Monday, December 28, 2015

Win a hot-off-the-press 2016 Local Gardening Task Calendar

For our December 2015 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, we are giving away a hot-off-the-press 2016 Local Gardening Task Calendar.
   Each month includes a list of what to do in the garden for local DC-MD-VA and Mid-Atlantic gardeners, along with a gorgeous photo of a seasonal flower or scene from a local DC-area public garden’s collection.
   You can order one for yourself and more as gifts for your favorite local gardeners by going to: http://www.cafepress.com/washgardener. or go directly to the item page here: http://www.cafepress.com/washgardener.1436102069 (Note: You can select the calendar to start with whatever month you choose.)
   To enter to win a Local Gardening Task Calendar, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5pm on Wednesday, December 30, with “Local Gardening Task Calendar” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in this December 2015 issue of the magazine and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The calendar winner will be announced and notified by January 1.

UPDATE: Our Winner is Edward Constable of Washington, DC. If you did not win, you can order your calendar here:  http://www.cafepress.com/washgardener.1436102069
(Be sure to note what month you want it to start on!)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Seasons Greetings from Washington Gardener Magazine


Note that our usual blog/social media posts and the "Garden Tip of the Day" tweets from Washington Gardener Magazine will be on holiday until January 1, 2016. See you in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Video Wednesday: Garden of Lights



Enjoy this short video of some highlights from the Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD. This walk-through holiday light display features 1 million dazzling, colorful lights shaped into hand-crafted, original art forms of flowers, animals and other natural elements. Enjoy nightly musical performances and visit the conservatory to watch G-scale model trains wind through a seasonal landscape. The event will be open nightly through January 3, 2016 (closed December 24 and 25).
   Stroll from garden to garden, enjoying twinkling tree forms, fountains, sparkling snowflakes overhead, and more. The Garden of Lights celebrates its 18th season as a Baltimore/Washington, DC-area family holiday tradition.
   Warm up in the Visitors Center while you sip hot cocoa and listen to one of the nightly musical performances. Find out more at http://www.montgomeryparks.org/brookside/garden_lights.shtm

Friday, December 18, 2015

Local First Friday: Valley View Farms

Guest Blog by Joelle Lang




The history behind it:
Valley View Farms has grown from a small roadside produce stand to one of the largest, most complete garden centers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Brothers Billy and Punkey Foard opened Valley View Farms on Friday, April 13, 1962, as a produce stand to augment a largest wholesale vegetable growing operation. As the store expanded in size to become the premiere garden center in the Baltimore metro area, several year-round and seasonal departments were added that have provided a continuously dynamic shooing experience for our customers. Today, Valley View Farms is owned and operated by father and son team, Billy and Andy Foard.
What it’s like today:
Valley View Farms is located Cockeysville/Hunt Valley, Maryland, and open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. During the spring season, Valley View Farms offers a complete selection of trees and shrubs, vegetable and flowering annual and perennial plants, and planters, trellis, soil, and other planting accessories necessary to help customers achieve success in their gardens. They also have a patio furniture department. The Water Garden department is stocked with waterlilies, aquatic plants, fish, and accessories. In the fall, Valley View Farms becomes a holiday wonderland, with decorated trees, a huge outdoor lights display, and an international Christmas shop with ornaments and gifts from around the world.   
What makes it special:
Valley View Farms is family-owned and operated, and visiting the farm is a family tradition for a lot of local families. Valley View Farms also provides the largest selection of vegetable and flowering annual and perennial plants in the states and promises a unique garden shopping experience.  
About the Author 
Joelle Lang, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, is a multi-platform journalism student in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. This autumn, she is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.
"Local First Friday" is a weekly blog series profiling independent garden businesses in the greater Washington, DC, and Mid-Atlantic region. Washington Gardener Magazine believes strongly in supporting and sourcing from local businesses first!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Authentic Haven Brand

Authentic Haven Brand (http://www.manuretea.com/) offers a full line of all-natural, premium soil conditioner teas for the home gardener, landscaper, and farmer. Haven Brand uses only the highest quality manures from livestock that are raised on permanent, native grass pastures at the Haven Family Ranch.

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK Details:
Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page, Blog, and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digital magazine. To advertise with us, contact wgardenermag@aol.com today. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December 2015 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine Now Out!


 
The December 2015 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out and posted online at: http://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/washingtongardenerdecember15

In this issue:
Wild Tulips for Tough Spots
Your Garden Tasks To-Do List
Showy Shrubs for the Mid-Atlantic
Local Gardening Events Calendar
A Visit to Woodend Nature Sanctuary
Native Yellow Root
7 Beautiful College Arboretums in our Region
Carol and Leon Carrier: Local Cut-Flower Growers

and much more!

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the January 2016 issue are due by January 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: http://www.washingtongardener.com/index_files/subscribe.htm

A Balmy Bloom Day!



It is Garden Blogger's Bloom Day again! On the 15th of each month, we gardeners with blogs share a few bloom photos from our gardens. Here is the Mid-Atlantic USA (USDA zone 7) on the DC-MD border, we have had a mercifully mild fall and December has been especially mild. After two very punishing winters we deserve it!

My Helleborus niger 'Josef Lemper' is looking great (see above) and I also have many marginally hardy plants as well as summer annuals blooming away as well. They include Dianthus, Salvia, Calendula, and Zinnia.

What is blooming in your garden today?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Local First Friday: Greenstreet Gardens

Guest Blog by Joelle Lang


The history behind it:
In June 2000, Ray and Stacy Greenstreet purchased a greenhouse operation in southern Anne Arundel County, Lothian, MD, to grow some plants and raise their family. But Greenstreet’s roots actually began in the mid ’70s on the existing 65-acre farm. At that time, a small rooting station was established to grow plants for Ball Seed Company wholesale customers. As the years passed, neighbors and locals bought the extra plants for their gardens.
Word-of-mouth referrals helped build the landscaper and homeowner side of the business. In the summer of 2000, the Greenstreets expanded the property to the ever-evolving business of today. Greenstreet Growers, Inc., home of Greenstreet Gardens, is a dynamic complex, located around the corner from Prince George’s and Calvert counties.

What it’s like today:
Greenstreet Gardens in a family-owned business open all year round. They provide annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, and native plants. They provide green wall plants for both exterior and interior spaces. They also offer garden tools, home d├ęcor, a landscaping service, tools for birding, and plants that would thrive in an aquatic garden.
Greenstreet Gardens is both a retail and wholesale garden center. They have three retail locations in Lothian, Md, Alexandria, VA, and in Del Ray, VA, where they sell their products and host events such as gingerbread decorating for the holiday season and live music. Their wholesale shop is located in Lothian, MD. They own a 65-acre farm in Maryland and grow most of their products that they sell there. They also have 23 greenhouses in Maryland.
What makes it special:
Greenstreet Gardens is dedicated to supporting local businesses. They sell local meats, jewelry and even local popcorn at events such as their fall festival. They also run a local farmer’s market during the summer.  
The garden center also offers unique events all year, including hosting Santa every weekend during the Christmas season.

About the Author 
Joelle Lang, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, is a multi-platform journalism student in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. This autumn, she is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.
"Local First Friday" is a weekly blog series profiling independent garden businesses in the greater Washington, DC, and Mid-Atlantic region. Washington Gardener Magazine believes strongly in supporting and sourcing from local businesses first!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Sunshine Farm & Gardens


 Rare and Exceptional Plants for the Discriminating Gardener and Collector

Barry Glick
Sunshine Farm and Gardens
696 Glicks Road
Renick, WV 24966, USA
Email: barry@sunfarm.com
www.sunfarm.com

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK Details:
Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page, Blog, and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digital magazine. To advertise with us, contact wgardenermag@aol.com today.

Native Spotlight: American Holly

Guest Blog by Rachel Shaw 

American Holly (Ilex opaca) is familiar to many people; with its evergreen leaves and bright red berries it is often depicted on Christmas cards or used as a holiday decoration. Before moving to this area, I had been aware of it only in this festive capacity, and thought of it simply as "Holly." It was not native to the part of the Midwest where I had lived, and I had never seen it growing outdoors. I knew the English folk carol, "The Holly and the Ivy," and on that basis I suppose I had assumed the plant was from England.
 
In fact Ilex species are found in England, the U.S., and in a wide variety of places around the world, some 400-600 species, according to Wikipedia. An article by H.E. Grelen for the US Forest Service describes American Holly as “primarily a plant of the humid Southeast,” although its northernmost range begins in coastal Massachusetts, extends into Appalachia, and can withstand the cold of Zone 5. The article begins with an interesting bit of history: 

When the Pilgrims landed the week before Christmas in 1620 on the coast of what is now Massachusetts, the evergreen, prickly leaves and red berries of American holly (Ilex opaca) reminded them of the English holly (Ilex aquifolium), a symbol of Christmas for centuries in England and Europe. Since then American holly, also called white holly or Christmas holly, has been one of the most valuable and popular trees in the Eastern United States for its foliage and berries, used for Christmas decorations, and for ornamental plantings.

There are two American Hollies in my yard, with somewhat different appearance. One, growing under the shade of another tree, is tall and rather leggy -- if a tree can be described as leggy! After the cold and ice of the last couple of winters some of the leaves were damaged and turned a silvery-brown, but the tree appears to have recovered well. The other tree is in an area with a bit more sun as well as some protection from wind, and did not show the same leaf damage. It is also a smaller and more compact tree, with smaller leaves and a somewhat rounded top.

Since both trees were here when I moved in, I don’t know much about them. There are apparently many cultivars of Ilex opaca, and I don’t know if one or both of mine might be cultivars. I had assumed that both were planted at the same time, but it is possible that the taller one is also older. The University of Kentucky Department of Horticulture website describes the American Holly as becoming “open, irregular, and high branching with age.” So perhaps my taller, more scraggly tree is also older.

I have to be honest and say that I do have quite the strong attachment to my two Ilex opaca that I feel for many of my other native plants. (Perhaps it has something to do with the prickly leaves – you don’t really feel the urge to hug an American Holly!) But the berries are good food for birds, and the trees are a pretty sight as part of a snowy landscape. Now that I’m thinking of it, I may go out and cut a branch or two for decoration. Happy holidays, everyone! 

About the author: 
Rachel Shaw focuses on vegetable gardening and growing native plants in her small yard in Rockville, Maryland. She blogs at http://hummingbirdway.blogspot.com/

She will be taking some time from being our monthly native plant guest blogger for the next few months and plans to return to it sometime next spring.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Video Wednesday: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in November



This video is a montage of photographs by Tom Stovall taken over the past two years around Meadowlark Botanical Gardens during the month of November. They include the seasonal Winter Walk of Lights. Enjoy!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Local First Friday: The Behnke Nurseries Co.



Guest Blog by Joelle Lang


The history behind it: 
The Behnke Nurseries Co. was founded in 1930 by Albert Behnke. Albert, whose father was an award-winning horticulturist, traveled from his home in Kellinghusen, Germany, to Beltsville, Maryland, in search of a better future. He took a few jobs working with something he knew, flowers, before opening Behnke Nurseries. The company faced rough times in its early years, suffering through the Depression as well as a statewide drought. After WWII, however, the nursery experienced profound growth and expanded its small selection of plants to include annuals, perennials, roses, shrubs, and trees. Behnke Nurseries was the first company to own a modern greenhouse after the war. Since then, three more modern greenhouses were erected on the property.  

What it’s like today:
Behnke Nurseries, located on Baltimore Avenue and open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week (and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday,) offers annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, houseplants, herbs and vegetables, and a garden shop fit with gardening materials such as seeds and fertilizer, and books and calendars. They provide services such as landscaping, deliveries, and basic planting services. The store also hosts events all year such as speakers, activity workshops, and live music.
 
What makes it special:
“We have been really lucky that we have the best employees that anyone has ever had,” said vice president and marketing manager Stephanie Fleming. The employees at The Behnke Nurseries Co. make it unique because of their extensive knowledge of plants and horticulture and their passion for gardening.
   Product-wise, the store offers an exceptionally vast selection of perennials as well as a huge line of native plants.


About the Author 
Joelle Lang, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, is a multi-platform journalism student in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. This autumn, she is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.
"Local First Friday" is a weekly blog series profiling independent garden businesses in the greater Washington, DC, and Mid-Atlantic region. Washington Gardener Magazine believes strongly in supporting and sourcing from local businesses first!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: GoGardeners Garden Coaching

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

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK Details:
Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page, Blog, and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digital magazine. To advertise with us, contact wgardenermag@aol.com today.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Video Wednesday: Bulb Planting Basics



It is not too late to plant those bulbs! As long as the soil is not frozen, you can dig and get them in. Try to do so by Christmas so they have at least 12 weeks of chilly temps for blooming in the spring.

Here are some planting tips and basics for spring-blooming bulbs including daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, crocus, etc.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

DIY: Cinn-Apple Ornaments


Make these leather-like cookies for gift tags, holiday tree ornaments, or to hang from a cabinet knob.


Ingredients:
5 oz. cinnamon
1 ½ cups flour
20 oz. applesauce


Optional:
Acrylic paints
Glitter
Ribbon or Wire



Put cinnamon, flour, and applesauce in a large bowl, blend with a spoon. Knead mixture into a ball. It should have the consistency of a thick cookie dough or Playdough. It should roll out without cracking. If it is too dry, add more applesauce, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it is too moist, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two sections and roll each section into a 1/4 inch sheet. Sprinkle the surface, rolling pin, and your hands with flour when working with the dough. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Punch a hole in each for hanging using a skewer. You can also press into the cookies with letter stamps or other designs.

Slip ornaments onto baking sheet with a spatula and bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Check frequently. If ornaments bake too long, the edges will curl. Remove to a wire rack and cool. Let them fully dry for a day or two. They will lighten in color a bit as they dry. If there is excess flour on a cookie, use a pastry brush to sweep it off.

You can leave them as is or decorate them with glitter or acrylic paints. Store them after the holidays in a wax paper-lined box in a cool, dry place.


Note that these are not intended for eating, but will not harm you if you do.
This makes about 60 small ornaments. 
Adapted from a Cooks.com recipe.
Tip: You can buy bottles of cheap cinnamon at the dollar store.
Bonus: your home will be filled with cinnamon-scented goodness for days!


This is the fourth in a 6-part series on DIY projects for the home gardener. Look for the next installments in this DIY blog series on the 1st of each month (through January 2016) here at washingtongardener.blogspot.com.