Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Video Wednesday: Overwinter Tropical Bulbs

Here is my latest video demonstrating how easy it is to overwinter your tropical "bulbs" like canna and caladiums.

For those who want to play "spot the kitty," at about 1:40 in you'll start to see cat ears at the bottom right corner of the frame. That is my Santino wanting to know why I'm not petting him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Free Koi: Bring Your Own Net and Bucket!

So earlier this year, some misguided soul thought he would gift the world with 80 Koi fish bought from a pet store by adding them to the fountain at Meridian Hill Park on 16th Street in Washington, DC. Sadly, 20 died almost immediately. The 60 that lived will do what fish do when given a large space to fill, they spawned and soon there were several hundred more Koi inthe park fountain. (The park is Federal property and yes, this gentleman violated several laws with his ill-thought-out "gift.")

Now winter is approaching and the park fountain is drained so it does not get damaged in the freeze-thaw-freeze cycle, we area gardeners are all too familiar with. There are hundreds of small Koi needinga quick re-location to a new home.

The Washington Humane Society (WHS) has already spent one morning attempting to capture and re-locate many of the fountain fish. The Koi proved pretty elusive, so tomorrow at 10:00am (Wednesday, 11/30), the WHS will be back and the fountain will be partially drained to make fish capture a bit easier.

Michael Triebwasser, Humane Law Enforcement Officer at the WHS, is coordinating the rescue event. He says, "There are at least a couple hundred fish left of various sizes, ranging from an inch (and less) to 6-8 inches.  If you can give the fish a good home, you are more than welcome to take as many as you’d like."

If you have a backyard pond that can accomodate some rescued Koi, come on down with your net and a bucket to help out.

You can read more background about these fishy-tales at the Prince of Petworth blog here.

UPDATE: I went to the rescue and spent an hour sifting through algae-muck for the littlest of the fish. Boy, are my hands cold! I brought home 15 small ones -- half will go in my pond and the others to a friend's pond. I put up a photo album of the rescue event at

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back Issue Sale!

You can request a single copy of any back issue for $6 each or any combination of 6 back issues for $24.
You can also order ALL 30+ back issues for just $100.
Prices include postage and handling.
Please specify the issue date(s) you would like. Order must be prepaid by check or money order.

Send Your Order to:
 Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910


March/April 2005

• Landscape DIY vs. Pro

• Prevent Gardener’s Back

• Ladew Topiary Gardens

• Cherry Trees

May/June 2005

• Stunning Plant Combinations

• Turning Clay into Rich Soil

• Wild Garlic

• Strawberries

JuLy/August 2005

• Water Gardens

• Poison Ivy

• Disguising a Sloping Yard

• Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

September/October 2005

• Container Gardens

• Clematis Vines

• Sponge Gardening/Rain Gardens

• 5 Insect Enemies of Gardeners

NOVEmber/DECEMBer 2005

• Backyard Bird Habitats

• Hellebores

• Building a Coldframe

• Bulb Planting Basics


• Garden Decor Principles

• Primroses

• Tasty Heirloom Veggies

• U.S. Botanic Garden


• Top 10 Small Trees and Large Shrubs

• Azaleas

• Figs, Berries, & Persimmons

• Basic Pruning Principles

May/June 2006

• Using Native Plants in Your Landscape

• Crabgrass

• Peppers

• Secret Sources for Free Plants

JuLy/August 2006

• Hydrangeas

• Theme Gardens

• Agave

• Find Garden Space by Growing Up

September/October 2006

• Shade Gardening

• Hosta Care Guide

• Fig-growing Tips and Recipes

• Oatlands Plantation

NOVEMber/DECEMber 2006

• Horticultural Careers

• Juniper Care Guide

• Winter Squash Growing Tips and Recipes

• Weed-free Beds with Layer/Lasagna Gardening


• Indoor Gardening

• Daphne Care Guide

• Asparagus Growing Tips and Recipes

• Houseplant Propagation

MARCH/April 2007

• Stormwater Management

• Dogwood Selection & Care Guide

• Early Spring Vegetable Growing Tips

• Franciscan Monastery Bulb Gardens

MAY/June 2007

• Roses: Easy Care Tips

• Native Roses & Heirloom Roses

• Edible Flowers

• How to Plant a Bare-root Rose


• Groundcovers: Alternatives to Turfgrass

• How to Pinch, Prune, & Dead-head

• A Trip to the William Paca House & Gardens

• Hardy Geraniums

September/October 2007

• Succulents: Hardy to our Region

• Drought-tolerant Natives

• Southern Vegetables

• Seed Saving Savvy Tips

November/December 2007

• Gardening with Children

• Kid-Friendly Vegetables

• Indoor Bulb Forcing Basics

• National Museum of the American Indian

• Versatile Viburnums


• Dealing with Deer

• Our Favorite Garden Tools

• Indoor Bulb Forcing Basics

• Delightful Daffodils


• Patio, Balcony, and Rooftop Container Gardens

• Our Favorite Garden Tools

• Coral Bells (Heucheras)

• Brookside’s Phil Normandy

• Japanese-style Garden

MAY/JUNE 2008 — Almost Sold Out!

• Growing Great Tomatoes

• Glamorous Gladiolus

• Seed Starting Basics

• Flavorful Fruiting Natives

• Build a Better Tomato Cage


• Landscaping with Ornamental Grasses

• Edible Grasses to Graze On

• Slug and Snail Control

• Sage Advice: Sun-loving Salvias


• Autumn Edibles — What to Plant Now

• Ladybug Lore

• Beguiling Barrenworts (Epimediums)

• The Best Time to Plant Spring-blooming Bulbs

• 14 Dry Shade Plants Too Good to Overlook


• Outdoor Lighting Essentials

• How to Prune Fruiting Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

• 5 Top Tips for Overwintering Tender Bulbs

• Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick

• A Daytrip to Tudor Place


• Compost Happens: Nature’s Free Fertilizer

• Managing Stormwater with a Rain Garden

• Visiting Virginia’s State Arboretum

• Grow Winter Hazel for Gorgeous Winter Color

MARCH/April 2009

• 40+ Free and Low-cost Local Garden Tips

• Spring Edibles Planting Guide for the Mid-Atlantic

• Testing Your Soil for a Fresh Start

• Redbud Tree Selection and Care

• Best Local Viewing Spots for Virginia Bluebells


• Top 12+ Easy Summer Annuals for DC Heat

• Salad Table Project

• Grow and Enjoy Eggplant

• How to Chuck a Woodchuck from Your Garden

Summer 2009

• Grow Grapes in the Mid-Atlantic

• Passionflowers

• Mulching Basics

• What’s Bugging Your Tomatoes

• Growing Hops

FALL 2009

• Apples

• How To Save Tomato Seeds

• Persimmons


• Battling Garden Thugs

• How to Start Seeds Indoors

• Red Twig Dogwoods

• Unusual Edibles to Grow in Our Region

• Visit to Riversdale House


• Community Gardens

• Building a Raised Bed

• Dwarf Iris

• Broccoli


• Fragrance Gardens

• Watering Without Waste

• Lavender

• Potatoes

FALL 2010

• Vines and Climbers

• Battling Stink Bugs

• Russian Sage

• Garlic


• Paths and Walkways

• Baltimore’s Cylburn Arboretum

• Edgeworthia

• Kohlrabi


• Cutting-Edge Gardens

• Final Frost Dates and When to Plant

• Bleeding Hearts

• Onions


• Ornamental Edibles

• Urban Foraging

• Amsonia/Arkansas Blue Star

• Growing Corn in the Mid-Atlantic

Sunday, November 27, 2011

When Does My Subscription Expire?

A few of you have asked, "How do I know when my subscription runs out?"

On your address label on the Fall 2011 issue, above your name is a code.
It consists of two letters and two numbers.
The two letters are the issue:
   SP (spring), SU (summer), FA (fall), and WI (winter).
The two numbers are the year:
   11 (2011), 12 (2012), 13 (2013), etc.
So, if you see "SP12" that means Spring 2012 is your last issue in your subscription.

I hope this helps and that your holiday weekend was restful!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Social Media Subscription Special & Back Issue Sale

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm running this subscription special through December 5 in gratitude for all my online friends, followers, fans, and frequent commenters.

Print out the coupon above, fill it out and mail it in with your check/money order to get 10% off a year's subscription to Washington Gardener Magazine.

I'm also running a Back Issue Sale, full details can be found in on page 8 of the latest Washington Gardener Enewsletter posted here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Video Wednesday: Shutting Off Water Sources

Another trip into our Washington Gardener Magazine video vaults. This one is a production. It is about Shutting Off Water Sources for winter. Enjoy!

BTW, you may have to wait a few seconds for the video to load while listening to a brief sponsor commercial. If the above viewer, does not work, you can also go directly to to watch it there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Win Passes to Lewis Ginter's GardenFest of Lights in Washington Gardener Magazine's November 2011 Reader Contest

For our November 2011 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away 5 sets of passes for two people to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardenfest of Lights.

A holiday tradition in Richmond, VA! The walk-through show features more than a half million lights arranged in botanical themes throughout the Garden. Visitors can also marvel at displays in the Garden’s Conservatory and decorations in the Visitors Center and the Education and Library Complex. GardenFest includes family-friendly activities, botanical decorations, model trains, a bonfire (weather-permitting), oversized “LOVE” artwork, courtesy of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and mazes of lights in the Children’s Garden, holiday dining, music, and more! The show runs Friday, November 25, 2011 - Monday, January 9, 2012. (Closed December 24 and 25.) The hours are 5:00 to 10:00pm. For more information on the Lewis Ginter Gardenfest of Lights, visit:

To enter to win a set of two passes to the Lewis Ginter Gardenfest of Lights, send an email with “GardenFest” in the subject line to by 5:00pm on Wednesday, November 30. In the body of the email please include your full name, email, and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified by December 2.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Giving Your Tender Plants Winter Protection ~ Washington Gardener Enews - November 2011

Washington Gardener Enews ~ November 2011

~ Giving Your Tender Plants Winter Protection
~ Magazine Excerpt: Autumn Onion native plant profile
~ Washington Gardener Magazine 2011 Day Trips
~ Reader Contest: Win passes to Lewis Ginter's Gardenfest of Lights
~ Washington Gardener's Recent Blog Post Highlights
~ Spotlights Special: Cool Wave Pansies
~ Mid-Atlantic Garden To-Do List for November-December
~ The Top Local Garden Events Calendar
~ Washington Gardener Magazine Back Issue Sale!
and much more...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Video Wednesday: How to Clean & Preserve Garden Tools

Another trip into our Washington Gardener Magazine video vaults. This one is a production. It is about How to Clean & Preserve Garden Tools for winter. Enjoy!

BTW, you may have to wait a few seconds for the video to load while listening to a brief sponsor commercial. If the above viewer, does not work, you can also go directly to to watch it there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Sunflowers in November

This autumn has been a wonderful "Indian Summer." The past few days in the Washington, DC-area were in the '60s and made weeding and raking a joy.

The line of sunflowers along my fence may look a bit scraggly as the other annuals I planted there have died back, but the sunflowers just keep right on blooming! I plan on keeping them up until the last flower finished up.

Monday, November 14, 2011

NEW Fall 2011 Issue OUT!

Our Fall 2011 edition of Washington Gardener Magazine issue is printed and mailing this week. If you are a current subscriber, look for it in your mailbox soon. The cover story is on Herb Gardens for our Mid-Atlantic region.

Also in this issue is the Edibles column, “Growing Great Sweet Potatoes” by Cindy Brown. She shares her tips on how to grow them here and the best varieties for our area.

Our Daytrip is to the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC. I visited there myself last year and cannot wait to get back next summer for an even longer stay.

You’ll also find in this issue:

• Best Cover Crops for Your Vegetable Garden

• Earwigs: Beneficial or Nuisance?

• An Interview with an Influential Local Community Gardener

• Meeting Up with the Potomac Chapter of the Herb Society of America

• Toadlily Plant Profile and Varieties

• Before/After of a Former Slave Cabin’s Landscape

• An Intriguing Personal Garden Story

• Coverage of several local events including our own Tomato Taste

• Answers to readers’ questions such as why are some azalea leaves losing color, what is eating the zinnia foliage, and much, much more...

To subscribe, go to and use our PayPal credit card link. OR, send a $20 check to Washington Gardener Magazine, 826 Philadelphia Ave. Silver Spring MD 20910.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Longwood Holiday Extravaganza Daytrip

Join Washington Gardener Magazine and Cheval's Garden Tours for a daytrip to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania on Thursday, December 15. The tour departs and returns to Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, MD.

Get in the holiday mood and get all your gift shopping done in one day at one of the most beautiful displays in the world. Treat yourself and bring along a friend.

Remember that current Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers get $5 off the registration fee!

Act soon as spaces fill quickly.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fenton Friday: Season's End

I cleared out my garden plot at the Fenton Community Garden this past week. We have been blessed with some warm autumn days and it was fairly easy work to pull up the plants. I dug the last of the potatoes and plan to have them for dinner tonight. I gathered all the stakes and plant labels for re-use next year. Instead of a cover crop, I mulched with straw.

I was able to gather over 5 pounds of green tomatoes, tomatillos, and eggplants. I also plucked some hot peppers from the communal compost pile. I brought them over to Shepherd's Table and hope the chef there can use them.

The last of the beans I plucked and set on a screen in my sunroom to dry for seeds in next year's garden -- and for trading.

The only thing left growing in the plot now is my garlic, which I'll harvest next spring.

I did leave up some marigolds, as when I tried to pull them, both bees and butterflies got in my way. I will pull those last flowers out this weekend or next. Maybe I'll add another layer of wood chips to my pathways also as that is pretty warn away. Other than that, I'm done with the garden plot for the year and will turn my full attention to getting my hom garden set for winter. For starters, I have a lot of spring-blooming bulbs to put in and tender summer-blooming bulbs to store.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Video Wednesday: Winterize a Vegetable Garden - the Last Harvest

This weekend I went to Button Farm, a stop on the Maryland Emancipation Day tour, and left my camera! Luckily, I'll be reunited with my camera in a couple days, but meanwhile will have to reach into the vaults and share with you one of my oldie-but-goodie videos.

This one is a production. It is about Collecting Your Last Harvest in preparation for putting your vegetable garden to bed for winter. Enjoy!

BTW, you may have to wait a few seconds for the video to load while listening to a brief sponsor commercial. If the above viewer, does not work, you can also go directly to to watch it there.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

New Blog - Cats in Gardens

Hi all -

I have started a new blog for fun all about Cats in Gardens, featuring (you guessed it!) photos of cats in gardens. Please visit and share your cats in gardens at:

Monday, November 07, 2011

Preparing Your Garden For Winter talk

Takoma Park Branch (DC) Library, Washington Gardener Magazine, and the Takoma Horticultural Club present:

"Getting Your Garden Ready For Winter"

When: Thursday November 10 at 7:00pm

Where: Takoma DC Public Library at 5th and Cedar Streets, NW, Washington, DC 20012
Who: Kathy Jentz, Editor of Washington Gardener Magazine
Grow a beautiful garden filled with flowers and foliage and still honor the Earth by using sustainable gardening practices. Learn how to prepare your yard for the next growing season in an eco-friendly way. Presented by Kathy Jentz, Editor of Washington Gardener Magazine, to celebrate the donation of 18 garden books to the Takoma DC Public library by the Takoma Horticiultural Club. Make sure to peruse the books on display while at the library!

FREE to Attend!

Friday, November 04, 2011

See Washington Gardener in person at Behnke Craft Show 11/5

Washington Gardener Magazine will be at the Behnke Nurseries holiday craft show on Saturday, November 5 from 10am-4pm at their Beltsville, MD location. Come by to subscribe or renew and to buy current and back issues of the magazine.

Find out also about our upcoming daytrip to Longwood Gardens on December 15 with Cheval's 2nd Act.

For full details on the Behnke Nurseries holiday craft show, go here:

Also, here is a list of some of the Behnke Nurseries holiday craft show vendors:

Fenton Friday: Documented on Video

Here is a student-made documentary on the Fenton Street Community Garden starring a few of my garden plot neighbors. You'll see my house/garden in the opening shot across the street from the garden. There are also close-ups of my basil and marigolds with bees on them. The garden plot season is definitely winding down here, so I'm glad they captured this point in time and hope it will show others just what a community garden is all about.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Video Wednesday: Bulb Forcing 101

Bulb Forcing 101

How to Get Spring Blooms in the Dead of Winter
By Kathy Jentz
Didn’t get all your bulbs planted before the ground froze? Don’t discard them! Instead pot them up for indoor forcing and enjoy an early springtime in the depths of winter.

If you were a good little gardener and got all your bulbs in the ground on time, there are still a few bulbs hanging around unsold at local area garden centers and on major markdown sales on the web and through mail order, snap them up now at these bargain basement prices and consider yourself a savvy customer. Next year, when you place your bulb orders, add a few extra to your quantities to set aside specifically for forcing.

Never forced bulbs before? Nothing to it. Here are the basics and a few extra tips I've learned from past experiments:
1. Bulb Selection. You don't need to buy any specific variety or kinds. You can just select a few bulbs from those that you would buy for outside plantings. After they are done livening up your winter home, you can plant them outside after the last frost so that they will return annually with your other bulbs. One note of caution, indoor bulbs can sometimes give off potent smells. Some people love them, some don't -- paperwhites and hyacinth are especially notoriously in the love/hate category. Experiment a bit, and you'll soon learn which scents are to your tastes and which are just too overpowering for inside your home.
2. Timing. Keep in mind that bulbs bloom within three-four weeks of removal from cold storage, which lasts about 12-16 weeks. So if you want blooms for a specific occasion, you need to work about 16-20 weeks in advance for planting time.

3. Bulb Planting. Regular bulbs should be planted in soil, but at a shallower depth than you would outside. The top of the bulb should be even with the soil line and have about 2" of soil below for root development. The container should have drainage holes. Because it will be inside your house and no one likes a leaky mess on their furniture, I recommended lining the bottom of the pot with scrap landscape fabric and placing the pot on a good-sized saucer filled with a layer pebbles. Place the bulbs pointy side up and with the "flat" side towards the outside of the pot and as tight together as you like. Crowding them actually makes a nicer visual effect than spacing them far apart. Tight quarters also helps the foliage from growing out too much and flopping over. Water the newly planted bulbs well. Place the pots in plastic newspaper sleeves to maintain a moist environment.

4. Cold Storage/Removal for Flowering. Place the potted-up bulbs in cold storage for about 12 weeks. Cold storage should be roughly 40-50 degrees and without light. Storage areas might include your basement, garage, or the crisper drawer in your refrigerator. Different bulbs have different cold cycle times but most are between 12-16 weeks. (Tulips need the most time at a full 16 weeks.) Mark your calendars so that you don't forget about them. When you first remove them from storage, place them in indirect light and away from a heat source to prevent “legginess.” After two weeks, when they have sprouted and are several inches high, move them to a sunny, warm window. Once a flowerhead or bud starts to develop, you can then move it to your desired location with indirect sunlight to prolong the bloom life. Keep them watered regularly as soon as you remove them from cold storage. Enjoy!

Kathy Jentz is Editor of Washington Gardener Magazine. This winter she is forcing two dozen apricot tulips as holiday gifts for friends --- sh!

Washington Gardener Magazine, is the only gardening publication published specifically for the local metro area — zones 6-7 — Washington DC and its suburbs.

The magazine is written entirely by local area gardeners. They have real-world knowledge and practical advice with the same problems you experience in your own gardens. They share their thoughts on what to plant in deep shade, how to cover bare spots, which annuals work best throughout the humid DC summers, and much more. If you are a DC area gardener, you’ll love Washington Gardener magazine!

The magazine is published four times per year with a cover price of $4.99. To subscribe to the magazine: Send a check/money order for $20.00 payable to “Washington Gardener” Magazine to: Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910 OR to pay via Paypal/credit card click on the “subscribe” link at

Washington Gardener Magazine also makes a great gift for the gardeners and new home owners in your life!

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