Sunday, February 07, 2016

17 Gorgeous Photos of DC-area Gardens

Go to the link below to see the 10th Annual Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest winners -

They will also be share in a photo exhibition this summer and in our next issue of Washington Gardener Magazin.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Meet the New Interns...

This winter/spring semester, I have taken on two new editorial interns. If you attend any of our upcoming events, like the Seed Exchange in Virginia this Saturday, you are bound to run into one of them. As a first assignment, I asked them to write a short introduction to our readers...

Hello Loyal readers, my name is Daisy-Nelly Nji and I am a senior multiplatform major at the University of Maryland. I am honored to be one of the two spring interns for a innovative and informative magazine such as the Washington Gardener. While this is my first internship, I‘ve written for many organizations on campus and off such as The Writer's Bloc and PublicAsian. I am confident in my skills as a writer and I am excited to present it to you readers. I have been armed with the necessary tools throughout my college career that could be beneficial to the magazine. I look forward to take part of the different gardening events that the magazine will cover. I can’t wait to make great memories with the publication while presenting my style of writing to everyone.     

My name is Seema Vithlani and I am a junior multi-platform journalism major and French minor at the University of Maryland. I am a former journalism intern for the Council on the Environment and the local news editor of Plex, a student publication focused on minority interests. I also work as a copy editor for The Diamondback, the university newspaper. I like to travel and eat Italian food, and I love most fruit (particularly berries). I have grown tomatoes, strawberries, and mint at home in the past, and I am excited to learn more about gardening as a journalism intern for the Washington Gardener magazine this spring. 

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Arugula: You Can Grow That!

Guest Blog by Joelle Lang

On September 30, the first day of my internship with the Washington Gardener Magazine, I was confronted with a difficult decision — what did I want to grow? As part of my internship, I was to plant something and monitor its growth over the course of the semester. While I can’t remember what my options of seeds were that day, I do remember that I chose to plant arugula because I use it at least four times a week in salads and was excited to be eating something I planted from scratch.

I planted the arugula seeds that day in editor Kathy Jentz’s community garden plot in the ground and in a raised pot. I planted two longs rows in both spots, sprinkling the seeds up and down, covering them with some soil, watering them with a little bit of water and hoping for the best. 

I checked on the seeds one week later on October 7 and was extremely happy to see that they actually began to sprout. The plant grew faster in the ground than in the pot. I held off on cutting them just yet, so they could grow a bit taller.

The next time I checked them on October 19, I was pleased again at the rate of their growth. Once again, I held off on cutting the plant, but I did nibble on some leaves and it was delicious!

I was finally able to cut leaves from my plants on November 2 because of the rapid rate at which it was growing. I did note that the container plants grew at a slower pace than the ones in planted directly in the soil. I made myself an amazing arugula salad for dinner and bragged about my green thumb to my friends and family.

I came back to cut the plants one week later and the plants in the soil had re-grown to an impressive height! I cut those down and enjoyed another salad and bragging session. However, the container-grown arugula continued to lag slightly behind.

I returned to my plants on November 18 to find that the container plants began to sprout dark purple leaves and tasted a little peppery.

After experiencing some rain and gloomy weather, I checked my plant again on December 14 for the last time and saw that the in-ground plants grew enough to make another nice salad and the container plant had also filled in — though they grew more slowly and showed purple and red leaves. I cut both sets of plants back and said a tearful goodbye. I will definitely plant arugula in the future because of how simple it was to care for and how leaves sprouted and re-grew so quickly.

About the Author 
Joelle Lang, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, is a multi-platform journalism student in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. This past autumn, she was also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.

All who are involved with You Can Grow That! (YCGT!) believe that plants and gardening enhance our quality of life. We want people to be successful with what they grow and to become more aware of the many gifts that horticulture brings. Find out more at

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Seed Exchange FAQ

I have been getting a number of emails and phone calls about the upcoming Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges. I thought I'd put together the following FAQ. Feel free to pass it on to any fellow gardeners:

- Yes, you can still register. We have plenty of spaces open. The preregistration deadline is by Friday, January 29 for the Brookside event and by Friday, February 5 for the Green Spring event. To register onsite, you can still fill out the registration form and bring it with payment to the event starting at 12:00noon on Saturday. The form is posted here: 
or email with "Seed Exchange" in the subject field and we can email it directly to you.

- We recommend eating lunch before coming. We will be serving a healthy, light snack break mid-way through the event -- fruit, granola bars, etc. We have filtered water - if you have a travel mug, refillable bottle, or cup you like, please bring that to fill up. We will have some plastic/paper cups on hand, but are trying to keep this event as “green” as possible.

- We will have generic blank name tags -- but we ask participants to be creative and make their own tags or if you have your own name tag from work or another event, by all means bring it. We will do prizes for the most creative name tags :-). Again, we are trying to recycle and make this event eco-friendly.

- When you get your goody bag at check-in, please make sure to label it with your name -- all the bags look alike and can get easily mixed up. Bringing a few sheets of those personalized address labels you get with charity mailings will come in handy for this and for labeling your seed packets, giving out your contact information to fellow gardeners, etc.

- If you are bringing seed/garden catalogs for our give-away table, be sure to rip off the address labels and tear out any order insert with your personal information on it. 
~ We also welcome gardening books for swapping, so feel free to bring those too!

- We screen incoming seeds and do not accept any invasives listed in the "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas" booklet from the National Park Service. See the listing at: (We do not allow GMO seeds in either, but chances are slim that any home gardener would have access to them.)

~ You can bring unused seeds from purchased packs or seeds you gathered from your own garden. Carefully pack and label your seeds as best you can. The more information you can provide, the better. More details on seed packing and labeling are on the registration form. Did you know you can make your own seed packs? Get great free downloadable templates are here:
   Please do NOT bring large quantities of seed in one bag. Our volunteers are over-whelmed at the check-in tables already with sorting seeds into the table categories, please break them up into smaller quantity packs ahead of time.
    (No, you don't have to bring seeds. It is great though if you do bring them. Store-bought is fine.)
    (Yes, you can bring bulbs, tubers, corms, etc. to the swap. They should be bagged and labeled just like seeds.)
   (Older seeds are fine, if you can test for viability that would be great. The exceptions are lettuce, onions, and impatiens seeds, which should all be less than a year old.)
~ Make a list of your seed “wants” in advance.  It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the day and forget the basics that you came for or the rarities that you had been seeking.
- Here is the updated event schedule*:
12:00-12:30 Registration and seed drop off to WG Staff & Volunteers

12:30-12:35 Introductory remarks and overview
12:35-1:25 Speaker 1
 1:30-2:00 Speaker 2
2:00-2:30 Refreshment Break and Seed Swap Preview
2:30-3:00 Seed Show and Tell**
3:00-3:30 Seed Swap!
3:30-3:45 Garden Photo Contest Winners Presentation (only at Green Spring location)
3:45-4:00 Final Door Prizes and closing remarks - Kathy Jentz Washington Gardener magazine

*As with all live events, the schedule is subject to last minute change.

**Show-and-Tell participation is voluntary. We encourage you to introduce yourself, share some fun facts and background on the seeds you bring, or tell us about any local garden projects or groups that you are involved in. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Explore America! at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Welcome SPRING at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Sick of SNOW and COLD weather? Me too! Come join us for a day-trip to a virtual Garden of Delights at the upcoming Philadelphia Flower Show!
Washington Gardener Magazine has two tours this year going up to the Philadelphia Flower Show. The Philadelphia Flower Show is the oldest and largest indoor flower show in the world. the theme for 2016 is “Explore America.” Guests will discover the range of horticulture in the national landscape, including the rainbow of wildflowers, desert blooms, coastal flora, verdant meadows, fragrant pinelands, and ancient redwoods. The Flower Show will tell the diverse stories that forged the United States with exhibits inspired by the nation’s monuments and places where history happened. “Explore America” will spotlight Independence National Historical Park, Lincoln’s birthplace, Liberty Island, and other sites honoring our national heritage.

The Flower Show attracts non-gardeners as well as die-hard green-thumbed people of all ages. Foodies of all tastes will love the Garden to Table Studio. Participate in the Lectures and Demonstrations series, Gardener’s Studio, and the “Make & Take” workshops. First-time and returning riders will enjoy the welcoming, custom details of our coach service.

The two tours are on different days; from different locations. Here are the details:
~ Wednesday, March 9 from 10am-10pm, leaving and returning to downtown Silver Spring, MD - includes a lunch and is nearby to public transit - see the registration form for more details:
~ Thursday, March 10 from 10am-10pm, leaving and returning to Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, MD - includes a lunch and has free parking - see this registration form for more details: 

Note: The forms are for printing and mailing along with your payment. They are not interactive online forms.
If you have any trouble printing them out, please send an email to and I can send the forms directly to you. 
Our coaches fill up quickly, so please act fast to reserve your spot with us!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Win Passes to one of the upcoming Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges

For our January 2016 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away two passes to either of the Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges (prize value $40).
   The 11th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges, hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine, take place on January 30, 2016, at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD and on February 6, 2016, at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax, VA. You have a choice of which side of the DC Beltway you want to visit! Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats. The event also includes such “green” features as the garden book and catalog swap. Everyone will leave with a bag full of seeds and loads of gardening inspiration for the upcoming growing season!
   To enter to win the Seed Exchange Passes, send an email to by 5:00pm on January 25 with “Seed Swap” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on January 27.

UPDATE: The winner (chosen at random from among the submitted entries) of the two passes to our Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges is Kevin Alsop of Capitol Heights, MD. Congratulations, Kevin, who says he is new to gardening!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Top 3 New Cars for Gardeners

I spent the last two days at the preview days of the annual Washington Auto Show. What, you may ask, was this car-free gardening girl doing there?

Well, I was invited to join with other female bloggers from the DC-area and beyond to see write and tweet and live chat our hearts out about the show. Some of us write on topics closer to the world of car shows (travel bloggers), others of us cover topics a bit farther afield (fashion, food, and gardens). I think, though, that we were all able to find our audience angle and bring a unique perspective to the event.

What I found most interesting was the many green features (hydrogen cell batteries with zero emissions) and safety improvements (driver-less cars) coming soon to the market!  What I though would be of most interest to you, my dear fellow gardeners, are the vehicles that will make your lives easier when hauling plants and soil bags back home, so without further delay, here are my choices for the top 3 new garden vehicles:

1. Chrysler Pacifica - This minivan is stylish and practical. When bringing mulch home, the available Stow ‘n Vac integrated vacuum powered by RIDGID provides easy access to all corners of the vehicle for quick clean-up. Also, the Stow ‘n Go seating and storage system has a new press-bttton to the move the front seat forward to allow the second-row seat to be stowed into the floor tub.

2. Toyota Tacoma - This small pickup is the perfect size for city living, but is tough enough for farm chores. I could someone looking to transition to a horticultural career in landscape design or garden maintenance really getting a lot of use out of this sporty vehicle.

3. Subaru Forrester - This wagon is Subaru's best-selling model and I can see why. It has all-around appeal and value. This model was also featured at last year's Philadelphia Flower Show and that is where I noticed it has a low-to-ground floor, so it was easy-to-load and bonus: you could easily get in while wearing a skirt!

See these models and many more at the Washington Auto Show. Note that the show is closed this weekend due to the blizzard, but will re-open from 1/25-1/31/16 at the DC Convention Center. Let me know what you think and if you see other vehicles that gardeners would love. Did I leave out your favorite gardening vehicle?

UPDATE: The show opening has been pushed back one more day to Tuesday, 1/26.

Sponsored blog post: #DCLovesAutos program.