Friday, January 31, 2020

Meet the New Spring 2020 Interns

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

Hello everyone! My name is Charlotte Dulany and I am a senior Multiplatform journalism major graduating from the University of Maryland in May. I’m a curious individual looking to meet people and hear stories, and always learn more. I enjoy solo work as well as collaborative projects, and have passions for photography, writing, in addition to producing videos and podcasts. In my free time I like to write music, be outdoors and practice yoga. I’m excited to work with Washington Gardener this spring and generate creative content for the readers!

Hi guys! My name is Emily Coakley, and I'm a senior broadcast journalism major, as well as a history minor, at the University of Maryland. I'm from Westminster, MD, love to travel (Barcelona is my favorite place I've been), and have a special interest in sports journalism, hoping to one day report in the NFL. I spend a lot of time finding interesting and relevant stories, interviewing people, shooting film, and editing footage to turn into news packages.  I also am currently working as a reporter for Capital News Service. I'm excited to be interning at  Washington Gardener magazine this semester because I know through this internship, I will learn how to become a better writer, editor, and hopefully, gardener! My interest in gardening came primarily from my great grandmother -- I remember spending many hours with her outside, helping her plant beautiful flowers in her garden. I'm looking forward to sharing my ideas on gardening with all the readers!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Philadelphia Flower Show Trip Details

Update: We are sold out with a wait list as of 2/10/20.



Washington Gardener Magazine has one tour 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 2020, “Riveria Holiday,” will showcase Mediterranean. America’s leading floral and garden designers will create stunning landscapes, imaginative gardens, and breathtaking floral displays. Through imaginative exhibits, guests will see ideas like community, healing, peace, transformation, and hope brought to life in surprising, vibrant ways. 

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.

Here are the details. we go on Wednesday, March 4 from 10am-10pm, leaving and returning to downtown Silver Spring, MD - your fee includes a lunch and is nearby to public transit - see the registration form in our current issue 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 and I can send the forms directly to you. 

Our trips fill up quickly, so please act fast to reserve your spot with us!

Friday, January 24, 2020


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:

-The online registration links are -

Saturday, January 25 at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD go here:
Online Registration ends at 6:00pm on Friday, 1/24/20.
If you miss that online window,  you can register in-person at the event starting at 12noon on Saturday, 1/25/20.

and for 
Saturday, February 1 at Green Spring Gardens, VA go here:
Online Registration ends at 6:00pm on 1/31/20.
If you miss that online window, you can register in-person at the event starting at 12noon on Saturday, 1/1/20.

- We recommend eating lunch before coming. We will be serving a healthy, light snack break mid-way through the event -- fruit, granola bars, etc. There are nearby water fountains - if you have a travel mug, refillable bottle, or cup you like, please bring that to fill up and label it with your name. 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 are adding a new, separate table this year for houseplant cuttings and divisions.
We encourage everyone to bring your cuttings/divisions labeled and packed in individual baggies to share.

~ 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. You can also see the listing at:
(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:   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 and Volunteers12:30-12:35 Introductory remarks and overview12:35-1:25 Speaker 1
1:30-2:00 Speaker 2

2:00-2:30 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 

*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.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Win 2 passes to the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax County, VA

For our January 2020 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away two passes to the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax County, VA. (A prize value $40).
   The 15th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges, hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine, take place on January 25, 2020, at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, and on February 1, 2020, at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax County, 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. We will have a “best name-tag” contest, so get crafty.
   See event details on pages 20–21 of this issue. 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.
   To enter to win the Seed Exchange Passes, send an email to by 5:00pm on Thursday, January 30, with “Seed Swap” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what you will be growing from seed in your garden this year. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on Friday, January 31.

Our winner, chosen at random from among the entries, is Sonia Zamborsky of Falls Church, VA.

If you are interested in registering for the Saturday, February 1 at Green Spring Gardens, VA go here:
Note that Online Registration ends at 6:00pm on Friday, 1/31/20.
If you miss that online window, you can register in-person at the event starting at 12noon on Saturday, 1/1/20.  

Please do enter our monthly reader contest again, your odds of winning are very good!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

January 2020 issue of Washington Gardener – Helenium, New Garden Trends, True Solomon’s Seal, and much more…

The January 2020 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is out now.
It is posted online at

Inside this issue:
·         Helenium for the Mid-Atlantic
·         A Giant Among Native Shade Plants: True Solomon’s Seal
·         Tropical Milkweed: Monarch Butterfly Friend or Foe?
·         How a Warmer Winter May Be Affecting Your Plants
·         8 New Garden Trends for 2020
·         What To Do in the Garden This Month
·         DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar
·         Latest Research to Help Plant Nurseries Reduce Nutrient Runoff
·         and much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the February 2020 issue are due by February 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:

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Seed Exchange 2020 Speakers Announced

Here are the speakers for the upcoming Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges 2020. 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 here.

"Hardening off and Transplanting your Seedlings"
Speaker: Debby Ward of Prior Unity Garden
Hardening off your seedlings is an important step to ensuring they bound into growth and production when put unto the ground. Hardening off refers to how we acclimate seedlings; who have been started indoors, to their final outdoor environment, by slowing getting them used to increased amounts of sun, wind and rain. If we do not harden off our seedlings, they will experience what is called “transplant shock” and likely die, or at least not grow well and thrive. Hardening off does require a bit of flexibility and may be the most attention-intensive part of starting your plants from seed indoors.  Debby will share her best tips for success during that process as well as for transplanting your seedlings once they are hardened off.
   Debby Ward is Founder & Owner of Prior Unity Garden, helping make your organic garden dream a reality, and has been gardening since she could crawl. Her family always had food and herb gardens in which she participated and she has continued that tradition.   She loves to help grow gardeners and taught for The Mason Sustainability Institute, Master Gardeners of Fairfax County, and many local events and organizations.  She has focused on plants for food and medicine since being a young adult and holds several certificates in medicinal herbalism and has training in biodynamics, organic and native gardening. She values biodiversity, community, healthy living soil, fresh organic food and the prior unity inherent in all beings.

Speaker 2:
“Companion Planting for Pest Management in the Home Garden" 
Speaker: Linda L. Jones, owner, Elements of Nature
Companion Planting is a method of growing plants in proximity to each other because of their ability to enhance or complement the other's growth or attract beneficial insects or repel insect pests. Companion planting includes techniques such as trap cropping, spatial protection, beneficial habitat, and nurse cropping.
    Linda L. Jones is a certified master gardener and owner of Elements of Nature - Botanicals and Farmaceuticals, Clinton, Maryland . She focuses on growing flowers and herbs and gardening education. She is an avid seed collector and has a collection of over 500 varieties of open-pollinated and heirloom, annual, perennial and herb seeds.
   She has presented on several diverse gardening topics and has led workshops throughout the DMV since 2010, beginning as a master gardener intern.
   She often incorporates tips on creative, effective and alternative ways to maximize growing potential and space. In addition she uses her knowledge of growing, food, herbs and flowers and incorporates them into designer and exotic loose leaf teas, lotions and other home arrangements and into her natural products and skin care line - all of which are available at
   She believes that “Through saving and sharing seeds we are all helping to spread hope and enrich lives across the world”

Washington Gardener Seed Exchange 1
on Saturday, January 25, 2020, 12:30–4:00pm 
National Seed Swap Day!
at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD
 Registration is now open at 


Speaker 1:
"Seed Saving 101"
Speaker: Niraj Ray of Cultivate the City  
With a little bit of space, time, and basic equipment, saving your own seeds can be easy! Different types of seeds require slightly different treatment to save them properly- learn about seeds that mature in wet fruits, seed heads, pods, and more! We will also discuss how to keep certain tender perennials alive through the winter for rapid propagation in the spring, so you don't have to start from scratch each year. 
   Cultivate the City is an urban farming organization based in Washington, DC. In addition to managing a network of school and corporate gardens, CTC also runs a rooftop garden center and nursery where they start most of their plants and hold weekly workshops. CTC focuses on growing hard-to-find and ethnically and culturally important foods- they have been practicing saving their own seeds for more than 5 years!
   Niraj 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. 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.  

Speaker 2:
"The Lost Art of Plant Sharing: Taking Cuttings, Saving Seed and Dividing"
Speaker: Carol Allen, Horticulturist
There was a time when you would admire a shrub or perennial in a friend’s garden and they would give you cuttings or root divisions for your garden. Unfortunately, the art of home propagation is rarely being passed down from generation to generation anymore. Enter Carol! She will give you guidelines on how to start with cuttings, seed gathering/planting, and how/ when to divide plants. 
   Carol Allen has been involved in many aspects of gardening and horticulture since childhood and likes to describe herself as a committable plant-a-holic. She has more than 25 years experience in the horticulture industry with special interests in Integrated Pest Management, landscape design, native plants, tropicals of many kinds, and especially orchids. Carol enjoys helping people understand how to care for their plants and holds a monthly diagnostic clinic in Washington, DC. After serving a term of two-and-one-half years as supervisory horticulturist at the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory, Carol returned to college and earned a degree in horticulture. Fascinated by the interplay of pest and prey, Carol continues her education on plant pests and diseases. She enjoys teaching people how to outwit their garden pests with little or no pesticide application and also authors the “InsectIndex” column in the Washington Gardener Magazine.

Washington Gardener Seed Exchange 2
on Saturday, February 1, 2020, 12:30–4:00pm
at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA
Registration is now open at 

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

DIY: Keeping a Garden Journal

Level: easy
Cost: minimal
Use: record-keeping

Notebook Paper
3-Ring Binder

Optional Materials:
Glue sticks
Graph Paper
Colored Pencils

One of the many joys of gardening is looking back and seeing where you came from. From barren weedy lot to perennial beds bursting with color, you put the work in and it shows.
    By keeping a garden journal you will be able to keep track of your progress from year to year and you’ll have a record you can constantly refer to when planning your garden in the future.
   Many gardeners spend a pleasant winter’s evening going back over their past garden journals, not just as a planning tool, but for sheer amusement. To paraphrase Socrates, the unexamined garden is not worth growing. 
   With all the fancy scrapbooking accessories available, it is easy to go overboard and be overwhelmed with the innumerable amount of information and decorations you could include in your journal. You can also keep your journal online as a blog or website or stored on your own computer. We suggest you keep it simple. Here is a list of things you can include in your journal.
  Step 1: Make a general information page. List your zone, frost date, soil test results, local Master Gardener hotline numbers, and anything else you will be referring to frequently.
  Step 2:  Keep a page for each month of the year. List on it what chores need to be done, what plants are in bloom, and any other incidental observations you may have.
   Step 3: Insert pages for plants purchased. If they are mail-order purchases, cut out the catalog photos and descriptions and paste those in. If locally purchased or grown-from-seed, staple the plant tags or seed packs to your pages. Leave space for future notes on where you planted these new purchases and how they did.
   Step 4: Cut out and/or print out useful magazine articles and either paste them in, hole-punch them, or insert into clear page protectors.
   Step 5:  Make a chart for seeds started. Draw columns for the plant name, seed starting date, outdoor sowing date, and any notes.
   Step 6: Use graph or blank paper to map out beds and draw plantings.
   Step 7: Set aside one page for bird sightings and other creatures that visit your garden. Note what they were, how many, time and date seen. Add photos if you take any.
   Step 8: Devote a page to a “wish list.” Plants you’d like to buy. Projects you are contemplating. Paste in magazine photos and ideas.
   Step 9: Take a few pages for an “inspiration” section. Quotes and poems you liked. Plant combinations you saw in a neighbor’s garden. Gardening books you’d like to read.
   The “how” of keeping a garden journal is not that difficult. Just pull out some blank paper and write. The hard part may be in finding the time to do so. Try scheduling in a regular appointment in your calendar to do some garden journal entries. Just 15 minutes a week can be plenty and you’ll be thankful in the years to come for all of the knowledge you have stored.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a few pennies from Amazon.

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

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