Monday, May 25, 2009

Procrastinating 101

In the midst of weeding and moving plants, I decided my white bench by the pond and white fence was just dull and needed some pop. I went inside and looked over my paint can collection. Out of purple, darn. I had a Barbie pink used in my upstairs bathroom for the vanity cabinet and a bright blue-green that I have never opened and think I'd intended for a closet interior originally. I brought both cans out in the sun and compared colors against the surrounding plantings. The hot pink was the clear winner. Two coats later I have that pop of color. Anything but weeding, right?

An aside to my fellow garden writers who are trialing Proven Winners newest annuals, the pots in front of the bench are my combinations. I'll share another closer photo of them when I get a chance. I have them lined up by the pond to get maximum sun exposure and fill in before I have the Washington Gardener Magazine Open Garden in two weekends.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


This photo is evidence of ambition over available time. My radishes and salad greens have already bolted. I only got one round of salad out of them-- enough to feed four people. Really though I should have been able to do that another two times this past season. C'est la vie. Just not enough hours in the day for me to keep on top of that.

I'll be yanking all this out in the next few days and planting my pumpkins and watermelon in that raised bed. At least, my benign neglect of those will be more helpful in getting a good crop.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beat the Pests.. and the Heat

I'll be on WAMU 88.5FM at 1pm today on Metro Connection show - you can listen online at ( or check out the archives an hour later. It also repeats a few times over the weekend. Pictured here is the WAMU building right near Tenleytown metro and the jumble of high radio towers on Wisconsin Avenue.

We are discussing our current cover story of annuals that don't give out in DC's hot and humid summers. I've got a bunch of purple pansies that are still going strong in my shaded window boxes, but I expect to have to yank them out as usual around my birthday (June 4 hint, hint) when we have a few 90+ degrees days and almost as equally as hot nights.

Also chatting on-air about garden bests -- woodchucks specifically. Though you know that deer and rabbits will pop up in conversation as they do so frequently in DC-area gardens.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good Riddance to Concrete Front Yards

About 10 years too late, the Montgomery County Council FINALLY considers limiting the amount of front yard footage people can pave over. Of course, all those that currently exist will be grandfathered in, but I think they should add a provision that should any of these homes sell they must convert back to the new paved-nonpaved ratio. Otherwise, my block (800 Philadelphia Ave aka Rt 410) has no hope of being any greener anytime this coming century. Already, many of my neighbors have chosen to expand to fully paved frontage. A few have even paved their entire side and back yards as well. I've posted a few pics here.

Somebody on a local neighborhood list serv when he saw a posting about the coming law told the rest of the list to "MYOB" and just where to get off. He was infuriated at the idea of it. Guessing he owns a paving company? Or maybe was just looking to vastly expand his driveway this summer?

The saddest part of this is we live in a very progressive community (aka Berkeley East) that is the heart of future Smart Growth development and walkable from two metro stations, on several bus lines, blocks from a Greyhound terminal, bike trails, and commuter train station. Yet, people still "need" off-street parking spaces for 3 or more vehicles per household. IMHO, that is just plain nuts! One car per adult is NOT a necessity.

At the very least, free up some of that solid concrete, blacktop, gravel, or interlocking pavers for a few narrow beds of turf or put out a couple large containers of annuals.

Monday, May 18, 2009

You are Invited to our Open Garden

Our Open Garden is back for year #4 by popular demand!
You are Invited to a Full Moon Garden Revelry
Sunday, June 7 from 5-7pm
Hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine

☼ Come by with your garden questions
☼ See our trial gardens in progress
☼ Pet our garden watch-kitty, Chantilly
☼ Renew or subscribe to the magazine in person
☼ Purchase gift subscriptions
☼ Pluck a weed or two as a keepsake souvenir
☼ Single copies of our back issues and current issue are also for sale
☼ Pick up a pack of seeds with any purchase
☼ Take photos of whatever is in bloom for our upcoming Photo Contest
☼ Light refreshments
☼ Children’s activities - Fish Pond, Wishing Tree, and Fairie Garden
☼ Information table on various area garden events and groups
☼ Surprises and Prizes

Come to 826 Philadelphia Ave. (Rt. 410), Silver Spring, MD - at the corner of Fenton - across from the Public Storage building. Please walk, bike, bus, metro, or car-pool. We are a 10-15 minute walk from either the Silver Spring and Takoma Park metro stops. Also, several Metro and Ride-On bus routes pass nearby. If driving, there is limited free parking available nearby on King Street and in nearby public garages/lots along Fenton.

The Open Garden is rain or shine. We’ll quickly duck in the gazebo or in the house, if it storms.
The event is free. Registration/reservations are not required.

Please pass this invite on to your DC-area gardening friends and family.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Easy Summer Annuals

Our May/June 2009 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is out and on the streets now.

The cover story is Easy Summer Annuals for surviving our DC's summers of sultry heat. Also inside is:

  • Plant Profiles on Coleus, Cutleaf Tootwort, and Dayflower
  • How to build and grow a Salad Tables
  • Dealing with Aphids
  • A Visit to the McGrillis Shade Gardens
  • How to Chuck a Woodchuck out of Your Yard
  • Growing Eggplants
  • Greenroof Basics
  • and MUCH more...
Subscribe today for $20 for a year's subscription (6 issues) by sending a check to:
Washington Gardener Magazine
826 Philadelphia Ave.
Silver Spring MD 20910

Friday, May 15, 2009

Catch Me, If You Can

I'll be flitting around at these event and more. Follow me on Twitter.

Fri 5/15 7:15pm Screening and discussion panel of The Garden at Landmark E Street

Sat 5/16 9am-3pm Green Spring Gardens' Spring Garden Day

Sun 5/17 11am-5pm Taste of Wheaton

Sun 5/17 1-5pm Shepherd Park Garden Tour

Sun 5/17 2-4pm Takoma Hort Club Plant Exchange

Mon 5/18 7:30-10pm Silver Spring Garden Club's talk on "Mosses in the Garden"

If you catch me, feed me a Pepsi Throwback so I can refuel.

Purple Rain of Flowers

My Garden Blogger Bloom Day post this month is all about the pinks and purples -- from weigela to dianthus -- it is one big explosion of pretty with a capital P. This garden says, "Grrrl." Sure, I have a few yellows popping up like my daisies, water iris, and zinnias, but they don't hold my attention as these pinky purples do.
And did I mention the scents? I'm in love with the bubble-gum iris and swoon as I walk by them. I like to stick my whole face in the peonies and breathe deeply, so fresh and clean. My roses are just coming on now too giving off delicate perfumes. The best though are the spicy groundcover geraniums, just brush by and you are transported to foreign lands.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Put On Your Party Hats

The Woodrow Wilson House 21st Annual Perennial Garden Party invitation states, "Hats, A Must!" And behold, hats there were. See more pictures from last night here at my Flickr page.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Garden Panel

The promoters of The Garden contacted me last week to put together a discussion panel for the DC opening this weekend. As you may recall, this is the terrific documentary on the struggle to keep a community garden going in LA that we viewed at last year's Silverdocs. We'll be at the 7:15pm show this Friday, May 15 at the Landmark E Street Theatre on the corner of 11th and E. The panel discussion will take place immediately following the movie.

Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener Magazine

~ Katie Rehwaldt, Program Director, Seeds That Grow Hope, America the Beautiful Fund and Co-Coordinator, Rooting DC
~ Bea Trickett, Co-coordinator of the Neighborhood Farm Initiative and Rooting DC Urban Gardening Forum
~ Vinnie Bevivino, Farm Manager of the Master Peace Community Farm in Riverdale, Maryland

Bring your questions, concerns, issues etc. If the talk gets really interesting, we will move it out to the theater lobby and then maybe on to a nearby watering hole.

The Landmark E St theater is at the corner of 11th & E . It is an easy walk from the Metro Center station's 11th & G St exit. And yes, parking is very tough down there esp. on a Friday night.

I think there is an additional panel talk scheduled for another showing this weekend by another group, but I have not yet heard the details on that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cats Rule, Dogs Drool

On the Capitol Hill House & Garden Tour last weekend there were curb your dog signs everywhere -- many were humorous, most were stern. Apparently, dog owners without manners are a BIG problem in that part of the city. I want to make it clear I'm not anti-dog, though I sure am anti-rude-dog-owner.

One house on the tour with a postage-stamp sized front yard not only had a "no doggie squats" sign, but also two gregarious watch cats to enforce it. As I knelt down to take their photo, they came right up for some petting and praise.

Click on the image to enlarge it and you'll see that behind the two cats is also a stone cat statue. I'm guessing that it takes their place when the living cats are on break.

Why I Should NEVER Weed Again

I almost yanked this puppy out when it was a big blob of basal growth -- thinking what the heck IS that weed? I meant to pull it, but rushed off to do something or another and never got back to that bed. Thank goodness I didn't! I planted this rather pricey giant 'Gladiator Allium' bulb back in fall 2004 and had a nice showing in spring 2005. Then nothing from 2006-08. Then boom, this year it is back. I suspect it is due to all this wonderful rain we've been having or maybe it just needed a few more years gaining back its strength before it put on another show. In any case, I'm glad I've been so busy and hardly out in the garden, so that I've let the jungle fill in and gave this one a chance to come back.

Monday, May 11, 2009


You can now follow Washington Gardener Magazine on Twitter -- we are WDCGardener.

So far, I'm loving it -- as I knew I would, which is WHY I had stayed away so long, because I knew as soon as I joined it'd take over my life.
I really wish I'd had a minute to join up last Friday, then I could have tweeted this last weekend and told you that plants went 1/2 price at the very end of the Silver Spring Garden Club's GardenMart sale or I could have told you which of the stops of the Cap Hill and Georgetown Garden tours were worth your while or could be easily skipped.

Well, I'm on now and that is what counts. If you are too, give me a tweet!

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Name Escapes Me

I gave a talk at Patuxent Nursery in Bowie, MD last night and at the end recommended some of my favorite roses for Mid-Atlantic gardens. They are the Knock Out rose (no-brainer there), the Mutabilis (aka China aka Butterfly) rose, and Zepherine Drouhin (blooms in shade and has no thorns). Of course, I could not for the life of me remember the name of Zepherine Drouhin during the talk, much to the frustration of myself and the audience after I teased them by describing its wonderful fragrance and easy care. Of course, I remembered it five minutes after I'd left.

I'm not going to blame old age for this brain-burp, I think it is more just total overall mental fatigue after spending the afternoon making plant labels for all those I'd potted up for tomorrow's Silver Spring Garden Club GardenMart.
BTW the photo of Zepherine Drouhin is from the garden of Karen Burroughs in Ashton, MD taken by Dan Weil. We used this picture in our rose-themed issue of Washington Gardener magazine in May/June 2007 for the article on heirloom roses. As you can see (click on it to enlarge it), it is indeed "shade tolerant" and gorgeous.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

WaPo Ad Runs in MoCo Today

I'm running our ad (pictured here) again in the Washington Post's Home section today, but only in Montgomery County as a test to see how it does. If successful will put it out to the paper's full run. Looking at it on the back page surrounded by nothing but other ads and no article anywhere on that page, I'm not overly pleased with the placement -- to say the least. We'll see how it goes. So far no feedback by phone/email or orders from our web site today.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

GardenMart Coming Up

I've been swamped with getting the May/June issue out and updating our mailing list. Spent this morning booking and designing an ad to go into the WaPo Home section this Thursday. Let's hope it gets a good position and response.

Meanwhile, my duties as Siver Spring Garden Club's President have taken over and I've spent many hours this week getting our May club newsletter out along with putting together plans for our annual GardenMart, which is our big annual club fundraiser. Here are the details:

>>Sat, May 9, Silver Spring Garden Club's Garden Mart, 9:00am-1:00pm, Wheaton, MD
The Silver Spring Garden Club's annual Garden Mart plant sale is for bargain-seekers and plant-lovers. Come early for best pick of annuals, perennials, shrubs, herbs, houseplants, wildflowers, and much more. Our annual raffle is just $1 per ticket or 6 for $5 and we have some great prizes! This event is rain or shine. Fee: $0/Free. Pre-registration is not required. Outside the Visitors Center at Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton MD. For directions: For more information on the club: Remember to Bring Your Checkbook -- Brookside has no ATM and the Club cannot accept credit cards! See PDF versions of our flyer and raffle ticket forms posted on 5/3 at:<<
The fun part about this sale is that half of our plants come in from member donations from their own gardens and you just never know what you are going to get. I've bought some sweet little Alpine strawberries and clumps of variegated liriope from the leftovers in past years. This year, I'm not really looking for anything in particular beyond my ongoing search for cheap epimediums and large-leaved hostas (and by "large-leaved" I mean monster-sized).

Friday, May 01, 2009

Can You ID this Mysery Flower?

Pictured here is a flower that sprung up this week among my daffodils by my lilacs on the front street corner. (Click on it to see a larger version of the photo.)

It is whole new variety I've never seen before. Until I get a positive ID, I'm going to call it Tulipa paperorgamius.

Normally, I'd blame the squirrels for this, as they often move my tulip bulbs to inconvenient spots. I have a bright red tulip coming up in a patch of pinks and purples, which might have been attractive except that the red is on the orange-y side and just clashes badly there.

In this case though I'm thinking the new tulip was deposited by one of the hundreds Montgomery College of Art students that pass by my place weekly. I have brought it inside and out of the rain to preserve the bloom's beauty.

I've been wait-listed for the Cathedral FlowerMart so you will not find me in a booth there today. I'm looking at this as a mixed blessings. By missing the FM, I'll be missing many readers and customers, but I do get to run around and see the other FM vendors and visit three other events today including the Landon Azalea Fest, a flower show at Strathmore, and a garden book talk this eve in Georgetown.

Tomorrow (Sat. May 2), if I'm still not off the wait list, I'll use the time to get the Washington Gardener Enewsletter and Web site files updated and back online. Since the computer crash two weeks ago I've discovered several missing and vital files from my system that I have to rebuild for that to happen. *Sigh* I was due for an update and re-launch anyway. After that, maybe even get some time to plant some of my new purchases in the garden.

This Sunday, I volunteer at the Takoma House & Garden Tour and I've invited some friends and garden club ladies over for tea in my gazebo afterwards. We hash over what we saw on the tour and maybe one of them can positively ID my new mystery flower!

Featured Post

Gifts for Gardeners ~ Gardening Gifts ~ Cool Gardening Gift Ideas

Today is Amazon Prime Day, so I thought I'd again share the garden products I use almost every day. These are the tried-and-true w...