Saturday, November 28, 2009

Homegrown Thanksgiving Feast Round-Up

I asked my gardening friends on Facebook and Twitter as well as on our Washington Gardener yahoo discussion list to tell me what they gave grown in their gardens that will end up on their Thanksgiving tables this past Thursday. For my own part, it was just decor -- dried hydrangea, various seedheads, gourds, etc. Though reading through the many replies, I could have done herbs as well. Now giving myself the V-8 forehead slap! Here is a summary of the replies:

Peppers (green and red).
~ Mary F

Parsley, oregano, bee-u-ti-ful kale, potatoes + maybe carrots
~ @wormlady

Pumpkins I grew will be in my pies, sweet potatoes (with maple syrup we made), corn relish that I canned earlier
~ @lisamackhill

Beets w/ greens, pickled lemon cukes, butternut sq -- Oh--forgot the dried corn for cornmeal stuffing!
~ @purloinedletter

Great question! Unfortunately my "garden" consists entirely of decorative houseplants, none of which will be on people's plates
~ @elevenisacharm

Parsley, sage, green onions are all making it into the dinner.
~ @reddirtramblin

Sage, rosemary, leeks, and Brussels sprouts from my garden will be part of our dinner.
~ @C_Vanderlinden

Beans and herbs! Also pork and chicken which have occasionally spent time uninvited in the garden...
~ Holly Heintz Budd

Pumpkin for the pumpkin pie; raspberries in the raspberry pie; mesclun and lettuce for the salad; freshly steamed broccoli; carrots and rutabaga slices as crudites; and mashed potatoes.
~ Denny Schrock

Fresh rosemary on the turkey.
~ Stephanie Simpson

Decor is good. I will use some rosemary and sage and...drum roll...chestnuts - plus decor.
~ Helen Yoest

Sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, carrots, onions
~ Miriam Brescia

Sage, rosemary and thyme. The parsley is from Eastern Market . . .
~ MD Smith

Yes, I am using the sage and rosemary,
~ Dene

Parsley, thyme, turnip greens. Still got kale going. Separate thought of use for decorative cabbage/kale - I bought a bouquet at Whole Foods that I love – decorative cabbage cut up the stem so it looks like a bouquet. I love that look and idea.
~ Kit

Cauliflower (two large ones), brussel sprouts (baked with bacon and pecans), sage, and rosemary
~ Trudy
So what do you grow this year that ended up on your havest feast table?

Disclaimer: that is NOT my table pictured here, but one of my relative's. Those of you who know me well, know I don't even have a formal dining room!

Monday, November 23, 2009

How to Gather Seeds and other Winter Prep Chores

Continuing on my video posting kick, here are links to a few videos I filmed with last year. Enjoy!

How to Winterize Your Vegetable Garden

Save Seeds Before Winter

Winterize a Vegetable Garden - Last Harvest

Sow a Cover Crop and Mulch Before Winter

Create a New Garden Bed Without Digging

How to Clean & Preserve Garden Tools

Winterize a Vegetable Garden - Shutting Off Water Sources

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brookside Garden of Lights Video Preview

Washington Gardener Magazine is a sponsor again this year of Brookside Gardens annual Garden of Lights Show. This video preview is just a small sample of what you'll see. Turn up the volume so you can hear the pig, frog, and other woodland creatures. The event runs nightly from November 27 through January 3 (with the exception of December 24 & 25th). Hours are 5:30 to 9:00pm, with the last car admitted at 8:30pm. Admission is $15 or $20 per car/van depending on what night you attend. You drive in (squeeze in all your family and friends), then get out and walk so bundle up!

BTW, You can enter our Reader Contest for a chance to win a free pass to the Garden of Lights Show! Scroll back through our recent blog posts to find the link to our November '09 issue of the Washington Gardener Enews, open it, read the online issue, and see how easy it is to enter.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gather Your Garden Vignettes

Yesterday I met with our photo contet judge and a past multiple contest winner for tea, we three discussed possible changes to the Washington Gardener Photo Contest for our next round. We ended up concluding we need to add a fourth category to our Washington Gardener Photo Contest:

Garden Vignettes

This is a new class for those images that fall between the wide Garden Views (landscape scenes) and the macro Small Wonders (flower or plant part close-ups). Examples of Garden Vignettes include groupings of plants in beds or containers, unusual color or texture combinations, garden focal points, and still scenes.
In case you are OCD and wondering what the other category is to make it a total of four, it is Garden Creatures, which can be at any composition size. You see I had to separate the creature photos out after the first year of the contest when the judges and I realized there was an abundance of burd, butterfly, squirrel, etc. entries and they were beating out all the beautiful flowers and funky plant parts. For a garden-themed photo contest, that was just not right, so we gave them their own special category.

Pictured here are some of our past winners. These are among my favorites because they show that garden photos need not all be taken during the first week of May nor should they all be tight close-ups of a red rose. Our judges give equal wait to the following criteria when evaluating the entries: technical merit, composition, impact, and creativity.

Now is a good time to gather and sort your images. Note that eligible entries must have been taken in the 2009 calendar year in a garden setting within 150-mile radius of Washington, DC. The entry period will start on January 1 and you have just a few weeks to submit your winning photos. They are judged and then announced at the end of January at our annual Washington Gardener Seed Exhange. Full details and rules will come shortly...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Unusual Colors for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

The rains have finally stopped from that darn Nor'easter spawned by Hurrican Ida and I could get out a take some pics for today's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. What I found was lots still in bloom including the Mutabilis (Chinese butterfly) rose, PJM rhododendrons (pictured at left), alyssum, impatiens, lantana, etc. But also lots of interesting colors in plants I don't normally think of for autumn interest, like these:


Crape Myrtle

Lily of the Valley


Friday, November 13, 2009

Things I've Dug Up

A couple of days ago I tweeted (and FBed) a question: What is oddest thing you've dug up while gardening? Here are the collected answers from the cute to the macabre to the downright bizarre:

TheNatrlCaptl: A Masonic ring. And horseshoes, about 10" deep.

tinkhanson: I found a civil war cannon shell digging in our yard, unexploded - still have it

bcbolin: We are down the hill from Bunker Hill Road (very old road b/t Bladensburg port & Georgetown) & we've found canister shot

Plantweenie: We dug up about 50 pairs of panty creepy. All while trying to plant one shrub.
OurLittleAcre: I once found a door peephole thing while planting a tree. Odd, since this was native woods before house was built in 1975. That peephole thing made a great gazing ball stand (w/ a marble on top) in a fairy garden!

AdrienneB: A dead mouse, which promptly ended my gardening.

For my own digging, I mostly find pennies, small plastic toys, pieces of old bottles and ceramics, and lots of metal things like door hinges, large engine screws, sections of old pipes, etc. Nothing crazy, but I have many more years of digging to go.

Then there are all the things I have not had to "dig" for per se, but were thrown into my yard by creeps and the careless, which I then discover under shrubs or in the groundcover-- crystal brandy tumblers, baby blankets, tennis balls, condoms, broken bike locks, credit cards, school papers, the odd earring.

One day I found a Greyhound ticket to Texas dated for the following week. I walked it over to the bus station a few blocks away. They were not exactly enthused about getting it turned in. I suppose I could have sold it and the people in line there told me I was crazy not to (apparently it has some street value), but I naively thought whoever was visiting and lost it might retrace their steps and check back at the station for it. Next time, if there is one, I'll do it differently.

What have you found in your gardening adventures?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Call me MS. New Regional Director

I'm the new Region II Director for the Garden Writers Association. I join my fellow Region II Directors, Denise Cowie and Steve Maurer, in setting the regional meetings and programs. Region II is compact, it contains the Mid-Atlantic states of DC, MD, DE, PA NJ, and PA, but annoyingly does not include northern Virginia. (That is a long story for another time.) We are the smallest region by land area, though our membership numbers are high and we are one of most active. It doesn't hurt that we are an easy day trip to each other and we host one of the GWA's biggest regional meetings at the Philadelphia Flower Show each year.

How did I get this prestigious post you might ask? I said I'd do it. As in most things in life, I showed up, I piped up, then I was picked out. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I'm thinking this MAY be a case of "be careful what you wish for." Only a few weeks into the volunteer leadership position, I have received a big notebook of rules to be observed, endured an over two hour conference call with our executive leadership, and received numerous requests for regional meetings by members for locations close to them. I'm hoping this is just an initial flurry and things will settle down as my newness wears off.

My reasons for doing this is that I want to see GWA change and adapt to the 21st C. This is a great group of talented garden communicators and many of them worry about the future of this profession. I see GWA's role as bringing us together to network and brainstorm ways in which we can elevate both the profile and worth of garden communicators.

If you are a garden-related book author, editor, columnist, freelance writer, photographer, landscape designer, television/radio personality, consultant, catalog publisher, extension service agent, etc. and want to learn more about GWA and joining the Association, don't hesistate to drop me a note.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Five Reasons to Buy Locally Grown Plants

See my guest blog on Locally Grown Plants for Homestead Gardens at their new store blog here. Susan Harris of Garden Rant set this up and edits it for Homestead.

I took this photo last fall at Homestead's Davidsonville, MD, location. For anyone who says pansies and ornamental cabbage are boring, I say look again. The key here is planting in abundance and with a keen eye for color. Love the addition of lime green fillers to this display to make it really pop.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Local Retail Friendly

We are proud to announce that the Natural Art Garden Center at 27358 Old Valley Pike, Toms Brook, VA, is our newest local retailer carrying current issues of Washington Gardener Magazine. Lynn Phillip's manager of the new store and I met and chatted through Twitter. Who says that tweeting is just a waste of time? Thea brand new garden center in the Shenandoah Valley is all about creating art in your landscapes. Perennials, annuals, vegetables arrive each week with the newly budding and ready to go in your garden.

If you are a local DC-area/Mid-Atlantic retailer and are interested in having Washington Gardener for sale in your store, please do not hesitate to contact us at 301.588.6894 or wgardenermag (a) or via Twitter at WDCGardener.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Fall Fireworks at Brookside Gardens

Spectactular Fall Fireworks are on display now at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD. Entry is FREE as is parking. You can get there by taking metro to Glenmont on the Red line or by Metro/Rideon bus to stops on nearby Georgia Ave or Randolph Road, then you'll walk about a mile downhill to the entrance. It is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset.

On my Facebook page I put together two preview slideshows of the current Mum Show running in the Conservatory and of the Fall Colors throughout the gardens. Enjoy the fireworks while they last, both displays are fleeting and should be enjoyed now.
On a side note:

Michaeleen Farrington of Springfield, VA is our October 2009 Washington Gardener Reader Contest winner chosen at random from the email entries. She is getting a one-pound bag of ENCAP’S All-In-One Flower Kit Butterfly & Hummingbird mix (worth $6.95 plus postage) that covers up to 50 sq.ft. and contains seed, mulch and soil conditioner in the mix.

ENCAP’S All-In-One Flower Kits contain their patented Advanced Soil Technology™ (AST™) that improves soil structure by creating millions of microscopic "spaces" in your soil that will: help water soak in better and stay longer; help seed germination by allowing more sunlight to warm the soil; and, helps soil and nutrients stay in place to enhance root system development. The Seed Watering Technology™ (SWT™) tells you when and how much to water. Special crystals imbedded in the mixture absorb water and sparkle in the sunlight to tell you when you’ve watered enough.

Congratulations to Michaeleen and thanks to all our entries!
We will announce our November Washington Gardener Reader Contest on 11/15 in our monthly Washington Gardener Enewsletter. If you would like to get our free monthly Enewsletter, just send your email to us at WashingtonGardener (at) to be added to the Enewsletter distribution list. The Enewsletter is a sister-publication to the Washington Gardener Magazine and includes different, but complementary, content than the print publication.

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