Monday, April 30, 2012

Plants I've Killed More Than Once

For this month's Washington Gardener Magazine reader contest, we asked contestants to submit that name of the garden plant that they've killed at least twice -- not on purpose. Yes, the secret is out, we gardeners are all plant killers. Not just the weeds, but also the plants we aim to grow. Sometimes we neglect them, but sometimes we plant them in the wrong place or at the wrong time of year. Other times, we do everything right, but the plants came to us so damaged they never had a chance. Here are a few connfessions:

~ "Daphne 'Carol Mackie' -- 3 times and you're out!" said Katie Rapp of Gaithersburg, MD. "I also regularly kill Heuchera and Bleeding Hearts in my shade garden."

~ George Graine of Falls Church, VA, has killed Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron' (Japanese Blood Grass) more than once.

~ "I have killed (or tried but it died) the Rose Zephirine Drouhin four times," lamented Wendy Bruno of Silver Spring, MD. "Everyone else keeps recommending it and I've got 30-35 other roses, but this one keeps failing. I know one other person who will admit to as many failures with this rose."

~ Carrie Biggs-Adams of Colmar Manor, MD confessed: "More than once I have killed my geraniums in my garden. The first winter, I left them outside (hey I am a native Californian - they just live outside all year long, year in and year out). This winter (when they probably would have survived outside in the mild temps), I potted them, moved them inside made it almost to spring and then killed them when I moved them back outside and it got too hot/dry and they died!"

~ "I have repeatedly killed (not on purpose) cactus," said Madeline Caliendo of Washington, DC. "It is either too much or too little water that I provide. Can never seem to get the right balance."

~ "Lupines!!!" said Joe Schechter of Silver Spring, MD. "I know we're at the southern end of their range, but my wife loves them. So, I've tried growing them at least three times in the last few years and never have much to show for my effort. Even when they come up, I've not ended up with flower spikes. Yikes!"

~ "I seem to have consistently killed Mountain Laurels (Kalmias)," shared Mike Salapka of Rockville, MD. "One very old one that came with the property has survived and bloomed consistently, but new plants that I have added to the garden have had a tough time of it."

The winner of this month's reader contest, chosen at random from among the submitted entries, is Wendy Bruno. She wins a copy of the new book, Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

So what plants have YOU killed more than once in your efforts to grow them?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fenton Friday: Good Signs

Every time I visit my community garden plot, I see ladybugs among my plantings. This one, pictured above, is on a stake supporting my Sweet Peas. I take this as a very good sign that things are cooking along nicely in my little plot. Not much else new to report. We had some chillier temps and finally some decent rains, so everything is growing a bit taller and fuller this week. Next week I fear may be a serious weed-sprouting extravaganza, but we shall see.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Win the Official Cherry Blossom Festival Book

For our April 2012 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away a copy of Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival to one lucky winner chosen at random.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the mayor of Tokyo to our nation’s capital, the National Geographic Society has published this definitive guide, Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Discover the storied history of how this gift of friendship between nations has blossomed into a National Festival attended by millions. Enjoy the sumptuous photography — as a memory of a cherished experience or as an appreciation of something fine and beautiful that is a rite of spring in Washington, DC. Hardcover; 224 pages.

To enter to win a copy of the official National Cherry Blossoms Festival book (valued at $30), send an email to by 5:00pm on April 30 with “Cherry Blossoms” in the subject line and tell us: What planted have you killed more than once in your garden? In the body of the email, please also include your full name and mailing address. The winner will be announced and notified by May 2.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Video Wednesday: Community Garden Ramble

Join me on a short stroll around my local community garden to see what everyone is growing in mid-April in downtown Silver Spring, MD -- solid zone 7.

FONA Garden Fair

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) Garden Fair and Plant Sale

Member Hours: Friday, April 27, 10 AM to 1 PM*
Public Hours: Friday, April 27, 1 PM to 4 PM and Saturday, April 28, 9 AM to 4 PM
One of the largest garden fairs in the area, the FONA garden fair and plant sale will have tons of landscaping plants, houseplants, edibles, garden crafts, and other items from local and national wholesale growers. Plus, the azaleas will be in bloom and you will want to bring your camera to take a walk among the Arboretum's collections.

This year’s sale also includes more than 600 books on horticulture, garden design and designers, landscape architecture and garden travel from the library of longtime FONA board member and garden designer Sally Boasberg, who died last month.

The sale is at the New York Avenue entrance at 3501 New York Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Washington Gardener Magazine will be there once again. We'll have current and back issues for sale as well as being able to sign you up for subscriptions and take your renewals. We'll also have FREE seeds to give out while supplies last.
More details about the event are here:

*Note that you can sign up right on-site and come in as a FONA member, so don't let the "member hours" dissuade you from attending on the first morning. Members get first pick and enjoy some discounts.

UPDATE: Forgot to post that FONA members get 10% off new subscriptions to Washington Gardener Magazine when done at the FONA Garden Fair -- $18 instead of the normal $20.

Friday, April 20, 2012

See Us in Leesburg!

Historic Downtown Leesburg, VA, will once again be in full bloom as lush landscapes and gorgeous gardens fill the streets. On April 21st and 22nd, over 150 vendors will be on display, featuring landscape designs, gardening supplies, outdoor living items, plants, flowers, herbs and so much more! Stroll through the streets and take in the sights and sounds of springtime. Whether gathering ideas for your new outdoor patio, stocking up on gardening supplies, or searching for a perfect gift for the avid gardener in your life, this event has something for everyone! The event runs from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.

Washington Gardener Magazine will be there once again. We are located just inside the Lightfoot Lot. (Next to the long-line at the bank ATM!) We'll have current and back issues for sale as well as being able to sign you up for subscriptions and take your renewals. We'll also have FREE seeds to give out while supplies last.

More details about the event are here:

Fenton Friday: Seedlings Emerge!

Over at my Fenton Community Garden plot, the radish seedlings have emerged, the potatoes are poking up, the sweet peas are climbing their poles, and the calendula that wintered over is in bloom.

Today, I added a few rows of 'Little Finger' carrots and a lettuce mix.

It is actually looking pretty good over at the garden. Everyone's plot is weeded and fresh compost-mulch added. All in all, a very promising start to the growing season.

Radish seedlings

Potatoes emerge

Sweet Peas climbing

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tulip Garden Promotes Breast Cancer Awareness

Caribou Coffee pays tribute to those touched by breast cancer at Brookside Gardens

Guest Blog by Jessica DiGennaro

On Tuesday, April 10, Caribou Coffee celebrated the blooming dedication of Amy's National Garden of Hope -- which was planted as a tribute to Amy Erickson, a beloved Caribou roastmaster who valiantly fought breast cancer and others who have been touched by the disease -- with a Spring Garden Party at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD.

As part of Caribou's 17-year Amy's Blend program to celebrate Amy and raise awareness around breast cancer, Caribou Coffee brought her favorite flower - the tulip - to the nation's capital with a commemorative planting last fall. To engage the larger community to rally around this important cause, Caribou invited consumers to go online and submit a dedication in support of finding a cure via Facebook. For every submission that was made online, a real tulip was planted in Amy's National Garden of Hope.

With the third Amy's Garden in full bloom, Caribou invited members of the local community to honor Amy and those touched by breast cancer to this special event, where guests of all ages painted flower pots and planted their own tulips to take home as a lasting memory.

About the Author:
Jessica DiGennaro is with Ruder Finn, Inc., New York, NY. She can be reached at P: 212.583.2766 or E:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Video Wednesday: A Spring Rain

A spring rain (finally!) in the gardens of Washington Gardener Magazine's headquarters in downtown Silver Spring, MD.

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Propagate Plants from Softwood Cuttings ~ Washington Gardener Enews ~ April 2012

Washington Gardener Enews ~ April 2012


~ How to Propagate Plants from Softwood Cuttings

~ Magazine Excerpt: Green Roofs and Walls

~ Mid-Atlantic Garden To-Do List for April-May

~ Reader Contest: Win a copy of “Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival”

~ Washington Gardener's Recent Blog Post Highlights

~ Spotlights Special: New BrazelBerries™ Collection of small ornamental fruit shrubs

~ Top Local Garden Events Calendar for April-May

~ Washington Gardener Magazine Back Issue Sale!

and much more...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April 2012

Tulip 'Margarita'
Another sunny, gorgeous Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I'm grateful for the warm temps, but have to say the constant winds and total lack of rain is starting to really depress me. I am so far behind on garden chores as all I have time to do now is get out and water just to keep things barely alive. A good soaking rain on a work day this week would be a Godsend to the entire Mid-Atlantic region of the USA.

Alyssum 'Basket of Gold'

Meanwhile, I thought I'd use this GDDB to share a few things in bloom that folks who visit my garden are asking about. Enjoy and let me know what is blooming in YOUR garden too!

Variegated Solomon's Seal

Friday, April 13, 2012

See Us on Saturday

See Washington Gardener Magazine at two events this Saturday, 4/14.
Stop by our table to subscribe, renew, and buy the current issue.

~ Beltsville Garden Club Spring Plant Sale from 8am-12noon* in the parking lot of High Point High School, 3601 Powder Mill Road, Beltsville, MD.  
Details at:

~ Downtown Silver Spring Community Day from 2-5pm on Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring, MD.
Details at:

*This event may end earlier as vendors pack up and leave as soon as they sell out of their inventory.

Fenton Friday: Radish Rush

Finally got my radish seeds in today. I put in three short rows of 'Cherry Belle.' With weather as crazy as it has been so far this year, we shall see if anything becomes of them. These past few weeks have been constant winds, very little rain, and fluctuating temps. The forecast is for a high of 85 on Sunday. Nice to be out in, but rough on the cool-season vegetables.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

See You at the Camellia Show!

Washington Gardener Magazine will have a table at the 58th Annual Camellia Society Show and Sale, sponsored by the Camellia Society of Potomac Valley, today Saturday, April 7, during the 1-4pm show and sale hours at the Visitors Center Auditorium, Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD.

Stop by to subscribe, renew, buy single issues, or just to say, "Hi!"


Friday, April 06, 2012

Fenton Friday: At Last, Asparagus!

Asparagus baby in trench
I finally planted three Asparagus starts at my Fenton Community Garden plot. (See photo here.) I say "finally" as I should have done so last year when we first got into the plots. As it is now, I have to wait 3 more years until I can harvest and eat them. Will I have the patience these next few years to not pick and eat them all? We'll see.

Sweet Pea seedlings

Meanwhile, my row of Sweet Peas are coming up, but none of my Sugar Snap Peas are showing themselves.  I fear this is due to the total lack of rain these past few weeks and that we have no water access yet at the garden and are still awaiting the cistern hook-up. I hand-watered a few times, but my guess is not enough and that the peas have dried out :-(.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

You Can Grow That! - Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Got a dry, shade spot in your garden where nothing else will grow? Mine is under the eaves on the east-facing side of my house next to two large oak trees. When it does rain, it rarely reaches the ground. What little that does is sucked up by the oaks. So this is where I set up my potting bench. I also am always looking for any plants that will survive in this dark, dry place. 

When I picked up some Lily of the Valley pips from a garden club plant exchange, I wanted a spot for them that was well away from other planting beds as I had been warned about how this plant can take-over and be very aggressive. I put them in the dry shade area just to get them in the ground.

To my surprise, not only did they survive but they actually thrived. Just plant them and forget about them. They will take care of themselves. I highly recommend this sweet, little flowers to beginning gardeners who want an easy success to give them confidence to tackle more labor-intensive plantings.


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.

Monday, April 02, 2012

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...