Chesknok Red, a purple-striped hardneck garlic
As fall approaches, thoughts turn to garlic. Growing your own garlic is easy and the cloves are tastier than what you purchase in a grocery store. Typically, garlic is planted in October in the Washington DC metro area but I have planted as late as Thanksgiving Day. You may find “seed” stock (the garlic you buy to plant, not the garlic you buy in a grocery store to eat) at independent garden centers, farmers markets, online seed companies or specialty garlic companies. If garlic at your favorite seed company is sold out, try a company that specializes in garlic because they have more inventory. Continue reading
Anise hyssop (Agastache) is a bee magnet.
As we enter the fall season our thoughts turn to saving the plants we can and knowing where to cut our losses. Many people who have been growing herbs, especially in containers, are wondering how to overwinter them for next year. On Facebook, they are asking questions such as: Will the herbs make it over the winter, should they be removed or cut back, can they be saved somehow for next year? To answer these questions, there are three things to consider. Continue reading
Recently I was given a mandevilla plant, which is a popular summer bloomer in the DC metro area. I have always admired these vigorous climbers with bright, large, trumpet-shaped flowers. Usually, I see pink, red, or white blossoms, but there are other colors on the market. Continue reading
A familiar fall bloomer in this area is obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana). These remind me of early American gardens: Thomas Jefferson grew these Native American perennials at Monticello, and George Washington had plantings at Mt. Vernon. Philadelphia plantsman John Bartram also grew them and sold them in his catalog. They are passalong plants, easily divided and shared. My plants came from a friend who pulled a clump from her garden several years ago. My original plant has thrived and spread via rhizomes (underground stems) but only a few feet in the same garden bed. Not too much but just enough to provide extra plants to share and abundant flowers to cut for an arrangement. Continue reading
Bagworms are common pests in the Washington DC metro area. Usually we do not see the actual worms (Thyridoptery x ephemeraeformis), we see their “homes,” which are 2-inch long “bags” they have spun from silk and plant debris. These bags are hung like small, brown ornaments on shrubs and trees. At this time of year, they are prominent and should be removed.
Now is the time to start thinking about purchasing spring-blooming bulbs in the Washington DC metro area. There is a wide variety of choices but if you have a severe deer problem, you may want to plant deer-proof bulbs. I know, you say, there is no such thing as “deer-proof.” However, with bulbs there are a few that are actually poisonous. The amaryllis family offers three popular critter-proof bulbs that contain lycorine, a poisonous crystalline alkaloid. Somehow, animals know about lycorine and stay away from these bulbs plus the bulbs perform well in this area and last for many years in the garden. Continue reading
Posted in bulbs, flowers
Tagged amaryllis, bulbs, daffodils, deer proof, deer resistant, galanthus, Leucojum, narcissus, snowdrops, snowflakes, spring blooming bulbs
There is a new gardening app in town. At first glance, BloomCatch looks like a plant identification app but when fully developed, BloomCatch will be a plant parent connect app. Through this app, users aka “plant parents” will be able to connect to plant names, plant knowledge, plant answers, as well as other plant parents and plant businesses. From learning to buying to growing to networking, BloomCatch will serve as a gardening hub. Continue reading
demonstration of a mailbox garden and suitable plants
As the summer peaks, I like to visit the local demonstration gardens to see how well the plants and vegetables performed in this area. Demonstration gardens are a great way to learn what works in the Washington DC metro area and how to manage our local issues, such as deer and rabbits. Each county that has a Master Gardener program usually has at least one demonstration garden, managed by the volunteer Master Gardeners. To find such a garden, call your local county Master Gardener program representative (your local extension agent). Some have several to showcase various environmental conditions and some use the garden as a place to teach or host workshops. Continue reading