Post-Fall Chrysanthemum Care

chrysanthemums are perennial plants

As chrysanthemum season winds down and the flowers change from beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds to dull, dark brown, gardeners need to trim these plants. In my view, when a plant has become unsightly, it is time to make changes for the greater good of the landscape. Continue reading

Subscribe to DC’s Local Gardening Newsletter: Pegplant’s Post

augerEnter your e-mail here to subscribe to Pegplant’s Post, an e-newsletter about gardening in the Washington DC metropolitan area. This monthly communication lists local gardening events, recently published gardening books, recipes, articles, and tips specific to this area. Each issue also features the opportunity to win a free plant or gardening-related product. For the upcoming December 2020 Pegplant’s Post, the giveaway is a garden auger starter pack.

The garden auger starter pack consists of two garden auger drill bits (3 x 7 inch and 2 x 7 inch) to attach to a hand powered drill. This creates a powerful soil digger that makes planting a breeze. These will fit most electric or cordless drills on the market. The Power Planter company is a third-generation family owned auger manufacturer in Illinois. The current owner’s grandfather, Wayne Niewold, started a business selling large, specialized augers for farmers to move agricultural crops. He knew a local person who knew a groundskeeper at the University of Illinois. The groundskeeper wanted an easier way to plant trees and shrubs on the campus. The mutual friend knew about Wayne’s augers and from that need arose the concept of creating smaller augers for the landscape. These innovative, smaller augers were sold under the company name of Power Planter and were the first of their kind for homeowners and landscapers. The current owner, Greg Niewold, has expanded the busines to sell online and to European markets.

Growing Ginger for Gingerbread Cookies

gingerbread menWhen we think of gingerbread, we think of breads, cakes, and little edible men. But what is gingerbread really? Where does the “ginger” come from? Is this something we can grow here in the DC metro area? To celebrate National Gingerbread Cookie Day today, let’s explore ginger the spice plant. Continue reading

Amaryllis: A Holiday Tradition

flower

Charisma is an early blooming amaryllis, just in time for Christmas. Photo courtesy of Longfield Gardens.

Growing an amaryllis is easy, just plant and water. Unlike the spring blooming bulbs, an amaryllis does not need a chilling period. It is a tropical plant, hardy to Zones 9-12. Once planted, these large bulbs can bloom in time for the holidays, depending on the bulb. Although they may seem like an investment, you can coax the bulb to re-bloom the following year. Continue reading

Tatsoi: A Cool Green in the Garden

A great green to have in your fall and winter garden is tatsoi. A member of the brassica or cabbage family, tatsoi is a low growing plant with dark green, spoon-shaped leaves. It has a beautiful rosette shape that can span a foot across. Continue reading

Forcing Paperwhites with Alcohol Prevents Flopping

The first time I forced bulbs to bloom indoors was when I was taking a horticulture class at Northern Virginia Community College in the 1970s. We were given paperwhite bulbs (Narcissus tazetta) that we placed in a shallow dish of water and pebbles. Continue reading

Subscribe to Local Gardening Newsletter, Pegplant’s Post

plant support kitEnter your e-mail here to subscribe to Pegplant’s Post, an e-newsletter about gardening in the Washington DC metropolitan area. This monthly communication lists local gardening events, recently published gardening books, recipes, articles, and tips specific to this area. Each issue also features the opportunity to win a free plant or gardening-related product. For the upcoming November 2020 Pegplant’s Post, the giveaway is a plant support kit with the evolutionary C-BITEs clips.

The C-BITEs clips are unique plastic clips that attach to garden stakes. This enables gardeners to connect stakes to create different structures such as a ladder, an A-frame, or a cage. Perfect for vining plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons, these structures can be assembled in the spring and taken apart in the fall to save space. The plastic clips are reusable and can be used with plastic coated stakes and bamboo stakes. Jason Rider, owner of Thriving Design, designed and patented the clips. He purposely designs and manufactures products to minimize a negative impact on the environment. The Thriving Design business donates 1 percent of profits to non-profit companies that focus on conservation of the environment and food security for all people.

Save Your Geraniums for Next Year

Red geraniums in a large container in May

When my mother lived in Vienna, Virginia, she grew red geraniums in large containers by the front door. Every fall she would pull the plants out of the containers, knock off the excess soil, and place the plants on a shelf in the basement. There was one small window allowing very little light. Every summer, these plants would come back to life and she never had to purchase more plants. Continue reading

Update on River Farm, Home of the American Horticultural Society

homeHere is an update to the fate of the American Horticultural Society (AHS). As you know I mentioned in my September 7 article that the AHS board was thinking of selling River Farm and merging with the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) in PA. This week, the board chair, Terry Hayes, sent an e-mail to AHS members (of which I am one). Apparently, there has been such an uproar with the local community, gardening clubs, and members that the board has decided to venture down a different path. They have decided to remain as is, an independent national non-profit organization with its own board, staff, and headquarters. They will not merge with APGA but may have a collaborative relationship with them and other like-minded horticulture/gardening organizations.

According to Terry, the AHS board will “develop a model that would allow the varied programming and resources that our members across the United States know and enjoy to continue while adding new programming to keep AHS relevant and help it make a connection between people and plants. As part of this new model, we are focused on building collaborative relationships with APGA and other like-minded organizations who have a shared interest in building and expanding horticultural programming and other initiatives across the country.”

However, to generate revenue to continue its existence, AHS will still have to sell the River Farm property. This is a loss to the community because the historic property is a beautiful place to visit. The size, scenic beauty, and historic home makes River Farm an ideal location for plant sales, garden club meetings, events, and even weddings. Currently they are having in person workshops and virtual events (see their website). Visit the grounds while you can to get a refreshing mental health boost. We will miss you River Farm.

Culinary Herbs and Edible Flowers Decorate Pumpkin Pies

Yesterday I made pumpkin pies using Libby’s can of pumpkin and recipe (the one on the can). This is a traditional recipe I have used every year and the pies taste great. This year however I decorated the pies with fresh sage leaves and chrysanthemum blossoms from my garden. Keep culinary herbs and edible flowers in mind during the upcoming holidays as you bake and cook. Right now, mums, pineapple sage, rose, calendula and signet marigolds are blooming and can be used to garnish dishes. Perennial herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano can be used when preparing dishes and also to garnish and decorate. Remember to always wash your herbs and flowers before you put them on food.