Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Video Wednesday: Bringing Publicity to Public Gardens

Last night I participated in the live Garden Chatter via Google Hangout with terrific hosts Brenda of #GardenChat fame and Adam Cortell of Digging the Garden. My fellow guest was Susan Harris of fame.

We discussed the DC Gardens project, which officially launmches this MOnday, March 2. Stay tuned for more details soon.

The DC Gardens campaign is now LIVE! Go to:
and read more about it at:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Washington Gardener Magazine February 2015 issue features 17 Award-Winning Garden Photos, Viburnum Leaf Beetle, Native Pachysandra, and much more...

Washington Gardener is the magazine for gardening enthusiasts in the Mid-Atlantic region. The February 2015 issue is being sent now as a PDF to all current subscribers.
It is also now posted at:
This issue includes:
~ Top Heucheras for the Mid-Atlantic
~ 17 Award-Winning Garden Photos
~ February Garden Task List
~ Meet Chef and Author Jonathan Bardzik
~ Native Pachysandra
~ New Pixie Grape Introduction
~ Be Prepared for Viburnum Leaf Beetle
~ Local Garden Events Listing
~ Year of the Coleus
and much more...

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the March 2015 issue are due by March 10.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY by using the link at the top-right of this blog page.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Win Passes to the Capital Remodel & Garden Show

For our February 2015 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away sets of two passes each to the upcoming Capital Remodel & Garden Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA (prize value $20).
   Find innovative products, new ideas, practical advice, and great deals in remodeling, home improvement, and gardening with hundreds of experts all under one roof. From windows and flooring to cabinets and landscaping and much more. Read more about the show here at The event takes place Friday, February 27 - Sunday, March 1.
   Garden speakers include Chris Lambton of HGTV’s Yard Crashers!, Dave Marciniak, owner of Revolutionary Gardens, and Mike McGrath, host of the nationally syndicated Public Radio show, You Bet Your Garden,  and Garden Editor for WTOP News Radio.
   Here is a special discount for Washington Gardener Magazine readers only – use promo code: “Deer” for a $4 discount off a $10 ticket.
   To enter to win the Capital Remodel & Garden Show Passes, send an email to by 5:00pm on February 25 with “Cap Remodel and Garden Show” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on February 26.
February 2015 Washington Gardener Reader Contest Winners
Congratulations to the following individuals who were chosen at random from among the emailed entries to win two passes each to the upcoming Capital Remodel & Garden Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA (prize value $20). The February 2015 Washington Gardener Reader Contest Winners are:
~ Gloria Sherman

~ Nancy Khan
~ Diane Hampel
~ Faith Hood
~ Gladysa Alers
   IF you were not among the winners, here is a special discount for Washington Gardener Magazine readers only – use promo code: “Deer” for a $4 discount off a $10 ticket.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Native Spotlight: Spring Dreaming

Guest Blog by Rachel Shaw 

February is the time for making plans for the coming gardening year. There are limited and not very enticing tasks that can be done in the yard now, weather permitting: picking up downed branches and pulling winter-hardy weeds come to mind. Pruning can be pleasant on a nice day. Otherwise, not much else to do besides dream of spring and make plans. So instead of focusing on a particular native that I have taken pleasure in growing, I’m going to write about a few plants that I’d like to grow or that I’ve grown in the past and would like to grow more of.

One in the latter category is Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana. I started a few of these 5-6 years ago, and they did well enough for a while. But I think they have been crowded out as I’ve added to the bed; the Red Osier Dogwood has probably encroached pretty hard on their territory. Likewise, I’m afraid the delicate Rue Anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides is being crowded out by the Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) which has both the advantage and disadvantage of being a very successful groundcover.

Rue Anemone
I’d like to acquire more of the Spiderwort and the Rue Anemone this spring, and give them conditions in which to thrive. This means being careful about the plants’ requirements, of course. And it also means reminding myself that just because I love a plant and it is wildly successful doesn’t mean I have to let it crowd out other plants that I love. 

Other natives that are a sparse a presence in my yard are Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), Wild Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia), and Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla), although the two Twinleaf plants bloomed thrillingly last spring and I’m hoping for their return. This year I’ll also be looking to find some things I haven’t tried to grow. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) is one I have in mind. 

There’s a formerly overgrown area of the yard that I had help getting thoroughly weeded this fall. I then threw down a bunch of seeds from existing plants. Even if many germinate, there will be a shady strip where I can introduce some newcomers.

What new things end up in the yard depends in part on what shows up at the native plants sales I manage to get to. And once in a while something will emerge from the ground that I never planted but that found its way from elsewhere, proved to be native, and made itself at home. Such adventures to look forward to with the advent of spring!

What new plans or new native plants do you have in mind for your yard this year?

About the author:
Rachel Shaw focuses on vegetable gardening and growing native plants in her small yard in Rockville, MD. She blogs at
This guest blog post is part of a monthly Native Plants series that Rachel will be posting here around the 10th of each month.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Winning Garden Photos Wow Crowd

Here are the winners of the 9th Annual Washington Gardener Magazine Garden Photo Contest that were recently announced at the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax County, VA. There were many 'oohs' and 'aahs' as we showed the 17 winning entries, which our judges had narrowed down from the 284 images entered. Eight of the 11 winning photographers were present at the ceremony (see photo at right), so that made it doubly exciting to hear them comment on how and where they took their images.

The winning photos will also be published in the next issue of Washington Gardener Magazine along with additional details on the entrants and their images.

Additionally, you will be able to view the winning images IN PERSON in an art show this summer at Meadowlark Botanic Gardens in Vienna, VA. The opening reception and full details will be shared this spring. You are all invited!

And yes, we WILL be having a 10th Annual Washington Gardener Magazine Garden Photo Contest, so start gathering your images now and throughout this year. We will keep most all the entry rules the same as this year. We will again accept the entries during the first three weeks of January with the winners announced at the annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange in Virginia on the first Saturday in February.

Thank you again to our contest judges, Patty Hankins of Beautiful Flower Pictures and Katherine Lambert of Katherine Lambert Photography. Also, a BIG thank you to our contest prize sponsors: Capital Photography Center, LLC, Dodge-Chrome Inc. Timber Press, and Washington Gardener Magazine.

Garden Photo Contest Category Definitions:
These photo entries must have been taken during the 2014 calendar year in a garden located within a 150-mile radius of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
• Garden Views: Beautiful, dramatic, or unusual perspectives of a garden landscape, including wide shots showing the setting. Subject can be a private or public garden.
• Garden Vignettes: Groupings of plants in beds or containers, unusual color or texture combinations, garden focal points, and still scenes. Subject can be photographed in a private or public garden.
• Small Wonders: Tight close-up images or macro shots of single flowers, plant parts, fruits, vegetables, etc. Subject can be photographed in a private or public garden.
• Garden Creatures: Images of insects, birds, frogs, domestic pets, etc. in a private or public garden setting.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Are You Helping Protect Our Pollinators?

Jared's pollinator garden

Learn how at this Montgomery Parks Annual Green Matters Symposium

Guest Blog by Jared Ashling 

A few years ago I decided to  make my garden a Certified Butterfly Habitat through the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) certification program. I proudly display my Certified Butterfly Habitat sign because my pollinators bring excitement, sound, and endless entertainment to my garden.  With summer’s arrival come the hundreds of mesmerizing busy bees and wasps that blanket my Pycnanthemum muticum, an insect “melting pot” showcasing insect evolution.   Late summer nights, I am entertained by mysterious hawk moths lurking in the shadows to find my Nicotiana sylvestris, and each autumn I feel honored to have my Tithonia rotundifolia serve as a nectaring pit stop for a few flirtatious monarch butterflies, winking at me with a gentle flutter of their beautiful wings.  When spring comes again I plant dill and patiently await the arrival of the female black swallowtail, possibly the most thoughtful mother of the pollinators. She seeks out a suitable food source in the parsley family, deposits just one egg and then moves on, ensuring no competition for food between siblings.

Pollinators are the actors in my garden theater who entertain me throughout the growing season, but they are also ecosystem superhero’s that play an absolutely critical role in our day to day lives.  We cannot survive without pollinators. An astonishing 80% of the world's plant species require a pollinator to reproduce: plants that not only feed and shelter us, but are absolutely essential within Earth's ecosystems. This relationship between flora and fauna is being challenged on all sides by habitat loss, pesticides, invasive species, and more. As an employee of Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, and an avid pollinator enthusiast I’m thrilled to invite you to this year’s Green Matters Symposium titled “Protecting our Pollinators.” Come together with the experts at this year's Green Matters to learn what you can do- at work or at home- to protect our pollinators!

Green Matters, an annual symposium at Brookside Gardens since 2004, concentrates attention on the intersection of horticulture and environmental issues. Environmental stewardship is a core value of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Brookside Gardens' parent organization. As such, we strive to provide timely information and viable solutions to environmental challenges, because we feel strongly that green does matter.

About the Author
Jared Ashling is Brookside Gardens' Volunteer Coordinator. He can be contacted at

Monday, February 02, 2015

Seeds with Presidential Provenance

Thomas Jefferson's vegetable gardens
I'm excited to announce that at our upcoming Seed Exchange on February 7 at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA, we are having two guests bringing seeds with ties to our Founding Farmers!

George Washington's garden
The greenhouse manager at George Washington's Mt. Vernon will be there bringing seeds from their gardens to share. And, as previously announced, Pat Brodowski, vegetable gardener at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, will be a featured speaker at the Seed Exchange as well as bringing several jars of seeds to share with our attendees. You will be able to get seeds with real Presidential Provenance for your own home garden.

If you would like to attend the Seed Exchange on February 7 in VA, you can still mail in your registration for that, please ensure that it will arrive by February 5. If you cannot mail it in time, we recommend that you print out the registration form and fill it in and bring it along with a check made out to "Washington Gardener" in order to speed things up and keep the registration line moving quickly.

For the registration form and event details go here.
To read about the speaker program, go here.
To prepare your seeds and yourself for the swap, go here.

And yes, you can attend and participate, even if you have no seeds to swap. We always have plenty of extra to share with new and beginning seed starters! 

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