Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Plant Profile: Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)


Spring Beauty is a spring ephemeral that is only a few inches tall. The lovely flowers are white or light-pink with a dark-pink stripe inside their petals. There is also a yellow flower form that is less common.

Spring Beauty prefers moist soil and part-shade. The tiny flowers last for a week or so and then the grass-like leaves are not very noticeable. A few weeks later the foliage also disappears for the rest of the season.

It is native to the Eastern U.S. and from Canada down to Texas. Several kinds of bees and flies visit the flowers.

To add them to your lawn or garden, you can purchase the corms (tiny bulbs) from native plant nurseries. If you are lucky, the plants will seed themselves about and you will have a nice colony of plants.

You can sometimes miss this wildflower if you go on a walk on an overcast day as the blooms close up at night and in dim light to conserve energy.

Try planting Spring Beauty in your garden today – you can grow that!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine and edited by intern Emily Coakley.

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
https://www.instagram.com/wdcgardener/
~ facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine

Monday, March 30, 2020

SUMMER PUBLICATION INTERNS SOUGHT


Washington Gardener Magazine, a 15-year-old local gardening magazine, is looking for talented SUMMER interns. Candidates must display an eagerness to learn about the publishing industry.
The successful candidate will either be a junior or senior in college, who is interested in examining a career in magazine journalism. The unpaid program requires a 10-20-hour weekly commitment, with hours being flexible, including some weekend local garden events. The internship will begin in late May/early June and run through the summer session. The student will be responsible for determining whether college credit will also be available for the internship program.

Duties would include: • Communicating with authors • Conducting interviews • Proofing & editing articles • Researching • Taking photographs/videos  • Press Releases, both writing and editing • Blogging, both writing and posting • Social Media Campaign • Assisting with mass mailers, and providing general support to our editorial staff. Ideal candidates will have a journalism background, but all students passionate about gaining experience with a local, vibrant digital magazine are encouraged to apply.

Students should send a cover letter, names of references, and copies of their best writing samples BY Monday, April 20 to Kathy Jentz.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Seed Giveaway

We have a surplus of seed packets left over from the annual Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchanges that we host each winter. We gave away two big boxes already at local gardening events like Rooting DC and to Master Gardener groups. We had intended to do more giveaways at several upcoming local garden festivals, but as they are all now canceled through April, we have launched a mail giveaway.

Here is the list of currently available seeds:

- Viroplay Spinach
- Early White Patty Pan Summer Squash
- Cocozelle Green Stripe Summer Squash 
- Early Prolific Straightneck Summer Squash 
- Boston Marrow Winter Squash
- Waltham Butternut Winter Squash
- Moon and Stars Red Flesh Watermelon
- San Marzano Tomato
- Red Pear Tomato
- Yellow Pear Tomato
- Brandywine Pink Tomato
- Principe Borghese Tomato
- Livingston's Paragon Tomato

All the seed packs are from heirloom seed company Landreth Seed and have a sell-by date of 2019.

For individuals, put 1 stamp on your SASE for 1-3 seed packs and 2 stamps for 4-6 seed packs. Include a note listing which seeds you want and a few alternatives, in case we run out of certain kinds. We will fill the orders on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you are a community garden, school garden, garden club, etc. and want 20 or more seed packs, send a pre-paid Priority Mail flat-rate envelope. Include a note listing which seeds you want and a few alternatives, in case we run out of certain kinds. We will fill the orders on a first-come, first-served basis.

Send your self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) by April 15 to:

Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Giveaway
826 Philadelphia Ave.
Silver Spring MD 20910

A donation* of $5 to Seed Swap Day for any seeds received is a wonderful way to support our annual Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchanges, but is not required. Here is how to donate via Paypal: go to https://seedswapday.blogspot.com/ and click on the "Donate" icon on the upper right corner of the page.

*Note that the donation is not tax-deductible, but is much appreciated to keep our seed-sharing mission alive!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

GardenDC Podcast Episode 4: All About Tomatoes

Listen to the most recent episode of our podcast posted on March 28, 2020.


This episode includes a talk with Doug Oster all about tomatoes — from the earliest varieties to ripen to combating blight issues. Doug shares his best tips and tricks. 

Our Plant Profile in this episode is on Heuchera.

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/March-28--2020-ebvisr

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, March 27, 2020

Fenton Friday: Cool Thinnings


This week is all about thinning and weeding. The Radish and Beet seedlings that the interns planted are starting to really crowd each other, so I went in and culled about 90% of them to make way for the remaining few to grow big and healthy. 

Normally, I would have the interns do this themselves to learn about thinning, but with the virus shutdown, one is home in Westminster, MD, and the other is "stuck" in Amsterdam with her family, where they had traveled on spring break.

I use kitchen scissors to thin the seedlings and cut the unwanted ones off at the soil line. I place a paper towel on each side of the seedlings to catch as many as they can when they fall, because they are edible! Save them in a baggie and sprinkle them on a salad, soup, or sandwich.

Elsewhere in the plot, I cleaned up the Strawberry bed and was pleased to find several Asparagus spears coming up on there too. I also cleaned out some Garlic Chives that kept running into the pathways and gave those away. (I have lots to spare, should anyone want more!)

The Peas are putting on good growth and I hope that my newly planted Lettuces appear soon as the weather has been pretty mild. I also added a few more seed to the row of Cilantro to fill it out.

BTW, if you to see a tour of the actual plot and community garden, I hosted a short Facebook live video yesterday that gave a tour of them. You can watch it here:https://www.facebook.com/145383542145752/videos/154881385757301/

What are you planting 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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Plant Profile: Carex


This plant is one of those often overlooked and underused plants in our landscapes.

Carex looks like a mop of low-growing grass, but it is actually a member of the sedge family. There are native and non-native varieties, as well as a number of new cultivars.

It is perennial and looks good in all seasons. Depending on the variety you choose, it can thrive in either wet or dry conditions and from full sun to part shade.

Carex is a low-care plant. In late winter, you may need to rake out fall leaves that get caught in its interior and cut back any foliage that looks tattered and worn.

Best of all, carex is deer-resistant and has few critter issues, though my cat, Santino, likes to take nibble on the blades occasionally.

Carex blooms in early spring, but the flowers are of minor interest. The real attraction is the foliage, which come in every shade of green and also variegated.

Use this versatile plant as a groundcover, an accent plant, and in containers.

Popular varieties of carex available at local garden centers include ‘Everillo,’ ‘Ever Gold’, and ‘Ice Dance.’

Try planting a few carex in your garden today – you can grow that!


The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine and edited by intern Emily Coakley.
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
https://www.instagram.com/wdcgardener/
facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Keep Calm and Garden On merchandise.



It has been a few years since I updated our online store of "Keep Calm and Garden On" merchandise.

In these times, it seems the message is more relevant than ever!

I have recently added some new item choices to it like phone cases, buttons, and magnets.

See: https://www.cafepress.com/washgardener

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Win a Garden Gnome in the March 2020 Washington Gardener Reader Contest


For our March 2020 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away a Garden Gnome from Twig & Flower (prize value: $25).
   The gnome collection includes a variety of whimsical and life-like characters. Twig & Flower’s gnomes are individually hand-painted and packaged with care. They are made from durable poly resin to withstand the elements.
   Twig & Flower has a store on Amazon.com where you can order gnomes and faeries for your garden at:jhttps://amzn.to/2QEtDIj.
    To enter to win a Garden Gnome from Twig & Flower, send an email to
WashingtonGardenerMagazine@gmail.com by 5:00pm on Tuesday, March 31, with “Garden Gnome” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in the March 2020 issue and why. Include your full name and address. Winners will be announced on April 1.


UPDATE: Congratulations! The winner of our Garden Gnome contest winner was Beth Naff of Arlington, VA.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

GardenDC Podcast Episode 3: Cool-Season Edible Gardening

Listen to the most recent episode of our podcast posted on March 21, 2020.

This episode includes a chat with Kim Roman of Square Foot Gardening 4 U (SFG4U) about Square Foot Gardening techniques, microgreens, and what cool-season edibles you can start now the March garden.

Our Plant Profile in this episode is on Forsythia.

The episode is posted at: https://anchor.fm/kathy-jentz/episodes/Match-21--2020-ebhqku

We are 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.

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

Friday, March 20, 2020

17+ Cherry Blossom Viewing Alternatives in the DC Region

(One of our most popular and imitated annual blog posts -- updated for 2020.)


It is Cherry Blossom Festival time again in Washington, DC. Obviously, if you go down to the Tidal Basin, you should keep a safe distance from anyone else also there -- which may be near to impossible. Here are a several local alternatives to the Tidal Basin display:


#BlossomCam


 The Trust for the National Mall and The National Cherry Blossom Festival announced a new #BloomCam. Go to the live feed here: https://nationalmall.org/bloomcam to view the trees along the Tidal Basin in real time as they bloom.

There is now also a virtual tour video posted: https://nationalcherryblossomfestivallive.org/

Public Gardens

~ The National Arboretum* has a splendid and more varied display and LOTS or parking. Stroll around Fern Valley and the other gardens as well while you are there. Take the Self-Guided Tour: Beyond the Tidal Basin: Introducing Other Great Flowering Cherries  to explore the arboretum’s collection of over 2,000 cherry trees representing 600 different cultivars, hybrids, and species of various shapes, sizes, flower colors, and bloom times, including trees that have been created by arboretum scientists. Note: The free tour covers several miles of arboretum roads, and can be driven, biked, or walked. Pick up a brochure in the Administration Building.

Tudor Place* is a lovely place to take a stroll on your own through the spectacular Yoshino Cherry Blossoms during the full bloom. Event and entry fees apply.

Dumbarton Oaks* in Georgetown, WDC, has a marvelous orchard of cherries. There is an $8 admission fee that goes to support the gardens. Parking is also a bear in that neighborhood -- I recommend you walk or take the bus.

Hillwood Estate* in NW DC is pleased to celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with short guided tours of Mrs. Post’s Japanese-style garden. Docents will be available to answer questions between the tours. The suggested entry donation to Hillwood is $12 per adult.

Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, also has beautiful cherry blossom trees and many other flowering trees like plum, apricot, magnolias, and quince in bloom right now, and you don’t have to fight the crowds to see them. The gardens are also full of flowering bulbs like hyacinths, tulips, and hillsides of daffodils.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens* in Vienna, VA, has over 100 cherry trees surrounding a lovely lake that you can stroll around. Admission to the gardens is a mere $5

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens* in Richmond, VA, has a ring of Yoshino cherry trees around their lake and Okame cherry blooms throughout the gardens. There is an entry fee of $10 to visit the gardens.

~  River Farm* in Alexandria, VA, is a historic 25-acre site on the banks of the Potomac River. River Farm was once part of George Washington’s original five farms, and currently the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. The grounds offer spectacular river views, a wildlife garden, and delightful children’s areas. 

Green Spring Gardens* near Annandale, VA, hosts a Ikebana flower arrangement workshops and has flowering cherry trees in its collection. There is a class fee and they fill fast so register today.

*These public gardens are closed now during the to coronavirus shutdown, see updates at this post.


Neighborhoodsand Other Less-visited Spots

~ The Bethesda, MD, neighborhood of Kenwood for their stunning display. Park and walk in for an immersion in cherry tree lined streets.

~ Sarah Lawler suggests The Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II is a beautiful spot to see cherry blossoms. It is located near Union Station at the intersection of Louisiana Ave., New Jersey Ave. and D Street, NW, WDC. And across the street is a grove on the U.S. Capitol grounds.

~ Foxhall and Reservoir Rds, NW. Washington, DC. The Foxhall Village neighborhood near Georgetown has cherry blossom-lined streets that are known as the best-kept secret among locals.

~ Brenda Lynn shared she always bikes from Arlington, VA, in order to avoid having to park to take metro. It's a beautiful ride, and one could also bike along the GW parkway in VA to view all the blooms along the Potomac River

Anacostia Park at 900 Anacostia Drive, SE. Washington, DC. Cherry trees bloom along the Anacostia River at the 1,200-acre park that is one of Washington, DC's largest recreation areas.

~ An anonymous post to my blog, tipped me off that there are several blocks of cherry blossom trees creating an arch above the streets of Garrett Park Estates in Kensington, MD. "Take Strathmore Road near Holy Cross Church, turn onto Flanders and then I think it’s Waycross. The trees span several streets, are lovely, and totally free of crowds!"

~ Adam Bailey let me know that “Stanton Park and Lincoln Park on the Hill — and the Capitol Hill neighborhoods in general — have a good display of blossoms, too.”

~ "Scott Circle, at Massachusetts & 16th, also has some great cherry blossoms," reports John Boggan. 

~ Katie said, "There's a neighborhood off Query Mill in North Potomac, MD, that has streets lined with cherry trees. Not as fantastic as Kenwood, but if you're in the upper Montgomery County, it may be more accessible. Streets include Moran and Bonnie Dale. It blooms a few days later than Kenwood."

~ There is a website that lets you enter your zip code to find blooming street trees near your location. To try it out, go here: http://www.dccherrypicker.com/


Grow Your Own!

 Ever since getting my weeping ‘Higan’ cherry, I feel no need to rush downtown. I keep a daily watch on my baby tree and celebrate loudly when the buds finally burst open. I highly recommend it. 
   Here is a video we created about growing ornamental cherry trees locally: 
   In addition, in the very first issue of Washington Gardener Magazine, we did a PlantProfile column on the selection and cultivation of cherry trees for our area. 

Got other DC-area Cherry Tree viewing locations? Please share them in the comments below.

Fenton Friday: Hidden Treasures


There is one plant that I forgot to report on in last week's summary of that wintered over for me in the plot -- namely, Broccoli.

I had three Broccoli plants tucked under a cover cloth and until I weeded around it a few days ago, I totally neglected it. Once weeded and a layer of straw placed around them (and the neighboring carrots), I could see what a bounty I had!

I snipped off a few florets from each plant and added them to pasta with garlic and butter (and lots of Parmesan cheese!) for dinner. Yum!

The only thing I added this week was another row of Spinach. The forecast had called from freezing temps in a few days, so I didn't want to risk doing anything else yet. Now, the forecast seems to have moderated and we might not get those predicted snow showers. If that is the case, I'll look at adding more root vegetables.

In the rest of our community garden, I see many busy bees -- we have several new plot owners this year and during this social distancing period our plots are a great place to retreat to and do something productive, while soaking up some Vitamin D. I wish all our newbies much success in their plantings!

What are you planting this month in your edible garden? Any hidden treasures?

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.

Featured Post

Gifts for Gardeners ~ Gardening Gifts ~ Cool Gardening Gift Ideas

Today is Amazon Prime Day, so I thought I'd again share the garden products I use almost every day. These are the tried-and-true w...