Thursday, December 31, 2020

Thanks for Listening to the GardenDC Podcast

Thank you to all of our GardenDC Podcast listeners! We had a great first year run and have big plans for 2021. Now is a great chance to jump in and catch up on any of the 40 episodes from Season 1 that you may have missed or re-listen to a past favorite.

Here is our Top 10 episodes from our first season in order of number of listens:

3. Beekeeping

5. US Botanic Garden’s 200th Anniversary
6. Preserving Your Harvest -- Canning Freezing and Drying
7. Fruit Trees, Crape Myrtle, and Low-Maintenance Lawn Alternatives

8. Growing Paw Paws
9. Colorful Foliage and Longwood's Chrysanthemum Festival
10. Gardening with Bulbs

Note that the GardenDC podcast is taking a break for the rest of the holiday season and will be back in the new year. 

BTW, YOU can become a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month!
See how at:

The GardenDC podcast is available on -

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Reach Local Gardeners

 Are you trying to reach gardeners in the greater DC region?

We invite you to advertise in Washington Gardener magazine, the only regional gardening publication specifically targeting Washington, DC-area gardening enthusiasts.

Top 10 Reasons to Advertise with Washington Gardener

1. You will increase your sales and exposure with our targeted list of DC area folks who are wild about gardening.
2. We are distributed by subscription as a PDF attachment every month and then the issue is posted free online to, so you receive thousands of extra eyeballs viewing the issue each month.
3. Your ad will show your direct support for the local gardening community.
4. We are the only regional gardening magazine for the greater DC commuting area and are unique in our focus.
5. Our readership is GROWING, while other publications are wilting.
6. Other local media increasingly look to us as the experts on the local gardening scene.
7. The more ad pages — the more content we can expand — the more we can cover in the local gardening scene. We have several new features and columns we are looking to add. As we grow, so do you.
8. You get a link on our web site “Sponsors” page for a year. More links to you, mean higher rating in search engines and more traffic to your site.
9. Each issue your advertising will appear alongside “must reading” for area gardeners. All of our writers are avid local gardeners themselves and their enthusiasm shows.
10. We direct our readers to our advertisers first when asked for referrals and recommendations.

Advertise with us for as little as  $200* for a  "Business Card" sized  (one-eighth page), full-color display ad.

To book an ad space today, contact Kathy Jentz at 301-588-6894 or

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Discuss A Gentle Plea for Chaos with the Garden Book Club


For our next Garden Book Club selection, we will be reading: A Gentle Plea for Chaos by Mirabel Osler.

"In this book the author describes the way her garden evolved and how, without meaning to do so, she let it take over her life. She suggests moving away from planning, regimentation and gardening with the mentality of a stamp-collector. Frequently funny and always stimulating, she writes of the alchemy of gardens, of the 19th-century plant-collectors and plant illustrators and of the gardening philosophers, all fertilizing great thoughts along with their hollyhocks. She won the 1988 Sinclair Consumer Press Garden Writer of the Year Award."

You can order it new or used at our Amazon link:

Our Winter 2021 club meeting will be on Thursday, February 25 from 6:30-8pm ET via Zoom.

Please RSVP to washingtongardenermagazine (at) to have the Zoom link sent to you. 

The Washington Gardener Magazine's Garden Book Club is free and open to all. We meet quarterly on a weekday evening usually near a metro-accessible location in the DC-area (when COVID is not a factor). 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.

Want to read ahead? The next book club selections are:

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Top 10 Garden Books of 2020

Here is a list of the best gardening books that came out in 2020 as reviewed in Washington Gardener Magazine. (These 10 selections are in no particular order.)

Buy a few of these for yourself and for the plant geeks, garden lovers, and horticultural nerds in your life! (Note that if you click on the links, it takes you to the book's Amazon page and we get a few pennies if you order it from there through our affiliate link.)

By Lisa Eldred Steinkopf

Our reviewer Lindsay Garbacik said, "I enjoyed reading this book, and as a beginner plant owner, felt comforted by Steinkopf’s humor and the ease with which she approaches plants. The book is full of colorful photos and is very organized. I would recommend this book to any houseplant lover, regardless of skill level or plant-owning experience"

By Ross Bayton

Our reviewer Jim Dronenburg said, "...each page in the listings has one or two botanical illustrations of item(s) on that page. Beautiful work, and all labeled. 
   In the back, as a start for those who have no Latin nor desire to learn it, is an index of common names of some plants and their Latin names. This is a trap. When you see the Latin name of your favorite plant and the listing explains what it means and why it is named the way it is, you will be amused… and before you know it, you will be hooked." 

By Sue Goetz

Our reviewer Beth Py-Lieberman wrote, "For kitchen gardens, you’ll pick up tips for choosing herbs for French, Italian, and Thai recipes, along with growing for herbal teas and beverages, rooting them at the beginning of the season, and drying them at the end. And the pictures—so pretty. 
   So nice to sit here by the fire this winter with this book and think about spring. Dear gardeners, go Goetz this book."

By Carol J. Michel

Our reviewer Taylor Calavetinos wrote, "After reading this book, I don’t think I’ll ever look at a garden the same way. I can now truly appreciate all of the creatures and critters that make gardens their home. After all, you’re never truly alone in your garden; there’s so much to discover about who’s living there."

By Alan Stein and Nancy Virts 

Our reviewer Lindsay Garbacik said, "While you shouldn’t necessarily buy a book based on appearances, this is certainly a book I would buy for its look. The large pages and oversized cover, along with the bright colors of the conservatories and plants, make this book so satisfying to look at and page through. 
   The book is very well organized and provides valuable, in-depth research into the history of these conservatories. This is the perfect gift for the architect, gardener, historian, or photographer in your life."

Our reviewer Nicole Noechel said, "Whether you’re an avid gardener, an expert on mindfulness, or a beginner in both areas, I recommend picking up a copy of RHS Gardening for Mindfulness to help get you thinking more calmly, especially during the stressful pandemic. The dazzling pictures of plants, animals, flowers, and gardeners throughout the book complete the guide, making it a great coffee table piece.' 

By Kim Eierman

Our reviewer Andrea Siegel said, "For a fairly slim volume, it is packed with an impressive amount of helpful information, and of course, lovely photos—though many readers would benefit from captions that named the flowers in photos of diverse plantings. This book has a very straightforward approach. Everything in here can be adapted to every climate and location, and there are growing suggestions for all.
   "As a whole, the book is valuable for the insights it gives gardeners at every level of skill and knowledge. It could serve as a textbook and guide for schools and community groups looking to create Pollinator Victory Gardens, pollinator paths, meadows, and opportunities for volunteers."

By Eva Monheim

Our reviewer Jim Dronenburg said, "The title of the book is misleading;  its content branches off in so many ways that it is hard to describe, but certainly 'shrubs and hedges' falls far short of what is covered here. Overall, the book is a well-written and glowingly illustrated manual of the care of woody plants. What applies to “shrubs” applies also to trees....This book is well worth buying. It is clear enough for beginners, and detailed enough for pros. "

9. Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts 
in Your Yard

By Douglas W. Tallamy

Our reviewer Kit Gage said, "I’ve been waiting for this book. Like many of you, I have read all of Tallamy’s other books and seen him speak a few times. I always came away wanting some more clarity on how to proceed, besides plant trees and plant natives. This book does it, with more detail, and yet, pretty straightforward recommendations"

10. You Bet Your Garden Guide to Growing Great Tomatoes,  Second Edition: 
How to Grow Great-Tasting Tomatoes in Any Backyard, Garden, or Container

By Mike McGrath

Our reviewer Andrea Siegel said, "The advice here is not novel, but it is coherently organized, all with McGrath’s trademark humor, lots of tomato photos, and line art that will make you smile...The book shows popular backyard tomatoes, their characteristics, and how they’re generally used...Plenty of McGrath’s tomato expertise is based on experience in addition to book knowledge....The information leads readers from selecting tomato varieties through all facets of growing—from germinating seeds and buying plants, to planting, feeding and staking/caging through dealing with pests and disease to harvesting and making sauce (recipe included)."

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Garden PHOTO CONTEST Kicks Off!

The 15th Annual Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest kicks off now! The entry period is January 1-22, 2021. 

Note that eligible entries must have been taken during the 2020 calendar year in a garden setting within 150-mile radius of Washington, DC.


~ Garden Views (landscape scenes)

~ Garden Vignettes (groupings of plants in beds or containers, unusual color or texture combinations, garden focal points, and still scenes)

~ Small Wonders (flower or plant part close-ups)

~ Garden Creatures (any living creature in a garden setting)

Remember that garden photos need not all be taken during the first week of May nor should they all be tight close-ups of a red rose. Look for the unusual and for beauty in the off-season too. Our judges give equal weight to the following criteria when evaluating the entries: technical merit, composition, impact, and creativity.

Anyone can enter: professional or amateur, adult or student, local area gardener or visiting DC tourist. Past winners have included teenagers entering their first-ever photo contest and home gardeners trying out their new digital cameras. Our next Grand Prize Winner could be YOU!


Also, here is the entry form text:

Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest Entry Form
• Name -      
• Full address-
• Phone number –
• Email –
• Years of photography experience-
• Whether you are a Pro or Amateur-
• Image File name and title-
• A brief description of each image-
• The category each image is to be entered in -
• The location where each image was taken -
• All available photographic information regarding the image (i.e. camera type, lens, lighting, etc.)

For any contest inquiries, contact

*A PDF of the rules is available on request to the email above, if the JPG is not legible for you.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Win a Cultivated 1,000-piece Puzzle from Princeton Architectural Press in the Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest

For our December 2020 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away the Cultivated 1,000-piece Puzzle from Princeton Architectural Press (value $17). 

   Arrange a stunning modern masterpiece of floral design with this 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle by designer and photographer Christin Geall. Piecing together this lush arrangement will immerse you in her inspired world of flowers, colors, and light. Geall is a gardener, floral designer, photographer, writer, teacher, and owner of the floral studio Cultivated by Christin. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia; writes for Gardenista; and travels widely to teach floral design and pursue her love of gardens and art. See more at

   To enter to win the Cultivated Puzzle, send an email by 5:00pm on Thursday, December 31, with “Cultivated Puzzle” in the subject line. In the body of the email, tell us what your favorite article was in the December 2020 issue of Washington Gardener and why. Include your full name and mailing address. The winner will be announced by January 2.  

UPDATE: Our winners are Judith Daniel, Washington, DC, and Doris Warrell, Washington DC.
Congratulations and enjoy solving the puzzle!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

December 2020 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine – Beauty of Bark, Pruning Camellias, Bird-Feeding Tips, and much more

The December 2020 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is posted above.

Inside this issue:

·         The Beauty of Bark

·         New Garden Spaces at the Renovated MLK Library

·         Latest Research on Urban Trees

·         5 Easy-to-Grow Seeds to Give Gardening Kids

·         Meet the Owners of Tanglewood Conservatories

·         Bird-Feeding Tips

·         What to Do in the Garden this Month

·         River Birch Plant Profile

·         Pointers for Pruning Camellias

·         Call for Garden Photo Contest Entries

·         and much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the January 2021 issue are due by January 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:

Saturday, December 12, 2020

GardenDC Podcast Episode 40: Latin and Labels

This episode we talk with returning guest Marianne Willburn all about Botanical Latin and Plant Labels. The plant profile is on Sage and I am planting 'Amazing Grey' poppy seeds.

Note that the GardenDC podcast is taking a break for the rest of the holiday season and will be back in the new year. Meanwhile, you can catch up on any of the 40 episodes from Season 1 that you may have missed or re-listen to a past favorite.

BTW, YOU can become a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month!
See how at:

The episode is posted at:

The GardenDC podcast is available on -

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.


Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Plant Profile: River Birch

River Birch (Betula nigra) is a fast-growing tree that is a good choice for home landscapes. It is popularly known for its attractive peeling bark and multi-stem growth habit. It is known alternatively as Water Birch or Red Birch. It looks similar to Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), but River Birch is more heat tolerant, while Paper Birch has a purer white bark color.

River Birch is native to the Eastern United States and hardy from zones 4-9. It can grow up to 70 feet tall, but there are dwarf varieties available. These include ‘Summer Cascade’, ‘Fox Valley’, and ‘Shiloh Splash’.

Look at local garden centers and nurseries for ‘Heritage,’ which is more tolerant of heat than the straight species.  This cultivar was named the Urban Tree of the Year in 2002 by the Society of Municipal Arborists.

Plant it in spring or fall in a full sun location. River Birch prefers moist soils, as the common name would indicate. Be sure to give it extra water during any drought periods. It tolerates most kinds of soils and likes a heavy mulching over its root zone, but the mulch should not touch the tree’s bark.

There is no need to fertilize River Birch. If you must prune it, do so after August as early season pruning can cause a sap to run from its wounds.

River Birch - You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Visuals by Nicole Noechel
Audio by Kathy Jentz


 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


~ Podcast: GardenDC on Spotify, Apple, etc.


Saturday, December 05, 2020

GardenDC Podcast Episode 39: Winter Sowing

This episode we talk with Linda L. Jones of Elements of Nature all about Winter Sowing. The plant profile is on Redtwig Dogwood and I share thoughts on Scent-sational Holiday Plants and a Hidden World Revealed.

BTW, YOU can become a listener supporter for as little as $0.99 per month!
See how at: 

The episode is posted at:

The GardenDC podcast is available on -

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.


Featured Post

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 w...