Saturday, July 31, 2010

Watering Without Waste

WAMU 88.5 Metro Connection radio show,
Gardening with Kathy Jentz: Watering Without Waste

When you're slogging through one of those suffocating summer days in the District it can start to feel as if the season will never end. Kathy Jentz, editor and publisher of Washington Gardner Magazine, joins us to help our gardens survive the heat.

Listen online here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Washington Gardener Magazine

All About Local Gardening

You can now "Friend" the magazine at

My goal: 500 page friends by September 1.

If the magazine's friends reach 500 by 9/1/10, I will do a random drawing on that date among all the 500+ page friends and one lucky soul will get a year's subscription to the magazine.

(If you win and are already a subscriber, I'll extend yours by a year or you can use it as a gift for someone else.)
Let's do this!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Too Hot for Foliage

Naked Ladies in my garden: scandalous!

Tall, curvy, pink popping up on bare stalks... ohh la la.

Lycoris squamigera aka Surprise Lily, Magic Lily, Naked Lady, Resurrection Lily

Truth is, they are not lilies at all and are in the Amaryllis family.

THIS is why I don't leave Washington, DC in the summer swelter, would hate to miss these gorgeous blooms.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 10 edition Washington Gardener Enews

~ Battling Japanese Beetles
~ July-August Garden To-Do List
~ Spotlight on a new columnar Serviceberry
~ Magazine Excerpt: Bagworms
~ Reader Contest for Eastern Woodland Wildflowers by Melanie Choukas-Bradley
~ Local Garden Events Listing
and much more!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meet Me in the Garden

Some of you may recall docu filmmakers coming by my place earlier this year to film me and my fivehead, which I blogged about here. Well, the results are edited and ready to debut. Here are the details:

Silver Spring Stories Festival: a Docs In Progress Community Event at Montgomery College

Docs In Progress is proud to partner with Montgomery College to present a special community event right here in Silver Spring: the Silver Spring Stories Festival.

Silver Spring is the home of Docs In Progress. It is also home to a vibrant community with many stories to tell. Many of which have been captured by Docs In Progress students. As part of our programs, Docs In Progress cultivates community partnerships which enhance the work of emerging documentary filmmakers and also connect them to the civic life of Silver Spring, Maryland where Docs In Progress is headquartered. To spotlight these partnerships, Docs In Progress invites you to join us for a one night film festival Silver Spring Stories.

Whether you are a filmmaker, a community activist, government official, local business owner, nonprofit staffer, or simply a Silver Spring resident or fan, please join us for this special free event to network with neighbors and make new friends as you watch short documentaries produced by adults and youth from Docs In Progress production classes. These productions focus on individuals and institutions from throughout Silver Spring.

Friday, July 23, 2010
6:30 pm Reception
7:00-8:30 pm Screening and Discussion with the Filmmakers and Subjects of the Films
Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus
The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center (Lecture Hall 101)
930 King Street
Silver Spring, MD 20910


The festival will feature eight works by adult students in our Documentary Production classes and youth who participated in our 2010 Summer Documentary Filmmaking Camp. All of the short documentaries are about people and places from Silver Spring. You will also have a chance to hear from many of the filmmakers and subjects of these films.

The description of the one I'm featured in is:

Meet Me in the Garden

by Peter Johnsen, Melissa Grance and Henrik Gronhaug

Kathy Jentz, Editor and Publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine showcases how it is possible to cultivate a colorful garden in the midst of an urban suburb like Silver Spring.

I may need to hide out in the restroom while that is shown as I cannot stand watching or hearing myself, but I'm game to hang out for the reception and post-film talks to answer questions and maybe even walk folks from the college next door over to my actual live garden for an after-party of sorts. See you at the movies!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spellcheck THIS

The Summer 2010 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now at the printer and I can breathe a big sigh of relief. One thing I do for every issue is put it past two freelance proofers as well as my own eyeballs and that of the individual columnists/authors. Then after all their changes and corrections, I do one final spellcheck. Every issue I seem to hit the same words that my layout program, Adobe InDesign, just balks at -- yes, I could take the time to enter them each into the spelling software as real, approved words, but I'm usually in such a hurry to get to press and pre-occupied with 10 other pre-presss tasks that adding to the word database is the least of my priorities. So every issue it tries to substitute "Smothering" for Smithsonian and "alley" for allee (a double-row of trees). The software suggests I put in "father in law" or "fatherland" for the wonderful shrub fothergilla and "licorice" for liriope groundcover! It kicks back every Latin plant name and term and I just have to trust that my source (usually the plant grower/breeder) is correct in their nomenclature. What I wouldn't give for a horticultural spellcheck program that I could have faith in.

This issue both my proofreaders and the spellchecker admonished me that "eclose" is not a word and I should use "enclose" instead. Well, ha! Not only is it a real word, but it is the exact one that fit the story in this issue from the Washington Area Butterfly Club. So friends, your new word for the day -- Eclose: The emergence of an adult insect from a pupal case or an insect larva from an egg. Slip that one into your next scrabble game. You're welcome.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Waterlily and Lotus Festival

TOMORROW, Sat 7/17 is the annual Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Waterlily and Lotus Festival. It is a small, charming event and this National Park so UNDER attended that I thought I'd give them a big boost this year. Kenilworth truly is a gem in the city.


- Cost?
FREE to attend and participate in most activities

- Family friendly?
YES, kids love it and the oldsters do too!

- What happens at the Fest?
ranger-led tours of the gardens, Buddhist-led prayer chants, Asian dance performances, photo contest, arts and crafts
there is a picnic grove with vendor tables set up (I will be at one of those signing up subscribers to Washington Gardener Magazine) most of these are nonprofits like the Anacostia Watershed Society
and, of course, you get to wander the park grounds and see thousands and thousands of water lilies and lotus in bloom

- What to bring?
camera, water, picnic food, sunscreen
some cash (at the festival there will be some nice items for sale plus usually an ice cream truck parked nearby and there is NO ATM onsite)

- How do I get there?
take metro to Deanwood stop and then walk over (about a half mile) or you can drive. There is plenty of parking. Directions here:
you can also paddle down the Anacostia from Bladensburg and dock at the river entrance to the park

- When is best time to go?
early in the day is best as the waterlily and lotus blooms close up in the heat of the day
I also reccomend arriving before Noon as it is less hot for YOU and you will see much more wildlife action

- Wildlife?
don't worry, most of it sticks to the water area including dragonflies, frogs, turtles, birds, etc.

- Mosquitos?
never been bit there and I am a "mosquito magnet"
the abundant wildlife seems to take care of any mosquite larvae that might hatch down there

- Bathroom facilities?
there is a small park building with bathrooms and a water fountain plus small inside exhibit and store

I hope to see you there!

I uploaded an album of photos from Saturday's event at my Facebook page here:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Have a Field Day!

The annual Green Industry Professional Field Day and Trade Show is this Thursday (7/15/10). I have attended before as an observer. "Field Day" always conjures up memories for me of earning ribbons for jump roping and long-distance running. I also recall earning ribbons in "throwing for distance," which is a laugh -- the competition must've been sparse. This Field Day is a bit different though, more like a big company picnic, but instead of just one firm, it is open to all the landscape contractors and design installation firms in the DC-area.

This time Washington Gardener Magazine will have a tent space for the first time there this year. Come join us in the shade to chill out for a bit. The event includes hands-on, outdoor demonstrations presented at the beautiful campus of American University in Washington, DC. This campus, our Daytrip feature in our recent Spring issue, is an official arboretum, with a vast array of plantings. Bring a camera for the walking tour.

Demonstration Topics, arranged in four tracts, range from athletic turf subjects to grounds maintenance to aerial rescue in the mature trees of the Quadrangle. See new plant introductions and participate in landscape design discussions. One tract is presented in Spanish for the continuing education of the diversified workforce. Please consult the brochure for the complete listing and details.
To register and for more details:

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Easy Summer Annuals That Beat the Heat

Excerpted from the May/June 2009 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine.

Annuals vs Perennials

For those who confuse the terms, annuals are those plants that last only one year or growing season. Usually, they last from the last frost in spring to the first killing frost in late fall. In the Washington area, that can be from April 15 to December 15. I’ve had impatiens last until January in some years and lost coleus in early October in other years. On average, you’ll get at least six months of enjoyment from your annuals. It is a gamble as to exactly how long they will last, but a worthwhile one. There is no faster and easier way to fill your landscape with colorful plants and flowers than to put in annuals.

Some experienced gardeners shun annuals as “fluff” or “too easy.” They take pride in only filling their beds with perennials, shrubs, and trees. For those of us though who want our gardens to have a look of fullness throughout the growing season and who can’t spend hours every day out in our planting beds, annuals are the perfect solution. They fill in any holes as we await our slow-growing perennials and shrubs to fill in and fill out. They add instant color in those in-between times, such as when the early spring bulbs start dying back or when the August heat intensifies. Finally, annuals allows us to experiment with instant color and texture for very little investment. We can try out combinations in containers and in borders and not have spent too much or dug huge holes for massive root balls.
Caring for Annuals

It is so tempting to buy and plant annuals too early in the spring. For our region, wait until at least April 15 to do so and then keep a close eye on the local weather forecasts for any frost alerts so that you can protect your annuals should a cold front move in.

When shopping for annuals, look for plants that are healthy and vigorous with thick branching stems, dark green foliage (in most cases), and flower buds just starting to show a bit of color. Avoid plants that are either spindly or have yellowing/browning leaves that can be a sign of stress, disease, or pests. Pop them out of their packs and check the root systems make sure they are not dried out, rotting, or too crowded.

As with all plants, it is imperative that they be placed in the right place for them to thrive. That means if they are labeled for full sun and good drainage, site them accordingly and place them with plants of similar needs if grouping in containers to minimize your maintenance efforts.

Because annuals only thrive for one growing season, they consume a good deal of resources. Whether you plant them in the ground or in containers, add in a slow-release fertilizer (such as Osmocote) and water storing granules (such as Soil Moist). This gives them a good head start and helps them get over the transplant shock quicker. It also helps you have to water a bit less frequently. You may still want to add a liquid fertilizer every week or two to annuals that are in containers as they quickly run through the nutrients in the limited amount of soil they are in.

Some annuals, such as cosmos, require deadheading (snipping or pinching off the spent blooms) to keep up their fast rate of blooming. To get full enjoyment from my annuals, I cut the flowers frequently enough to bring in for vases and to share with others, so that I only have to deadhead infrequently, if at all.

Top Annual Plant Picks for the DC Heat

The following area annuals that have proven to survive and even thrive in our region’s intense summer heat and humidity. We urge you to try out a few new ones this year to give your garden instant pizzazz.

Begonia (Begonia x tuberhybrida)
Dusty Miller
Globe Amaranth
New Guinea Impatiens
Ornamental Pepper
Persian Shield
Spiderflower (Cleome)
BONUS CONTEST: If you are the first one who can name the annual plants used in the pattern planting AND the specific location where the above picture was reaken, I will give you a year's subscription to Washington Gardener Magazine. Put your answers in the blog comments field. You have until August 1 to answer.

UPDATE: I've uploaded photos of my summer containers here. Most are full of annual trial plants and are doing very well. They are loving the recent heat though I did have to give them more water than usual during those 100+ degree days.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Urban Garden Talk Series Continues in Fall - CANCELED

We are skipping July and August and then continuing our DC Urban Garden talk series with the Historical Society of Washington, DC (HSW) in the fall. Here are the dates and topics, please add them to your calendars and plan on joining us.

~ Sunday, Sept 26 Kathy Jentz on Getting the Most out of Small Space, Urban Gardens

~ Sunday, October 31 Cheval Force Opp on Vermicomposting and Composting Basics

~ Sunday, November 28 Michael Twitty on In Search of African-American Heritage Seed

All three talks are from 2:00-3:30pm at the HSW.
They are FREE and open to the public

Pictured here was our June DC Urban Garden series event: a parent-child gardening introduction workshop led by Lola Bloom of City Blossoms.

UPDATE: Due to a lack of grant funds, the HSW has canceled hosting this talk series. We are rescheduling these 3 talks at other venues this fall in.around DC. Please check this blog, our yahoo discussion list, and our Facebook page for updates.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

How to Pamper Yourself After a Hard Day in the Garden

Our June Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest winner of a bottle of Honey Glow Natual Products goat's milk lotion with lavender is Alexandria Lippincott of University Park, MD. Thank you to Honey Glow for sponsoring this month's contest. BTW, If you have a garden-related product and would like to sponsor a future reader contest giveaway, contact me directly at WashingtonGardener (a) rcn (dot) com.

We asked our contest entrants to tell us how they pampered themselves after a hard day out gardening. (Surprisingly, all our entrants this month were female, even though half of our readership is male. Was it the word "pamper" that scared them off?)

Deborah C. of  Alexandria, VA, had me green with envy when she said, "After a hard day's work in the garden, I like to pamper myself by being waited on by my husband with a freshly made mojito from mint in the garden!" If only I could train my two cats to do the same!

Martha S. of Silver Spring, MD said:
"My Favorite way to pamper myself after a hard day working in the garden actually has three phases:
After watering, dead-heading, weed pulling, and general clean up, the very first thing I always do is sit back in my Adirondack chair with a cool iced tea and look over my domain of sweet flowers, skittish butterflies and dragonflies, and the precious birds and squirrels and enjoy the cool breeze. Second, I will go inside and slip into a sudsy warm bubble bath and close my eyes with the thoughts of the garden awash in my head. Once I finally manage to climb out of the tub, I will massage my skin with some refreshing lotion and then I may settle down with a good gardening magazine (to get more ideas, of course!) and maybe fall into sweet slumber for a much needed afternoon nap. What a great way to spend a day!"

"I pamper myself after a hard day of gardening with a soak in luxurious and soothing bubble bath," said Madeline C. of Washington, DC. The good soak in the tub was a popular one, but so was the luxury of a long shower. "My favorite way to pamper myself after working in the garden is to take a rain-shower, apply a fragrant moisturizing lotion, and take a 20-minute power nap. I rise refreshed and rejuvenated!" said Mavis B. of Silver Spring, MD.

"My favorite way to pamper myself after a hard day out in the garden is to first take a shower (cause you gotta get that initial layer of dirt off!)," said Sarah U. of Berwyn Heights, MD, "Then, once I'm dry, I massage my feet with a cooling peppermint exfoliating scrub. I let the peppermint tingle for a few minutes then I wash and dry my feet and finish up by massaging a shea butter lotion into my feet. All the attention to my tired feet makes them feel and smell great!

Caroline Turner of Garrett Park, MD, cuts right to the reward: "After a hard day's work in the garden? A icy gin and tonic of course while admiring the progress I've made!"

Monique S. of Chevy Chase, MD replied on her entry:
"1. long shower
2. put on pj's
3. drink cool glass of lemonade
4. put my feet up and watch a gardening or home decorating show (I'm usually too hot at this point to sit outside and admire my work)."

Finally, our winner, Alexandria L. of University Park, MD, chosen at random, does a little of all of the above: "Favorite pampering after hard gardening: a refreshing shower, then blend a yogurt-fruit smoothie and lay around on the couch in the A/C reading The Washington Post Style section."

So how do YOU unwind and pamper yourself after a tough gardening session?

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