Friday, December 31, 2021

Thanks for Listening to the GardenDC Podcast: Check Our Top 10 List of 2021

Thank you to all of our GardenDC Podcast listeners, supporters, guests, and contributors! We had a great second year and are looking forward to much more educational and informational fun in 2022. Now is a great chance to jump in and catch up on any of the 40 episodes from Season 1 or 46 episodes from Season 2 that you may have missed or re-listen to a past favorite.

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

2. Companion Planting Strategies 
3. Deer-Resistant Native Plants 

4. Flower Farming 

5. Seed Starting Tips 

8. Next Level Container Gardens

10. Pollinator Victory Gardens 

You can see the first season (episodes 1-40) Top 10 List here.

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:
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.

And be sure to leave us a 5-star review on your favorite platform so other gardeners can find us too!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Top Garden Books of 2021

Here is a list of the best gardening books that were reviewed in 2021 in the 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.)

1. The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook: Identify and Solve Common Pest Problems on Edible Plants—All Natural Solutions!

Author: Susan Mulvihill

Publisher: Cool Springs Press

List Price: $27.99

Order Link:

Reviewer Erica H. Smith wrote, "Sometimes, a reviewer just has to take a deep breath, stare longingly into a book’s front cover, let out a heartfelt, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?,” and then get on with the review. This book may not be the ideal dream reference guide to insect pests I’ve always wanted, but it is darn close... That said, this book is close to perfect and definitely one to recommend to vegetable gardeners at all levels of experience, especially beginners. Encountering pests when you don’t expect them can be so disheartening; here’s a resource that will encourage, educate, and help."

2. Soil Science for Gardeners: Working with Nature to Build Soil Health

Author: Robert Pavlis

Publisher: New Society Publishers

List Price: $18.99

Order Link:

Reviewer Stacey Evers wrote, "After reading it, I thought about soil and what’s happening in soil in a different, more scientific way. The book also gave me a different way to think about gardening, especially related to watering and disease. I also loved the myth busting."

3. Plant Partners: Science-Based Companion Planting Strategies for the Vegetable Garden

Author: Jessica Walliser

Publisher: Storey Publishing

List price: $24.95

Order link:

Reviewer Andrea F. Siegel said, "This book is great because it encourages gardeners to accomplish several things at once by companion planting, from reducing pests to creating compost. And the companion planting isn't folktales, this explains the science. Often the companions are both edibles.."

4. The Ecological Gardener: How to Create Beauty and Biodiversity from the Soil Up

Author: Matt Rees-Warren

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

List Price: $24.95

Order Link:

Reviewer Andrea F. Siegel said, "This books teaches gardener, including beginners, how & what to plant to help wildlife (which can help you with garden pests too) and use it to improve your soil. Also, a one-stop shopping type of book... You want your garden to be pretty and thriving, and you can do that in a way that contributes ecologically and is a haven for wildlife. Rees-Warren reminds us that we garden for our privacy, too. We are not looking to block an invasion; rather, we are seeking a haven for ourselves, too."

5.  The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food: Step-by-Step Vegetable Gardening for Everyone 

Author: Joseph Tychonievich 

Illustrator: Liz Anna Kozik

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

List price: $19.99

Order link:

Reviewer Khloe Quill said, " I think this might be the best beginner’s guide to gardening I’ve ever read and it’s because of the illustrations. There’s something so inviting about learning new information through a story and for visual learners like myself, it’s easy to conceptualize the process when the authors literally draw it out for you."

6. Unearthing The Secret Garden:  The Plants and Places That Inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett

Author: Marta McDowell

Publisher: Timber Press

List Price: $25.95

Order Link:

Reviewer Beth Py-Lieberman said, "Maytham would be just the beginning of Burnett’s spectacular gardening rehabs. McDowell’s tireless researches and delightful prose recount anecdotes and details of Burnett’s efforts to make a life for flowers at her subsequent homes in Long Island and Bermuda, where she spent her winters. Rich in details, lavish with illustrations, including many from the story’s various print versions, this book is a must-have for anyone whose first horticulture passions were triggered by that gateway drug to gardening, otherwise known as The Secret Garden."

7. Digging and Delighted: Live Your Best Gardening Life

Author: Carol J. Michel

Publisher: Gardenangelist Books

List Price: $14.99

Order Link:

Our reviewer Charlotte Crook wrote, "Carol J. Michel’s book of essays, Digging and Delighted is an easy, yet engaging read, with a conversational blend of warm humor and encouragement for gardeners of all skill levels."

8. Winterland: Create a Beautiful Garden for Every Season

Author: Cathy Rees

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

List Price: $30.00

Order Link:

Our reviewer Jim Dronenburg said, "The text is admirably organized and plain-speaking, and the points Rees makes are easy to follow, and seem reasonably uncomplicated to put into practice... In short, if you have any garden at all, you will want to get this book. And if you have a view of a neighbor’s garden, you need to give them this book. (After you read it first.)"

9. Women and Gardens: Obstacles and Opportunities for Women Gardeners Throughout History

Authors: Judith Mundlak Taylor, MD and  Susan Groag Bell

Publisher: Taylorhort Press

List Price: $19.99

Order Link:

Our reviewer Charlotte Benedetto wrote, "This book is full of the tales and personalities that make history make sense. It tells the stories of these women who haunt our libraries, plant names, and seed catalogs. Compelling and relevant stories are found in this work—stories that demand to be known. Educators and readers should invest in Women and Gardens to engage with and harness the power of these empowering, previously untold legends."

10. Gardening by Month: A Monthly Guide to Planning the Northeastern & Mid-Atlantic Garden

Author: Lee Miller


List Price: $29.96

Order Link:

Reviewer Charlotte Benedetto wrote, " Accompanied by fantastic, copious, and generous full-color photographs (on every page!), this book creates an engaging, personable conversation with the reader. We find ourselves scooting forward and backward in time as planning takes over. Any Mid-Atlantic gardener would be captivated and find useful information in this glossy, perfectly formed little volume. Concise, but substantial, Gardening By Month is full of useful facts from a master of the domesticated wild. It is both practical in text and gem-like in presentation, and I think it has a place on the shelf of any local gardener."


Beautiful Flowers: A Guide and Workbook for Growing, Using, and Enjoying Gorgeous Garden Blooms

Author: Janice Cox

Publisher: Ogden Publications

List Price: $17.99

Order Link:

Our reviewer Melinda Thompson said, "This guide is beginner-friendly, explaining all the important things that new flower-growers need to know.  I highly recommend this book for the flower-lover in your life."

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

2022 Garden PHOTO CONTEST Kicks Off!

The 16th Annual Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest kicks off now! The entry period is January 1-21, 2022. 

Note that eligible entries must have been taken during the 2021 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 27, 2021

Monday Thoughts: "And don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous."

"And don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." - Rumi

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Win a Centurion Three-Piece Lawn and Garden Set in the December 2021 Washington Gardener Reader Contest

For our December 2021 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, we are giving away a Centurion three-piece lawn and garden set (prize value: $30). Available now at Lowe’s

   This three-piece lawn and garden set from Centurion delivers everything in one package to get any yard in tip-top shape. The ergonomic steel lopper, heavy hardened carbon steel hedge shears, and comfortable molded grip pruner make trimming and cutting tree branches, bushes, and plants a breeze. Featured non-slip PVC foam hand grip handle saves energy and time while reducing strain on wrists and arms. Plus, bright-yellow handles make them easy to find in the garden.

   To enter to win the three-piece lawn and garden set, send an email by 5:00pm on December 30 to with “Centurion” in the Subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in the December 2021 issue and why. Please include your full name and mailing address. Winners will be announced and notified on/about January 1. 

Congratulations to our contest winner: Edward Constable of Washington, DC!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

US Botanic Garden Holiday Display 2021 Video

The U.S. Botanic Garden's holiday display features an outdoor train running through agricultural scenes made from plant parts. There are also window displays featuring DC landmarks, buildings, and poinsettias. Nearby is the interactive Patrick Dougherty stickwork installation sculpture. These displays are free and open every day (except December 25th) through January 2, 2022 -- from 10 AM - 5 PM. See more details at: "Deck the Halls" music by Rue Royale The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine. Video and Editing by Melinda Thompson ➤ 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

Monday, December 20, 2021

Monday Thoughts: “Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.”

“Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.”

~ Barbara Winkler

Friday, December 17, 2021

December 2021 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine –Holiday Plants, Aucuba, Dwarf Daffodils, and much more

The December 2021 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is out.

Inside this issue:

·         Holiday Plants: Unusual Choices, Care Tips, and More

·         Aucuba Plant Profile

·         Snow and Ice Tips

·         Growing Delightful Dwarf Daffodils

·         U.S. Botanic Garden Holiday Display

·         Photo Contest Entry Opens

·         Meet Caroline Hooks of glassceilingplants

·         DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar

·         Two New Award-Winning Tomatoes

·         Seed Exchanges Back for 2022

·        Great Gardening Books Reviewed

·         Winter Watering of Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs

and much more…

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the January 2022 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:

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Poinsettia Plant Profile


Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are perennial flowering shrubs that can grow to 10 feet tall in their native Mexico. Poinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett.

 They are part of the Euphorbia family. Many plants in this family ooze a milky sap. Despite their reputation, poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child who ate 500 bracts might have a slight tummy ache.

 To choose the freshest poinsettia, look at the very center of the bracts or leaves for a cluster of very small green “buds” with a small amount of yellow, this is the actual flower. It is a direct indication of the age of the plant. The tighter the buds with small amounts of yellow showing can mean a longer shelf life at home.

 After you purchase your plant, make sure it is wrapped properly and take it directly home, because exposure to low temperatures even for a few minutes can damage the bracts and leaves.

 You can make your poinsettia last longer through the holiday season by placing them in an area that gets bright, indirect sun. This area should also be free of drafts or direct heat sources.

 Water the plant by removing the foil or decorative pot cover. Place the plant in the sink and give the soil a good soaking. After the plant has stopped leaking water, place the plant back into its foil pot cover or decorative pot.

 In recent years, poinsettias are being bred in many color ranges, patterns, and leaf shapes. There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available. Most sales are still of the classic red kinds; followed in popularity by white and then pink.

 Florists and garden centers are also applying paints to the bracts to come up with fun color combinations (like blue and purple) as well as glittering them. Another fun practice is to train poinsettias into tree forms and topiaries

 If you keep it past the holiday season, apply a houseplant fertilizer once a month. Do not fertilize when it is in bloom. After the New Year, cut it back to the green leaves, then new growth will sprout and then you can condition it to have in display for the next holiday season.

 Poinsettias: You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Audio, Video, Photos, and Text by Kathy Jentz

Editing by Melinda Thompson


 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


Sunflowers in December

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 on the Mid-Atlantic USA (USDA zone 7) on the DC-MD border, the fairly mild fall weather has continued into December. No real snow yet, but my pond has had ice forming in it on a few mornings.

Blooming in my garden today are: Mahonia, Alyssum, African Daisy, Petunia, Violas, Roses, Geraniums, and Bacopa. 

Amazingly, the miniature Sunflowers are still hanging in there and sending out new blooms! I almost yanked the plants as they are a bit in the way of my back driveway entrance, but as long as they keep flowering I will leave them be.

I am also seeing foliage emerging from the ground on the early Daffodils and other minor bulbs, which is right on time since many of those will be flowering in February-March.

What is blooming in your garden today?

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Washington Gardener is now a Affiliate

I don't know what took me so long, but I am finally a affiliate at  That way, we can share links to books we review or feature in our magazine with the BookShop code as well as the Amazon affiliate one. You can click on and order from either source. We might get a tiny percentage of that sale for the referral and it will cost you nothing additional.

As a first BookShop pre-order, might I suggest my upcoming book with Teri Speight - 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

GardenDC Podcast Episode 86: 2022 Garden Trends

In this episode, we talk with Katie Dubow, president of Garden Media Group, about 2022 Garden Trends. The plant profile is on Aucuba and I thank our Fall 2021 interns. This is the last episode of 2021. We will be back with new episodes in January 2022.

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

00:42 Meet Katie! 01:03 “I started there when I was six licking envelopes for my mom” — Katie, on her history with Garden Media Group 04:30 “We had plants and animals all over the house, indoors and out… So I definitely grew up getting my hands dirty” — Katie, on growing up with a green thumb 06:41 Katie talks about GMG’s annual report on gardening trends and its history 07:58 “Nobody else was doing anything on garden trends at that time” — Katie, on her mother coming up with the idea for a trends report 08:37 “I have to be honest, we did not predict the fairy gardening trend” — Katie 09:05 Katie talks about how they gather the information for their reports 10:28 “Social media is so fleeting, so it’s very much in the moment … Oftentime, for trends, it doesn’t help us as much” — Katie 11:14 “Color is FUN” — Katie and Kathy talk about Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2022 13:31 GMG’s “fast flower” trend prediction and how cut flowers are the “gateway” into gardening as a hobby 16:19 Kathy talks about how cut flowers were her inspiration to go gardening crazy 16:53 “I think people are trying to up their game with houseplants” — Katie and Kathy talk about one of the biggest trends recently, especially for beginners 18:04 The “wild curation” trend prediction is one of Katie’s favorites 20:05 Katie talks about Mexico’s Botanical Garden “adoption program” for endangered plants 21:18 “There is a degree of plant blindness” — Kathy talks about people not being aware that plants can go extinct 22:07 “It’s really a wonderful hobby that has enabled people to discover new things and be in nature” — Katie, on the “living television” trend 26:03 Katie talks about the titles of recent reports, like 2022’s “From Crisis to Intervention,” as it relates to how the pandemic impacted our society 27:52 “We could always have more flowers, always have more produce… There are so many jobs that are sitting open” — Kathy and Katie talk about how people turned to the green industry during the pandemic 29:49 Katie talks about being the chair of Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association Board, and how the industry as a whole is struggling against labor shortages and misinformation 31:38 “You don’t have to be a professional a lot of the time to join these organizations — you can be a beginner or a student level” — Kathy 31:54 GardenComm, an organization both Kathy and Katie are a part of, is “great” for beginners 32:28 “You get out what you put in” — Kathy, on the mentor and volunteer programs 33:08 Katie and Kathy talk about the “creator class” trend, where people are pursuing more passion projects and side businesses in the green industry 35:10 “I love to see the rise of solopreneurs because that’s how I started out, and that’s how I still consider myself” — Kathy 35:28 “We like to play on a lot of words” — Katie explains the “zoning board” trend prediction 36:49 The search terms “front yard” or “front porch” “reached a five-year high” online 40:14 Katie and Kathy talk about “hybrid work-play spaces” 41:18 The “bedhead gardening” aka “I woke up like this” trend wasn’t as big as Katie predicted 42:26 “I think it takes a lot of self control” — Kathy, on maintaining a neat look and narrow plant selection in the garden 43:21 “A lot of the trends … hit the cutting room floor” — Katie talks about having to leave out trends in their reports 45:47 You can download GMG’s reports — from 2001 to 2022 — at 46:11 Katie talks about the 2023 trend report already being in the works 46:55 If you’re noticing a trend, you can email about it! 48:02 Learn about the “large evergreen shrub” aucuba plant in this week’s Plant Profile! 49:41 Garden updates: pulling out the last of the annual flowers and thanking the fall interns 51:49 Check out editor Kathy Jentz’s new book with Teri Speight on how to grow a garden with a limited space and budget!

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.

And be sure to leave us a 5-star review on your favorite platform so other gardeners can find us too!

Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Interview Edits: Charlotte Crook
Show Notes: Melena DiNenna


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