Friday, June 29, 2012

Video Wednesday: Smithsonian FolkLife Fest 2012

Okay, technically this was taken on Wednesday afternoon, first day of the Smithsonian FolkLife Fest 2012, but just getting online now so I'll still list it as a "Video Wednesaday" entry. I'm going to blame staying for the funk concert featuring George Clinton for the delay as I'm still recovering from it :-)

June Reader Contest

For our June 2012 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener Magazine is giving away a stunning Black Rose Necklace from Minou Bazaar (a $26 value).
   What a dramatic and moody necklace! A vintage black acrylic rose dangles darkly from an exotic gold-plated scrolled design. The back of the rose is flat. The pendant is strung on a 17" black-coated chain, which is secured by a vintage brass lobster clasp. The necklace is created by Minou Bazaar: Minour Bazaar is a local, woman-owned business, based in Alexandria, VA, that makes handmade, Indian-inspired jewelry using vintage and contemporary materials.
   To enter to win the necklace, send an email with “Black Rose” in the subject line to by 5:00pm on Saturday, June 30. In the body of the email please include your full name, email, mailing address, and tell us: What is your favorite summer edible? The necklace winner will be announced and notified by July 2. Some of the entry responses may be used in future online or print articles.

Fenton Friday: "Git R Done" Week

Taking advantage of the cooler temps after a huge storm last Friday, I finally was able to get a bunch of small things done in the community garden plot that I'd had on my To-Do list for several weeks including:
- weeded
- re-strung and re-set the border plots' border edge markers
- added a second layer of compost over the potatoes, which were starting to show above ground
- planted sweet potato slips
- planted small seedling cosmos
- planted nasturtium from seed
- added plant labels to anything that was missing one
- tied up the growing tomatoes and peppers
- started corn, watermelon, honeydew, pumpkin, and cantaloupe from seed
- planted okra, cucumber, and a few more tomato seedlings
I may be a bit late in the season for some of these tasks, but I figure in September I should have a real bountiful harvest! 

I have also been watering thoroughly and harvesting carrots and lettuce every day for evening salads and sharing with other gardeners

Now that it is HOT again (100+ temps expected today and through the weekend), I'm so glad I got all this done earlier in the week.

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Pollinator Gardens Issue Out

Our Spring 2012 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out to all current subscribers. The cover story is on Pollinator Gardens from butterflies to birds to bees.

You’ll also find in this issue:
• A DayTrip to the Brent and Becky’s Bulb in Gloucester, VA
• Perennial Plant of the Year: Brunnera
• Carrot Rust Fly
• Garden Photo Contest Winners
• An English Garden Story
• How to Make a Seed Tape
• Profile of a Tulip Farmer
• Precautions about Hazardous Chemicals in our Garden Tools
• Mosquito Season Tips
• A Wrap-Up of Local Gardening Events
• Before-After of a Balcony Garden
• And much, much more...
   To subscribe, go to and use our PayPal credit card link or send a check $20 to Washington Gardener Magazine, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring MD 20910.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Fenton Friday: Garlic Harvest

Pulled up my garlic cloves today before the storms rolled in and planted 'Straight 8' cucumber seedlings in their place.

Picking whole heads of lettuce every day this week in the record heat. Not gone bitter or to seed yet, but am expecting it to be to do any day now.

Also been plucking a few ripe tomatoes every few days this week off my 'Sweet 100' plant. These are currant-sized and are indeed very sweet. 

Sweet 100 tomato

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Video Wednesday: Well-Fed

Well-Fed TRAILER from Anna Moot-Levin on Vimeo.

This week is BIG in my neighborhood, it is the 10th annual AFI Silverdocs Festival. Hundreds of earnest, young-ish filmmakers take over downtown Silver Spring, MD. They are seeking a distribution deal and/or to learn more from each other about making great documentaries. They are also watching hundreds of each others' works. I attend the lunch-time shorts each day and most are terrific. Almost all expose you to a secret world you'd never encounter in real life from the hard-core fandom of the Insane Clown Posse to a man who makes sex robots to the secret life of cats.

The clip above is a trailer from one of the shorts I viewed today. Well-Fed is a documentary short by Anna Moot-Levin. She describes it as, "A journey into the world of carnivorous plants and their devoted caretakers." She spoke a bit after today's screening. The documentary was shot on real 16mm film which gives it a sumptuous look. Because film is so expensive to process, she shot a total of 40 minutes of footage for the final 6-minute film and planned each shot well in advance. Her subjects seem very at ease in front of the camera and she said that is due to two factors: 1. she interviewed them in their own gardens -- settings they felt comfortable and in-control in; and, 2. she first interviewed them via audio recording without a camera present so that they could tell their stories without distraction.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Planting and Maintaining Wildflowers ~ Washington Gardener Enews ~ June 2012

Washington Gardener Enews ~ June 2012


~ Planting and Maintaining Wildflowers

~ Magazine Excerpt: Yields from Yacon Tubers

~ Mid-Atlantic Garden To-Do List for June-July

~ Reader Contest: Win a stunning Black Rose Necklace from Minou Bazaar

~ Washington Gardener's Recent Blog Post Highlights

~ Spotlights Special: New raspberry releases from Cornell University

~ Top Local Garden Events Calendar for June-July

~ Washington Gardener Magazine Back Issue Sale!

and much more...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Hydrangea Heaven

Wish I had kept the tags with most of these, apologies for not having IDs to go with the picks. BTW despite everyone in my area (Zone 7, just outside Washington, DC in Silver Spring, MD) claiming they have verry acidic soil, I think my pink and turning-to-pink blooms tell a far different tale. I have 5 big oaks that drop vast amounts of leaves every fall, what I think moves our soil to alkaline though is all the brick and construction dust built up over decades.

So what is blooming in YOUR garden this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day?

Fenton Friday: My First Carrot!

Pepper forming on 'Mini-Bell'
sweet pepper plant
A lot of changes in my community garden plot this week. Put in several tomato and pepper plants. Added 3 orphan strawberry plants left by the cistern. I moved the basil together to where the radishes had been.

Lettuce forming nice clumps

Lettuce has not bolted yet (yay) and I'm cutting that daily to eat and to give away. Potato plants are getting chewed on by something, but not too badly. Garlic is almost ready to pull, but will give it a week or so more.

'Little Finger' carrot next
to my pinkie finger
I had not been paying much attention to my short rows of 'Little Finger' carrots, except to occasionally water and thin them. Today, I noticed one had its "shoulders" above the soil so I gave it a good yank and was surprised to see an already full-grown carrot! Never had any luck with carrots before. I think the raised beds and picking a short/dwarf variety was the key. I ate it right there -- tasted carrot-y sweet with a bit of a kick at the end a la radish! Will check on and harvest others as I see their tops surfacing. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Video Wednesday: High Speed Garden Re-Do

The Charlie Bowman Garden at 9117 Flower Ave in Silver Spring, MD, was recently re-done by the Four Seasons Garden Club and overseen by Pure Energy Real Estate team. You'll be able to read a behind the scenes story on this garden before-after in our Summer 2012 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine.

Monday, June 11, 2012

5th Annual DC Plant Swap This Saturday!

5th Annual DC Plant Swap Details
hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine

What: A Plant Swap -- bring and receive free plants to expand your garden

Why: Free Plants! Last chance to do so before the season heats up.

Date: Saturday, June 16

Time: starting at 10am bring your plants for sorting by category (shade perennial, groundcover, herb, etc.) -- swap starts promptly at 10:30am -- do not be late (the swap goes fast and can be over in a matter of minutes!) - after swapping, we can socialize, snack, buy farmer's market goodies, and trade more info on the plants we brought - we plan to conclude and be cleaned up by 11:00am. so you will have the rest of the day to plant and enjoy your Saturday.

Place: H Street Farmers Market at H & 13th NE -- near Union Station
(the market runs from 9am-12n)
NOTE NEW LOCATION!!! No longer at 8th Street!

Who: anyone is welcome as are any of your friends, relatives, or neighbors -- it is FREE -- feel free to forward on this invitation

How: be prepared to BRIEFLY introduce yourself and describe your plant swap offerings

~ a name tag - home-made or from work or school -- whatever works
~ pen and paper - you will want to take lots of notes as folks describe the plants and their growing conditions
~ plants to swap - pot them up NOW -- the longer they can get settled in their pots, the better their chance of success and survival - (no plants to share? see note below)
~ labels - fully label all your swap plants with as much info as you have - optimally that will include: common and scientific name, amount of sun needed, amount of water needed, any other special care notes, and color of the blooms (if it is not currently in flower)
What NOT to bring: common orange daylilies* and any invasive species - use this list to screen your plant offerings
*Hybrid daylilies are fine and totally welcome, but the common orange ones (aka Ditch Lilies) usually end up with no takers and we end up having to throw them into compost.

What if you do not have plants to swap? Come anyway! Bring refreshments like cold drinks and yummy finger foods to share with the other swappers:-) Be sure to also bring cups, napkins, utensils, serving spoons, etc., if your food item requires those for consuming it.

A BIG thanks to FreshFarm Markets for hosting us and giving us the space to do this. Don't forget to shop at the market before and/or after the swap!

How to Submit a Local Garden Event Listing

Washington Gardener Magazine's monthly enewsletter features a listing of local garden-related events. We receive thousands of emails per day (no exaggeration!) and hundreds of event listings each week. We only list garden-related events in the Washington, DC region (DC, MD,  and VA plus parts of DE, WV, and PA), If you want yours to stand out from the crowd and make it on the list, please follow these simple instructions:

To submit an event for this listing, please contact: and put “Event” in the email subject head. Our next deadline is June 12 for the June 15 edition of this enewsletter featuring events taking place from June 16-July 15.
The next deadline after that is July 12 for the July 15 edition of this enewsletter featuring events taking place from July 16-August 15.

And so on...

Friday, June 08, 2012

What Plant Do You Regret?

Tansy by Georg Slickers
For our May 2012 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, we asked our entrants to tell us “what plant you regret adding to your garden and why.” Here are a few of the answers:

“Plumbago: I love the look of this plant but it has taken over the bed that it is in and it gets tangled in the bushes it is next to and is too tall to go well with the plant it was paired with. It is a very persistent plant and keeps coming back even though we have dug it out over and over again.”

“What I regret adding to my garden and why: variegated vinca, obedient plant, and river oats: they are aggressive, out grow other valued plants and all over the place. River oats in the worst as it has to be dug out. All were ‘pass-along plants’ given to me by well-meaning friends.”

“There aren't any plants that I regret planting. Most of the plants in my garden are edible so I get to enjoy and eat what I grow.”

“Kniphofia uvaria - because:
• bloom time is very short
• for 11 months of the year, the plant is only an ugly tangles mass of leaves
• takes up too much space for such a little blooming, messy plant”

“I regret planting catmint and yellow yarrow. Both look weedy and smell bad to me. The catmint is aggressive and I fight to keep it under control. I should just pull it all out and put something I like in its place, but there it is again, year after year. The yellow yarrow is out of place in my garden. It's the only yellow in a garden of blue and purple and pink. I like the foliage better than the flower. I'm also not fond of the orange lilies... again, weedy and aggressive and the deer often eat the buds before they flower.”

“Worst plant choice EVER: TANSY!!! Back when I was enamored of having an herb garden with all the Shakespearean herbs, I planted Tansy. What a huge mistake! While a pretty plant with nice foliage, INVASIVE doesn’t begin to describe it! Worse than mint, as bad as Kudzu. it took me 4 YEARS to get rid of all of it. That includes starting with pulling up the parent plants, putting a tarp covered with bags of mulch (e.g., MORE plastic) over the entire bed for the next year (then remove mulch and tarp and spread mulch THICKLY—6-12” deep—over bed), and diligently rooting out every volunteer that popped up after that. Heaven help you if you miss one or let it bloom. What a nightmare!”

“I regret planting corn, which attracted deer and even more stink bugs.”

“Hmmm, I don't know that I've ever regretted any plants I've added to my garden, but if I had to choose, I'd say it would have to be radicchio -- mainly because I don't like it. It grew beautifully, but I was put off by the bitterness of it, and since I didn't use it, it was just taking up valuable space in my garden. The moral of this story: Plant what you like!”

So what plants do YOU regret adding to your garden?

The winners of the Reader Contest, chosen at random from among all the submitted entries, are:
~ Antoine Quichocho
~ Katie Rapp
~ Robin Yaure
~ Kitten Reames
~ Ray Novitske

Congratulations to all! They each receive a set of two passes to the Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy live butterfly exhibit in Wheaton, MD. Running daily through mid-September, from 10:00am to 4:00pm, Brookside Gardens South Conservatory features live butterflies. Come witness the butterfly life cycle as tiny eggs hatch into crawling, chewing caterpillars, which then encase themselves in jewel-like chrysalides and emerge as sipping, flying adult butterflies. Learn about the best annual and tropical plants, and hardy shrubs that are used as nectar sources to attract butterflies to your own garden.

Fenton Friday: Transition Week

bolting radish
This was a week of transition in my community garden plot. As the season starts to heat up, my cool-season edibles are starting to flag. On Sunday, I ripped out all the pea vines as they were slowing down and starting to yellow. As I pulled them out, I harvest another 2 pounds of peas.

Today my radishes start to bolt*, so I yanked all those out too. Must have had at least 50 left, I have been giving them out to whomever likes a bit of "bite" with their salads. I moved the basil that had self-sowed about my plot to the space where the radish had been.

My lettuces are all still looking great. But I fear this weekend's predicted heat and the lack of shade cover from the pea vines, will start them to bolting next. I cut a clump everyday and eat as much as I can and also give it away by the bag full. I wish I could freeze for late summer BLTs!

Next week will be tomato and pepper seedling planting and lots of other new things going in from seed. What is growing in your vegetable plot?

*To "bolt" is to set flowerheads that will turn to seed -- putting energy into seed not fruit or root production.

You Are Invited to the Garden Party at Behnke Nurseries

Join Washington Gardener Magazine for the

Garden Party at Behnke Nurseries ~ Beltsville

11300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705

(301) 937-1100

Saturday, June 9

9 am to 3:00 pm

Huge Raffle to benefit Friends of Brookside Gardens

Buy raffle tickets: 9:00 to 3:00

Raffle Winners Announced: 3:30

You do not have to be present to win!

Plant Swap

Submit plants: 9 to 11:00

Plant Swap takes place at 11:30

Garden Talks

Every half hour, starting at 10:00

at 12:30 Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine
will talk on Hot Plant Picks for 2012

Garden Clubs: 9 local clubs on hand

Meet, greet, talk gardening, join

Master Gardeners to Answer Your Questions

Plant Societies

Hosta, Begonia, African Violet, Orchid, Rose, Etc.


Jewelry, pottery, photography, bird houses, Washington Gardener Magazine, Sandy’s Plants, etc.

Behnke Door Prizes

Gift Certificates & Sale

Monte’s Famous BBQ + Fresh Produce from Millers Farms

Thursday, June 07, 2012

PhotoSynthesis Show Opens This Sunday

Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Exhibit

Opening Reception

Sunday, June 10, 2012, 4pm to 6pm

Winning photographs from this year’s Washington Gardener Magazine photo contest will be on display at Meadowlark through mid-August. Light refreshments offered at reception. Free and open to the public. Reservations not required.


Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court

Vienna, Virginia 22182

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Video Wednesday: Butterfly Habitat Garden

A stroll through the Smithsonian's Butterfly Habitat Garden in early June.
Music by

Friday, June 01, 2012

Fenton Friday: Community Coming Together

This week has more harvesting of radish, peas and lettuce from my plot, but being a holiday weekend (Memorial Day) we finally got a chance to gather many of the community gardeners for a group event.

We learned about new developments (a real compost bin system is coming - yay!), discussed cistern-filling schedules, weeded some common areas, and most importantly shared food and fellowship.

We also got cracking on the shared herb-flower garden in the lower corner. I contributed some weed-block fabric and that made fast work of covering up some of the nastier weeds without back-breaking work. We mulched over that and moved the herbs out to a V-shape along the garden's border/sides. I came back later and set up a seating area complete with vase of flowers and reading materials.

One gardener is contributing more old bricks to complete the herb-flower garden edging and a folding umbrella for shade over the seating. I hope this will make it a more inviting and attractive space, both for those in the community garden to hang out longer, but also for passersby to see that not all community gardens are just about food production and can also be a place of beauty, rest, and connection.

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