Saturday, June 06, 2020

GardenDC Podcast Episode 14: Niraj Ray on Unusual Edibles, Confessions of a Plant Killer, and Daylilies

Niraj Ray

This episode, we chat with Niraj Ray of Cultivate the City on Unusual Edibles including Papalo, Malabar Spinach, and Megberries. I share my Confessions of a Plant Killer and the Plant Profile is on Daylilies.

BTW, YOU can become  a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month!See how at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/support. 


It is also available on -
  • Google Podcasts at this link, either now or soon (note that currently, this link will only work on Android devices)

We welcome your questions and comments!

You can leave a voice mail message for us at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/message Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Fenton Friday: A Planting Frenzy


new plantings - basil, tomatoes, and cucumber
New Plantings -
Basils, Tomatoes, and Cucumbers
This week was a very hot and busy one in the community garden plot. The new interns and I planted several test groups. We put in four Cucumber hills: 'Marketmore,' ''Silver Slicer, "White Wonder,' and 'Early Spring Burpless.' We added four kinds of Basil from seedlings: Prospera (a mildew-resistant Genovese), Lime, Thai, and Tuli/Holy - as well as seeded a row of 'Dolce Vita Blend' to use those for mildew-resistance comparison. For Tomatoes, we planted 'White Currant,' 'Apple Yellow,' 'Celano,' 'Resilience, 'Sun Gold' and 'Sun Sugar.' I also planted a row of Marigold 'Happy Days Mix' on each sde of the Tomatoes.

I have been harvesting 'Snak Hero' Peas everyday and also cutting Sweet Pea 'Beaujolais' for little indoor bouquets. I've gotten a few Strawberries and Asparagus spears to eat also, I dug out a couple of the Beets to test them, but they are still a bit small, so I will leave them in longer. I covered all of the lettuces with a protective cloth because the sudden heat and intense sun were so brutal this week.

Aside from lots more weeding, I still have some seeds to plant for Okra, Watermelon, etc. We'll see if I actually have room for any of that!

What are you harvesting this week in your edible garden? 

Sweet Pea 'Beaujolais'
Sweet Pea 'Beaujolais' 
About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.




Thursday, June 04, 2020

Meet the New Interns

This summer, I have taken on three editorial interns. Look for their author bylines in our upcoming Washington Gardener Magazine issues and on this blog. As a first assignment, I asked them to write a short introduction to our readers...

Hi everyone! My name is Hadley Baker and I’m a rising senior studying English and Spanish at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. I’m from Takoma Park, MD, and my mother is a landscape designer in the area, so I’ve grown up with a beautiful garden and have learned a lot from her about gardening and plants, but I’m excited to learn more this summer! I’m particularly excited to try growing my own tomatoes this summer. I’m looking forward to working with Washington Gardener to learn more about editing and publishing, to work on producing podcasts, and hopefully to provide interesting and informative content for readers!

Hello! My name is Anastazja Kolodziej, and I’m excited to be interning with Washington Gardener this summer! I’m a rising senior at the University of Maryland, double majoring in multiplatform journalism and the classics (Ancient Greek and Latin). On campus, I serve as an assistant managing editor at The Diamondback — the university’s primary independent newspaper — where my duties include fact-checking stories, editing for grammar and style and publishing onto our website. Although I don’t have a significant amount of experience gardening, I love plants and the outdoors. I am also interested in pursuing magazine writing in the future, so I’m excited to learn more on both fronts through this internship! 




Hi everyone! My name is Taylor Calavetinos and I just recently graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism. I’m from Riverdale Park, MD, and I love the summer. I spend most of my time these days walking my dog, getting some sun, and spending time with my family and friends. I’m always the happiest when I’m surrounded by the people I love and the outdoors. This spring semester, I worked as a reporter and anchor for Capital News Service, which pushed me to become a better multimedia journalist. I’m always looking for new ways to push myself! I also worked with the Maryland Football program as a recruiting and operations intern. I love sports and being a Terp. I’m extremely excited to be interning at Washington Gardener Magazine because I’m hoping to become a better writer and editor, since my time at Maryland was mostly spent focusing on visual journalism. I also am excited to engage with the readers and produce great content for you all!

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Plant Profile: Serviceberry



Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) is a small, native tree, which grows wild from Maine to the Carolinas. It is also called Saskatoonberry, Juneberry, Shadberry, Shadbush, and many other names. Serviceberry is being used extensively now in native landscaping, so you can find small groves of it in many public areas.

It can be grown as a small tree or large shrub - reaching less than 25 feet tall. It is not picky about soil type and does well in sun to part-shade conditions.  The trees bloom in early spring with tiny white to light-pink flowers.

Serviceberry also has a lovely fall color. One of the most popular varieties is ‘Autumn Brilliance’ - which has blazing foliage in brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows.

The berry is similar to a blueberry in size and flavor, but is much sweeter and has a small, edible seed inside each berry. The seed is reminiscent of an almond in flavor.

The season to pick the berries is late May to mid- June. They do not have to be fully blue to be ripe, so pick them when they are any shade from burgundy to purple. Do so quickly before the birds get them and before any signs of rust appear on the fruit, which happens commonly in our area. 

The rust appears as a hard green spot on the fruit which erupts into a coating of orange powdery spores. It is unsightly and it will ruin any of the berries that it infects, but it will not hurt or kill the tree itself.

You can adapt most any blueberry recipe and substitute in serviceberry -- just drastically drop the amount of sugar or leave it out entirely as this berry is much sweeter than a typical blueberry.*

Serviceberry - You Can Grow That!


The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

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Saturday, May 30, 2020

GardenDC Podcast Episode 13: Connie Hilker on Heritage Roses, Hardy Waterlilies, and Crocs

This episode, we chat with Connie Hilker of Hartwood Roses about Heritage (aka Old or Heirloom) Roses. I share my love for Crocs and the plant profile is on Hardy Waterlily (Nymphaea).

Connie Hilker
BTW, YOU can become  a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month!See how at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/support. 

The episode is posted at: 
https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/episodes/May-30--2020---Heritage-Roses-eemn32

It is also available on -
  • Google Podcasts at this link, either now or soon (note that currently, this link will only work on Android devices)

We welcome your questions and comments!

You can leave a voice mail message for us at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/message Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

Pin this episode for later:

Friday, May 29, 2020

Fenton Friday: Pass the Peas (and Carrots!)


Carrot 'Oxheart'
I decided to dig up some of the carrots we planted last fall. These 'Oxheart' are not even close to the "massive" roots that the seed packet described. Still, they will do for a snack, once I get done scrubbing them.

I harvested a few strawberries and asparagus spears, as well as snipping off all the garlic scapes.

The peas are really humming along now, the hard part is waiting until each is about 4-inches long before I pick them. Pictured are a few that made it to my kitchen, the rest I eat right there in the plot.

I managed to plant a few sweet potato slips as well as the "regular" white 'Satina' potatoes.

The heat and humidity have descended on us, so I'll have to be more diligent about watering and also weeding. I also need to start getting all my pepper and tomato seedlings in the ground now.


Peas 'Snak Hero'

Due to the heat now, most of the cool-season crops are bolting (setting flower, then seeds). I am going to let the last of the radishes do so, but hope the beets and other things hold off until they are at a decent size to harvest.



My next task is to go through all my warm-season seed packs this weekend and start direct-sowing the okra, beans, marigolds. etc.


Back in my home garden, I ripped out a bunch of mugwort, laid down cardboard, and applied a thick layer of leaf compost. I then cut a hole through the layers and planted some 'Amish Melon' seedlings, that I got from a fellow gardener. I'm not a big fan of muskmelon, but I'll give it a try and am happy to let the vine sprawl in the side yard where it can hopefully out-compete any returning mugwort.







What are you harvesting this week in your edible garden? 

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Power Circle Activated!

For the past few years, I have been helming a "power circle" for a small group of garden bloggers -- all members of the Garden Communicators International (used to be called Garden Writers Association). We have monthly phone calls on various topics ranging from marketing tips to content ideas. The group is winding up to a close now, so I'll miss our regular gatherings. I still plan to stay in touch through GardenComm and by visting their blogs regularly. I thought I would share the other members' blogs and highlight a bit about them.
Amy Whitney blogs at Small Garden News and she is the Southeast USA. Her blog concentrates on organic food gardening and she has two books that you will want to check out -- one on Fall Garden Planning and the other is a Garden Planner and Notebook.
Duane Pancoast blogs at The Geriatric Gardener. He covers issues surrounding aging in the garden. He just published a book on that same topic and you should be able to order that soon.
Gail Pabst co-writes her No Farm Needed blog with her daughter. Check out their online store which features their pressed flower crafts from flowers that they both grow.
Gerald Simcoe's web site is GeraldSimcoe.com. He studied horticulture at Longwood Gardens, but now spends his time painting. Check out his floral still lifes -- from flowers grown in his own garden.
Keri Byrum's blog is Miss Smarty Plants. She was in Florida for awhile, but is back in Iowa on a farm. She specializes in growing hops for local breweries and has great information on raising backyard chickens.
Marianne Willburn writes at Small Town Gardener and you may know her from her two recent guest appearances on the GardenDC podcast. You may also know her book Big Dreams, Small Garden, which we reviewed in the magazine a few years ago. She is a DC-area local -- living in Lovettsville, VA.



Saturday, May 23, 2020

GardenDC Podcast Episode 12: Eva Monheim on her "Shrubs and Hedges" book, Hakone Grass, and Gardening in Movies


This episode, we chat with Eva Monheim about her new book on Shrubs and Hedges. I opine about gardening in movies and the plant profile is on Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa macra).

Eva Monheim
BTW, YOU can become  a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month!See how at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/support. 


It is also available on -
  • Google Podcasts at this link, either now or soon (note that currently, this link will only work on Android devices)

We welcome your questions and comments!

You can leave a voice mail message for us at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/message Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

Pin this for later:


Friday, May 22, 2020

Fenton Friday: Holding Out for a 'Snak Hero'

'Snak Hero' pea flowers and pods forming
This week was another cool-ish one, but unlike prior weeks it was dry. It was also windy. So dry and windy in fact that I had to run over to the plot mid-week to throw some emergency water on the poor strawberry plants and greens.

The 'Snak Hero' Pea is covered in blossoms now and the pods are forming. I pulled out the seed pack and see that they are supposed to grow to "Slender 4″ long pods" that resemble green beans so I will let mine grow a bit more before harvesting them.


I dug some more Radishes -- they taste much sharper now that the sun and heat are moving in. I also had a few more Asparagus spears and Spinach to make a salad with.

The scapes (flower stalks) are forming on the hardneck Garlic and I will cut those off in the next day or two to use in a pasta dish.

Because it was so dry, I didn't plant the 'Satina' Potatoes yet, but that is next on my list along with clearing a spot to direct-sow my watermelon and squash seeds.

In a part-shade spot of my home garden, I have several tomato and pepper seedlings hangout out until the ground is warm enough to plant them. Looking at the forecast for the week ahead, that should be very soon!

What are you harvesting this month in your edible garden? 

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Win Bloomables Plants from Star Roses in the May 2020 Washington Gardener Reader Contest


For our May 2020 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away three (3) different Bloomables plants chosen by Star Roses to one lucky winner (prize value: $90)!
   Win a selection of plants from Star® Roses & Plants new Bloomables® collection! With more than 35 varieties of Star Roses’ best flowering roses and woodies to choose from, these varieties are easy to grow and offer high rewards in the garden. Bloomables have it all: Bright colors, unique textures, and of course, amazing blooms, make this collection stand out! Check out the collection at www.bloomables.com.
    To enter to win the set of three Bloomables from Star Roses plants, send an email to WashingtonGardenerMagazine@gmail.com by 5:00pm on Sunday, May 31, with “Bloomables from Star Roses” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in the May 2020 issue and why. Include your full name and address. Winners will be announced on June 1.

UPDATE: The winner chosen at random from the submitted entries is Barbara Delaney of
Bethesda, MD. Congratulations, Barbara!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Plant Profile: Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)


The Fringetree is a small tree that is native to the Eastern United States.
The “fringe” of this tree refers to the long, white, clusters of drooping flowers in late spring. They are mildly fragrant and give it its alternate common name of “Old Man’s Beard.”
It prefers moist, but well-draining and fertile soil. It flowers best in full-sun to part-shade. It typically reaches between 12 to 20 feet tall.
Deer love to munch on it, so keep it protected while it is still young and small. Once it gains its height, the deer cannot reach those yummy leaves.
This tree seldom needs pruning and is tolerant of air pollution, so it makes a good choice for urban gardens.
A Fringetree can be male or female—the male version being the one with slightly showier flowers. The female tree’s flowers, if fertilized, produce clusters of olive-like fruits in late summer that are a desirable food source for birds and wildlife.
Fringetree looks especially beautiful set against a backdrop of dark evergreen trees and its white blossoms practically glow in the moonlight. 
There is a Chinese fringetree (Chionanthus retusus) that is very similar in appearance to our native species. The native one has smooth bark, while the Asian one has bark with furrows of dark brown and light gray.
Fringetree - You Can Grow That!

Read more about Fringetree in the November 2014 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine.

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

 If you enjoy this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our Youtube channel (thank you!)
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