Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Video Plant Profile: Hardy Waterlily (Nymphaea)



 The classic beauty of the waterlily brings a hint of the tropics to backyard gardens. These easy-to-grow aquatic bloomers can be raised in containers without drainage holes or small ponds.

Waterlilies come in an array of colors, from pale white, cream, and yellow to the more vibrant pinks, blues, and purples. Hardy waterlily pads are pea-green, round, and are thick – almost rubber-like.

A few great choices are the native, white waterlily (Nymphaea odorata), which is stunning and has a wonderful fragrance. The hardy pink waterlily ‘Pink Beauty’ (also known as ‘Fabiola’) can often have multiple blooms at once. The yellow hardy waterlily ‘Texas Dawn’ has a light, lemon fragrance, long blooming season, and can take a touch of shade.

Waterlilies are sun lovers. Five hours of direct sun is the minimum they need for them to flower.

Plant your waterlily tubers in a pot using regular clay garden soil.  You don’t have to plant the tubers deep, but you should cover the surface of the soil with pebbles or pea gravel. This will help keep the soil from dispersing in the water as you submerge the pots between one to two feet below the water’s surface level.

Waterlilies prefer growing in still water and don’t like to be constantly splashed, so keep them away from waterfalls or spraying fountains.

Waterlilies are heavy feeders, so you should fertilize them regularly, using a fertilizer tablet made for aquatic plants. Do this at the time of planting, and once a month thereafter throughout the growing season.

Tropical waterlilies do not winter over here in the Mid-Atlantic and need to be brought in. Whereas, hardy waterlilies can stay in your water garden through the cold months. I cut mine back after the first frost and push its pot to the deepest section of my small pond.

Hardy Waterlily: You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.
It was shot and edited by intern Alexandra Marquez.

If you enjoy this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our Youtube channel (thank you!)

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Fenton Friday: Life is a Bowl of Cherry... Tomatoes

The heat finally broke earlier this week with a tremendous cold front that came through and knocked down sunflowers and other top-heavy flowers.

In the plot, the tomatoes are appreciating the cooler nights and are starting to ripen. Here (below) is a new one we are trialing this year called 'Red Torch.' I expected it to be more plum-sized, but it is smaller -- more like large-ish cherry. The taste is sweet like a cherry tomato too. It is very pretty and would make a great salad addition, if you can resist eating it right there in the garden.

What is growing in your edible garden 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 in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.
Tomato 'Red Torch' F1
Tomato 'Red Torch' F1

Thursday, July 25, 2019

12th Annual DC Plant Swap

12th Annual DC Plant Swap Details:
hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine

What: A Plant Swap -- bring and receive free plants to expand your garden

Why: Free Plants!
Fall is a perfect time to get them in the ground.

Date: Sunday, September 22

Time: starting at 2pm bring your plants for sorting by category (shade perennial, groundcover, herb, etc.) -- swap starts promptly at 2:30pm -- do not be late (the swap goes fast and can be over in a matter of minutes!) - after swapping, we can socialize, snack, and trade more info on the plants we brought - we plan to conclude and be cleaned up by 3pm.

Place: US National Arboretum's M Street parking lot (former State Grove Parking lot) - NEW location!

Weather: This event is rain or shine. In case of a bad storm, we will cancel.

Who: anyone is welcome as are any of your friends, relatives, or neighbors -- it is FREE -- feel free to forward on this invitation

How: be prepared to BRIEFLY introduce yourself and describe your plant swap offerings

Bring:
~ a name tag - home-made or from work or school -- whatever works
~ pen and paper - you will want to take lots of notes as folks describe the plants and their growing conditions
~ plants to swap - pot them up NOW -- the longer they can get settled in their pots, the better their chance of success and survival - (no plants to share? see note below)
~ labels - fully label all your swap plants with as much info as you have - optimally that will include: common and scientific name, amount of sun needed, amount of water needed, any other special care notes, and color of the blooms (if it is not currently in flower)

What kind of plants to bring: you can bring houseplants, native plants, vegetable plants, ornamental garden plants, water garden plants, annuals, perennials, biennials, shrubs, trees, cuttings, seeds, etc.

What NOT to bring: common orange daylilies* and any invasive species - use this list (http://www.mdinvasivesp.org/list_terrestrial_plants.html) to screen your plant offerings
*Hybrid daylilies are fine and totally welcome, but the common orange ones (aka "Ditch Lilies") usually end up with no takers and we are stuck having to throw them out as yard waste.

What if you do not have plants to swap? Come anyway! Bring refreshments like cold drinks and yummy finger foods to share with the other swappers.

AFTER the Swap: Enjoy the beauty of the US National Arboretum's plant collections


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Plant Profile: Sunflowers




Sunflowers are an annual flowering plant and are a great garden choice for supporting pollinators and wildlife.

You will need a sunny spot to grow them in. (They don’t call them sunflowers for nothing!) They are not picky about soils, but make sure it is well-draining as they do not like wet feet. Seed them about 6 inches apart either in clumps of 3 or in rows. You can start them indoors and plant them out after the last frost, though they are just as easy to direct-sow.

Keep your seedlings well-watered. They will grow fast and a touch of liquid fertilizer will help give them quick energy. Once established, they do not need much watering unless it has not rained in your area for a few weeks.

Most sunflowers do not need staking. If you plant them where they get constant wind or lean out from shade into the sun, then you might want to tie them with soft cloth strips to a sturdy rod of rebar or metal stake.

Sunflowers make great trellises for edible climbing plants like beans or ornamental annual vines. You can also use tall sunflowers to create an almost instant fence and shade around a portion of your garden.

There are an amazing variety of sunflowers available in seed catalogs. You can choose from knee-high to gargantuan. Some produce huge heads full of nutritious seeds, while others are “teddy bear” style covered in fuzzy petals and are practically sterile. Then there are the color choices – classic yellow is always in fashion, but don’t stop there. Check out the chocolate hues, deep reds, and buttery creams.

Sunflowers make a terrific cut flower. One caution though, you want to put them in a bottom-heavy container, so that when they turn to face the sun, they don’t topple down the vase with them.

Leave up your sunflower heads at the end of the season to allow the wildlife to enjoy the seeds and the extra spilled on the ground will grow for you next year. You can also cut the flowerheads and hang them to dry to harvest them for seeds and to share with other gardeners.

Once you are ready to take down your plants, you may find the stalks to be quite strong and fibrous. Chop them up before adding them to your compost pile.


Sunflowers – you can grow that!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.
It was shot and edited by intern Alexandra Marquez.

➤ If you enjoy this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our Youtube channel (thank you!)

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

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Win a set of plant pots and saucers from Jimmy Potters Studio in the July 2019 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest

For our July 2019 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away a set of plant pots and saucers from Jimmy Potters Studio (a $55 value).
 
Jimmy Potters Studio and Workshop is at 11215 Lee Hwy., Suite N., Fairfax, VA. It is a locally owned ceramics studio that offers weekly classes, covering beginning to advanced levels of pottery wheel-throwing classes, as well as hand-building and sculpture. The studio has high-quality, well-equipped, and expertly staffed ceramics programs.

  Their handcrafted earthenware pots range from earthy tones to contemporary, in a vast array of finishes. No two are exactly alike—living evidence of handmade ceramics.

 To enter to win the set of pots, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5pm on Wednesday, July 31, with “Jimmy Plant Pots” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in the July 2019 issue and why. Please include your full name and mailing address. The winner will be announced and notified on August 1.

UPDATE: We have a winner!
Congratulations to Rina Hakimian of Silver Spring, MD!
She won a set of plant pots and saucers from Jimmy Potters Studio.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Calling All Tomato-heads!


It’s ‘Big Boy’ vs. ‘Green Zebra,’ hybrid vs. heirloom, cherry vs. sandwich slicer—the tomato wars have just begun and everyone is sure that their tomato pick is the tastiest. Join Washington Gardener Magazine at the FreshFarm Market in downtown Silver Spring, MD, on Saturday, August 24, from 10am-12noon for a Tomato Tasting. Best of all, this event is FREE!

Farmers at the market will contribute their locally grown selections — from super-sweet ‘Sungold’ to not-so-pretty ‘Cherokee Purple’ — and we’ll explore which tomatoes make the short list of favorites. We’ll have tomato gardening tips, tomato recipes, tomato coloring activities for kids, tomato seeds, and much more. All to celebrate one of summer’s greatest indulgences — the juicy fresh tomato.

Tip: Your tomato taste voting ballot is also your entry into our prize drawing for a basket full of gardening goodies. The drawing is at 12noon, so be sure to fully fill out your ballot by 11:45am and then stick around for the prize announcement. You must be present to win.

Like and follow our Facebook event page for updates:

Friday, July 19, 2019

Fenton Friday: Scorching Hot

This week at the community garden plot it is hot -- up to 100 degrees F today through Sunday. I went and watered today and pray we get a late afternoon pop-up storm for some extra moisture and to cool things off a touch.

The Tomato plants are starting to move into high gear. They are also showing signs of Septoria Leaf Spot, which is to be expected with the heat and humidity we've had this summer. This little saucer (pictured) has three 'Sun Sugar' tomatoes and one 'Sun Gold' (the top-most one) with a tiny, self-sown wild 'Red Currant' in the middle.

The Bean plants are putting on lots of flowers, so I expect to be harvesting by early next week.

The Swiss Chard is getting really big. I suppose I should cut it and donate it, as I'm really not a big fan of eating it -- but it sure looks pretty.

The Garlic has finished curing in my sunroom and if I have time this weekend, I will make pesto with it -- as the Basil plants are starting to get crowded and could use a good cut-back.

Surprisingly, my Strawberry plants are setting new flowers. If I get more fruit on them, that will be very unusual.

What is growing in your edible garden 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 in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I'm plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th 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, July 18, 2019

Salvia nemorosa, Second Season in the Edible Garden, Sawfly Larvae, etc. in the July 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine




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

It is posted online at:
https://issuu.com/washingtongardener/docs/washingtongardenerjuly2019-e

Inside this issue:
·         Year of the Salvia nemorosa
·         Second Season in the Edible Garden
·         Brookside Gardens Turns 50
·         Ethnobotany and Native Fly Poison
·         Identifying and Combating Sawfly Larvae
·         Reducing Maintenance with Evergreen Groundcovers
·         DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar
·         Plants to Dye For
and much more…

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Video Plant Profile: Coneflowers



Plant Profile: Echinacea

The Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a perennial flower native to the open wooded areas in eastern and central North America. It is a favorite plant for pollinators from bees to butterflies. They are wonderful as cut flowers for arrangements and are a great low-maintenance choice for the landscape.

Due to new breeding programs, coneflowers have exploded in popularity with a diversity of flower colors, shapes, and sizes. The straight species is a rosey-purple, but new cultivars now come in a wide choice of colors ranging from bright shades of orange and yellow, soft whites and greens, and brilliant hues of pinks and purples.

The new selections also have unique flower forms such as double-petaled flowers and more dwarf, compact plants suitable for container gardens.

A few selections I especially like include ‘Green Envy’, ‘Cheyenne Spirit’, ‘and ‘Pixie Meadowbrite’.

Echinacea prefer full sun and well-draining soil, but can tolerate part-sun and clay soils. They will bloom from early summer through frost. Frequent deadheading (removing the spent flowers) will promote re-blooming for your coneflowers.


At the end of the growing season, leave some coneflowers up to go to seed. They provide food for the migrating birds and for native beneficial insects, who spend the winter inside the hollow stems, they provide a cozy home.

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.
It was shot and edited by intern Alexandra Marquez.

➤ If you enjoy this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our Youtube channel (thank you!)

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

➤ FIND Washington Gardener Magazine ONLINE
WashingtonGardener.blogspot.com
http://twitter.com/WDCGardener
https://www.instagram.com/wdcgardener/
facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine


Monday, July 15, 2019

Sunshine Yellow for Bloom Day

Cupflower
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 have had a HOT June-July and lots of flooding rains -- a pattern that seems to be set in place for the rest of the summer.

In my garden, I have many mid-summer blooms, so I thought I'd narrow the focus to just the yellow ones this month. I am not a big fan of the color except as an occasional accent. I don't seek it out in plants I acquire, but it makes its way into my garden nevertheless.

Aside from the yellow perennial flowers picture here, I also have yellow annuals in the garden including marigolds, sunflowers, and lantana.

So what is blooming today in YOUR garden?


Goldenrod

Black-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia laciniata aka Green-headed Coneflower or Cutleaf Coneflower

Daylily

Washington Gardener Donation Supports Brookside Garden's Horticultural Reference Collection

Corinne Stephens and Albert Arevalo
with new garden book donations at the Brookside Gardens Library.
By Alexandra Marquez


Washington Gardener staff stopped by Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, last Friday to drop off a donation of books that will be added to the Horticultural Reference Library. 

Editor and publisher Kathy Jentz has featured reviews of several of the books in previous editions of the magazine. The books cover a wide range of horticultural topics, such as growing succulents, creating fairy gardens, and urban garden design. 

The value of this batch of 15 donated books is about $415, which, added to previous donations, adds to a total of about $6,971 worth of books donated to the Horticultural Reference Library in the past six years. The magazine’s largest yearly donation was its first one in 2013, with $3,070.94 worth of books donated.

The mission of the Horticultural Reference Library at Brookside Gardens is to be a resource for Brookside Gardens and Montgomery County Parks staff, the citizens of Montgomery County, MD, and any other individual interested in learning about the science and art of Horticulture. Volunteer librarians are there and ready to help you find answers to your plant questions; they are available Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by appointment.

About the Author:
Alexandra Marquez is a rising junior journalism and anthropology major at the University of Maryland. She is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this summer.


Gifts for Gardeners ~ Gardening Gifts ~ Cool Gardening Gift Ideas


Today is Amazon Prime Day, so I thought I'd again share the garden products I use almost every day. These are the tried-and-true work tools that make my garden grow, save my back from breaking, and generally make life a little easier. Treat yourself!

BTW, they are linked to Amazon, so if you click on them and order any, Washington Gardener Magazine gets a few pennies added to the account. The full Amazon storefront is at:


  



 

















And, if you like this list, you may enjoy these gift lists as well:

~ Gift Ideas for Garden Cats

~ Top 10 Garden Books of 2018

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Top 10 Garden Books of 2018

Here is a list of the best gardening books that came out in 2018 as reviewed in  Washington Gardener  Magazine. These 10 selections are in ...