Friday, July 31, 2009

Someone's Chomping My Bronze Fennel

Take a look at these hungry hungry Black Swallowtail Caterpillars on the Bronze Fennel that self-seeded from my yard to the sidewalk median strip. (Click on them for larger size views.) I found a few more tucked back in the plants, though not as photogenic as these three.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Open Letter to Leggett

Dear Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett:

I very much enjoyed your speech on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Brookside Gardens last weekend. What a wonderful, positive event to commemorate and celebrate something our county government is doing right for our citizens. Best of all, Brookside is free to enter and enjoy for all and that is a marvelous thing.

Now wouldn't it be great to make Brookside accessible to ALL of our county citizens? Specifically, have you ever tried to access the gardens using public transit? You'd think public transit to public gardens would be a no-brainer. The very people who "need" the gardens most are the ones who cannot get there. In your next budget, I urge you to look at adding a regular Ride-On route down Glenallen Avenue or maybe even a dedicated shuttle from the Glenmont metro.

Certainly, Brookside is not the only area garden with a sad lack of transit access. The National Arboretum and Green Spring Gardens are two more examples of terrific public resources that are all but impossible to get to without a car. We talk a great deal about "being green," but when the only way to enjoy our green resources is by us each getting into our individual vehicles, is that just green-washing? I'm sure you can see the irony here and the need to remedy this situation.

Your Gardening Friend

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh Yes, It's Ladies Night & the Feeling's Right

What happens when you promise local gardeners a free one-gallon Crepe Myrtle? They turn out like Japanese Beetles on a juicy rose bush. And there were no cut-sies in this long line, I can assure you. These folks were serious and with only the first 250 getting the coveted plants, several gardeners appointed themselves line police. The lady directly behind me griped about all the men in the queue ahed of her. She has a point, this was a "Ladies Night" invitation after all. Homestead Gardens of Davidsonville, MD would be fool-hardy to enforce that rule though, as I bet many of the ladies (aka target customers) do not leave their homes without hubby in tow, esp. after dusk.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Legend of the Lotus

Took 50+ pics at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens last Saturday at the Water Lily & Lotus Fest. Some amazing images that I'll be using in future issues od the nagazine and as one fellow photog commented that day, you can just hold your arm out and take a photo in any direction without looking and all will be keepers. I'm sharing this video so you can get a taste of the park and hope you make time to visit soon.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 09 edition Washington Gardener Enews

The July 2009 edition Washington Gardener Enews has been sent out to subscribers and posted to our Yahoo discussion list. If you would like to be added to the distribution list, just drop us an email at washingtongardener (at)

This issue contains a July garden to-do list, spotlight focus on the Prunus 'First Lady' cherry tree, and a feature story on where to donate your excess harvest.

Parade of Pond Passes

For our July 2009 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving out five sets of two passes each (worth $30 per set) to the Parade of Ponds in the Washington, DC metro area. The event runs over the weekend July 25-26, 2009 from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily. It is a self-guided tour of over 30 water gardens, ponds, and water features. The locations include residential and commercial properties in Montgomery County, MD and Howard County, MD. Premier Ponds of Burtonsville, MD is the coordinator and tour host.

All ticket sales will benefit Shepherd’s Table. Shepherd’s Table mission is to provide help to people who are homeless or in need by providing basic services, including meals, social services, medical support, clothing, and other assistance in an effective and compassionate manner.

To enter to win the Parade of Ponds passes, send an email with "Parade of Ponds" in the subject line to by 5:00pm on July 22. In the body of the email please include your full name and address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on July 23.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekend Festival-Goers Get 10% Off

This Saturday from 10 to 3 is the Lotus and Waterlily Festival at the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. Enjoy the gardens and sample Asian arts between garden workshops. View the entries of the Kenilworth's own photo contest. There will be ranger-led tours of the gardens and wetlands. The greenhouse will be open and there is a hands-on Lotus Craft Show.

On Sunday from 1-6pm come celebrate the wonderful garden in our own back yard! Brookside Gardens turns 40 and the party is on. The Wings of Fancy Butterfly show is FREE on Sunday,
starting at 10AM, and events are scheduled throughout the day, beginning at
about 1PM and lasting into the early evening. For details, go to:

Washington Gardener Magazine will be at both with a table display selling our current issues, some back issues, and signing up subscribers/renewals. Those who sign up for AT the events save 10%!

Both events are free and family-oriented. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Smoke Signals

A neighbor, Elizabeth Fasulo, sent this photo from her iPhone today. I had to laugh when I saw it and read her comment, "I thought you might enjoy this ironic juxtaposition of a no-smoking sign and tobacco plants outside the National Museum of the American Indian."

I'm not only enjoying the irony, but it also reminds me of the culture clash between Native beliefs against signs and labeling that the NMAI staff told me they are having to deal with in their mission to educate the public and respect Native cultures. The public wants all of the plants labeled and garden rooms named and explained. The Native tribe representatives want visitors to experience the grounds without any signs or labels whatsoever to let the plants and wildlife speak directly to each person. In other words, the public should stop expecting to be spoon-fed information and they should just chill and let the messages come to them. If you have visited the NMAI gardens lately, you'll have noticed that explanation signs have been added. They are supposed to be discrete and limited.

Since DC lies in the heart of what used to be tobacco plantation territory, even GW had a big crop of it growing at his estate across the river, this plant should most definitely be part of any representational garden of local agricultural history.

Now the question is were folks actually plucking and attempting to smoke these (green!) tobacco leaves? Or was it an attempt to stop the public from even considering it? Or just a poor placement of a public information sign?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bursting Out for Garden Blogger Bloom Day

For Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, here is my list in random order as I walked around the yard this morning here in the DC/MD border:
- Alyssum
- Daylilies
- Begonia
- Hydrangea
- Impatiens
- Echinacaea
- Zinnia
- Sunflowers
- Brazilian Verbena
- Lavender
- Hostas
- Roses
- Geraniums
- Ornamental Peppers
- Phlox (tall)
- prostrate Verbena
- Angelonia
- Campanula
- Water Lily - white, hardy
- Black-Eyed Susans
- Snapdragons
- Bronze Fennel
- Caryopteris
- Russian Sage
- Lamb's Ear
- Buddeia
- New England Aster
- Bacopa
- Liatris
- Coreopsis
- Rose of Sharon
- Mums
- Petunias
And here I was thinking this time of year was kind of dry and sparse in the garden!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Growing Great Grapes Issue Now Out

The Summer 2009 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now printed and in the mail. I just got my extra copies back from the printer this morning and the grape photos are definitely drool-worthy.

This issue theme includes grape-growing tips for the Mid-Atlantic, a trip to local wineries and vineyards, and dealing with grapes gone wild in your garden.

More of a beer drinker than oenophile? You'll love our EdibleHarvest column on growing Hops vines, which includes a recipe for Hop Tea and some funky Hops Trivia. Did you know? "Hops are the larval host of the eastern comma butterfly (Polygonia comma). The pupa is called a "hop merchant."

Also in this issue, our PlantProfile on Passionflower. For this piece I went downtown to the Enid Haupt garden on the Mall where the Smithsonian hort guru, Janet Draper, is growing several gorgeous varieties. I took a close-up photo of the stunning Passionflower 'Incense' and restrained myself from molesting it further.

We also cover Mulching Basics (yes, there is more to it then dump and spread), investigate What's Bugging Your Tomatoes, and focus on Native Penstemon. We share tips on Wed-Free Compost, Dealing with English Ivy, and Thrifty Garden Strategies. Finally, wondering What do Mushrooms Say About the Health of Your Yard? We asked the expert and have her answer.

If you subscribe before September 1, we will start you off with this Summer '09 issue. To subscribe send a check for $20.00 payable to "Washington Gardener" to Washington Gardener Magazine, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring MD 20910 or go to our web site to subscribe online using our PayPal order form.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Save the Baby Raindrops!

Saturday, July 11
1—2:30 p.m.

Save the Baby Raindrops: All About Rain Barrels and Water Management

Family Urban Gardening Series presented by Washington Gardener Magazine and the Historic Society of Washington DC

Speaker: Barry Chenkin

Learn how to use a rain barrel for rain collection and storage. For people interested in saving water and helping the environment, a rain barrel is a win-win. When it’s raining, your garden is getting the water it needs. Rain barrels come into use during periods of drought, when you would have to resort to using water from your house to water your garden. In addition to conserving water, collecting runoff from your roof stops that water from polluting your local watershed. By diverting this storm runoff from your roof into your rain barrel, you’re stopping it from picking up all those pollutants and taking them to your local stream. Urban Gardening speaker, Barry Chenkin, is a longtime resident of Montgomery County, Maryland, and the founder of Aquabarrel LLC, a company that specializes in personal rainwater management products such as rain barrels, downspout filters, and downspout diverters.

Recommended that you

FREE and open to all! (Program geared to ages 12 to Adults)

at the HSW 801 K Street, NW at Mount Vernon Square Washington, DC 20001, right across the street from the DC Convention Center at New York Ave between 7th and 8th Streets. Easy walk from both Gallery Place and Mount Vernon Square metro stations and on several major bus lines including the #70s and the Circulator.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pond Video

July09 023
Originally uploaded by LoveSexyDC

I took this of my pond this morning just as a test of the blog's video capabilities. Thought I'd share the soothing, cooling water scene on such a hot and humid holiday. Happy Independence Day all!

BTW Can you spot one of my goldfish jockeying for her close-up?

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