Sunday, December 31, 2006
This contest offers an opportunity for all photographers to present their best shots of gardens in the greater Washington, DC area. Contest entries will be judged on technical quality, composition, originality, and artistic merit. More than $500 in prizes will be awarded!
The first annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest will commence at midnight tonight and entries will be accepted until midnight on January 21.
For the full details, go to the Contests page on www.washingtongardener.com, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to have a PDF version emailed to you, or see page 13 in the Jan/Feb 07 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
We are in the middle of getting the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of the magazine out. With all the holidays and extra days-off-just-because, it will be about a week late coming out. It is just so hard to get a hold of folks for interview quotes, fact-checking, photo requests, and proofing in the month of December. It seems like the world just shuts down (as does our printer). Though it also felt that way back in August when I was prepping the September/October issue. Just going against the norm and bad timing, I suppose.
I absolutely hate missing deadlines, even if they are self-imposed ones. This week and last I've worked over 120 hours so far and plan on pulling an all-nighter tonight so I can give myself Christmas evening and morning off. Don't ask how I got all my cards out and gift shopping done, I'm thinking that is a minor miracle in itself. I'm chalking it up to buying things throughout the year at all the festivals and shows we've attended for the magazine. Next year I'll try to duplicate that successful strategy.
Don't feel too bad for me though I'm having a great time listening to 24-hour Christmas songs on the radio and writing about some of my favorite plants -- orchid basics, growing asparagus, and choosing winter daphne shrubs will be just a few of the article features in this next issue.
During my self-permitted lunch break today I caught one of the WETA Neighborhood segments on our local PBS station. This one was all about Glover Park's community garden which dates pack to WW2. Here is a link to the video footage posted online. Such a pleasure watching folks work in the warm sun and harvest fresh vegetables. What a nice gift on this dreary gray day.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
NOT after Washington state, I might add for the few blog readers out there who are West Coast oriented or just wishful thinkers. If you are in the Washington state area, there is a regional gardening publication for you - Northwest Garden News. It is based out of Seattle and a really nice resource for the Pacific Northwest.
Anyway, back to OUR Washington. We've done a daytrip column to River Farm and somewhat touched on his farming/agricultural interest. I'm saving a daytrip column to Mount Vernon until a later date as it is so well-known and something we can do at most any point while smaller, lesser known sites can get the attention while each is in season and timely. If I get the advertising income up, I can add pages and then add a column idea I've had for profiling long-gone gardeners significant to the local scene. Currently, we only profile live, active area gardeners. Washington, of course, would be a top candidate for this new 'influential gardeners in our past' series.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
In the interview we talk about the LoveSexyDC, how it started, my magazine business, gardening, and of course, Prince himself. I think he asked some very smart questions and the conversation flows well. Please check it out and leave comments -- I'll visit his blog page and answer any additional questions that may come up.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Will I attempt to nurture and bring the poinsettias back for next year? I think it will be determined by what shape they are in at the end of the season. (I just hate seeing all those leggy, leafless poinsettias on receptionist's desk when I visit offices around town!) Though knowing me, I wouldn't have the heart to throw the poor things in the compost pile in the dead of winter.
BTW the first winner of our Brookside Garden of Lights Subscription Contest is Kathleen Rapp of Gaithersburg, MD. YOU still have a chance to enter for the next contest drawing on December 31. See our Contests web page for details.
Friday, December 15, 2006
BTW I'll be at my brother's booth at the Downtown Holiday Market at F and 7th Streets NW today for a few hours to give him a break. Stop by if you are in the DC area. He is space #4 and is selling Antique Prints including many botanicals. He also has a rack of the current issue of Washington Gardener magazine for sale so you can buy a copy or sign up for a subscription in person if you desire. The market runs everyday from 12-7 through December 22.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Just a quick reminder that the last date to order a GIFT subscription to arrive for Christmas is 12/20.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Here are the details of the talk:
Monday, January 22
Moving to Online: Print to WebWorking with Print and Digital Magazines
DC Web Woman
2301 M Street NWWashington, DC 20037
Tonight I'll be at the annual DCWW Holiday Party. We are donating a gift subscription to Washington Gardener as one of the door prizes and I'm really looking forward to meeting many of the woman whose emails I read on a daily basis.
Friday, December 08, 2006
We expect a sell out as we have already gotten in a good number of registrants and we are limited by space constraints to just 125 attendees. Sign up soon using the registration form you can print out at the USNA web site. Remember that current Washington Gardener magazine subscribers get $5 off the registration fee. Just note that on your registration form and we'll confirm against our subscriber list.
BTW, FONA members also get $5 off the Seed Exchange attendee fee. (No, if you are both a subscriber and a FONA member you can NOT add these discounts together! Nice try. ;-) What is FONA? The Friends of the National Arboretum. I have a front-page article all about the Seed Exchange in their current Arbor Friends newsletter. You cannot view it currently online - but I imagine it will get posted soon. FONA is a great group of supporters of the Arboretum. If you enjoy visiting this great DC resource, I highly recommend you join this nonprofit and get involved in their many programs.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Coincidentally, on Martha Stewart a day or so back she scolded her warm-up-act Joey, a budding gardener, for trying to hold on to his annuals and prolong their bloom. She practically hissed, "Yank them out NOW." Then tutted him for his laziness and cheapness. He looked wounded. As was I. Martha, I love ya, but damn if I'm going to take my few precious blooming plants out even one minute before they give up the ghost. I milk my babies to the last second of their lives and last year that was well past Christmas.
It is not my being cheap or lazy in this case (though in other instances I'll readily admit those two flaws in my garden care-taking). Rather, it is a complete unwillingness to admit that my beloved summer days are long gone and winter has set in. Those annuals are my last vestige of hope until the snowdrops pop open in early spring. I'll be counting the days...
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Then I did the Channel 9 "Gifts for Gardeners" segment (read text or watch video) this morning and by the time I got home, it hit. Was it the Santa's elf hat I wore? Was it the talk of getting great gifts? Or the cold, crisp day? Was it finally giving in and buying paperwhites at full retail price at Johnson's on my way home from the TV studio? Maybe reading the religious magazine article on St. Katharina of Siena while waiting for the bus? Who knows?! All I know is it worked and between checking emails and getting caught up on paperwork I've been listening to the all-Christmas radio station, baking cookies, and finishing up those cards with a renewed energy and spirit. Happy Holidays!
Friday, December 01, 2006
Of course we are promoting gift subscriptions to our magazine as a great idea. But I'm also giving exposure to some great products and samples we've been sent over the past year. I get at least 3-5 press release for new products (and some not so new) per day. We run a "ProductPreview" column in the magazine that we can usually squeeze around 6 of these into. We do not run this column in an each issue. So you do the math -- 365 x 5 -- products being pitched vs. space for me to highlight a maximum of 30 of them. This column and TV appearances let me spotlight a few more of them. However, that is still a tiny fraction.
How do I decide which products make the cut? It is very subjective, though I try to be as fair as possible. First, if I talked to the company's reps in person at an event like the GWA Annual Symposium, they get a leg up right there. Nothing like face-to-face to make the connection. Second, I listen to referrals -- what are other gardeners gushing about? Third, I try out samples and give them to readers/fellow gardeners to try out as well. Fourth, when it comes to deadline time and I don't have a product's info and high-res CMYK images on a CD/DVD or easily downloadable for the company's web site that second, guess what? I don't use it. If you make me dig and cause me precious time to get those items, I move on to the next product on my list.
One manufacturer who did everything right is West Country Gardener gloves. Not only did they come to GWA prepared with a great product, but they also sent follow-up samples and information. Further, their product photos are one step above the rest. See the one pictured here (converted to low-res for web by me). Good quality action shot -- full of color and life. Something I'd use any day in both product listings and in editorial shots.
So the take-home message for garden product marketers trying to get press placement? Meet the press in person, send product samples, and then follow-up with those CDs of product images and fact sheets.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I placed a (very) small ad in the Washington Post Book World this Sunday. It will run for the next 5 weeks up to the day before Christmas. Let me know if you notice it and what you think. I'll need 15 new subscribers from it to make back my investment -- obviously hoping for many more! I seem to be where I'm doing better marketing the magazine in places that attract readers over places that gardeners per se. Will see how this one goes versus the ads I placed last December in the Home (and garden) section of that paper.
Monday, November 20, 2006
One nursery professional pub, The Weekly Dirt, reports: "The Garden Center features plants, garden accessories and potted flowers that can be watered. The product line also includes a greenhouse, plant beds with shed, gardener with tractor, a flower shop and flower delivery van."
I think the best part about playing garden center has to be that the pots contain "growing and wilting flowers" - somebody knows their stuff! From the linked TV spot it appears you can grow seeds - or at least pretend to - which is just as fun.
Clearly this was made for adults and not kids. This certainly is for the OCD among us who want to not only control our own gardens at the micro level, but dream about controlling our local garden centers as well! What this needs to come with are Excel spreadsheets and wholesale ordering catalogs so we can design our custom inventory mix. Mine will be heavy on purple and black plants this year. What about yours?
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Putting a "local business" sign at our booth during the recent GreenFest was a great idea that had a good reaction from all attendees and one we'll continue to do. Trying to brainstorm now how else to convey our local-ness. I think it is obvious -- inherent in our publication name and mission -- but many, many people come up to me and ask if we are independent or a local-company. This is usually asked in a tone with a bit of edge or attitude to it. Then they follow up with the same questions -- where are you from? what is your gardening background? your journalism background? It is really pretty tiresome to continually repeat these same answers - though once I'm through the questioners seem fully satisfied.
I'm not sure where these questions come from, except maybe they've been duped before - if so, then by whom? Do they think I'm a front for Home Depot? Or shilling for some big garden catalog like Burpees? Or just pretending to be from here? Next time I'm asked, I'll start grilling them back and investigate more on this misguided perception and its origin.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Read it online (Nov 17 edition - page 64) or grab the print version at street boxes around town today - the article is on R8 (Real Estate section - page 8).
The same piece is also in the Baltimore Examiner, which is posted here (see Nov 17 edition - page 106). You can of course get the print version in Balitmore and its surrounding counties also. The article is on R38 (Real Estate section - page 38).
Thursday, November 16, 2006
This issue features rain barrels, a new plant intro from Heronswood (aka Burpee), local area garden events for the next 4 weeks, a November to-do tasks, a link to a new searchable map of area garden centers, and lists of "What's Blooming" in area gardens.
I enjoy putting this out and seeing the readership grow by the 100s. What I don't enjoy is the slow delivery time and glitches thanks to Zinester, our enewsletter host. They are free - so I can't complain too much. Though I find it pretty incredible that a test version I sent to myself at 10 pm does not arrive in my email inbox until 10 am the following day. It is supposed to be instantaneous! So much for 'testing' it. May add 'look for new hosting service' to my growing things-to-do list.
Monday, November 13, 2006
On another note, the acorn article I wrote for the Washington Examiner is still getting interest. On one neighbor wrote me, "I am collecting the acorn tops, which make great whistles! I distribute them in jobs skills and conflict resolution trainings I do with youth as a concrete way way of showing how 'nature calls!'" This is the first I'd ever heard of this use for acorns! So I did a google search and found this acorn whistle link. I've tried it a few times this morning - still can't get the hang of it. I think I need someone to demo it live for me. Apparently it is loud - so stand back from those attempting it.
You'd think I should be able to be able to do this "naturally" as I recently found out I'm an "Acorn-head." That is the (new?) name for those of us who live in downtown Silver Spring. Named after the acorn-shaped gazebo that dates back to the 1850s and is about three blocks from my house. (This picture is from http://www.silverspringdowntown.com/. I really need to get over there sometime and take my own pics of it.) I must say I like this name and plan to design a T-shirt to go with this new moniker and will wear it proudly. Now, I just have to find a company that can make acorn-shaped hats for us to also sport at Silver Spring gatherings.
What does this have to do with publishing a local gardening magazine? I ask myself this with every blog posting and find I'm starting to veer way outside my described blog goals. Okay, at least this one deals with publicizing our magazine (Blogrankers link and Examiner article) and is a story about local plant life (oak acorns) history, and parks.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
- 1. to dance
- 2. to play
- 3. to pick flowers
Hmmm, it sounds pretty close to mine, but I'm thinking I need to reshuffle my priorites and work in a lot more dance and play!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tell Us: What’s your favorite indoor plant?
An indoor garden can give your home that extra touch of warmth and life so often lacking from many home spaces -- especially in the wintertime. Do you have a favorite indoor plant? If so, we’d like to hear about it. Describe your favorite indoor plant and email it to email@example.com. Include your first and last name, city and state, and an original digital photo. Deadline is December 3, 2006. Your entry may appear in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of Washington Gardener magazine.
One entry will be chosen at random for a pass to the Brookside Garden of Lights in Wheaton, MD. The pass is good for one car or van full of people. It includes a 10% discount on merchandise at the Marylandica Gift Shop.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Pictured here are my 'Sheffield Pink' Mums, which are going gangbusters in my front bed right now. That brings me to their inaccurate name. They actually look just like peach-colored daisies. Why do the English call peach things pink?
We had a great time doing a garden spot for local NBC affiliate - WRC - Channel 4 yesterday. We demonstrated how to divide perennials which was our GardenBasics column topic in our Sept/Oct '06 issue. They also gave us a nice link and mention in their own blog. Here is an excerpt:
"You've nursed that plant the best you can, but what do you do when it gets too big for its space? Kathy Jentz, editor and publisher of Washington Gardener magazine, came to visit News4 today to teach us how to divide perennials in five easy steps..."
We hope to do Channel 4 again soon - just trying to figure out how to demo Lasagna Gardening in a live, camera-friendly way.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
This issue is packed full of great info for local gardeners. I'm especially pleased with this issue's Before/After piece and our interview with "Green Roof Guru" Ed Snodgrass. Our feature story is on pursuing a career in the Horticulture Industry and our list of green career resources is worth the cover price alone.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Yes, that is me taking root and blooming in my brother's herb garden last weekend with a rather large monarch resting on one of my sturdy stems.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Re: The Pumpkins on MY Porch
The pumpkins on my back porch are not for occasional snacking or tooth-sharpening. They are there for Halloween holiday decor. In the future, I'd appreciate if you left the carving to ME!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Worms may help disperse weed seed
Researchers at Ohio St. Univ. are studying the role earthworms play in the collection and dispersal of weed seed. One weed in particular, giant ragweed, may benefit from the behavior of earthworms and explain why the weed has been labeled one of the most stubborn weeds in Ohio to control. OSU weed scientist Emilie Regnier found that earthworms were collecting seed around their burrows. Although earthworms will collect other weed seeds, giant ragweed seed seems to be a favorite. Regnier said about two-thirds of ragweed seeds buried by earthworms are capable of producing viable seedlings. Earthworms previously have been known to disperse small weed seeds by ingesting them and then ejecting the seeds in their casts."
That's just great. Here I am encouraging these little gross things to take over my garden and now I find they are responsible for some of my weed problems! Oh yeah, and "casts"?! Just say "worm poop" and stop with the euphemisms.
Kinda like how much I detest Praying Mantids -- I've always found them to be evil, ugly things. I left them alone under the advice of those who said they were "beneficial" and ate "bad" insects. Well, newsflash they have no moral code about protecting your garden plants -- they eat EVERYTHING including beautiful Monarch Butterflies (I have piles of torn off wings to prove it) and Lady Bugs. They also dismember crickets alive one leg at a time. I hear the cricket screams in the shrubs. It is NOT pleasant. I yell at the Praying Mantis, "Just kill it already!" My neighbors have not yet reported me to the authorities, but I know they must wonder...
Okay, back to the worms. So now what do I do with this new finding? Leave them alone or do what I do to the white Japanese Beetle grubs when I come across them in my digging? Which is flick them in the pond for my goldfish or on the sidewalk for the birds to enjoy. Hmm, I'll leave the worms alone for now, but I'll be keeping one eye on them and watching for any suspicious weed seed dispersal.
Photo from: exploreventura.com/blog - no worms would come forward to cooperate with this worm expose story. It seems they only pose for photos if the story has a positive worm spin. Reminds me of certain politicians and celebrities.
Friday, October 20, 2006
I was a little perturbed to say the least when the next day a short article on the acorn bumper crop was in John Kelly's Metro section column. Then I was even more annoyed to see on the front page of Thursday's WashPost Home section another acorn story. I guess the two sections don't communicate.
Now this is about the 15th time in the past year that story topics that I've announced I'm working have coincidentally shown up in the WashPost. Yes, it is a small gardening world in Wash DC. And yes, some gardening topics are just timely and of course will be covered at roughly the same seasonal timing. But it is starting to wear on my nerves and make me suspicious. So do I keep our editorial calendar a deep-dark secret? Do I stop asking for quotes and inputs in public forums? I really don't see how we could operate without constantly reaching out to our readers. Unlike other institutional publications, we are built around reader input and I'd like to keep it that way.
I'm happy to say that neither of the WashPost stories addressed the "what to do with the acorns" questions -- other than the Home section describing how to plant an acorn. The squirrels take care of that for me, thanks. ;-) If anyone wants some oak saplings next spring, just drop me a line. I gave away over 60 this past year and I'm sure I'll have many more in 2007.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
PS We are currently offering a10% off ad sale special to our Blog readers. Contact us today to find out more.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
On a side note, my blog posts may be few this week as it is deadline crunch time for the Nov/Dec 06 issue of the magazine. This past weekend's GreenFestival was the best event I've done so far in terms of sales and interest. I wouldn't have missed it for the world and can't wait for next year - though it certainly put me under the gun for getting everything to the printer.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
When I get things like this or read about them (usually in the WashPost Health section), my bullshit meter goes past 10.
Now I'm all for more flowers in the world and in people's homes, but really are these studies needed? My first reaction is, "Duh?" You spent money on this - I could've told you that and saved everyone the effort.
My second reaction is usually that the studies are greatly flawed in their viewpoint -- they are almost always looking at it from the wrong end. This particular study finding should be corrected to read: "People who are less worried, anxious, or depressed tend to buy more flowers and keep them in their homes." Having flowers does NOT make you happier, it is instead an indication of your level of happiness, ease, and contentment with the world. People who are depressed or anxious don't even THINK to buy flowers, while people who are well-adjusted may indulge themselves or loved ones with the gift of flowers.
These findings are ass-backwards. They did not prove that depressives are cured by flowers, only that nondepressive people have more flowers in their homes. There is no cause-effect shown here. You know what else?
If Harvard wants to throw away their money on worthless studies they can send a few bucks my way, I'll conduct a few of mine own and prove things like: "Ugly people are less popular (or as they would have put it: Pretty people are happier!)," "You can get sick from licking the floor (Non-floor-lickers are healthier!)," and how about this ground-breaker: "People with smelly homes have fewer visitors (Homes that smell good are more welcoming)." You think?!
How about it Harvard? I'll even give you some free blog space to promote these findings when they come out ;-).
Sunday, October 08, 2006
The bulb planting article includes a full-page side piece I did on bulb forcing. This is a subject I get asked about a lot and it is one of my favorite gardening things to do. Mostly because I hate winter and anything that bring a bit of spring inside in the dreaded Jan-Feb timeframe is welcomed by me. Moreover, bulb forcing is so easy and almost a no-brainer. It also takes care of any extra bulbs you may not be able to get plant outside for whatever reason (lack of time, room, etc.). Plus, forced bulbs make the perfect gift. And even those who object to receiving cut (dead) flowers, can have nothing bad to say about a living bulb that can be transplanted outside and come back for years to remind one of the gift-giver.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
or go online and scroll to page 60.
Which got me thinking about the opposite of outdoor living -- the coming indoors of outdoor creatures. Yeah, I'd be pretty perturbed if a family of squirrels was running around inside my walls or a raccoon moved into my attic. But can you really blame them? It's cold, wet, and windy out there today - just plain yucky. Hey, it's only fair as we move into our outdoor living rooms, that they get to experience a bit of the indoor amenities may be not be using. The movie Over The Hedge this year really illustrated that point. You expand your territory and they will adapt into yours.
This coyote-in-the-city pic is from the National Wildlife magazine. I just adore these guys and their clever ways. (I'd rather sit next to this creature on the metro, than most of the humans that plop down next to me. At least he keeps to his portion of the seat!) Their article photo examples are from Central Park in NYC. My neighbors in Rock Creek Park and along the beltway have spotted coyotes running around here as well. So they are just a few blocks from me in all directions. It is only a matter of time before I spot one drinking from my pond. If they eat the rats from nearby restaurant trash dumpsters, I welcome them! If they did anything to keep the deer away, it'd be great as well - though they have not proven a real deterrent so far to any deer-afflicted neighborhoods. I do fear for the small pets and hope folks have the brains to not have their cats and small dogs out at night around these predators.
Interesting point in this NWF piece was that coyotes are native to these parts and that they do belong here in the food chain. The frightening part to me was that people are actively feeding them. Live and let live is one thing, but actually trying to attract them is just ridiculous. While they are cute, they are not Disney characters nor are they your friends.
Just got this from the THE MARYLAND-NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION - MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PARKS
INCREASED COYOTE SIGHTINGS REPORTED IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY PARKS AND AROUND THE COUNTY
SILVER SPRING, MD - Natural Resources staff in the Montgomery County Department of Parks report coyotes are being seen regularly throughout the county. First reported in the 1980s, their population remained fairly low through the 1990s then rose in the last five years. Reports of coyote sightings are averaging one a month. Before five years ago coyote sightings reports were received once or none a year.
Suburban environments, which include landscaped yards, parks and agricultural lands provide the ideal habitat for many wildlife species, particularly the adaptable coyote. Coyotes that become too comfortable around humans can quickly become pests.
Here are some things to do and not do in order to keep coyotes wild and to minimize conflicts.
· Never feed coyotes or other wildlife (with the exception of birds) · Don’t leave bowls of pet food or water outside at night · Keep garbage in sturdy containers with tight fitting lids · Keep compost in enclosed bins instead of exposed piles · Keep bird feeders out of reach and don’t let seeds accumulate on the ground · Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds where coyotes could rest and den · Supervise small children at all times · Keep cats indoors · Keep dogs indoors at night · Watch small dogs while outside even during daylight hours · Always walk your dogs on a leash. · Spay or neuter your dogs · Don’t tolerate coyotes around your yard - chase them off by yelling, throwing objects toward the animal (not at them)
Above all, keep coyotes wild and fearful of humans.
Generally coyotes are shy and will run as soon as they see or smell a human. In the unusual event that a coyote seems unafraid or even bold, chase it off by waiving your hands over your head, to appear as large as possible, and yelling in a deep voice. If need be, throw sticks or rocks. Most animals will be easily frightened off.
Report unusual behavior to authorities. For Montgomery County Parkland call 301/949-4149 or 301/949-2909. For other areas call the Department of Natural Resources Emergency number 410/260-8888.
For more information on coyotes in Montgomery County visit www.mc-mncppc.org/environment <http://www.mc-mncppc.org/environment>.
I just want to add that I tried that rock throwing and shaking a stick thing last year with a big, fat raccoon in my yard, it does NOT work. He basically gave me a "come on, you and I both know you are not going to actually hit me" look. He called my bluff and I caved.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
The Washington Gardener is a marvelous new garden magazine for our area. Subscribe for $18 a year, well worth it. They also have a free online monthly Enewsletter or
contact Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher at 301-588-6894 or firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.washingtongardener.com/.
(Update - here is the actual link.)
This review was courtesy of Nancy A. Burns. Nancy is their regular garden columnist and according to her bio is also: a Master Gardener, Horticulture Information Director on the Board of District 2—National Capital Area Federation of Garden Clubs, President of the Belle Haven Garden Club, and an officer in the National Capital Orchid Society.
I went back through the Alexandria Times archives and read a few of her garden columns. This is a real gardener who has her pulse on local northern VA garden scene. And she is a nice lady to boot! We met in person a few weeks ago at the Friends of Brookside Gardens sale, where we had a table set up. This just goes to show that even though our goal that days was to get new subscribers (which we did), there are bonus benefits to going to every possible garden event in the area. Next on our agenda is our Open Garden on October 9 and then the GreenFestival on October 14-15. Another busy month!
Oh yes, over the weekend we got a call through the Washington Woman folks saying that local NBC affiliate WRC Channel 4 would like us on tomorrow (Tues. Oct 3 for the News 4 at 4) to do a segment on bulb planting, which is the subject of an article I wrote for the current Washington Woman issue. I'm very excited about this and seeing how many people we reach with this weekday afternoon versus the early Sunday morning segment on WUSA Channel 9.
Friday, September 29, 2006
"Outdoor Living" is the hot marketing trend for garden businesses right now. It is also the topic of a two-part article we are running in the Washington Examiner newspaper this Friday and next. You can pick up a copy today at any metro station around town. See page 5 of the Real Estate section. Online you can access it at http://ee.dcexaminer.com/dc/?haspdf=1 (or www.dcexaminer.com) and scroll to page 61 of today's print edition.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Last year I got a River Birch tree at an Arbor Day event and snuck that into a neighbor's yard. The house was and is vacant -- been sitting for-sale several months now. The current owners never mow, maintain, or visit it -- so I figured they'd never know the difference until the tree is well-established.
Pictured here is a pepper plant of unknown variety that I picked up at a "freebie" table during a garden club meeting in a DC library this spring. It was a scrawny little thing started from seed and just getting its second set of leaves. I had little hope for it. I put this one out at the foot of a traffic light pole. It is a very harsh spot -- exposed to direct wind, vehicle + foot traffic, hardpan clay, and dry as the desert. Even the weeds barely make it in that spot. When I pass by on my way to the Silver Spring metro a few times a week I try to give it a bit of water out of the bottle I always carry in my purse and pull out any errant weed I may see. Other than that, it is pretty well on its own. This is the second crop of peppers on it. The first fruits were picked clean about a month ago -- not sure if by human or animal. Whomever it was had a good meal.
Been doing any guerilla planting of your own? Confessions can be made anonymously by posting a comment here...
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The tough choice is figuring out from my own garden what to bring. I mean I have plenty of perennials that need dividing and groundcovers that have overgrown their bounds. The real trick is what do others actually WANT. Nobody wants to bring a total dud that sits unwanted on the exchange table at the end and is relegated to the compost pile. What does that say about you as a gardener? That you have horrible taste? That your plants are diseased, bug-infested wrecks? That your plants are so common everyone has them and no one can use anymore?
The last reason listed here is actually the case. I've been to exchanges when everyone brought the same thing -- masses of daylilies, iris, or black-eyed susans. In some clubs it is a running joke of the "one plant that no one can give away." Funny thing is, each club has a different make-up with a different vilified plant. A newbie can easily walk into that trap.
Well, I'll take just about anything. As much as my spindly arms can carry really. In the beginning of my current garden, it is mostly all lawn and I'd take any unwanted green stuff to fill in the beds. Now I've gotten a bit more picky. If I can't find a place for those plant orphans at my place, I'm sure I can squeeze them into the median strips near me (daylily heaven) or in secret "vacant" spots in my surrounding neighborhood.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
But the biggest current work-at-home challenge I have is my cat. Yes, the stereotypical office cat just sits and purrs on your scanner while you busily work away on the computer. Mine? Most of the day she sleeps about 5 ft. behind me on a cushy chair, but the rest of the time she spends harassing me. Literally. If I answer the phone, this is her cue to start screaming in loud yowls. I often get asked, "Is that your baby?" Kinda. That is Chantilly at left admiring the goldfish while keeping a healthy distance from the pond's edge.
Or if I answer the door for package or printer drop-offs, she bum-rushes the deliveryperson. Very professional! When she is hungry or really wants outside time, she starts a circling pattern around me -- in tighter and tighter circumference as if the she is a hawk hunting its prey. Her final act of desperation is misbehavior of some kind (like tearing paper) that will have me roaring out of my desk chair and chasing her. Got to hand it to her, it works and often results in her getting my full attention.
Yes, she has me trained. In exchange, she does help weed the garden by chomping on any stray grass that may stray into my planting beds. She is also becoming a good hunter and has the moles on the run. But mostly she serves as a nice art accent to any garden view she occupies.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Here are the details:
Washington Gardener Autumn Open Garden Day - Columbus Day, October 9, 3:00-6:00pm826 Philadelphia Ave (Rt. 410), Silver Spring, MDBack by popular demand! Washington Gardener magazine will host one Open Garden Day this fall. Come by with your garden questions and see our trial garden in progress. You can sign up for subscriptions or renew in person. You can also buy back issues, current issues, and gift subscriptions. Additionally, we will have guest artists and various plants for sale. The Open Garden is rain or shine. We are an easy walk from both the Silver Spring and Takoma Park metro stops. Also, several Metro and Ride-On bus routes pass nearby. If driving, please pull in our driveway off of Fenton Street - this is directly across from the Public Storage building.Fee: $0/Free. Registration is not required. For more information: www.washingtongardener.com.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
In this Enews, the feature story is on mums. I just bought two more today -- at 4 for $12 at Whole Foods and Safeway -- they are like a drug. Cheap, easy, and instant color for the front porch and then great garden filler after that.
Also in this Enews, we let readers know about the Green Fest and our 2-for-1 special coupon available just for our Magazine subscribers. We will also have a subscriber giveaway of Green Fest passes in the upcoming weeks leading up to the event on October 14-15.
Friday, September 15, 2006
This is my first "pro" lawn piece. I wrote it grudgingly and only because of the high volume of questions we get on this subject. *Sigh*, so if you must have to have one -- here is how to do it right.
I'm not totally anti-lawn, but I'd say that 99% of the time for home and commercial landscapes a turfgrass lawn is not the best solution. I constantlys ask people: "WHY do you have it? Are you playing golf on it? Do you even allow people to walk on it? How much weekly maintenance time is it taking up?" If it is your consuming passion and you Zen-out in your biweekly mowing of it. Then by all means - have a lawn. The rest should really rethink if another groundcover or landscape use (vegetable garden? rose garden? fruit tree grove? pond?) might be right for you.
We'll be at Green Spring Gardens with our own booth tomorrow from 11 am - 4 pm. Come by to subscribe, buy back issues, chat, etc. We'll be right next to the Native Plants Sale. Here are the details: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/gsgp/butterflyfling.htm.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
That is a big yikes! Well, we made it in through year 1 and are fast coming up on our second anniversary - January 1, 2007. Our first print issue came out March/April 2005, so we have defied the odds. Time to celebrate! I'm thinking of hosting some kind of Fall Harvest shindig - an open garden mixed with a thank you to our readers, writers, contributors, and advertisers. Am scanning the calendar for a good date for this, but so far all weekends in fall look tightly scheduled and I'm afraid to go too late into the season for fear of the coming freezes - and that would be no fun for a garden party! I'll try to pin down the date by this weekend and get the ball rolling.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Can't tell you how frustrated I was last week at a local garden club meeting I attended and trying to explain no, I'm not affiliated at all with the Washingtonian magazine or the Washington Home and Garden freebie advertorial or Washington Post newspaper. But I shouldn't be too upset, these same folks actually dropped a few veiled racist remarks during the event and the average age of membership hovers somewhere around 85. Yeah, as you can surmise, I won't be joining them again anytime soon.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
Here is the current issue's cover and note that it is about a current hot topic: Shade Gardening. If you don't have much shade now, don't worry - just wait a few years and you will! Then you'll join the chrous of: "Where did all these trees come from? What do I plant? How do I get color?" You can order the single issue direct from us, subscribe and start with this issue, or buy it at area stores such as Alchemy in artsy, trendy SoPo section of downtown Silver Spring, MD.
Also in this issue are features on growing Figs, Hosta care and selection, a trip to Oatlands Plantation, and creating a Native Woodland garden. Enjoy!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Our local NPR (public broadcast) radio station recently got a new talk format and one if the new shows, The Intersection, invited me on today. Here is a link to the site:
For the short-term, you can hear the show and see the related links at:
I'm on for the last 20 minutes or so taking about garden questions and discussing related topics. We had a good number of callers and emails, which is always a good sign. The show is obviously doing something right.
I came home after the interview to find a few strange messages on our voice mail. Um, is it stereotyping to say radio brings the freaks out? The calls are not threatening or anything - but clearly these people are not altogether in the head. One mumbled on about doing something with our web site - then left no name or number to call back. Another said he had a "special tree" we needed to see, but could not let others know about. Yeah, that is exactly what we garden writers do -- trek to unknown parts to view plants that we can never inform our readers about. My policy is to return all calls - but got to say I'm questioning that now.
Monday, August 21, 2006
This summer has been so dry, aside from the one downpour of 12 inches in June, that I had to break down finally and top off my pond with the gardennhose *shudder*. The drought has been so bad this summer that my edible bed looks like the surface of Mars despite daily watering.
I did manage to grow this sweetie pictured here. She (he?) is an heirloom veggie that I got courtesy of Barbara Melera at D. Landreth Seeds in Baltimore, MD. It is a Queen Anne's Pocket Melon - meant not for eating but for carrying in your pockets to cover up the smells of daily life in the times prior to regular bathing and sanitation practices. The melon is indeed pocket-sized and has a rather soft outer layer. The one pictured here is now sitting in my kitchen adding a light melon-y scent to it.
The first melon that ripened off my plant was a bit larger and darker in color. However, apparently some rodent decided to take a few nibbles on it right before I harvested it. I noticed the bite marks, but brought it inside anyway - it last about 5 days before it started to decay and I had to give in and chuck it into the compost pile. Then I harvested this second one before it got nibbled on as well. No more fruit has set on at this point so I think I will pull the shriveling vine up and plant some cool season crop after my trip next week. Any suggestions?
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
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