Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Little Bluestem Grass Plant Profile

Little Bluestem Grass Plant Profile

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is a perennial grass that is native to eastern North America. It is hardy to USDA Zones 3 through 9.

This clump-forming grass forms a mound a few feet wide and grows to about three feet high.

The spring and summer foliage is a silvery blue with hints of pink and purple. In the fall, it turns various shades of burgundy, rust, and pink.

It is the larval host for a number of skipper butterflies and has attractive seed heads that are fuzzy white and are eaten by small birds in winter. It is deer-resistant and drought-tolerant.

Little Bluestem grows in full to part sun. It tolerates a variety of soil conditions, but does not like a constantly wet root zone.

The only maintenance is to cut it back in late winter or early spring before the new growth emerges. It can be propagated by seed or root division.

This ornamental grass was designated as Perennial Plant of the Year for 2022 by the Perennial Plant Association. It pairs well with coneflowers and tall sedums.

There are several cultivars that are widely available. They include ‘The Blues', 'Standing Ovation', 'Jazz', and ‘Blue Heaven’.

Little Bluestem: You Can Grow That!


The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine as part of our Plant Profile series for Mid-Atlantic USA gardeners.

Audio, video, and text by Kathy Jentz

Editing by Jamie Oberg


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~ Podcast: GardenDC



Monday, August 15, 2022

A Golden Bloom Day


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, summer has been unusually wet - but I'm not complaining! Even though July was insanely hot, I have not had to drag the hoses out nor top off my water garden yet. This last week brought in mercifully cooler temps and so I'm finally able to get out and beat back some of the rampant weeds.

In bloom now in my garden are many flowers with golden hues including Black-eyed Susans, the aptly named Goldenrod, yellow Echinacea, and Cup Plant. My favorite though is Bronze Fennel (pictured above). It is like a halo of golden flowers that is the perfect backdrop to many other garden plants and the pollinators love it too!

In the garden also blooming today, I have blooming: Hydrangeas, reblooming Lilacs and Azaleas, Waterlilies, Lotus, Pickerel Weed, Trumpet Creeper vine, Zinnias, Celosia, and much more!

Be sure to follow @WDCgardener on Instagram for lots of pics of what is blooming in our garden and area gardens that we visit.

So what is blooming today in YOUR garden?

Monday Thoughts: "A late summer garden has a tranquility found no other time of the year.” — William F. Longgood

"A late summer garden has a tranquility found no other time of the year.”

— William F. Longgood

Saturday, August 13, 2022

GardenDC Podcast Episode 115: The Dreaded Spotted Lanternfly

In this episode, we talk with Heather Andrews, The Thoughtful Gardener, about dealing with the spotted lanternfly. The plant profile is on Blackberry Lily and we share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming local gardening events.

Spotted Lanternfly links recommended by Heather:
~ Spotted Lanternfly Penn State Extension

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

The SHOW NOTES: 1:20 Meet Heather Andrews, “The Thoughtful Gardener”! 2:13 Love for animals helps in the garden 3:29 Heather’s childhood pulling weeds and long family history of gardeners 3:57 Connection between bees and garden success 4:30 Surplus of produce yield after introducing pollinators to garden 5:23 Pollinators as pest protection 5:55 Flash flooding from population increase 7:05 Stone walls built around vegetable garden 7:40 Milkweed is a great native plant that supports pollinators 8:19 Spotted lanternflies were unintentionally introduced to PA on landscape stones from Asia 8:54 PA, MD, NY, and other states are under quarantine from spotted lanternflies 10:45 “No dig gardening” method to make beds 11:15 Soil temperature is more important than air temperature 12:20 Heather noticed the spotted lanternfly the most last fall 13:48 Wrapping trees with specific tape to catch the spotted lanternflies 14:10 You must cover the tape with fabric or wire and change the bands so other creatures don’t get caught in it 15:45 Biopesticide being studied to eliminate the spotted lanternflies 16:16 Reports of birds eating the spotted lanternflies too 16:30 Cicada killers are also killing the spotted lanternflies 17:34 Adultspotted lanternflies will leave muddy looking patches on cars and flat surfaces…they’re actually egg masses! 18:24 Be careful not to accidentally introduce them to somewhere else 19:45 The spotted lanternflies are actually very beautiful but it's deceiving 20:15 “Honeydew” is the sticky substance excreted by the spotted lanternflies’’ urine…creates black mold on plants 21:04 Master gardeners have the best advice for getting rid of the spotted lanternflies 21:33 Integrated pest management…do no harm 22:08 Spraying with pesticides can kill everything good in your garden 23:05 Vacuuming up the spotted lanternflies and their egg masses can help 23:30 When spotted lanternflies jump up after being disturbed, using tape wrapped around your hand can create a trap! 23:45 Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is their host plant…get rid of it! 25:04 Bending or crushing the limbs of the Tree of heaven leaves a scent of burnt peanut butter! 27:16 Spotted lanternflies don’t sting or bite 27:35 Many home remedies won’t work 28:28 The Spotted lanternflies don’t really fly but they do jump far 28:50 Map of current quarantine areas: 29:42 Stinging insects are attracted to the sooty black mold created from the spotted lanternflies’ urine 31:16 Removing walnut seedlings can help because the spotted lanternflies congregate on them 31:41 Wild grapevine does the same thing as walnut seedlings 33:37 Monarch butterfly migration is underway…the longest insect migration on earth! 35:18 Plant milkweed! 35:53 Ideally, plant two varieties of milkweed from your area 38:45 Nurseries don’t always have good control over sourcing 40:11 “One caterpillar, if they were an infant, would consume approximately 2,000 cans of formula in 2 weeks.” — Heather 41:55 Surround milkweed with high value nectar sources for native butterflies 43:35 Joe Pye Weed versus the little Joe Pye Weed 44:21 Find Heather on social media as The Thoughtful Gardener and on YouTube 45:25 Even one pot can make a difference for pollinators 46:20 Learn all about Blackberry Lily on this week’s plant profile! 48:02 New in the garden this week: touring Philly and Lancaster gardens, small potato harvest for Montgomery County Fair 49:19 Local gardening events: Fall Fruit Festival in Afton, VA, the 16th Annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest opening reception

If you liked this episode, you may also enjoy listening to:
This episode is archived online 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!

Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Editing and Show Notes: Tori Vandergriff


Friday, August 12, 2022

Fenton Friday: Potato Harvest

This was my potato harvest from our plot today. Doesn't it look huge? Well, the tricky thing is the larger potatoes you see here are about the size of my thumb, and the smaller ones are hardly even bite-sized. Still, I plan to enter them in the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair tomorrow along with several other items we grew in our plot - tomatoes, peppers, zinnias, and garlic. I'm also thinking of maybe entering the carrots -- I have to check on how those are looking in my veggie crisper drawer before I decide.

There are a bunch of other things I'd like to enter, but the timing is just off. The Celosia flowers would have done well. Alas, they are pretty puny right now and will likely look great in 2-3 weeks. Then there are the blackberries. I have a few ripe now, but not the the whole pint required for entry. I wish I could enter some of the big beautiful berries that I froze in June! 

Timing is everything in the garden. Isn't that always the way though? 

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 11th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting "Fenton" into the Search box above.

We received two the 2022 Media Awards!

I've got some Big News to share! Washington Gardener Magazine received the 2022 Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement for Consumer Magazine > Magazine (Circulation < 20K), presented by GardenComm: Garden Communicators International.


We won another silver award for Social Media for our @WDCgardener account on Twitter! The social media category is a new one this year and was judged for "accuracy, content, and style."

Now we are up for golds medal levels in both categories and will find out in October who won those honors.


Here is the official press release:

For Immediate Release 

Contact: Chris Sabbarese 

  Ph: 951.899.5015

Washington Gardener Magazine Receives

2022 GardenComm Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement

August 12, 2022 Washington Gardener Magazine recently received the 2022 Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement for Consumer Magazine > Magazine (Circulation < 20K)  , presented by GardenComm: Garden Communicators International.

This national award recognizes individuals and companies who achieve the highest levels of talent and professionalism in garden communications. The 2022 competition had more than 165 entries in 67 categories.  Recipients of the Silver Medal represent the best in their category and will now compete for Gold Medals in their category.

Kathy Jentz received the Silver Medal of Achievement for her editing and production of Washington Gardener Magazine. Washington Gardener Magazine is the gardening publication published specifically for the Washington, DC area and its near and far suburbs. We sent out our premiere issue in March/April 2005 and we are now about to be celebrating our 17th anniversary. 

“The GardenComm Media Awards showcase writers, photographers, editors, videographers, social media managers, publishers, and trade companies that have demonstrated excellence in garden communications in print or electronic communications,” says Maria Zampini, president of GardenComm.

Since the early 1980s, the GardenComm Media Awards program has recognized outstanding writing, photography, graphic design and illustration for books, newspaper stories, magazine articles and other works focused on gardening. 

The full list of winners will be available on the GardenComm website following the 2022 Annual Honors & Awards virtual event on October 15th at 2:30 pm ET held in conjunction with the GardenComm Virtual Conference, October 12 - 15.  For more information about this award, contact Chris Sabbarese via email at

About GardenComm 

GardenComm, Garden Communicators International, is an organization of professional communicators in the green and garden industry including book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GardenComm members. Learn more at


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