Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wildflower Wednesday: Bachelor's Buttons

This month I decided to dive into Gail Eichelberger's Wildflower Wednesday garden blog meme. For my first entry, I chose a wildflower that has self-sown in my community garden plot and is blooming abundantly right now -- Bachelor's Buttons aka Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus).

Though they are not native to the Eastern US, they have naturalized well and provide a nice food pollinator source. They do self-seed, but are easy enough to yank out where you don't want them and don't run riot over other plants.

This old-fashioned heirloom is great as a cut flower, and, of course, worn as a boutonniere or stuck in a hat band!

By the way, they are famous for their brilliant blue color, but they also come in white and pinks.

You will find Bachelor's Buttons in most commercial "wildflower" seed mixes or you can buy straight Bachelor's Buttons seed packs. They need little from you. Just a spot in full sun. If they get too leggy, simply cut them back or place a tomato cage or peony ring around them.

Wildflower Wednesday is about sharing wildflowers from all over the world. It was started by Gail Eichelberger on her "Clay and Limestone" blog. It is always on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fenton Friday: Suddenly Strawberries!

This week was another one of nonstop rains and chilly temps. Miraculously though, I went over to weed for a few minutes and discovered ripe strawberries! I immediately ate a few. They were delicious! I had feared all the rains would cause them to be water-logged and flavorless.

How is your garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday:
Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 5th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)

Win Passes to the Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly Exhibit

For our May 2016 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away the five sets of passes to the Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy live butterfly exhibit in Wheaton, MD (each set has two passes and is a $16 value).
   Running daily through September 25, from 10am to 4pm, Brookside Gardens South Conservatory features live butterflies. Come witness the butterfly life cycle as tiny eggs hatch into crawling, chewing caterpillars, which then encase themselves in jewel-like chrysalides and emerge as sipping, flying adult butterflies. Learn about the best annual and tropical plants, and hardy shrubs that are used as nectar sources, to attract butterflies to your own garden. See more details at
   To enter to win a set of passes, send an email to by 5:00pm on Monday, May 31, with “Wings” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in the May 2016 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address.
   The pass winners will be announced and notified on June 1.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Edible, Beautiful Amaranth in the May 2016 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine

The May 2016 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out and posted online at:

Inside this issue:
  • Edible, Beautiful Amaranth
  • Your Monthly Garden Tasks To-do List for May-June
  • Enviro-friendly Landscape Design Trends from Green Matters 2016
  • 8 Great Strawberry Growing Tips
  • Local Gardening Events Calendar for DC-MD-VA
  • Stopping a Slug Invasion
  • Helping Sickly Pepper Plants
  • Meet Dr. Amen of Purple Mountain
  • Dirty Secrets:  Gardeners Share Their Tips and Tricks for the Best Ways to Haul Plants Home
  • and much more...  
Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the June 2016 issue are due by June 10.
Subscribe to Washington Gardener Magazine today to have the monthly publication sent to your inbox as a PDF several days before it is available online. You can use the PayPal (credit card) online order form here:

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: GoGardeners Garden Coaching

"My mission is to introduce people to the wonders of nature through their own backyards, and to show them how to enrich their lives and the environment by taking charge of their outdoor space." - Elise Stigliano,
Garden Coach and
Founder of GoGardeners
Phone: 301-518-8333

Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page, Blog, and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digital magazine. To advertise with us, contact today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Video Wednesday: Turning Black Thumbs Green

I gave this talk last spring as part of the PechaKucha presentations in Silver Spring, MD. The theme of that talk collection was "change." I demonstrate making change happen by attacking the concept of "black thumbs" and providing simple tips on how to make the world a greener place.

If you are not familiar with PechaKucha talks, they are a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, etc.

I am going to do an encore of this talk at the upcoming Behnke Garden Party on June 4.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

9th Annual DC Plant Swap

9th Annual DC Plant Swap
hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine

What: A Plant Swap -- bring and receive free plants to expand your garden

Why: Free Plants! Last chance to do so before the season heats up.

Date: Saturday, June 11

Time: starting at 11am bring your plants for sorting by category (shade perennial, groundcover, herb, etc.) -- swap starts promptly at 11:30am -- do not be late (the swap goes fast and can be over in a matter of minutes!) - after swapping, we can socialize, snack, and trade more info on the plants we brought - we plan to conclude and be cleaned up by 12:00noon. so you will have the rest of the day to plant and enjoy your Saturday.

Place: US National Arboretum's R Street parking lot -- if it storms, we will move inside to the auditorium.

Who: anyone is welcome as are any of your friends, relatives, or neighbors -- it is FREE -- feel free to forward on this invitation

How: be prepared to BRIEFLY introduce yourself and describe your plant swap offerings

~ a name tag - home-made or from work or school -- whatever works
~ pen and paper - you will want to take lots of notes as folks describe the plants and their growing conditions
~ plants to swap - pot them up NOW -- the longer they can get settled in their pots, the better their chance of success and survival - (no plants to share? see note below)
~ labels - fully label all your swap plants with as much info as you have - optimally that will include: common and scientific name, amount of sun needed, amount of water needed, any other special care notes, and color of the blooms (if it is not currently in flower)

What NOT to bring: common orange daylilies* and any invasive species - use this list ( to screen your plant offerings
*Hybrid daylilies are fine and totally welcome, but the common orange ones (aka "Ditch Lilies") usually end up with no takers and we are stuck having to throw them out as yard waste.

What if you do not have plants to swap? Come anyway! Bring refreshments like cold drinks and yummy finger foods to share with the other swappers.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Blustery Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

It is Garden Blogger's Bloom Day again! On the 15th of each month, we gardeners with blogs share a few bloom photos from our gardens. Here is the Mid-Atlantic USA (USDA zone 7) on the DC-MD border, the past month has been a very wet and cold one. The early-spring blooms that had been ahead of schedule due to the somewhat mild winter are now all gone and the mid-spring are mostly stalled and waiting for warmer, sunnier days. I looked at past years' bloom day posts and at this time I usually have peonies, roses, and annual containers full of blooms to share.

Instead, I have lots of lush green growth (including the weeds!), but really only the Bearded Iris is hitting its stride right now. Those are mostly on the ground though as we have high winds coming through and a frost advisory (!) for this evening, so I cut a bunch for an indoor bouquet.

Because of the high winds, I could not take any decent bloom photos this morning. Instead I'm sharing a photo from my Instagram feed ( that I posted a few days ago of my Clematis 'Silver Moon,' which is looking good despite the weather challenges.

What is blooming in YOUR garden today?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fenton Friday: White Radishes Ready

Yet another very wet week has kept me out of the community garden plot. I did get a few minutes to run over though and pull out the 'White Icicle' Radish that the spring interns planted. They are good-sized and tasty. I will definitely plan on growing them again, along with the tried-and-true 'Cherry Belle' and 'French Breakfast' varieties. I'd like to try the 'Mardi Gras' kind next, as they look so festive and colorful. Are there any other radish varieties that you recommend?

BTW How is your garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday:
Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 5th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.)