Friday, May 30, 2008

A Weekend in Photos

Catching up again, here are photos from some of the events I attended last holiday weekend:

Friday day, USBG's One Plant - Ours press preview. I wandered around inside the US Botanic Garden afterwards and saw they updated the kid's garden a bit. This tyke was enthusiastically watering away. Where can I hire one of these hard-working garden helpers?

Friday night, hosting the "A Man Named Pearl" discussion panel. Susan Harris does a bang-up job on wrapping it up over at and posts a more flattering photo. But I liked this one, something about Cheval, Susan, and I laughing and the words "Salvation & Glory" on the movie screen behind us just tickles me pink. What was so funny? I have NO idea. But a good time was had by all.

Saturday morning, the DCUG Plant Swap attracts a crowd. I love this photo 'cause I made them all stop to pose with their first plant choice of the swap. You can just see they are champing at the bit to make that coveted second plant choice. Usually at the end of these swaps we organizers have to get rid of a pile of the last bedraggled, unwanted plants. Not this one. They clean it all out and I could not be prouder. Once again, Susan Harris does a great wrap-up job of the event. This time over at the DC Urban Gardener's own blog.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gardeners in Training

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 19 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'm trying to hit both the Annapolis and Brookland tours this weekend as well as spending all today at the Maryland Master Gardener training conference. The MGs, as I like to call them, are a good bunch and today is special as it is the progam's 30th anniversary and they are extending the usual training day schedule with a formal event in the evening. I contributed a gift basket for the silent auction and am eager to see what other goodies are there. My bargain-seeker eyes are peeled.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

La Dolce Vita

I pass this cat regularly - he and his brother hang out on sunny days in the front window of the Plaza Arts store on Georgia Ave in downtown Silver Spring, MD. (I'm just assuming they are male and are siblings, but actually never bothered to check or ask). I don't think I'd frequent this store half as much if they weren't there. They say every house needs a cat to be a welcoming home, I'd say ditto that for every garden, but even more so for a retail store. That kitty in the window says "you all are cool by me, come on in and hang out for a while."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Open Garden for WG Subscribers

Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers are invited to an open garden this Saturday, 5/31 from 11am-5pm at David Hockstein's home in Colesville, MD. For directions and to RSVP, please contact David directly at 301.622.2883 or David wrote about his "American Garden in the Japanese-Style" in our March/April 2008 issue. The photos in that story were taken in the autumn, so will be interesting to contrast what spring-time there looks like.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dress Right

Finally, able to access this! Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 23 of yesterday'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%.

Item #1 is the USBG's One Planet -Ours! special summer exhibit. I attended the press conference for the opening of it this morning and took lots of pics -- will share at a later date.

A picture of our booth at Benke's recent Azalea Show is up on their web site. I wore my home-made "plays with dirt" t-shirt that day and perhaps I need to remind myself that gardener does not necessarily equal slob and dress a bit better for these public appearances. With that in mind, tonight I promise to clean up a bit to act as panel discussion moderator at the Pearl movie opening tonight.

Then Saturday is the Plant Swap with DC Urban Gardeners (where I will be dressed ready to get down and dirty moving plant pots around), Sunday is my LoveSexyDC Prince Dance Party, and Monday I work-study at Willow Street Yoga. Those latter two items are non-garden related, but thought you'd be curious to know what I do in my "off" hours.

Speaking of dressing "right," a film student from American U. is coming over next Wednesday to get some shots of me gardening. I think she wants real - so I'll give it to her, but part of me wants to put on pearls and cashmere like Bree on Desperate Housewives. Nah, too much effort.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Get in Touch with Your Inner Faerie

Since the Washington Examiner's web site has been giving me fits all day and I can't get today's issue to load, I'll skip our Thursday List link for now and instead feature a link to one of the most fun events of the year in these parts: the Maryland Faerie Festival. Okay, it is only peripherally garden-related in so much as faeries and flowers have been linked since the dawn of time. Who are we kidding though? This festival is not really about the science of plants or mixing herbal remedies. it is about dressing up in wings and ribbons and dancing around and generally acting like you are eight years old again. And what is wrong with doing that once in a while? A few of you out there need to let loose, I hear the hunched tightness of your shoulder muscles through my computer speakers. If you are male and think this fest does not pertain to you, think again. A Green Man outfit is about as macho as they come - all leather and oak leaves - the ladies practically swoon. Faeries come in all colors and kinds -- from gentle to downright trouble-makers -- pick your avatar carefully.
This year the Faerie Fest is Saturday and Sunday, June 7th and 8th, 2008, 10 AM to 6 PM. Admission is $10 for ages 12 to 99, $3 for ages 3 to 11, Free for kids under 3 and over 99, and $1 off for anyone dressing in costume. Parking fee $3 per vehicle. It is at the Patuxent 4H Center, 18405 Queen Anne Road, Upper Marlboro, MD. Start working on those wings now or save a few pennies up and buy a pair from one of the inventive crafters there.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Catch-Up Time

If you let the rain keep you home on Sunday afternoon, you made a big mistake. Big. Huge. The Shepherd Park Garden Tour started off with a misty drizzle. Then it poured for a bit. Then it cleared and the sun shone bright for the final hour. For all of it, the hardy garden tour souls were treated to a variety of fascinating gardens. From the green rooftop of the Eastern Village Co-Housing complex to manicured landscapes designed by pros to lush shade gardens painstakingly labored over by the amateur gardener homeowners. I captured some terrific photos images. (Overcast days mean saturated colors and no harsh shadows.) I've posted a few here and plan to share more in the July/August '08 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine.

The May 08 issue of the Takoma/Silver Spring Voice is posted here -- on page 23 you'll see me in profile wearing a black sun hat. I was volunteering at the recent Takoma Park House & Garden Tour and decided to dress the part of gracious garden greeter. Side profile is NOT my best side nor was this a photo I was aware of being taken at the time, but I have to admit, it is a nicely composed image overall. There is another photo of me from the tour posted to their gallery of tour images online here.

I'm having a heck of time finding panelists for Friday's A Man Named Pearl opening. So far I have garden blogger Susan Harris and garden tour organizer Cheval Force Opp locked in. I think between the three of us we can talk up a storm, but I'd like one more person to round things out. Last minute and a holiday weekend are tough times to find anyone.

Susan and I are also working together this weekend on another project. The first ever DC Urban Gardeners plant swap. That's right, we trade plants and you are invited -- best of all, it is entirely FREE! Reads all about it here.

The winning photos from the 2nd Annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest are on display at the PhotoSynthesis show at the Adams Bank Lobby in the World Building in downtown Silver Spring, MD. This exhibition runs through Thursday, 5/22. Winning photographers should contact by Thursday Washington Gardener Magazine to arrange a photo pick-up time.
REMINDER: Don't forget to keep taking photos throughout the year for the 2009 contest. Categories and rules to be posted soon. (We do not anticipate any major changes from the 2008 rules.) We will accept submissions right after the end of the year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Roll Out the Green Carpet

A Man Named Pearl Documentary Opening Night with Garden Panel Discussion
May 23, 8:30 pm (film then continues for expected two-week run)
The Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC
A Man Named Pearl tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist and gardener Pearl Fryar. It is a subtle and intriguing film that is certain to open hearts and minds. It offers an upbeat message that speaks to respect for both self and others, and shows what one person can achieve when he allows himself to share the full expression of his humanity.
The 8:30 pm showing time on opening night, Friday, May 23, will be followed immediately by a panel discussion moderated by Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine. Invited panelists include local garden bloggers, gardening experts, and professional gardeners. Audience members will be encouraged to participate and ask questions as well.
Fee: $10. Preregistration is not required.
For more information, call 202.966.6000 or visit

We have several pairs of passes to this special opening night event available. To enter our contest to win a pair of movie passes, send an email to by 5:00pm on May 22 with “Pearl” in the subject line. You must include your full name and the full name of your guest in the email body. (Only one entry per person please. Duplicates will be deleted.) We will select the winners at random from among all the entries and inform them on the morning of May 23.

I watched a preview copy of this movie myself and can attest that you will be inspired. I'm not a big proponent of topiary or bonsai other forms of torturing plants into man-made shapes, but I have to give Pearl a hand for his vision, dedication, and hard work. This is a man of action and quiet persistence. As Pearl says, "Gardening books will tell you that some of these things in my garden can’t be done, but I had never read them when I got started. Not knowing ahead of time that something is supposed to be impossible often makes it possible to achieve. I didn’t have any limitations because I really didn’t know anything about horticulture. I just figured I could do whatever I wanted with any plant I had." Lack of training certainly has not stopped him from being featured in Art in America, Garden Design, Fine Gardening, Charleston Magazine, and the New York Times. You may gave seen him interviewed on CBS's Sunday Morning, HGTV's Garden Diary, and PBS's Victory Garden. His work has been in museum exhibitions from Bishopville, SC, to Baltimore, MD, most notably at the American Visionary Art Museum, the South Carolina State Museum, and Spoleto Festival USA. I think you'll find this film and Pearl as enchanting as I have and urge you to see this small film with a large heart.

Monday, May 19, 2008

An Obsession With Tomatoes

My latest radio interview with WAMU: Metro Connection is now archived here. Entitled: Gardening with Kathy Jentz: An Obsession With Tomatoes. Their description: "It's time to plant! And time to grow the best crop of tomatoes we've ever grown. For some it's an obsession. Here to help us sort out our tomato issues is Kathy Jentz, editor and publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine."

It aired last Friday and repeated over the weekend. The great reaction we got while at the Green Springs plant sale day on Saturday was fun to see -- especially those who heard the radio show and where talking to me live almost immediately. How did I finally master being in two places at once? I'll never tell. :-)
Green Springs went very well for us. Gorgeous day, terrific hosts, and I actually sold out of everything I brought with me, which is a good problem to have. It also taught me that as I run out the door to an event and something at the back of my mind nags me to "grab just 5 more issues" that I listen to myself!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Guess That Bloom

Yesterday was Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - and yes, I'm late again. And I'm running out the door so no time to list all the fabulous flowers that our wet spring has brought me. But I did get these two quick snaps just now of these great bloom in my garden. Instead of telling you what they are, I'll let you guess -- if too hard, I'll drop some hints later. For guessing purposes, we'll call the flowering vine bloom close-up at left "plant A" and the big pink flowering shrub below "plant B." Put your thinking caps on and start guessing away.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tourist Season Continues

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 27 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%.

The first listing is for the Shepherd Park Garden Tour, which Washington Gardener Magazine is co-sponsoring. It takes place this Sunday afternoon. This self-guided tour allows you to leisurely peruse some of the beauty found in the DC neighborhoods of Shepherd Park, Colonial Village, and North Portal Estates. Ticket donations are $15 per person. Note that Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers get $2 off the tour fee. Just bring in your mail label from the current issue when you purchase your tour pass. Tour details here.

The second listing is for Spring Garden Day this Saturday, May 17 from 9am-3pm at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA. More than 40 vendors of rare and unusual plants descend on Green Spring Gardens to fill your spring gardening needs. Washington Gardener Magazine will be there with a table in or near the visitor center (our placement will depend on whether it calls for rains or not). We'll be selling current/back issues, taking renewals, and signing up new subscribers plus gift subscriptions. Green Spring details here.

In other news, the May 2008 issue of the Beltsville Garden Club Newsletter contains this short piece:

Garden Tips and News
By Sandy Lange
The May/June issue of Washington Gardener magazine contains an article and photos about the history of the BGC. Washington Gardener is a very informative magazine about horticulture in our area. Each issue has articles written by local gardeners. When it lists new plants for 2008, they are ones that will grow in our climate and soil. Dependable bulbs and shrubs are described with sources where they can be purchased. A recent issue had an article about the horticultural treasures at the National Agricultural Library in College Park. Washington Gardener is printed on recycled paper and the magazine sponsors many activities such as an annual seed exchange and the horticultural shows at Behnke’s. Yearly subscriptions are only $20.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Plans Schmans

It is a good thing my brain is still fairly young and flexible. These past few days have sent me for several loops. The torrential rains and various unseen gremlins conspired to try and make me blue.

First, it rained and stormed on Friday, but by 4pm was clearing. I packed and set off for Behnkes and the opening reception of the Flower Show scheduled from 6-9pm. Got there and found -- nothing. Lots of customers and full sunshine, but nowhere to set up our booth and no one on staff who could answer my questions. Apparently, management had canceled it many hours earlier on account of rain, but not bothered to tell me nor stuck around to see if the weather turned.

Second, the rain started again very early Saturday AM and made setting up the Silver Spring Garden Club's Garden Mart at Brookside a real muddy mess. It was chilly too - which made for stiff blue hands and slow moving legs. Still the Mart went on and the hardy gardening crowds still came. (Pictured here is one of our customers - a true budding gardening.) It started to dry up mid-morning and by closing time was a lovely day. Three weddings followed us at Brookside, I think their combined prayers may have helped! I spent the rest of Saturday afternoon and evening running through the Georgetown Garden Tour and the Capitol Hill House & Garden Tour. I'll share photos from both those and all the other area tours I can get to - will do a special wrap-up story in the July/August issue of the magazine.

Third, got up again at the crack of dawn on Sunday. This time to make it to the WUSA9 studio for the 8am news. I pretty much arrived, set up, went to get a cup of water, and then they came running out and said "you are on the air in 60 seconds!" -- apparently the other guest was way late and as I was on-time and already set-up so they flipped our segments -- I saw her changing in the newsroom as I left - I gave her the stink-eye too. Despite all that, it went VERY well and we got a lot of tomato tips in. The anchor held my magazine up the entire segment and was very enthusiastic plus easy to work with.

Next, Monday dawned and my slate roof which is mounted on top of a two-foot thick concrete base that I thought was impossible to penetrate -- sprung a leak. (My house is a former electric substation - the ultimate in recycling!) I woke up to a steady drip-dropping down onto my dryer and the pile of mending in the laundry closet next to my bedroom. I put a bucket there and ran out the door to tape a radio interview. I'm living in denial now - will deal with scheduling a roof repair later.

Today, I woke up to sunshine and warmer temps. Got a yoga class in and slogged through a good bit of paperwork. Tomorrow it looks like another great forecast then several more days of rain so I've determined that I'm not going to do any inside work and will treat myself to a full day of gardening -- I'll hack back my weeds, tie up the wandering tendrils, plant all the annuals, and generally try to tame my jungle. In the evening, I'm off to the Garden Party benefit at the Woodrow Wilson House. My hat is all designed thanks to a creative second-wind that hit me last night. I may add some fresh flowers right beforehand. Hope it stays dry through that event.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Washingtonian Weekend

I was interviewed by Marilyn Dickey for a Washingtonian magazine piece on gardening -- have not seen it myself yet, but others have an told me I'm quoted in it and it is a good article. Must say that I love the colors and look of their current May 08 cover. I'll need to run out to the store and pick up a copy this weekend. At their web site I see here that we are cited as an area garden resource which is always nice.

I'm spending this rainy day trying to get as many things mailed as humanly possible before yet another postal rate increase takes effect. I think the USPS is trying to kill all us small business folk!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

You Guessed It

Another busy weekend! As I was typing in this blog I got a call from WUSA9 asking me to do their morning garden segment this Sunday, 5/11 Mother's Day - tune in about 8:45am to see me try to act fully awake.

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 27 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%.

As President of the Silver Spring Garden Club, you better believe I made our Garden Mart plant sale item #1 on the list and I will be there pitching in Saturday morning. I've potted up about 25 of my own plants to bring to it and hope we sell out all by noon. With 70 years (more of less) of success, I have a lot to live up too!

I'll also be at the Capital Beltway Flower Show opening reception from 6-9pm at Behnkes on Friday night. After the Garden Mart on Saturday morning, I'm running though the Georgetown Garden Tour Saturday afternoon and the Capitol Hill House and Garden Tour Saturday Evening. My camera batteries are charged and I'm drinking plenty of caffeine.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

May/June 2008 issue out!

The May/June 2008 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out and mailed. As you can see by the jpeg here, tomatoes are the cover story. How to grow them, what varieties do best here in the DC region, and how to build the perfect cage for supporting them. Also in this issue:
~ Glamorous Gladiolus
~ Gypsy Moth Invasion
~ Herb Garden Pot Project
~ Flavorful Fruiting Natives (edible and native - how hot is that??!)
~ The Restored Gardener's House at Mount Vernon
~ Not So Sweet Honey Locust Tree
~ and much, much more.

To all those who have not yet subscribed or renewed, here is how to do so.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Trying to reach a Garden Editor

Trying to reach a Garden Editor during the first week of May is like trying to get in contact with:
~ a tax accountant on April 15
~ a college student during Finals Week
~ a DJ on New Year's Eve
~ a wedding caterer in June
~ a florist on Valentine's Day
~ a sports reporter during the Olympics
~ Santa's elves on Christmas Eve

Feel free to add your own analogies! And yes, this can apply to not just garden editors, but to all garden writers and photographers -- and, ofcoursem, to gardeners themselves. In short, we're BUSY out in the garden, touring gardens, photographing gardens, and writing about gardens -- if you haven't heard from us, this is why. Please hold your emails, calls, faxes, etc. and don't expect any responses until the next rainstorm.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Listing Another Busy Weekend

Here is the online link to this week's The List: Top Home & Garden Events on page 19 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%.

Item #1 is the Takoma Park House & Garden Tour. You'll find me at 517 Cedar, which is a garden-only stop on the tour. I'll be there on Sunday from 1-3pm - then quickly running through the rest of the tour myself so I can make it over to St. Michael's by 5pm for our spring planting and landscape spruce-up. We are planning a new sun perennial bed around the Mary statue by the rectory entrance. I'm taking plenty of photos in anticipation of some nice before-afters to share.
My TOP event that I submitted -- the Cathedral Flower Mart -- along with our staff photographer's photo taken at it last year -- was used on page 17's listing of "Best Gatherings." instead of with our listing. No matter, at least it made it in.
I'll be at the Flower Mart in space 71 near the information booth all day Friday and Saturday. I'm just hoping I don't get the same "I can't read" folks who kept mistaking me for the information ladies like last year! I don't mind helping the first 20 or so folks, but after that it does get just a BIT tedious, not too mention interferes with my business and reasons for being there.

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