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: (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 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:

~ 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

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


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 not 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.

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