Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Magazines Save Money

I get the weekly email Dollar Stretcher and usually just scroll through the tips -- most are unrelated to me -- how to save money on: car insurance, packing kid's school lunches, etc. -- but every once in a while I find a real gem of a tip. Last night I was elated to see a reader tip entitled, "Magazines Save Money." In this recession (Yes, I'm using the big "R" word -- I call it like I see it.), it was great to see someone pointing out that magazines are the one thing NOT to cut back on. Here is an excerpt:

Often when you read about ways to save money, one of the suggestions is to cancel your magazine subscriptions. If your budget is extremely tight, or if you never seem to actually read the magazines you do receive, this is great advice. For me, I find that I usually order more magazines when I'm trying to keep my entertainment budget low because I feel they are one of the most affordable forms of entertainment out there. I also really enjoy reading them...

Read the rest in the Dollar Stretcher's Readers' Tips column here.

Our magazine, Washington Gardener, saves you money in many ways. Here are just a few:

~ Educational Content -- Sure we've had specific articles like "Sources for FREE Plants," but we also give general advice in every article that saves you time, money, and effort just by steering you to the plants that work best for OUR area's growing conditions

~ Reader Contests -- Odds are VERY good you'll win free passes to local garden events or free garden plants and products. Most of the prizes are worth more than the annual subscription cost. For some contests we hold, all the entries are winners. How many other publications can claim that?

~ Subscriber Discounts -- Magazine subscribers get discounts on entry to our Seed Exchange, Photo Contest, and Garden Tours. One terrific discount now being offered to subscribers is $2 off the Shepherd Park Garden Tour entry fee. (You'll need to show the latest issue's mailing label to claim the discount.)

We are working on more subscriber discounts now and will announce them in the near future. If you are not already getting the magazine, subscribe for just $20 annually today.

Monday, April 28, 2008


An exhausting weekend at the FONA and Monastery sales, found me in bed at 9:00pm last night -- unheard of for me since... well, can't recall having done that in ages! This rainy Monday is not helping put any more pep back into me either. So tempting to just retire to the coach where the cat is begging me to join her and snuggle. Lots to do though before I can get to that position tonight -- the Silver Spring Garden Mart approaches on May 10 and I'm on PR overdrive for that as well as mailing out the latest big batch of subscription orders, updating our web site, and following up on lots of little things that I postponed this past harried week. I finally made a haircut appointment and am looking forward to soon being able to see and not having my bangs constantly poking me in the eyes.

A bit of catch-up, my friend Emily Lagana is president of the Coventry Estates HOA in Gambrills, MD. and I lent her some photos and text for their new newsletter and she put a nice promotion page for the magazine in it. I'd post it here, but it is a PDF and but too big a file. Be happy to forward it, for those who care to see it.

Pictured here is a sweet tulip that Brent and Becky Heath sent me last January. I put them all out in the sidewalk strip. They are up now and the variegated foliage really is striking. If my brain fog clears and I recall the variety or I come across the shipping list, I'll post exactly what it is.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Busy Weekend

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 23 of today's print edition in the Washington Examiner. You can find the Examiner in the many red street-boxes around town. I saved a screen capture of the listing as a JPG and posted it here -- which you can click on to read at 100%.

That is my friend and well-known "hosta queen," Taffy Turner, looking pleased with her FONA Garden Fair purchases last year. I'll be at both the FONA Garden Fair and the Franciscan Monastery Plant Sale this weekend. Since they both overlap on Saturday, Cheval Force Opp of Garden Tours will be staffing our table at the Monastery's sale for me.

Back to work on the final proof of our May/June 2008 "Tomato" issue -- these photos of juicy, ripe, red fruits are really making me yearn for my favorite time of year -- that sultry late summer haze when the town has emptied and the living is easy -- well, at least, easier.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

VA Garden Week - Great Falls Tour

I've been kind of quiet lately as I'm in the deadline battle for our May/June 2008 "Growing Great Tomatoes" issue of Washington Gardener Magazine. So how do I budget my scarce time, by taking a six-hour jaunt yesterday across the Potomac to view four estates at the Great Falls Tour part of Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

Was it worth it? Well, the company was great -- a few friends from the Takoma Hort Club -- and the weather cleared making it a picture-perfect day, but 2 out of 4 of the properties were more just "showcase landscape" than garden of any enjoyable stroll kind. Of the two others, one was an extremely formal European style affair -- all boxwoods, roses, small trees, and swaths of manicured lawn. It is was nice, but not my cup of tea. The final garden though made it all worth it. *sigh* I've posted a few pics here, but they can't really do it justice. An acre or so of meandering woodland paths and at every step a new treasure to view from the healthiest and happiest Daphne odora I've ever seen to big patches of Heuchera that I so envy. She included many touches of whimsy and clearly has a terrific sense of humor. This gardener had everything labeled well and accurately -- exactly how a tour should be!

Behnke Azalea Fest

Just a quick post to show a bit of the Capital Beltway Azalea Shows at Behnkes last weekend. I took these during the opening wine & cheese reception. Besides our booth, I saw Leaf-gro, the Beltsville Garden Club, Pogo Organics, the USDA, Four Seasons Garden Club, PG Master Gardeners, etc. What a wealth of garden experts whose brains are ripe to be picked!

The next two shows in this three-event series are:

~ The Flower Show, Friday, May 9th through Monday, May 12th

~ The Perennial Show from Friday, June 20th through Monday June 23rd

Please mark that in your calendars and plan to stop by both.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Seeds in the City

If you failed to get the Washington Post yesterday, you missed my Sunday Source interview debut! Dan Zak wrote a piece on container gardens and picked my brains for it -- you'll find a lot of similarities to our current cover story. You can read it online in three different segments --here, here, and here. I think it turned out very well, my only quibble is not using proper scientific names of the plants in the designs. Example, "White Swan Echinacea" is more accurately: Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' or simply a white coneflower -- it would save a lot of reader confusion when they go garden center shopping. Hope this piece inspires a few folks to put together at least one container garden this year. The downtown can surely uses all the green it can get.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Azalea Show Blooms

The new Capital Beltway Azalea Show at Behnkes in Beltsville, MD is now on. As official media sponsors, I've updated our web page with the complete schedule of events. See it here -- scroll to the bottom of the page to view it.

Apparently, some of the pruning sessions are already full so it'd be smart to call ahead to sign-up, if you are interested in one. They are free, but classroom space is limited so pre-registrants get in first, after that it is first-come, first-served.

This ad ran in the Washington Post Home section yesterday and elsewhere. Click on the graphic at left to see the full version.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nailing It All Down

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 26 of today's print edition in the Washington Examiner. You can find the Examiner in the many red street-boxes around town. I saved a screen capture of the listing as a JPG and posted it here -- which you can click on to read at 100%.

I'll be at Leesburg Flower Fest this weekend. If you come see us in the Lightfoot Lot, a bit off the beaten path, but it is nice and sheltered there. Have I mentioned before how much I love doing this show? I must buy as much as I sell there!

We'll also have a booth at the Capital Beltway Azalea Show at Behnkes this weekend. I'll be at it part of Friday evening for the wine reception, but other than that it will remain unstaffed. I'm trying to figure out just how to do that. I'm thinking of putting out our subscription cards and a sign-up list plus some signage. I'm also putting together a notebook of all out back issues that folks can browse. Just have to figure out how to chain that down! In general, I trust folks to behave, but sometimes people just assume if it is not nailed in place that it is free for the taking.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When to Prune Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs

Washington Gardener Enews Vol. 4, No. 4 — April 15, 2008 is now out and archived here.

In This Issue:
When to Prune Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs
Magazine Excerpt: Elevated Edibles
April To-Do List
Spotlight Special: Garden Splendor
Reader Contest: Leesburg Flower & Garden Fest Passes
Local Gardening Events

Pictured here is my arch - moved from the backyard framing my pond entrance to the side yard -- to be covered soon in Clematis 'Sweet Autumn' and a yellow climbing rose , whose name escapes me right now. To the right you see the last of my Forsythia blooms still hanging on.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blooming My Head Off

It is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day again. What a cheery way to greet tax day! I've loaded a few pics here of my weeping cherry and other blossoms. My garden has exploded and my little neighbor, Oona, stopped by last night to peruse the flowers and pick some. How sweet is it that she is most impressed by the common vinca, violets, and the dandelions that creep into my borders? I think the the fact that they are tiny, sweet, and low-to-the-ground are the big attraction factors. So for all those wanting to garden for kids, take note. Think cute and small, not big and tall.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Early Earth Day

Surrounded by plants and attentive listeners, I had a great time talking about, smelling, tasting, and potting up herbs at Whole Foods Silver Spring's Earth Day last Saturday. Holding the event early was great for me as my spring weekends are all double-booked and this gave me an actual chance to be close to home for once.

Bizarre weather forced us indoors, but we made the best of it and managed not to get too much soil on the floor. Though the cleaning crew still gave me the stink-eye when they saw a minuscule pile of potting soil on the floor afterwards. I said, "Just wait until the next guy!" Mark Smallwood followed me with a compost demo.

Another pic of me giving this class is at 94.7 The Globe's radio station web site here. This radio station is classic rock and bills itself as being green. I suppose that goes together if you are looking to attract a certain age group and demographic.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Trees Benefit from Mortgage Crisis

From the TPM/IPM Weekly Report for Arborists,Landscape Managers & Nursery Managers courtesy of the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension

>>Hardwood Mulch Shortage Coming? One of the interesting side impacts from the slow down in the housing market is that less land is being cleared. Usually the land that is cleared for housing is hardwoods. This waste product of the housing industry has been supplying the bulk of the hardwood mulch that is used in the landscape industry. There is less available hardwood mulch in 2008 and if the housing market stays down much longer there could be a shortage of hardwood mulch in 2009.<<

So reading between the lines, fewer trees will be killed for McMansion sprawl and nasty hardwood mulch prices will soon increase. The good-for-the-plants-stuff (i.e. pine needles, leaf compost, etc.) will remain steady in price and just as available. The days of almost-free hardwood mulch chips are nearing their end and now landscape crews everywhere can stop pushing mountains of that crap on unsuspecting clients just because it is cheap and abundant. I hear all those trees and shrubs throughout suburban DC singing, "Alleluia."

This picture is from the Public Storage building across the street from me. I came home to this frightening sight earlier this week. The topped and tortured tree pruning is bad enough, but that volcano-like application of bright red, hardwood mulch -- Ack! Somebody on their landscaping crew really hates those trees. If tonight you see some gnomes digging those trees free, please avert your eyes and keep walking.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Herbal Remedy to Weekend Boredom

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 26 of today's print edition in the Washington Examiner. You can find the Examiner in the many red street-boxes around town. I saved a screen capture of the listing as a JPG and posted it here -- which you can click on to read at 100%.

For item #1, Earth Day at Silver Spring Whole Foods, I stopped in the store today to check on my Herb Pot workshop arrangements for Saturday morning. All is set, now I just have to pull out my herbal texts tonight and get cramming. There are still a few registration spots open, so sign up now if you'd like a space.

Also, if you have not gotten a chance to learn your Orchid ABCs - go by the USBG on the Mall and see the orchid show before it closes on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Live TV - Take 2

My NBC4 segment on container gardening got postponed due to technical difficulties. Ah, the thrills of live television. A nearby radio station had upped their signal last week and now any outdoor live recordings pick up their feed or have a loud hum in all the microphones. We tried it four different ways and if you watched you even saw a teaser for us "coming up." In the end though, they decided it'd be best to tape it inside and it will air tomorrow (Thurs 4/10 at 4pm -- should be close to the 4:50 block.) Pictured here is Veronica Johnson in our compromise indoor set-up. Such gorgeous weather outside today, too bad we could not use it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Day the Sun Stands Still

I'm trying to pin down a date to host our annual Open Garden and since the Summer Solstice worked well last year, I'm going to schedule around that again. Who know that there was so much leeway and controversy in the exact date. Some sources say Summer Solstice in 2008 is on June 20, others say it is June 21. I mean the longest day of the year, should be pretty easy to measure and confirm, right? Maybe leap year or global warning has a few folks thrown off their game. When I do the NBC News at 4 garden segment tomorrow (Wed. 4/9) I'm going to quiz weather guru Veronica Johnson on the exact timing. For now, I'm setting the Open Garden date as June 21. More details and invitation will be posted as the date gets closer.

Photo source: eumetsat

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Get Out There and Garden!

It is a glorious day and perfect weather to get out and garden. Garden helper Dan Edwards and I tackled several of my to-do list items including hacking back my groundcover roses. We filled 12 big bags with yard waste and my lower back is tight, but nothing like standing back and being able to see real progress and accomplishment.

This photo is from Lewis Ginter Gardens inside the conservatory. Yes, someday your cottage garden could look just like this with the assistance of a large staff and a perfect climate-controlled atmosphere. We can all dream...

Friday, April 04, 2008

WHAT in a Pot?

I'm presenting an Herb Pot workshop (see announcement below). The photo here is NOT representational of what we will be creating. I took this shot at a home on the Georgetown Garden Tour in 2005. Now THAT is a herb container garden!

I'd like to see these pots go to folks who have never gardened before, have a very sunny (in other words, all day sun) spot to put a pot of herbs, can devote a minute each day to water the pot and keep it clipped, like to cook, and would actually use these herbs. I'm thinking many of our condo and apartment dwellers in downtown SS would fit that description.

Note that the herb pot project is limited to 20 attendees total and you must pre-register in person at the Whole Foods Silver Spring store. If interested, you should do so ASAP -- registration opened last Monday.

Herb Garden in a Pot
Kathy Jentz from Washington Gardener Magazine
Saturday, April 12

11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Celebrate Earth Day at Whole Foods Silver Spring by enjoying the bounty that Mother Earth provides. Herbs are cultivated for their fragrance, flavor, and healing properties. Kathy Jentz, editor of Washington Gardener Magazine, will describe the various herbs you can grow in your own home garden. Then you'll plant an herb garden in a pot to take home and put in a sunny spot so you can enjoy them all growing season long.

Even though I chose this workshop name, I now intensely dislike it. Though descriptive, it sounds way too close to a certain SNL sketch (uncensored version here). Now I get the giggles every time I sit down to compose the "herb in a pot" project handouts, signage, and press releases. Which is really professional, I know.

BTW, I have updated the Cherry Alternatives post with a new addition. That post was picked up on DCist as well a few days ago. If you know of any more great local cherry tree display, please share.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Happy National Garden Month!

Yes, April is National Garden Month, but we all know every day is "gardening day," right?

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 22 of today's print edition in the Washington Examiner. You can find the Examiner in the many red street-boxes around town. I saved a screen capture of the listing as a JPG and posted it here -- which you can click on to read at 100%.
This daffodil photo was taken in the test field outside of Brent & Becky Heath's home in Gloucester , VA. I was thrilled to finally be able to visit them on Monday for the GWA regional meeting and took so many pictures I filled up all my memory cards, which is quite a feat in just one afternoon! They'll be hosting several walk tours there this month and I urge you to get down there asap while the blooms are still brilliant.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I Am (Definitely) Woman

I have an article on page 28-29 of the new issue of Washington Woman Magazine. Christine McIntyre, Co-Publisher of Washington Woman, writes in her page 6 Publisher's Note (aka Editor's Letter), "a useful garden article by Kathy Jentz, owner of Washington Gardener Magazine. In “Seeing Green,” Kathy details some of the many home and garden shows in our area this spring which will give you fresh ideas for any indoor or outdoor project." The article is accompanied by my side-bar, "5 Home & Garden Show Shopping Tips."

You can pick up the Washington Woman Magazine April 2008 issue free around town -- I see it regularly at my local Whole Foods, Giant, and library locations. You can now also read Washington Woman online. They have a nifty viewer on their web site that lets you page through, zoom in, and print out what you like. It is a step above just posting a PDF version and if I could afford to do this and then be able to add a layer of password-protection to it so that only current subscribers could access it, I'd definitely do it in a heartbeat.

BTW "definitely" is one of my most over-used word habits and no, I'm not going to curtail its use. I stumbled across this page put up by someone with too much time on their hands, though I have to give them a thumbs up for their public service. After seeing this article in the Washington Post Magazine a few months back that (purposely?) misspelled the word several times, I was even starting to doubt myself.

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