Native Paw Paw Trees

Paw paw flowers in the spring

It’s paw paw season! Paw paws (Asimina triloba) are native trees that bear fruit in August, September, and October. Fruit of cultivated trees look very similar to mangos—green, kidney-shaped, and about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. They have a variety of common names such as Indiana banana, poor man’s banana, and bandango. Continue reading

Subscribe to Local Gardening 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 local gardening events, recently published gardening books, articles,  tips, news, and a recipe. Each issue also features the opportunity to win a free plant or gardening-related product. For the upcoming September 2020 Pegplant’s Post, the first three subscribers to e-mail will each receive one 20-gallon Smart Pot.

Smart Pots are the original, award-winning fabric planters. They are reusable, durable, and come in many shapes and sizes. You can grow anything in a Smart Pot from vegetables to herbs to flowers.  The American-based company started in 1980, when a tree farmer sew together fabric to make containers for his trees. He thought the containers would hold together the root structure, thus making them easier to harvest and sale. He discovered that the fabric prevented roots from circling like they do in traditional containers. As a result, the trees’ roots were healthy enough to be able to survive and transition well from transplanting. As years passed, he realized the value of growing plants in fabric containers and called them Smart Pots.

Garden Staple: Lemon Basil

lemon basil flowers

Lemon basil flowering in August

Every summer I grow Mrs. Burns lemon basil, a lemon scented type of sweet basil. Like all basil plants, Mrs. Burns lemon basil prefers warm weather, full sun, and plenty of moisture. I grow mine from seeds in large containers and in the vegetable garden. Continue reading

Deer-Proof Bulbs for Spring Flowers

snowdrop blossoms in the woodsFall is the time to purchase 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” but with bulbs there are a few that are actually poisonous. I spoke with Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester, VA, who explained the difference between deer-proof and deer-resistant. Continue reading

Plan for the Fall and Winter Garden



August is the time for harvesting the summer’s bounty in the vegetable garden while thinking ahead to a winter’s garden. Even though it is hot and humid, you have to plan now to have even more edibles in the fall and winter. These edibles prefer cool temperatures. Often these plants are not bothered by as much disease and pests as in the summer plus you as a gardener are not bothered by heat, humidity, and mosquitoes. Continue reading

As mentioned in Episode 17 of Gardens ‘n Plants Podcast

As mentioned in this week’s episode of Gardens ‘n Plants podcast, here is the recipe for the lemon verbena cookies.

Lemon Verbena Cookies

1 cup butter softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh, young lemon verbena leaves, minced
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream butter, sugar, lemon verbena, vanilla, and eggs together. Then add dry ingredients. Chill for at least one hour. Roll into balls, flatten a little, and place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Makes about 4 dozen cookies. Use young, small lemon verbena leaves that have not developed the hairs so leaves are smooth.

lemon verbena cookies


Here are the photos from River Farm, home of the American Horticultural Society, in Alexandria, VA. It is open to the public Monday through Friday now. I saw beautiful tall sunflowers and very lush, toothache plants (Spilanthes acmella), which I have been trying to grow from seed myself but mine are not this large. I also saw a very spiny plant that is a member of the tomato family called purple devil or five-minute plant (Solanum atropurpureum).


sunflowers in front of the American Horticultural Society office


Solanum atropurpureum

Purple devil plant (Solanum purpureum)


toothache plant

toothache plant (Spilanthes acmella)

Here is a photo of the new miniature Knock Out rose called Petite. You will find it in nurseries in a light green plastic container with the words “Meet Petite” on it. This is part of the Star Roses and Plants Knock Out rose series so has the same disease resistance but is about 18 inches tall with red flowers and dark foliage.

miniature rose

Don’t forget to read the Monthly Events tab on my website to obtain the details on the upcoming gardening events I mentioned in this episode of Gardens ‘n Plants podcast. Tune in next week to learn about plants, gardens, and gardening in the Washington DC metro area.

Heirloom Flowers: Four O’Clocks

yellow four o’clocks in my garden, 8:30 pm

A few years ago my family visited Monticello in the summer. I was struck by how large Thomas Jefferson’s four o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) were compared to mine. I also liked the fact that it was a plant he grew and could still be grown today as an heirloom. Continue reading

Black Magic in the Garden: Ornamental Rice


Close Up of Black Madras

A few years ago, I visited friends who had a garden open house or rather an open garden. Tracy and Bill Blevins, owners of Plantsmap, invited friends to visit the garden which was comprised of a variety of types of plants. They set up tables in the driveway to share seeds and cuttings and offer refreshment. It was a great idea, I met new people and plants. Tracy generously shared seed she had collected from her plants and I was able to bring one unusual type of seed to try in my garden. Continue reading

Culinary Herb Recipes To Try This Summer

parsleyThis summer, as you cut and harvest your culinary herbs from your garden, try using them in a variety of basic recipes. Here are a few simple recipes — the herb you use depends on the flavor you want so try experimenting. For easy reference, print this article and tape it on the inside of your kitchen cabinet along with the list of herbs you are growing. Continue reading

Got Deer? Try These Tactics in the Garden

deerNewcomers to this area will eventually see deer standing on the roadside or venturing out of the woods at dusk. At first, they admire the lovely bucolic sight, gentle deer, twitching their tails, flicking their ears back and forth. But as the newcomers settle down and try their hand at gardening, they learn that the deer are not as cute as they once thought. Continue reading