Although I have heard a lot about cucamelons, I have not grown them until this summer. Earlier this year, Burpee sent two small plants in containers, which they labeled “Mexican sour gherkin cucumber.” In fact, this type of cucumber has a variety of common names: cucamelons, Mexican sour gherkins, mouse melons, pepquinos, sandita, and Mexican miniature watermelons. The Latin name is Melathria scabra and they truly are in the cucumber family. Continue reading
This spring I had an opportunity to create a wildflower meadow on my property. It is rare to have a blank slate to be able to start a wildflower meadow: an area with good soil and no plants, including no weeds. I was inspired by Mike Lizotte who showed photos and gave step by step instructions on Instagram. Owner of American Meadows, an online seed company, Mike wrote a book called Mini Meadows: Grow a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere Around Your Yard. He shows how easy it is to sow wildflower seeds and grow a patch of beautiful flowers for the summer. Continue reading
lemon eucalyptus plant right after I purchased in beginning of May, before I planted outside
A few months ago, I was at a farmer’s market in Alexandria, Virginia, when a particular plant caught my eye. It was a lemon eucalyptus plant (Corymbia citriodora). It was about 10 inches high in a plastic container. I love lemon scented herbs – I think I am subconsciously collecting them. The seller told me it was from Australia and was not hardy here in Zone 7 so it would have to be brought indoors in the fall. Continue reading
Are you a gardener new to the DC metro area? Are you new to gardening? Learn about gardening in this area by reading local books. Below is a chronological list as far back as the year 2000. For a classic, look for books by Henry Mitchell, a DC resident who passed away in 1993. He was well known for his “Earthman” columns in the Washington Post and he wrote several gardening books. Continue reading
Anise hyssop or Agastache is a pollinator magnet.
This week, June 21-27, is Pollinator Week. Pollinator Week is an annual event celebrated internationally to support pollinator health. It is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what can be done to protect them. Here in the United States, people are often told to plant native plants to support pollinators. While that is not bad advice, I have noticed that the culinary herbs I grow in my Virginia garden, the majority of which are not native to this country, let alone Virginia, attract bees, butterflies, and moths. Continue reading
New to the area? Want to know where to purchase plants, fertilizer, soil, and seeds? Here is a list of garden centers and nurseries in the DC metro area. If I have missed one, please let me know. Continue reading
Cilantro in early spring
I love cilantro and I plant it every year. It is easy to grow from seed although one can find small plants at local nurseries. Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a member of the carrot family. Because of its tap root, it is best to sow seeds directly in the garden bed or in a container. Often called Chinese parsley, the leaves do look like parsley but if you rub the foliage you will smell a citrusy/woodsy scent.
By now I am sure you have heard that there is a great increase in the number of people gardening. People are turning to nature because they have more time, they are interested in growing their own food, and/or they would like to beautify their immediate surroundings. Many people find that plants, nature, and gardens help to ease anxiety and stress. Others are getting involved in gardening to help the environment by planting to support pollinators and fight climate change. Whatever the reason, I hope this increase in gardening continues as the pandemic wanes. Personally, I believe that if the new gardeners join a local gardening club, they may be more inclined to continue to garden. By joining, they can learn more about plants, feel more confident as they continue to garden, make new friends who have similar interest and may possibly serve as gardening mentors, and get more involved in the local gardening world. Continue reading