Friday, November 26, 2021

Holiday Gifts for Gardeners ~ Top Gardening Gifts ~ 21+ Cool Gardening Gift Ideas

The holiday season is here and I bet you have a gardener on your gift list, so we've updated our annual a Holiday Gifts for Gardeners ~ Top Gardening Gifts ~ 21+ Cool Gardening Gift Ideas.

Here are the garden products I use almost every day. These are the tried-and-true work tools that make my garden grow, save my back from breaking, and generally make life a little easier. Buy a few for others, but also treat yourself!

Disclosure: the gift ideas here are linked to an Amazon affiliate account, so if you click on them and order any, Washington Gardener Magazine gets a few pennies added to the account for the referral. Our full Amazon storefront is at:


Need even more ideas? Here are some more links-

Disclosure: Clicking on these links and then ordering anything from Amazon may put a few pennies in the Washington Gardener Magazine bank account. Thank you for anything you can direct our way. We are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Aucuba Plant Profile

Spotted Laurel (Aucuba japonica) is a large, evergreen shrub also known as Japanese Laurel and Gold Leaf Plant. This plant is grown for its striking variegated foliage with yellow or white spots or streaks -- there is also a plain green kind.

This shade-loving plant is great for a spot in the back of the border to add some bright foliage interest or as a hedge. It tolerates dry soils and air pollution well. It is easy to propagate new plants from cuttings.

 It has long-lasting red fruits that appear in the fall that are also attractive.  To produce the fruit, you must have male and female plants nearby to each other.

Aucuba typically grows to 8 feet wide and high. It can be pruned in spring to keep its size in check. There are also dwarf varieties available.

It is hardy to Zones 7 to 9 and is native to Asia. Aucuba can be grown in containers outdoors and also does well as a house plant. Plant it in a protected spot out of prevailing winds and direct sun in well-draining soil. This is a low-maintenance, easy-care plant.

Aucuba: You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Audio and Text by Kathy Jentz

Video and Editing by Melinda Thompson
Additional Video Footage by Kathy Jentz

Partially filmed at the US National Arboretum’s Asian Collection.


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~ Podcast: GardenDC


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Win a set of GardenSleeves in the November 2021 Washington Gardener Reader Contest

For our November 2021 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, we are giving away a set of GardenSleeves (prize value: $22).

   Inventor Lynne Eichenbaum has created GardenSleeves by NOMPI Gloves (, the gardening and work gloves with sleeves. Patented and made in the USA, GardenSleeves came about after Eichenbaum contracted yet another case of forearm poison ivy after tending to her vegetable garden. She invented a pair for herself and couldn’t wait to share them with fellow gardeners. GardenSleeves by NOMPI Gloves keep arms free from scratches, sunburn, poison ivy, mosquito bites, and more. Made from breathable 100% cotton fabric, the sleeves are attached to cotton/poly-blend or nitrile gardening gloves. The elastic arm band assures a non-slip fit and NOMPIs are fully machine washable. 

   To enter to win a set of GardenSleeves, send an email by 5:00pm on November 30 to with “GardenSleeves” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in the November 2021 issue and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. Winners will be announced and notified on December 1. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monday Thoughts: ""The heat of autumn is different from the heat of summer. One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider."

"The heat of autumn is different from the heat of summer. One ripens apples, the other turns them to cider." - Jane Hirshfield

Saturday, November 20, 2021

GardenDC Podcast Episode 84: Thanksgiving from the Garden

In this episode, we talk with cook and author Jonathan Bardzik about enjoying Thanksgiving from the Garden. The plant profile is on Japanese Maples and I share what's going on locally and in my garden.

Jonathan Bardzik
Photo by Matt Sprague

EPISODE LENGTH: 57:45 WARNING: Don’t listen on an empty stomach! 00:42 Meet Jonathan! 02:30 “It definitely runs through my veins” — Jonathan, on growing up in the gardening world 05:14 “Growing a little something at home, even if the entire meal … is not home grown, I feel more connected to it” — Jonathan 06:58 How to make the most out of your kale this season, and what challenges you might find along the way 08:46 Pro Tip: To combat kale’s bitterness, add some hot sauce 09:51 Jonathan talks about Romanesco, a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower 13:08 Best ways to use Bok Choy in your Thanksgiving meals 15:52 Jonathan talks about a dish that will be featured on his Thanksgiving table: roasted sweet potatoes with a chive brown butter chimichurri 17:30 “One of the challenges being in the heart of the city is we have some ‘interesting’ animal pests” — Jonathan, on his home garden in DC 18:57 Having a hedge out front that produces red raspberries during early summer is “heaven” for Jonathan and his husband 19:25 His “proudest edible” is the tall hedge of “barbecue” rosemary along the sidewalk 21:33 Best fruits for making compotes 23:47 “They were as good as sitting in the middle of a field in southern Jersey at the peak of season in June” — Jonathan, on eating blueberries in Paris 26:10 What to bring from your garden to a Thanksgiving dinner when you’re not much of a cook 29:34 All about the Thanksgiving staple: PIES 31:19 “I did a taste test of different squashes with my parents once — a sure sign we need to get out of the house more often” — Jonathan 33:40 “You had me at bacon” — Jonathan and Kathy talk about the different flavor combination possibilities with spinach and other late-season winter greens 35:27 If you’re a beginner vegetable gardener, radishes might be a great ingredient to reach for when prepping Thanksgiving dinner 37:52 If you’re afraid of using a mandoline, you’re not alone! 39:48 Jonathan talks about the different ways to prepare carrots and their tops (42:37) 45:09 “I probably use more parsley than anything else” — Jonathan 47:03 Kathy talks about how to make your parsley last in the garden almost all year round 48:59 Go check out Jonathan’s show “Jonathan’s Kitchen: Seasons to Taste” on Revry! 49:29 Also get a hold of his cookbooks, which you can order directly from his website or on Amazon 50:11 Jonathan’s annual Thanksgiving helpline is available on either his Instagram or Facebook, starting Sunday 11/21 and ending Wednesday 11/24 51:45 Check out editor Kathy Jentz’s new book with Teri Speight on how to grow a garden with a limited space and budget! 52:40 Learn about the “elegant and graceful” Japanese maple in this week’s Plant Profile! 54:42 Garden updates: overwintering the alocasia and other plants as houseplants 55:04 Upcoming events: Lantern Light Tour at Tudor Place and Winter Solstice Celebration at Green Spring Gardens

BTW, YOU can become a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month! See how at:

The episode is posted at:

The GardenDC podcast is also available on -

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

Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Interview Edits: Charlotte Crook
Show Notes: Melena DiNenna


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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...