Boxerwood Newsleaf – March 2019

Spring Blooms at Boxerwood
By Ben Eland, Garden & Facilities Manger

Right now you will find splashes of yellow blooms throughout Boxerwood: the flowers of Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas), a member of the dogwood family native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Primarily grown as an ornamental in the U.S., its cherry-like fruits are edible, although extremely tart.

In its native range, the fruit in its firm, unripe stage is sometimes used in place of olives, and the soft ripe fruits are used in fruit drinks, syrups, jams, and baked goods. The trees are potentially long-lived, with life spans of 100 years or more. Early-blooming flowers are a pollinator food source, and the blooms are very cold hardy, tolerating temperatures down to 18 degrees.

You can also find several varieties of witch hazel in flower at Boxerwood, as well as Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica), a tree native to northern Iran that is in the witch hazel family. Although there are witch hazel species native to our region, the varieties currently in bloom at Boxerwood are cultivars derived from species native to China and Japan.

Also look for crocuses and daffodils! In the coming weeks some early-blooming magnolias will flower, although their blooms are very sensitive to frost and often don’t last long. So, visit soon and often to see what’s new!

Winter Program 2019“Wake Up Chuck”16 preschools – 20 classrooms!
Jess Sullivan, Early Ed. Coordinator, and Hannah West, Educator

Educators Jess Sullivan and Hannah West visited 16 preschools and 20 classrooms in late January and February. Here is a little taste of their program:

While digging for acorns at Boxerwood, Chatter the squirrel found something interesting to bring to school – the home of his friend, Chuck the groundhog.

Sleepy Chuck kept falling asleep while trying to explain that he had been hibernating since November. Lots of changes are needed to hibernate. In the fall, Chuck ate lots of food to gain a nice layer of fat. Then his body started to slow down. His breathing and heart rate slowed, and his body temp lowered to about 36 degrees! Chuck only woke up because he was hungry and wanted a snack. Chatter gave him a snack, sent him back to bed with a lullaby, and promised to bring him back to Boxerwood.

Hannah shared a book about what other animals do in the winter, everyone played charades and learned which animals migrate, hibernate or adapt, and then we went outside as nature detectives to look for clues of the animals in the schoolyard.

—— Events & Programs ——

Birding at Boxerwood
Saturday, March 16
8:00am – 10:00am

Observe birds and bird behavior as you walk through Boxerwood led by knowledgeable Rockbridge Bird Clubmembers. Beginning in Boxerwood’s parking lot, the group will stroll natural paths on easy-to-moderate terrain, and receive a pocket list of over 90 species that live or migrate through our varied bird-friendly habitats throughout the seasons. For more information, email Bonnie Bernstein (

Nurtured by Nature
Walk & Talk Series Spring 2019

Join us for our 3rd season of Walk and Talk workshops introducing thoughtful, intentional, artistic ways to connect with Nature and be refreshed, inspired, and sustained. Workshop leaders include members of our Boxerwood community as well as returning and new guest experts.

Sun Mar 24, 2-4 pm: Elise Sheffield – water color painting
Behold and Be/held

In this completely “not for experts” workshop, we’ll set aside our busy minds to behold nature’s creativity and to welcome our own. First we’ll stroll a bit, awakening our inner eye to the visual delights around us. Then we’ll settle in for some contemplative exploration of what we see and feel using the same “Look See Paint” method so beloved by the children we teach. In essence we supply simple yet professional quality watercolor paints and post-card size, artist-grade paper and invite you to discover where the brush takes you, leaving judgment and perfection behind. The goal is connecting with the world around us and becoming more deeply part of it. This is less a “how to” session than a “why not?” opportunity to rediscover fresh ways of seeing and being. Join us! All materials supplied, limited to 14 people. 

Sun April 7, 2-4 pmJoe Murray – spirit and Nature in your garden
Where is Nature?

Sun April 14, 2-4 pmLeah Green – literature/poetry
The Word for World: Poetry, observation & writing

Sun May 5, 2-4 pmKaren Stanley – yoga in the garden

Sun May 19, time TBAChristine Fang & Ben Eland
Experiencing Nature with Mindfulness

  • Register: email or call (540) 463-2697
  • Some programs have limited spots available. 
  • Dress appropriately – may bring a small portable stool/chair.
  • Parking is free for Boxerwood members and $5/car for non-members.
  • Programs are free, but suggested free-will donation for each program is $12/person to support maintenance of Boxerwood’s gardens.

Miniature Gardening
Boxerwood’s New FunFamily Workshop
Saturday, May 11 (3 sessions)
10 am-12 pm or 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm or3pm – 5pm
Space Is Limited – call or click to register today!

Bring a pot or other repurposed container for your garden project. Boxerwood will provide soil, miniature plants, natural building materials, tiny “found” or upcycled treasures – and a wee Garden Gnome!
Call (540) 463-2697 or click here to register on line

2019 Summer Camps
June & August

Register through May 14, 2019Reserve today – limited enrollment – camps will fill up

For additional info on camps and/or our (limited)scholarship fund, contact Hannah West, Boxerwood Camp

June 3-7: Nature Explorers (ages 4 & 5) Outdoor adventure – hands-on fun plus Play Trail.

June 10-14: Nature Explorers (rising 1st – 3rd) Investigate, design, build, create, discover patterns all around us plus Play Trail.

June 17-21: Wild Side (rising 6th – 10th) How can we use our creative wild side to invent public art that inspires others to care for the Earth? Sculptures, murals, and/or? Let’s figure it out! Includes a mix of solo and group art-making using natural and recycled materials…and?

June 24-28: Boxerwood Adventure (rising 3rd – 5th) Outdoor Treasure Hunters! Create nature-treasure, make tricky clues & hunts, find hidden wonders and enjoy outdoor play with fellow adventurers.

Aug. 5-9: Nature Detectives (current preK – rising 3rd) We’re all connected! Discover connections through natural wonders, inventive crafts, and supervised play.

Click here for additional details and registration forms.
  • Enrollment is limited. Acceptance on first-come, first-served basis.
  • May 14, 2019 deadline for application & payment – electronic or mailed
  • Checks payable to: Boxerwood Nature Center, and mailed to 963 Ross Road, Lexington, VA 24450
  • Families will receive more information upon registration.
  • Discount for Boxerwood members. Join at

——– Spotlight ——–

To cultivate interest and participation in the natural world

Spotlight: A Newsleaf’ feature focusing on items of interest to our readers.We encourage you to participate by sending in suggestions and letting us know what you would want to see in this section.
Last month we wrote about The American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program (RAP). Have you taken advantage of this great benefit? If so, let us know . . . and send photos!

9 Tiny Evergreens to Grow Year-Round

For evergreen textures and major bird appeal,grow these petite and pretty conifers

Good things come in small packages, and these dwarf conifers are no exception. Whether your space is itty-bitty or super spacious, these terrific trees add year-round interest and come in countless sizes, shapes, and foliage colors. Find one that’s a perfect fit for your backyard.

Tip: Before purchasing any small plant, be sure its mature size is what you need and want. Too often gardeners are frustrated that their “dwarf” plant covered a front window or overshadowed their house.

According to the American Conifer Society, dwarf varieties can grow 1 to 6 inches per year, but make sure to check the tags on your specific variety for growth and mature size.

Article Courtesy of Birds & Blooms magazine
Click here for the complete article

Two New Ways to Donate to Boxerwood

Qualified Charitable Distribution(QCD) allows IRA holders, age 70 ½ or older, to donate to Boxerwood from their Traditional or Roth IRA (including inherited) tax-free.


  • Donating IRA holder must have attained age 70 ½ on/before date distribution check is issued.
  • Funds must be issued directly from a Traditional or Roth IRA
  • Donors cannot receive any benefit from making a QCD
  • Amount cannot exceed $100,000 annually, per donor

Key benefits of donating IRA distributions to Boxerwood:

  • Deductibility limits do not apply to QCDs
  • If QCDs used as funding source for donations, donors receive tax benefits when there otherwise would have been none due to use of standard deduction
  • For those who pay taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits, income for determining taxation of Social Security benefits is lower than if IRA holder had taken required minimum distributions, potentially reducing this taxation
  • A QCD made in lieu of a required minimum distribution will result in lower Adjusted Gross Income for the IRA holder, which may lessen the effect of taxes on Net Investment Income or applicable phase-outs.

Stock Donations to Boxerwood can offer tax advantages to a standard donation.

  • When you donate stock Boxerwood, you’ll generally take a tax deduction for the full fair market value, up to 50% of adjusted gross income for that year. If stock has appreciated in value, you can avoid paying capital gains tax.
  • To make a stock donation to Boxerwood, please call (540) 463-2697 or email

Consult your tax professional before making a QCD or stock donation to ensure it is in your best interest and your distribution qualifies.

Leave a Reply