Thursday, April 29, 2010

Washington Gardener Enews April '10 issue

Washington Gardener Enews April '10 issue is now out and archived online. In this issue:
~ Digging Safety
~ April-May Garden To-Do List
~ April-May Calendar of Local Garden Events
~ April Reader Contest for an Eco-Tote Bag
~ and much, much more

Spring Issue Getting Rave Reviews

Our Spring issue cover story is on Community Gardens. I spent the last year gathering resources for the cover story. Community gardening is so popular right now and the supply of plots is nowhere close to the demand. I’m hoping this story will inspire more local governments to install gardens and give more gardeners the basis to demand them in their own community.

I’m hearing many compliments already from readers saying, “Best issue ever!” and like. Many are enjoying the feature stories including a profile of filmmaker Cintia Cabib, whose documentary “A Community of Gardeners” will make you laugh and cry and think about all the ways gardening touches your life.

Also in this issue is the Edibles column, "Magical Beans" by Cindy Brown. She shares her tips on how to grow these legendary legumes here in the Mid-Atlantic and the best varieties for our area.

Our Daytrip article is to American University in NW, Washington, DC. Did you know they were a certified arboretum now? More than that, they are going green from roofs to composting to their new student-run garden plots. Other local college campuses are taking note and asking how they can do likewise.

You’ll also find in this issue:

• a plant profile feature on Dwarf Iris

• a how-to article on Building a Raised Growing Bed

• a short piece on planting Bare Root Roses

• a round-up of our 17 Photo Contest Winners

• our InsectIndex column focuses on Bugs that Attack Broccoli and related greens

• a club meeting with the Gesneriad Society (African Violets and such)

To subscribe starting with this issue, do so by June 15. You can buy the individual from us by sending a check for $4.99 to Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring MD 20910 or subscribe for the full year for $20 and we'll start you off with this Spring issue. You can also subscribe online via PayPal using this link.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wisteria, How I Love/Hate You















Asian Wisteria aka Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) or Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) is not to be confused with our better-behaved, Native Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens). I have the native 'Amethyst Falls' and it came back last year for me, grew a foot, put on a tiny flower, then did pretty much nothing all summer. This year, there is a green leaf trying to sprout and that is it. So much for natives being "easier" and more suited to our gardens. I have babied that thing and this is how it rewards me?















Last week, I went with the Garden Writers to our regional meeting at Mt Cuba and on to Hagley Museum and Gardens. There adorning the front of the Georgian-style mansion Eleutherian Mills (pictured at top and in close-up here), the first du Pont family home in America, was the most spectacular, wondrous Wisteria I'd ever seen. I took about 30 photos of it. I could have stayed all day. I was emchanted and enthralled. It reminded me all over again just WHY I'd accepted the piece of invasive Wisteria root a friend had dug out of a nearby park and added it to my garden. I had been warned. I knew the risks. I certainly had heard all the horror stories. I didn't care. I was in love. I had seen the Wisteria vine draping the side walls of the National Gallery of Art and I wanted it too. This bad boy was mine and once he got to know ME, he'd surely be tamed, right? Well, you all know how that story ends. I can't say we didn't have our good times. He produced some wonderful memories for me as he bloomed profusely and multiple times in one season on my garden arch framing my pond entrance. We took many photos together there in each other's embrace.

Then I tried to change him. I moved the arch to the front garden and attempted to hack him back into a tree standard form. He rebelled -- sending out tendrils and roots in every direction. He no longer blooms for me. Nor will he just give up and leave. When I see him now, we both turn away and sulk. Secretly though, on long summer nights, I think back on what could have been if I had not tried to change him and sigh.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Virginia Bluebells are NOT Always Blue

Virginia Bluebells are NOT Always Blue -- sometimes they are pink (as pictured here) and even pure white. I took this photo at Mt Cuba last week near Wilmington, DE.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is OUT!

The Spring 2010 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out and has been mailed to subscribers. It should be hitting the local stores shortly as well (Borders, Barnes & Noble, Politics & Prose, etc.) You can buy the individual from us by sending a check for $4.99 to Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring MD 20910 or subscribe for the full year for $20 and we'll start you off with this Spring issue. You can also subscribe online via PayPal using this link.

You can also buy single issues or subscribe in-person at many upcoming garden events, for instance, this upcoming weekend we'll have a booth at the 19th Annual FONA Garden Fair on Friday, April 23, 11a-4p (Members-Only Day - you can join up right there so don't let that hold you back) and Saturday, April 24, 9a-4p, at the U.S. National Arboretum. I'll have a booth there.
   The Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild will be holding its Annual Herb and Plant Sale on Saturday, April 24th 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday, April 25th 8 am to 3:30 pm at the FRANCISCAN MONASTERY, 1400 Quincy Street NE, Washington, DC 20017. Washington Gardener Magazine will be there with a vendor table. Cheval Force Opp of GardenTours will staff our table on Saturday there. Pick her brains for great local gardens to see.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Look it up at the Tulip Library

The National Park Service Tulip Library was super-crowded last weekend when I went down for the Cherry Blossom Festival. The tulip blooming had reached its peak a bit early this year, but I think if you go down there in the next week or so, you'll still have plenty to see. The bad part is there are no name/variety labels on the tulip beds and all the paper guides are long gone from the box on-site. I looked online and have not located a guide either. Which is too bad, as the whole point of the Tulip Library IMHO is to use it as a browsing and shopping guide for what to select for your own home gardens. I'm checking in now with NPS press office and am hoping they can send me the file as they have done in previous years or at least give us a link to where they may have it posted online. I'll post an update here if I get anything further.

WaPo Goes Loco - Part 2

As I reported in WaPo Goes Loco Part 1 last October, "the WaPo Garden Book is available to PostPoints members for just 500 points. Other PostPoints awards are 2,000 points for a $5 gift card. So by my calculations 25% of $5 is $1.50. Now THAT is a sale considering the cover price is $18.95 for this 1998 publication. I got mine at a used book store for maybe $2.50, but I still see it for sale at local book stores full price. This makes me wonder if the Post is just clearing out their inventory or whether there is a new edition in the works making the old version soon obsolete."

Well, the PostPoints highlights in today's paper sat that the WaPo Garden Book will be given out for FREE until they are gone! You have to come in person to the Washington Post HQ building in downtown DC TODAY (Friday morning, 4/16) to claim yours.

Damn! If I wasn't just leaving for the GWA regional meeting at Mt Cuba in Delaware for an all day meeting, I'd be there in line myself to scoop up some copies and use them for raffle prizes and such.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Get Preppy in the Garden

Pink, green, white, and black are the classic Preppy colors and also the predominant colors of my mid-spring garden. Here are just a few of my favorites that are now flowering for this month's Garden Blogger Bloom Day. (Click on the pics to see at a larger size.) From top to bottom: bleeding heart, lily of the valley, PJM rhododendron, 'Angelique' tulip, pink hellebore, pot of pansies and 'Fragrant Rose' daffodils, variegated foliage 'China Town' tulip*, 'Spring Green tulip, Japanese barberry, white hellebore, and 'Black Parrot' tulip open plus closed.

BTW, Is it just me or does it seem like EVERYTHING has burst into blooom at the same time here in the Washington, DC region. My lilacs, crabapple tree, dogwood, Carolina jasmine vine, Lily of the Valley, etc. all seem to have jumped a month ahead of time. What will be left for late spring to look forward to?

What's blooming in your garden?

*Thank you to Becky Heath of Brent & Becky's Bullbs in Gloucester, VA, for the ID help on this one.



Thursday, April 08, 2010

April Showers Bring GARDEN Events Galore (and Dirt-Streaked Toes too!)

Here are some of my April event schedule highlights. Keep checking on on this blog,  Twitter feed, and Facebook page for many more.

~ Thursday, April 8 for the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) Spring Gardening Lecture Series: "Preparing Your Garden For Spring" by Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine
from 7:00 - 9:00pm at the AWS Office in Bladensburg, MD. It is free to AWS members. Directions and Details at: http://www.anacostiaws.org/calendar/aws-lecture-series-2. I may even be extra nice and have some freebies to pass out to the first 40 folks who show up there for my talk.

~ The Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest Opening Reception is Friday, April 9 from 6:30-8pm at the Adams Bank Lobby in the World Building on Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring, MD. The reception is open to the public and is free to attend. After the opening, you may come by and view the photos any time during the normal bank lobby hours (M-F 9am-4pm, Sat 9am-12noon). The show runs through May 27. I'm baking yummy PINK strawberry cupcakes for this. If you miss them, too bad for you, they'll be gone in the first hour I predict.

~ 20th Annual Leesburg Flower & Garden Festival on April 17-18, 2010 in downtown Leesburg, VA. I'll have a booth and will be talking on the demo stage about "Pruning"on Saturday, 4/17 at 4:30pm. I'll also be doing most of my spring planting shop there so I WILL be checking out your little red wagon full of plants as you stroll on by -- scoping out what my own selections will be when I get my booth breaks.

~ Monday April 19 The Artful Vegetable Garden 7:30-9:30pm Brookside Gardens Wheaton MD
The Silver Spring Garden Club invites you to this talk by Robin Ripley on how to elevate your edibles garden from good to great. Illustrated with photos, Robin offers ideas and inspiration to make this your best—and most beautiful—veggie gardening year yet. Doors open at 7:30pm, speaker starts at 8pm. Free and open to the public. Directions at http://www.brooksidegardens.org/. (And yes, I AM the club president, so I get to book my garden blogger friends as our featured speakers :-).

~ The 19th Annual FONA Garden Fair will be Friday, April 23, 11a-4p (Members-Only Day - you can join up right there so don't let that hold you back) and Saturday, April 24, 9a-4p, at the U.S. National Arboretum. I'll have a booth there. You can see the Plant List already here. People print this and mark it up like a Orange County housewife's face before her botox injections. By 10:45am on the first day, the line of shopping carts encircle the vendor area and do NOT get in their way when the opening whistle blows!

~ The Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild will be holding its Annual Herb and Plant Sale on Saturday, April 24th 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday, April 25th 8 am to 3:30 pm at the FRANCISCAN MONASTERY, 1400 Quincy Street NE, Washington, DC 20017. Washington Gardener Magazine will be there with a vendor table. Cheval Force Opp of GardenTours will staff our table on Saturday there. Pick her brains for great local gardens to see.

~ Sunday, April 25 2-3:30pm Taking the Pesky out of Pests or How to Keep Your Sanity While Dealing with Bugs in the Garden! Part of the DC Urban Gardening Talk series
Presented by Washington Gardener Magazine and the Historic Society of Washington DC
So much energy goes into putting in a garden: the expectations, deliberations, and finally the sweat. Don't let all of your hard work go for naught when you get those pesky uninvited guests! Spend time with Carol Allen while she gives you sound, common sense ways of taking control of your garden again while still maintaining a healthy environment. Whether you grow veggies, flowers or care for a home landscape, there are safe, sane ways of controlling pests. Carol will present information on many wily pests and their control, so bring your questions!  The talk is free and open to the public. It is at the HSW-DC, directions at: http://www.historydc.org/
 
Yes, those are my post-gardening dirty dogs pictured above. I had closed-toe gardening Crocs on and I wasn't even spreading mulch, just cleaning out beds and weeding. Before you ask, yes, I always wear my toe ring, even when gardening and the polish color is "Oyster." Ah, the glamour of it all.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Earth Days are Easy

Jan, Virgina gardener and blogger (and my FaceBook friend), has started the Garden Bloggers Sustainable Living Project to high;ight ways in which we garden bloggers are helping to green Mother Earth. She is giving out some very nice prizes too, so if you blog about gardening. Get on over there and join up by 4/15 to be eligible (http://thanksfor2day.blogspot.com/p/garden-bloggers-sustainable-living.html).

In case you didn't know, Earth Day is on April 22, 2010. Usually, my Earth Days are filled with requests from local schools, corporations, retail stores, and civic groups to come and talk to them about gardening and all things green. That is cool woth me, just wish they would spread out their requests and not ask all for the same April afternoon. Because really, every day is Earth Day if you think about it.

I've talked a lot in the past about my greenie initiatives and lifestule. I've written Editor's columns in the magazines about all our eco-practices and memberships in Green America, Local First DC, DCEcoWomen, etc. But I thought I'd take Jan's challenge and break it down to the basics. So here it is, my top 5 SIMPLE things YOU can do this year in your garden to make this planet healthier and happier:

1. Put in a small pond.  Just dig a hole, line it, fill with water, throw in some water plants, and watch the wildlife flock there. No need to make it a complicated science project. Just do it.
2. Eliminate chemicals. Do not use pesticides/herbicides or artificial fertilizers.
3. Retire gas-powered engines. Switch to hand power or electric (if you must).
3. Diversify. Plant a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, and annuals. Aim to have something in bloom every month of the year and in every section of your garden.
5. Flowers not Lawn. Reduce that turfgrass monoculture and expand those planting beds.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Here Mousie, Mousie




Could you take a few seconds to nominate our Washington Gardener Magazine's blog:

Washingtongardener.blogspot.com for a Mouse and Trowel Award?
Please put us under the "Best Blog by a Company" category
go to: http://bit.ly/ae9FzD
or http://mouseandtrowel.org/2010-nominations/

Finalists will be announced on May 1 and we hope to make the cut. Then we'll be back to ask for you to vote for us in the finals. We'll be running against some really big, well-funded corporate blogs and I knew we are true underdogs in this, but I hope to at least crack the top 3.

BTW are there other local DC-region garden bloggers out there who are looking to win a Mousie? Drop me a line inour Comments section as to which category you are running under and your blog address and I'll be happy to nominate you too.