Tuesday, March 19, 2019

March 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine includes Thornless Blackberries, Snapdragons, Phenology, a Lavender Farm, and much more...

The March 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out.

Inside this issue:
  • Grow Your Own Blackberry Patch
  • Timing is Everything: the Science of Phenology
  • A Visit to Blooming Hill Lavender Farm
  • DIY Natural Bug Spray
  • DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar
  • Meet a Veteran Composter
  • Creative Design Approaches to Diverse Landscapes
  • Year of the Snapdragon
  • And much more….

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the April 2019 issue are due by April 5.

>>  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, March 15, 2019

Spring has Sprung for Bloom Day

It is Garden Blogger's Bloom Day again! On the 15th of each month, we gardeners with blogs share a few bloom photos from our gardens. 

Here in the Mid-Atlantic USA (USDA zone 7) on the DC-MD border, we had an especially nasty winter until two days ago, when spring sprung out and the birds sang and bulbs burst into bloom!

In my garden, I have a multitude of blooms. Here is my list of what is in flower today:

- Winter Jasmine
- Pieris Japonica
- Mahonia
- Hellebores - various
- Daffodils 'February Gold' and 'Tete a Tete'
- Snowdrops - various
- Crocus - various

I cut a bunch of sweet-smelling daffs to enjoy at my desk while I lay out the next issue of the magazine.

So what is blooming today in YOUR garden?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Community Gardens of the DMV: Glebe Community Garden

By Johnny Moseman

Since 1974, at the corner of S. Glebe and S. Lang St. in Arlington, VA, there has been a community garden standing where houses, stores, and a church used to stand before they were torn down by constant flooding in from Four Mile Run.

After all of the flooding, the county realized this was not a safe place for buildings, so they tore down the houses, converted some of the land into park space, reserved some for future water treatment facilities, and the rest was given to county residents for a community garden.

The members of the neighborhood immediately called for a meeting, elected officials, drew up bylaws, and split the land up into 25 garden plots.

By 1980, the flooding had stopped due to the Army Corps of Engineers widening Four Mile Run. By 2000, there were 30 plots in the garden and the county purchased land adjacent to the garden for more space.

With this growth of land and subsequent reduction in size of other individual plots, the number of plots rose to 60.

In 2008, the garden purchased two large sheds, two large picnic tables, and a charcoal grill on a concrete foundation. The garden has everything they need at the moment, but they are always looking for funding and people to help keep their garden clean.

“We have all the resources we need from gathering them over the years,” Assistant Chief Gardener Joy Bickelhaupt said.

Last year, the garden expanded even more when they purchased a neighboring property. This expansion added about 30 new plots, but with all the property around the garden being claimed now, it looks as if they have expanded enough.

Right now, residents of the neighborhood occupy 103 plots in the garden and they can grow whatever vegetable or plant they want, as long as they follow all the bylaws provided by the officers of the garden.

The only restriction of this garden is no fruit trees, but members are growing every kind of vegetable you can imagine along with blueberries, strawberries, and grape vines.
Bickelhaupt has been a member since 2015 and what she loves most about the garden is its therapeutic value.

“It is very relaxing to sit under the sun,” Bickelhaupt said. “It’s a community. We all share ideas, seeds and produce. We talk and have group beautifying sessions and potlucks. Everyone is so friendly and we all support each other.”

For more details about the garden, see: https://glebegardenclub.wordpress.com/.

About the Author: Johnny Moseman is a senior multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland from Columbia, MD. He is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this spring semester.

Photo Source: Glebe Community Garden

The Community Gardens of the DMV blog series is profiling community gardens across the DC-MD-VA region. If you have a community garden you would like profiled, please leave a comment below and let us know how to reach you.

Friday, March 01, 2019

DIY: Rose Beads

By Alexa Silverberg

Want to make beautiful beads made from roses?

The Rose Bead Group with the Potomac Unit of the HerbSociety of America leads workshops to show how to create beautiful jewelry from roses. These hands-on demonstrations are led by Mary Lou Winder, the Chairperson of the Rose Bead Group.

Here are Winder’s 10 steps to help you make beautiful rose beads at home

1. First, you will need a lot of rose petals! A cup of dried petals will yield 3-6 beads, so keep that in mind when considering how big you will want your piece of jewelry.  Another important thing to remember, all plant parts other than petals must be carefully removed to ensure a smooth bead.

2. Step two, dry the petals. It is important to dry the petals completely, otherwise you risk mold growing.

3. Next, freeze the petals for at least three days to kill any insects.

4. Then, put the petals in a pot, add water to cover, and simmer slowly for several hours until the petals are very, very soft.

5. Next, put the cooked petals, little by little, in a blender. Puree them thoroughly with enough liquid (cooking liquid or water) to make a finely ground, smooth concoction.

6. Put this mix into an iron pot and set it over very low heat.  Use a “flame tamer” to keep it from scorching. Cook it slowly, stirring periodically and scraping down the sides, until the moisture evaporates and you have a thick mash that is now black from the chemical reaction with the iron in the pot.

7. Repeat, adding water to the thickened mash and grinding it again in the blender, then cooking it slowly until you again have a thick mash. Blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

8. Add a small quantity of rose oil to the mash. Winder uses rose fragrance oil.

9. When the mash is ready, measure it out in rounded half teaspoons. Roll in the palms of your hands, dabbing slightly with water if need be to remove all cracks. Gently roll the round, smooth bead between 2-ridged wooden butter paddles to give a bit of texture.

10. Lastly, spear the bead on a wire and set aside to dry over the next several days. Beads must be turned on the wire daily while they dry to keep them from cementing themselves to the wire. They will shrink substantially! Once they are dry and hard, remove the beads from the wires and let them dry a few days more. Now, you can string them as you would any other bead, in combination with other purchased beads, to make necklaces.

The rose bead group offers workshops every month. In addition, they sell their rose jewelry locally and online. For more information, contact Mary Lou Winder at marylouwinder@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Alexa Silverberg is a senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland and is from Short Hills, NJ. She is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener Magazine this spring semester.

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