Tuesday, March 19, 2019

March 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine includes Thornless Blackberries, Snapdragons, Phenology, a Lavender Farm, and much more...



The March 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out.

Inside this issue:
  • Grow Your Own Blackberry Patch
  • Timing is Everything: the Science of Phenology
  • A Visit to Blooming Hill Lavender Farm
  • DIY Natural Bug Spray
  • DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar
  • Meet a Veteran Composter
  • Creative Design Approaches to Diverse Landscapes
  • Year of the Snapdragon
  • And much more….

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the April 2019 issue are due by April 5.

>>  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


Friday, March 15, 2019

Spring has Sprung for 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 in the Mid-Atlantic USA (USDA zone 7) on the DC-MD border, we had an especially nasty winter until two days ago, when spring sprung out and the birds sang and bulbs burst into bloom!

In my garden, I have a multitude of blooms. Here is my list of what is in flower today:

- Winter Jasmine
- Pieris Japonica
- Mahonia
- Hellebores - various
- Daffodils 'February Gold' and 'Tete a Tete'
- Snowdrops - various
- Crocus - various

I cut a bunch of sweet-smelling daffs to enjoy at my desk while I lay out the next issue of the magazine.

So what is blooming today in YOUR garden?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Community Gardens of the DMV: Glebe Community Garden


By Johnny Moseman

Since 1974, at the corner of S. Glebe and S. Lang St. in Arlington, VA, there has been a community garden standing where houses, stores, and a church used to stand before they were torn down by constant flooding in from Four Mile Run.

After all of the flooding, the county realized this was not a safe place for buildings, so they tore down the houses, converted some of the land into park space, reserved some for future water treatment facilities, and the rest was given to county residents for a community garden.

The members of the neighborhood immediately called for a meeting, elected officials, drew up bylaws, and split the land up into 25 garden plots.

By 1980, the flooding had stopped due to the Army Corps of Engineers widening Four Mile Run. By 2000, there were 30 plots in the garden and the county purchased land adjacent to the garden for more space.

With this growth of land and subsequent reduction in size of other individual plots, the number of plots rose to 60.

In 2008, the garden purchased two large sheds, two large picnic tables, and a charcoal grill on a concrete foundation. The garden has everything they need at the moment, but they are always looking for funding and people to help keep their garden clean.

“We have all the resources we need from gathering them over the years,” Assistant Chief Gardener Joy Bickelhaupt said.

Last year, the garden expanded even more when they purchased a neighboring property. This expansion added about 30 new plots, but with all the property around the garden being claimed now, it looks as if they have expanded enough.

Right now, residents of the neighborhood occupy 103 plots in the garden and they can grow whatever vegetable or plant they want, as long as they follow all the bylaws provided by the officers of the garden.

The only restriction of this garden is no fruit trees, but members are growing every kind of vegetable you can imagine along with blueberries, strawberries, and grape vines.
Bickelhaupt has been a member since 2015 and what she loves most about the garden is its therapeutic value.

“It is very relaxing to sit under the sun,” Bickelhaupt said. “It’s a community. We all share ideas, seeds and produce. We talk and have group beautifying sessions and potlucks. Everyone is so friendly and we all support each other.”

For more details about the garden, see: https://glebegardenclub.wordpress.com/.


About the Author: Johnny Moseman is a senior multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland from Columbia, MD. He is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this spring semester.

Photo Source: Glebe Community Garden

The Community Gardens of the DMV blog series is profiling community gardens across the DC-MD-VA region. If you have a community garden you would like profiled, please leave a comment below and let us know how to reach you.

Friday, March 01, 2019

DIY: Rose Beads

By Alexa Silverberg

Want to make beautiful beads made from roses?

The Rose Bead Group with the Potomac Unit of the HerbSociety of America leads workshops to show how to create beautiful jewelry from roses. These hands-on demonstrations are led by Mary Lou Winder, the Chairperson of the Rose Bead Group.

Here are Winder’s 10 steps to help you make beautiful rose beads at home

1. First, you will need a lot of rose petals! A cup of dried petals will yield 3-6 beads, so keep that in mind when considering how big you will want your piece of jewelry.  Another important thing to remember, all plant parts other than petals must be carefully removed to ensure a smooth bead.

2. Step two, dry the petals. It is important to dry the petals completely, otherwise you risk mold growing.

3. Next, freeze the petals for at least three days to kill any insects.

4. Then, put the petals in a pot, add water to cover, and simmer slowly for several hours until the petals are very, very soft.

5. Next, put the cooked petals, little by little, in a blender. Puree them thoroughly with enough liquid (cooking liquid or water) to make a finely ground, smooth concoction.

6. Put this mix into an iron pot and set it over very low heat.  Use a “flame tamer” to keep it from scorching. Cook it slowly, stirring periodically and scraping down the sides, until the moisture evaporates and you have a thick mash that is now black from the chemical reaction with the iron in the pot.

7. Repeat, adding water to the thickened mash and grinding it again in the blender, then cooking it slowly until you again have a thick mash. Blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

8. Add a small quantity of rose oil to the mash. Winder uses rose fragrance oil.

9. When the mash is ready, measure it out in rounded half teaspoons. Roll in the palms of your hands, dabbing slightly with water if need be to remove all cracks. Gently roll the round, smooth bead between 2-ridged wooden butter paddles to give a bit of texture.

10. Lastly, spear the bead on a wire and set aside to dry over the next several days. Beads must be turned on the wire daily while they dry to keep them from cementing themselves to the wire. They will shrink substantially! Once they are dry and hard, remove the beads from the wires and let them dry a few days more. Now, you can string them as you would any other bead, in combination with other purchased beads, to make necklaces.

The rose bead group offers workshops every month. In addition, they sell their rose jewelry locally and online. For more information, contact Mary Lou Winder at marylouwinder@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Alexa Silverberg is a senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland and is from Short Hills, NJ. She is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener Magazine this spring semester.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Community Gardens of the DMV: UMD Community Learning Garden

By Johnny Moseman

At the University of Maryland campus in College Park, MD, the School of Public Health set up a public community garden to encourage people to see green spaces in new ways and use them to their fullest capacities.

This garden, located outside of Eppley Recreation Center and the School of Public Health, was started in 2010 as a graduate student project, but has since become a joint venture between undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and staff.

The goal of this garden is to put into the importance of environmental stewardship, agricultural sustainability, physical activity, balanced diets, and environmental exposures into practice as well as serving as a living classroom where faculty, staff, and students can engage in experiential education on issues directly related to agriculture, community health, public health, and environmental health, according to it Facebook page.

“We wanted to create a place where students and faculty could learn about sustainable gardening and the importance of healthy eating as well as letting members take home what they help grow,” Community Garden Director Rudy Dessiatoun said.

Since 2015, plots in the garden have been available for rent and in these plots you can grow your own food or flowers with the support of Public Health Garden members.

Along with community plots, the Institute of Applied Agriculture has five raised beds that grow a variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers throughout the year that they use to teach visitors about growing.

They also have a pollinator meadow located next to the garden started in 2014, which is an area that ensures that butterflies and bees can continue helping their plants grow.

A project they are working on right now is replacing the ornamental crabapples in front of Eppley Recreation Center with a variety of fruit and nut trees.

In the community garden, members grow all kinds of vegetables as well as flowers and herbs. They also have several apple trees and fig trees.

They have a rainwater filtering system that allows them to collect any rainwater and store it and use in their garden during periods of little rain.

To get involved with this garden, all you have to do is contact the team and you can assist planting, pruning, weeding, planning, watering, or harvesting. Members can also take home anything they help harvest that day. Any food that is not taken by volunteers is donated to the campus food pantry.

“We are always interested in getting more people involved,” Dessiatoun said. “We have lots of volunteer groups that come and help us but we are always looking to increase our outreach.”

About the Author: Johnny Moseman is a senior multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland from Columbia, MD. He is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this spring semester.

Photo Source: UMD Community Learning Garden Instagram account.

The Community Gardens of the DMV blog series is profiling community gardens across the DC-MD-VA region. If you have a community garden you would like profiled, please leave a comment below and let us know how to reach you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

I am GardenComm


You may have heard me talk about GWA or the Garden Writers Association in the past. Recently, the organization re-branded to become GardenComm (https://gardencomm.org/). We are trying to get the word out that the organization is for everyone in the garden media world -- garden book authors, podcasters, photographers, radio hosts, bloggers, public relations professionals, newspaper columnists, speakers, etc. If you communicate about gardening, you should join up (or renew if you let your membership lapse in the past)! Feel free to use me as your referral!!!

This video was shot and edited by Alexa Silverberg at the Smithsonian-USBG Orchid Exhibit.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Win Passes to the Maryland Home & Garden Show in the February 2019 Washington Gardener Reader Contest


For our February 2019 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away five pairs of passes to the Maryland Home & Garden Show (including Craft Show) at the Maryland State Fairgrounds (prize value: $24).
  The Maryland Home and Garden Show (www.mdhomeandgarden.com/spring) is back at the Maryland State Fairgrounds for two weekends (Saturday and Sunday, March 2–3, and Friday, March 8–Sunday, March 10) with 400 contractors and experts to make it all possible. There is a Petting Zoo for kids and a Wine Tasting for adults. The Maryland Orchid Society will present a stunning flower show and sale with thousands of orchids on display. Visitors will be amazed at the many varieties of these spectacular flowers!
   To enter to win a pair of passes to the Maryland Home & Garden Show, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on February 28 with “Maryland Home & Garden Show” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in this issue and why. Include your full name and mailing address. Winners will be announced on March 1.

UPDATE:

 The pass winners are -  
~ Anne Hardman, Silver Spring, MD 
~ Robert Alonso, Glen Burnie, MD 
~ Annie Shaw, Greenbelt, MD
Michelle LaLumia, Leesburg, VA
Kathy Pongor, Savage MD
Congratulations to all!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Award-winning Garden Photos, Container-sized Blueberries, Native Lanceleaf Loosestrife, and More in the February 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine



The February 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is out.

Inside this issue:
·         17 Award-winning Garden Photos
·         Two New Container-sized Blueberry Plants
·         Little-known Native Lanceleaf Loosestrife
·         Proven Bug-free Gardening
·         DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar
·         Are Your Soils Too Salty?
·         Top Tips for Starting Sweet Peppers from Seed
·         Your Garden Task List
·         And much more….

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the March 2019 issue are due by March 5.

>>  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

Monday, February 11, 2019

Three Spring Talks



Registration just opened up for three talks I am giving at local public gardens this spring. These fill fast, so sign up soon!

Dealing with Deer and Other Mammals in the Gardens
Speaker: Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine
Saturday, April 6 from 2-3:30pm
At Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA
Bambi may be cute, but he would love to make a feast of your garden. Learn proven and humane tactics for gardening with deer, rabbits, rodents, groundhogs, and other creatures that are attracted to both edible and ornamental gardens. $18/person. Register online at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parktakes/ using code 27C.63BB or call Green Spring Gardens at 703-642-5173.

Dealing with Dry Shade
Speaker: Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine
At Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD
Thursday, April 18 from 2-3:30pm
In our hot and humid summers, a shade garden can be a soothing sanctuary but dealing with dry shade is a common challenge for many local gardeners. Kathy will discuss design choices, soil amendments to increase moisture retention, and proven plant choices that work in these tough conditions. We'll also examine case studies of local gardens who have not only conquered dry shade but made it a rewarding environment to grow in. FOBG Fee: $20, Regular Fee: $22

Water in the Landscape: Creating A Garden Oasis
Speaker: Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine 
Tuesday, June 25 from 2-3:30pm
At Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD
Water features and water gardens can be a magical addition to your landscape. Water can be stimulating or calming, depending on how it is used. There are numerous uses for water gardens from sustaining native wildlife to masking ambient noise. This class explains the basics of installing and maintaining a water feature of any size into a garden. It also highlights water garden plant choices appropriate for our region. FOBG Fee: $22, Regular Fee: $25


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Video Wednesday: What Brings You to the Seed Exchange?


We asked our Seed Exchange attendees to let us know, "Why do you attend?" Their answers were many and varied.
    This Washington Gardener Seed Exchange took place on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA. Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats. This video was shot by John Moseman and edited by Alexa Silverberg.

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