Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Video Wednesday: White House Kitchen Garden



A quick video overview of what was growing in the White House Kitchen Garden during October 2012.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Think Seeds!

It is that mid-year point between out annual Seed Exchanges when it is time to start thinking about Seeds! Take time in-between summer gardening and harvests for seed collecting, sorting, and labeling. Start making lists of what else you want to save this fall, what seeds you want to plant still this year, and what seeds you may want to try next year.

Mark your calendars for our next Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchanges:
~ January 25, 2014 at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD
~ February 1, 2014 at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA

And let us know what you grew this year from seeds you got at this years' Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchanges. We'd love to see photos and hear your success stories! You can post to the comments section below or send an email to Wgardenermag@aol.com with 'Seed Success' in the subject line.

Happy Growing!

Monday, July 29, 2013

National Ag Library Tour Invitation


Washington Gardener Magazine is hosting a tour day of the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, MD, for local garden clubs and select guests on Saturday, August 10 from 10am-12noon. The National Agricultural Library is normally open to the public only during regular business hours, so this is a special opportunity for those who work full-time or those who are not in the DC area to travel to town for it. The tour will include a behind-the-scenes look at the library’s special collections. From actual specimens brought back by USDA explorers to vintage seed catalogs, this library is a treasure-trove of garden history and research. If any local gardeners would like to attend this event, they should RSVP with their full names to WGardenermag@aol.com before 12noon Thursday, August 8. Note that the NAL is a secure Federal property therefore a photo ID and advance registration is required.



If you have been on the NAL tour with us before, Susan Fugate, head of NAL special collections, promises us she will be pulling out some rare materials not seen on any previous tour and will be sharing some digital collection updates. Susan also advises that you bring your checkbook if you wish to purchase anything from their licensed properties as the NAL does not take cash or cards.

 I have gotten a few inquiries asking why visit the National Agricultural Library and what is so special about it? I think the easiest way to explain it is to share with you an excerpt from the DayTrip column we published about the collection in our Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine:


Treasures Await


Inside the NAL is a vast collection of resources that are unavailable online. Much of this collection is not readily available from other sources. Some of it is one-of-a-kind and only resides at the NAL. The NAL staff is just at the beginning of a decades-long project to get many of these rare items on the web. It is a painstaking endeavour and federal funding for the undertaking is in short supply. “For over a decade, the NAL has suffered from benign neglect when it comes to federal budget appropriations,” observes John Peter Thompson, president of the National Agricultural Research Alliance — Beltsville. “Without national stakeholders applying pressure for new money, the library has been unable to secure necessary funding. Write or call your Congressmen and send a copy of the letter to the Secretary of Agriculture to urge them to address the inadequate budget appropriations.”


We are indeed fortunate to have this wonderful resource in our own backyard, so to speak, and easily accessible to DC-area residents. While we may think today we can look up anything on Google, it is simply not true. The vast majority of plant research and records is not available anywhere on the Web. A trip to the NAL is well worth your time to get a close look at just a fraction of what research is actually out there in the horticultural world.


Here are just a few of the exclusive NAL collections you can visit in person:


• Over 200,000 nursery and seed catalogs — old and new.


• Tens of thousands of photographs of plants and gardens around the world — some taken by plant explorers along with detailed notations in their travel journals.


• J. Horace McFarland collection of photos and negatives of gardens and plants which includes original art for horticultural books and nursery catalogs his printing company produced.


• Research records of the US National Arboretum; lots of history of those gardens.


• Botanic Garden Photograph Collection; mainly US sites, but some international.


• A full set of the Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.


• 15,000 rare books — probably two-thirds of which are on plant sciences.


• Herbals -- quite old and fragile, but useful today for identifying medicinal plants.


• A comprehensive collection of bulletins published by USDA.


• Over 7,000 watercolors of fruits and nuts with a few vegetables in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection — 1880s to 1914. (Pomology is the science of fruit breeding and production. Did you know that where the Capital Beltway (I-495) cuts through College Park and Beltsville was a vast USDA fruit research orchard, which has now moved to near Kearneysville, WV?)

Established by Lincoln


The library’s 15-story Abraham Lincoln Building is named in honor of the president who created the Department of Agriculture and signed many of the major US laws affecting agriculture. Lincoln’s background as a pioneer farmer on what was then the western frontier and his years as a country lawyer made him a representative of the frontier, the farmer, and small town democracy.


He had a desire to see agricultural research given a central role and greater investment by the government so that farmers using their own labor or hiring labor (i.e., free men) could grow food and produce related goods profitably. He urged more efficient and intensive cultivation in order to increase production to the full capacity of the soil.


NAL was created with the USDA in 1862, and established as a national library by the Congress to be the primary agricultural information resource of the United States. Congress assigned to the library the responsibilities to:


• Acquire, preserve, and manage information resources related to agriculture and allied sciences;


• Organize agricultural information products and services, and provide them within the United States and internationally;


• Plan, coordinate, and evaluate information and library needs related to agricultural research and education;


• Cooperate with and coordinate efforts toward development of a comprehensive agricultural library and information network;


• Coordinate the development of specialized subject information services among the agricultural and library information communities.


NAL is the only library in the United States with the mandate to carry out these national and international responsibilities for the agricultural community.

Scope of NAL Collections


The NAL collections contain nearly 3.6 million items covering all aspects of agriculture and related sciences, and are a comprehensive resource for agricultural scientists, policy makers, regulators, and scholars. The origins of the library’s collections date to the congressionally approved 1839 purchase of books for the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office, predating the 1862 establishment of the USDA itself. The collections date from the 16th century to the present, including the most complete repository of U.S. Department of Agriculture publications and the most extensive set of materials anywhere on the history of agriculture in the United States.


Currently, the NAL initiates and coordinates these exchanges with over 5,000 partners from 106 countries worldwide, accounting for about 70% of all periodicals currently received.

Additional Offerings


In addition to the fabulous botanical treasures in its special collections (only some of which are viewable online at http://www.nal.usda.gov/speccoll/) the National Agricultural Library has a treasure-trove of horticultural publications in its collections, which can be borrowed through your local public library or Land Grant University Library (http://www.nal.usda.gov/services/request.shtml).


The Library’s Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) (http://afsic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?tax_level=1&info_center=2) carries a lot of specialized information on horticulture and on organic agriculture. Mary Gold of AFSIC is one of the Master Gardeners in the library and is happy to assist in answering your questions. The NAL employs about 165 librarians, information specialists, computer specialists, administrators, and clerical personnel, supplemented by about 80 contract staff, cooperators from NAL partnering organizations, and volunteers.


The NAL also operates the National Invasive Species Information Center (http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/), which is an excellent gateway to invasive species information; covering Federal, State, local, and international sources.

So that gives you a little taste of what you'll discover on our three-hour-tour of the National Agricultural Library. I hope you can join us and please do RSVP soon as spaces will fill fast.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fenton Friday: Nieces Pick Me Clean

This week we finally got the break in the heat/humidity wave we had been long promised. What a relief to be able to weed without sweat immediately running down my back! I'm spending any spare moment I can getting ready for this weekend's Open Garden and Parade of Ponds tour, which I hope you will make plans to stop by for a short visit.

My nieces also came by this week and they helped me at the Fenton Community Garden plot with watering and a touch of weeding. Mostly though, they ate all the cherry and currant tomatoes. They could not get enough of the 'Sun Gold' -- if you have kid's that won't eat their veggies, this is definitely the tomato that will change their minds.

Pictured here was a visit we made to the Victory Garden at the Smithsonian's American History Museum. Joe Brunetti (at left) is the lead horticulturist at the garden and took a few minutes to show us around -- pointing out the more unusual Cotton, Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), and Passionflower plants.

Back at my garden plot, we also picked a half row of carrots for snacks during their visit, so I planted new carrot seeds in their place. The new seeds are 'Little Babette' French baby carrots. Now is the time to start second-season (aka Fall) crops, so I need to start sorting seed packs and planning what I want to put in this next week.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Video Wednesday: Time-Lapse Opening of Titan Arum at USBG



In case you missed seeing it in-person, this video is a time lapse of the bloom of the titan arum (corpse flower) at the U.S. Botanic Garden, created from photos taken from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. The titan may remain in bloom for 24 to 48 hours, and then it will collapse quickly. Learn more at: http://www.usbg.gov/return-titan.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Win Mr Natural Organic Soil Products

For our July 2013 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away 4 bags of Mr. Natural® ORGANIC Soil Products. They include Mr. Natural® Hen Manure Compost ($19.99), Mr. Natural® Woodland Soil Mix ($19.99), Mr. Natural® Worm Castings ($24.99), and Mr. Natural® Complete Landscape Mix ($19.99). We will select four winners at random from among the entrants received to get one of these soil mixes.

   Mr. Natural® ORGANIC Soil Products are the first choice of world class botanical gardens and institutions, respected museums and universities, renowned golf courses, landmark  buildings and parks, public and private venues of all kinds, over 1500 top landscape companies and legions of happy, ardent gardeners. Mr. Natural soils teem with the microbiological and other life forms that restore damaged soil structure and bring nearly perfect nutrition to plants. Find out more at http://greenstripe-products.com/.
   To enter to win one of the four bags of Mr. Natural® products, send an email with “Mr. Natural” in the subject line to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Thursday, July 25. In the body of the email please include your full name, email, address, and tell us: What is Your Favorite Story in the Spring 2013 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine and why. The winners will be announced and notified by July 26 and will need to arrange to pick up their prize by July 28. Note that each bag of soil is one cubic foot and weighs about 30 pounds. Some of the entry responses may be used in future online or print articles.

UPDATE:  Congratulations to our contest winners -- Sue Hauser, Nina Bang-Jensen, Sally Smyth, and Jacob James. We hope you enjoy your Mr. Natural soil products!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Gather Ye Images While Ye May


 Are you gathering images for next year's Washington Gardener Magazine Garden Photo Contest yet? Remember our rules: photos must be taken within this calendar year and in a garden-setting within 150-miles of the US Capitol building. We are looking for garden images in ALL seasons.



We will start accepting the next garden photo contest submissions on January 1, 2014, but you will kick yourself if you are not taking, gathering, and sorting your garden images through out 2013 in preparation for it.

Every year I hear from people who wish they'd started collecting their images earlier and missed out on the contest entry deadlines. This year, I'm giving plenty of advance notice and will repeat the reminders every few months.


For a little inspiration, here is a link to our 2013 winners:



You can also view the winning photos on display now through August 25 at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fenton Friday: Blazing Sun Balls


The heat wave settled in for the past week in my garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden, and everywhere else in the Mid-Atlantic. With oppressive humidity and heat index readings of  over110-degrees, I barely stepped foot in the plot. I ran over twice to pick beans and tomatoes and then ran back home to lay prostrate in the shade. Pictured above are 'Sun Gold' cherry tomatoes -- so fruity sweet. that they are more dessert than appetizer or side dish.

Our streak of record rains had to come to an end at some point and it did so right as the heat wave hit. Others in my area were lucky enough to get the occasional pop-up thunderstorm, but we kept getting missed. It was torturous to watch the radar and see the storms do that typical DC summer split thing, where they go north and south of us. I hope we get the promised rains and break in the heat wave this evening so I can get to some much-needed garden chores like pulling out the bolted lettuce.

How is the weather where you are gardening?


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Is Your Garden Bounty Fair-Worthy? ~ Washington Gardener Enews ~ July 2013


 
 The Washington Gardener Enews ~ July 2013 issue is now sent to all current Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers. It is also posted and archived online at: http://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/wgenews-july13

INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
~ Is Your Garden Bounty Fair-Worthy? Inside Tips for Winning Entries
~ Top Local Garden Events Calendar for July-August
~ Magazine Excerpt: Lovely Native Carolina Spiderlily
~ Mid-Atlantic Garden To-Do List for July-August
~ Reader Contest: Win a bag of Mr. Natural Soil Products
~ Washington Gardener's Recent Blog Post Highlights
~ Spotlights Special: Mascotte Bean, a Compact and Quick Crop
~ Washington Gardener Magazine Back Issue Sale!
and much more... 
You can access it as well as all of the other Washington Gardener Enews back issues online now and anytime in the future at http://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Video Wednesday: DC School Gardens Tour



BicycleSPACE led a DC School Garden Tour recently-- a trip that brought participants to five Washington, DC-area schools where gardening has become an important part of the curriculum for students -- Capitol Montessori at Logan, Stuart Hobson Middle School,Jefferson Middle School, Mundo Verde Public Charter School, and HD Cooke Elementary School. For more information on this and future DC School Garden Tours and other educational-themed rides please visit http://bicyclespacedc.com/district-picks.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Check Your Mail Label for Subscription Status



Attention Current Washington Gardener Subscribers -

Please check the mail label on the recent Spring 2013 issue.

First, please confirm that all information is current and accurate. If anything needs correcting, please send an email to Wgardenermag@aol.com with "Address Correction" in the Subject line and then details the needed changes in the body of the email.

Second, check the code to the upper-right of your address. (Circled in red here in the pictured example.) This tells you the last issue in your subscription. It will be a SP for Spring, SU for Summer, FA for Fall, or WI for Winter -- followed by the year. So, in the above example, this subscribers' last issue is Summer 2013. If you have expired or about to soon expire, please renew* today.

Finally, we have introduced a new subscriber option called "Online Only." A few of you have already elected to take this option and we are now opening it up to all of you. Basically, you would no longer receive the magazine in print form, but would receive it as a PDF via email the day we sent it to print. If you would like to switch to this option, send an email to Wgardenermag@aol.com with "Online Only" in the Subject line.

Thank you all for being Washington Gardener Subscribers! Your continued support is vital to the future of this local gardening publication.

*If your subscription to Washington Gardener Magazine has just lapsed or is about to do so, you have several options. Subscriptions are $20 for one year, $36 for two years, and $54 for three years.

To renew:

You can mail a check or money order to:
Washington Gardener Magazine
826 Philadelphia Ave.
Silver Spring MD 20910

You can use the PayPal (credit card) online order form here:
http://www.washingtongardener.com/index_files/subscribe.htm
(Scroll down for the multi-year renewal options.)

You can see me in person at area gardening events including our upcoming Open Garden on Saturday, July 27 from 3-5pm. Full event details are here: http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2013/07/open-garden-parade-of-ponds-tour.html.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: A Few Choice Blooms

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, we have had an unusually wet spring and just now hit a week-long heat wave. The weeds are growing, well, like weeds! Lots of wonderful things in bloom from various Echinacea to numerous Hydrangea, but this month I thought I'd just share a few blooms that are unusual or caught my eye.

First up is this Weigela shrub which just popped into bloom yesterday -- very odd. It usually blooms in early May and then again in late summer/early fall. I do not think I've ever had mid-summer blooms on it before.










Next is this Scaveola that I order for the Silver Spring Garden Club's GardenMart in May and I do not believe one single plant sold. So I ended up buying up the tray and plopped them all in my sidewalk median strip. You all who passed it over at the sale really missed out!




Finally, here is a Gladioli that I bought at Aldi supermarket (of all places) in what the package said was a pastel-colored mix. Um, nope! All the blooms so far have been bright orange or cherry red. They are pretty, although definitely not what I had planned for that bed. I have been cutting and using them for indoors arrangements.

I hope you all bring some of your blooms indoors to enjoy as well -- I like to keep a vase next to my computer monitor, an the entry table, one at each bathroom sink, on my bedside table, and next to my kitchen sink. Where do you display your indoors blooms?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fenton Friday: Flowers Galore!

I've been writing a blog post every Friday during the growing season about my garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden, and mast all of those have been focused on the edibles there. And, in truth, that is what I got the plot for -- full sun and a fully fenced area -- to be able to have a wide range of vegetables.

At my home garden (diagonally across the street from the community garden), I do have areas of full sun, but unfortunately those are on a public corner and when I had luck growing edibles there in the past they were inevitably stolen (whole watermelon!) or damaged by pests (who knew squirrels loved tomatoes?).

The plot, though, is not exclusively edibles, some ornamentals have crept in, just as a few edibles remain mixed in at my home garden and that is the way I like things -- a bit of a this and that and nothing too overly tidy.

Pictured here are several buckets of flowers I collected from my home garden and the Fenton plot to bring to a Flower Arranging Class I gave this week at a local apartment complex. From the garden plot come the zinnias, cosmos, and many kinds of herbs (which you can't really see in this angle). I'm a big believer in using fresh herbs in flower bouquets instead of sterile, greenhouse-grown florist greens. They make great filler and smell wonderful too!

What non-edibles are you growing in your garden plot?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Video Wednesday: Okra Growing Basics

 

A short video from our vault: Okra growing basics. Yes, you can grow that! Kathy Jentz, Editor of Washington Gardener Magazine, the publication for DC/MD/VA gardeners, shares her tips for growing and enjoying okra.


Monday, July 08, 2013

Open Garden: Parade of Ponds Tour

Our Washington Gardener Magazine Open Garden is back by popular demand!

You are Invited to our Open Garden, which is also a stop on this year's Parade of Ponds benefit water garden tour!

Saturday, July 27 from 3-5pm


Hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine

☼ Come by with your gardening questions

☼ See our trial gardens in progress and the newly renovated water garden

☼ Pet our garden kitty, Santino

☼ Renew or subscribe to the Washington Gardener Magazine in person

☼ Purchase gift subscriptions to Washington Gardener Magazine

☼ Pluck a weed or two as a keepsake souvenir

☼ Single copies of  Washington Gardener Magazine back issues and current issue are also for sale

☼ Pick up a free pack of seeds with any purchase

☼ Take photos of whatever is in bloom for our upcoming Photo Contest

☼ Enjoy light refreshments and cold drinks


☼ Make a donation to Shepherd's Table

☼ Children’s activities include Ping-Pong Throw, Sidewalk Chalk, Bubbles, and a Fairie Garden

☼ Peruse the information table on various area garden events and groups

☼ Surprises and Prizes

☼ Dress in your tropical best (think pink flamingos, palm trees, big floppy sunhats, etc.)

☼ At 5:00pm we will cross the street for a brief tour of the Fenton Street Community Garden

Come to 826 Philadelphia Ave. (Rt. 410), Silver Spring, MD - at the corner of Fenton - across from the Public Storage building. Please walk, bike, bus, metro, or car-pool. We are a 10-15 minute walk from either the Silver Spring and Takoma Park metro stops. Also, several Metro and Ride-On bus routes pass nearby. If driving, there is limited free parking available nearby on King Street and in nearby public garages/lots along Fenton.

The Open Garden is shine or light rain. We’ll quickly duck in the gazebo, if it drizzles.
(In case of a big storm, the rain date is Sunday, July 28 same timing and other details.)

The event is free. Registration/reservations are not required.

Please pass this invite on to your DC-area gardening friends and family.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Fenton Friday: Summer Bounty Begins


The monsoon-like rains ended and the weather turned hot and sultry this weekl. The lettuce has turned bitter so I'm ripping most of it out and giving it away to those who don't mind bitter greens, but am leaving a couple plants to bolt and set seed so I can collect it for this fall and our winter Seed Exchanges.

I have been loving my purple bush bean harvests. Got two big waves and now is starting to end. I expect by next week that I will rip it out and the melon seedlings will be able to take over that space. I was disappointed to find that the beans turn green when cooked. I had read that in the descriptions, but somehow was still surprised when it happened.

The first tomatoes ripened this week as well. I have one plant each of 'Sun Gold' and 'Sun Sugar,' both are sweet, yellow cherry varieties. I get a couple a day to snack on, which is just my speed. Also, the "wild" self-sown currant tomato (which may be a 'Sweet 100' cousin) has started to ripen up and is a nice addition to my snacking-while-gardening menu.

The Nasturtium flowers are blooming and a few self-sown, hot pink Zinnias popped up. Together they are a pretty addition to the plot. I'm not that fond of the strong peppery taste of Nasturtiums, though I do like their looks as an edible garnish.

What is growing in your edible garden this week?

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Support Your Local, Independent Garden Centers: You Can Grow That!

Today is Independence Day and it is also the 4th of the month, which is garden bloggers' "You Can Grow That!" day where we try to inspire you to get out and garden. For this month's theme, we were asked to extend ourselves and post on the theme of "independence."

I thought I'd tackle an issue near and dear to my heart -- that of supporting local and independent businesses -- particularly your local, independent garden centers (IGCs for short).

There are many reasons to BUY LOCAL at an IGC, from creating more local jobs to reducing your environmental impact to keeping your community unique and flourishing.




I'm not going to bad mouth the big box boys and their level of plant quality, but I will share one anecdote. Last fall, I bought two flats of the same variety of pansies -- one at the "HD" and the other at a family-owned IGC. I planted them at the same time, in the same conditions. The flat from HD just sat there all winter and just  slowly petered out. The one from the IGC settled in and then boom, it took off and is still going gang-busters for me almost nine months later!

Here is another reason to support local -- they care about our gardens! Here on the East Coast of the US, we were hit with a powdery mildew on our Impatiens. Most IGCs pledged not to stock them this year, but the big box boys continue to do so and are selling consumers plants doomed to die from the start and spread this disease on to others' gardens as well! Disregard for our local garden community like this is one reason I will be taking my hard-earned dollars elsewhere.

There are some terrific summer sales going on at IGCs near you. With our unusually cool, long, wet spring in the Mid-Atlantic, the planting season is still going strong and this weekend would be a terrific time to buy some perennials, trees, or shrubs at bargain prices. Fill in any bare spots with annuals and tropicals too. Get out and support garden INDEPENDENCE!


Garden Bloggers You Can Grow That! Day was started by C. L. Fornari of Whole Life Gardening because she believes “Gardening is one of the most life-affirming things we can do.…We need to thoroughly saturate people with the belief that plants and gardening are worth doing because of the benefits gained.” Garden bloggers who agree post about something worth growing on the fourth day of every month. Read this month’s You Can Grow That! posts.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Video Wednesday: Summer Succulent Gardens at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens



I filmed and posted this video together in 2011 of the summer succulent gardens at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. I was just there this past weekend and it is pretty much the same, but less filled-in due to all the recent rains. I'm sure by the end of July, it will be similar. Enjoy the video and stay dry!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Our Readers Tell Us Their Favorite Public Gardens


For our June 2013 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, we asked our readers to tell us: What is Your Favorite Public Garden to Visit and Why. Here are some of their responses. Is your favorite public garden among them?



Nancy Khan of Washington, DC, said, “My favorite public garden is the US National Arboretum. Mostly, I love that it's a huge green space right in the city where you can ride a bike, picnic, and just relax. As expected there are some magnificent trees scattered throughout the arboretum and I've gotten some great gardening ideas from their displays, particularly the Asian and Dwarf Conifer collections. The bonsai exhibit is amazing and it's fun to feed the koi in the aquatic garden.  It's definitely one of our DC highlights to visit with out-of-town guests.

Lynn Benich of Washington, DC,  commented, “I love the US Botanic Garden on the National Mall because it has all the different type of growing zones under one roof.  It is enjoyable to walk the path through the different areas especially. I love the orchid display and medicinal plant area. Outside, there is a large garden to walk thru with plants always growing and pleasant, calming water features and ponds. A true paradise.”

Jennifer Whalen of Silver Spring, MD, said, “My favorite public garden is Brookside Gardens. It’s close by and always has something of interest to see no matter the time of year. My son loves watching the turtles and fish in the pond. Plus the Christmas lights and butterfly show are fun additions.”



Catherine Jamieson of Arlington VA, wrote, “My favorite public garden is Fairchild TropicalBotanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL. I've visited it approximately 40 times (we are part-time Florida residents) and it's a breathtaking but at the same time peaceful, calming experience. The garden is so large that visitors often encounter very few other visitors. More importantly, Fairchild is dedicated to the conservation of tropical plants in South Florida, the Caribbean, oceanic islands, tropical Africa and Madagascar. The cycad garden preserves the oldest see-bearing plants in the world. The mission to preserve biodiversity is the driving force behind the garden.”

Anne Hardman of Silver Spring, MD commented, “My favorite public garden, other than Brookside Gardens is Chanticleer!  It was designed as a pleasure garden and has fantastic variety, rolling terrain with woods, streams and sweeping open spaces.”



Rachel Williams of Waynesboro, VA, said, “My favorite public garden is Diamond Falls in St. Lucia. I don't think we've visited a public garden here locally before, but would love to. It was our favorite because it was our first and now we'd like to see more!”

Anne Rullman submitted: “It is hard to say which is my favorite garden, since we are blessed with so many choices. I do enjoy Lewis Ginter and have even stopped on my way home from Raleigh from visiting my daughter, to stroll through the gardens. Longwood Gardens has to be right up there at the top, but I also really enjoy the US Botanic Gardens and the National Arboretum. Guess I just like gardens!”

Madeline Caliendo of Washington, DC, said, “I have three favorite public gardens:
1.  Chanticleer in PA--for its creative/innovative plantings
2.  Ladew in MD--for its intimacy and sense of whimsy in a beautiful setting
3.  Hillwood in DC--for its fabulous and peaceful gardens close to home.”

Debra Levay of Columbia, MD shared: “I absolutely love Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton, MD. The gardens are beautiful in all the various seasons from the earliest spring blooms to the autumn blossoms. I enjoy passing through the different "garden rooms"; each with its own ambiance, color and story. While it is old-fashioned with regard to the older plants and garden style, it is also timeless and magical with the topiaries and hidden surprises. It is always a relaxing and enjoyable day from the stroll through the gardens to the exploration of Harvey Ladew's home and, indeed, hearing the story of Harvey Ladew and how he created the gardens. If one can make it to any of the events, many of them musical, it just adds another dimension to the pleasures one can enjoy.”

So did your favorite public garden make the list? Let us know in the comments field below.
 

Congratulations to our reader contest winners, chosen at random from among the submitted entries, they are: Nancy Khan of Washington, DC; Catherine Jamieson of Arlington, VA, and Debra Levayof Columbia, MD. 

They each receive a pair of passes to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. With something for all ages and interests, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a place to learn about plants, to marvel at nature, to relax in a beautiful setting, to take gardening classes, or to have a wedding or a business meeting. A wide variety of experiences are offered through its diverse gardens and facilities. We hope they enjoy their visits to Lewis Ginter!