giant, grafted lemon-tangerine tree towered higher than my 900 square-foot home. After the demanding, all-encompassing care for my children as babies, toddlers, preschoolers, I was ready to broaden my scope, and the FCMGA program was a perfect, satisfying fit. When I graduated this year, I did not feel that I finished the program. I knew that my status as a Master Gardener would allow me opportunities to continue to learn, volunteer, but I wanted to study a seasoned gardener, watch them work the earth, combine color, texture, size, purpose in landscape design as an artist paints her canvas, tend plants lovingly.

Winter Gold Holly

‘Winter gold’ Ilex v