Monday, January 29, 2024

Monday Thoughts: With gardening, it’s really all in the doing. - Monty Don

With gardening, it’s really all in the doing.  

- Monty Don 

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Win Passes to a pass to the GreenScapes Symposium

UPDATE: Our pass winner is Kathy Stevens! Congratulations, Kathy.

For our January 2024 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, we are giving away passes to the GreenScapes Symposium (value $55). 

  The GreenScapes Symposium is an annual program, sponsored by Brookside Gardens since 2004. This year’s theme is “Innovative Designs from the Field.” It is being held via Zoom on Friday, February 16, 2024, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST. This symposium will offer new and innovative sustainable design and maintenance strategies to take your home garden or professional work to the next level. Join industry experts as they share practical and scalable lessons from the field, representing a diverse range of natural landscapes and human environments. Explore the latest research from the University of Delaware, including case studies from award-winning public gardens and museums. Designers will share the challenges faced and solutions discovered in working on projects with leaders like Roy Diblik, Piet Oudolf, and Cassian Schmidt. Learn how to create masterpieces by leveraging block and matrix plantings that maximize the characteristics of native species. For more go to

  To enter to win passes to the GreenScapes Symposium, send an email to by 5:00pm on January 31 with “GreenScapes” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in the January 2024 Washington Gardener Magazine issue and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The winner will be announced and notified on/about February 1. 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

GardenDC Podcast Episode 179: Why Winter Garden

In this episode of GardenDC: The Podcast about Mid-Atlantic Gardening, we talk with returning garden Marianne Willburn, garden book author and speaker, about gardening in the winter. The plant profile is on Aronia and we share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming local gardening events and garden tasks in the What's New segment. We close out with the Last Word on Creating a Healthy Dip by Christy Page of Green Prints.

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

GardenDC Podcast Episode 59: Gardening with Tropical Plants

~ GardenDC Podcast Episode 43: Snowdrops

~ GardenDC Podcast Episode 44: Witch Hazels

This episode is archived at: 

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

SHOW NOTES: 01:04 Re-introducing returning guest Marianne Willburn 01:52 “You’re going to try to convince me, the winter hater, the cold weather hater, why we should still garden in the winter” — host Kathy Jentz to Marianne 02:19 What Marianne’s been doing since her last appearance on the podcast 04:10 Marianne talks about how she eventually came to like winter gardening 07:26 The beauty of Mahonias 09:08 “You’ve got to be thinking in terms of layering” in the winter garden 09:36 It’s Witch Hazel season 12:03 Seed Exchanges at Brookside and Green Spring Gardens 12:34 “If you’re trying to decide which Witch Hazel is for you… Green Spring is the place to do it” 14:00 Marianne talks about how she suits up for her winter garden, “bundle up, buttercup!” 16:41 The best gloves for winter gardening 18:18 The short day-lengths make winter gardening miserable for Kathy 18:42 Winter is “best chance to be able to enjoy a sunrise without too much work on your part.” 21:23 “We have to change our perspective about what we're seeing out there…we should not be comparing it to the summer. It's a completely different animal” 23:00 Frigid temps effect phones plus taking photos 24:55 Marianne’s greenhouse 26:20 Local public gardens’ greenhouses 28:45 Kathy hates wind – another reason to not like winter gardening 28:56 “OK, I will give you that point. The wind is a deal breaker for me, that has not changed” — Marianne 30:50 For Marianne, wind chill was a new experience when she moved to the East Coast 31:55 Kathy presents a potential positive for wind – “let it wash over you and think of it as kind of like a shower, like it's blowing away all the negativity” 33:35 Changing our perception is key to many areas of life and to winter gardening 34:23 The earliest flowering things — Snowdrops and Eranthis 37:13 Early-flowering Daffodils 38:37 The earliest Native spring ephemerals – including Skunk Cabbage and Claytonia. 42:25 “When you start to just see the greening on the willows, especially the Weeping Willows...There's no better green in the world than that.” — Kathy 43:13 “It’s addictive, winter gardening, it really is” — Marianne 43:22 Climate change and milder winters – the El NiƱo winter 45:09 Bark texture, bark colors, bark patterns in the winter 46:03 Marianne list of book recommendations – Henry Mitchell’s “The Essential Earth Man,” Christopher Lloyd’s “Cuttings,” and Alan Lacey’s and Nancy Goodwin’s “A Year in Our Gardens” 50:10 Marianne’s #WhyWinterGarden challenge on Instagram @marianne.willburn 51:07 “I'm still counting the days down till springtime, but I think there's a slight crack in the ice – maybe” — Kathy on being only slightly convinced about winter gardening 52:22 Plant Profile: Aronia aka Red and Black Chokeberry 54:49 Check out January 2024. issue of Washington Gardener Magazine 55:47 Local gardening events to attend – the National Capital Orchid Society’s Annual Orchid Show at Homestead Gardens on February 16-18 and the 2024 Galanthus Gala in Downington, PA, on Saturday, March 2 56:47 Kathy Jentz’s book “Groundcover Revolution” 58:11 About the Discover the Netherlands Tour from April 16 - 25, 2024 59:20 Kathy Jentz’s book “The Urban Garden” 1:00:20 The Last Word on how-to embrace the holiday season with cookies and veggies

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
Interview Edit and Show Notes: Hannah Zozobrado


Thursday, January 25, 2024

Intern Intro: Cassie and Hannah

This winter/spring, I have taken on two editorial interns. Look for their work in our upcoming Washington Gardener Magazine issues, on the GardenDC Podcast, at our YouTube channel, and on this blog. As a first assignment, I asked them to write a short introduction to our readers...

My name is Cassie Peo and I am a senior at the University of Maryland in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. I’m a multi-platform journalism major with a minor in history. I've been writing all my life and have worked with the on-campus publication The Campus Trainer at UMD. I have also worked with the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism through the College of Journalism. I am excited to be working with the Washington Gardener this spring and to learn more about both gardening and magazine publishing. In my free time, I enjoy reading, drawing, and painting, as well as spending time outdoors and running. My mom keeps a garden during the summer in New Jersey and I love to help her outside when I am home. I am excited to be able to contribute to the Washington Gardener and I hope that after working here, I will have the confidence to expand my garden and experiment with growing new plants.
Hello everyone! 

My name is Hannah Zozobrado, I am one of the spring 2024 Washington Gardener interns. I’m from Silver Spring, MD, and am currently a senior journalism student at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the past few years, I’ve pursued journalism through different publications and organizations on campus, such as The Diamondback as a video reporter, The Campus Trainer as a Music & Arts section editor, and Monumental Magazine as a staff writer. I’m looking forward to working with Washington Gardener and applying my learned journalistic skills to this internship while exploring such new content—all I really know of gardening is whatever my mother has taught me, planting trees and flowers in our backyard. While I don’t usually garden in my free time, I enjoy going outdoors and, like a plant, basking in the sun when the weather is just right. I also love spending time with my family and friends, as well as partaking in artistic pastimes like sewing and scrapbooking; I particularly love to document fond memories with my Polaroid, digital, and film camera. As this is my last semester as a college student, I hope to keep record of all the fun in the coming months, and I can’t wait to see how Washington Gardener blends into the mix!

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Seed Exchange 2024 Speakers Announced

UPDATE! More tickets have been released for both events! See full details at -


Here are the speakers for the upcoming Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges 2024Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats.

Saturday, January 27 at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD

Speaker 1:
“Growing Great Peppers
Speaker: Carrie Engel, Horticulturist, Valley View Farms
This talk will cover how a local business prepares its tomato crop for the spring season. From the beginning steps from seed selection, starting the seeds to seedling, to a plant ready for transplant and sale. It will also cover what varieties do best in our region.
   Carrie Engel began working at Valley View Farms in Cockeysville, MD, in 1972, and is well known in our area. Carrie appears with meteorologists Tony Pann and Ava Marie, weekly on the WBAL TV's Sunday Gardener. She was awarded the 2020 Professional Achievement Award from the Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association. She enjoys writing, speaking about gardening, photography, the Orioles, and spending time with her extended family. Carrie also enjoys traveling, especially road trips, where she looks for what is new in plants and gardening everywhere she goes.

Speaker 2:
"Setting up an Indoor Garden System"
Speaker: Niraj Ray of Cultivate the City  
This talk will cover setting up an indoor garden – from lighting and irrigation options to exploring hydroponic options and nutrient management, plus ventilation considerations.
   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.  

Washington Gardener Magazine presents the 
18th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges
on Saturday, January 27, 2024, 12:30–4:00pm 
National Seed Swap Day!
at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD
 Registration is now open at 


Saturday, February 3 at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA

Speaker 1:
Seed Mixes and Substrates
Speaker: Carol Allen, Horticulturist
This talk will cover different seed-starting mixes and what they contain, which are the best to use, and which ones you should avoid. Carol will also talk about possible reuses of mixes and other tips.
   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..

Speaker 2:
“Seed Buying Tips
Speaker: Debby Ward of Prior Unity Garden
Enjoy Debby's passion for quality seeds and seed companies. She will talk about the different types of seed companies (seed houses vs small family farms). She will also pass on her a few of her favorite seed companies and why she loves them. Plus, she will cover types of seed (OP, F1, F2, and the different definitions of "Heirloom".) 
   Debby Ward is founder and owner of Prior Unity Garden - Growing Your Own Organic Food Made Easy. She 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 has taught for many local groups including The Mason Sustainability Institute, Master Gardeners in Fairfax County VA and the Grow Your Health Festival. 

on Saturday, February 3, 2024, 12:30–4:00pm
at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA
Registration is now open at 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Featured Post

Gifts for Gardeners ~ Gardening Gifts ~ Cool Gardening Gift Ideas

Today is Amazon Prime Day, so I thought I'd again share the garden products I use almost every day. These are the tried-and-true w...