Monday, March 30, 2009

Photos of the Photo Show Opening

The PhotoSynthesis Opening Reception displaying all 16 winners of our 3rd Annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest took place last Friday evening at the Adams Bank in the World Building on Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring, MD. About 9 of the winning photographers attended along with their friends, family, folks from the Silver Spring community, and Washington Gardener magazine readers. The wine flowed freely as did the conversation. Food was catered by the Lotus Cafe, which is a Vietnamese restaurant just a few doors down. Here are some photos from the event including many of the winning contestants. The show will remain on display until May 10 during bank hours.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Trimming the Hedges

I think the new Schick® Quattro for Women® TrimStyle(tm) tv commercial has to be the most cringe-worthy that I've seen in a long time. Along with the "Have a Happy Period" campaign for Always, it clearly was created by a man. If you haven't caught it yet, the commercial shows young woman in action passing by unclipped shrubs, which are then magically transformed into well-trimmed shapes like inverted pyramids and landing strips. The implications clearly being that these particular shapes are which each women is sporting. Sure, the ad can't come out and show exactly what it is used for, but can we use something a bit less graphically representational? I'm imagining the proverbial guys at a construction site now making guesses amongst themselves about which topiary shape each passing gal is trimming her hedge in. Will any of us be able to view a topiary now and not have the thought of shearing pubic hair running through our heads? Thanks, Shick. View it here.

(This foxy topiary is fron the William Paca House & Garden in Annapolis in homage to the topiary fox hunt at nearby Ladew.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gardeners Are The News

Thanks to Mrs. Obama and the advent of spring, gardening is making the front page and top stories this week. I was so pleased to see so many of my local gardening friends getting great exposure.

We have done profiles of Jon, Kevin, and Katie in the magazine as well as a before-after story of Liz's 7th Street Gardens (recently moved and renamed to Common Good City Farm). We had Jon's salad table project already slated fora n upcoming issue. I'm so happy to see them all get so much great good press!

Here are a few links:

~ Jon Traunfeld of MD HGIC on Martha today showing off his salad table project that we all got to preview back at our January meeting. If you missed the show today, that episode of Martha reruns on FLN at 7:00pm tomorrow night (Channel 217 on my RCN line-up).

~ Kevin Conrad of USNA-USDA talks about keeping chickens in an urban setting on WAMU archived and linked here. I've met Kevin's chickens and can attest that their eggs are yummy and they are all very well behaved. (Those are Kevin's chickens picture above and below. They are the "fancy kind" with fluffy hats on that lay nicely colored eggs. My Indiana farmer grandfather is giving me the stinkeye from his grave right now because I cannot identify the breed. I just know they love to nibble on honeysuckle blossoms and I want at least seven of them too!)
~ Liz Falk of Common Good City Farm, Ed Bruske of The Slow Cook, and Katie Rehwaldt of America The Beautiful Fund were on The Kojo Nnamdi Show yesterday talking about community gardens and urban gardening issues. It is archived here. Katie gave me a nice name-check and mentioned our web site's Community Garden Listings.

Speaking of which, I just updated the community garden listings again last night, though I still know they are far from complete. So if you know of a community garden in the greater DC area not listed there, please have the garden manager/supervisor give me a shout to get us the full details.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Similar Name, But No Relation

Just want to clarify this in writing so it is on the record, we are NO relation to any other publication. We are independent, woman-owned, and entirely local. We are not a franchise nor part of a magazine network.
In other words, the Washington Gardener that existed in the mid '80s ended 20 years before we began. We are aware they were around, but that is the extent of that.
Further, magazines with similar names, Virginia Gardener, Carolina Gardener, etc. are also not affiliated in any way with us. Many of these come from a company called State by State Gardening that is based in Louisiana. We are friends with many other regional garden publications such as Chicagoland Gardening and occasionally talk shop or send each other referrals, but that is the extent of the relationships at this point.
I state all this because the question comes up often enough at events we attend that I thought it needed addressing once and for all. Hope this clarifies things and answers any questions.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

High Noon at the Green Matters Coral

I've had this blog entry in my stored folder for a bit -- just too much going on to be able to sit down and reflect. Now that a bad head cold has caused me to slow down, I can finally do a bit of that...

I attended the Brookside Gardens annual Green Matters Symposium late last month. The overall topic of the conference was water management - rain gardens, green roofs, permeable pavers, etc. Not surprisingly though, the topic of native plants came up almost immediately. The first speaker was from Georgia and may not have been aware of his audience, which was made up of mostly hardcore greenies who could have given his talk for him. He spoke on his region's recent drought years and its impact on the horticulture industry there (devastating). As an aside, he said that natives were overrated and did no better in surviving the drought conditions. I heard half the room bristle at that. A cold wind swept in. I thought I saw a tumbleweed roll through and the townspeople hustle to close their flapping shutters. Then he went on to endorse several hardier and better adapted varieties of plants from Asia that do better for him in the current Georgia drought conditions. It was all I could do to hold back the giggles as I saw the stiffened backs and tightly coiled body language around me. The man was about to be hung at high noon. Luckily, his talk ran overtime cutting the Q&A portion and moving most of the confrontations to the post-talk break period where they could harangue him one-on-one. The stranger was last seen pinned in a corner by three local "Native Nazis." I doubt he'll be coming back to town anytime soon.

Monday, March 23, 2009

First Lady of Gardening

I knew the big White House edible garden news was breaking soon and should have figured they'd pick the first day of spring. I was so wrapped up though in in the Washington Home & Garden Show preparation and spending 50 hours there over this weekend, I hardly had a chance to sit back and digest it all before the press calls and emails started to stream in. I'll be digging out from under those for next few days. Meanwhile, I wish the First Family much fun digging in to their first garden.

Pictured here: First Lady Michelle Obama works with kids from Washington's Bancroft Elementary School to break ground for a White House garden. The White House / Joyce N. Boghosian.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Front Row Seats at the Washington Home & Garden Show

We're in Booth #301 through Sunday at the Washington Home & Garden Show. Our booth is the front corner of the first row in the hall -- a great location -- made even better in that we face the wall of backyard vignettes sponsored by Ikea, Design Within Reach, LL Bean, etc. Here are a few pictures of those backyard party demonstrations as well as a couple of the winning landscape garden displays. I was a co-judge this morning and have to say McHale's Tuscan Villa blew us all away and visitors will not be disappointed. I think they took this year's Philadelphia Flower Show "Bella Italia" theme and did them one better. If you get by the WH&GShow this weekend, please stop by our booth and say "Hi."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

USPS Tramples Nation's Gardens

Saw this item in Washington City Paper's News of the Weird column and had to read it over three times to be sure I was properly comprehending this.

>>Why They Go Postal
An official of the National Association of Letter Carriers in Buffalo, N.Y., said in February that it would challenge the Postal Service's threatened suspension of a carrier who was using sidewalks to get from house to house this winter instead of walking across ice-packed, deep-snow-drift yards. Cutting across yards is required by Postal Service rules in order to speed up deliveries. [Buffalo News, 2-12-09] <<

This has me sputtering MAD! So it is not just that they are lazy and don't want to walk the long way up and down sidewalks and front walks, but it is that they are actually directed to destroy private property?!?!?!

As many of you may know, I have a love-hate thing going with the USPS. My local post office gals (shout out to the 20910 business office!) are truly wonderful, greet me by name, and always have a smile ready. My postal carrier, Will, is also a fun guy, does a great job, and says "hi" whenever we pass each other as I do errands and he does his route up and down Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring, MD. Because Will, does cut across my lawn to my neighbor's house, I put in the pictured stepping stones in hopes my spindly pachysandra will eventually fill in. But I don't begrudge him the short-cut as it would be several extra yards to walk the long way. Hey, if I had to walk the long route, I'd do it myself.

However, I'd also know just when and where it is appropriate to step. For example, at my parent's townhouse in Germantown, their postal carrier blithely steps straight into their foundation plants trampling and killing a series of azaleas plus spring bulbs planted there over the years. In his case, he's saving maybe three extra steps.

So now that we know that the USPS actually directs their carriers to vandalize and destroy our plantings. Who do we go see for compensation and the labor to do the re-planting?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Free Garden Monthly Talks at the HSW

Urban Gardening Talk Series 2009

Presented by the Historical Society of Washington (HSW), DC Urban Gardeners, and Washington Gardener Magazine.

The monthly talk is at 1-2:30 except where noted with a *.

The talks all take place at the HSW auditorium, 801 K Street NW, Washington, DC.

They are FREE and open to the general public.

The aim is to get DC residents interested in and educated about gardening.

January ~ none

February 21*
Rooting DC Urban Gardening Forum

March 28
Urban Tree Care and Tree Giveaway Program by Jim Woodworth, Casey Trees

April 18
The Best Vegetables to Grow in DC by Cindy Brown, Green Spring Gardens

May 30*
Landscaping with Natives by Cheval Force Opp, Garden Tours

June 27
Growing the Perfect Tomato by Elizabeth Olson, Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist

July 11
Rain Barrels and Water Management by Barry Chenkin, Aquabarrels

August 22
Canning Your Harvest Bounty by Liz Falk, 7th Street Gardens

September 19*
Raising Winter Greens by Brett Grohsgal, Even Star Organic Farm CSA (*2:30-4)

October 3
Building a School Garden by Grace Manubay, DC Schoolyard Greening

November 14
Putting Your Garden to Bed for Winter by Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine

December – none

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Planting a Bit of Green for St. Patty's Day

I'm NOT Irish -- despite my freckles and love of green, I've got not a drop of Gaelic blood in me. I did take an hour today to honor one St. Patrick's Day traditions and that is planting peas. Well, I went for flowering sweet peas instead of the more edible kind. The rains of the past few days have finally ended and the sun is trying to break through, it is perfect planting time.

I did a row along my back fence. My ball of twine looked a bit sad and worn, so I used unwaxed, unflavored dental floss as a string trellis to guide them when they grow up the fence. When I came inside and washed up, I logged in and saw that a post on our Washington Gardener reader discussion group suggested fishing line for guiding vines as they grow. I'll keep that in mind for future years. The floss only has to last one growing season, so should be fine for that.

The sweet pea packs had plenty of extra seeds after I did the fence section, so I pushed the remainders in the soil around every traffic sign, utility pole, and flag pole within a hundred-yard radius of my house. Who knows how many of those will actually come up, as I've noticed that those same signs and poles are also doggy sniff-and-pee stops as the various neighbors make their evening rounds.

Pictured here is Jim Adams and his sweet pea plantings last spring at the British Ambassador's residence off Massachusetts Ave in downtown DC. The sweet peas are a favorite of the ambassador and were cut for many indoor bouquets to fill the home with a wonderful fragrance. Don't you wish you had a staff of expert gardeners to fulfill your flower-filled whims and wishes?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Latest Enews Issue Posted - Make New Plants from Softwood Cuttings

Apparently, our enewsletter host company has succumbed to the economy -- without warning or allowing me to retrieve our Enews subscriber list files. *sigh* So while I scramble to find a new host company, I've posted the latest Washington Gardener Enewsletter in a separate note to our yahoo discussion list, mailed it to our magazine subscriber emails that I have on file, and posted it to our web site in hopes of catching any current Enews subscribers. I'll post when we have set up a new host and we are ready again to recreate the Enews subscriber list.Meanwhile, feel free to forward the Enews issue link to any area gardener you think would be interested in reading it.

Vol. 5, No. 3 ~ March 15, 2009
In This Issue:

Propagate Plants from Softwood Cuttings
Magazine Excerpt: Spring Planting Guide
March To-Do List
Spotlight Special: Diva-rellas
Reader Contest: Go Green America Expo Passes
Top 10 Local Gardening Events
What's On the Blog

The issue is posted here for now until I find a new Ezine host service for us.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bloom Day Bulbing Over

For Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, here are a bunch of my early spring blooms -- February Gold daffodils, Tete-a-tete (mini) daffodils, 'Cantab' Dutch iris, snowdrops, crocus, and the hyacinths are just opening today too. The pink blossoms with yellow centers shown are my returning primroses tucked under a groundcover juniper by my back door. Also in bloom are hellebores and heather.

It has been a cloudy, drizzly, and chilly weekend, but we need to rain badly so I'm not complaining. My Winter Jasmine is just ending and my Forsythia is budding up. I have already forced two batches of Forsythia branches indoors and will cut another this week as it really brightens up my kitchen.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ISO Community Garden Plots

We are constantly being asked for locations of local community garden plots and are trying to create a comprehensive listing for everyone to use as a resource. We have it started here.

Thanks to Bea, Mandy, and Judy for the big head start on the DC listings! Now, we need YOUR help adding any that are not on this listing page. We know there are garden plots at retirement homes, apartment complexes, and on government property that are hidden and only known of by word-of-mouth. We want to hear about them!

Share your community garden plot information with me us emailing me directly at Please pass this blog posting along to any other local area gardeners you may know.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Save Money with Washington Gardener’s Local Garden Resources List

A little late getting this out, spent the weekend spring cleaning outdoors. Couldn't resist temps in the lovely low 70s. Here is the press release for our latest issue:

Gardening can be an expensive hobby. It can also be dirt cheap. The trick is in knowing what to spend on and what you can scrimp on. In this time of tight budgets and watching every penny, Washington Gardener Magazine shares local garden resources that help you stretch your green dollars. From free classes at area public gardens to master gardener clinics, the many local resources available to gardeners in the DC region are outlined in the new March/April ‘09 issue cover story of Washington Gardener Magazine.

Washington Gardener Magazine’s March/April 2009 issue is jam-packed full of terrific timely articles for gardeners in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Inside it is:
· 40+ Free and Low-Cost Local Garden Tips
· Spring Edibles Planting Guide for the Mid-Atlantic
· Cutworm Control
· Testing Your Soil for a Fresh Start
· All the Dirt on the USNA’s Scott Aker
· Redbud Tree Selection and Care
· A Condo-Dweller’s Cantilevered Herb Garden
· 16 Garden Photo Contest Winners
· The Best Local Viewing Spots for Virginia Bluebells
· Shepherd’s Purse, a Real Bag of Tricks
· A Daytrip to the Smithsonian Orchid Show
· HortHappenings: Latest Local Green Industry Events
· And much, much more.

Washington Gardener magazine ( is the gardening publication specifically for the local metro area — zones 6-7 — Washington DC and its suburbs. Washington Gardener magazine’s basic mission is to help DC area gardens grow better. The magazine is written entirely by local area gardeners. The content of the magazine gives real examples that residents of the greater DC region can use immediately in your own garden.

Washington Gardener is a local, independent, and woman-owned business based in Silver Spring, MD. The publication is dedicated to promoting the best practices for area gardening.

To subscribe to our magazine: Send a check for $20.00 payable to Washington Gardener magazine to: Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910 OR click on the “subscription” link at to subscribe online using a secure credit card transaction.

Friday, March 06, 2009

PhotoSynthesis Art Show Invite

Here is the press release for our upcoming show opening of the third annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest winners. Consider this your official invitation to join us. Many of the winning photographers attend with their friends and family. It is a kid-friendly evening and, unlike many other art shows, it is "accessible." Meaning the art is something we can all easily appreciate and understand.

Washington Gardener Magazine Hosts Third Annual Photo Contest Exhibition!

You are invited to view the winning images of the third annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest at the PhotoSynthesis art show in downtown Silver Spring, MD. All 16 stunning photos were taken in DC-area gardens. Both inspirational and educational, this show represents the best of garden photography in the greater DC metropolitan region.

The opening reception is Friday, March 27 from 6-8pm at the Adams Bank Lobby in the World Building on Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring, MD. The reception is open to the public and is free to attend. After the opening, you may come by and view the photos any time during the normal bank lobby hours (M-F 9am-4pm, Sat 9am-12noon). The show runs through May 10.

The winning photos are also published in the March/April 09 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine along with additional details on the entrants and their images. You can subscribe to the magazine for just $20 a year and start with this current issue. Or purchase the single issue at the opening reception on March 27. You may also buy the single issue at local Borders, Barnes & Noble, or B. Dalton book stores and several independent stores including Urban Solar Solutions, Politics & Prose, and the USNA Arbor House.
Due to the success of this contest, Washington Gardener Magazine is already announcing a 4th Annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest. Start gathering your images now and throughout this year. We will again accept the entries during the first three weeks of January with the winners announced at the annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange, which next year will be held January 30, 2010.

Washington Gardener magazine ( is the gardening publication specifically for the local metro area — zones 6-7 — Washington DC and its suburbs. Washington Gardener magazine’s basic mission is to help DC area gardens grow better. The magazine is written entirely by local area gardeners.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Philly Flower Show Goes Ga-Ga Over Greens

Everywhere I turned at the Philly Flower Shower were beds of salad greens and veggies. The show definitely has jumped on the edible garden bandwagon in a big way. I can't recall ever seeing ornamental gardens stuffed full of herbs, grapes, olive trees, and more. The "mangia, mangia" Italian influence was certainly in the house. There were vignettes of garden feasts in almost every display. It was more than that though, the florists and landscapers have really caught on that growing your own is a pleasure and can be attractive too.

"Green" also came in the form of eco-friendly green walls and gardening practices like rainbarrels at every downspout. Then there were all the greenroofs on sheds, birdhouses, and doghouses. But you don't want to hear me blather, you want to SEE the photos. I've posted a bunch at Flickr. And here are a few more posted here that Flickr wouldn't let me squeeze on. Apparently they have a monthly posting limit, who knew?

UPDATE: A Special Sweet Treat for our Washington Gardener blog readers going to the show this weekend -- see coupon posted below and note that it is only good for the first 100 who redeem it.

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