Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thanks for the Bumps

We've gotten some really nice press and coverage lately. Thought I'd collect a few links here and share. I shall refer back to this post on my darker, "why am I doing this again and working 100+ hours a week" days.

~ WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio
Metro Connection Friday January 29, 2010. Gardening with Kathy Jentz: The 2010 Seed Exchange. Listen to me online anytime (also linked in previous post)

~ Mike McGrath has been Garden Editor for WTOP radio talked on-air a week or so back about "Seed Starting and Grubs" including: "You'll have the chance to do it all and more when the Washington Gardener Magazine helps celebrate National Seed Swap Day on Saturday, Jan. 30. ..." Full text here

~ Susan Reimer talks about our event here at and gives one of our featured speakers, Barb Melera of D Landreth Seeds, a much deserved plug here.

~ Stephanie Cohen, the Perennial Diva, wrote on my FaceBook wall:
"Dear Kathy-A healthy and a happy!!!!! I love your magazine. Everyone in your area take note. It is excellent."

~ Crystal, a local garden blogger, says: "What a wonderful great local gardening source! The magazine is put together so extremely well and is a verifiable goldmine of useful information, with loads of ideas & tips all throughout. Best of all, the magazine is tailored precisely to a local audience of passionate gardeners like me. I am so happy to have discovered this gem..."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How to Prep for the Seed Exchange

As of last night's count, I have 30 spaces left for the Brookside Gardens location and 40 spaces left for the Green Spring Gardens location of our annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange this Saturday, 1/30. To guarantee a spot at either event, you can print out and overnight /deliver your registration to us by Friday evening.
   Or take a chance and come to either location on Saturday at 12noon to register on-site. It will be first-come, first-serve. Once we are full, that is it.
   You can speed things up by printing out the registration form from here and bringing it filled in already with your payment. (Check or cash only at the event and no, there are no ATMs on the grounds of the public gardens).
Here are a few tips to prepare and make the day a success:

~ You can bring unused seeds from purchased packs or seeds you gathered from your own garden. Carefully pack and label your seeds as best you can. The more information you can provide, the better. More details on seed packing and labeling are on the registration form. Did you know tou can make your own seed packs? Get great free downloadable templates are here:
   Please do NOT bring large quantities of seed in one bag. Our volunteers are over-whelmed at the check-in tables already with sorting seeds into table categories, please break them up into smaller quantity packs ahead of time or we will not be able to put them out.
(No, you don't have to bring seeds. It is great though if you do bring them.)
(Yes, you can bring bulbs, tubers, corms, etc. to the swap. They should be bagged and labeled just like seeds.)

~ We recommend eating lunch before coming. We will be serving a healthy, light snack break mid-way through the event -- fruit, granola bars, etc. We have spring water - if you have a travel mug, bottle, or cup with lid you like, please bring that to fill up. We will have some plastic/paper cups on hand, but are trying to keep this event as “green” as possible and cannot allow open containers in the room with the seeds as an accidental spill would be devastating.

~ We will give away a prize for the most creative name tags :-). Please make a name tag or recycle one from another event. If you do not bring one, we will have generic blank name tags on-hand. Again, we are trying to recycle and make this event as eco-friendly as possible.

~ When you get your goody bag at check-in, please make sure to label it with your name -- all the bags look alike and can get easily mixed up. Bringing a few sheets of those personalized address labels you get with charity mailings will come in handy for this and for labeling your seed packets, giving out your contact information to fellow gardeners, etc.
~ If you are bringing seed catalogs for our give-away, catalog recycling table, be sure to rip off the address labels and tear out any order insert with your personal information on any seed/garden catalogs you bring in.

~ We screen incoming seeds and do not accept any invasives listed in the "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas" booklet from the National Park Service. So please check your seeds against the invasive listing at:

~ Bring extra seed envelopes/baggies, in case you want to break up a bigger seed bag/pack or share with another attendee.

~ We have a Show & Tell portion of the schedule and participation is strictly voluntary. We encourage you to introduce yourself, share some fun facts and background on the seeds you bring, or tell us about any local garden projects or garden-related groups which you are involved in. You can also use this time for special requests for any particular seeds you have been seeking. You may want to jot down some speaking points before the event.

~ If you are attending the Maryland location, here is a link to directions to Brookside Gardens and a map:
We will be in the Visitor Center in the Main Auditorium.
There is additional parking down the hill at the Conservatory entrance.

~ If you are attending the Virginia location, here is a link to directions to Green Spring Gardens and a map:
We will be in the Horticulture Center in the Main Auditorium.
~ Here is the updated event schedule*:
12:00-12:30 Registration and seed drop off to WG Staff & Volunteers12:30-12:35 Introductory remarks and overview
12:35-1:25 Speaker 1
1:30-2:00 Speaker 2
2:00-2:30 Refreshment Break & Seed Swap Preview
2:30-3:00 Seed Show & Tell
3:00-3:30 Seed Swap!
3:30-3:45 Garden Photo Contest Winners Presentation
3:45-4:00 Final Door Prizes and closing remarks - Kathy Jentz Washington Gardener magazine
*As with all live events, the schedule is subject to last minute change.

Our featured speakers are:

Brookside Gardens in Wheaton MD

1 - the essentials of container gardening, things every container gardener should know
Barbara Melera, D Landreth Seeds

2 - In Search of African-American Heritage Seed
Michael Twitty, Afro-American Foodways

Green Spring Gardens in VA

1 - Seed Timing - When to Start Your Edibles- Cindy Brown, Green Spring Gardens

2 - What Happened to Growing Thing From Seed? The Forgotten Annuals, Janet Draper, Smithsonian

Snow Plan
It is wait and see right now. We are determined to still hold it as planned on Saturday.
If there is a bit of snow, we'll ignore it and carry on.
If it is a real blizzard and we have to change things, we'll send out an email to those who are pre-registered and post to this blog by 10am to alert folks IF anything changes.
Again, we’ll make the decision by 10am so check in after 10am, if there is any question about the weather. No note from us means we are still on as planned.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just a few days left to register

I just counted all the Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchange registrations and as of yesterday's mail, we are over halfway sold out at both the locations (Green Spring in VA and Brookside in MD). I'm now sending confirmations out to all who have registered as of today.

You can still mail or drop-off your registration, as long as I get it by Thursday, you'll be good to go.

Here is a link to the registration form that you can print out and mail/deliver with your registration fee. If you wait and come on-site to register, we can't guarantee you'll get in.

BTW, our featured speakers at the Seed Exchanges are --

Brookside Gardens, MD:

the essentials of container gardening,
things every container gardener should know
Barbara Melera, D Landreth Seeds

In Search of African-American Heritage Seed
Michael Twitty, Afro-American Foodways

Green Spring Gardens, VA:

Seed Timing - When to Start Your Edibles
Cindy Brown, Green Spring Gardens

What Happened to Growing Thing From Seed? The Forgotten Annuals
Janet Draper, Smithsonian

PS I found this great link to make your own seed packs:
A nice way to spend a gray, drizzly Sunday afternoon. I'm spending mine potting up the last of my chilled bulbs for forcing, starting cat grass, and, oh yeah, getting all those Seed Exchange registrations confirmed!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Save a Stamp and a Tree

To save postage and an envelope, you can see me in-person at the following local garden events in the next week to subcribe or renew to the Washington Gardener Magazine, register for the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange, or submit your entry to the Washington Gardener Photo Contest.

~ Mon 1/18 8:00pm Silver Spring Garden Club meeting, Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

~ Wed 1/20 6:30pm Takoma Hort Club members' potluck and indoor plant exchange, Heffner Community Center, Takoma Park, MD

~ Sat 1/23 1:00pm GWU Landscape Career Fair, Alexandria campus, Alexandria, VA

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Washington Gardener Enews January 2010 edition

Here is the Washington Gardener Enews Jan 2010 edition. It contains:

- a feature story on the Viburnum Leaf Beetle: The Next Horticultural Disaster?

- a garden To-Do list for the next four weeks

- local garden Events from Jan 16-Feb 15

- links to our top Blog posts

- a spotlight special on new Supertunias

- a Reader Contest for pre-chilled EcoTulips

- an article excerpt from Washington Gardener Magazine's Winter 2009-10 issue

- Seed Exchange details and registration form

- Photo Contest details

- Philadelphia Flower Show Trip details

- and much more!

Recent back issues of the Washington Gardener Enews are posted here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Signs of Life on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Indoors I have African violets and paperwhite blooms galore, but outside is just a wash of grey-brown blech for this month's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Or so I thought. I went out after lunch and looked for signs of life returning to my Mid-Atlantic garden on the Maryland/DC border. Found lots of buds swelling up. My Winter Jasmine still looks a coupke weeks away from blooming, which is definitely behind schedule. Who can blame it though? I feel the same away due to the after weeks of relentless below-freezing temps, constant drying winds, and not much else since last Thanksgiving. Today's sun and 50-degree high mark was a true blessing. Chantilly (the cat) and I took a short sun bath in the upstairs rooms after yoga this morning. Felt so good.


Japanese Iris

Winter Jasmine

Star Magnolia

Hellebore (Lenten Rose)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Battling Garden Thugs! Our Winter issue gives you the war plan

Our Winter issue of Washington Gardener Magazine has hit the streets and I'm hearing from a bunch of folks who are enjoying the features including a profile of Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of The City of Trees. What City, you might ask? Why Washington, DC, of course! See my previous blog post for a taste of the city's tree-mendous tree canopy.

The cover story is on Garden Thugs. I had a great time researching and writing this one. Defining a "thug" was my first step and I stumbled right into a thorny "natives" controversy with some of my sources adamantly maintaining that by definition a native plant cannot possibly be a garden thug. You can guess where I filed that argument.

Also in this issue are Unusual Edibles by Cindy Brown. From Cardoon to Chinese Okra, she shares her tips on how to grow these exotics here in the Mid-Atlantic and even throws in a tasty Bok Choy recipe to tempt you into stretching your garden palate.

Then we take a day trip out to Riversdale House in Riverdale Park, MD. No, that extra "s" is not a typo, there were multiple nearby rivers when this Federal-era estate was built near the PG County-Washington, DC border. Tucked into that daytrip article is a side-bar on Winter Cover Crops for our area. Sarah Urdaneta, Riversdale gardener, trialed and tested several and gives her top choices.

You'll also find in this issue:
~ a plant profile feature on Red Twig Dogwoods
~ a how-to article on Seed Starting Basics
~ a short warning piece about newly developing Round-Up Resistant Weeds
~ 5 New Plant Picks for 2010
~ our Insect column focuses on Stopping Mealybugs
~ a club meeting with the Washington Daffodil Society
and much, much more.

The Winter 2009-10 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out and has been mailed to subscribers. It should be hitting the local stores shortly as well (Borders, Barnes & Noble, Politics & Prose, etc.) You can buy the individual from us by sending a check for $4.99 to Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring MD 20910 or subscribe for the full year for $20 and we'll start you off with the Winter issue. You can also subscribe online via PayPal using this link.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Tree ID Walk Opens My Eyes

I made an album with notes of the trees that were identified yesterday on the Casey Tree's Winter Tree ID walk. Since it was taking place about a mile from me in NW WDC and was free, I decided to tag along even though I thought I knew those neighborhood streets and the trees there fairly well. We started at 16th and Kalmia and ended at North Portal near the DC/MD line.

I learned several new things like that Sweet Gum trees have these weird, natural ridges on the tops of their branches. I always thought that was just cicada damage!

Then I saw, clear as day, the different between the colorations on a White Oak and a Red Oak. I will not confuse those again.

Also, I did not know that nearby Redwood Terrace is actually lined with Dawn Redwoods! Most of the streets around me have plant-related names, like Geranium Place and Aspen Street, but who knew this one was so appropriate? What came first I wonder, the street name or the tree planting?
   Dawn Redwoods were thought to be extinct until being rediscovered in 1944 in China. Now you'll find them planted all over DC thanks to National Geographic and many enthusiastic tree lovers.

Here is a link to the album on my FaceBook page.

If Casey Trees offers this fascinating walk again, I highly recommend it.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Register now for the 5th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange

The Fifth Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange, hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine, takes place on January 30, 2010 at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD AND at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax, VA. This year you have a choice on which side of the beltway you want to attend!

Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats.

The featured speakers at Brookside Gardens are Barbara Melera of D. Landreth Seeds and Michael Twitty of Afro-Foodways.

The featured speakers at Green Spring Gardens are Cindy Brown, Green Spring's head kitchen gardener, and Janet Draper of the Smithsonian's Ripley Garden.

Registrations are streaming in now and we expect a sell-out of both locations. We urge you to pre-register to guarantee yourself a spot.

The event also includes such “green” features as the garden book and catalog swap. Participants are encouraged to bring their gently used garden books and mailorder garden catalogs to trade with each other. Any leftover publications at the end of the swap are donated to the National Agriculture Library in Beltsville, MD.

The first annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange was held on January 26, 2006. After that event’s success, seed swaps in other cities across the nation have joined in celebrating National Seed Swap Day each year on the last Saturday in January.
Subscribers to Washington Gardener Magazine receive a $5 discount off the admission to the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange.
A PDF of the registration form with full event details is linked here.
Please print it and fill it out, then mail it along with payment by January 25.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

MANTS Overboard!

MANTS takes place this week in Baltimore and if you are at all involved in horticulture in the Mid-Atlantic region, you are already there. Thanks to Ryan McGrath at Spring Meadows Nursery (aka Proven Winners) for hosting us at lunch (pictured at left). Here are a few highlight pics from today.

Steve Dubik, Montgomery County, MD Master Gardener Coordinator

Susan Harris of GardenRant fame (on right)

Jane Berger of Garden Design Online who let me tag along with her today (at left) with USNA's Dr Margaret Pooler (middle)

Thought this poster said it all.

Janet Draper (at right) garden guru of the Smithsonian's Ripley Garden.

Barbara Melera of D Landreth Seed Company

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