Friday, January 28, 2011

Seed Exchange Update: Still Spaces Left, No Seeds Required!

UPDATE: The Seed Exchange today Sat 1/29 at Brookside has a NEW LOCATION: it is now moved to Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, MD. We will start a half hour later at 1:00pm. Directions to Behnkes are here:
(Brookside still lacks electricity and Pepco has given us no hope that it will be restored today.)

Washington Gardener Magazine 2011 Seed Exchange

Saturday, January 29 12:30-4pm

On-site Registration opens at 12:00noon

Yes, we still have plenty of room, so come and register at the door.
($15 for general public or $10 if a Washington Gardener NMagazine subscriber of a member of Friends of Brookside Gardens -- checks or cash only.)

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. It will help to label your mug/bottle/cup too, in case it gets misplaced.
~ 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 eco-friendly.
~ 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.
~ 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.

~ 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
>Seeds Like Olde Times: The Garden Flowers of 18th and 19th Century America

Barbara Melera, D. Landreth Seed Co.

1:30-2:00 Speaker 2
>The Salad Table
Mary McKnight, Montgomery County Master Gardener
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.

Snow Plan

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 that morning by 10am to alert folks IF anything changes.

Again, we’ll make the decision by 10am so check your emails after 10am, if there is any question about the weather. No note from us means we are still on as planned.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Video Wednesday: How the Pussy Willow Got Its Name

One of my two cats, Santino, is obsessed with pussy willow catkins. He will knock my vase of branches down daily to get a fresh batch of catkins and then plays with them for hours. He just loves the furry feel under his paws. Here is one plant that is appropriately named.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter issue of Washington Gardener Magazine Leads You Down the Garden Path

The Winter 2010-11 magazine issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now mailing. All subscribers should receive it in the next few weeks. To subscribe today and start with this issue, go here.

The cover story is on Paths & Walkways. We explore the effect and impact of different path styles on your garden and your garden’s visitors.

Looking over hundreds of photos of garden paths to pick out our cover image made for a bad case of cabin fever. It was hard not wish spring was here this very minute.

You’ll also find in this issue:

• A DayTrip to the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, MD

• Elegant Edgeworthia (Paperbush)

• Create an Easy, Fragrant Indoor Spring Garden with Bulbs

• Growing and Cooking Kohlrabi

• Native Partridgeberry

• Houseplant Repotting Tips

• Best Blueberry Varieties for the Mid-Atlantic

• Fighting Scale Insects

• A Profile of the 3 Local Chapters of the Azalea Society

• 10 Top Plant Picks for 2011

• An Interview with Famed Herbalist  Jim Duke

and much, much more...

To subscribe, go to and use our PayPal credit card link.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January Reader Contest: CSN Stores

For our January 2010 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away a $70 gift certificate for CSN Stores. CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from stylish furniture, leather messenger bags, or great cookware.

CSN ( has a patio and garden section that includes decor, outdoor furniture, storage, heating, and lighting.

To enter to win the gift certificate code (valued at $70), send an email to by 5:00pm on January 30 with “CSN” in the subject line and tell us what signs of spring coming you see in your garden now. In the body of the email, please also include your full name and mailing address. The winner will be announced and notified by February 2.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Video Wednesday: A Brief History of the US Botanic Garden

Bill McLaughlin, the plant curator for the US Botanic Garden, hosted a tour of the USBG this last eekend for the Four Seasons Garden Club. I tagged along and took this video.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Garden Clubs Meetings are the Cure for the Winter Blahs

I recently shared my Cures for the Winter Blahs over in a guest post at the DC Ladies blog. I'm thinking today, with the miserable ice storm we had overnight here in the Mid-Atlantic, we could all use some small does of spring. I list a few ways to do that in the DC-area such as a visit to the US Botanic Garden's tropical conservatory.

Another way I get away from winter is by attending as many garden club meetings as I can. Truly, this is the time of year to get out and listen to talks on wonderful subjects from creating miniature terrariums to growing heirloom vegetables. This past week I attended the local chapter of the Rock Garden Society's monthly meeting and a talk hosted by my own Silver Spring Garden Club. (I'm the current president.) Later this week is a potluck and indoor plant exchange with the Takoma Hort Club and next week is a lecture put on by the Four Seasons Garden Club.

At one recent event, a lady, who is in several clubs, said to me, "Oh, I only attend one or two garden club meetings a month, that is usually more than enough for me." My own philosophy is so entirely the opposite, if I have the evening free and I'm a member of the club (or could easily attend as a guest or join at the door), why wouldn't I go?!? Even though my garden may be encased in ice, doesn't mean I have to be! Hope to see YOU at a local garden club meeting soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saving Native Hemlocks: Washington Gardener Enews

Washington Gardener Enews ~ January 2011


~ Saving Native Hemlocks

~ Magazine Excerpt: Growing and Cooking Kohlrabi

~ Reader Contest:CSN Stores Gift Certificate

~ Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest – Entry Deadline is January 22 !

~ Washington Gardener's Recent Blog Post Highlights

~ Spotlights Special: Juniperus horizontalis 'Gold Strike'

~ Mid-Atlantic Garden To-Do List

~ Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchange Registration Form and Details

~ Upcoming Local Garden Events

~ Washington Gardener Magazine Back Issue Sale!

and much more...

MANTS Pt 5: Dr. Richard Olsen on Grafted Witch Hazel

Dr. Richard T. Olsen, Research Geneticist at USDA-ARS, shows a unique graft at the recent MANTS 2011. It is two winter-flowering Witch Hazels grafted onto an undersized Persian Ironwood  (Parrotia persica) to form a standard (lollipop-shaped tree). Imagine this as the jewel of a tiny, townhouse garden or as a focal point in a formal herb garden layout. This graft avoids the Witch Hazels suckering issues and puts the Witch Hazel blooms right at eye height. The grower is Sunleaf Nursery of Madison, OH. I believe the two Witch Hazels were 'Diane' and 'Arnold's Promise.' Unfortunately, the video footage was not useable, but I was at least able to capture this image from it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

MANTS Video Pt 4: Barbara Melera on Blue Lace Flowers

It is turning out to be day full of "blue" plant and "Barbara"s! This Barbara is Barbara Melera, owner of D. Landreth Seed Co. in New Freedom, PA (formerly of Baltimore, MD), the heirloom seed house with a long, illustrious history. Here she introduces us to what was once old and is new again: Blue Lace Flowers. Can't wait to try some of these seeds out myself this spring.

MANTS Video Pt 3: Barbara Katz on Blueberries

Barbara Katz, London Landscapes LLC, shared her thoughts on blueberry shrubs that she saw at the recent MANTS 2011. I have three small blueberry plants myself and just planted them this fall. I know I'll be fighting the birds over what small amount of fruit they produce for the first few years, but I'm hoping in future years to get a decent enough yield that the birds an I can share.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Register NOW to Save Your Seed Exchange Spot

It's that time again! Washington Gardener Magazine's Seed Exchange are coming up on Sat Jan 29 in MID and Sat Feb 5 in VA. I hope you can make one of those dates.

The full information and registration form is posted here.
(IF you have already signed up, thank you! I will be sending confirmations to those registration I have received so far over the next few days.)

MANTS Video Pt 2: Stephanie Cohen on 'Home Run' Pink Roses

Stephanie Cohen aka The Perennial Diva talks about the new pink 'Home Run' roses. Up until now only available in red. Home Run are from Weeks Roses. Spring Meadows/Proven Winners has recently partnered with them to market these disease-resistant shrubs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Video Wednesday: What's New & Exciting at MANTS Pt 1

Here is the first in a series of five short clips I filmed at MANTS 2011 last week. MANTS is the trade show for the Mid-Atlantic nursery trade. Landscapers, designers, and garden centers come to MANTS to place orders for plants and garden-related materials for their installations and to sell to consumers. This is my fifth (sixth?) time attending MANTS and I have to say, for me, it was the best one so far. The mood seemed brighter, vendors had more focused exhibits, and their were several new plant introductions to ooh and ah over. In this clip, Barbara Ellis, garden writer, lecturer, and coach, talks about a plant she found particularly enthralling. I will edit and load up the other four clips in the next few days, so come on back to see and hear the favorite new plant picks from local garden world luminaries.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Video Wednesday: Seed Exchange Time!

This video was taken at our Washington Gardener Seed Exchange two years as part of the ThinkGreen show and it aired multiple times on Montgomery County, MD cable television. I'm sad to report that ThinkGreen is no longer in production, another victim of the poor economy.

To sign up for this year's Seed Exchanges, go to this form and print it out. Be sure to mail it in soon, Registrations are rolling in and space is limited!

A BIG thank to to Phil Shapiro of self-described "public geek" of Takoma Park, MD for his assistance in ripping and uploading this file online.

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...