Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rooting DC 2017 Wrap-up

By Shelby Smith

On an unseasonably warm winter morning, follow the people carrying empty tote bags streaming out of the Tenleytown metro station (or those lucky enough to be able to find a nearby parking spot) to a big brick building to find the entrance to the Rooting DC forum.

Last Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the cavernous glass-ceiling atrium inside the Woodrow Wilson High School was filled with dozens of display tables from different local urban farmers, nonprofits with information on composting and agriculture, and vendors selling garden supplies and books on everything from school gardens to herbal recipes.

Rooting DC is an annual free forum where people can share their skills, promote businesses and provide workshops from local gardeners, agricultural businesses, and food productions in the D.C. area.

Free samples can always draw a crowd. In the center circle of tables, there sat a single tiered table selling several products using microgreens, including salads and arugula lemon pesto.

“This event was totally instrumental in the success of our business,” Mary Ackley, the founder of Little Wild Things City Farm, said.

Little Wild Things started selling its products at Rooting DC in 2015. They met one of its best clients, a Georgetown vegetarian taco shop, at the event and the business has grown ever since, Ackley said.

The free sample of the day was its arugula lemon pesto, which was fresh and packed with lemon and peppery flavor. Ackley was also promoting small clay pots lush with different varieties of microgreens, which they sell, as centerpieces for weddings.

One of Little Wild Things advantages is it’s located in D.C. versus outside of D.C. Microgreens are very perishable, but they grow very quickly and in a small space, so it’s a perfect fit for the farm to be located in downtown D.C., Ackley said.

Once visitors are inside, they can fill their empty tote bags with a fresh microgreen salad, fresh produce, potted plants. or information pamphlets from the different tables.

Each table had free packages of seeds, like radishes and peas, ready for anyone to take. They went fast. 

Rooting DC is a place where people can learn and share, Ackley said. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. there is 16 lectures and demos happening every hour in the classrooms on the second and third floors of the school. During these talks and demos, visitors can learn how to grow cannabis, save seeds for the next season, and glean cooking recipes for specific plants.

“You get a chance to connect with a lot of different potential customers and people that might be interested in either your business or your organization, whether it’s a small profit business or a nonprofit,” Ackley said. “There’s people from all different parts of the urban garden scene there.”

I would recommend this event to anyone. Beginners and professional gardens can share and learn new gardening tips and tricks for their next or existing garden. For more information, check out
About the Author:
Shelby Smith is a senior double major in multi-platform journalism and film studies at the University of Maryland College Park. She was a sports copy-editor for a campus publication called Unwind Magazine and a writer at The Campus Current newspaper at Anne Arundel Community College. She was a Fall 2016 intern with Washington Gardener.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Win Passes to the Maryland Home & Garden Show in Washington Gardener Reader Contest

For our February 2017 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away five sets of passes to the Maryland Home & Garden Show (including Craft Show) at the Maryland State Fairgrounds (prize value: $24).
   Former Chief White House Florist Laura Dowling will share tips and techniques for beautiful floral arrangements like those she created in Washington. She is renowned for creating a romantic new style of flower arranging featuring free-flowing lines of vines and flowers emanating from a classic bouquet. She will host live seminars the first weekend of the show.
   This year’s show theme, “Spring Around The World,” will feature the region’s most talented landscapers creating beautiful gardens each inspired by a foreign country.     Enough with winter chills! It’s time to start thinking about greens, gardens, flowers and arrangements. At the Maryland Home & Garden Show, plan your landscape, meet home improvement contractors and experts, and prepare to transform your garden into masterpieces.
   Held over two weekends, the Maryland Home & Garden Show runs Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, and Friday, March 10, through Sunday, March 12. See more details online at
   To enter to win a pair of passes to Maryland Home & Garden Show, send an email to by 5:00pm on February 28 with “Maryland Home & Garden Show” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in the February 2017 issue and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. Winners will be announced and notified on March 1.


The pass winners are:
~ Pete Lublin, Silver Spring, MD
~ Annie Shaw, Greenbelt, MD 
~ Denise Cumberland, Kensington, MD
~ Judy Freeman, Edgewater, MD
~ Michele Marcello, Washington, DC           
Congratulations all!

Friday, February 17, 2017

February 2017 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine includes Penstemon Cultivars and Carrot Types

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

Inside this issue:
17 Award-winning Garden Photos
Penstemon Care and Cultivars 
Your Garden Tasks To-do List
Native Mayapple
Know Your Carrot Types
Local Gardening Events Calendar
How to Care for Cut Tulips
5 Reasons People are Planting More Wildflowers
Add Drama to Your Garden with Ornamental Grasses
And much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the March 2017 issue are due by March 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:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Seed Exchange THANK YOUs

The two Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchanges this year were both terrific successes. I want to thank all that had a hand in making them so wonderful.


Thank YOU for sharing your knowledge and time.

Drew Asbury, Head Grower, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
Linda L. Jones, owner, Elements of Nature
Kim Roman is a Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor
Sara Tangren, UMD Agent Associate


Thank YOU for your generous contributions to the goody bags and/or door prizes.

Gardener's Supply Company
Gardener’s Workshop Farm
Green Spring Gardens

Kim Roman, Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor
Ruth Rogers Clausen, garden writer and speaker
Washington Gardener Magazine


And finally a big THANK YOU to all of our hard-working Seed Exchange VOLUNTEERS! An extra special thank you to intern India Hamilton for attending both events and making an event video that we will share shortly on this blog.

You can view many images from both events shared on our Facebook page

Thursday, February 09, 2017

ADVERTISER OF THE WEEK: Earth Essence Designs

Earth Essence Designs

Winter Promotions
15% off any consultation or design in January
10% off any consultation or design in February
5% off any consultation or design in March
Laura Farr                 

Your Garden Your Sanctuary

I am an intuitive healer deeply connected to the earth.   By blending the ancient ways with the gifts of the earth, I design outdoor spaces with the intent of elevating the soul.

Throughout my education and career, I have concentrated on ecological design and maintain a high sensitivity to the environment.  My goal is to bring peace and the healing elements of the earth to support you on your journey through life.
I have degrees in horticulture and landscape architecture, studied shamanism and aromatherapy and have worked in the green industry for 20 years.  Most recently, I have been exploring the relationship between landscapes and well-being.

Every Thursday on the Washington Gardener Magazine Facebook page and Yahoo list we feature a current advertiser from our monthly digitall magazine. To advertise with us, contact today. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Discuss "Garden Revolution" with Washington Gardener Book Club

For our Garden Book Club Winter 2017 Meeting we will be discussing: 

Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change by Larry Weaner (2016-05-18)

"I strongly feel this book has a place beside every beginning or seasoned gardener’s favorite chair, so it is readily accessible. The ideal of how we can create our own revolutionary experience in our gardens has been achieved by the collaboration of Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher," said one of our Washington Gardener Magazine book reviewers.

Please join us on Thursday, March 9 from 6:30-8:00pm at Soupergirl, located right next to the Takoma metro stop. Soupergirl offers soups for sale that are incredibly healthy. They are 100% plant-based, low salt, low fat, and most importantly, absolutely delicious, so plan to come a bit early to purchase and eat your dinner with the garden book club. 

Please RSVP to washingtongardener (at) or at the book club event page at by March 5, so we know how many chairs to reserve for our group.

The Washington Gardener Magazine's Garden Book Club is free and open to all. We meet quarterly on a weekday evening near a metro-accessible location in the DC-area. We will announce the details of each upcoming meeting about two months in advance. Please check back on this blog for schedule updates and announcements.

Here are the rest of our 2017 selection:
~ The Triumph of Seeds by Thor Hanson - Spring (May)
~ Big Dreams, Small Garden by Marianne Willburn - Summer (July)
~ Ghost Image by Ellen Crosby (fiction) - Fall (November)


Sunday, February 05, 2017

17 Stunning DC-area Garden Photo Images

Here are the 17 winners in the Washington Gardener Magazine 11th Annual Photo Contest. There were almost 300 photos submitted in this year's contest from 28 entrants. I know our judge had a Herculean task picking out the best of the best. The entries were all stunning and of top quality.

Note that what you are viewing online here, is a low-resolution version of the photo images. Winning images will be published in Washington Gardener magazine February 2017 issue and as large format prints in a local photo exhibit this summer at the Meadowlark Botanical Garden in Vienna, VA. 
The winners were announced live during the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange on Saturday, February 4, at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA.


Friday, February 03, 2017

Still spaces left at Washington Gardener Magazine's VA-DC Seed Exchange

We still have some seats left at our Washington Gardener Magazine's VA-DC Seed Exchange on Saturday, February 4, 2017, from 12:30–4:00PM at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA.
Online registration closes at 6pm today (Friday, Feb 3) at 
BUT YOU CAN REGISTER AT THE DOOR starting at 12:00noon on Saturday. (Bring a check or cash to speed things up.)

Registration fee is $20 per person. Note that Friends of Green Spring members, and current Washington Gardener subscribers receive a discount rate of $15 per person.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

DIY: Seed Jars

Level: easy
Cost: minimal
Use: storage

• Clean Jar
Acrylic Paints
• Brushes
Seed Packs
Silica Gel packs*
• Paper Plate
Clear Varnish

Optional Materials:
Beads, glue, stencils, scissors, stickers, rubber stamps, glass paint, etching crème, ribbons, etc.

*Silica gel packets are available free in a lot of consumer packaging such as leather goods and medication bottles. Just make a point of saving them from your new purchases and you will soon accumulate dozens. You can also buy silica powder at craft stores and create little silica sachets to go in your jars. Did you know you can recharge silica by re-heating it in the oven?

Seed Jars are practical. They serve a primary purpose in keeping your purchased and collected seeds dry and viable longer. (They also protect them from insects and rodents who like to chew on seeds.) They can also be whimsical with a little paint and embellishment applied. In addition, Seed Jars are economical. You can create them with craft supplies you most likely already have on hand. This project is ideal for a quick hostess gift or as a children’s art project.

Step 1: Clean jars. (Pickle or mayonnaise ones are a good size for this purpose.) This is the most labor-intensive part and it may take a little elbow-grease to get the gum and labels off the jars. Soak them (label-side down) in hot water in a sink or basin for a few hours. Some labels just slip right off, but for others you may want to use a commercial product like un-du® or work in some vegetable oil. If you do go this extra step, be sure to clean the jars thoroughly afterwards of any oily residue.

Step 2: Spread newspapers over your work area. Set out your supplies. Make sure jars and lids are clean, dry, and ready to paint.

Step 3: Put a quarter-sized dollop of acrylic paint in the color of your choice on a paper plate and apple a base coat on the jar lid. Most jar lids are “slick” and need this primer layer to accept your painted design.

Step 4: When the base coat is dry, paint the design of your choosing. We have pictured here several decorated Seed Jars and you can copy one of these or just let your imagination go. Embellish the jars and lids with whatever craft supplies and scraps you have on hand. Don’t worry about mistakes. The jars are actually very forgiving of errors – in most cases you can wipe off any unwanted paint with a wet paper towel. When done, clean paint brushes. Let designs dry overnight.

Step 5: Brush clear craft varnish over your painted design with a soft bristle brush. Do 2-3 coats for good measure and wait about 20 minutes between coats. Clean up work area and supplies.

Step 6: Insert several seed packs and 1-2 silica gel packets per jar. Screw lid on tightly. Keep the Seed Jar in a cool, dark place such as your basement, kitchen pantry, or garden shed.

This is a monthly blog series on DIY projects for the beginning home gardener. Look for the other installments in this DIY blog series by putting "DIY" in the search box here at

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