Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Win Seed Exchange Passes in the December 2023 Washington Gardener Reader Contest

For our December 2023 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away two passes to either of the Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges (prize value $40).

   The 19th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges, hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine, take place on January 27, 2024, at the Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, and on February 3, 2024, at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax, VA. You have a choice of which side of the DC Beltway you want to visit! 

 Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, swap 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 also have a “best name-tag” contest, so get crafty.

   See event details on pages 6–7 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, Sunday, December 31, 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 January 1, 2024.

The winner of two passes to one of our Seed Exchanges is Ljudmila Mladenovic of Arlington, VA.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

2023 Garden PHOTO CONTEST Kicks Off!


The 18th Annual Washington Gardener Magazine Photo Contest kicks off now! The entry period is January 1-21, 2024. 

Note that eligible entries must have been taken during the 2023 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, if the JPG above is not legible for you.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

December 2023 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine –Mistletoe, Haworthia, Native Ginger, Sweetbox, and much more…



The December 2023 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is out.  

Inside this issue:

·         Heartleaf, Native Wild Ginger

·         Haworthia, the Low-light Succulent

·         Growing Heirloom Eggplants

·         Sweetbox Groundcover

·         2023 Photo Contest Call for Entries

·         Seed Exchange 2023 Details

·         Great Gardening Books Reviewed

·         Mistletoe: Is the Holiday Plant Friend or Foe?

·         How to Keep Houseplants Moist

and much more…


Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the January 2024 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:

Monday, December 18, 2023

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Sweetgum Plant Profile

Sweetgum Plant Profile

The American Sweetgum Tree (Liquidamber styraciflua) is an attractive tree that is native to North America.

It has beautiful fall foliage and unique, spiny fruit balls. The leaves have a camphor-like scent when crushed. The fruits are often called gum balls. They dry out in the autumn and then fall to the ground in great numbers. Crafters gather these balls to make holiday decorations and use them in floral arrangements. If you do not care for the fruit drop, select 'Rotundiloba’, which is a non-fruiting cultivar.

Sweetgum trees are hardy to USDA Zones 5 to 9.

Plant it in full- to part sun. Fertilize and water the tree consistently during the first few years after planting it. Once established, it is drought-tolerant and no longer needs fertilizer.

It grows into a pleasing pyramid-like form naturally and should not need any pruning—other than to remove any damaged or diseased branches.

The tree will grow to 50-80 feet high at maturity, but there are some dwarf and smaller versions available as well.

Sweetgum: 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, text, and video/photos 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


Monday, December 11, 2023

Monday Thoughts: "Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all." ~ Stanley Horowitz

 "Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all." 

~ Stanley Horowitz

Sunday, December 10, 2023

My Intern Experience

By Christine Folivi

This fall, I had the opportunity to work at the Washington Gardener Magazine. I was able to experience two fields in one – gardening and journalistic work. With Kathy Jentz, I was taught how to grow Arugula, Round Black Spanish Radish, and Beets. Gardening was something I didn’t know how to do properly, but in just six weeks I saw arugula grow out of the ground. Every week it was sprouting more and more which was fascinating to see. I also had the opportunity to sit in on some podcasts about gardening, which introduced me to many plants I didn’t know before. The gardening community is a lot bigger than I had originally thought. Kathy introduced me to many people around the world on her podcast, which I helped edit. I also attended gardening clubs that Kathy spoke at and to other area garden-related events My favorite experience was definitely going to the Gramercy Mansion and writing an article on the owner. I was giving a tour of the property and it inspired me to create my own garden.

The garden books that Kathy had me review gave great insight into the gardening community and the gardening lifestyle.

About the Author: Christine Folivi is a senior at the University of Maryland College Park. This fall semester, she was an intern at Washington Gardener Magazine.

Saturday, December 09, 2023

GardenDC Podcast Episode 176: Garden Trends for 2024

In this episode of GardenDC: The Podcast about Mid-Atlantic Gardening, we talk with Katie Dubow of the Garden Media Group all about 2024 gardening trends. The plant profile is on Collards and we share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming local gardening events in the What's New segment. We close out with the Last Word on Crape Murder by Craig McManus, host of The Garden Question Podcast.

If you liked this episode, you may also enjoy listening to:

GardenDC Podcast Episode 131: Garden Trends of 2023

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

Show Notes: 00:39 Welcome Katie Dubow of the Garden Media Group 01:37 New developments for Dubow and team 02:36 What does the Garden Media Group do? 03:55 How are the garden trend reports put together? 06:33 Have there been any past trends that you predicted that just kind of fizzled out that you recall? 08:12 What trends did you miss? 09:02 The major trends for 2024, and 2024’s overarching trend 09:56 Eco optimism and eco-anxiety 11:47 “The point is…guess what, there is positive news out there,” says Dubow. 12:51 Organizations to help ecological change 13:55 Generation Z and the “Zoom Out” trend 16:35 “I feel like [Gen Z is a] more ambitious generation than millennials were and Gen X…they're like I'm going to get my hands in the dirt, I want to garden now,” says Dubow. 18:10 The Horti-Futurism trend 19:48 Biophilic design and the Singapore airport 22:19 “When you say Horti-futurism,” Jentz muses, “I'm thinking like Avatar, the world of Avatar and that kind of immersion in plants.” 23:58 The Delight in the Dark trend and Goth Gardening 26:05 Night gardening 28:40 The Bugging Out trend 30:15 Pollinators in interior design 32:07 Insect art in the Victorian era 33:08 The Hanging in There trend and vertical gardening 35:29 Railing planters 38:21 The Nature Calls trend and community 40:04 Tree ordinances and tree protection 42:47 The color of the year: Cyber Lime 43:40 “It's the symbiosis between nature and technology that we feel like this color is really going to be the one that takes off in the future,” says Dubow. 46:42 Potential trend: edible gardening with herbs 47:51 Potential trend: mixed houseplant containers 48:31 Potential trend: certified wildlife habitats 49:50 How can I get a copy of the 2024 trend report? Visit, or email 51:30 Plant Profile: Collard Greens 53:21 What's new in the garden? Red Twig Dogwood as holiday decorations. 53:40 Final episode for 2023, see you next year! 54:03 Upcoming events: Free talk on January 23rd at 1:00 PM at the Holiday Park Senior Center in Silver Spring, MD. On Friday, February 16th from 9:00 to 4:00 PM, Dr. Greg Sulsa will give a talk at Pry House in Frederick Maryland on medicinal gardens, register online at 55:45 Ground Cover Revolution by Kathy Jentz. 57:09 Join Discover Garden Tours from April 16th through April 25th, 2024, on the Discover the Netherlands tour, and visit for more information. 58:17 The Urban Garden by Kathy Jentz and Terry Speight 59:16 The Last Word on Crape Myrtle Murder 01:01:12 The harm of over-pruning crape myrtle 01:03:03 How to prevent crape murder

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 podcast platform plus share us on social media with #GardenDC, so other gardeners can find us too!

Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Show Notes: Alexandra Jentz


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