Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Washington Auto Show has Something for Everyone

Is it weird to say that the best thing I saw at the Washington Auto Show this year was not a car? It was this personal delivery robot from Starship Technologies. They will be on DC sidewalks in just a few days and will make the lives of many much easier. As someone who takes transit or walks for 99% of my trips, a robot that can carry heavy bags of soil and mulch right to my door is a wonderful use of this new technology!

I can also see it being a god-send for those with mobility issues, those stuck home on sick days, and those just too busy to squeeze one more errand into their day. The best part is you can track the robot with your smart phone and never miss a delivery -- wish I could do that with my UPS/FedEx guys!

bloggers and influencers
At the show press preview, along with several bloggers and influencers invited by SheBuysCars,com, we were able to wander the show floors without the big crowds. We shared all the cool stuff we saw in a live Twitter chat that evening. You can see our comments by searching for the #DCLovesAutos hashtag.

If you are interested in the best of the new hybrid electric vehicles, be sure to stop by the Hyundia booth to see the new Ioniq and while you are there, go next door moon over the new luxury cars from Genesis.

bikers have options too

The Washington Auto Show runs through Sunday, February 5, 2017. See www.washingtonautoshow.com for show details.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Meet the New Intern: India Hamilton

My name is India Hamilton and I’m a junior multi-platform journalism major and Black women’s studies minor at the University of Maryland, College Park. On campus, I copy edit and occasionally write feature and event pieces for an online publication, Pulsefeedz, that was started at UMD. My interest in journalism stems primarily from my desire to build community by helping people tell their stories. 

As a child, I loved everything about nature and gardening and I look forward to delving right back in while writing at Washington Gardener Magazine this spring! I’m excited to merge my story telling skills with learning all I can about gardening. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Seed Exchange FAQ

I have been getting a number of emails and phone calls about the upcoming Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges. I thought I'd put together the following FAQ. Feel free to pass it on to any fellow gardeners:

Yes, you can still register. We have plenty of spaces open. The preregistration deadline is by Friday, January 27 for the Brookside event and by Friday, February 3 for the Green Spring event. To register onsite, you can still fill out the registration form and bring it with payment to the event starting at 12:00noon on Saturday. The registration links are -
 Saturday, January 28 at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD go here: http://wgseedexchange-brookside.brownpapertickets.com/
and for 
Saturday, February 4 at Green Spring Gardens, VA go here:

- We recommend eating lunch before coming. We will be serving a healthy, light snack break mid-way through the event -- fruit, granola bars, etc. We have filtered water -
 if you have a travel mug, refillable bottle, or cup you like, please bring that to fill up. We will have some plastic/paper cups on hand, but are trying to keep this event as “green” as possible.

- We will have generic blank name tags -- but we ask participants to be creative and make their own tags or if you have your own name tag from work or another event, by all means bring it. We will do prizes for the most creative name tags :-). Again, we are trying to recycle and make this event eco-friendly.

- When you get your goody bag at check-in, please make sure to label it with your name -- all the bags look alike and can get easily mixed up. Bringing a few sheets of those personalized address labels you get with charity mailings will come in handy for this and for labeling your seed packets, giving out your contact information to fellow gardeners, etc.

- If you are bringing seed/garden catalogs for our give-away table, be sure to rip off the address labels and tear out any order inserts with your personal information on it. 
~ We also welcome gardening books for swapping, so feel free to bring those too!

We screen incoming seeds and do not accept any invasives listed in the "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas" booklet from the National Park Service. See the listing at:http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/toc.htm. (We do not allow GMO seeds in either, but chances are slim that any home gardener would have access to them.)
~ You can bring unused seeds from purchased packs or seeds you gathered from your own garden.Carefully pack and label your seeds as best you can. The more information you can provide, the better. More details on seed packing and labeling are on the registration form. Did you know you can make your own seed packs? Get great free downloadable templates are here: http://tipnut.com/seed-packets/
   Please do NOT bring large quantities of seed in one bag. Our volunteers are over-whelmed at the check-in tables already with sorting seeds into the table categories, please break them up into smaller quantity packs ahead of time.
    (No, you don't have to bring seeds. It is great though if you do bring them. Store-bought is fine.)
    (Yes, you can bring bulbs, tubers, corms, etc. to the swap. They should be bagged and labeled just like seeds.)
   (Older seeds are fine, if you can test for viability that would be great. The exceptions are lettuce, onions, and impatiens seeds, which should all be less than a year old.)

Make a list of your seed “wants” in advance.  It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the day and forget the basics that you came for or the rarities that you had been seeking.

- Here is the updated event schedule*:
12:00-12:30 Registration and seed drop off to WG Staff & Volunteers
12:30-12:35 Introductory remarks and overview
12:35-1:25 Speaker 1
 1:30-2:00 Speaker 2
2:00-2:30 Refreshment Break and Seed Swap Preview
2:30-3:00 Seed Show and Tell**
3:00-3:30 Seed Swap! 
3:30-3:45 Garden Photo Contest Winners Presentation (only at Green Spring location)
3:45-4:00 Final Door Prizes and closing remarks - Kathy Jentz Washington Gardener magazine

*As with all live events, the schedule is subject to last minute change.

**Show-and-Tell participation is voluntary. We encourage you to introduce yourself, share some fun facts and background on the seeds you bring, or tell us about any local garden projects or groups that you are involved in. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Win Passes to the Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges

For our January 2017 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, we are giving away two passes to either of the Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges (prize value $40).
   The 12th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges, hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine, take place on January 28, 2017, at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, and on February 4, 2017, at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax, VA. You have a choice of which side of the DC Beltway you want to visit! Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats. The event also includes such “green” features as the garden book and catalog swap. Everyone will leave with a bag full of seeds and loads of gardening inspiration for the upcoming growing season!
   To enter to win the Seed Exchange Passes, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Wednesday, January 25, with “Seed Swap” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us your favorite story in the January 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on Thursday, January 26.

Congratulations to our January 2017 Washington Gardener Reader Contest winner: Faith Hood!
  If you did not win passes, you can still register. We have plenty of spaces open. The preregistration deadline is by Friday, January 27 for the Brookside event and by Friday, February 3 for the Green Spring event. To register onsite, you can still fill out the registration form and bring it with payment to the event starting at 12:00noon on Saturday. The registration links are -
 Saturday, January 28 at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD go here: http://wgseedexchange-brookside.brownpapertickets.com/
and for 
Saturday, February 4 at Green Spring Gardens, VA go here:

Friday, January 20, 2017

January 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine includes Best Monarda for the Mid-Atlantic Region and A Year in the Edible Garden

The January 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out.

You can view it online at:

Inside this issue:
Best Monarda for the Mid-Atlantic Region
A Year in the Edible Garden: When to Plant and Harvest
Your Garden Tasks To-do List
Naughty Norway Maple
Local Gardening Events Calendar
Reducing Stress with Garden Plants
3 New Space-saving Vegetables
2017 Garden Trends
Seed Exchange Registration and Details
And much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the February 2017 issue are due by February 10.

  Subscribe to Washington Gardener Magazine today to have the monthly publication sent to your inbox as a PDF several days before it is available online. You can use the PayPal (credit card) online order form here: http://www.washingtongardener.com/index_files/subscribe.htm

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Video Wednesday: Seed Swap Talk on #PlantChat

If you missed the live stream #PlantChat this week, you can watcha replay at this link:


The weekly #PlantChat is hosted by Corona Tools. This was the first time doing it as a live stream, rather than on Twitter. Topics covered included techniques for seed saving, hosting a swap, seed sourcing, and much more.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Seed Exchange 2017 Speakers Announced

Here are the speakers for the upcoming Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges 2017. Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats. For more information on the exchanges and how to register, go here.

Saturday, January 28 at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

Small Footprint Gardening: Small Gardens --Big Harvests

Speaker: Kim Roman is a Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor
Even if you have a large plot of land, there are several reasons to grow your veggies using a small-space, high-intensive gardening method: less work and maintenance, no tilling, less water use, easier to protect from weather, pests and critters, extended growing seasons, etc. We will explore Square Foot Gardening, squash arches, container gardening, Back to Eden gardening, H├╝gelkultur, table top gardening and more.
   Speaker: Kim Roman is a Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor, trained by SFG creator, Mel Bartholomew and currently serves as the SFG Foundation’s Public Relations Director. In addition to SFG, Kim loves to teach other methods of small-space, organic vegetable gardening and works with schools, churches, homeless shelters, nursing homes, refugee centers, etc. to help them plan and implement their garden projects. Based in Glen Burnie, she’ll travel to your location for talks, classes, lunch & learns or consultations. Contact: sfgkimroman@yahoo.com or find her on Facebook at Square Foot Gardening 4 U. 


Growing a Cutting Garden from Seed
Speaker: Drew Asbury, Head Grower, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
Every garden needs flowers! One of the most rewarding and easiest ways to add color and flowers to your garden is to grow cut flowers from seed. Over 200 cultivars of cut flowers are grown in Hillwood’s cutting garden and the great majority of these are started from seed each spring. This talk will focus on which cut flowers are the most productive in Hillwood’s cutting garden and the different techniques used to sow them. 
    Speaker Drew Asbury is the horticulturist and volunteer manager at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. He joined Hillwood in 2012 and is responsible for the greenhouse complex, the cutting garden, and the horticulture volunteer program. Drew graduated from the Longwood Gardens professional gardener training program in 2006 and is currently working on his Master’s degree in landscape design from George Washington University.

Saturday, February 4 at Green Spring Gardens, VA:

Native Seed Collecting and Sourcing

Speaker: Sara Tangren, UMD Agent Associate
Sara will share her experiences with growing native plants from seed. Seed sourcing and plant growth requirements will be discussed, along with the basics of seed collection and post-harvest handling. She will also discuss the importance of local ecotypes.
   Sara Tangren is an Agent Associate for the University of Maryland Extension, where she teaches native plants and sustainable landscaping for the Master Gardener program.  She received her Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Maryland in 2001.  Her areas of specialization include plant biogeography, native landscaping, plant propagation, the native plant and seed industry, native meadows, and rare plant conservation.  She established the first native gardens at the University of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden in 2006, where she continues to volunteer.


Winter Sowing: Following Mother Nature’s Way to Get a Head Start on Your Spring and Summer Garden

Speaker: Linda L. Jones, owner, Elements of Nature

This presentation will focus primarily on winter sowing basics and techniques.  You will learn in-depth information on which seeds are the best candidates for winter sowing and which ones are best left for spring and summer planting.  The cost-saving and time-saving benefits of winter sowing will help you to jump start a healthy, productive garden by letting mother nature do most of the hard work for you.  
   Linda is a certified Maryland Master Gardener and has been happily gardening for over 25 years.  During the past six years she has been a frequent lecturer and gardening advisor on a variety of gardening topics throughout Maryland in public and private settings.  Her gardening expertise is in herbs, flowers and gourds.  Her love of gardening inspired her natural skin care line, HomeGrown Beauty Essentials, as well her collection of nature-inspired gifts, garden art and accessories. She is an avid seed collector and delights in growing flowers, gourds and herbs and sharing their seeds with friends and fellow gardeners.  In her words, “Teaching and lecturing about nature’s abundant miracles brings me great joy as I can share with others a knowledge of something that in some way may enhance the quality of their life."  Linda can be contacted at  – ElementsofNatureUSA.com, P.O. Box 1958, Clinton, MD; Lindajones20735@gmail.com or 

For more information on the exchanges and how to register, go here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Welcome SPRING at the Philadelphia Flower Show

UPDATE: Both bus trips are sold out with wait lists. 

Sick of SNOW and COLD weather? Me too! Come join us for a day-trip to a virtual Garden of Delights at the upcoming Philadelphia Flower Show!

Washington Gardener Magazine has two tours this year going up to the Philadelphia Flower Show. 

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the oldest and largest indoor flower show in the world. the theme for 2017 is:
“Holland: Flowering the World,” it will celebrate the beauty and ingenuity of Dutch culture, from vivid flower fields to innovative eco-design.The Philadelphia Flower Show will transport guests to the rainbow landscapes of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, and through the cut-flower and bulb markets that have shaped Holland’s history and culture. The Flower Show will also explore the innovation that has defined Holland’s approach to its unique landscape, from windmills – one of the earliest uses of natural energy – to 21st-century eco-domes and the Dutch Wave movement, which takes a natural and sustainable approach to landscape design.

Show visitors will experience the rich heritage of the Netherlands, from the canals of Amsterdam to the castle gardens and Keukenhof fields, the historic and modern architecture, and the world renowned art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh to Mondrian. Holland’s culinary culture of great cheeses, chocolates, beer and other cuisine will also be part of this international celebration. And everyone is "welkom."

The Flower Show attracts non-gardeners as well as die-hard green-thumbed people of all ages. Foodies of all tastes will love the Garden to Table Studio. Participate in the Lectures and Demonstrations series, Gardener’s Studio, and the “Make & Take” workshops. First-time and returning riders will enjoy the welcoming, custom details of our coach service.

The two tours are on different days; from different locations. Here are the details:

Wednesday, March 15 from 10am-10pm, leaving and returning to downtown Silver Spring, MD - includes a lunch and is nearby to public transit - see the registration form for more details:

Thursday, March 16 from 10am-10pm, leaving and returning to Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, MD - includes a lunch and has free parking - see this registration form for more details: 

Note: The forms are for printing and mailing along with your payment. They are not interactive online forms.

If you have any trouble printing them out, please send an email to kathyjentz@gmail.com and I can send the forms directly to you. 

Our coaches fill up quickly, so please act fast to reserve your spot with us!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Hen and Chicks Succulents: You Can Grow That!

"Hen and Chicks” Succulents (Sempervivum sp.) are like chips -- you cannot have just one! Once you start growing them, you'll find yourself collecting the many different varieties. There are over 3,000 named sempervivum cultivars, in numerous colors, shapes, textures, and sizes.

Sempervivum literally means "live forever" as they can be divided and propagated almost effortlessly. However, don't think that you can just set-it-and-forget-it. Each individual plant has a three-year life cycle and produces off-shoots for two of those years, so you will need to pull out those baby "chicks" and replenish the mother "hen" spot periodically.

These easy-to-grow succulents are great for indoor or outdoor containers. They can also be grouped with other cactus/succulents for a nice layered or contrasting look.

Sempervivum prefer full to part sun and very well draining (sandy/rocky) soils. They need little water and are very drought-tolerant.

Note that there are winter hardy varieties available here in the Mid-Atlantic. They are great in rock gardens and thrive in stone containers or concrete troughs. If you select a tender variety, you must bring it indoors for the winter and they should be kept as container plants to save you from digging and re-planting them out every growing season. 

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/.

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