Category Archives: Events

Over a Dozen Gardening Events This Weekend in the Washington DC Metro Area

When I was writing my Peg’s Picks of Gardening Events for April 2017, I noticed at least 17 gardening events for this weekend April 21-23 alone. Check out the rest of the April gardening events at on the Classes/Events page.

Friday, April 21

21, Friday, Celebrate Earth Day! 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, free no registration required. National Garden U.S. Botanic Garden, 245 First Street, SW, Washington DC.

21, Friday, Garden Talks with Master Gardeners: Cover the Ground, 1:30 to 2:30 pm. Fee and must register in advance at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA.

21, Friday, 10:00 am to noon for AHS members and noon to 4:00 pm for public and 22 Saturday 10 – 4 open to the public. American Horticultural Society’s Spring Garden Market. Nominal fee for parking for non AHS members. 7931 East Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, VA.

Saturday, April 22

22, Saturday, Friends of Carlyle House Garden Day Herb & Craft Sale, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, free but there is an admission fee to enter the Carlyle House (actual site of the Mansion House Hospital featured in the PBS drama Mercy Street). 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria 22314; (703) 549-2997.

22, Saturday, London Town’s Plant Sale 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Members and volunteers receive a 10% discount on plants all weekend. Historic London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, MD.

22, Saturday through 29, Saturday, Historic Garden Week sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia, see website for schedule, tickets required.

22, Saturday, Garden Program: New Versus Classic Plants, by David Culp, 10:00 to 11:00 am. Fee and must register in advance at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA.

22, Saturday, Garden Program: Spring Blooming Natives, 10:30 to noon, Fee and must register in advance at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA.

22, Saturday, Perennials for Every Garden at the Gainesville location, 1:30 pm, free. Merrifield Garden Center,

22, Saturday, Planting Gardens with Native Plants, 2:00 pm. Free. Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD.

22, Saturday, Teaching Garden: Three topics: What’s That Weed? Beloved Plants of Master Gardener Volunteers and Vegetable of the Month. 9:00 am to noon, free but must register. Outside, dress for weather. St. Benedict Monastery, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA. Sponsored by the Prince William County Cooperative Extension and Master Gardeners,

22, Saturday, 10 to 6; 23, Sunday, 10 to 5. Annual Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival. Free and dress for weather and walking. Downtown Leesburg, VA.

22, Saturday, 10:00 am to noon. Lecture: Great Looking Lawns Using Bay Friendly Practices. Free but space limited so registration is encouraged. Visitors Auditorium, National Arboretum, 3501 New York Avenue NE, Washington DC.

Sunday, April 23

23, Sunday, Earth Day Festival at Brookside, free, no registration required. From 9:00 am to noon, volunteers help with planting projects and from noon to 4:00 pm is the festival. Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD.

23, Sunday, Earth Day Miniature Garden workshop, 10:30 am to noon or 1:30 to 3:00 Fee. Historic London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, MD.

23, Sunday, Creating a Rain Garden, 2:00 pm, free. Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD.

23, Sunday, Container Gardens with Pizzazz at the Gainesville location, 1:00 pm, free. Merrifield Garden Center,

Time to Register for the Arlington/Alexandria Master Gardener Program

The 2017 Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Training for Arlington County/City of Alexandria residents is now open for registration. There will be an orientation on May 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA. If you would like to come and learn more about the Master Gardener program, contact the VCE Horticulture Help Desk at (703) 228-6414 or e-mail at Note that there are other Master Gardener programs in the DC/MD/VA area which operate on different schedules. For more information on the Master Gardener program in general, see the Master Gardener page/tab at

Peg’s Picks: April 2017 Gardening Events in the Washington DC Metro Area

Peg’s Picks: April 2017 Gardening Events in the Washington DC Metro Area is now posted on the Classes/Events tab at There are over 70 events in April and that is not even including Historic Garden Week’s 30 tours the week of April 22-29. Let the games begin!

An Entertaining Lecture on Herbs at Merrifield Garden Center

Yesterday I attended Merrifield Garden Center’s free lecture on herbs and was pleasantly surprised by the great speaker and the event itself: part entertainment and part educational. Merrifield is known for its free seminars in the spring, which I have promoted on my website for years. The herb lecture was at the Fair Oaks location, which has a spacious room on the second level of the garden center. I arrived early and was surprised to find pastries, brownies, fruit, cheese, crackers, and coffee! Sarah, a Merrifield employee, created this lovely feast and topped it off with an eye-catching display of herbs. Apparently she is known for making such creative displays and generous offerings of refreshments. Sarah was a hoot!  She talked to everyone and encouraged people to submit their drawing on time!

I discovered that at each seat there was a handout on herbs, a 15% discount coupon to use that day or the following day, and a form to complete for the drawing. I did not know there would be a coupon and a drawing but I could tell there were plenty of “regulars” who knew the drill. They seemed to know each other and had been there many times. The mood was so friendly and jolly I almost thought they were part of a gardening club. Filling up on pastries, we completed our forms and dropped them in a large glass container.

At 10:00 am, right before the lecture, Peg Bier, also a long time Merrifield employee, drew slips of paper several times. I did not keep count but was surprised that there were several drawings, not just one. Winners could have their choice of circus tickets or a Merrifield gift card. I did not win but I did use my coupon to buy something after the event.

Peg then introduced our speaker, Nicole Schermerhorn, co-owner of A Thyme to Plant at Lavender Fields Herb Farm (wearing dark brown in the photo). A Thyme to Plant is a wholesale operation near Richmond, growing and selling USDA-certified herbs and vegetables. Her nephew manages Lavender Fields Herb Farm, the retail garden center that focuses on herb classes and demonstrations. Nicole was very entertaining and down to earth – I could have listened to her for more than an hour. She sprinkled her slide presentation with funny learning experiences and witty conversations with her husband. Nicole provided a lot of detail on cultural requirements, including growing herbs in raised beds, while her handout had information on specific herbs. She was very nice about answering everyone’s questions and offered to stay afterward. A few of the interesting tips I learned were: there are 200 varieties of rosemary but only a few are hardy in Virginia (Arp, Salem, and Hill Hardy); Vietnamese coriander is a heat-loving substitute for the cool-loving cilantro; and parsley is the most nutrient-packed herb one can grow (does not matter if curly or flat leaf). I liked the fact that there was a handout to take home about specific herbs and recommended varieties plus cultural requirements on the backside. If you are new to gardening or new to Virginia, I recommend attending Merrifield Garden Center’s free seminars, especially Nicole’s talk on herbs.

Thirty Tours Across the Commonwealth During Virginia’s Historic Garden Week

fountain turned planter

Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia (GCV), Historic Garden Week (HGW) is an opportunity for the public to tour almost 250 private homes and gardens and historical sites in Virginia. A non-profit organization, the GCV is comprised of 47 member clubs and 3,400 volunteers. Proceeds from the annual HGW, which originated in 1927, fund the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historical gardens and provide graduate level research fellowships for building comprehensive and ongoing records of historic gardens and landscapes in the Commonwealth. For more than 80 years, the grounds of Virginia’s most cherished historic landmarks including Mount Vernon, Monticello, and the Executive Mansion in Richmond have been restored or preserved using proceeds from this statewide house and garden tour.

Japanese maple among tulips

This year there will be 30 tours hosted by volunteers at local GCV member clubs. The GCV has member clubs in 6 regions: Northern Virginia, Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Virginia, Capitol Region, Shenandoah Valley/Central Virginia, and Southern Virginia. For example, in the Northern Virginia Region, there will be tours in Old Town Alexandria, Leesburg and Oatlands, Reston, Warrenton, Little Washington, and Winchester on various days between April 22 and 29. In 2015, I visited homes and gardens in Clifton and Fairfax Station one day and Warrenton another day (the photos were taken on my trips).

inner circle of kitchen garden

The schedule is available online and tickets can be purchased on the day of the tour at numerous locations or in advance. Tours are held rain or shine. Properties can be visited in any order. Also available is the Guidebook, a 240-page, beautifully illustrated publication, which can be downloaded, purchased online, or picked up free at designated public places. I always find them in March at my local library. The Guidebook has descriptions of the tour sites, directions, refreshments, special activities in the area, and other places of interest which usually include historical sites that can be toured at other times of the year (for future reference). The Guidebook is a snapshot of the touring area; it lists names of the sponsoring Garden Club member organizations; area information such as Chamber of Commerce & historical societies; and advertisements from local businesses such as garden centers, antique stores, and restaurants. For more information, visit; e-mail; (804) 644-7776.

Peg’s Picks: March 2017 Gardening Events in the Washington DC Metro Area

Every month I have listed my pick of gardening events in the Washington DC metropolitan area. This list has grown so much that March has over 60 events. Such a long list is cumbersome on a website so from now on I will post monthly gardening events on the “Classes/Events” tab at

U.S. Botanic Garden’s New Exhibit: You Can Grow It!

img_4450Check out the U.S. Botanic Garden’s new exhibit — You Can Grow It! From February 18 through October 15, you can see tips and answers to some of the questions people ask most frequently about caring for plants in their own homes and gardens, including how to choose the best plant for their space and care abilities. The exhibit will provide answers to common issues about lighting, watering, fertilizing, and pests, as well as how to rescue a plant that experiences problems. If you are unsure of what kind of plant you can grow, you can find tips based on which direction your window(s) face in a four-panel “house” diorama.img_4446

The Conservatory gallery will feature separate sections with tips on topics such as foolproof plants (for those with a less-than-bright-green thumb); today’s popular succulents; tropical house plants; seasonal plants like amaryllis, Christmas cactus, poinsettia, and more; expert care tips on orchids, carnivorous plants, and others; how to propagate plants from seeds and cuttings; and even hydroponics. Outdoors, You Can Grow It! will showcase plants for growing outside including items for kitchen use like herbs and vegetables, container gardening, and more. 

img_4414Throughout the exhibit run, the U.S. Botanic Garden will offer programs, workshops, lectures, tours, and cooking demonstrations to showcase and provide training on gardening at home.

The U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC is open every day of the year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free. To learn more about the exhibit, visit Photos courtesy of the U.S. Botanic Garden.