Friday, December 28, 2012

Washington Gardener Magazine PHOTO CONTEST Kicks Off!

The 7th Annual Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest kicks off now! Time to start sorting and picking out your best 2012 garden shots. The entry period is January 1-21, 2013.

UPDATE: The entry period has been extended to Tuesday, January 22. Due to the holiday and inauguration on January 21.

Note that eligible entries must have been taken in the 2012 calendar year in a garden setting within 150-mile radius of Washington, DC.

We have four major entry categories:

~ Garden Views (landscape scenes)

~ Garden Vignettes (groupings of plants in beds or containers, unusual color or texture combinations, garden focal points, and still scenes)

~ Small Wonders (flower or plant part close-ups)

~ Garden Creatures (any living creature in a garden setting)

A little tip: we have far more entries in these last two categories than in the first two. Meaning, your odds of winning are far higher in the Views and Vignettes categories.

Remember 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. Look for the unusual and for beauty in the off-season too. Our judges give equal weight to the following criteria when evaluating the entries: technical merit, composition, impact, and creativity.

Anyone can enter: professional or amateur, adult or student, local area gardener or visiting DC tourist.

See this PDF for full contest details:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Local Gardening Task Calendar Contest

For our December 2012 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener Magazine is giving away one of our brand new Local Gardening Task Calendar. Each month includes a list of what to do in the garden for local DC-MD-VA and Mid-Atlantic gardeners, along with a gorgeous photo of a seasonal flower from a local DC-area public gardens’ collection.

You can order one for yourself and as gifts for your favorite local gardeners by going to: http://www.cafepress.com/washgardener. (Note that you can select the calendar to start with whatever month you choose.)

To enter to win a Local Gardening Task Calendar, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on December 29 with “Garden Calendar” in the subject line and tell us: what gardening chores you most dread doing and why. In the body of the email, please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on January 1.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Video Wednesday: Historic Virginia Gardens



From the Smithsonian Institutions' Archives of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collections.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holly Shrubs and Trees: The Versatile Landscape Beauty ~ Washington Gardener Enews ~ December 2012

The Washington Gardener Enews ~ December 2012 issue is now sent to all current Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers. It is also posted and archived online at: http://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/wgenews-dec12.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
~ Holly Shrubs and Trees: The Versatile Landscape Beauty
~ Magazine Excerpt: Gunston Hall – Home of George Mason
~ Mid-Atlantic Garden To-Do List for December-January
~ Reader Contest: Win the NEW Local Gardening Task Calendar
~ Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchange Details and Registration
~ Washington Gardener's Recent Blog Post Highlights
~ Spotlights Special: Strawberry Purple Wonder™

~ Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest Entry Details
~ Top Local Garden Events Calendar for December-January
~ Washington Gardener Magazine Back Issue Sale!
and much more...
You can access it as well as all of the other Washington Gardener Enews back issues online now and anytime in the future at http://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Early Winter

It is still technically fall, but tell that to my garden! I think this is the earliest I've ever had my Winter Jasmine bloom and at the same time having its early spring doppelganger, Forsythia, also sporting a few blossoms!

Winter Jasmine

Forsythia

Also in bloom now are Christmas Hellebores, Violas, Encore Azaleas, Alyssum, and Primrose. Still holding on from summer are a few salvia and verbena too.
Encore Azalea
Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger 'Josef Lemper'

What is blooming in your garden on this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Video Wednesday: Poinsettias at the Smithsonian

Happy National Poinsettia Day!

This 2010 video features Monty Holmes, a horticulturalist at Smithsonian Gardens. He gives an inside look at the history, culture and science of poinsettias, thousands of which have a happy home for the holidays all throughout the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Video Wednesday: Winterthur Museum's Dried Flower Tree



Behind-the-scenes making of Winterthur Museum's Dried Flower Tree. The dried daffodils are especially amazing, IMHO.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Spring-Blooming Bulbs Poll



For our November 2012 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener our prize was passes to the Brookside Gardens’ Garden of Lights display.

   Brookside Gardens’ Garden of Lights is a half-mile walk through a landscape of almost a million twinkling colorful lights shaped in imaginative displays throughout the gardens. Enjoy the four seasons illuminated as giant summer sunflowers, autumn leaves, winter snowflakes, spring flowers, rain showers, and more.

   The show runs from Friday, November 23, 2012 through Sunday, January 6, 2013 (with the exception of December 24-25 and January 1-3). The hours are 5:30 to 9:00pm, with the last car admitted at 8:30pm. Entry is by car/van and is $20 on Mon-Thurs and $25 on Fri-Sun.

We asked the reader contest entrants to tell us: “What spring-blooming bulbs you planted this fall?”

They responded with “none yet” to long lists of select bulbs. Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, Dutch Iris, and Alliums topped the list. Minor bulbs such as Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow), Camassia, and Muscari (Grape Hyacinths) were mentioned by a few. Some vegetable gardeners mentioned Garlic as well. Not very popular were regular Hyacinth, which got hardly a mention in our unscientific poll. What bulb are you planting for blooms next spring?

Congratulations to the Brookside Lights Pass Winners chosen at random from among the submitted entries! They are:

~ Sarah Lawler of Hyattsville, MD
~ Vineeta Anand of Alexandria, VA
~ Annie Shaw of Greenbelt MD
~ Sheila Walsh of Silver Spring MD
~ Stephanie Richard of Rockville, MD
~ Kristine Punga of Silver Spring, MD
~ Wendy Bell of Takoma Park, MD
~ Peggy Cairns of  Silver Spring, MD

PS It is NOT too late for Mid-Atlantic gardeners to get your spring-blooming bulbs in the ground! Try to get them in by mid-December, but you really have until the ground freezes.

Poinsettias: You Can Grow That!

The 4th of every month is "Garden Bloggers: You Can Grow That" Day. Being the holiday season, I decided I'd dispell some myths about growing Poinsettias and show you how easy they can be.

Big box stores are not the first source of information we here at Washington Gardener Magazine think of when researching plant matters, but when we wanted to learn all about poinsettia care, we knew that Pete Drake, a Certified Nursery Consultant with the Annapolis Home Depot, was our go-to expert on the subject because of the thousands upon thousands they grow and sell. Here is what Pete told us:

1. How do you choose the freshest poinsettia? The first thing is to take the plant out of the sleeve, then look at the very center of the red bracts or leaves. You are looking for a cluster of very small green “buds” with a small amount of yellow, this is really the flower. This is a direct indication of the age of the plant. The tighter the buds with small amounts of yellow can mean a longer shelf life at home.

2. How do you make your poinsettia last through the holiday season? Place them in an area that gets bright but direct sun unless the window is facing east. This area must also be free of drafts or direct heat sources. When it becomes time to water, remove the plants “pants” (the foil or decorative pot cover). Place the plant in the sink and give it a good amount of water. For a 6” plant two cups of water should work or 5-7 seconds with a sink faucet sprayer. After the plant has stopped leaking water, place the plant back into its foil pot cover or decorative pot.

3. What are the newest trends in poinsettias? One of the most common things florists and garden centers are doing is the application of paints to the bracts to come up with different color combinations. Another trend is the many growers who are hybridizing poinsettias to get different-shaped leaves. Others are making new poinsettias with different shades of the same color on the same bract.




Garden Bloggers You Can Grow That! Day was started by C. L. Fornari of Whole Life Gardening because she believes “Gardening is one of the most life-affirming things we can do.…We need to thoroughly saturate people with the belief that plants and gardening are worth doing because of the benefits gained.” Garden bloggers who agree post about something worth growing on the fourth day of every month. Read this month’s You Can Grow That! posts.

You Can Grow That! is a campaign created by garden writer and master gardener C. L. Fornari. On the fourth of each month participating garden bloggers will write about something you can grow. Stop by the You Can Grow That! Facebook page to read all of the posts.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gifts for Local DC-MD-VA Gardeners!



If you were away over the Thanksgiving weekend or just got busy and missed our last few posts, here is a round-up of great gifts for the local gardeners in your life. All about Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia gardening!

Washington Gardener NEW Wall Calendar!

~ Local DC-MD-VA Gardening Calendar from Washington Gardener Magazine.
Includes monthly task lists for local DC-MD-VA gardening and photos of gorgeous flowers from Washington, DC-area public gardens.

Order here:
Washington Gardener Wall Calendar Washington Gardener
http://www.cafepress.com/washgardener

PS Be sure to specify on the initial order page what month you wish to start the calendar with as you can customize it for any 12-month-span you like.

Back Issue Sale!

~ Gift yourself or the local DC/MD/VA gardener in your life with a set of ALL 30+ Washington Gardener Magazine back issues for just $100. This price includes postage and handling!

Your order must be prepaid by check or money order.

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

Order by December 17 to guarantee delivery by Christmas!

Social Media 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 posted here:  

Fill it out and mail it in with your check/money order to get 10% off a year's subscription to Washington Gardener Magazine.

Please tell all your local gardening friends!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Video Wednesday: Smithsonian Gardens Tree Radar Test




Smithsonian Gardens shows how they actively manage their tree collection. One of the large American elm trees at the National Museum of Natural History was being affected by disease and decay issues that were leading to its rapid decline. Using a cutting edge technology, tree RADAR testing, the tests helped to determine the extent of the problems and to evaluate the safety of the tree.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Win Passes to Brooksides’ Garden of Lights

For our November 2012 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away passes to the Brookside Gardens’ Garden of Lights display.

   Brookside Gardens’ Garden of Lights is a half-mile walk through a landscape of almost a million twinkling colorful lights shaped in imaginative displays throughout the gardens. Enjoy the four seasons illuminated as giant summer sunflowers, autumn leaves, winter snowflakes, spring flowers, rain showers, and more.

   The show runs from Friday, November 23, 2012 through Sunday, January 6, 2013 (with the exception of December 24-25 and January 1-3). The hours are 5:30 to 9:00pm, with the last car admitted at 8:30pm. Entry is by car/van and is $20 on Mon-Thurs and $25 on Fri-Sun.

   To enter to win a vehicle pass to Brookside’s Garden of Lights Show, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on November 30 with “Brookside Lights” in the subject line and tell us: what spring-blooming bulbs you planted this fall. In the body of the email, please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on December 1.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Washington Gardener NEW Wall Calendar!

Now available!
Local DC-MD-VA Gardening Calendar from Washington Gardener Magazine.

Includes monthly task lists for local DC-MD-VA gardening and photos of gorgeous flowers from Washington, DC-area public gardens.

Great gift for yourself and any area gardeners you may know!

Order here:
Washington Gardener Wall Calendar Washington Gardener

PS Be sure to specify on the initial order page what month you wish to start the calendar with as you can customize it for any 12-month-span you like.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Back Issue Sale!

Gift yourself (or the local DC/MD/VA gardener in your life) with a set of ALL 30+ Washington Gardener Magazine back issues for just $100. This price includes postage and handling!

Your order must be prepaid by check or money order.

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


Order by December 17 to guarantee delivery by Christmas!







Social Media Sale for Small Business Saturday!



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 Washington Gardener Magazine Back Issue Sale, full details can be found in on the latest Washington Gardener Enewsletter posted here (see page 8) and also in our next blog post at http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/.

Please tell all your local gardening friends!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Scoop on Poop: Locally Sourced Manure for Your Garden





Washington Gardener Enews ~ November 2012 issue.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
~ The Full Scoop on Poop: Locally Sourced Manure for Your Garden
~ Magazine Excerpt: Going Native -- False Solomon’s Seal
~ Mid-Atlantic Garden To-Do List for November-December
~ Reader Contest: Win Passes to Brookside Gardens’ Garden of Lights Display
~ Washington Gardener's Recent Blog Post Highlights
~ Spotlights Special: First Editions® Summer Cascade™ Wisteria
~ Top Local Garden Events Calendar for October-November
~ Washington Gardener Magazine Back Issue Sale!
and much more...

The issue is also posted and archived online at:
You can access it and all of the other Washington Gardener Enews back issues online now and anytime in the future.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Post-Sandy

It is chilly and damp in the garden right now here in USDA Zone 7 – on the Washington, DC/Silver Spring, MD border. Yet, still lots of activity. Just got all my spring-blooming bulbs in and did my first raking. I switch out my windowboxes of summer annuals and put in violas. Many perennials and shrubs are in various pot ghettos awaiting planting. Here, for the monthly Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, are a few of my favorite things I see around the yard today:


I'm loving this purple alyssum is 'Blushing Princess' from Proven Winners. It kind of sat around this summer in the record heat, but really has come to life this autumn. I have it trailing over the edge of a few different pots and hanging baskets.








I sprinkled a packet of mixed cosmos seeds in the hellstrip out front in very late summer. Totally forgot about them until I saw a few blooms had actually emerged through the leaf litter.







This is the longest the beautyberries have ever stayed on for me. I'm thinking it has something to do with the bumper crop of small acorns I have. The birds are finally letting me enjoy these berries after the foliage drops off the shrub.









A red salvia is still hanging on and blooming in my gazebo baskets. Not only that it re-seeded below the baskets this summer and those off-spring are already blooming as well (see photo below). Talk about bang for your buck!








Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Video Wednesday: Wildlife Garden at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA



Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA, creates a one-acre, diverse, native meadow to foster environmentally responsible stewardship of the land. Watch the process, see the beauty and benefits! A Meadow Project production. www.themeadowproject.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Local Gardeners' Favorite Gardening Tools



For our October 2012 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, we asked folks to tell us their “favorite gardening tool.” Here are some of our favorite entries:

“I saw the contest in the current issue of Washington Gardener Enews and felt compelled to tell you about my scythe!” wrote Dean Mosher of Annandale, VA. “The European scythe is, hands down, my favorite gardening tool. Not only are they beautifully crafted hand tools, they’ve remained in use since about the dawn of agriculture. In fact, the scythe is the tool that defined what we know as the acre: the area a man can mow (using a scythe) in a single day. Mine was made in Austria by the Schröckenfux company who have been in operation since 1540. Unlike the modern gas powered push mower the scythe helps me create usable hay from my half-acre lawn rather than pulverized grass pulp. Although they require some skill and practice to use, to do so regularly keeps me in fighting shape. ‘If you keep the blade honed and peened, and know how to use one, the scythe is perhaps the most efficient and effective tool for cutting grass ever developed,’ from Why Every Permaculturist Should Own a Scythe by Paul Kingsnorth (www.permaculture.co.uk). It is quiet, simple, run on breakfast, and promotes inner peace and serenity as I work. . . or, allows me to cut the lawn while I meditate.”

“My favorite gardening tool is my cobra head weeder.  It makes weeding so much less miserable, “Madeline Caliendo, Washington, DC.”

Lucy Goszkowski of  Annapolis, MD, said. “My favorite gardening tool is my trowel with inch marks on the blade. Use it all the time for planting depth and spacing transplants. “

“My favorite gardening tool is the sturdy, wood-handled Craftsman shovel designed for kids,” wrote Ruth H. Axelrod, Frederick, MD. “It is also perfect for women! Light and easy to use, it is the perfect size for most transplanting and moving small loads of dirt around. For really small jobs, I use a trowel, but this shovel allows me to stand and put my weight on it to open a hole in the mot-always-soft ground. I hate it when I have to switch to a regular, large and heavy men's shovel for larger jobs like planting shrubs and digging up clusters perennials to be divided; of course, sometimes, I can persuade my husband to do that part of the chores ;-).”

Tom Pluecker of Annapolis, MD shared, “My favorite garden tool has always been the Corona by-pass clippers.  I keep them in a holster and use them all day for things that I am sure they were not intended to be used for. Once when I broke them I sent them back and received a new pair by return mail. Wonderful products and wonderful customer service.”

“My favorite gardening tool by far is a Corona "razor tooth" pruning saw,” said George Graine of Falls Church, VA. “The teeth are designed for precise cutting of small and medium sized branches up to 6" diameter. This ergonomically designed saw folds up so that it is only 8 1/2" and easily fits into a pocket. This is a don't leave home without it tool!”

Sarah Urdaneta of Berwyn Heights, MD, said, “My favorite gardening tool is a soil knife. I use it for everything, including planting, weeding, dividing plants, making furrows to plant seeds and lots of other garden tasks. It's tough and unbreakable with a comfortable handle that's orange so it's easy to find in the weeds, which is a definite bonus!”

Katie Rapp of Gaithersburg, MD, said, “Favorite garden tool and why: Sharp clippers! I am a big believer in naturalistic pruning and there is nothing more important than sharp clippers!”

Paul Lazar of Silver Spring, MD, wrote, “I use my pruner more than any other tool. I always keep it in my pocket while I garden. I tried to use a holster but it wasn't as
convenient.”

“My favorite tool in the garden, if I must pick one, is my long handled garden claw. It chops hard dirt, it cultivates and mixes the soil; it makes small furrows and it weeds quite handily. My claw must be over 60 years old,” said John P. Haslinger of Silver Spring, MD.

Sue Hauser of Kensington, MD said, “My favorite gardening tool is my short round-point shovel with a D handle. The proportions are perfect for my aging body. It fits in the car
trunk. It digs a great hole.”

We selected two winners at random. They are: Dean Mosher of Annandale, VA and Sarah Urdaneta of Berwyn Heights, MD. Congratulations!

Each receives a red Coronoa Tools t-shirts (size XL) and garden clippers from Corona Tools. An authentic American brand, Corona tools were born in the orange groves of California in the 1920s. Since then, generations of agriculturists, gardeners, landscapers, arborists, and construction professionals have turned to Corona to find high-quality tools that work as hard as they do. They know that Corona’s iconic red handles are an immediate symbol of quality and long-lasting durability. Learn more about CoronaTools at http://coronatoolsusa.com/.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Video: Save Seeds Before Winter



Another video from our vaults at MonkeySee.com...

Save Seeds Before Winter
In this video, Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, demonstrates how to save seeds before winter. I hope you are saving and carefully labeling your seeds for our upcoming Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchanges this coming January/February!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Chrysanthemums: You Can Grow That!



Chrysanthemums: the Golden Flower
By Kathy Jentz

I’ll confess I had a longtime aversion to chrysanthemums. Both their smell and commonness turned me off. But recently I had a change of heart. I discovered a whole new world of mum growing that goes far beyond those boring mums sold in bunches at your local supermarkets.

Chrysanthemums are an asset to any perennial garden. They provide quiet foliage all through the growing season and then set bloom right when most everything else is finished. From gold to pink to white and maroon, there is a color for every planting scheme. Don’t limit yourself to just the pompon cushion variety either. A personal favorite of mine mum is the Sheffield Pink, which looks like a peach-colored daisy on tall stems. It is terrific for cutting and is especially nice planted next to Autumn Joy sedum.

The flower is significant in many world cultures. The name “Chrysanthemum” is derived from the Greek, chrysos (gold) and anthos (flower). Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC. In many countries, it is associated with funerals and grief. In the United States, mums are generally seen as a cheerful bloom. The flowers have medicinal, culinary, and insecticidal properties – aside from their ornamental attributes.

According to Gary Mangum, president of Bell Nursery, who supplies plants to Home Depot throughout the Mid-Atlantic, “Yellow is the most popular mum color for us.” Bell Nursery has taken the love of mums to the next level by breeding giant mums that are upwards of three feet across! “We find that people get instant gratification by covering a lot of area and getting a lot of color with fewer plants,” said Mangum. “We have seen a huge growth in the popularity of the giant mums each year they are in the stores.” Home Depot expects to sell 30,000 of the giant mums in the region this year, doubling last year’s sales, as well as selling 500,000 of Bell Nursery’s regular sized mums.

Whether giant or mini or in between, mums deserve a place in your garden. Here are some chrysanthemum growing tips:
  • Mums are ideal container plants and can then be planted after blooming.
  • Be sure you select plants that are cold hardy and healthy.
  • Plant in full sun and give them space. They need good air circulation.
  • Every three years divide the plants in spring.
  • They need good drainage and a light mulching in spring helps.
  • Pinch them back before July to create compact, bushy plants with more blooms.
  • Provide extra mulch in fall for winter protection and do not cut them back until early spring when some new basal growth begins to emerge.
  • A hard frost will turn the blooms brown, so if you know a freeze is predicted, you can give them protection to prolong the bloom life by covering with a frost blanket.
Both Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, and Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, hold chrysanthemum shows each autumn. The displays include a variety of chrysanthemum colors and forms – from cascading baskets to topiary to single, large blossoms. Plan a visit to one or both to get an overview of the mums available to you.

If you find yourself growing more interested in breeding and cultivating chrysanthemums, you may want to join a local mum enthusiast group.

The Potomac Chrysanthemum Society (PCS). The club holds an annual plant sale each May in various locations around the beltway. All plants are $1.25 and selection is wide. The club also hosts monthly meetings at the Twinbrook Library in Rockville, MD, and other regular events such as a plant exchange. For more information, contact the PCS President Warren Pfeiffer at Potomac@mums.org.

The Old Dominion Chrysanthemum Society is based in Alexandria, VA, meets monthly at the Falls Church Community Center in Falls Church, VA. For details, contact Jim Dunne at jim.dunne@mums.org.

About the Author:

Kathy Jentz is editor/publisher of Washington Gardener magazine. Washington Gardener magazine, is a new 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 quarterly with a cover price of $4.99. A year’s subscription is $20.00 — that’s a savings of almost 40% off the per issue price. 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 www.WashingtonGardener.com.
     Washington Gardener magazine also makes a great gift for the gardeners and new home owners in your life.




All who are involved with You Can Grow That! (YCGT!) believe that plants and gardening enhance our quality of life. We want people to be successful with what they grow and to become more aware of the many gifts that horticulture brings. Find out more at http://www.youcangrowthat.com/.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Fenton Friday: Sandy Ends the Season

Hurricane Sandy came through the Mid-Atlantic earlier this week and we got off fairly lucky. For me, it was a few large tree limbs down, some roof leaks, and a bunch of shredded tropical plants to clean up.

At my Fenton Community Garden plot, anything that was standing is down (tomato cages, trellis, plot markers). Anything covered by insulating fabric was exposed and needed to be re-pinned. I'm at the top of the sloping garden site so the mulch on the beds and pathways also went to the bottom of the garden, along with some nice top soil.

It is about time to pull out the last of the summer crops in any case. I have a few lettuce plants coming in. I left in the carrots to see if they will sweeten up any after we get some frosts and I have a row of asparagus that will stay so it can mature for future harvests. The spinach and broccoli are in good shape as well. I plan to put in few rows of garlic also as soon as the hurricane-soaked soil dries out a bit.

 This will be my last weekly report from the Fenton garden in 2012. I plan to be back in the plot and regularly checking in next March.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Video: All Animations Building a Park Out of Waste Designing for Active Living The Edible City Energy Efficient Home Landscapes From Industrial Wasteland to Community Park Infrastructure for All Revitalizing Communities with Parks Leveraging the Landscape to Manage Water Urban Forests = Cleaner, Cooler Air Related Projects Crosswaters Ecolodge Garden/Garden — A Comparison in Santa Monica Lily Lake Residence NE Siskiyou Green Street Nueva School Designing Neighborhoods for People and Wildlife

Designing Neighborhoods for People and Wildlife from ASLA on Vimeo.

Yesterday, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in Washington, DC, released an animation that promotes the values of landscaping with native plants to support local wildlife, and it is now live on ASLA's web site:http://www.asla.org/sustainablelandscapes/Vid_Wildlife.html an is posted above. The key advisors for the animation are Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, and Ann English, ASLA, the Rainscapes Coordinator at Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Environmental Protection.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seed Packs for Trick-or-Treaters


I always like to give something on Halloween in addition to candy. Sometimes it is cool pencils or stickers. Other years I give out small toys. This year I went through my boxes of extra seed packs and sorted out ones I thought kids would enjoy growing or that had a fun autumnal look -- from pumpkins to carrots to sunflowers to funky gourds. I got out my box of scrapbooking supplies and found a "Happy Halloween" stamp. I stamped some card-sized paper samples then stapled them to the top of the seed packs. I think they turned out pretty nicely. Next year, I'll try to remember to make these a few weeks in advance of the Halloween holiday to give out at any events Washington Gardener Magazine may exhibit at as a nice booth freebie for kids and adults.

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Corona Contest - Deadline Pushed Back Due to Sandy

For our October 2012 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, we are giving away red t-shirts (size XL) and garden clippers from Corona Tools.

An authentic American brand, Corona tools were born in the orange groves of California in the 1920s. Since then, generations of agriculturists, gardeners, landscapers, arborists, and construction professionals have turned to Corona to find high-quality tools that work as hard as they do. They know that Corona’s iconic red handles are an immediate symbol of quality and long-lasting durability. Learn more about CoronaTools at http://coronatoolsusa.com/.

To enter to win a Corona T-shirt and garden clippers, send an email with “Coronoa” in the subject line to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Tuesday, October 30 Sunday, November 4. In the body of the email please include your full name, email, mailing address, and tell us: “Your Favorite Gardening Tool and Why.” The winners will be announced and notified by November 6. Some of the entry responses may be used in future Washington Gardener online or print articles.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fenton Friday: Weeds and Last of the Potatoes

Pumpkin vine blossom
Spent some time in my garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden weeding and cleaning up some of the spent cucumber and melon vines. I did note that my Spinach is growing tall with nice foliage, but no heads forming yet. My pumpkin vine decided finally to set a flower (pictured) but unless we have the mildest winter weather, it is a waste of the plant's effort. Yeah, this has been a crazy year as far as timing.




I also weeded a bit as with other things ending, it is very obvious where weeds like Mares Tail and other nasty plants have snuck in underneath and behind the "good" plants. And they have the nerve to  be starting to set seed!

German Butterball potatoes
I dug my last German Butterball row of potatoes up too. Leaving these in all season paid off as I have far more yield from these than the plants I dug up mid-summer.

Video: How to Winterize Your Vegetable Garden



For 3+ days, I've bee trying to get my photos and video of the White House kitchen garden to upload so I can edit and share them with you all. I think I'll give that a break for now and hope that happens over the weekend so I can share them next week. Meanwhile, I'm postng this video from the Washington Gardener Magazine/MonkeySee.com vaults on "How to Winterize Your Vegetable Garden."
.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Growing Moss Gardens and Lawns ~ Washington Gardener Enews ~ October 2012


The Washington Gardener Enews ~ October 2012 is now out and being emailed as a PDF to all current Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
~ Growing Moss Gardens and Lawns
~ Magazine Excerpt:
Knights in Muddy T-Shirts -- A Garden Rescue
~ Mid-Atlantic Garden To-Do List for October-November
~ Reader Contest: Win Garden Clippers and T-Shirts from Corona Tools by telling us Your Favorite Garden Tools
~ Washington Gardener's Recent Blog Post Highlights
~ Spotlights Special: New October Magic™ Dawn (Camellia sasanqua) from Southern Living Plants
~ Top Local Garden Events Calendar for October-November
~ Washington Gardener Magazine Back Issue Sale!
and much more... 

The issue is also posted and archived online at:
so you can access it anytime.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fenton Friday: Absent Gardener

 
I was away this past week at the Garden Writers Association annual symposium in Tucson, AZ. I had a great time networking, taking classes, and touring desert gardens, but I have to say I am so glad to be home where things grow lushly and almost effortlessly. I have about 500 photos from the trip I'm sharing shortly over at the http://www.facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine page -- from variegated figs (the fruit not the foliage) to the true blue cactus -- I think you'll enjoy the photo album.

Between unpacking and catching up on piles of mails, emails, phone messages, etc., I ran over to my community garden plot to see how things were growing. This green eating machine (pictured above) was on a broccoli plant that somehow was outside the Remay cloth cover I had placed over the row in order to protect them from critters such as this one. I suppose while I was gone the wind and rains may have exposed it and it did not take long for the greedy insects to descend upon it. Glad I was there today to pick him and a smaller brother off and to re-cover the plant. Maybe I'll actually be able to have some home-grown broccoli to enjoy this fall!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Video Wednesday: Espoma



What do you think of Espoma's new campaign launch to overthrow the "Big Brother" of lawn care with its organic alternatives? This plays off the classic Apple Macintosh commercial, which itself was inspired by George Orwell's novel 1984.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fenton Friday: Melon Madness!

After waiting all summer, NOW my honeydew melon and cantaloupe become ripe. Here is my 'Hearts of Gold' cantaloupe cut open with honeydew behind it. Several more are still forming on the vines, though I doubt I'll be the frost to be able to eat those.

This one was quite tasty. My little cat, Versace, also enjoyed a few small pieces of it. You'll have to take my word on that though as every time I tried to get a good shot of him and the cantaloupe together, he would run away. He is a stinker like that.

Enjoy this weekend! What is ripening in your garden plot?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Video Wednesday: Fall Gardening



Local Master Gardener Kent Phillips talks about planting in the fall and overwintering plants through the cold months of the year. Many people think that gardening season is over when summer ends, but you can continue planting in autumn and produce delicious vegetables.

This video is brought to you by the Home and Garden Information Center, part of University of Maryland Extension. provides resources and encourages people to start their own food gardens.
http://www.growit.umd.edu/

Learn about our Grow It Eat It campaign, check out our facebook page for more gardening advice:
http://www.facebook.com/UMDHGIC#!/GIEIMaryland

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Fenton Friday: Too Many Tomatillo

Purple Tomatillo
I grew one Purple Tomatillo plant at my community garden plot and it waited until now to all ripen at the same time. Which is great, if I had any plans for them, but, in truth, I just grew them because they are pretty and the seedling plant was free to me. So any suggestions or recipes?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Video Wednesday: Maryland Master Gardener Larry Kloze





This week, I thought I'd share this inspiring video about a local master gardener.

"Master Gardener Larry Kloze shares his experiences with urban gardening and community gardening as a part of the University of Maryland Extension program in Baltimore, Maryland"

Summer 2012 Washington Gardener Magazine

Our Summer 2012 Washington Gardener Magazine issue is now out. The cover story is on Tropical Gardens — from hardy exotic plants to native look-a-likes. You can create a cool paradise in your own yard.

You’ll also find in this issue:
• Watermelon Growing Tips
• Canna Plant Profile
• Do Gardens Convey?
• Diagnosing Southern Blight on Sage
• An Interview with City Blossom’s Lola Bloom and Rebecca Lemos
• Deer Deterrent Tips
• A DayTrip to an Historic Treasure: Gunston Hall in Virginia
• How to Simplify in the Garden
• Columbine Leaf Miner
• False Solomon’s Seal
• Before-After of a Plant Collector’s Garden Sale
• And much, much more...

To subscribe, send a check for $20.00 payable to Washington Gardener Magazine today to:   
                    Washington Gardener
                    826 Philadelphia Ave.
                    Silver Spring, MD 20910  
or go to www.washingtongardener.com/index_files/subscribe.htm and use our PayPal credit card link.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fenton Friday: Sweet Potato Bounty

I dug out the Sweet Potatoes from my community garden plot today. I grew one hill of 'Beauregard' and the other of 'All Purple.' Both from slips courtesy of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. As you can see by the pictures, one variety is much bigger than the other. I think 'Beauregard' should be renamed 'Big Boy.' I'm now curing them in my sunroom.




As I carried the big harvest basket across the street back to my house, I was stopped by a young student walking to Montgomery College down the street. "What beautiful colors!" she exclaimed. And indeed, my garden haul today, in addition to the sweet potatoes, was a lovely combination of the latest fall fashion hues.
 



Here is a Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber (Melothria scabra). I grew it at my community garden plot and finally got a few tiny guys to show for it this past week. I ate one - very nice - more like a pickle than a cucumber.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Video Wednesday: Sensitive Fern



Sensitive Fern (Mimosa pudica) is an unusual plant that responds to touch. Have you ever petted a plant? This was films at the museum shop at Monticello, Charlottesville, VA.

Garden Pet Peeves



For our September 2012 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, we asked: "What is Your Gardening Pet Peeve?" We selected randomly among the entries and the following individuals each one a set of two passes each (prize value $20+) to the upcoming DC Green Festival this week at the Washington Convention Center. Washington Gardener Magazine will be there with a booth and Editor Kathy Jentz will be hosting a talk on Cool Season Edibles on Sunday at 3pm.

Congratulations to the Winners:

~ Susi Baranano of Washington DC
~ Carrie Biggs-Adams of Colmar Manor, MD
~ Pam De Pena of Potomac Falls, VA
~ Patricia van Bergen of Boyds, MD
~ Courtney Greenley of Washington, DC
~ Sarah Urdaneta of Berwyn Heights, MD
~ Sheeba Tom of Hyattsville, MD
~ Madeline Caliendo of  Washington, DC

And now for the Gardening Pet Peeves:

I thought colored mulch was bad, that is until I saw someone in our neighborhood paint rocks (4") a bright blue to simulate a steam running through their front yard. They then painted white accents on some of the rocks, so then it was a "rushing" water....so tacky!!!!
~ Blake Schreck

By far, my biggest gardening pet peeve in the garden is the pesky POKE WEED. They grow fast and large, and their taproots are impossible to completely remove. The bane of my woodland garden, for sure.
~ Pam De Pena.
Melon thieves and vandals.
~ Ellen C. McBarnette
 
Oh easy - disappearing ink on variety labels!!!
~ Pablo Elliott

   My pet peeve is rabbits.  I have cats (2 my own) wander through my garden but they only nibble on the grass.  I have gardened in the Washington area for 50 years and I never thought rabbits would be a problem - I have always thought of them as taking a few things from Mr. MacGregor's garden!  Yet here they are munching on my tender hostas, cutting down new shoots from my blueberry bushes like they were lettuce, and being told that they will munch through anything except wire fencing!
   Since they are becoming more prolific, I have found more information on them, and seem to have found that a mesh fence will keep them out, as long as it's about 2 feet high and staked into the ground.
~ Cindy Bertaut

My garden pet peeve is WEEDS!! While the rest of my garden might be struggling due to too much or too little rain, high humidity or drying winds, and various pest and diseases, the weeds are always there, growing strong and taunting me so that if I neglect my garden for even a week, they will take over. The worst of the weeds is what I call the "Invasive Vine Cocktail", a discouraging mix of Oriental bittersweet, catbrier, Japanese honeysuckle, English ivy and various other non-natives, that are ready to pounce and smother my garden no matter how often I beat them back.
~ Sarah Urdaneta

My gardening pet peeve is when gardeners buy plants (in pots) and never transplant them into the ground. They leave them in the pots and not water them. I assume they intend to plant them or forget or get too busy or whatever. The plants eventually die in the pot.
~ Susi Baranano

Gardening Pet Peeve?  Weeding!  Especially when you have roommates that have different opinions on what a "weed" is.  
~ Courtney Greenley

My "Pet Peeve" has to do with weeds in my garden.  If my beloved plants only grew so vigorously I would be a very happy gardener!  It seems in my garden that weeding is a never ending task.  As soon as I think I've got them all up, another appears.  Perhaps its best to change my attitude about what plants are weeds!  LOL.
~ Madeline Caliendo

It pains me to write this, but my pet gardening peeve is my family.  I like to think that I've worked miracles on a site that is very large and very shady by creatively converting the front yard and lawn, the only sunny spot, into a wonderful mix of flowers, shrubs and vegetables.  I built a retaining wall using broken concrete to level out the slope, topped it with rose bushes, and placed the vegetable planters behind them so the tomato vines aren't visible from the street which would offend the neighbors.   I am currently planting a hedge of deer resistant shrubs and perennials along the street edge of the front yard, behind which I will string deer fencing to keep them out.  I think it's beautiful--the rest of my family hates it!  They want grass and conformity.  As for the large and shady backyard, I am creating small garden rooms, starting nearest the house and eventually to work further out (where it is currently a tangled mess).  I love doing this, too, and have been given full reign.  But my family asks why I can't abandon the front and return it to its former lawn glory.  My peeve:  they don't understand why a gardener might want some SUN, too!  
~ Alexa P Freeman

At farmers market when I see non seasonal fruits/vegetable with stickers mentioning "Product of Brazil/Mexico ...." we know all fruits and vegetable grow in farms, I don't get what does a local farmers market means when i see this, we can get the same in the store too Why people come to farmers market, to buy the local produce !!!
~ Raja Mohan

My Gardening Pet Peeve is Poison Ivy - How can this stuff shape shift in my yard and get me time after time?  I have just finished my THIRD course of Prednisone so far this year.  I own every concievable potion to keep from getting exposed, garden in laytex gloves, wash in TechNu and get it again.
   I can't seem to recognize it in the yard, can't wash it off me fast enough, and can't seem to develop enough immunity to it to go out and pull weeds in the yard without getting another case of POISON IVY - yes it is my gardening pet peeve. And no I did not grow up here, but I knew its cousin poison oak in California.
~ Carrie Biggs-Adams

My gardening pet peeve is toxic fertilizers; it is an oxymoron, IMO.
~ Patricia van Bergen

It looks like weeds are the clear pet peeve champions.
And your editor's gardening pet peeves? Where do I begin?
- Plant pots with no (or too small) drainage holes forcing you to get out the drill and risky personal injury.
- Inadequate plant labeling or missing labels. List if it is an aggressive spreader and of the plant's full, mature size (not just size in 5-8 years)!
- Not enough sunlight hours in the day this time of year.
- Jerky mockingbirds.
- Garden tools that are green or brown, please make them with brightly colored handles.
And, oh so many more, but I'll stop there...

So what are YOUR gardening pet peeves?
 

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As the holiday season is upon  us, I find my email inbox filling up with requests from product companies and PR companies urging me to share...