Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dogwood Days

Sorry for the almost week-long break - between the Leesburg Fest, getting the May/June issue to press, attending local garden tours, and processing renewals -- it has beena 100+ hour work week.

Here is an online link to this week's Top 5 Home & Garden Events listing on page 29 of today's print edition. Pick up the Washington Examiner at any area metro station. I'll be at the FONA Garden Fair myself on Fri-Sat. Stop by the big vendor's tent and find the Washington Gardener magazine table -- sign up for a subscription, gift subscriptions (Mother's Day is coming up!), renew, buy back issues, or just purchase the current issue. See the FONA web site for the full, expansive list of plant offerings. And yes, you'll definitely see me getting my early dibs on several of those luscious green offerings as well. Hope to see you there!

My list is also the subject of WASH FM's current trivia question - click here to enter. I guess entering it myself would not be kosher? I sure would like that free airfare ticket!

Pictured here is a neighbor’s glorious dogwood. I’m so envious! The one dogwood I planted a couple of years ago was a stick I got at a local Arbor Day event – it never took. This one, and the many other gorgeous examples I see around town, make me want to run out and buy a nice one and plant it today.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Make Your Lawn Safe

My article on Organic Lawn Care is out today. Read the Washington Examiner version of the article online here (April 20 edition - page 67), or grab the print version at the red street boxes around town today - the article is on R11 (Real Estate section - page 11).

I attended this launch by on the lawn of the US Capitol building a few weeks ago -- great place for photo op -- but not so great for actually hearing the speakers what with the constant parade of traffic, tourists, and competing events out there on the Mall. So most anything I gathered from their press materials or from directly talking to the speakers afterwards. Lesson learned should the magazine ever plan to stage an event in such a public venue -- rent a portable microphone system or a bullhorn.

On a personal note, I'm sending a shout-out to my friend, Ang, who is battling non-Hodgkins Lymphona (aka cancer). You can check on how she is doing and leave her a note of encouragement at her blog here. While doing the research for this chemical-free lawn care piece, I came across volumes of research and horrifying stats about lawn care workers who habitually used pesticides and the high incidence of this very form of cancer. While Ang was not in frequent contact with those substances and the doctors have failed to pinpoint any probable link or cause for her disease, it worries me greatly that so many children, pets, athletes, etc. spend so much time in direct contact with chemically treated turf grass. On this Earth Day weekend I send out a plea to go organic in your lawn care and to put pressure on your local schools, parks, HOAs, etc. to do the same.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Traveling the Greener Path

SustainLane's green business directory and product review web site is now live, in time for Earth Day! Check it out here to review your favorite green products and business, share with your friends and family. We are proud to be listed on this site which promotes local, sustainable, green businesses. Please go to our Washington Gardener listing and please leave a review as well.

Here is an online link to this week's Top 5 Home & Garden Events listing on page 33 of today's print edition. Pick up the DC Examiner at any area metro station. The Leesburg Flower & Garden Fest listing is messed up - I'm asking for a correction. It looks like they left a fake phone number and link for layout purposes, but never went back and put in the actual information. Here is the correct link.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pretty Easy to be Green

The Wooden Horse Magazine News says the following in its April 15, 2007 edition:

>>Publisher Hearst this week issued a press release about placing the "Please Recycle This Magazine" stickers from the Magazine Publishers of America on 19 of the company's magazines beginning with the July issues. After calling itself "the first magazine company to adopt this initiative on a portfolio-wide basis," announcing their new "green" website named, and touting its new "green" skyscraper headquarters, the release mentioned that "fewer than 20% of Americans are recycling their magazines at home." But there was no mention that only 65% of the magazines distributed are actually sold. Industry, heal thyself before picking on your customers. Our Assistant Editor, Lisa, had a suggestion worth considering: "Yes, recycling is 'available' in most communities, but many, like my town, don't include magazines in the approved list of items." (And in the county of The Horse headquarters, we have to drive the magazines to the recycling center.) "I wonder if it would be better for the environment to place a 'Please Pass This Along to Another Reader' sticker instead!" Exposing your magazine to another reader might actually be good for sales. Viral marketing - what used to be called word-of-mouth - has been shown to be highly effective.<< I just want to state, for the record, that we have been saying from issue 1 on: "Please recycle this magazine by passing it on to another gardener." So :-P to Hearst and their "first."

I just want to state, for the record, that we have been saying from issue 1 on: "Please recycle this magazine by passing it on to another gardener." So :-P to Hearst and their "first." Honey, we were green, before green was cool.

And BTW, our sell-through rate is much higher than 65%! Plus, we don't waste paper resources by having that big of an inventory overage on our issues.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Busy Bee

This weekend (April 21-22), we are at the Leesburg Flower & Garden Fest in Booth #125. This is one of my favorite events and I really enjoy the people who run it as well as getting in a bit of my own start-of-the-growing-season shopping in. I find the quality of vendors at Leesburg to be among the best. The folks behind it do a great job in screening out the "junk" and getting in the best for their attendees.

Next weekend (April 27-28), we are trying out the FONA Garden Mart for the first time. I anticipate it going very well for us as it is our perfect target audience. We are mentioned as a featured vendor in their new Spring 2007 issue of the FONA newsletter (see page 6) -- which was mailed out this week and linked here.

It looks like every weekend from here on out I'm double-booked at area garden events and more are being added every day - so keep checking the front page of our web site for additional calendar items.

Monday, April 16, 2007

You say, "Tomato" -- I say, "Berry"

The April 15 issue of Washington Gardener Enews is now out and posted here. This issue has:
Final Frost Dates and Just WHEN to Plant
Magazine Excerpt: Early Spring Veggies
April To-Do List
Spotlight Special: Tomatoberry
Reader Contest: Passes to the Annapolis Secret Garden Tour
Local Gardening Events

I especially like writing the "Tomatoberry" story as it is just so cute. I mean how many of us haven't picked up a plant or two just on the cute name factor? I have a "Kiwi Herman" coleus that I bought at Homestead a few years ago and have been taking cuttings off each winter to renew (sh!) it each spring. Did I buy it just for its deep dark leaves with chartreuse green edges? Partly. But mostly I'm a big Pee Wee Herman fan and couldn't resist! Add to that my "Purple Rain" salvia and my "Eleanor Roosevelt" iris and I could start a whole collection of celebrity tie-in plants that I adore. Besides, my young nieces love cherry tomatoes, so I'm thinking they'll really dig these "berries."

In unrelated news:
I'm a regular reader of The Dollar Stretcher as I try to be frugal and earth-friendly in both my personal and professional lives. A little while ago I submitted an article on how to save money on going to the movies. I almost hated sharing some of these tips as the competition for free passes and screenings can be fierce at times, but in the interest of good Karma and the fact that I'd certainly want others to share this info with me, I've passed on my best tips. Find it here at My Story: More Movie Savings.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

DC Urban Gardeners Form for Goal of a Greener DC

DC Urban Gardeners, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, has recently announced its arrival on the scene and they're here to promote earth-friendly gardening practices, environmental stewardship and volunteerism. Its founding members are all graduates of UDC's Master Gardener program but membership is open to all who share their mission.

Activities and Events
Already in its first few months, the DC Urban Gardeners have created a Speakers Bureau and a consulting team helping to create new School Gardens, and are busy creating and hosting free websites for all DC commmunity gardens. For fun, they host Plant Exchanges. More projects coming soon - they welcome your ideas.

Web site and News Blog
Visit their site at for links to great local groups, where to buy plants, how to find a garden club or community garden, local gardening blogs to read, and lots more. Their news blog - features stories about environmental and gardening-related events, trends, people to watch, and more.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Friday the 13th

No picture this time round - you'll thank me for it. I just spent a gross few minutes cleaning up what appears to be an inside-out squirrel from a slate path on the side my house. It appears he/she fell from one of my tall oak trees. It must've happened in the high winds we had late yesterday. How was your Friday? HAD to be better than this poor thing's day!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Going Daffy

Pick up the DC Examiner, if you miss the print version - here is a link to this week's Top 5 Home & Garden Events listing on page 35 of today's print edition. That is one of my daff shots on page 33 as well. Uncropped version at left -- that black thing is my gloved hand holding up the blossom towards the camera. That was during last weekend's freezing temps. hoping for much better this weekend at Saturday's Takoma Park Arbor Day, being inside for it again this year would suck.

Been a crazy, hectic, deadline week for the magazine and for our enewsletter. More later...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Bring on the carrots!

Happy Easter!

My niece, Lexie (pictured here), had a hopping good time at Easter brunch today. My other niece, Savannah, has a stomach bug so was not in the ear-wearing mood. She did manage to get outside for a rousing egg hunt though.

I came home to a squirrel totally clearing out one of my neglected corner leaf piles to build a nest up in one of my oak trees. That was a real Easter treat for me! Now, if only I can figure out how to train the rest of the neighborhood squirrels to do the same so my raking and yard cleaning chores will be minimized every spring.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

At Least It LOOKS Like Spring

Despite the light snow this morning, a hardy group of us Takoma Hort Club members still made the trek out to the Franciscan Monastery grounds for a self-guided bulb tour. I wrote about the annual tulip display there for our Daytrip in the current issue of Washington Gardener magazine. The article mostly concerns the history of the gardens and the efforts that go into the seasonal displays. They are now transitioning to a new landscape company to take care of the grounds, so I'd expect there will be some changes to the gardens.

I took 48 shots today and thought I'd share a few here. It was a bit chilly, but we are all dressed for it and the sun did make an appearance for a bit as well. You can visit the ground for yourself any time - just pick up the self-guided tour map from the visitor's center. You should visit at least three times a year -- once around Easter for the bulbs, again in June for the roses, then again in late summer
/early fall for the herbs and tropicals. And the price is
right: it is free and located just blocks from the Brookland/CUA metro stop.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Long, thin, slimy ones; Short, fat, juicy ones...

My article on Vermiculture (aka Worm Farming) is out today. Read the Washington Examiner version of the article online here (April 6 edition - page 61), or grab the print version at the red street boxes around town today - the article is on R13 (Real Estate section - page 13).

The photo, taken by Chip Py of his Global Worming Worm Tea army, is in the Examiner in black ink only - so I thought I'd share with you the full-color version here. Um, um -- I hope you are not eatting spaghetti for dinner tonight ;-).

While researching the article I found a lot of fun worm facts. Here is a fun one from the University of Illinois Worm Facts page: Worms are hermaphrodites. Each worm has both male and female organs. Worms mate by joining their clitella (swollen area near the head of a mature worm) and exchanging sperm. Then each worm forms an egg capsule in its clitellum. I like this fact because it involves learning of a new vocabulary addition -- somehow I'm going to have to slip "clitella or clitellum" into an otherwise boring conversation soon. For example, "Gee, doesn't that outfit she has on remind you of a worm's clitella." Be sure to click on this link to see exactly where that is located on your average earthworm. Glad you stopped by to visit my blog today, aren't you.

We got a really nice shout out on March 28 from Doug Green at his blog, Doug Green's Garden. Doesn't he have the perfect name for writing about gardening? I "met" Doug through an online garden writer's list shortly after I started the magazine and have been getting his weekly enewsletter since. Although we garden in completely different zones, I find his garden advice sound, and compelling -- if not a few weeks behind our growing season.

Funny how I just love to have a jab at the Northerners, meanwhile I'm green with envy at those Key West orchid growers that Doug recently profiled. We are enduring a nasty cold front now - though the sun came out today and warmed things up for a bit. Meanwhile, I see tender summer annuals were delivered to a few area hardware and supermarkets yesterday. Hope their employees are at least bringing them in for the night!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tourist Season

I call this photo "that damn tour bus ruined my cover shot!" I took this on my way down to the Bulb Library and Cherry Trees with a brief detour to the Freer/Sackler and stops along the way to photograph any plants around the Mall that looked nice. I had to lay down on the ground to get this angle and tried every which way but if that bus wasn't in the shot, then another one was. *Sigh* I gues that is my the pros take their snaps at the crack of dawn. The Bulb Library, which we profiled in our last Washington Gardener Enewsletter, had about half of the displays in bloom yesterday so I got many terrific shots of those. A few of the tulip varieties had already finished up and dropped their petals. I'll need to get back there in another 3 weeks or so to catch the rest of the varieties.

I was down on the Mall for the launch of their public education program for, you guessed it, pesticide-free lawns. I'm generally not a turf lawn fan in any case, but if you have to have, of course organic is the way to go. The event was not a total waste of time for me got to see GardenRanter extradonaire Susan Harris and Viveka Neveln, The American Gardener magazine staffer along with Holly Shimizu of the US Botanic Garden and meet some of the expert speakers. I'll be using the notes from it for an article in the Examiner in a few weeks.

Speaking of the Examiner, here is a link to this week's Top 5 Home & Garden Events listing on page 27 of today's print edition.

There is new competition for the best in online gardening information. You can nominate your favorite online gardening destinations before April 15. There are categories for Best Design, Best Photography, and Garden Blog/Web site of the Year, among others. Please add in as your favorite in the Best Gardening Magazine Web Site.

I have an article on Container Gardening in the brand new April issue of Washington Woman which is free at Whole Foods, Giant, local libraries, and many other drop points around town. This issue's cover is gorgeous and I was very pleased with my article's layout treatment. Funny thing when you take a photo and then totally do not recognize it when you see it next to your piece. Or maybe this is just a sign of getting older? Anyway, they really brought out the colors well and made me want to grab some pots and stuff them full of colorful summer annuals now despite the frigid cold front that just hit the East Coast. (Don't forget to throw a frost blanket over those tender outdoor seedlings tonight!)

Changing the topic to paying the bills:

Washington Gardener Magazine now offers classified advertising space in the bimonthly print magazine that goes to garden lovers all over the DC region. For $100 you get up to 100 words to sell your garden-related items, announce your garden club events, advertise help wanted, send a special wish to your favorite gardener, etc.

These classified ads are text only. If you wish to have art or color, please refer to our media kit for display ad space rates and sizes.

Upcoming deadlines:
April 16 for May/June 2007 issue
June 15 for July/Aug 2007 issue

Contact today to book your ad.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Link Up

We have links to reviews/articles about our Washington Gardener Photo Contest Art Show, at three local blogs: DC Urban Gardeners News.

Pictured here is the crowd at the opening reception taken by staff shutterbug, Drena J. Galaza. I think this illustrates the concept of networking better than my previous blog post could ever hope to achieve.

Also recently posted was an Garden Rant blog. If you are a gardener, especially one with a sense of humor, I urge you to make the Rant a regular daily habit. I enjoy the different mix of opinions and I'm not shy about posting my own -- so you'll see my signature line in many past comment fields. The thoughts from other gardeners around the world really make me say, "Hmmm." And yes, I've rethought and recanted a rant or two myself after reading others feedback. Sometimes they make me very glad I live and garden where I do (especially those laments by late-season Northerners), other times they make me boil with jealousy over their cheerily fertile climate. So how is YOUR garden growing these days?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fighting Spirit

The MoCoHomeShow last weekend was relatively small, but we did very well there in thanks to our Global Worming Worm Tea giveaway. (We ran out on Sunday afternoon and will be doing more at future events.) We also had Mike McGrath, known best to local gardeners from his spots on WTOP radio, sharing the booth with us following his four talks at the event. As we were right next to the stage area, after Mike finished up his lively discussions he steered the crowd over and signed books, chatted, and answered still more garden questions from the pressing crowd.

Mike, former editor of Organic Gardening magazine, gives advice is of the chemical-free kind. A great many of the questions he got this weekend were on dealing with deer, squirrels, Japanese beetles, etc. without resorting to giving oneself cancer. I won't give all his answers away here as you can easily check out his links, columns, radio shows, and books for those. It is evident though that gardeners are not giving up the battle and just paving over their yards as some editorials and marketers would have you believe. Instead I find they are eager to learn the best fighting techniques. It was gratifying to see so many folks are ready to get out there and get their hands dirty. With this current run of gorgeous weather, I'll end here and go out to do the same.

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