Thursday, February 20, 2020

Win Passes to the Maryland Home & Garden Show in the February 2020 Washington Gardener Reader Contest

For our February 2020 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 ( is back at the Maryland State Fairgrounds for two weekends (Saturday, February 29–Sunday, March 1, and Friday, March 6–Sunday, March 8) with 400 contractors and experts to make it all possible. This year’s theme will showcase gardens with beautiful outdoor entertaining spaces. In today’s busy world, we all need an inviting outdoor place to enjoy with family and friends. The Maryland Orchid Society will present a stunning flower show and sale with thousands of orchids on display on the second weekend. Visitors will be amazed at the many varieties of these spectacular flowers! Several Maryland wineries at the show will offer free tastings with bottles available for purchase.
   To enter to win a pair of passes to the Maryland Home & Garden Show, send an email to by 5:00pm on Wednesday, February 26, with “Maryland Home & Garden Show” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in the February 2020 issue and why. Include your full name and address. Winners will be announced by March 1.

Monday, February 17, 2020

February 2020 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine - Award-Winning Garden Photos, Hakone Grass, and Much More

The February 2020 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is out now.
It is posted online at:

Inside this issue:
  • 17 Award-Winning Garden Photos
  • Hakone Grass: A Multi-Season Stunner
  • Meet Inspiring Agriculture Educator Lori Mayhew
  • Create Instant Winter Cheer with Pre-Forced Bulbs
  • What To Do in the Garden This Month
  • DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar
  • Expert Tips for Speeding Up Seed Germination
  •  and much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the March 2020 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:

Monday, February 10, 2020

Discuss The Overstory: A Novel with the Washington Gardener Magazine's Garden Book Club

For our next Garden Book Club selection, we will be reading: 

"The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of―and paean to―the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours―vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe."

You can order it new or used at our Amazon link:
Our Winter 2020 club meeting will be on Thursday, March 12 from 6:30-8pm at Soupergirl, located right next to the Takoma metro stop. Soupergirl offers soups for sale that are incredibly healthy. They are 100% plant-based, low salt, low fat, and most importantly, absolutely delicious, so plan to come a bit early to purchase and eat your dinner with the garden book club. 

Please RSVP to washingtongardenermagazine (at) or at the book club event page at, so we know how many chairs to reserve for our group.

The Washington Gardener Magazine's Garden Book Club is free and open to all. We meet quarterly on a weekday evening near a metro-accessible location in the DC-area. We will announce the details of each upcoming meeting about two months in advance. Please check back on this blog for schedule updates and announcements.

Want to read ahead? The next book club selections are:

Monday, February 03, 2020

2020 Garden Photo Contest Winners

Here are the 17 winners in the Washington Gardener Magazine 14th Annual Garden Photo Contest. There were close to 220 photos submitted in this year's contest from 26 entrants. I know our expert judge had a Herculean task picking out the best of the best! It was great to see several first-time entrants place highly. Many of these photos come from the photographers own home gardens, while the majority of the rest of the images were taken at public gardens in our region.

Note that what you are viewing online here is a low-resolution version of the photo images. Winning images will be published in the next issue of Washington Gardener magazine and as large format prints in a local photo exhibit this spring/summer at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA.

The winners were announced live during the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange on Saturday, February 1, at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA.

Congratulations to the 2020 Garden Photo Contest winners and thank you to all who entered! 

And a BIG Thank You to our Prize Sponsors: 

Here are the Garden Photo Contest category definitions:
These photo entries must have been taken during the 2019 calendar year in a garden located within a 150-mile radius of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
• Garden Views: Beautiful, dramatic, or unusual perspectives of a garden landscape, including wide shots showing the setting. Subject can be a private or public garden.
• Garden Vignettes: Groupings of plants in beds or containers, unusual color or texture combinations, garden focal points, and still scenes. Subject can be photographed in a private or public garden.
• Small Wonders: Tight close-up images or macro shots of single flowers, plant parts, fruits, vegetables, etc. Subject can be photographed in a private or public garden.
• Garden Creatures: Images of insects, birds, frogs, domestic pets, etc. in a private or public garden setting.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

DIY: Valentine's Day Seed Card

Level: easy
Cost: minimal
Use: holiday/gift

Construction Paper
Seed Packs
Double-sided Tape

Optional Materials:
Valentine's Stamp and Inkpad

Step 1: Cut a pot shape from folded colored paper. (You can use an orange or terra-cotta color for authenticity).

Step 2: Cut a strip of paper off and use the double-sided tape to affix it to the top of the card in front and back to simulate a pot rim.

Step 3: Place a packet of seeds inside the fold and secure with double-sided tape. 

Step 4: Decorate the outside of the pot and add a message to the inside. This is where you can let your creativity run wild. Embellish it as you like and write in a personal message. I found it easiest to stamp a flower and color it in with gel markers.

Step 5: Give it to a budding gardener in your life.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a few pennies from Amazon.

This is a monthly blog series on DIY projects for the beginning home gardener. Look for the other installments in this DIY blog series by putting "DIY" in the search box here at

Friday, January 31, 2020

Meet the New Spring 2020 Interns

This spring, I have taken on two new editorial interns. If you attend any of our upcoming events, like this Saturday's Seed Exchange at Green Spring Gardens, you are bound to run into one or both of them. As a "first assignment," I asked them to write a short introduction to our readers...

Hello everyone! My name is Charlotte and I am a senior Multiplatform journalism major graduating from the University of Maryland in May. I’m a curious individual looking to meet people and hear stories, and always learn more. I enjoy solo work as well as collaborative projects, and have passions for photography, writing, in addition to producing videos and podcasts. In my free time I like to write music, be outdoors and practice yoga. I’m excited to work with Washington Gardener this spring and generate creative content for the readers!

Hi guys! My name is Emily Coakley, and I'm a senior broadcast journalism major, as well as a history minor, at the University of Maryland. I'm from Westminster, MD, love to travel (Barcelona is my favorite place I've been), and have a special interest in sports journalism, hoping to one day report in the NFL. I spend a lot of time finding interesting and relevant stories, interviewing people, shooting film, and editing footage to turn into news packages.  I also am currently working as a reporter for Capital News Service. I'm excited to be interning at  Washington Gardener magazine this semester because I know through this internship, I will learn how to become a better writer, editor, and hopefully, gardener! My interest in gardening came primarily from my great grandmother -- I remember spending many hours with her outside, helping her plant beautiful flowers in her garden. I'm looking forward to sharing my ideas on gardening with all the readers!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Philadelphia Flower Show Trip Details

Update: We are sold out with a wait list as of 2/10/20.



Washington Gardener Magazine has one tour this year going up to the Philadelphia Flower Show. 

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the oldest and largest indoor flower show in the world. The theme for 2020, “Riveria Holiday,” will showcase Mediterranean. America’s leading floral and garden designers will create stunning landscapes, imaginative gardens, and breathtaking floral displays. Through imaginative exhibits, guests will see ideas like community, healing, peace, transformation, and hope brought to life in surprising, vibrant ways. 

The Flower Show attracts non-gardeners as well as die-hard green-thumbed people of all ages. Foodies of all tastes will love the Garden to Table Studio. Participate in the Lectures and Demonstrations series, Gardener’s Studio, and the “Make & Take” workshops. First-time and returning riders will enjoy the welcoming, custom details of our coach service.

Here are the details. we go on Wednesday, March 4 from 10am-10pm, leaving and returning to downtown Silver Spring, MD - your fee includes a lunch and is nearby to public transit - see the registration form in our current issue for more details.

Note: The forms are for printing and mailing along with your payment. They are not interactive online forms.

If you have any trouble printing them out, please send an email to and I can send the forms directly to you. 

Our trips fill up quickly, so please act fast to reserve your spot with us!

Friday, January 24, 2020


I have been getting a number of emails and phone calls about the upcoming Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges. I thought I'd put together the following FAQ. Feel free to pass it on to any fellow gardeners:

-The online registration links are -

Saturday, January 25 at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD go here:
Online Registration ends at 6:00pm on Friday, 1/24/20.
If you miss that online window,  you can register in-person at the event starting at 12noon on Saturday, 1/25/20.

and for 
Saturday, February 1 at Green Spring Gardens, VA go here:
Online Registration ends at 6:00pm on 1/31/20.
If you miss that online window, you can register in-person at the event starting at 12noon on Saturday, 1/1/20.

- We recommend eating lunch before coming. We will be serving a healthy, light snack break mid-way through the event -- fruit, granola bars, etc. There are nearby water fountains - if you have a travel mug, refillable bottle, or cup you like, please bring that to fill up and label it with your name. We will have some plastic/paper cups on hand, but are trying to keep this event as “green” as possible.

- We will have generic blank name tags -- but we ask participants to be creative and make their own tags or if you have your own name tag from work or another event, by all means bring it. We will do prizes for the most creative name tags :-). Again, we are trying to recycle and make this event eco-friendly.

- When you get your goody bag at check-in, please make sure to label it with your name -- all the bags look alike and can get easily mixed up. Bringing a few sheets of those personalized address labels you get with charity mailings will come in handy for this and for labeling your seed packets, giving out your contact information to fellow gardeners, etc.

- If you are bringing seed/garden catalogs for our give-away table, be sure to rip off the address labels and tear out any order inserts with your personal information on it.

- We are adding a new, separate table this year for houseplant cuttings and divisions.
We encourage everyone to bring your cuttings/divisions labeled and packed in individual baggies to share.

~ We also welcome gardening books for swapping, so feel free to bring those too!

We screen incoming seeds and do not accept any invasives listed in the "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas" booklet from the National Park Service. You can also see the listing at:
(We do not allow GMO seeds in either, but chances are slim that any home gardener would have access to them.)

~ You can bring unused seeds from purchased packs or seeds you gathered from your own garden.Carefully pack and label your seeds as best you can. The more information you can provide, the better. More details on seed packing and labeling are on the registration form. Did you know you can make your own seed packs? Get great free downloadable templates are here:   Please do NOT bring large quantities of seed in one bag. Our volunteers are over-whelmed at the check-in tables already with sorting seeds into the table categories, please break them up into smaller quantity packs ahead of time.    (No, you don't have to bring seeds. It is great though if you do bring them. Store-bought is fine.)    (Yes, you can bring bulbs, tubers, corms, etc. to the swap. They should be bagged and labeled just like seeds.)   (Older seeds are fine, if you can test for viability that would be great. The exceptions are lettuce, onions, and impatiens seeds, which should all be less than a year old.)

Make a list of your seed “wants” in advance.  It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the day and forget the basics that you came for or the rarities that you had been seeking.

- Here is the updated event schedule*:
12:00-12:30 Registration and seed drop off to WG Staff and Volunteers12:30-12:35 Introductory remarks and overview12:35-1:25 Speaker 1
1:30-2:00 Speaker 2

2:00-2:30 Refreshment Break and Seed Swap Preview2:30-3:00 Seed Show and Tell
**3:00-3:30 Seed Swap!
3:30-3:45 Garden Photo Contest Winners Presentation (only at VA location)3:45-4:00 Final Door Prizes and closing remarks 

*As with all live events, the schedule is subject to last minute change.

**Show-and-Tell participation is voluntary. We encourage you to introduce yourself, share some fun facts and background on the seeds you bring, or tell us about any local garden projects or groups that you are involved in.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Win 2 passes to the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax County, VA

For our January 2020 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away two passes to the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax County, VA. (A prize value $40).
   The 15th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges, hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine, take place on January 25, 2020, at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, and on February 1, 2020, at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax County, VA. You have a choice of which side of the DC Beltway you want to visit!
   Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats. The event also includes such “green” features as the garden book and catalog swap. Everyone will leave with a bag full of seeds and loads of gardening inspiration for the upcoming growing season. We will have a “best name-tag” contest, so get crafty.
   See event details on pages 20–21 of this issue. Seed Exchange attendees are encouraged to bring their used or new garden books and seed catalogs to swap and share at this year’s event. We also ask you to bring your own water bottle or reusable mug and a home-made nametag.
   To enter to win the Seed Exchange Passes, send an email to by 5:00pm on Thursday, January 30, with “Seed Swap” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what you will be growing from seed in your garden this year. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on Friday, January 31.

Our winner, chosen at random from among the entries, is Sonia Zamborsky of Falls Church, VA.

If you are interested in registering for the Saturday, February 1 at Green Spring Gardens, VA go here:
Note that Online Registration ends at 6:00pm on Friday, 1/31/20.
If you miss that online window, you can register in-person at the event starting at 12noon on Saturday, 1/1/20.  

Please do enter our monthly reader contest again, your odds of winning are very good!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

January 2020 issue of Washington Gardener – Helenium, New Garden Trends, True Solomon’s Seal, and much more…

The January 2020 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is out now.
It is posted online at

Inside this issue:
·         Helenium for the Mid-Atlantic
·         A Giant Among Native Shade Plants: True Solomon’s Seal
·         Tropical Milkweed: Monarch Butterfly Friend or Foe?
·         How a Warmer Winter May Be Affecting Your Plants
·         8 New Garden Trends for 2020
·         What To Do in the Garden This Month
·         DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar
·         Latest Research to Help Plant Nurseries Reduce Nutrient Runoff
·         and much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the February 2020 issue are due by February 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:

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