Thursday, December 18, 2014

Washington Gardener December 2014 issue: Thomas Rainer at the Intersection of Wild Plants and Human Culture

Washington Gardener is the magazine for gardening enthusiasts in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The December 2014 issue is being sent now as a PDF to all current subscribers.

It is also now posted at:

This issue includes:
~ Thomas Rainer at the Intersection of Wild Plants and Human Culture
~ Praying Mantis: Friend or Foe
~ December Garden Tasks
~ Local Garden Events Listing
~ Growing Citrus Indoors
~ Maryland Master Gardeners End Phone Line
~ Grass Roots Exhibit at US National Arboretum
~ New Grafted Tomato on Potato Roots
~ Season’s Greenings at the US Botanic Garden
and much more...

Note that any submissions, event listings, and advertisements for the January 2014 issue are due by January 10.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY by using the link at the top-right of this blog page.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Video Wednesday: The Flower Show “Celebrates the Movies"

Here is a preview of  the 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show: Lights, Camera, BLOOM theme.
Personally, I cannot WAIT for the combination of my two passions -- gardening and movies!

Travel to the Philadelphia Flower Show Trips 2015 with Washington Gardener Magazine
• March 4, 2015 depart from downtown Silver Spring, MD
• March 5, 2015 depart from Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, MD

Registration and details on our trips will be posted in the next few days. Save the dates and stay tuned!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Roses for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

On the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day as Christmas approaches, the Christmas Roses aka Hellebores (Helleborus niger) are coming up right on time here in my Zone 7 garden on the DC-MD border. Here is a photo:

In addition to the Hellebores, I have PJM Phododendron and pansies going strong outside. Inside I have an assortment of typical holiday plants -- Paperwhites, Poinsettia, etc. along with a few violets and geraniums hanging on in bloom.

What is blooming in YOUR garden now?

Register now for the 10th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges

The 10th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges, hosted by Washington Gardener Magazine, takes place on January 31, 2015 at the Behnke Nurseries in Wheaton, MD AND at February 7, 2015 at Green Spring Gardens in Fairfax, VA. You can attend both or you have a choice on which side of the beltway you want to attend!

Seed Exchange attendees trade seeds, exchange planting tips, hear expert speakers, and collect goody bags full of gardening treats.

Registrations are streaming in now and we expect a sell-out of both locations. We urge you to pre-register to guarantee yourself a spot.

The event also includes such “green” features as the garden book and catalog swap. Participants are encouraged to bring their gently used garden books and mailorder garden catalogs to trade with each other. Any leftover publications at the end of the swap are donated to the National Agriculture Library in Beltsville, MD.

The first annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange was held on January 26, 2006. After that event’s success, seed swaps in other cities across the nation have joined in celebrating National Seed Swap Day each year on the last Saturday in January.

Subscribers to Washington Gardener Magazine receive a $5 discount off the admission to the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange.

The registration form is posted below. Please print it page 2 and fill it out, then mail it along with payment by January 25 to Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring MD 20910.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Win Passes to Lewis Ginter's GardenFest of Lights in Washington Gardener Magazine's December 2014 Reader Contest

For our December 2014 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to Dominion GardenFest of Lights in Richmond, VA.

The Dominion GardenFest of Lights,  A Legacy in Lights:  120 Years from Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden rins through January 12, 2015. (Note that it is closed December 24-25). A holiday tradition featuring more than half-a-million twinkling lights, hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, holiday dinners, firepit with s'mores and hot chocolate (for purchase); nightly family activities & more. The region's ultimate holiday extravaganza! Here’s more on this year’s show:

To enter to win the family 4-pack of tickets to the Lewis Ginter Gardenfest of Lights, send an email with “Gardenfest of Lights” in the subject line to by 5:00pm on Friday, December 19. In the body of the email please include your full name, email, and mailing address as well as your New Year's gardening resolutions. The ticket winner will be announced and notified by December 21.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Natives Spotlight: Red Osier Dogwood

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea), can be a bit unruly during the growing season. The two in my backyard tend to flop as the season progresses, perhaps because the large shade leaves weigh down the slender stems. Once the leaves fall the stems return to a nice upright position. This is the time of year when these shrubs come into their own, the red stems providing winter cheer, especially when highlighted against snow.

I usually prune my Red Osier Dogwood pretty hard in February, to encourage new growth and bright stems. The tradeoff is that I don’t get flowers, since they bloom on new wood. This year I plan to experiment with cutting a few older stems to the ground and leaving others. Even though the floral display is not considered this shrub’s strongest feature, it would be nice to have some blossoms, as well as berries for the birds.

This spring I learned by accident just how easy it is to propagate these plants. I decided to use some of the trimmed stems to make a funky little trellis for my pea plants. I put three stems upright in the ground, and loosely attached some stems to them horizontally, using several of the shrub’s flexible small twigs to tie the pieces together.  Later in the spring I noticed that leaves were unfurling on one of the upright stems. Voila, I had inadvertently started a new dogwood in my vegetable garden!

Red Osier Dogwood is a native that is widespread throughout the U.S. except for the southern states. It likes moist soil, but should do well in all but the driest areas, and can handle a range of light conditions from sun to shade. Plant these shrubs where you can seem them from a window in winter and they are sure to lift your spirits in the dark months.

About the Author 
 Rachel Shaw focuses on vegetable gardening and growing native plants in her small yard in Rockville, MD. She blogs at
   This guest blog post is part of a monthly Native Plants series that Rachel authors for Washington Gardener Magazine around the 10th of each month.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Video Wednesday: The Story of The Park at LeDroit

Watch this lovely video from Casey Trees as it shows the transformartion of The Park at LeDroit in Washington, DC, through the gift of trees and community volunteerism.

UPDATE: Oddly, fo some this video is displaying as "private." If that is the case for you, here is the direct Youtube link: 

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Local Gardening Talk Series on Capitol Hill next March-April

I'll be giving this Local Gardening Talk Series on Capitol Hill at the Hill Center next March-April. Sign up soon to reserve a space.

When: Mon, 03/09/2015 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Repeats every week until Mon Apr 13 2015 (except Mon Mar 23 2015).
Cost: $50 per class or $235 for Entire Series
Category: Food and Garden
Join Kathy Jentz of Washington Gardener for this wonderful 5 class series as she helps you prepare your garden for Spring. These classes are great for non-gardeners and expect gardeners. Register for the entire series HERE.

Kathy Jentz is editor and publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine. A life-long gardener, Kathy believes that growing plants should be stress-free and enjoyable. Her philosophy is inspiration over perspiration.

Session 1: Local Gardening Resources and Sources (Register for this class HERE)
What annual garden festivals are worth attending? Which public gardens fit my needs? What are the best places to shop? Where do I find out more? You will receive a special reference handout listing local gardening classes, shows, public gardens, web sites, garden books, and much more.

Session 2: Regionally Adapted Plants (Register for this class HERE)
Plants that have proven themselves in the Mid-Atlantic. Low-maintenance gardening is the goal of many of us in our busy lives and the key is planting the right plants got our local climate. We'll talk about some native plants, of course, but mostly we'll explore the tried-and-true plants that can take clay soil, deer, and/or periods of drought. Season-by-season, we'll share our favorite plants that excel in our local gardens.

Session 3: Local Gardening 201: Common Challenges (Register for this class HERE)
So you have been gardening for a few years, but still feel like there are some holes in your gardening knowledge and you are frustrated by a few obstacles? This class is for you. We'll take it to the next level and talk about local gardening challenges like poor landscape drainage, gardening on a slope, dealing with deer, planting in clay soil, etc. We'll examine case studies of local gardeners who have conquered these common garden challenges.

Session 4: Getting the Garden Ready for Spring (Register for this class HERE)
Can you feel the difference in the air? Birds and buds are waking up as spring fast approaches! There is so much to do in the garden, but where to begin? We'll look at what to tackle first, what can wait, and what you need not bother with at all. Get organized and get inspired for a new growing season ahead.

Session 5: Small Space Garden Design – Squeezing it all in to your Urban/Suburban Garden (aka Getting the Most out of Small Space Gardens) (Register for this class HERE)
Using examples from area gardens, Kathy Jentz, editor and publisher of Washington Gardener magazine, will illustrate basic design principles for maximizing garden space. Kathy will address common small-space challenges such as creating privacy and adding light to shady areas. She will also give ideas for low- or no-budget solutions.

Register Here »