Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Video Wednesday: Seed Exchange - Brookside 2018



The 13th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange took on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD. Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats.

If you missed it, you can still join us for the next Washington Gardener Seed Exchange on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax, VA. Details and registration information is at:  
http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2017/12/seed-exchange-registration-now-open.html

Monday, January 29, 2018

New Interns A to Z

This winter-spring, I have taken on two new editorial interns. If you attend any of our upcoming events, like the upcoming Seed Exchange at Green Spring Gardens, you are bound to run into one or both of them. As a first writing assignment, I asked them to write a short introduction to our readers...

Hello, Washington gardening community! My name is Allison O’Reilly, I’m originally from Winston-Salem, NC, and I’m a sophomore majoring in Journalism as well as Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. Apart from interning here at the Washington Gardener, I am a Staff Writer for The Diamondback’s Diversions section and run the social media accounts for The Writer’s Bloc, both of which are on-campus publications. I’m excited for my internship here at the Washington Gardener for many reasons, but especially because I love all things plants - I eat a mostly plant-based diet and I’m very passionate about the environment and all its beauty.  I’m looking forward to growing my own food items and connecting with the local gardening community, despite my lack of personal experience with horticulture. I can’t wait to meet some of you at various events and learn all sorts of things about growing plants!


Hello, my name is Kelly Zheng. I am a junior multiplatform journalism major, with a minor in technology entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, College Park. I was born and raised in Maryland. My journalism experience consists of copy editing and freelance reporting for Stories Beneath the Shell, a student-run publication, and Her Campus, an online magazine. I enjoy anything beauty, food, and lifestyle related. I also spend a lot of time indoors and do not have any knowledge about gardening. Therefore, interning at Washington Gardener magazine will be an interesting experience for me. I am excited to learn how to grow and maintain plants from books, events, and hands-on activities. Additionally, I intend to work at a magazine or online publication, so I will explore the realms of this industry during my time here. I believe this opportunity will help me strengthen my ability to multi-task, teach me better ways to plan ahead and improve my skills after making mistakes. Stepping outside of my comfort zone will be a must this semester.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

SEED EXCHANGE FAQ

UPDATE: Online Registration ends at 6pm on 2/9/18 for the 2/10/18 Seed Exchange at Green Spring Gardens.

You can register at the door starting at 12noon on Saturday. 2/10/18, but we recommend you do so online to guarantee your spot.


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 26 for the Brookside event and by Friday, February 9 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 27 at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD go here: 
https://wgseedexchange-brooksideg.brownpapertickets.com/
and for 
Saturday, February 10 at Green Spring Gardens, VA go here:
https://wgseedexchange-greenspringg.brownpapertickets.com/

- 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 & Volunteers12:30-12:35 Introductory remarks and overview12:35-1:25 Speaker 1 1:30-2:00 Speaker 22:00-2:30 Refreshment Break and Seed Swap Preview2:30-3:00 Seed Show and Tell**3:00-3:30 Seed Swap!
3:30-3:45 Garden Photo Contest Winners Presentation (only at VA 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. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Win Passes to the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange


For our January 2018 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away two passes to either of the Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges (prize value $40).
   The 13th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges, hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine, take place on January 27, 2018, at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, and on February 10, 2018, 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!
   See both event's details at: http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2017/12/seed-exchange-registration-now-open.html. Seed Exchange attendees are encouraged to bring their used or new garden books and seed catalogs to swap and share at this year’s event. We also ask you to bring your own water bottle or reusable mug and a home-made nametag. We will have a “best nametag” contest, so get crafty!
   To enter to win the Seed Exchange Passes, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Thursday, January 25, with “Seed Swap” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us your favorite story in the January 2018 issue and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on Friday, January 26.

UPDATE: Our winner is Caity Valley of Washington, DC.

Friday, January 19, 2018

January 2018 issue of Washington Gardener includes the Best Phlox for the Mid-Atlantic Region and much more



The January 2018 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out.

Inside this issue:
  • Best Phlox for the Mid-Atlantic Region
  • Chef Gardens: Garden to Table
  • Native Orchid:Aplectrum hyemale
  • Are Asian Ladybugs Bad for Your Gardens?
  • Soils in Winter: What Lies Beneath
  • Share Your Bounty with the Hungry
  • Your Garden Task List
  • 2018’s Healthy Garden Trends
  • DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar

and much more…

Any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the February 2018 Washington Gardener Magazine 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


Thursday, January 18, 2018

SEED EXCHANGE 2018 SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED


HERE ARE THE SPEAKERS FOR THE UPCOMING WASHINGTON GARDENER SEED EXCHANGES 2018. 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 HEREhttp://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2017/12/seed-exchange-registration-now-open.html.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 AT BROOKSIDE GARDENS, WHEATON, MD

"Planning and Organizing this Winter for Quicker Planting this Spring"

Grab a calendar, your seed packets, and a sharpened pencil! Right now is the perfect time to make your plans, prepare, and organize your seeds for a quick and easy garden progression. Learn what you can start indoors for later transplanting and what needs go straight into the garden in a few weeks. Kim will take you from spring into summer and straight through into fall planting and even give you a few hints on what to do if we get an unexpected cold snap.

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. 

and

"Cool Season Cover Crops”

Where to source cover crop seeds, when/why to use them, and what varieties do best here in the Mid-Atlantic.

Speaker: Elizabeth Olson is a Maryland Certified Professional Horticultur­ist with the Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association. She is also a Certified Judge with the Maryland Association of Agricultural Fairs & Shows. Her areas of expertise include Farm & Garden, Flowers & Plants, Vegeta­bles, Fruits & Nuts, Herbs & Vinegars, Food Preservation, and Photography. Elizabeth is the Edible Harvest columnist for Washington Gardener Magazine, for which she has written kitchen garden articles on topics ranging from garlic to Brussels sprouts. She belongs to GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators and has made presentations on various subjects such as getting ready for spring, planting schemes, and how to prepare entries for the county fair to garden groups and Master Gardeners since 2008.

and a bonus mini-session:

“Quick Seed Saving Tips”

A primer of how to save, store, and label seeds from various plants.

Speaker: Kathy Jentz is editor and publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, based in the Washington, DC region. A life-long gardener, Kathy believes that growing plants should be stress-free and enjoyable.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10 AT GREEN SPRING GARDENS, ALEXANDRIA, VA

“Introduction to Local Vertical Farming”

Vertical Farming uses stackable growing containers and community-based farming to activate underused urban spaces, including rooftops, balconies, abandoned lots, or front yards. This session covers using vertical farming methods for higher yields, selecting to most suitable varieties for vertical growing, nutrient management, integrated pest management, and harvest techniques.

Speaker: Niraj Ray founded Cultivate the City (CTC) in 2015 to inspire healthy and sustainable living by empowering local communities with the tools, training and resources for urban agriculture and vertical farming. CTC currently manages over 25 locations around DC, including a rooftop farm at the Washington Nationals Stadium, 4 school gardens, Gallaudet University's school farm and a rooftop retail garden center with a 500 sq ft. hoophouse featuring vertical aquaponic systems. In 2017, CTC cultivated and distributed more than 8000 lbs of produce- food grown by CTC provides for a 45+ member CSA, restaurant sales, cooking classes and community festivals with their school gardens.  Niraj holds a B.S. in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology from the Ohio State University and a M.S. in Integrated Environmental Science from Bethune-Cookman University. He is a 2013 National Wildlife Federation Emerging Leader Fellow and formerly worked with the US EPA - Office of Water.

and

“Providing Blooms Year-Round for Honey Bees”

Planning and planting flowers all months of the year to provide for honeybee pollen and nectar. Year-round blooms will be make your garden a true pollinator habitat.

Speaker: Elizabeth Olson is a Maryland Certified Professional Horticultur­ist with the Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association. She is also a Certified Judge with the Maryland Association of Agricultural Fairs & Shows. Her areas of expertise include Farm & Garden, Flowers & Plants, Vegeta­bles, Fruits & Nuts, Herbs & Vinegars, Food Preservation, and Photography. Elizabeth is the Edible Harvest columnist for Washington Gardener Magazine, for which she has written kitchen garden articles on topics ranging from garlic to Brussels sprouts. She belongs to GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators and has made presentations on various subjects such as getting ready for spring, planting schemes, and how to prepare entries for the county fair to garden groups and Master Gardeners since 2008.

and a bonus mini-session:

“Quick Seed Saving Tips”

A primer of how to save, store, and label seeds from various plants.

Speaker: Kathy Jentz is editor and publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, based in the Washington, DC region. A life-long gardener, Kathy believes that growing plants should be stress-free and enjoyable.

For more information on the exchanges and how to register, go here: http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2017/12/seed-exchange-registration-now-open.html. .

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

If you were away over the holiday season or just taking a break from the online world, you may have missed some of our important announcements about upcoming Washington Gardener Magazine events. Here is a quick recap:

~ The 12th Annual Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest is now open for entry period, The submission deadline is Monday, January 22, 2018. Details are posted at:
http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2017/12/garden-photo-contest-kicks-off.html

~ The 13th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges take place on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD and on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax, VA. Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats.
Details and registration information is at:  
http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2017/12/seed-exchange-registration-now-open.html

~  The Washington Gardener Book Club will be discussing: Henry Mitchell On Gardening by Henry Mitchell. at Soupergirl in Takoma, DC, on Thursday, February 8 from 6:30-8:00pm. Details are at: 
http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2018/01/garden-book-club-selections-for-2018.html

~  Washington Gardener Magazine has two tours this year going up to the Philadelphia Flower Show. The two tours are on different days; from different locations.  The first one is Wednesday, March 7 from 10am-10pm, leaving and returning to downtown Silver Spring, MD. The second one is Thursday, March 8 from 10am-10pm, leaving and returning to Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, MD. Details and registration information is at:
http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2018/01/welcome-spring-at-philadelphia-flower.html

Friday, January 12, 2018

How Plant People Spend the Winter - a MANTS 2018 Photo Slideshow


MANTS 2018

MANTS is the big tradeshow for hort professionals, ag heads, farm folk, equipment addicts, garden geeks, and plant nerds. Held every January at the Baltimore Convention Center - here is a glimpse of my two days spent there running around the 900+ exhibits looking for the new and tried-and-true.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Garden Book Club Selections for 2018


With the success of another year of the Washington Gardener Magazine Garden Book Club, we are announcing our 2018 selections and first meeting in the new year. 

For our first 2018 selection, we will be reading:  Henry Mitchell On Gardening by Henry Mitchell.

Our Winter meeting will be on Thursday, February 8 from 6:30-8pm 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) rcn.com or at the book club event page at facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine, 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.

The other book club selections for 2018 are:

Friday, January 05, 2018

WELCOME SPRING AT THE PHILADELPHIA FLOWER SHOW


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 2018 is - 
“Wonders of Water.” It will celebrate the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. America’s leading floral and garden designers will create tropical jungles, temperate forests, native woodlands and arid landscapes, showcasing the astounding plants that thrive in each environment, from exquisite orchids and flowering vines to luminescent desert blooms. Guests will enter the show under a canopy of exotic flowers, and marvel at a modernistic, multi-level bamboo waterfall. An ever-shifting rain curtain will guide guests over a “suspended” rope bridge, and through a brilliant green rainforest. “We want to capture all the sensory elements of the rainforest – its fantastic colors, scents and sounds -- and demonstrate its unique and vital role in purifying water and sustaining our environment,” explained Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows & Events. Special features of the 2018 Flower Show will explore innovative ways green infrastructure is used to protect and conserve our water sources. The William Penn Foundation has awarded a major grant to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to build an exhibit that illuminates how plant systems cleanse and sustain the Delaware River Watershed through mountains, fields, marshes and streams, and to convene a “Water Summit” at the Flower Show that engages leading environmental and industry experts from throughout the U.S. on freshwater issues and real-world solutions.


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 7 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 8 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!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

New Year's Resolutions for the Garden


Our readers recently shared their New Year's Resolutions for the Garden:

"I resolve to replace the overgrown shrubs around our mailbox."
~ Mavis Burdett, Silver Spring, MD 

"My new years resolution for my garden is to increase the health of my soil biology!"
Caity Valley, Washington, DC 

"My resolutions are to plant more native plants and do better at weeding this year!"
~ Katie Rapp, Gaithersburg, MD 

"My garden resolution is to use more compost and earth friendly products for my garden and yard."
~ Kathy Pongor, Savage, MD 

"My New Year's gardening resolution is to do a better job keeping up with prolific plants that spread about and to take out volunteer trees and shrubs before they become too big and are hard to deal with."
Dorothy Cichra, Silver Spring, MD 

"My resolution is to start gardening earlier in the season and mulch more."
~ Kathy May, Kensington, MD

"Our resolution for our home garden is to replant our front yard in the spring and to have fun mapping it out on paper this winter. We have just remodeled and added a front porch. We are looking forward to some old favorites like azaleas as well as adding more hydrangeas and winterberry hollies. Also thinking of a few plants we can have in pots on the porch steps and up on the actual porch. I have been keeping lists and pictures of things I love so will be fun to pull it all together ..."
~ Karen Sutter, Arlington VA

"Resolution - to get everything planted that is sitting in my driveway!"
~ Wendy Brister, Wrightsville PA 


"New Year's Resolution: Consistent and continuing weeding effort!"
~ Judy Daniel, Washington, DC

What gardening resolutions have you made this year?



Photo by Sasha • Instagram.com/sanfrancisco on Unsplash

Monday, January 01, 2018

DIY: Succulent Wine Cork Planter

This simple project is a great way to display the tiny succulent off-sets your plants may create and can sometimes accidentally break off. Groupings of them can be a little gallery of your houseplant collection that live at a second location like your office or vacation home. They also make great gifts.

Materials:

Wine corks
Drill with 1/4-inch drill bit or larger
Clamp or vise
Cactus soil mix
Succulents

Steps:
  1. Place cork in a vise or clamp and then drill a hole in the center of the top of the cork--going about half-way down the length. Blow out the crumbled cork and widen the hole as you wish, being careful not to break through the side of the cork.
  2. Decorate the cork. This is an optional step, but now would be the time to paint it or glue on a magnet and let that dry before moving on to the next step. 
  3. Fill the hole with a bit of the cactus soil mix. Tapping it down. 
  4. Place your tiny succulent into the hole and fill in more soil around it.
  5. You can then embellish the planters as you like. For instance, you can add a bit of moss near the succulent's stem or wrap the cork in decorative floral wire.

Tips:

  • The wine corks need to be real (natural) cork. Many now are synthetic and are not suitable for this project.
  • Drill more corks than you think you'll need. Some will crumble or crack on you. It may also take a few trial corks to get the hang of using the drill.
  • Use a cactus soil mix --not regular potting soil or garden soil. The cactus mix is much lighter than other soils and is better for the succulent.
  • A toothpick or skewer is a useful tool for guiding the succulents roots into the hole.

Care:

Ideally, place the cork with succulent in a south-facing window, but they can survive in lower light situations. The most important thing is to water them sparingly -- meaning hardly ever. When the plant starts to outgrow the cork, you can transplant the succulent to a bigger pot and reuse or recycle the cork planter.

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 washingtongardener.blogspot.com

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Top 10 Gifts for Gardeners

As the holiday season is upon  us, I find my email inbox filling up with requests from product companies and PR companies urging me to share...