Monday, May 10, 2021

Monday Thoughts - Allan Armitage

"Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized." ~ Allan Armitage 

Saturday, May 08, 2021

GardenDC Podcast Episode 58: Grafting Fruit Trees

In this episode, we talk with Hala Elbarmil, the Greenhouse and Gardens Coordinator at George Mason Universityabout grafting fruit trees. The plant profile is on Hardy Ferns and we share our upcoming events and local gardening news!

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 also 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.


Friday, May 07, 2021

Fenton Friday: Fava Flowers

This week's weather was up and down -- rain, winds, hot, and cold -- a little of everything.

I was pleased to see the fava bean plants have set flowers (see pic above) and the strawberries are setting lots of fruits.

All of the seedlings, except the carrots (no sign of them yet), are growing well and need another round of thinning soon.

We picked lettuces and radishes today. I also chase a fat rabbit out of the garden and into the nearby park. Call me "Mrs. McGregor," if you like, but that bunny is not getting plump on my produce!

Elsewhere in the plot, the potato plants put on a great growth and I am now letting the asparagus bolt.

The purple broccoli look like they may bolt any second too. So I may go back and cut the heads tomorrow to eat them then pull the plants to make way for all the seedlings I am buying at the Silver Spring Garden Club's GardenMart sale tomorrow. I already snagged a 'Sungold' tomato plant during set-up today and expect to pick up several more tomatoes and also basils, peppers, and maybe a few swiss chard plants too.

How is your edible garden growing?

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.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Plant Profile: Hardy Ferns

Hardy Ferns, those ferns that are perennial to the Mid-Atlantic United States, come in a variety of green hues from the bright, yellow-green of Ostrich Fern to the dark blue-green of the Christmas Fern. Some ferns have dark stems like the Maidenhair Fern and others have rusty-brown parts like the Tassel Fern or Cinnamon Fern. The Japanese Painted Fern practically glows with its silvery highlights.

Ferns can have many garden uses from edging plants to groundcovers and even featured in containers.

They are deer-proof and have few pests. They thrive in consistently moist, well-draining soils with lightly dappled to full shade. Most ferns also appreciate a top-dressing of composted leaves.

Colonies of fern can spread and clumps expand over time. They are fairly easy to dig and divide in spring once the new growth has emerged. Speaking of the new growth, is there anything cuter than the newly emerging fiddleheads in early springtime?

Ferns are low-care. Some may die-back entirely in the winter time in our region, while others hold on to their fronds during the cold months. By late winter, you will want to cut them back though as they will look a bit ratty and tattered.

From the Lady Fern to the Royal Fern, there is sure to be one that works well in your garden. Once you start collecting ferns, you may find it hard to stop.

Hardy Ferns  - You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Visuals by Khloe Quill
Audio by Kathy Jentz


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~ Podcast: GardenDC


Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Summer Garden Book Club Selection: American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic

For our next Garden Book Club selection, we will be discussing American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson.

"One goal drove Hosack above all others: to build the Republic's first botanical garden. Despite innumerable obstacles and near-constant resistance, Hosack triumphed when his Elgin Botanic Garden at last crowned twenty acres of Manhattan farmland by 1810. 'Where others saw real estate and power, Hosack saw the landscape as a pharmacopoeia able to bring medicine into the modern age' (Eric W. Sanderson, author of Mannahatta). What remains today of America's first botanical garden lies in the heart of midtown, buried beneath Rockefeller Center."

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

Our Summer 2021 club meeting will be on Thursday, July 15 from 6:30-8pm ET via Zoom.

Please register 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:

Monday, May 03, 2021

Monday Thoughts


Gardening: It’s not only a good workout and relaxing, but you get to eat if you do it right."
Tiffany Haddish

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Top Local Spots for Azalea Viewing: Best Bloom Displays in the DC-MD-VA Region

What is a spring in the Mid-Atlantic without abundant azalea blooms? Masses of bright blossoms make for a wonderful sight after a long, cold winter. Sure, they can be over-used at times, but the reason we love them so much is because they are so successful and reliable in our gardens.

   Azalea season runs from April through June with early-, mid-, and late-season blooming shrubs. (Though technically, with the new re-blooming varieties, the flowering season can extend through fall.) Be sure to re-visit some of these locations through-out the several weeks of bloom so you can enjoy the changing mix of colors as different varieties wax and wane.

   A few years ago, Washington Gardener Magazine asked local azalea fans for their favorite bloom viewing spots in our region. “I’ve always enjoyed the ride along Prosperity Avenue between Little River Turnpike and Route 50 in Fairfax County, VA. Many homes have beautiful, mature azaleas,” said Rick Bauer, president of the Northern Virginia Chapter, Azalea Society of America.

   “My first place vote will always go to the National Arboretum,” said Mike Welsh, retired city gardener for Takoma Park, MD. “It has everything: a great collection, many different forms and varieties, wonderful lay of the land for viewing, and a central location. By far, a fascinating lore and history. It gets better, year after year. All one needs do is to go and look at the faces of whose visiting and witness first-hand their expressed pleasure and their interaction with those beautiful azaleas.”

   Mike’s professional gardening domain was Takoma Park, MD, which is well-known for its many beautiful azaleas, in both private and public gardens. The location is the former home of Benjamin Y. Morrison, the famed horticulturalist who was the founder and first director of the U. S. National Arboretum. Morrison is noted for cross-breeding different strains of azaleas to produce the Glenn Dale azaleas, which are prevalent today throughout the eastern United States. Morrison lived near Piney Branch Road and many of his Glenn Dale introductions can be seen throughout the city’s private home gardens and public parks.

   “Azaleas have a glamorous presence that few other plants have; beautiful azalea viewing can be anywhere and everywhere,” added Mike.
Azaleas at the USNA bonsai collection. Photo courtesy of
   Indeed, most all of these azalea-viewing suggestion are free and open to all. A few are on private property and we ask you to respect the home owners by not trespassing and staying in the public right-of-way to take any photos.
• Brighton Dam in Brookeville, MD, has more than 20,000 azaleas and is provided by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
•  Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, features more than 300 varieties of azaleas represented by 2,000 plants.
• Landon School in Bethesda, MD, hosts an annual Azalea Festival on the first weekend of May. The Perkins Gardens include 15,000 azaleas.
• The U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC, is where thousands of azaleas cover the flanks of Mount Hamilton in a blaze of color. 
• McCrillis Gardens in Bethesda, MD, was the private collection of an azalea gardener before being given to Montgomery County parks in 1978.
• Franciscan Monastery in Washington, DC, features a hillside of azaleas in its 40-acre grounds.
• Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens in Washington, DC, includes hundred of azaleas sprinkled throughout the many garden rooms.
• Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA, has a small collection of natives and some Asian varieties.
• Rachel Carson Conservation Park, in Olney, MD, is known, in part, for Rachel Carson’s famous wild azaleas (pinxters), which are in full bloom in mid- to late-May.
• Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, VA, contains an azalea collection with more than 50,000 plants representing more than 550 species in full bloom. They also host an annual Azalea Celebration Week in early May.
• Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, MD, is known for its Azalea Trail and offers guided walks on occasion.
• Maymont in Richmond, VA, includes a Japanese Garden with spectacular combinations of azaleas, Japanese Maples, and spring-flowering trees.
• Annmarie Garden in Solomons, MD, has about 500 shrubs in its Glenn Dales collection established in 1997 and tended by volunteer gardeners.
   Did we leave any of your favorite local azalea viewing spots off this list? Let us know where you go to be amongst “the royalty of the garden.”  


Saturday, May 01, 2021

GardenDC Podcast Episode 57: Green Roofs and Walls

In this episode, we talk with Louise Clarke of the Morris Arboretum about green roofs and walls. The plant profile is on Bleeding Hearts and we share our upcoming events and local gardening news!

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 also 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.


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