Today is Sweet Potato Day

Sweet potato

Today, Monday, April 6, is sweet potato day. I find this odd because here in Virginia, one does not plant or harvest sweet potatoes at this time. So I did some digging (no pun intended) and discovered the origins of the date. Continue reading

Perennial Herbs for the Garden

I love being able to step out into the garden and snip fresh herbs whenever I need them. Yesterday, I was making ham and bean stew in the crockpot. I was inspired to add thyme so I cut off a few sprigs from the thyme growing in the front of the house. I looked around and snipped even more herbs: cutting celery, oregano, sage and rosemary. Continue reading

Local Gardening Books for the DC Metro Area

In the upcoming weeks there will be two new books related to gardening and gardens in this area, which are listed below. Because of this, I updated my page on my website entitled “Local Books.” Below is the same list, in chronological order, with the most recently published listed first up to the year 2000. These are about local public gardens as well as gardening in the DC metro area.

A Garden for All Seasons: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hillwood by Kate Markert and Erik Kvalsvik, Rizzoli Electa, 2020

Grow Great Vegetables in Virginia by Ira Wallace, Timber Press, 2020

All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses: How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America by Marta McDowell, Timber Press, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Gardeners Handbook: Your Complete Guide: Select, Plan, Plant, Maintain, Problem Solve by Katie Elzer-Peters, Cool Springs Press, 2016

Gardens of Georgetown: Exploring Urban Treasures, text by Edith Nalle Schafer; photos by Jenny Gorman, Georgetown Garden Club, 2015

Maryland’s Public Gardens and Parks by Barbara Glickman, Schiffer Publishers, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year by George Weigel, Cool Springs Press, 2015

Chesapeake Gardening and Landscaping: The Essential Green Guide by Barbara W. Ellis; photographs by Neil Soderstrom, University of North Carolina Press in association with the Adkins Arboretum, 2015

Maymont: An American Estate (Richmond, VA) by Dale Cyrus Wheary, Scala Arts Publishers in association with the Maymont Foundation, 2015

Mid-Atlantic: Getting Started Garden Guide: Grow the Best Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Vines and Groundcovers by Andre Viette, Mark Viette, and Jacqueline Heriteau, Cool Springs Press, 2015

The General in the Garden: George Washington’s Landscape at Mt. Vernon by Susan P. Schoelwer, editor, Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association, 2015

Native Plants for Northern Virginia by the Virginia Native Plant Society, available via Plant NoVA Natives and in its third edition, 2015

Great Perennial Plants, Vines, and Bulbs Guide for the Mid-Atlantic Garden by Donna Williamson, self-published, electronic and available via Amazon, 2014

The Mid-Atlantic Garden: An Insider’s Guide to a Successful Lower Maintenance Garden by Donna Williamson, self-published, electronic and available via Amazon, 2014

Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello by Peter J. Hatch, Yale University Press, 2014

Take Our Advice: A Handbook for Gardening in Northern Virginia by Margaret Fisher, Student Peace Awards of Fairfax, 2014

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast by Ira Wallace, Timber Press, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Harvest the Best Edibles: DE, MD, PA, VA, DC, and WV by Katie Elzer-Peters, Cool Springs Press, 2013

Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th Century Methods for Today’s Organic Gardeners by Wesley Greene, Rodale Press, 2012

American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama, Crown Publishing Group, 2012

Capital Splendor: Parks and Gardens of Washington DC by Valerie Brown, Barbara Glickman Countryman Press, 2012

A Guide to Smithsonian Gardens by Carole Otteson, Smithsonian Books, 2011

Historic Virginia Gardens: Preservation Work of the Garden Club of Virginia by Margaret Page Bemiss, University of Virginia Press, 2009

Virginia’s Historic Homes and Gardens by Pat Blackley and Chuck Blackley, Voyageur Press, 2009

The Virginia’s Garden Companion: An Insider Guide to Low Maintenance Gardening in Virginia by Donna Williamson, Morris Book Publishing, 2008

Garden Walks in the Southeast: Beautiful Gardens from Washington to the Gulf Coast by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006

Garden Walks in the Mid-Atlantic States: Beautiful Gardens from New York to Washington DC by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005

The American Horticultural Society Guide to American Public Gardens and Arboreta:  Gardens Across America, Volume 1, East of the Mississippi by Thomas S. Spencer and John J. Russell, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005

A City of Gardens: Glorious Public Gardens In and Around the Nation’s Capital by Barbara Seeber, Capital Books, 2004

Month by Month Gardening in the Mid-Atlantic by André and Mark Viette and Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2004

Selecting, Growing and Combining Outstanding Perennials: Mid-Atlantic and New England Edition by Teri Dunn, André Viette, Mark Viette, Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2003

Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Guide by André and Mark Viette and Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2003

Barnes & Noble Complete Illustrated Guidebook to Washington, D.C.’s Public Parks and Gardens, published by Silver Lining Books, 2003

Complete Illustrated Guide to Washington DC’s Public Parks and Gardens by Richard Berenson, Silver Lining, 2003

The Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Book by Felder Rushing and Walter Reeves, Cool Springs Press, 2002

Virginia Gardeners Guide by Jacqueline Heriteau, Cool Springs Press, 2001

The New York/Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Book of Lists by Bonnie Lee Appleton, Cooper Square Press, 2001

Today is National Spinach Day!

spinachToday is National Spinach Day! Spinach has to be one of the easiest greens to start from seed. Here in Virginia, I sow spinach in the cool spring months and again in the fall. Now in March, I sow seeds in the ground and in containers on the deck (for last minute dinner salad harvesting). I plant the seeds about a half inch deep and water. Later, I thin them to prevent overcrowded mature plants. Every couple of weeks, I sow again, in different places, for a continuous harvest. It is best to grow different types, from savoy (wrinkled) to smooth leaves, to heat resistant cultivars, and in different places in the garden to avoid slugs.

We use spinach in everything from salads to sandwiches, stews, egg dishes, soups, and pasta. For salads, we prefer the savoy and semi-savoy type, the wrinkled leaves, because the leaves hold up well in salads and the salad dressing clings to the leaves. For smoothies, quiches, and egg dishes, we use the smooth leaves, which I roll up like a cigar and cut with small scissors to create ribbons.

Although I may harvest the entire, mature plant when I need a lot of spinach for company; usually I cut the outer leaves as I need them. I always look for insects and then submerge the leaves in a large bowl of cold water (to drown anything hidden in the leaves). After draining in a colander, I spin the leaves in the salad spinner (hopefully flinging any survivors to their death against the spinner’s plastic walls). Fortunately, I rarely see bugs.

Like all greens, spinach needs nitrogen for its leaves. In early spring, I amend the garden beds with compost or alfalfa meal (a store-bought, nitrogen-rich amendment). Lately, it seems that all bags of potting soil come with fertilizer so the container spinach does not seem to need the extra boost.

By June, my spinach throw up their flower stalks in the air and call it a day. Rebelling against summer’s warmth, their leaves become too bitter to eat.  Now taking up precious real estate, spinach gets relegated to the compost pile and my attention turns to heat loving veggies while the remainder of my spinach seeds lie dormant in the house, waiting for fall.

Subscribe to DC Metro Area Gardening E-Newsletter

Enter your e-mail here to subscribe to Pegplant’s Post, an e-newsletter about gardening in the Washington DC metropolitan area. This free monthly communication lists recently published gardening books, articles, and tips specific to this immediate area. Each issue also features the opportunity to win a free plant or gardening product. For the upcoming April 2020 Pegplant’s Post, one lucky subscriber will win a voucher to redeem a 25-pound bag of Bloom, a specialty fertilizer rich in organic matter. The winner can redeem the voucher by visiting Homestead Gardens in Maryland or WS Jenks & Son or Annie’s Ace Hardware in DC.

I have written two articles about Bloom which is a soil conditioner made from Class A biosolids. Biosolids are organic matter, recycled from sewage, which have been treated and processed in order to use as a safe soil conditioner. Bloom comes from DC Water and is available bagged or in bulk. Bloom provides essential nutrients and increases drought resistance in plants and increases organic content in the soil. It is a fertilizer and compost in one product and can be added to garden beds or used in containers. It is safe to use for ornamental plants as well as edibles.

Learning About Gardening Online

Since we have started this teleworking life, many of us are able to watch more shows online. Although we may be working from home during the day, the absence of a commute, errands, and basically a social life, grants us more time than before. Plant lovers and gardeners can take advantage of this to learn about gardening online in the Washington DC metro area.  Below is a sample of resources for webinars, videos, and online courses. No doubt, there are more; e-mail me if you know of virtual methods for learning about gardening at pegplant at gmail dot com. I may even post an addendum if we find ourselves social distancing for an extended period. This list is in no order; some are free videos while others require registration and payment. My intent is to provide resources of reliable and accurate information instead of having people randomly search on YouTube.

Speaking of YouTube, Good Gardening Videos has more than 1,000 gardening videos curated for accuracy and quality. This is a non-profit, ad-free educational campaign to find and promote evidence-based gardening videos and to help more accurate ones be made.

And if you are on YouTube and Facebook, no doubt you have seen Laura LeBoutillier aka “Garden Answer.” Laura has produced many videos on gardening as well as do-it-yourself projects, which are free to watch. She and her husband started filming gardening videos as a hobby and have become so successful they manage Garden Answer as a full time business. She has partnered with companies such as Proven Winners, Espoma, Gardener’s Supply Company, and Bonide so you will often see her promote products on her shows.  Although she lives to the west in zone 5 most of her videos are applicable to this area.

Another familiar face on Facebook is Philadelphian Doug Oster who has created the Everybody Gardens website and has produced the “In the Garden” video series on YouTube. He is a prolific writer, filmmaker, and author and he also has a radio show. Doug frequently appears on Pittsburgh Today Live Television show as their local garden expert.

And who could forget P. Allen Smith in Arkansas? He has produced so many videos that if you enter his name on YouTube you will see short vlogs, longer videos, and even full-length television shows. Plus, he produces a digital magazine called Naturally Magazine (I view mine on Issuu). When this is over I would love to visit Moss Mountain Farm.

Kerry Ann Mendez of Perennially Yours in Maine is a well-known garden speaker, author, and garden designer. She has a beautiful website, listing many webinars. On YouTube there is a video of her giving a presentation to an audience called “Growing Honkin’ Hydrangeas in the Northeast.”

Lisa Mason Ziegler, owner of the The Gardener’s Workshop in Newport News, VA, manages a very successful cut flower farm. She has written several books, gives presentations (including in the Northern Virginia area), and has produced online courses for seed starting, cut flowers, cool flowers, and flower farming. She is queen of cool flowers and for her books she has produced videos where she discusses each chapter and answers questions. You will often see her on Facebook Live.

Charlie Nardozzi is a well-known garden expert, he has published books, gives presentations, provides garden tours, and produces a library of on demand webinars at his website Gardening with Charlie Nardozzi. Topics include small space edible gardening, cottage gardening, native and invasive plants, organic pest control, and pollinator gardening. Charlie also publishes a free, informative newsletter. He lives in Vermont and I would love to hear him speak if he ever travels to this area.

The Ecological Landscape Alliance is a New Hampshire membership-based organization with a mission of promoting sustainable approaches to landscape design, construction, and management. They host events, some of which are near this area, and distribute a newsletter. Many of their webinars are suitable for home gardeners. For example, there will be a one-hour webinar on protecting pollinators for $10 for non-members or free for members, but some webinars are free.

Bluprint which used to be Craftsy, has popular garden figures such as Ellen Ecker Ogden, Karen Chapman, David Culp, Debra Lee Baldwin, and Jodi Torpey. They provide online courses for which you  must register and pay for on the Bluprint website but if you like their topic or their style you should check out their own websites.

Pith and Vigor Rochelle Greayer is a designer in Boston who has an online course called Garden Design Bootcamp and one called Planting Design Bootcamp. From her website, it looks like she may be producing additional ones. She has published a book and publishes a digital newspaper type of publication.

Karen Chapman is a garden speaker, author, and designer in the State of Washington. I have heard her speak in this area and she is an excellent speaker. She is a container guru with many online courses on creating beautiful containers. Karen has just published a book on deer resistant designs and has a webinar on this topic on her website Le Jardinet.

You Can Grow Sugar Snap Peas

March is the time to grow peas here in Northern Virginia. In our family we prefer the sugar snap peas where you eat pea and pod together but shelling peas and snow peas are also started during March’s cool weather.

St. Patrick’s Day is my cue to soak the seeds in water overnight, insert in cone shaped coffee filters (could have used paper towels too), and place in zipped plastic bags. I left them on a shelf, I did not put them under grow lights. Within two days, the seeds germinated. After a few days, when it was necessary for the shoots to receive sunlight, I planted them outside about 4 inches apart. Planting them when they have germinated as opposed to planting seeds makes them able to withstand the cold soil temperatures. Last year, we picked them almost every day when the peas had expanded enough to make the pods plump – hence – snap when you bit them or bent them. They were so sweet, we ate them raw as the vegetable portion of dinner.

Pea plants are light in weight and their small tendrils need to wrap around thin nylon, string, or wire. In the beginning, you may have to “train” them to wrap around the nylon or unwrap them if they find a nearby plant but eventually they learn to wrap up and create a pretty green screen.

 

Another great thing about peas is that the flowers are edible. They are great in green salads, they can be added as garnish to pea soup or tomato soup, and they can even be used to decorate cupcakes. Just remember, if you pick the flower, you won’t get the pea. But then, plant more peas!

DeBaggio’s Herb Farm and Nursery in Chantilly Is Closing

It is sad news that DeBaggio’s Herb Farm and Nursery in Chantilly, VA, is closing. It was a great place to visit for buying herbs and other plants. Because it was far from my home, I would make an annual trek in the spring to buy unusual culinary herbs to try in my garden. Years ago, I used to go to the location in Arlington, home of Francesco’s father, Tom DeBaggio, who started the business.  I have fond memories of picking few quite a variety of herbs in his driveway and bringing my mom and future mother-in-law (must be over 20 years now). I want to wish Francesco and Tammy good luck in their new adventures but I will miss the best herb specialty nursery in the area. I have updated two tabs on my website to reflect this change: the list of nurseries and the culinary herbs resources.

Gardening Events in the Washington DC Metro Area

free seed swap

At the end of the month, I list the gardening events for the next month in the Washington DC metro area. Last year, in 2019, there were more than 1,000 events and exhibits, which is an average of 90 per month or 3 per day. We have a lot of botanical activity in the Capital Region! I have just posted the March 2020 events and there are more than 100 events. The number increases as the gardening season warms up. To be in the know, you can either check my “Monthly Events” tab or you can subscribe to Pegplant’s Post, my free newsletter, to have the link to the Monthly Events sent to your e-mail box at the end of the month. This is a great resource for planning your social calendar.  It also enables you to reserve your spot in advance — some events are so popular they sell out fast. Plus my list is cumulative, thus serving as a resource if you are a garden club member looking for a speaker or a speaker looking for a venue. To give you an example, below are the activities for the upcoming 2 weeks. For the rest of March, click here.

Local Gardening Events from March 1-15, 2020

1, Sunday, Timeless Fragrance Gardening, Gainesville location, 1:00 pm and free. Merrifield Garden Center. http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

1, Sunday, Sunday Funday House Plant Care Clinic, 11:00 am, free, sponsored by Rock Paper Plant and held at Femme Fatale popup shop, 401 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington DC. http://www.rockpaperplant.com/

1, Sunday, Garden Bed Planning Workshop, Fair Oaks location, 10:00 am, fee and must register. Merrifield Garden Center. http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

2, Monday, Bus Trip to Philadelphia Flower Show, 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, fee and must register. Also offered on Wednesday, March 4. Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring

3, Tuesday, Bus Trip to Philadelphia Flower Show, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, fee and must register, Adkins Arboretum, 12610 Eveland Road, Ridgely, MD. http://www.adkinsarboretum.org

3, Tuesday, Stop! Smell and Touch Our Plants, 1 to 2:30 pm, free and registration required. Also offered on Saturday, March 7, at 10:30 am. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC. http://www.usbg.gov

3, Tuesday, Gardener’s Focus: An Orchid-Filled Greenhouse, 11:00 am or 1:00 pm, included in suggested donation to enter Hillwood. Also on many other days in March, check website for specific times. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW Washington DC. https://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/

3, Tuesday, Bus Trip to Philadelphia Flower Show, 8 am to 8 pm, fee and must register. Also offered on Thursday March 5, 9:00 am. Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD. http://www.brooksidegardens.org

3, Tuesday, Bus Trip to Philadelphia Flower Show, 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, fee and must register. Homestead Gardens, 743 West Central Avenue, Davidsonville, MD. https://homesteadgardens.com/

3, Tuesday, Bus Trip to Philadelphia Flower Show, via Alexandria or the Lothian store, fee and must register, Greenstreet Gardens, see website for times. https://greenstreetgardens.com/events/

3, Tuesday, Eat, Sleep, Garden: Top Annuals for Your Cut Flower Garden, 11:30 to 12:30 pm. Fee and must register. Greenhouse classroom, Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Green Spring Avenue, Baltimore, MD http://cylburn.org/

3, Tuesday, Microgreens: What Are They, Why They Are So Fabulous, and How to Grow Them, 7 to 8:30 pm. Free and registration requested. Barrett Branch Library, 717 Queen Street, Alexandria. Sponsored by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. http://www.mgnv.org

4, Wednesday, Lecture: Horticulture and Women in History with Martha Keen. 7:00 pm, free, open to the public. Annapolis Horticulture Society, St. Anne’s Parish Hall, 199 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, MD. http://annapolishorticulture.org/lectures/

5, Thursday, Roots and Reflections: Orchids, 2 to 3:30 pm, free and registration required. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC. http://www.usbg.gov

5, Thursday, Political Appetites: Culinary Activities in the Early Republic with Nancy Siegel, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, fee and must register. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC. http://www.usbg.gov

5, Thursday, Tour: Medicinal Plants Yesterday and Today, 1:30 to 2:30 pm, free and will be offered again on March 12, same time. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC. http://www.usbg.gov

5, Thursday, Spring House Plant Swap, 6:30 pm, fee and must register. Sponsored by Rock Paper Plant and held at Femme Fatale popup shop, 401 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC. http://www.rockpaperplant.com/

5, Thursday, Bus Trip to Philadelphia Flower Show, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, fee and must register. Also offered on March 3, Tuesday, 8:00 am. Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD. http://www.brooksidegardens.org

5, Thursday, Lecture: The Gardens of Spain, 7:00 pm, free. Rust Library, 380 Old Waterford Road, NW Leesburg, VA. Sponsored by the Loudoun County Master Gardeners. http://loudouncountymastergardeners.org/

5, Thursday, Grow What You Eat! 7 to 8:30 pm, free and registration requested. Arlington Mill Community Center, 909 S. Dinwiddie Street, Arlington. Also offered on Sunday, March 8. Sponsored by the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia.  http://www.mgnv.org

6, Friday, HOAs and Condo Association: Sustainable Solutions to Landscaping Headaches, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm, free but must register. The Forum Meeting Room, Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center Building, Northern Virginia Community College Annandale Campus, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale. Sponsored by Plant NOVA Natives, register at https://www.plantnovanatives.org/symposiums-for-hoa-and-condo-assoc-

6, Friday, Invasive Plant Workshop, 1 to 5:00 pm, fee and must register. Sponsored by the Blue Ridge Prism and held at Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, VA.  https://www.facebook.com/events/202662360920681/?active_tab=about
http://blandy.virginia.edu/home

7, Saturday, Plot Against Hunger 7th Annual Spring Garden Kick Off, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, free but should rsvp. Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington VA. https://afac.org/afac-events/plot-against-hunger-spring-garden-kick-off-2020/

7, Saturday, First Saturday Guided Walk, 10:00 am, free for members, free with admission for non-members. Adkins Arboretum, 12610 Eveland Road, Ridgely, MD. http://www.adkinsarboretum.org

7, Saturday, The Science of Spring Blooms, Merrifield location; Common Plant Problems and Solutions, Gainesville location; From Seed and Stem to Nursery, Fair Oaks location. All 10:00 am and free.  Merrifield Garden Center. http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

7, Saturday, Gardening in the Valley Symposium, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, fee and should register. Shenandoah University, Hester Auditorium, Henkel, 1460 University Drive, Winchester, VA. Sponsored by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardener Association. http://nsvmga.org/events/symposium/

7, Saturday, Stop! Smell and Touch Our Plants, 10:30 am to noon, free and registration required. Also offered on Tuesday, March 3, at 1:00 pm. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC. http://www.usbg.gov

7, Saturday, U.S. Botanic Garden Production Facility Open House, fee and must register, will be at various times and will be at the facility. See website for details. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC. http://www.usbg.gov

7, Saturday, Vegetable garden series (topic is managing pests, vegetable profiles, food safety). Part three of three topics, free but seating is limited so register at master_gardener@pwcgov.org. Other dates were February 1 and 15. Sponsored by Prince William Master Gardeners. Held at Bull Run Library, 8051 Ashton Avenue, Manassas, VA.  https://www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/vce/Pages/Horticulture-Classes.aspx

7, Saturday, The Basics of Gardening, Session Three: Rain Gardens, Insects, and Diseases and IMP. This is part three of a three session series, other sessions were on February 29 and March7. Free but space is limited, register at pwcgov.org/grow or e-mail master_gardener@pwcgov.org  Sponsored by Prince William Master Gardeners. Held at Haymarket Gainesville Community Library, 4870 Lightner Road, Haymarket, VA.  https://www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/vce/Pages/Horticulture-Classes.aspx

7, Saturday, Great Shrubs for Home Gardens, 10 to 11:30 am, fee and must register. Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring

7, Saturday, Nine Ways You Can Help Bee and Other Pollinators at Home, 9:00 am to 10:00 am, free but make reservations. Loudoun Wildlife Conservatory. Held at Wild Birds Unlimited, 44110 Ashburn Shopping Plaza, Ashburn, VA. http://www.loudounwildlife.org

7, Saturday, Grow Your Own Microgreens, 11:00 am to noon, fee and must register. Cultivate the City, 910 Bladensburg Road Northeast, Washington DC. http://www.cultivatethecity.com

8, Sunday, Bon-Chi! Learn and Practice the Art of Bonsai Using Edible Plants, 1 to 2:00 pm, fee and must register. Cultivate the City, 910 Bladensburg Road, NE Washington DC. At the H Street Farms at W.S. Jenks and Sons. http://www.cultivatethecity.com

8, Sunday, The Art of Pruning Workshop at Fair Oaks location, 1:00 pm, fee and must register. Merrifield Garden Center. http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

8, Sunday, Grow What You Eat! 3 to 4:30 pm, free and registration requested. Beatley Central Library, 5005 Duke Street, Alexandria. Also on Thursday, March 5, sponsored by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. http://www.mgnv.org

8, Sunday, Create and Sip: Succulent Potting Party at Gainesville location, 1:00 pm, fee and must register. Merrifield Garden Center. http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

8, Sunday, through 10, Tuesday. Full Moon Hikes, 7:30 pm, fee and must register. Sponsored by the Friends of the National Arboretum, at the U.S. National Arboretum, 3501 New York Avenue, Washington DC. https://www.fona.org/fullmoonhikes/

8, Sunday, through 10, Tuesday, Full Moon Forest Bathing, 7:30 pm, fee and must register. Sponsored by the Friends of the National Arboretum, at the U.S. National Arboretum, 3501 New York Avenue, Washington DC. https://www.fona.org/fullmoonhikes/

9, Monday, Selecting Native Plants for your Home Garden, 7 to 8:30 pm, free, registration requested. Westover Branch Library, 1644 N. McKinley Road, Arlington. Sponsored by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. http://www.mgnv.org

10, Tuesday, Lecture: Botanical Bullies with Carole Bergmann, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, free for members, fee for nonmembers, and open to the public. Vollmer Center Auditorium, Cylburn Arboretum. Sponsored by the Maryland Horticultural Society. https://mdhorticulture.org/

11, Wednesday, Seed Starting and Plant Propagation. 7:00 pm, free. Bluemont Room, Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington. Sponsored by the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. http://www.mgnv.org
https://afac.org/plot-against-hunger/pah-events/

11, Wednesday, Not in Our Backyard: How to Fight Spotted Lanternfly, 7 to 8:30 pm, fee and must register at Sustainability Matters Facebook page. Sponsored by Sustainability Matters and will be at the Blandy Experimental Farm, 400 Blandy Farm Lane, Boyce, VA.
https://www.facebook.com/events/808773166253213/
http://blandy.virginia.edu/home

12, Thursday, Turf Talk: How to Have a Healthy Lawn, 7:00 to 8:30 pm, free and registration requested. Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford Street, Arlington. Sponsored by the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. http://www.mgnv.org

12, Thursday, Workshop: Hypertufa Containers and Desert Plantings, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, fee and must register. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC. http://www.usbg.gov

12, Thursday, Mounted Orchids, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, fee and must register. Sponsored by Rock Paper Plant and held at Steadfast Supply (Navy Yard), 301 Tingey Street, #120 SE, entrance on water street, Washington DC. http://www.rockpaperplant.com/

12, Thursday, Piecing Together Nature’s Puzzle with Alonso Abugattas, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, free. Hosted by Potowmack Chapter of Virginia Native Plant Society. Held at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. https://vnps.org/potowmack/events/natures-puzzle-the-interconnectedness-of-our-world-depending-on-plants-with-alonso-abugattas/

13, Friday, Houseplant Haven Grand Opening, 6:00 to 9:00 pm, free. Homestead Gardens, 743 West Central Avenue, Davidsonville, MD. https://homesteadgardens.com/

14 and 15, Saturday and Sunday, Homestead Gardens Spring Kick Off, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, free. Homestead Gardens, 743 West Central Avenue, Davidsonville, MD. https://homesteadgardens.com/

14, Saturday, Propagation and Cloning Workshop, 11:00 am to noon, fee and must register. Cultivate the City, 910 Bladensburg Road NE Washington DC, at H Street Farms at W.S. Jenks and Sons http://www.cultivatethecity.com

14, Saturday, Winter Pruning for Woody Plants, 1 to 2:30 pm, free and advance registration requested. 4029 N. Tazewell Street, Arlington. Rain date March 21. Also offered on March 29. Hands on training and outside. Bring your own tools. Sponsored by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. http://www.mgnv.org

14, Saturday, Lecture: Exploring Orchid Evolution, Ecology, and Biogeography with Todd Brethauer, 2 to 3:30 pm, free and registration required. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC. http://www.usbg.gov

14, Saturday, Lawn Care Q&A, Merrifield location; and Planting Herbs and Vegetables in Ground and in Containers, Fair Oaks location, both at 10:0 am and free. Merrifield Garden Center. http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

14, Saturday, Workshop: Growing Vegetables in Containers, 2 to 3:00 pm. Fee and must register, space limited. The Greenhouse Classroom, Cylburn Arboretum, sponsored by the Maryland Horticultural Society. https://mdhorticulture.org/

14, Saturday, Orchid 101: How to Get Your Orchid to Rebloom, 10:00 am to noon, fee and must register. Also offered on 15, 20, 28, and 29. Check website for specific times. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW Washington DC. https://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/

14, Saturday, Orchid Workshop: To Repot or Not? 2:00 to 4:00 pm, fee and must register. Also offered on 15, 27, and 29. Check website for specific times. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW Washington DC. https://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/

14, Saturday, How to Get Your Orchid to Rebloom, 1 to 2:30 pm, fee and must register. Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD. http://www.brooksidegardens.org

14, Saturday and 15, Sunday, Friends of Brookside Gardens Orchid Festival at Brookside Gardens, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday and 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sunday. Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD. http://www.brooksidegardens.org

14, Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day Floral Arrangement, 11:00 am, fee and must register. Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm, 8109 Telegraph Road, Severn, MD. http://www.willowoakherbs.com

15, Sunday, Orchid Family Day, 1 to 4:00 pm, free and no registration required. U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington DC. http://www.usbg.gov

15, Sunday, Hydroponics and Vertical Gardening, 1 to 2:00 pm, fee and must register. H Street Farms and 910 Bladensburg Road NE Washington DC. Cultivate the City. http://www.cultivatethecity.com

15, Sunday, Native Plant Picks for Spring, Gainesville location, and Lawn Care Q&A at Fair Oaks location, both at 1:00 pm and free. Merrifield Garden Center. http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

Now is the Time to Pull Weeds!

Spring has sprung and it is time to pull the weeds! By this time, there are many weeds that are flourishing in the garden but hopefully, not yet flowering. Now is the time to pull them before they flower and set seed. Fortunately, now is a good time to eradicate these weeds because the moist soil makes it easier to pull the small plants.

purple deadnettle on left and hairy bittercress on right

purple deadnettle (left) and hairy bittercress (right)

In my garden I have an infestation of hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta). A member of the mustard family, these young’uns appear as small mounds of subdivided leaves, creating a lacy or scalloped appearance. As the plant matures and grows, slender stems arise from the base producing small, white flowers. By late spring, slender seed pods burst open when touched (called “explosive dehiscence”), shooting seeds as far as 3 feet! Also called shotweed, this weed prefers damp conditions and should be removed as soon as possible.

I also have colonies of purple deadnettle, a member of the mint family. Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) is called “dead” nettle because the plant resembles the true nettles (Urtica spp.) but does not sting like a nettle, hence, “dead” nettle. Right now, I can only see young leaves at ground level which makes it hard to identify but in a few months, the striking flower structures will grow tall above the basal leaves and the youngest, smallest leaves at the top will be purple. Tubular-like, purple flowers, typical of the mint family, peep out from under the uppermost leaves.

henbit in foreground and mouse ear chickweed in background

henbit in foreground and mouse ear chickweed in background

A cousin of purple deadnettle, henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), looks similar but does not have the pronounced purple color on the leaves. Purple deadnettle has stalked leaves on the flower stems while henbit does not. The word “amplexicaule” means leaves grasping the stem. The pretty scalloped leaves wrapped around the stem remind me of Queen Elizabeth I with her ruffled collar. Also a member of the mint family, henbit has small pink/purple, tubular like flowers.

Looking like a cross between a dandelion and a thistle, groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) is a member of the sunflower family. Like a dandelion, groundsel has a taproot and the same feathery type of seed head. It is good to pull while young before the tap root gets established. Already the groundsel is beginning to sport yellow flowers, similar to dandelion flowers but smaller. If these are not removed, the groundsel will flower, set seed, and the wind will disperse hundreds of seeds to the rest of my property.

groundsel

groundsel

Two weeds that I do not have in my garden but I have seen in other people’s gardens are common chickweed (Stellaria media) and mouse ear chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum). There are several different types of chickweed, all members of the carnation family. The common chickweed has smooth, small, egg-shaped leaves and is so named because the plant is used as a starter food for baby chicks. The mouse ear chickweed has hairy leaves, slightly larger than the common chickweed, resembling fuzzy mouse ears. Both have tiny, five-petal flowers but the common chickweed is an annual while the mouse ear chickweed is a perennial. These plants have shallow fibrous roots. Their stems spread and crawl and are capable of rooting where the node touches the soil.

common chickweed and mouse ear chickweed

common chickweed and mouse ear chickweed

The garden is not asleep. Get out there now and start pulling before these vast armies of weeds flower and disperse hundreds of seeds!