Friday, January 20, 2017

January 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine includes Best Monarda for the Mid-Atlantic Region and A Year in the Edible Garden

The January 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out.

You can view it online at:

Inside this issue:
Best Monarda for the Mid-Atlantic Region
A Year in the Edible Garden: When to Plant and Harvest
Your Garden Tasks To-do List
Naughty Norway Maple
Local Gardening Events Calendar
Reducing Stress with Garden Plants
3 New Space-saving Vegetables
2017 Garden Trends
Seed Exchange Registration and Details
And much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the February 2017 issue are due by February 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:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Video Wednesday: Seed Swap Talk on #PlantChat

If you missed the live stream #PlantChat this week, you can watcha replay at this link:

The weekly #PlantChat is hosted by Corona Tools. This was the first time doing it as a live stream, rather than on Twitter. Topics covered included techniques for seed saving, hosting a swap, seed sourcing, and much more.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Seed Exchange 2017 Speakers Announced

Here are the speakers for the upcoming Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges 2017. Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats. For more information on the exchanges and how to register, go here.

Saturday, January 28 at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

Small Footprint Gardening: Small Gardens --Big Harvests

Speaker: Kim Roman is a Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor
Even if you have a large plot of land, there are several reasons to grow your veggies using a small-space, high-intensive gardening method: less work and maintenance, no tilling, less water use, easier to protect from weather, pests and critters, extended growing seasons, etc. We will explore Square Foot Gardening, squash arches, container gardening, Back to Eden gardening, H├╝gelkultur, table top gardening and more.
   Speaker: Kim Roman is a Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor, trained by SFG creator, Mel Bartholomew and currently serves as the SFG Foundation’s Public Relations Director. In addition to SFG, Kim loves to teach other methods of small-space, organic vegetable gardening and works with schools, churches, homeless shelters, nursing homes, refugee centers, etc. to help them plan and implement their garden projects. Based in Glen Burnie, she’ll travel to your location for talks, classes, lunch & learns or consultations. Contact: or find her on Facebook at Square Foot Gardening 4 U. 


Growing a Cutting Garden from Seed
Speaker: Drew Asbury, Head Grower, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
Every garden needs flowers! One of the most rewarding and easiest ways to add color and flowers to your garden is to grow cut flowers from seed. Over 200 cultivars of cut flowers are grown in Hillwood’s cutting garden and the great majority of these are started from seed each spring. This talk will focus on which cut flowers are the most productive in Hillwood’s cutting garden and the different techniques used to sow them. 
    Speaker Drew Asbury is the horticulturist and volunteer manager at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. He joined Hillwood in 2012 and is responsible for the greenhouse complex, the cutting garden, and the horticulture volunteer program. Drew graduated from the Longwood Gardens professional gardener training program in 2006 and is currently working on his Master’s degree in landscape design from George Washington University.

Saturday, February 4 at Green Spring Gardens, VA:

Native Seed Collecting and Sourcing

Speaker: Sara Tangren, UMD Agent Associate
Sara will share her experiences with growing native plants from seed. Seed sourcing and plant growth requirements will be discussed, along with the basics of seed collection and post-harvest handling. She will also discuss the importance of local ecotypes.
   Sara Tangren is an Agent Associate for the University of Maryland Extension, where she teaches native plants and sustainable landscaping for the Master Gardener program.  She received her Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Maryland in 2001.  Her areas of specialization include plant biogeography, native landscaping, plant propagation, the native plant and seed industry, native meadows, and rare plant conservation.  She established the first native gardens at the University of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden in 2006, where she continues to volunteer.


Winter Sowing: Following Mother Nature’s Way to Get a Head Start on Your Spring and Summer Garden

Speaker: Linda L. Jones, owner, Elements of Nature

This presentation will focus primarily on winter sowing basics and techniques.  You will learn in-depth information on which seeds are the best candidates for winter sowing and which ones are best left for spring and summer planting.  The cost-saving and time-saving benefits of winter sowing will help you to jump start a healthy, productive garden by letting mother nature do most of the hard work for you.  
   Linda is a certified Maryland Master Gardener and has been happily gardening for over 25 years.  During the past six years she has been a frequent lecturer and gardening advisor on a variety of gardening topics throughout Maryland in public and private settings.  Her gardening expertise is in herbs, flowers and gourds.  Her love of gardening inspired her natural skin care line, HomeGrown Beauty Essentials, as well her collection of nature-inspired gifts, garden art and accessories. She is an avid seed collector and delights in growing flowers, gourds and herbs and sharing their seeds with friends and fellow gardeners.  In her words, “Teaching and lecturing about nature’s abundant miracles brings me great joy as I can share with others a knowledge of something that in some way may enhance the quality of their life."  Linda can be contacted at  –, P.O. Box 1958, Clinton, MD; or 

For more information on the exchanges and how to register, go here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

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 2017 is:
“Holland: Flowering the World,” it will celebrate the beauty and ingenuity of Dutch culture, from vivid flower fields to innovative eco-design.The Philadelphia Flower Show will transport guests to the rainbow landscapes of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, and through the cut-flower and bulb markets that have shaped Holland’s history and culture. The Flower Show will also explore the innovation that has defined Holland’s approach to its unique landscape, from windmills – one of the earliest uses of natural energy – to 21st-century eco-domes and the Dutch Wave movement, which takes a natural and sustainable approach to landscape design.

Show visitors will experience the rich heritage of the Netherlands, from the canals of Amsterdam to the castle gardens and Keukenhof fields, the historic and modern architecture, and the world renowned art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh to Mondrian. Holland’s culinary culture of great cheeses, chocolates, beer and other cuisine will also be part of this international celebration. And everyone is "welkom."

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 15 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 16 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!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Hen and Chicks Succulents: You Can Grow That!

"Hen and Chicks” Succulents (Sempervivum sp.) are like chips -- you cannot have just one! Once you start growing them, you'll find yourself collecting the many different varieties. There are over 3,000 named sempervivum cultivars, in numerous colors, shapes, textures, and sizes.

Sempervivum literally means "live forever" as they can be divided and propagated almost effortlessly. However, don't think that you can just set-it-and-forget-it. Each individual plant has a three-year life cycle and produces off-shoots for two of those years, so you will need to pull out those baby "chicks" and replenish the mother "hen" spot periodically.

These easy-to-grow succulents are great for indoor or outdoor containers. They can also be grouped with other cactus/succulents for a nice layered or contrasting look.

Sempervivum prefer full to part sun and very well draining (sandy/rocky) soils. They need little water and are very drought-tolerant.

Note that there are winter hardy varieties available here in the Mid-Atlantic. They are great in rock gardens and thrive in stone containers or concrete troughs. If you select a tender variety, you must bring it indoors for the winter and they should be kept as container plants to save you from digging and re-planting them out every growing season. 

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, December 29, 2016

Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges Registration NOW Open

Washington Gardener Magazine presents the 
12th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges
on Saturday, January 28, 2017, from 12:30–4:00PM
National Seed Swap Day!
at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD
Registration is now open at
on Saturday, February 4, 2017, from 12:30–4:00PM
at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA
Registration is now open at

Join us for:
Seed Swapping
Door Prizes
Planting Tips
Expert Speakers
Goody Bags

NEW This Year:
Make-it Take-It Seed Crafting Table

Washington Gardener magazine, the publication for DC-area gardening enthusiasts, is hosting the 12th annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange at Brookside Gardens and Green Spring Gardens. These seed swaps are in-person and face-to-face. You bring your extra seeds and swap them with other gardeners. Everyone will leave with a bag full of seeds, new garden friends, and expert planting advice.

On Saturday, January 28, 2017, in MD
and on Saturday, February 4, 2017, in VA
from 12:30–4:00PM
(Foul weather that day? Call 240.603.1461,
for updates about possible snow/ice delay.)

We are holding a duo of Seed Exchanges one week apart on opposite sides of the Washington Beltway. We urge you to attend the one closest to you.
   One exchange will be held at Brookside Gardens, 11800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, MD. The other will be at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA.

How to Register
Register online at for the 1/28/17 event and for the 2/4/17 one.
    Registration fee is $20 per person. Friends of Brookside members, Friends of Green Spring members, and current Washington Gardener subscribers receive a discount rate of $15 per person.
We strongly urge you to register in advance. There is a limited enrollment of 100 participants at each location!

We are GREEN!!!
Garden Book and Seed Catalog Exchange
Seed Exchange attendees are encouraged to bring their used or new garden books and seed catalogs to swap and share at this year’s event.
   We also ask you to bring your own water bottle or reusable mug and a home-made nametag. We will have a“best nametag” contest, so get crafty!

Event Hashtags #GardenDC and #SeedSwapDay

If You Have Seeds to Bring and Swap
Please package them in resealable plastic zipper or wax sandwich baggies. Put an average of 20 seeds per baggy — more for small seeds like lettuce, fewer for large seeds like acorns. Label each baggy with a white sticker (such as Avery standard 5160 address label sheets) giving all the information you have on the seeds. If known, include the plant's common and scientific names; its soil, sun, and watering needs; and, its origins — where and when you collected the seeds. If you don't know all the information, that is okay; just provide as much as you can.
Yes, you can bring unused or opened commercial seed packs.

What If You Don't Have Any Seeds to Swap?
Come anyway! Even if you don’t have any seeds to trade, you are welcome to attend. We'll have plenty of extra seed contributions on hand and many attendees will be there just to learn, network, and prepare for next year's seed collecting.

Education Program
Expert speakers from the local gardening community will give short talks on seed collection and propagation tips. There will be ample time for individual Q&A throughout the program with the featured speakers, and invited experts as well.

(Note: This schedule is subject to change.)
12:00-12:30 Registration check-in
12:30-12:40 Introductions
12:40-1:20 Gardening talk
1:20-1:55 Gardening talk
2:00-2:15 Snack break and room reset
2:15-2:30 Seed Swap preview time
2:30-3:00 Seed Swap
3:00-3:30 Photo Contest winners
3:30-4:00 Door prizes and closing talk

How Do We Swap?
As you check in, staff will collect your seeds and place them at the appropriate seed category tables.
You will be assigned a random seed swap number. There will be a short period for attendees to preview all the seeds brought in and available for swapping. You will be called in by your number to pick a seed pack from each of the category tables (if desired).
After the initial seed swap is complete, attendees are free to take any of the left over seeds and to trade seeds with each other. Dividing of packets is encouraged and extra baggies with labels will be on hand for that purpose.

What Types of Seeds?
Seed swap categories will include natives, edibles, herbs, exotics, annuals, perennials, and woodies (trees/shrubs). If you can pre-sort your seeds in advance into which of these seven major categories fits best, that would help us speed up the process on the swap day.

Door Prizes! Goodie Bags!
Each attendee will receive a goodie bag at the seed swap. The bags include seeds, publications, and garden items donated by our sponsors. In addition, we have some incredible door prizes to give away especially for area gardeners.
   If your organization would like to contribute seeds or garden-related products for the goodie bags and door prizes, contact Kathy Jentz at 301.588.6894 by January 22.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Garden PHOTO CONTEST Kicks Off!

The 11th Annual Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest kicks off now! Time to start sorting and picking out your best 2015 garden shots. The entry period is January 1-21, 2017. 

Note that eligible entries must have been taken in the 2016 calendar year in a garden setting within 150-mile radius of Washington, DC.

We have four major entry categories:

~ Garden Views (landscape scenes)

~ Garden Vignettes (groupings of plants in beds or containers, unusual color or texture combinations, garden focal points, and still scenes)

~ Small Wonders (flower or plant part close-ups)

~ Garden Creatures (any living creature in a garden setting)

Remember that garden photos need not all be taken during the first week of May nor should they all be tight close-ups of a red rose. Look for the unusual and for beauty in the off-season too. Our judges give equal weight to the following criteria when evaluating the entries: technical merit, composition, impact, and creativity.

Anyone can enter: professional or amateur, adult or student, local area gardener or visiting DC tourist. Past winners have included teenagers entering their first-ever photo contest and home gardeners trying out their new digital cameras. Our next Grand Prize Winner could be YOU!

See this page for the full contest details (click on the image to read it at full size):

Also, here is the entry form text:

Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest Entry Form:
• Name -      
• Full address-
• Phone number –
• Email –
• Years of photography experience-
• Whether you are a Pro or Amateur-
• Image File name and title-
• A brief description of each image-
• The category each image is to be entered in -
• The location where each image was taken -
• All available photographic information regarding the image (i.e. camera type, lens, lighting, etc.)

For any contest inquiries, contact

Video Wednesday: 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show, Holland: Flowering the World

The 2017 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show will showcase the extraordinary plants, creativity and talent of this region’s top horticulturists and designers along with award-winning landscape and floral designers from the Netherlands.

A must-see event for gardeners of all levels, the 2017 Flower Show offers endless inspiration to use in spaces of all sizes, from landscapes to containers to windowsills.

In addition to past favorites, new attractions in 2017 include Holland's own Ecodome on it's first and only stop in North American, a relaxing retreat in the Garden Spa, and the World Flower Market.

Washington Gardener Magazine will be announcing our trip details in the next few days -- stay tuned!