Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Creating an Oasis in Your Garden Talk

On Saturday, June 16, from 10–11:30am, I'll be speaking at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA, on "Water in the Landscape: Creating an Oasis in Your Garden."

Water features and water gardens can be magical additions to your landscape. They can stimulate or calm, sustain native wildlife, and mask ambient noise. Washington Gardener Magazine and Water Garden Journal editor Kathy Jentz explains the basics of installing and maintaining a water feature of any size in your garden and highlights water garden plant choices appropriate for our region.

And no, having a water garden doesn't breed mosquitoes! As a matter of fact, quite the opposite -- water features can be great mosquitoes deterrents. Find out more at my talk.

Fee: $18/person. Code 290 286 0301. Register at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parktakes or call 703-642-5173. Out-of-county registrants, add $2 for programs.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Fenton Friday: Black Spanish Round (?!?) Radish


It has been a very rainy spring and the last two weeks have been one gully-washer storm after another. The community garden plot is a weed paradise right now and I can hardly keep up with it. 

Among the cool-season crops I tried out this year for the first time was a packet of Black Spanish Round Radish seeds. They are an heirloom variety that has been around since the 16th century (if not earlier). 

The taste is fairly hot compared to other radishes and they never did form a nice round shape as promised. The soil is not to blame as in that same bed I've gotten some well-shaped turnips, and other root vegetables. The one good point was how dramatic the snow-white flesh looks compared to the dark skin. It would look cool on a party tray. They also bolted fast (despite our cool, wet spring) and do have a very pretty, edible flower. 

Verdict: I won't be growing these again anytime soon. 


How is your vegetable garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Win "The Budget-Wise Gardener" by Kerry Ann Mendez in the May 2018 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest

For our May 2018 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away two copies of The Budget-Wise Gardener by Kerry Ann Mendez from St. Lynn's Press (prize value of $19.95).
   Mendez gives the inside scoop on nailing the best deals and having it all: selecting plants that give you the most bang for your buck; timing your purchases to take advantage of deep discounts and giveaways; finding treasures at plant, bulb and seed swaps—and much more. With luscious color photos on nearly every page, this is an essential guide to creating the garden of your dreams without breaking the bank.
     To enter to win one of the two copies of The Budget-Wise Gardener, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5pm on Thursday, May 31, with “Budget-Wise” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in the May 2018 Washington Gardener Magazine and why. Please include your full name and mailing address. The book winners will be announced and notified on June 1.

UPDATE:
The two book winners are Annie Shaw of Greenbelt, MD, and Johanna Kearns, Washington, DC. 
Congratulations to you both!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May 2018 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine includes Easy Annual Flowers for Direct Sowing, Trilliums, Azalea Lacebug, and much more






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

Inside this issue:
·         Easy Annual Flowers  for Direct Sowing
·         Which is best for your lawn? Cool- vs. Warm-Season Turfgrass
·         L’Auberge Chez François Chef’s Garden
·         What’s Bugging Your Azalea?
·         Tantalizing Trillium
·         Meet Seedsman William Woys Weaver
and much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the June 2018 issue are due by June 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

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fenton Friday: Herbalicious

It has been a wet week here in the Mid-Atlantic -- to say the least. We measured over 6 inches in my rain gauge as of yesterday and it is still coming down hard. The weeds are going crazy in the vegetable plot, but I am staying mostly away so I don't compact the soil and because there is really not much I can do at this point. Many of these "weeds" are annual flowers re-seeding from last year. I will give them a few weeks to grow and then transplant them to a designated cutting garden area of the plot, lest they take over the whole thing.

I did go over yesterday to cut some Spinach and saw that my first Strawberries are ripening! I tasted them and they are sweet -- not water-logged and bland as I'd feared. I also cut a big swath of Parsley as this Sunday I am co-hosting an Herb Fest at the Takoma Park Farmers Market. We will use the Parsley for one of the tasting recipes.

I am also thawing some Basil Pesto I made last summer and froze to lock in that fresh-from-the-garden taste. I'll be sharing that as a sample on a cracker and we have local chef's recipes printed out for taking and trying at home with herbs you can grow or purchase fresh from the market. Here is the event announcement below. I hope to see many of you there!


Image may contain: outdoorKathy Jentz, editor of Washington Gardener Magazine and Mary-Denise Smith, food blogger and a recipe tester for the Washington Post, will host Herb Talks and Tastings from 10am-12noon at the Takoma Park Farmers Market. 
   Taste herbs, learn about what to plant, find recipes and bring the kids to plant basil seeds to take home with special thanks to Old Takoma Ace Hardware.
   Bring the kids to our free planting station at the market on Sunday. Take home potted basil seeds for your home garden then reap the benefits all summer long.
   We'll be raffling off two kitchen herb pots from Blue Ridge Botanicals on Sunday. Enter to win by spending at least $10 at any vendor between 10am-12noon. Drawing at 12noon. You do not need to be at the market to win, but will need to pick up your prize by 2pm.
   See more details at:
https://www.facebook.com/events/174376330050824/permalink/180904926064631/


How is your vegetable garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bloom Day Weigela? Why Not?!?


Here in the Mid-Atlantic USA (USDA zone 7) on the DC-MD border, the past month started off very dry, then it got hot - really hot - then the rains finally returned in the form of monsoons. We seem to be skipping spring this year and leaping straight into summer.

Here are four different Weigela I am trialing in my garden. Don't ask me to name them. I have been a very bad garden writer and misplaced the tags. Okay, okay. I'll take a stab at it. I think they are:
- top, left - 'Night Tuxedo'
- top, right - 'Czechmark Trilogy™'
- bottom, left - 'Sonic Bloom Red' 
- bottom, right - 'Minuet'

It is the 15th of the month, which means Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day again. To view links to other garden bloggers' blooms around the world to see what it blooming in their gardens today and to read their collective comments, go to:
https://www.maydreamsgardens.com/2018/05/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-may-2018.html

So what is blooming in YOUR garden today?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fenton Friday: Cilantro Stand-off

By Kelly Zheng

The smell of cilantro (corainder) has always intrigued me. It smells so pleasant and adds such flavor to dishes, especially Mexican food. I was happy I was able to grow my own this semester. I grew two different types: 'Long Standing' and 'Slow-bolt'. I planted the 'Slow-bolt' first and then the 'Long Standing' a few weeks later because of the different seed packet instructions. Whether the brand or the timing played a role or not, the 'Slow-bolt' grew more than the 'Long Standing'. I had to re-seed both of them once as well.

After re-seeding, weeding, and watering, I saw 'Slow-bolt' cilantro emerge within weeks. I was able to harvest some last week and used them in chicken tacos. It felt surreal that I grew an herb, as it tasted like store-bought (#beginnergardener). The 'Long Standing' was just making progress then, and fortunately, I was able to harvest some also yesterday. Even though the 'Slow-bolt' was taller with larger leaves, the 'Long Standing' was starting to catch up. I also harvested more of the 'Slow-bolt' to compare the two.

Both 'Slow-bolt' and 'Long Standing' cilantro leaves looked identical. When I tried them by themselves, they tasted basically the same, too. They also smelled the same. I was hoping for an actual difference, whatever that might have been, but I was also happy they tasted the same. This meant I did not have to favor one over the other. I mixed and chopped both of them together and added them to another round of chicken tacos! And they added great flavor as expected.

How is your vegetable garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

About the Author: Kelly Zheng is a junior multiplatform journalism major, with a minor in technology entrepreneurship, at the University of Maryland, College Park. This spring semester, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Garden Photo Show Opening Reception 2018


You are invited to view the winning images of the 12th annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest at an art show at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. All 17 stunning photos were taken in DC-area gardens. Both inspirational and educational, this show represents the best of garden photography in the greater DC metropolitan region.

The photo show reception is Sunday, June 3 from 2:00-3:30pm at the Meadowlark Visitor Center's lobby. The opening reception is open to the public and is free to attend. You may also come by and view the photos any time during the normal Visitor Center hours (10am-7pm daily). The photo show runs through July 31.


To RSVP and for updates, visit our Facebook event page at:
https://www.facebook.com/events/580492375682875/

Washington Gardener Magazine is already announcing an 13th Annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest. Start gathering your images now and throughout this year. Most all of the entry rules will remain the same as this year’s contest. Photos need to be taken during the 2018 calendar year in a garden-setting in the greater Washington, DC area. We will again accept the entries during the first three weeks of January.

Washington Gardener Magazine (http://www.washingtongardener.com/) is the gardening publication specifically for the local metro area — zones 6-7 — Washington DC and its suburbs. Washington Gardener Magazine’s basic mission is to help DC area gardens grow better. The magazine is written entirely by and for local area gardeners.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (www.nvrpa.org/park/meadowlark_botanical_gardens) is a park of beauty, conservation, education and discovery. Throughout the year at this 95-acre complex are large ornamental display gardens and unique native plant collections. Walking trails, lakes, more than 20 varieties of cherry trees, irises, peonies, an extensive shade garden, native wildflowers, gazebos, birds, butterflies, seasonal blooms and foliage create a sanctuary of beauty and nature. Meadowlark is part of Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Plant Profile: Dogwood Trees



Our native flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is an undemanding small tree. They have beautiful, four-petaled white or pink flowers (bracts, actually), sprinkled across a full, spreading crown. While known for its spring flowers, the tree’s bright red berries, which ripen during the summer, are a major draw for wild birds. Then, in the autumn, the flowering dogwood has a gorgeous purple and red foliage display.

Cornus florida (zones 5 to 9) grows to an eventual height of 25 to 30 feet. It typically blooms in May, and the flowers last two to three weeks. Good cultivars include the white flowered ‘Cloud 9’; ‘Plena,’ a double-flowered white; ‘Pendula,’ a weeping white; pink flowered ‘Red Cloud’; and ‘Cherokee Chief,’ with reddish-pink bracts.

A tree of the woodland in its native habitat, the flowering dogwood is usually an understory tree. In the home garden, it does best when shielded from the afternoon sun. It prefers reasonably fertile, acidic soil.

Dogwoods need minimal pruning. To keep your dogwood tree looking in top shape, just remove any dead or damaged branches, making sure to cut back to a lateral branch. Pruning is best done in late winter or early spring.

While the flowering dogwood is only one of 45 different dogwood species, it is the tree that most people associate with that name. Our native dogwood is found throughout the eastern seaboard and it grows very well in our Mid-Atlantic region. While Cormus florida is extremely susceptible to the anthracnose fungus (which causes die back and eventual mortality), a garden specimen sited correctly and kept well-watered, especially in its first year, is not likely to be affected.

The Korean dogwood (Cornus kousa) is hardy from zones 5 to 8, has large, pointed floral bracts in white and shades of pink, and fall color similar to Cornus florida. It grows as wide as it does tall, up to 30 feet. A favorite cultivar of mine is ‘Wolf Eyes,’ with its variegated leaves. This particular dogwood variety originated as a branch sport at Manor View Farm, Monkton, MD.

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine and edited by intern Allison O'Reilly.

 If you enjoy this video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe (thank you!)

Remember to TURN ON notifications to know when our new videos are out

 FIND Washington Gardener Magazine ONLINE
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Friday, May 04, 2018

Fenton Friday: Italian Arugula vs. Heirloom Rustic Arugula

By Allison O'Reilly

This semester, I grew two different types of arugula in our community garden plot. Both of my arugula plants were successful, but the Italian Arugula grew to be more lush, sooner than the Heirloom Rustic Arugula. The weather has been unpredictable and all over the place since I planted my arugula seeds. I was definitely worried the harsh winds, storms, frosts, snowfalls, and random temperature spikes would harm or kill my arugula. But, the plants prevailed, I only had to re-seed once and I ended up with plenty of arugula to munch on.

I ate the Italian Arugula with Kathy and Kelly in a spinach-arugula salad last week. The salad had a sweet dressing and dried cranberries, so the peppery arugula made a nice added kick to it.
In order to compare the flavors of the two types of arugula, I chose to sauté them with bell peppers and zucchini. The two types tasted very similar, if not identical, in this format. The Heirloom Rustic Arugula has a weaker hint of pepper and the Italian Arugula had more of a bitter aftertaste, but other than that there were no noticeable differences.


I enjoyed eating the sautéed arugula more than the raw arugula. Arugula is a strong salad green and I found it to be a bit too harsh in the sweet salad. Sautéing the arugula heightened the flavor, and introducing warmth to the leaves made them gentler to eat.
How is your vegetable garden growing this week?

About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I'll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 6th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

About the Author:Allison O’Reilly is originally from Winston-Salem, NC, and is a sophomore majoring in journalism as well as government and politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. This spring semester, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Plant Profile: Azaleas


A certain Washington Post garden columnist calls them over-used and garish, but we cannot get enough of them every spring! From native varieties to Asian hybrids, there is a perfect azalea for most every local garden. They dazzle in shades of shimmering pinks and pale peaches to deep reds and pure white.

You can put together collection of early-, mid-and late-season blooming varieties and have an azalea flowering in your garden for six months or more. (Though technically, with the newer re-blooming varieties, the flowering season can extend all the way through the year.)

Plant them where they can attain their full size and you will never need to prune them. They do not love to be in hot afternoon sun and prefer an acidic soil, but basically they are low-maintenance and rewarding shrubs.

Benjamin Y. Morrison, the famed horticulturalist who was the founder and first director of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC, is noted for cross-breeding different strains of azaleas to produce the Glenn Dale cultivars, which are prevalent today throughout the eastern United States. Morrison lived in Takoma Park, MD, and many of his Glenn Dale introductions can be seen throughout the city’s private home gardens and public parks.

You don’t want to miss the seasonal display of azalea in mass plantings at the U.S. National Arboretum. See our list of 20+ more top viewing spots in the Washington, DC, region at:  http://washingtongardener.blogspot.com/2016/05/top-local-spots-for-azalea-viewing-best.html.


The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine and edited by intern Allison O'Reilly.

 If you enjoy this video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe (thank you!)

Remember to TURN ON notifications to know when our new videos are out

 FIND Washington Gardener Magazine ONLINE
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~ http://twitter.com/WDCGardener
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Tuesday, May 01, 2018

DIY: Herb Drying Rack

Drying chamomile and lavender
(garlic bulbs are in the onion bag).
Don't throw out those old garden tools! They can always have a new use. For instance, the heads of old garden rakes, forks, and spades make great hanging hooks for other things. I use one of my old rake-heads as an herb rack.

Just saw off what is left of the end of the handle (the wood on mine had rotted and shattered). Then hang the rake-head up and bundle and dry your herbs.

If you don't happen have an old rake-head, there are lots of other herb rack projects. You can take an old board or branch then tack in a row of nails for the hangers. If you want to get fancy, replace the nails with drawer pulls or cabinet knobs. 

I also use old brass curtain rings - the kind with a clip on one end - threaded on a string and then you clip on the herb bundles.

Old chandeliers and pot racks are also great for herb drying. You can buy S-hooks at the hardware store or create your own from wire hangers.

Laundry drying racks are a natural for this use as well. I like to lay an old window screen across the  rack levels to place beans, okra, cotton, and other things small I'm drying for seed.

Finally, any unused coat hook or coat rack can be re-purposed for herb drying duty. It can be just that simple! Once you start looking for herb hanging ideas, the possibilities are endless!

Make sure your herb drying rack is in a well-ventilated area away from small children and pets (who cannot resist playing with the crinkly, rustling dried leaves) and you'll soon be harvesting dried herbs to use all year-round.

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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