Sunday, June 28, 2009

Seasons of Change

With the July/August issue of Washington Gardener Magazine, we will be moving to a quarterly publishing schedule. You will note that it is renamed the Summer 2009 issue. Since March/April 2005, we have been published bimonthly (six times a year). It has been a struggle to keep up with the five postage increases and high printing/paper costs during this period. We have looked carefully at alternatives and believe this is the best choice for keep the magazine alive and healthy. In the future, we may revert back to our bimonthly schedule or issue a bonus issue. We will continue to keep you, our loyal readers, updated with any further changes.


If you are currently subscribed, we will honor the same number of issues for which you paid. So that if you still have three issues left in your subscription, we will extend you through to next spring and so on. If you have any questions about your subscription status, please do not hesitate to contact me at (301) 588-6894 or washingtongardener (at) rcn.com.


Our quarterly print issues will be supplemented with a relaunched and expanded Washington Gardener Enewsletter. The monthly enewsletter includes local garden event listings, garden to-do lists, new plant introductions, and much more.

In addition to the print magazine and enewsletter, we continue to bring our readers together through our online discussion group, blog, and twitter feed. To learn more about these online resources, please visit http://www.washingtongardener.com/.


Finally, we encourage to enter our annual Garden Photo Contest. We hope to see you in-person at one of our many events including our annual Seed Exchange in January, Philadelphia Flower Show trip in March, Plant Swap in June, Tomato Tasting in August, and at our free monthly garden talks hosted at the Historic Society of Washington.


We welcome your comments and content ideas. Thank you all for your support.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Weekend Plans

Hate weeding? Listen to DC Summer Gardening Tips part 3 onWAMU 88.5 for tips to make it easier. Archived at http://wamu.org/programs/mc/ and repeating on-air a few times over the weekend. While weeding may never be "fun," we can at least make it less boring and painful.

Saturday morning, we'll have a table at the AHS Garden School in Alexandria, VA. Details are posted at ahs.org here. Featured speakers will include: Marcy Damon, grassroots restoration coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Jeff Lowenfels, soil health expert and author of Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web; Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens; and Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual.

That afternoon, we host a talk on Growing the Perfect Tomato at the HSW in downtown DC. The talk is free and open to all. See this previous blog post for details.

Sunday from 1-4pm, we'll be at the Buy Local Block Party, an indoor-outdoor neighborhood celebration with live music - Cool local stuff - Beer garden - Interactive arts. The plant sale portion is aimed directly at those new area apt/condo dwellers, but I know that many office workers and home owners as well will want to stop by and purchase some selections to "green" their surroundings. I'll be there with plant advice and the Beltsville Garden Club will be selling houseplants, herbs, and edibles grown in their greenhouses. Come out and support the Eat Local, Buy Local, Grow Local movement. Location: the Arts Alley, 8030 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910, this is south of the RR tracks underpass, behind Mayorga Coffee on Georgia Avenue and behind Gallery Restaurant on East West Highway, and next to the Veridian apartments off of Blair Mill Way. Admission: free. .(As the Red line is still experiencing serious disuptions, I recommend the #70 which will drop you off right there at the event or take any of the Silver Spring metro-bound buses and walk the few blocks over. ) For more info, details, and updates, visit the Buy Local Silver Spring web site at: http://www.buylocalsilverspring.com/.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Win Passes to Brookside Wings of Fancy

Our June 2008 Washington Gardener Reader Contest is for a set of two passes each (worth $12 per set) to the "Wings of Fancy" - Live Butterfly Exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, The event runs May 2 through September 20, 2009 from 10:00am to 4:00pm daily. Asian, Costa Rican, and North American butterflies take flight in Brookside’s international exhibit celebrating its 13th season. Don't forget to bring your cameras! I also recommend to avoid the intensely hot days as this is a greenhouse and can get plenty stifling.
We have 5 sets of passes to give away. To enter, send an email to washingtongardener (at) rcn.com by 11:59pm on June 30. Winners will be selected and announced on July 1.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Growing the Perfect Tomato

Saturday, June 27
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Family Urban Gardening Series
presented by Washington Gardener Magazine
Growing the Perfect Tomato with Elizabeth Olson

The concept of growing the perfect tomato presents a challenge for any gardener. What is the standard of excellence—and what can be done to achieve it? General standards for a tomato call for it to be clean, free from damage or blemishes, true to variety, and of best market size and quality. When tomatoes are collectively exhibited for show or competition, the standards also include uniformity in size, shape, color, and maturity. The tomatoes are also expected to be appropriately groomed and displayed in an artful manner. Meeting these standards starts with the personal assessment of what you want and what will work for you. Exceeding general standards requires careful attention to the cultural aspects of growing tomatoes. Preparing conducive garden soil, selecting the right site and cultivar, knowing how to choose the best tomatoes and use the best harvesting technique, and understanding proper storage are among the essential ingredients of growing the perfect tomato.
Elizabeth Olson is a Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist and an avid kitchen gardener who has won multiple blue ribbons and three Best of Show awards for vegetables at the Prince George’s County Fair in Maryland. She is also a certified judge in vegetables with the Maryland Association of Agricultural Fairs & Shows.

This talk is FREE and open to all. All ages may attend.
RSVP@historydc.org or 202-383-1828.
HSW, 801 K Street, NW at Mount Vernon Square, Washington, DC

Free seedlings for the first 30 attendees include cilantro, dill, okra, basil, and tomatoes.

Please consider donating to our series hosts the Historic Society of Washington.
NOTE: NatureSweet® Tomatoes is sponsoring a Best Homegrown Tomato Challenge this August in McLean, VA. Two grand prize winners will be awarded $2500 each for the best tomato in both the small and large categories, while runners-up will each receive $250 in Giant Gift Cards. Details are here: http://www.naturesweettomatoes.com/.

Annuals for Your Water Garden

Just as you use annual flowers to add fast color and punch to your growing beds and containers, you can use water garden annuals for your pond to provide almost instant coverage, lushness, and flowers. In just a few weeks the last danger of frost will have passed (traditionally after Mother’s Day in our region) and soon you can set about rejuvenating your pond or water garden for the season.

“Greater demand means there’s a lot more exciting aquatic plant material to be found out there,” says Chris Wilson, a technical expert at Aquascape Designs, Inc., Batavia, IL. “Today’s water gardener has their pick of hundreds of aquatic and marginal plants from water lilies and lotus to papyrus, cattails, cannas, and more.”

Here is a list of annual water plants to fill your pond and get the season started in style:

Water Hyacinth: This floater (pictured above) needs no planting. Just place it on the ponds surface and off it goes. It has a purple, scented flower and is a prolific grower in full sun.

Water Lettuce: This is another floater plant. It is also called shellflower. The plant has pale green leaves that resemble a bunch of frilled lettuce. It is a fast grower and will quickly fill in any blank pond spaces. It divides easily for sharing with other gardeners..

Parrot’s Feather: This plant gets its name from the feathery lime-green foliage that is beautiful to look at. It is a very quick grower that is essentially a floater, but likes to have its roots anchored in the edge of other plants’ pots or between rocks along the pond edges.

Papyrus: Add vertical interest and an exotic touch to your water garden with this ancient plant. It is a bog plant so should be placed just below the surface and at the edge of your pond. Elevate it on a few bricks if necessary. Choose a dwarf variety if you only have a small pond or water garden container.

Tropical Water Lily: Unlike their hardy cousins, tropical water lilies will not survive our DC-area frosts and freezes. However, you’ll want to add one or two to your water garden every year as these wonderful bloomers comes in luscious colors and with scents that their hardy cousins can never match. Tropical water lilies bloom either by day or night. Be sure to purchase on that will bloom during the hours you are home most and can get the most enjoyment out of it.

One of the best sources for water garden plants in the area is Lilypons (http://www.lilypons.com/) in Adamstown, MD. Since 1917, Lilypons has been the source for water garden plants and supplies. Treat yourself to a visit to their beautiful 300 acres of natural ponds, woods and rolling hills, next to the Monocacy River. They host several special events each year including Children’s Day and the British Car Show, but stop by anytime to consult with their knowledgeable staff or just to take a stroll among the herons and frogs.






We'll be talking more about water gardening on the Metro Connection show, WAMU 88.5 on Friday, July 3 at 1pm.




For even more about water gardening in the DC-area, see the July/August 2005 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine. Included in that issue is a list of what NOT to plant near your water garden, edible plants that grow in water, and a focus on hardy water lilies. It is available for $5 by sending a check or money order to: Washington Gardener Magazine, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring MD 20910. Be sure to include a note specifying you want the July/August 2005 issue and where you would like it mailed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Water Garden Basics

Don’t have a water garden? It’s easy to set one up even with a limited planting area. All you need is full sun, a water-tight container, and, of course, water. Just take a tub or half-barrel fitted with a liner. The container should be at least 2 feet deep and 3 feet in diameter. You can bury the tub or liner in the ground or let it sit on your patio. Now fill with water and be sure to check and patch any leaks.

Once your water garden is ready, add the plants. You’ll want a backbone of perennial plants such as hardy water lily, lotus, cattails, or pickerel rush. Place these hardy plants in first and let them settle in a few days. Then layer in a few of the annuals listed in our next blog post.

If you want to add a few goldfish, add a few drops of chlorine-remover to treat the water or let the water sit for a few days to allow the chlorine gas to escape. To prevent the build-up of algae and any chance of mosquito larvae, throw in a barley ball as well as a few pieces of mosquito dunks.

Finally, add your decorative elements such as a pond pump and fountain, statuary, and lights. With one weekend’s work, you’ll have an easy-maintenance water garden to enjoy for years to come.

We'll be talking more about water gardening on the Metro Connection show, WAMU 88.5 on Friday, July 3 at 1pm.

For even more about water gardening in the DC-area, see the July/August 2005 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine. Included in that issue is a list of what NOT to plant near your water garden, edible plants that grow in water, and a focus on hardy water lilies. It is available for $5 by sending a check or money order to: Washington Gardener Magazine, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring MD 20910. Be sure to include a note specifying you want the July/August 2005 issue and where you would like it mailed.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gardening in Movies

So aside from my gardening obsession, I also squeeze in going to the movies about 2-3 times a week (then there are all the flicks I watch on TV/cable/DVD). I'm a member of the DC Film Society, which gets me into advance screenings of some films pre-release and living down the street from the AFI Silver doesn't hurt either. With all that film viewing and gardening be the #1 hobby in this country, you'd think the two would converge more often. You'd also think that when they do shoe gardens or gardening, that filmmakers would be more accurate. Often though, I'm disappointed in fake, out-of-season, or just plain wrong climate greenery shown in most fictional films. It just kills to "Africa" scenes shot in obvious Mexican jungles.

So I turn to the truth-telling documentarians to satisfy my garden movie fixes. This week at the AFI Silver is the annual SilverDocs documentary film festival. That means for the past week 25,000 documentary makers from around the world meet and show their best works. Last year, we had The Garden. This year, I had to dig a bit to find any garden-related films on the Silverdocs listings. After scanning the program for hours, I selected No Impact Man and a short called Nutkin's Last Stand.

I have to say that No Impact Man was about 5% gardening, but what there was of it, I revelled in. The subject family of NIM tried to have completely no carbon foot-print while raising a 3-year-old and living in a downtown Manhattan high-rise. Along their journey, they shop completely locally and mainly from the farmer's market. It occurs to then in spring to grow their own and he tries for a community garden plot. No shocker, they are full-up with a years' long wait list. They are mercifully apprenticed by a garden mentor, Mayer, who grows veggies at his plot, but, moreover, does not disguise his suspicion of their motivation or commitment. I want a new docu next year all about Mayer, it should be called "No Bullshit Man." Mayer instructs them on harvesting garlic scapes while asking hard questions like, how can your wife work for a big corporate shill like Business Week and still claim to be green. Okay, I'm paraphrasing, but Mayer hits it on the head and is not shy about it. If NIM comes to a screen near you, run, don't walk, to see it.

Nutkin's Last Stand was equally excellent. It was part of the Shorts program of outsiders/immigrant subject matter called "Crossing Borders" NLS is about the big, bad American grey squirrel who is out-competing the native British red squirrel. The docu follows these British activists in their quest to irradiate the grey squirrel threat. (Warning: graphic scenes of squirrel killing and consumption in the form of "Squirrel Pancakes.") This film was fascinating in that in never takes sides, but shows it all. Their battle is identical to the battle in my 'hood against exotic, invasive plants. In a bigger contest, it also touches on similarities to anti-immigration groups, Zionists, the Aryan nation, etc. The fervor and delight these folks take in getting rid of the foreign invaders is militaristic. The question of "why" red squirrels are so much better then grays is never addressed. My own take: they are cuter and they were there first.

A few weeks ago I was also invited to see Food Inc. screening with a post-talk panel including Michael Pollan. This is not bad, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it outside of high school or college classes. It covers much of the same ground we saw in Fast Food Nation, Supersize Me, etc. and if you read "Omnivore's Dilemma," I don't think you'll find anything new in this film for you. What you might get out of it is some good old-fashioned riling up. If you are feeling burnt out and need renewed motivation to hate Monsanto or reminder to contact your local lawmakers for basic food safety laws, it does that.

On a side note, a critic quote being used in the movie's ads urges people to bring their kids. DON'T! I spent the screening with a very upset child next to me. Many of the terms were over her head and she had to keep asking her mom to explain complex topics like trademarks and hormone-free milk. (Sample chatter: Kid, "What is a hormone?" Mom, "a growth regulating chemical in your body." Kid, "why is milk with hormones so bad?" and so on.) Further, the movie is far too graphic for anyone underage to take. I had to look away myself for many sequences esp. the open cow stomach digestion demo scene.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sad News for DC Area Gardeners

I'm not going to comment too much and just let the press release speak for itself. I know many of us in the DC-region are saddened to hear that a local resource for several decades is leaving us. We can only hope that the recession is bottoming out as has been reported and that other area nurseries/garden centers have the cash-flow onhand to make it through these tough times.

>>Carroll Gardens to Suspend Business

Effective June 30th, 2009, Carroll Gardens will suspend accepting orders for shipment. Our store in Westminster is also scheduled to close on that date. The Saturday morning call-in radio show, which we have provided for the last 20 years, will continue for the foreseeable future. (The Garden Club; WCBM-680AM; 7-8 a.m. Saturday Morning)
To satisfy our creditors, we must raise cash. Our loss is your gain! All products and plants on CarrollGardens.com and in the store are being sold at 25% off, subject to availability and first come first served. If you have gift certificates or credits, please use them now. Your credit card will not be charged until your order is shipped and there can be no backorders.
If Carroll Gardens can resolve its financial problems, we will resume business. We have the potential of an investor which may allow Carroll Gardens to continue. There is one last thing that we are requesting of you. If Carroll Gardens returns, I would like it to be better than it is now. Please send me a brief email describing what Carroll Gardens means to you and what you will miss without Carroll Gardens. (Please send emails to mailto:info@carrollgardens.com.?subject=Letter.)
Carroll Gardens was founded more than 75 years ago as a mail-order company. Through these years, it has been our pleasure to serve you and we truly regret having to suspend business.

Alan L. Summers
President<<

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Mushrooms Emerge

I ran around my garden this afternoon taking more mushroom photos as the sun snuck behind the clouds and the lighting was perfect. They are posted here in my Flickr set. Perhaps there is a mycologist out there who dares taking a stab at IDing some of them?

A few of the cute red ones with spots had already been chomped on by potato bugs. I guess even in the insect world that "eat with their eyes," because the uglier ones have not been touched. I dare not take a taste myself -- though a few of them look quite tempting.
The mushrooms pictured are from all over my yard, in shade mostly. I have more mushrooms than are hidden or that disappeared overnight in the hard rain.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shrooms Pop Up for Bloom Day

Thanks to a nice cool-ish and very rainy spring, I have blooms blooming away -- from roses to clematis to water lilies. The first coneflowers and liatris are opening. The Asiatic lilies and daylilies are showing off. The annuals are all filling out and performing well. But what has caught my attention the past few days are the mushrooms leaping up.

The one pictured here was so photogenic when it emerged in my Faerie Garden on Friday that it looked fake. (You may be able to just make out the Mardi Gras bead adorned Faerie house behind it.) In addition to this one, I have the classic red with white spots, lines of little brownies, and big cap white ones. They are everywhere -- in the moss bed, sprouting from the mulch pile, by the pond, and in full sun on top of hardwood chips. I aim to go out after lunch and take many more photos of them for a future story in the magazine.

Meanwhile, I'm spending the rest of the day going through the 100+ photos I took of other people's gardens last Saturday on the Garden Conservancy Open Days tour then sending out reminders to our tardy authors for pieces due in now for our July/August issue. Then tonight, I'm off to Brookside to preside over the Silver Spring Garden Club meeting. Our topic: Garden Design in the Digital Age. After that, we break for the summer and meet again in September.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Garden-Filled Weekend Ahead

The weekend is another full-throttle affair. Starting off Saturday at the Smithsonian's Garden Fest -- free and for the whole family on the National Mall. Lots of hands-on activities and sights to see. I'm bringing my camera and supplying a drawing prize.


Moving on to an afternoon of tours with the Garden Conservancy. Isn't it great that this has been brought back to the DC-area? It was such a shame to be without it for the past few years. Thanks to Jane MacLeish and Lee Wilkinson for making it happen! We get to peak behind the gates of some of DC's most affluent and distinguished gardens (and Bethesda/Chevy Chase too). I'm prepared to be green with garden envy.

Then Sunday is an all-day Community Green event at AHS River Farm, and before you ask, "Where?" Think of going to Mt Vernon and then picture an estate a few miles up the road closer to Alexandria. There is an entry fee, but look at the speaker schedule including Green Man Joe Keyser, Garden Ranter Susan Harris, and Bulb Expert Brent Heath. Then take a look at the rest of great events on the schedule. I think it is well worth the price and benefits a great cause. We'll have a tent/table there and offer Community Green attendees 10% off our normal subscription rate so $18 instead of $20 for signing up at the event.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mulberry Stains and Scouting Out Serviceberries

Membership has its privileges. For the past few years, I've served on the neighbor's advisory committee for the Montgomery College TP/SS campus a block south of me. So when I saw the college had planted a small grove of Serviceberries last year, I kept my eye on them and when I saw them ripen en masses this week I shot off a quick email to college provost Brad Stewart to ask permission to pick them. I got a few stares by passing students as I picked and photographed with alternate hands. (Warning: these berries can stain.) The birds have not yet discovered this treasure. More for me! I came home with a cup each of ultra-sweet Serviceberries to snack on. For those who have never tasted one, image a milder blueberry. Last week at AHS River Farm, I saw they had a monstrous Serviceberry in their garden. I'll be back there this Sunday for the Community Green event and maybe they'll let me have a nibble from that tree as well.

In my urban foraging this week, I've also been picking mulberries. They are also very sweet and juicy, more grape-like in flavor to me than akin to the raspberries and blackberries they resemble. I pick from the trees in common areas and in my 'hood (East Silver Spring near the DC border) they are certainly abundant. They are easy to find, just look down at the mulberry stained sidewalks covered in squished berries and try not to slip, slide, or fall. From back alleys to abandoned auto lots, the mulberry tree is nothing if not opportunistic. Thanks to the birds pooping out seeds and staining every bit of area sidewalk. I've been yanking out mulberry tree seedlings every time I go out to weed and they are some long-rooted, stubborn suckers that like to wedge themselves in the most inconvenient spots like deep under a thorny rose bush or under a large rock. If anyone wants a mulberry seedling, come on by!

I'm sharing some photos here of both berries that I took a la Martha Stewart Living lighting style and I'm posting it around lunch-time to encourage maximum salivating. If you have also been doing some urban foraging, drop me a post here and share.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Ponds can be LOW maintenance

Photos from last weekend's Plant Swap are posted here. In addition, I've put up some of my Open Garden pics here. Harry M. from around the corner took some of his own photos of the Open Garden. You can view them here.

This young couple (pictured here) brought their own faerie who enjoyed feeding my goldfish. Since I don't normally give the fish any food, this started quite a frenzy later on when I walked by during the clean-up. They now are under the mistaken assumption they will be getting more. Ha! Little fishies should know they are there to earn their keep at any stray mosquito larvae and other pond pollutants.
Speaking of the pond, it was the #1 topic of conversation at the Open Garden. Followed by, "what is that plant?" in reference to anything currently in bloom. That would be Clematis 'Jackmanii,' Verbena bonariensis (aka Verbena on a stick), and Campanula 'Cherry Bells.' Many folks also commented on the fake windows with planted boxes and the rainbarrel design.
What everyone wanted to know about my pond was how much work it is. They are all incredulous when I tell them I do NOTHING after the initial cleaning and set-up for the spring season. Seriously, it is the lowest area of maintenance in my garden. I just muck it out, move the rocks back out that have fallen in over the winter, throw in some floating annuals (water lettuce, water hyacinth, etc.) and a new barley mini-bale, re-set and plug back in the circulating fountain, and step back.
One woman told me a fellow gardener told her you could not go on vacation if you have a water garden! Further, that it took an hour of daily work. Yikes! Perhaps this person has $3,000 Koi that need daily babying, but my little feeder goldfish are Darwinian survivalists and the pond basically takes care of itself. Sure, I should clean out the fountain filter more often, when I see the water stream start to dwindle I get around to it every six weeks or so. Sure, I could sit around and pick off every leaf that lands on it before it sinks. But why? My pond water is perfectly clean and clear. I can easily see the bottom and my fish are healthy, plump fellows. Out in the wild, ponds work perfectly fine without human intervention, let the natural system work for you.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Win Passes to the Secret Garden Tour

Washington Gardener Magazine is giving away 5 sets of 2 passes for the Secret Garden Tour held each year in historic Annapolis. (At $30 each, that is a prize package worth $60.) To enter, send an email to WashingtonGardener (at) rcn.com with "SGT" in the subject line. You've got until 5:00pm Friday 6/5 to enter, then I'll alert you by 7:00pm if you are a winner and how to pick up your passes.

The tour is self-guided. You can see the gardens at your own pace, in any order. Your passes are good for both Saturday and Sunday (June 6 and 7). In addition, you can use your passes for a free tour of Hammond-Harwood house only this weekend.

You now have less than 24 hours to enter and the odds of winning are very good. Those who follow me on Twitter can also enter by sending me a direct tweet there.
UPDATE
Congratulations to the following ladies* who won our set of two passes each to the Secret Garden Tour in historic Annapolis this weekend:
~ Jessica Pagonis
~ Anne Hardman
~ Julie Moeller
~ Janice F. Gable
~ Mary-Denise Smith

The Secret Garden Tour is on Saturday, June 6 from 1-6pm or Sunday, June 7, 1-6pm.
Passes are $30 each and can be purchased in-person.

Event information is posted here: http://www.hammondharwoodhouse.org/Special_Events.htm and on page 22 of our current issue (MayJune09).
Look out for future Washington Gardener Magazine contests and enter often – odds of winning are always very high!*Surprisingly, no gentleman entered our contest this time. I could speculate on why, but I'll leave that to the armchair anthroplogists.

DC Plant Swap

2nd Annual DC Plant Swap Details

Co-hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine and DCUrbanGardeners

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

Date: Saturday, June 6
Time: starting at 10am bring your plants for sorting -- swap starts promptly at 11am -- do not be late - if you arrive after 11am, sorry, you will not be able to participate due to the structure of this event - after swapping, we can socialize, snack, buy farmer's market goodies, and trade more info on the plants we brought - we plan to conclude before 12noon so you have the rest of the day to plant and enjoy

Place: H Street Farmers Market at H & 8th -- 624 H Street NE near Union Station on Saturdays (the market runs from 9am-12n)

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

Bring:
~ a name tag - home made or from work or school -- whatever works -- so that we know your name and we can all connect our emails, names and faces.
~ pen and paper - you will want to take lots of notes as folks describe their plants and 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 not currently in flower

How: be prepared to BRIEFLY introduce yourself and describe your plants (or other items - see note below)

What NOT to bring: common orange daylilies* and other invasive species - use this list to screen your plant offerings
*hybrid daylilies are fine and welcome

What if you do not have plants to swap? Come anyway! Bring refreshments: cold drinks and yummy finger foods will pay your admittance fee :-)

A BIG thanks to FreshFarm Markets for hosting us and giving us the space to do this. Don't forget to shop at the market.
(Pictured above are a group of happy swappers from last year's event.)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Recent Clippings

I was pleased to pick up the Summer 09 issue of Pathways Magazine that came out this week. In it is a three-page spread of an article I wrote on Small Space Gardening and finding outside-the-box gardening spaces. Pathways is about Mind • Body • Spirit and Environmental Resources in the DC Metro Area Since 1979. It is available free at many points through-out the C-area such as Whole Foods, food co-ops, yoga studios, etc. The Summer 09 issue should be posted online soon as well. (The cover shown here is from a past issue.)

Also, an interview I did with an AP reporter on our annual Seed Exchange was picked up in a few places recently:
Gardeners exchange both seeds and some know-how at swap meets
The Canadian Press
"Another gardener in her area grew the flowers successfully and gave Tinius ... editor of Washington Gardener Magazine in Silver Spring, Md. Gardeners are ... "
Gardeners exchange seeds and know-how at swaps
WRAL.com - Raleigh,NC,USA...
"said Kathy Jentz, editor of Washington Gardener Magazine in Silver Spring, Md. Gardeners are looking for "very specific varieties or experiences - not ..."

Monday, June 01, 2009

Cheating on Blogger with Twitter




Yes, I met Twitter a week or so ago, fell in love, and ran away. My steady blogger pal is just not as sexy. However, Twitter has a short attention span, he doesn't let me run off at the mouth like I like to. He also is all about the written word, not a bad thing per se, but when I'm talking about visiting gorgeous gardens or describing a particular plant, a photo can really tell a lot more than a mere 140 characters.
So, I'm back. Straw hat in hand, asking for bloggy-poo to be gentle and merciful.
Part of the reason I've been so infrequent this past week is also that between rains and running to several garden-related events (MD Master Gardeners Conference, GWA Regional Meeting, etc.), I've been frantically getting my garden ready for two open gardens this next Sunday. The first is for the local neighborhood and the Takoma Hort Club members in the AM and the second is for you loyal readers and Washington Gardener Magazine supporters in the PM.
Getting ready involved hiring local garden helper Dan the Gardening Man and we tackled the sidewalk median strip of weeds-from-hell yesterday morning. Here are my before-after-and-during shots. First, I weed-whacked it all back. Being careful to avoid the few plants I wanted to keep in there like a couple trial roses, a juniper, Kolkwitzia amabilis Dream Catcher , etc. Meanwhile, Dan dug a nice clean new sidewalk edge. Then I dampened a big stack of newspaper and carefully laid it out not leaving any gaps. Next, Dan and I took several wheelbarrow trips over to my neighbor Joletta's big wood mulch chip pile. (We hardly made a dent, she will be whittling that thing down for next two years I'm afraid.) Several gallons of sweat later, we were done and it looks perfect-o. Now, it just has to stay that way until next Sunday!
Also pictured here is the filthy bathtub that results from yesterday's work. It looks much worse in person and right now I just don't have the energy to deal with it... tomorrow.