Saturday, September 18, 2021

GardenDC Podcast Episode 75: Versatile Viburnums

In this episode, we talk with Phil Normandy, the recently retired plant collections manager of Brookside Gardens, all about Viburnums. The plant profile is on Obedient Plant and I share what's going on locally and in my garden.


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The episode is posted at: https://anchor.fm/gardendc/episodes/Episode-75---Versatile-Viburnums-e17f7it

The GardenDC podcast is also available on -

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: https://anchor.fm/gardendc/message Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

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Friday, September 17, 2021

Fenton Friday: Cool Season Seedlings

'Lunchbox' Peppers

These past few weeks the new fall interns and I have been busy planting some cool season crops from seed these past few weeks. That includes: 'Viroflay' Spinach, 'Cherry Belle' Radish, 'Bopak' Pak Choi, 'Wando' Shelling Peas, Arugula, Lettuce Mesclun mix, and 'Long Satnding' Cilantro. A few have germinated and are recognizable, others are being slow to show up and many need reseeding. A lot of the seeds I had were a bit old, so many not have the best germination rates, plus we've had a few very rains that may have washed some of them away.

We also seeded one area with Mustard Greens as a cover crop and those are filling in nicely. They are meant as a soil amendment, though we can certainly harvest and eat some of those leaves too.

Elsewhere in the plot, we are still harvesting Cherry Tomatoes and Peppers, plus some self-sown Arugula. I'm also cutting Zinnias, Celosia, and Cosmos.

The Zucchini vines have declined rapidly, so I'll pull those soon and maybe try out another cover crop there.

How is your edible garden growing?

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.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Autumn Daffodils 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, the past month has been generally hot, but we had some moderate days and a taste of fall, so the garden is starting to feel like it is rounding the corner soon from lush, jungle exuberance to shaggy autumn decline.

For this month's Bloom Day. I thought I'd share a picture of the Autumn Daffodils in my garden. It is also known as fall daffodil, winter daffodilor yellow autumn crocus. The Latin name is Sternbergia lutea. Despite the bright-yellow color, it really does look more like a tall crocus, than a daffodil to me.

I bought the bulbs at Green Spring Gardens Fall Plant Sale a few years ago from a woman who dug a bucket-full up from her farm. They were already sprouting and I don't recall many flowers that first year. When I read up on them, I saw they were used often in rock gardens and want perfect drainage, so I planted them in a location with great drainage next to my driveway and a hypertufa trough. Each year they multiply a little bit, in a few years I may be able to dig and transplant or share as few bulbs.

In the rest of the garden today, I have blooming: Gomphrena, Cosmos, Sunflowers, Goldenrod, Celosia, Tall Phlox, Japanese Anemone, Butterfly Bush, Tall Verbena, Petunias, Rose of Sharon, Butterfly Bush, Zinnias, Cosmos, Fuchsia, Bacopa, Impatiens, etc.

Be sure to follow @WDCgardener on Instagram for daily pics of what is blooming in the garden and area gardens that I visit.

So what is blooming today in YOUR garden?

Plant Profile: Castor Bean Plant

Castor Bean Plant (Ricinus communis) is also known as the Castor Oil Plant. This exotic-looking member of the Spurge family is native to East Africa and is not in fact a bean at all.

This annual plant is grown for its tropical looks and drama in the garden. It can reach heights of 10 feet or more in a single growing season. The plant is then killed when temperatures dip below freezing.

It prefers full sun and rich, moist, but well-drained soil. It blooms in late summer and then forms spiky seed pods.

To plant them, direct-sow the seeds in warm soil – about two weeks after the last frost in spring. Give it plenty of water and fertilizer. If you want to limit its size, it can be pruned back.

Warning -- the seeds are extremely poisonous! It can self-sow about, but the seedlings are easy to identify and pull if you do not want them or you could cut off the seed pods before they disperse. Wear gloves when handling any part of this plant, as the foliage can cause skin irritation. Note that all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested.

The plant is cultivated f
or medicinal uses and is prized by beekeepers. In addition to the bountiful pollen the flowers produce, there are extra nectaries along the stems and leaf stalks.

Popular cultivars include the dark-leaved 'New Zealand Purple’, ‘Carmencita Rose’ with blue-green foliage and peachy seed pods, and ‘Red Spire’, which has red stems and seed pods with bronze leaves.

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Audio and Text by Kathy Jentz
Video and Editing by Melinda Thompson

Footage gathered at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD.

 

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

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~ Facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine

~ Podcast: GardenDC

 

 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

GardenDC Podcast Episode 74: Garden FAQs

In this episode, we talk with Debra Ricigliano, Lead Horticulturist with the Home and Garden Information Center University of Maryland Extension, answering frequently asked garden questions -- from declining oak trees to armyworm damage to turfgrass and much more. The plant profile is on Liriope and I share what's going on locally and in my garden.



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

The episode is posted at: https://anchor.fm/gardendc/episodes/Episode-74---Garden-FAQs-e176ue0

The GardenDC podcast is also available on -

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: https://anchor.fm/gardendc/message Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

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Friday, September 10, 2021

Fenton Friday: Zucchini Report

These next few weeks, I'm letting the summer interns take over the community garden plot reports to share what they grew and how that went.

By Amanda Cash

Over the course of the summer, I have been nurturing the seeds of a 'Cocozelle Green Striped' Summer Squash from Landreth’s Garden Seeds. The squash essentially is a small zucchini with light green stripes running along the sides. 

On the back of the seed pack it notes that the squash is a “tender, flavorful variety of zucchini that all gardeners love. It’s an early producer and generous yielder, bearing very large fruit up to a foot in length!” To plant the seeds, we simply made a mound of soil* and placed the seed in the middle. We created two different zucchini plant mounds side by side. We placed a marker with the name of the zucchini on the top of the mound and then thoroughly watered it. After that, we regularly came back to the plot to monitor and weed the zucchini plants.

As the seed packet notes, it takes 5-10 days for the seeds to germinate and 45-60 to mature. The seeds took just about two months to successfully grow zucchini and there continue to be more and more flowers produced! We had to make sure each week that the plant was getting enough water as this summer has been quite hot. We also had to cut back any the vigorously growing morning glory vines that kept trying to attack the plant and remove any weeds that were trying to interfere in the space.

  Zucchinis can be used for a variety of dishes from sweet to savory. We used ours to make delicious zucchini bread. I highly recommend giving this plant a try next summer!

What is growing in your vegetable garden?

*The soil in this bed was amended with Bloom just prior to this growing season.

About the Author
Amanda Cash is a journalism major at the University of Maryland, College Park, and interned this summer with Washington Gardener and at WBAL-TV11 in Baltimore, MD.

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.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Plant Profile: Obedient Plant

Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) is also known as False Dragonhead or Virginia Lions-heart. This perennial wildflower blooms in shades of pink to lavender. In the mid-summer, it sends up tall stalks of tubular flowers that reach three to four feet high. The individual blossoms resemble snapdragons and are visited by a wide range of pollinators.

It is native to most of Eastern North America and is hardy to USDA zones 3 to 9. The flowers have no scent and it is deer- and rabbit-resistant. The long blooming period is a result of the individual flowers opening in sequence up the stem over a matter of several weeks.

Obedient Plant prefers full sun, but will bloom sporadically in part shade to full shade locations as well. It tolerates poor soil, drought, and poor drainage. It is easy to dig out a shallow root section to move or share it.

There is no need to fertilize it or give it any special care. You may wish to cut off the tall flower spikes once it finishes blooming to prevent the seeds from forming and spreading.

It is a member of the Mint family and there you have your warning. This plant will take over, if you don’t stay vigilant. It is not called “obedient” due to its growing habit. Instead, it gets that common name because the flower position on the stem is pliable and easy to work with in floral arrangements.

Better-behaved cultivars include ‘Miss Manners’, which is a clumping form with white flowers, and better suited for a mixed garden border.

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Video and Audio by Kathy Jentz
Editing by Melinda Thompson

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

Remember to TURN ON notifications to know when our new videos are out

 FIND Washington Gardener Magazine ONLINE

WashingtonGardener.blogspot.com

http://twitter.com/WDCGardener

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~ Facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine

~ Podcast: GardenDC

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Sunday, September 05, 2021

Introducing the Fall 2021 Interns

This fall, I have taken on four editorial interns. Look for their author bylines in our upcoming Washington Gardener Magazine issues and on this blog. Three are from the University of Maryland journalism school (my alma mater) and a fourth is from the Northern Virginia Community College horticulture program. As a first assignment, I asked them each to write a short introduction to our readers...


Hi, I'm Charlotte Benedetto. I'm a writer, artist, and gardener. Currently, I'm residing in the mossy area west of Washington DC, adjacent to many noisy toads. My interests in the garden include tricking deer, raising tadpoles, native perennials and shrubs, the four-season garden, edibles and perennial edibles, herbs, plants of pharmacological and folkloric significance, and indoor propagation. Personally speaking, I like classic films, military and political history, perusing damp undergrowth for fungi, charismatic skinks, and long forest hikes spent pointing out curiously contorted trees and/or animal burrows to my patient family. My work has appeared in the Baltimore City Paper, b magazine, and CATATAC.


Hi everyone! My name is Charlotte Crook and I’m one of the interns this fall at Washington Gardener Magazine. I am a senior journalism major at the University of Maryland, minoring in history. As someone who’s passionate about raising house plants (to varying degrees of success), I’m really excited to be reporting on the world of gardening, and even doing some more gardening myself! At Washington Gardener, I’ll be helping with the production of the podcast, as well as writing articles for our issues. Previously, I’ve written for the Writer’s Bloc, and I currently help manage social media and create newsletters for the University of Maryland’s Office of Transfer and Off-Campus Student Life.




Hello! My name is Melena DiNenna, and I am from Salisbury, MD. I am a fourth-year journalism student at the University of Maryland, College Park, with minors in Spanish and sustainability studies. I am currently a copy editor for the student-run publication The Diamondback. I have also published stories in the Her Campus UMD chapter and Hyattsville Life and Times. During this internship, I hope to improve my writing, interviewing, and editing skills -- and to learn new things! I’m new to gardening and magazine publishing, so I can’t wait to learn as much as I can and get to know the DC-area gardening community. I’m so excited to get started, and I hope to make a positive contribution to the magazine this fall alongside my team!



I am Melinda Thompson and I am a fall intern at the Washington Gardener. I’m a senior journalism major with a vocal performance minor and a concentration in women’s studies. Despite being a senior, I couldn’t get enough of being a Terp and I plan on taking an extra year to complete my studies. Within the last four years, I have had a wide variety of mediums I’ve published on. I have published for the campus publication, Stories Beneath the Shell, a small newspaper, The Greenbelt News Review, and broadcasted on the campus radio station WMUC on the show “Drop the Pop.” Outside of journalism, I am the social media and outreach coordinator for YogiTerps. I’ve spent every summer for as long as I can remember tending to my mother’s flower garden and digging my hands within the dirt. I’m very excited to be joining the Washington Gardener team and I look foreword to learn more about the gardening world!


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