Tag Archives: books

Peg’s Picks: February 2018 New Gardening Books

It is amazing to me how many gardening books are published in our country. These are new gardening books that have been or will be published in the month of February. As with my Peg’s Picks of monthly gardening events, this is my Peg’s Picks of books — a collection of what I have heard from colleagues as well as what I have read on publishers’ sites. Click on the publisher’s name for a description. Previous Peg’s Picks are at the “New Books: 2018“tab.

Practical Houseplant Book by Zia Allaway and Fran Bailey, DK Publishing

Grow Something Different to Eat: Weird and Wonderful Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables for Your Garden by Matthew Biggs, DK Publishing

How to Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit (founders of The Horticult, a blog), Penguin Random House

Our Native Bees: America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them by Paige Embry, Timber Press

Designing with Palms by Jason Dewees and Photographs by Caitlin Atkinson, Timber Press

The Less Is More Garden: Big Ideas for Designing Your Small Yard by Susan Morrison, Timber Press

The Flower-Powered Garden: Supercharge Your Borders and Containers with Bold Colorful Plant Combinations by Andy Vernon, Timber Press

Gardening Complete: How to Best Grow Vegetables, Flowers, and Outdoor Plants by the authors of Cool Springs Press (eight authors)

Veggie Garden Remix: 224 New Plants to Shake up Your Garden and Add Variety of Flavor and Fun by Niki Jabbour, Storey Publishing

The Budget-Wise Gardener with Hundreds of Money-Saving Buying and Design Tips for Planting the Best for Less, by Kerry Ann Mendez, St. Lynn’s Press

Garden Builder: Complete Plans for Outdoor Projects You Can Build by JoAnne Moser, Cool Springs Press

Discovering New Gardening Products at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show

As mentioned in my January 14th article, last week I attended the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS), an annual horticulture trade show at the Baltimore Convention Center.  MANTS is one of the largest shows with over 10,000 attendees and almost a thousand companies exhibiting at booths in the Convention Center. Almost all the companies are wholesale, they are not selling directly to customers or to press such as myself. However, I enjoy attending because it provides me a glimpse of new products and plants and trends in the gardening world.

There were a few products that caught my eye and although the companies attended MANTS for wholesale orders, these companies below said they sell directly to gardeners through their websites.

Through a fellow Garden Writers Association member Ruth Rogers Clausen, I met Dorian Winslow, president of Womanswork, a women-owned, family business in New York.  Womanswork specializes in gloves that fit well for women (although they also sell gloves for men), gardening aprons, raffia and cotton hats, gardening tools, and related items such as hand cream and poison ivy soap. This company sells to garden centers and online directly to gardeners. For over 30 years, they have been specializing in gloves designed to fit women’s hands. Ruth attested to that, she has been using the products for so many years, she is even featured in their catalog. Not only was Dorian a delightful person to talk with but I also found out that she was interviewed recently by one of my favorite podcasters, Jennifer Jewell of Cultivating Place.

I also had the pleasure of seeing Mark Highland again, owner of Organic Mechanics Soil Company, a manufacturer and distributor of premier organic and peat-free potting soils and soil amendments in Pennsylvania. Gardeners can buy products from the site or search the retailer locator for stores. Mark gave a presentation at the Garden Bloggers Fling in June and generously gave us samples of Fuhgeddaboudit! Root Zone Feeder Packs. These small packages of fertilizer, mycorrhizae, biochar, azomite, and micronized oyster shell are placed under or next to a plant’s root ball when planting to help the plant get established. At MANTS, he gave a presentation on Biochar Blend, a bag of biochar, compost, worm castings, bone char, azomite, zeolite, alfalfa meal, and kelp meal. Biochar is highly porous carbon that improves nutrition absorption and provides a permanent home for beneficial soil biology. Biochar can help boost yields and increase the effectiveness of plants’ growth — the best part is that it only has be applied once and will last a lifetime. Mark also published Practical Organic Gardening: The No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Naturally (Cool Springs Press, 2017).

One company that was new to me was City Farmer USA, based in Nevada. Bruce Lebish, president, explained that his company sells raised, plastic planters that gardeners could order directly from their website. They have to be assembled (the instructions on their website look simple) and the models they had at MANTS were black with a strong oriental/bamboo texture because of their woven sides. 

Apparently this woven side is a patented ventilation design that promotes healthy root systems and the patented base retain water. The basket (where you put the soil and plants) is either 16 inches high from the ground or 30 inches, eliminating the need to bend down (may also be wheelchair friendly). There are different sizes and if you buy a few configurations and line them up they would create a very beautiful container appearance on a deck or patio.

More new products and plants in future articles!

Peg’s Picks: January 2018 New Gardening Books

Many of you are familiar with my Peg’s Picks of monthly gardening events which I post on my site at the end of each month and on the tab “Classes, Events.” With the new year, I am starting Peg’s Picks of gardening books. This will be posted each month on my site and in the new tab “New Books: 2018.”

I deliberately use “Peg’s Picks” to imply that these are not all gardening books but rather a subset: for adults (i.e., not children’s books), about gardening, and likely about gardening in this area of the world. These books are a collection of what I have heard about from colleagues and read about on publishers’ sites with a link to the publisher’s description of the book. If you have a book that will be published soon, please contact me and I would be happy to list it.

The following books have been or will be published in January 2018. Stay tuned for February’s list which is quite a bit longer!

The Bonsai Beginner’s Bible: The Definitive Guide to Choosing and Growing Bonsai by Peter Chan, publisher is Mitchell Beazley

The New Seed-Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel and Jean Nick, revised, publisher is Rodale Books

Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: the Indispensable Green Source for Every Gardener edited by Fern Marshall Brady, Barbara W. Ellis, and Ellen Phillips with Deborah L. Martin, publisher is Rodale Books

An Abundance of Flowers: More Great Flower Breeders of the Past by Judith M. Taylor, publisher is Swallow Press

The Colorful Dry Garden: Over 100 Flowers and Vibrant Plants for Drought, Desert and Dry Times by Maureen Gilmer, publisher is Sasquatch Books

What’s the Perfect Holiday Gift for Gardeners? Award-Winning Gardening Books!

If you are looking for a holiday gift for the gardener in your life, look to the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) award winning books for 2017. For more than two decades, the AHS has recognized outstanding gardening books published in North America with its annual book award program. AHS is an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens. Books are judged by the AHS Book Award Committee on qualities such as writing style, authority, originality, accuracy, and design quality. This year’s five recipients are:

Contact your local bookstore to purchase.  For more information about the awards program and books that have received awards in past years, visit www.ahsgardening.org/awards.

*Thomas Christopher does not have a website at this time but he is on Facebook.

Give an Award-Winning Gardening Book for the Holidays

9781604695533r A great source of gift ideas for the gardeners in your life is the American Horticultural Society’s annual book award program. The American Horticultural Society is an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens.  Over the last two decades, they have been recognizing outstanding gardening books published in North America. Books are judged by the AHS Book Award Committee on qualities such as writing style, authority, originality, accuracy, and design quality. The five recipients for 2016 are:

  • The Art of Gardening by the Chanticleer Gardeners and R. William Thomas (Timber Press)
  • How Plants Work by Linda Chalker-Scott (Timber Press)
  • Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West (Timber Press)
  • The Seed Garden edited by Lee Buttala and Shanyn Siegel, with contributors Micaela Colley and Jared Zystro (Seed Savers Exchange)
  • Seeing Seeds by Robert Llewellyn and Teri Dunn Chace (Timber Press)

9781604693386rThe 2016 Book Award Committee was comprised of the following seven members: Jeff Cox, a garden communicator and designer in Sonoma County, CA; Rita Hassert, a botanical librarian at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL; Susan Hines, a garden communicator in Hyattsville, MD; Jim Long, garden communicator and owner of Long Creek Nursery in Blue Eye, MO; Mary Ann Newcomer, a garden communicator in Boise, ID; Doug Oster, a garden columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and radio personality based in Pennsylvania, PA; and Anne Marie Van Nest, a garden communicator and horticulturist in the Niagara Falls area of New York.

Peg’s Picks: October 2016 Gardening Events in Washington DC Metro Area

Fall is here, time for more gardening events, garden tours, lectures and symposiums!

1, Saturday, 2016 Urban Agriculture Symposium, Hosted by Virginia Cooperative Extension, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm, Fairlington Community Center, 3308 South Stafford Street, Arlington. Fee, can pay at door or register online. (703) 228-6414 or e-mail mgarlalex@gmail.com. http://www.mgnv.org

1, Saturdays in the Garden, Harvest Time: Harvesting your Crops and Cleaning the Vegetable Bed for Winter, 10:00 am to noon. Free; presented by Loudoun County Master Gardeners in the Demonstration Garden, Ida Lee Park, Leesburg, http://www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org

1, Saturday, Buying Bulbs: More to Consider than Color, 11:00 am. Free, Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

2, Sunday, Takoma Horticultural Club’s Annual Bulb Sale at Takoma Street Festival on Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park, MD, free and open to the public 10:00 to 5:00 pm. http://www.takomahort.org

2, Sunday, Forcing Bulbs: Winter Color Indoors and Spring Containers, 1:00 pm Free, Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

2, Sunday, Fall Open House and Plant Sale, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Wild Plant Nursery (native plants) Cloud Drive, Springfield, VA 22150. http://www.earthsangha.org

5, Wednesday, Growing Garlic, 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Wednesdays in the Garden Series at the Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA. Taught by Arlington Food Assistance Center volunteers and VCE Master Gardeners, free, no registration required. Library phone and website:  http://www.library.arlingtonva.us (703) 228-5990. http://www.mgnv.org

5, Wednesday, Lecture: Woodland Treasures/Cyclamen by John Lonsdale, hosted by the Annapolis Horticultural Society, St. Anne’s Parish Hall, Annapolis, MD. Free and open to the public. http://www.annapolishorticulture.org

6, Thursday, Ladew’s Fall Lecture Series: All the Presidents’ Gardens with Marta McDowell. Fee and must register in advance, optional lunch and by reservation. Coffee and Danish served at 10:00 am, lecture begins at 10:30, book sale afterwards. Contact Rachel Hebert (410) 557-9570, ext. 261; rhebert@ladewgardens.org. Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, MD.  http://www.ladewgardens.com

6, Thursday, Lecture: A year in the life of a beekeeper, by Amanda Rose Newton, 7:00 pm. Hosted by Loudoun County Master Gardeners. Free and open to the public. Rust Library, 380 Old Waterford Road, NW, Leesburg, VA. http://www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org

8, Saturday, Under the Arbor Series: Chile Peppers, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. National Herb Garden, free, drop in. Presented by members of the Mid-Atlantic Units of the Herb Society of America. U.S. National Arboretum, 3501 New York Avenue, NE, Washington DC. http://www.usna.usda.gov

8, Saturday, Gardening with Natives, 2:00 to 3:30 pm. Burke Branch Library, 4701 Seminary Road, Alexandria, presented by Northern Virginia Master Gardeners. Free but must register in advance. http://www.mgnv.org

8, Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm and 9, Sunday, 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. White House Fall Garden tours. Free and open to public but must get pass, see link for more information. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/22/white-house-announces-2016-fall-garden-tours

11, Tuesday, Lecture: A Designer’s Love Affair with Trees by Bruce Crawford, director of Rutgers Gardens. 7:30 pm, free for members, fee for non-members, hosted by the Maryland Horticulture Society. Vollmer Center Auditorium, Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Avenue, Baltimore, MD. (410) 821-5561. http://www.mdhorticulture.org

12, Wednesday, Season in Review. 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Wednesdays in the Garden Series at the Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA. Taught by Arlington Food Assistance Center volunteers and VCE Master Gardeners, free, no registration required. Library phone and website:  http://www.library.arlingtonva.us (703) 228-5990. http://www.mgnv.org

13, Thursday, Stormwater Solutions: Conservation Landscapes and Rain Gardens, 4-7 pm, fee and registration required. Presented by the Montgomery County Dept. of Environmental Protection. Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD. (301) 962-1451. http://www.brooksidegardens.org

13, Thursday, Ladew’s Fall Lecture Series: John Bartram: The King’s Gardener! with Kirk R. Brown, 10:30 am. Fee and must register in advance, optional lunch and by reservation. Coffee and Danish served at 10:00 am, lecture begins at 10:30. Contact Rachel Hebert (410) 557-9570, ext. 261; rhebert@ladewgardens.org. Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, MD.  http://www.ladewgardens.com

14, Friday, Lecture: The Autumn Garden, presented by Vincent Simeone, director, Planting Fields Arboretum. Noon to 1:00 pm. Free, but must register, U.S. Botanic Garden, 245 First Street, SW, Washington DC; (202) 225-8333. http://www.usbg.gov

14, Friday, Garden Talks with Master Gardeners: Fall Beauty, 1:30 to 2:30. Master Gardeners will show a variety of perennials, shrubs, and trees in autumn shades that you can add to your existing plants for colorful results. Fee and must register. Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. (703) 642-5173. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/

15, Saturday, Lecture: Bringing Nature Home to Takoma Park, by Dr. Douglas Tallamy, author of Bring Nature Home and The Living Landscape, 4:00 pm. Free, open to the public, book signing afterwards. Hosted by the Takoma Horticulture Club. Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD http://www.takomahort.org

15, Saturday in the Garden Series: What’s That Weed and Master Gardeners’ Favorite Plants, 9:00 to noon, free but registration requested. Presented by Prince William County Master Gardeners, Teaching Garden, St. Benedict Monastery, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA. http://www.mgpw.org

15, Saturday, Beauty in Sustainability Symposium, 9:00 am to noon. Learn how to plan and plant a home garden that is a source of beauty, labor saving and environmental change. Get to know native alternatives to some common exotic plants. Virginia Native Plant Society Laura Beaty and landscape designer Larry Weaner will show how to create stunning gardens that are easier to maintain by echoing the ecological processes in nature. Following the Symposium, Larry will sign his new book: Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change. Fee and must register. Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. (703) 642-5173. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/

16, Sunday, Oatlands Harvest Festival, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, admission fee that includes admission to mansion and gardens (also every weekend in October, visit to pick your own pumpkins and enjoy hayrides). Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, 20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane, Leesburg, VA (703) 777-3174. http://www.oatlands.org

16, Sunday, Open Days, sponsored by the Garden Conservancy, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Tour three private gardens, two in Georgetown, one near American University, tickets are $7 at each property, rain or shine, transportation is on your own but directions will be given at the properties. http://www.gardenconservancy.org

16, Sunday, The Forgotten Garden: Planting for Cool Season Beauty, 1:00 pm. Free, Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

18, Tuesday, Ladew’s In the Garden Series: Tree Pruning, 9:30 am. Free for members; fee for non-members and all must register in advance. Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, MD.  http://www.ladewgardens.com

19, Wednesday, 5th Annual Trees Matter Symposium, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. Fee and must register. Silver Spring Civic Center, Great Hall, 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD. http://www.montgomeryparks.org/activities/fall-activities/2016-trees-matter-symposium/

20, Thursday, Ladew’s Fall Lecture Series: Add Some Cheer to Your Fall and Winter Containers with Muffin Evander, owner of Cultivated Designs. Fee and must register in advance, optional lunch and by reservation. Coffee and Danish served at 10:00 am, lecture begins at 10:30. Contact Rachel Hebert (410) 557-9570, ext. 261; rhebert@ladewgardens.org. Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, MD.  http://www.ladewgardens.com

22, Saturday, Sustainable Landscape Workshop, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Walter Reed Recreation Center, 2909 16th Street, Arlington, VA. Presented by Northern Virginia Master Gardeners. Free but must register in advance. http://www.mgnv.org

22, Saturday, Backyard Composting: Turn Your Leaves into Black Gold, 11:00 am, Free, Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

22, Saturday, Garden Program: Fall Tree ID Walk, 10:00 am to 11:30 am. Walk around Green Spring Gardens to learn basics of fall tree identification and enjoy the fall foliage. Fee and must register. Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. (703) 642-5173. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/

23, Sunday, Seasonal Porch Pots: Keeping Your Planters Full, 11:00 am. Free, Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

25, Tuesday, Tour: Rediscover Bartholdi Park with Ray Mims, USBG Conservation and Sustainability Horticulturist, will be walking outside; meet at the Bartholdi Park Fountain, free but must register, U.S. Botanic Garden, 245 First Street, SW, Washington DC  http://www.usbg.gov

26, Wednesday, Lecture: Whimsy, Recycling, and Going Vertical, by Carole Galati and Rani Parker, hosted by Beltsville Garden Club, 7:30 pm. Free and open to the public. James E. Duckworth School, 11201 Evans Trail, Beltsville, MD. http://www.beltsvillegardenclub.org

26, Wednesday, Batten Down the Hatches! Winter Garden Preparation by Kathy Jentz, 2:00 to 3:30 pm. Fee and registration required. Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD. http://www.brooksidegardens.org

27, Thursday, Ladew’s Fall Lecture Series: Behind the Scenes on Walnut Hill with Kathy Hudson and Penney Hubbard, 10:30 am. Fee and must register in advance, optional lunch and by reservation. Coffee and Danish served at 10:00 am, lecture begins at 10:30, book sale afterwards. Contact Rachel Hebert (410) 557-9570, ext. 261; rhebert@ladewgardens.org. Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, MD.  http://www.ladewgardens.com

28, Friday, Garden Talks with Master Gardens: Injecting Color and Structure. 1:30 to 2:30 pm. Master Gardens will show you how trees and shrubs can provide structure and year round interest and how to add seasonal splashes of color with annuals and perennials. Fee and must register, Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. (703) 642-5173. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/

29, Saturday, Rex Begonias, African Violets and Orchids: How Houseplant Enthusiasts are Born, 11:00 am, Free, Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

29, Saturday, Making Herbal and Holiday Hostess Gifts, 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Barrett Branch Library, 717 Queen Street, Alexandria, VA. Presented by Northern Virginia Master Gardeners. Free but must register in advance. http://www.mgnv.org

30, Sunday, Gardening Myths Demystified: Separating Fact from Fiction, 1:00 pm, Free. Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

Merrifield Garden Center has free presentations every Saturday in October at all three locations, no registration required. http://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com

  • Merrifield, 8132 Lee Highway, Merrifield (M)
  • Fair Oaks, 12101 Lee Highway, Fairfax (FO)
  • Gainesville, 6895 Wellington Road, Gainesville (G)

October 1

  • 25 Favorite Plants for Your Garden, M, 10:00 am
  • Making Your Lawn Great Again, FO, 10:00 am
  • Groundcovers and Ferns, G, 10:00 am

October 8

  • Reinventing Your Landscape, M, 10:00 am
  • Spring Color with Trees and Shrubs, FO, 10:00 am
  • Basics of Gardening, G, 10:00 am

October 15

  • Gardening with Native Plants, M, 10:00 am
  • A New Look at Old Favorites, FO, 10:00 am
  • Fall Color with Trees and Shrubs, G, 10:00 am

October 22

  • Turning Good Plants into Great Plants, M, 10:00 am
  • Selecting, Planting and Caring for Trees, FO, 10:00 am
  • Creating a Deer Resistant Garden, G, 10:00 am

October 29

  • Landscape Design, M, 10:00 am
  • A Day with Mums, FO, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • Bulbs for all Seasons, G, 10:00 am

Peg’s Picks: July 2016 Gardening Events in the Washington DC Metro Area

These are Peg’s Picks of local gardening events in July. July may be hot but it is a busy time in the garden as well as in the Washington DC metro gardening world. If it gets too hot for you, cool down inside with Lisa Mason Ziegler’s free, virtual Cool Flowers book study (see last entry).

2, Saturday, The Summer’s Best Hydrangeas, lecture, 11:00 am, Free, Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

5, Tuesday, Simpson Gardens Stroll, 11:00 am to noon, 426 E. Monroe Avenue by the YMCA in Alexandria, VA. Free and hosted by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. http://www.mgnv.org

6, Wednesday, Pollination, Pollinator, and Flowers, 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Wednesdays in the Garden Series at the Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA. Taught by Arlington Food Assistance Center volunteers and VCE Master Gardeners, free, no registration required. Library phone and website:  http://www.library.arlingtonva.us (703) 228-5990. http://www.mgnv.org

7, Thursday, Growing Flowers Using Organic Methods: Walking Tour of a Local Cut Flower Farm with Barbara Lambone at Greenstone Fields, 38223 John Wolford Road, Purcellville, VA, (will be cancelled if rains). Free, 7:00 pm., Hosted by Loudoun County Master Gardeners. http://www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org

7, Thursday, Totally Tomatoes, tomato cooking demonstration with the Cook Sisters, Free, do not have to register in advance. Held at noon and 12:45 and also presented on July 28. U.S. Botanic Garden, 245 First Street, SW, Washington DC. (202) 225-8333. http://www.usbg.gov

7, Thursday, Getting Your Orchid to Re-Bloom, 12:15 to 12:45, East Walk of the Smithsonian Enid A. Haupt Garden, Smithsonian, Washington DC.  Part of the Let’s Talk Garden Series on Thursdays, hosted by Smithsonian Gardens horticulturists, free. (202) 633-2220. http://www.gardens.si.edu

9, Saturday, Bring the Shade Garden to Life with Perennials, lecture, 11:00 am. Free. Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

9, Saturday, Saturday in the Garden “Compost Happens”, 10:00 am to noon. Free talk at Loudoun County Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden in Ida Lee Park, Leesburg, VA. Hosted by Loudoun County Master Gardeners. http://www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org

9, Saturday, Jam Preserve Workshop, 9:30 to 2:30. Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, 1400 Quincy Street NE Washington DC, Fee and must register. (The Monastery has extensive gardens and gives free garden tours on Saturdays at 11:00 am and noon, until September, meet in front of visitor center). E-mail gardenguild@gmail.comhttp://www.fmgg.org.

10, Sunday, The Birth of a Rain Garden: From Start to Finish, 11:00 am. Free. Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

12, Tuesday, Bearded Iris Care, lecture by staff horticulturists, 9:30 am. Free for Ladew members; fee for non-members; registration required. Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, MD. (410) 557-9570 ext. 261, e-mail rhebert@ladewgardens.com. http://www.ladewgardens.com

13, Wednesday, Marvelous ‘matoes, a tomato cooking demonstration by the Cook Sisters. Fee and must register. Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD. (301) 962-1470. http://www.brooksidegardens.org

13, Wednesday, Lasagna Gardens: The Layered Approach, 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Wednesdays in the Garden Series at the Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA. Taught by Arlington Food Assistance Center volunteers and VCE Master Gardeners, free, no registration required. Library phone and website:  http://www.library.arlingtonva.us (703) 228-5990. http://www.mgnv.org

14, Thursday, Rejuvenate the Midsummer Herb Garden, 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Burke Branch Library, 4701 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA; Hosted by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. Free but must register in advance. http://www.mgnv.org

14, Thursday, Home Irrigation, 12:15 to 12:45, East Walk of the Smithsonian Enid A. Haupt Garden, Smithsonian, Washington DC.  Part of the Let’s Talk Garden Series on Thursdays, hosted by Smithsonian Gardens horticulturists, free. (202) 633-2220. http://www.gardens.si.edu

16, Saturday, Lotus and Water Lily Festival, 10:00 to 4:00 pm, Free, Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, 1550 Anacostia Avenue, NE Washington DC. http://www.nps.gov/keaq/index.html

16, Saturday, Lavender Wand Making Workshop, 10:00 am to noon. Free. Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, 1400 Quincy Street NE Washington DC. (The Monastery has extensive gardens and gives free garden tours on Saturdays at 11:00 am and noon, until September, meet in front of visitor center). E-mail gardenguild@gmail.com. http://www.fmgg.org

16, Saturday, Tips for a Happy Garden: Mulching, Watering and Protecting Your Plants from the Heat, 11:00 am. Free. Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

16, Saturdays in the Garden, Getting your Lawn, Landscape, and Vegetable Garden Ready for the Fall, 9:00 am to noon. The Teaching Garden at the Benedictine Monastery, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA. Presented by Prince William County Master Gardeners. Outside, dress appropriate. Free but must register. http://www.mgpw.org

16, Saturday, Native Trees and Shrubs for Home Gardens, 10:00 to 11:30 am. Fee and must register. Presentation by Green Spring staff horticulturist. Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. (703) 642-5173. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/

17, Sunday, The Benefits, Beauty and Diversity of Perennial Groundcovers, 1:00 pm. Free. Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

17, Sunday, Sunday in the Organic Vegetable Garden, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Potomac Overlook Regional Park, 2845 Marcey Road, Arlington, VA. Free and hosted by the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia. http://www.mgnv.org

20, Wednesday, Grow Your Own Cutting Garden and Old Fashioned Flower Show, 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Free and open to the public. Takoma Horticulture Club, 7328 Carroll Avenue, Takoma, MD. http://www.takomahort.org.

20, Wednesday, Seed Saving, 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Wednesdays in the Garden Series at the Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA. Taught by Arlington Food Assistance Center volunteers and VCE Master Gardeners, free, no registration required. Library phone and website:  http://www.library.arlingtonva.us (703) 228-5990. http://www.mgnv.org

21, Thursday, Composting Basics, 12:15 to 12:45, East Walk of the Smithsonian Enid A. Haupt Garden, Smithsonian, Washington DC.  Part of the Let’s Talk Garden Series on Thursdays, hosted by Smithsonian Gardens horticulturists, free. (202) 633-2220. http://www.gardens.si.edu

23 and 24, Saturday and Sunday, 27th Annual Montgomery County Farm Tour and Harvest Sale, times vary, depend on the farm, 21 farms involved, check out web site for farms, times, and map. http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/agservices/agfarmgtour.html

23, Saturday, A Survey of Shade Trees, 11:00 am. Free. Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

27, Wednesday, Soil Building, Composting, Compost Tea, 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Wednesdays in the Garden Series at the Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA. Taught by Arlington Food Assistance Center volunteers and VCE Master Gardeners, free, no registration required. Library phone and website:  http://www.library.arlingtonva.us (703) 228-5990. http://www.mgnv.org

28, Thursday, Totally Tomatoes, tomato cooking demonstration with the Cook Sisters, Free, do not have to register in advance. Held at noon and 12:45 and again on July 7. U.S. Botanic Garden, 245 First Street, SW, Washington DC. (202) 225-8333. http://www.usbg.gov

28, Thursday, All Things Lavender, 12:15 to 12:45, East Walk of the Smithsonian Enid A. Haupt Garden, Smithsonian, Washington DC.  Part of the Let’s Talk Garden Series on Thursdays, hosted by Smithsonian Gardens horticulturists, free. (202) 633-2220. http://www.gardens.si.edu

30, Saturday, Lecture: Mints: Their Botany, Chemistry, and Uses, 10:30 to noon. Free but must register in advance. U.S. Botanic Garden, 245 First Street, SW, Washington DC. (202) 225-8333. http://www.usbg.gov

30, Saturday, Spicing Up Your Gardens and Containers from Now through Fall, 11:00. Free. Behnke Nurseries Garden Center, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

30, Saturday, Honey Extraction Workshop, 9:30 to noon and noon to 2:30 (two sessions, register for one and there is a fee). Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, 1400 Quincy Street NE Washington DC. (The Monastery has extensive gardens and gives free garden tours on Saturdays at 11:00 am and noon, until September, meet in front of visitor center).  E-mail: gardenguild@gmail.com. http://www.fmgg.org

Summer Garden Workshop Series in DC

DC Parks and Recreation has a Summer Garden Workshop Series. More than 50 free workshops every Monday, Wednesday and various Saturdays from April 18th to September 28th. Focused on practical urban gardening and taught by the leaders of DC urban garden movement. Monday Classes: 6:30-8:30pm – Deanwood Rec – 1350 49th St. NE; Wednesday Classes: 6:30-8:30pm – Raymond Rec – 3725 10th St. NE; Saturday Classes: 10-12pm – Times and locations vary.  Check registration for more details:
http://bit.ly/UrbanGardeningPrograms

A full schedule flyer is at this link
http://dpr.dc.gov/node/1124742

For more info about all DPR Urban Garden Programs click on this link
http://dpr.dc.gov/service/urban-garden-programs

 Cool Flowers Virtual Book Study

Lisa Mason Ziegler, owner of The Gardener’s Workshop in Newport News, VA, is hosting a virtual book study for her book Cool Flowers: How to Grow and Enjoy Long Blooming Hardy Annual Flowers Using Cool Weather Techniques. Starting Friday July 15, she will teach how to grow hardy annuals (flowers) such as bells of Ireland, snapdragons, and sweet peas. Each Friday for 10 weeks (1 week for each chapter), she will show a short video and answer questions. There is no fee and it is not required to have the book although it will certainly be beneficial to read along. If you are like me and work on Fridays, you can sign up at her web site to have the weekly links sent to your e-mail or you can visit the web site any time. Lisa has been a cut flower farmer since 1998 and has built a very successful business. She produces 10,000 stems each week during the growing season on 1 ½ acres. She has written several books, sells seeds and supplies, hosts workshops, and gives presentations across the county.

Books About Gardens and Gardening in Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC

I just updated my website’s Books page about gardens and gardening in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC, from the year 2000 to the present.  There are 35 books. Below is the updated text in the Books page.

The public library is a great resource–not only are the books free but if the branch does not have a particular title, they can get it for you from another branch or through interlibrary loan. Most libraries have gardening magazines; you can borrow past issues. The reference section has non-circulating gardening books that are great resources. Local bookstores have plant and gardening books and many have web sites for searching or ordering books. Don’t forget Amazon.com and check your phone book for the used bookstores. Many of the public gardens have non-lending libraries; some are open when the gardens are open, others are by appointment only.  Public gardens also have books for sale in their gift shops. Brookside Gardens and Green Spring Gardens have reading libraries. For extensive research, try the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Library, Abraham Lincoln Building, 10301 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD  20705; (301) 504-5755; http://www.nal.usda.gov.

Below are local books with the most recently published listed first through the year 2000:

All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses: How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America by Marta McDowell, Timber Press, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Gardeners Handbook: Your Complete Guide: Select, Plan, Plant, Maintain, Problem Solve by Katie Elzer-Peters, Cool Springs Press, 2016

Gardens of Georgetown: Exploring Urban Treasures, text by Edith Nalle Schafer and photos by Jenny Gorman, Georgetown Garden Club, 2015

Maryland’s Public Gardens and Parks by Barbara Glickman, Schiffer Publishers, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year by George Weigel, Cool Springs Press, 2015

Chesapeake Gardening and Landscaping: The Essential Green Guide by Barbara W. Ellis; photographs by Neil Soderstrom, University of North Carolina Press in association with the Adkins Arboretum, 2015

Maymont: An American Estate (Richmond, VA) by Dale Cyrus Wheary, Scala Arts Publishers in association with the Maymont Foundation, 2015

Mid-Atlantic: Getting Started Garden Guide: Grow the Best Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Vines and Groundcovers by Andre Viette, Mark Viette, and Jacqueline Heriteau, Cool Springs Press, 2015

The General in the Garden: George Washington’s Landscape at Mt. Vernon by Susan P. Schoelwer, editor, Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association, 2015

Native Plants for Northern Virginia by the Virginia Native Plant Society, available via the Society, http://www.vnps.org, 2015

Great Perennial Plants, Vines, and Bulbs Guide for the Mid-Atlantic Garden by Donna Williamson, self-published, electronic and available via Amazon, 2014

The Mid-Atlantic Garden: An Insider’s Guide to a Successful Lower Maintenance Garden by Donna Williamson, self-published, electronic and available via Amazon, 2014

Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello by Peter J. Hatch, Yale University Press, 2014

Take Our Advice: A Handbook for Gardening in Northern Virginia by Margaret Fisher, Student Peace Awards of Fairfax, 2014

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast by Ira Wallace, Timber Press, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Harvest the Best Edibles: DE, MD, PA, VA, DC, and WV by Katie Elzer-Peters, Cool Springs Press, 2013

Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th Century Methods for Today’s Organic Gardeners by Wesley Greene, Rodale Press, 2012

American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama, Crown Publishing Group, 2012

Capital Splendor: Parks and Gardens of Washington DC by Valerie Brown, Barbara Glickman Countryman Press, 2012

A Guide to Smithsonian Gardens by Carole Otteson, Smithsonian Books, 2011

Historic Virginia Gardens: Preservation Work of the Garden Club of Virginia by Margaret Page Bemiss, University of Virginia Press, 2009

Virginia’s Historic Homes and Gardens by Pat Blackley and Chuck Blackley, Voyageur Press, 2009

The Virginia’s Garden Companion: An Insider Guide to Low Maintenance Gardening in Virginia by Donna Williamson, Morris Book Publishing, 2008

Garden Walks in the Southeast: Beautiful Gardens from Washington to the Gulf Coast by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006

Garden Walks in the Mid-Atlantic States: Beautiful Gardens from New York to Washington DC by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005

The American Horticultural Society Guide to American Public Gardens and Arboreta:  Gardens Across America, Volume 1, East of the Mississippi by Thomas S. Spencer and John J. Russell, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005

A City of Gardens: Glorious Public Gardens In and Around the Nation’s Capital by Barbara Seeber, Capital Books, 2004

Month by Month Gardening in the Mid-Atlantic by André and Mark Viette and Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2004

Selecting, Growing and Combining Outstanding Perennials: Mid-Atlantic and New England Edition by Teri Dunn, André Viette, Mark Viette, Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2003

Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Guide by André and Mark Viette and Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2003

Barnes & Noble Complete Illustrated Guidebook to Washington, D.C.’s Public Parks and Gardens, published by Silver Lining Books, 2003

Complete Illustrated Guide to Washington DC’s Public Parks and Gardens by Richard Berenson, Silver Lining, 2003

The Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Book by Felder Rushing and Walter Reeves, Cool Springs Press, 2002

Virginia Gardeners Guide by Jacqueline Heriteau, Cool Springs Press, 2001

The New York/Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Book of Lists by Bonnie Lee Appleton, Cooper Square Press, 2001

 

Peg’s Picks: Books on Edible Gardening in the Washington DC Metro Area

booksA colleague asked if I could recommend books related to edible gardening. I quickly replied that I have a Books Page on my site but afterwards realized that those books are about gardening in general but specific to the Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC area. Over the past few years, I have become much more interested in growing edibles rather than ornamentals and have read many books, most are specific to this area. I typed up a short, 2-page list to give to her and thought I would post my recommended list here in case any one is interested in growing their own veggies, herbs, and fruits in the Washington DC metropolitan area. These are in alphabetical order.

American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden & Gardens Across America, Michelle Obama

Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden, Jessica Walliser, and her other books

Backyard Berry Book, Stella Otto

Cool Season Gardener, Bill Thorness (and his other book, lives in WA)

Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager, Jennifer Bartley

Eat Your Yard, Nan Chase

Edible Front Yard, Ivette Soler

Edible Heirlooms, Bill Thorness (and his other book, lives in WA)

Edible Landscaping, Rosalind Creasy (new edition and any of her other books)

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, Michael Judd (lives in Frederick MD)

Four Season Harvest, Eliot Coleman and his other books

Good Bug/Bad Bug, Jessica Walliser and her other books

Groundbreaking Food Gardens, Niki Jabbour and her other books

Grow a Sustainable Diet, Cindy Connor

Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail (You Grow Girl)

Guide to Year Round Vegetable Garden in the Southeast, Ira Wallace

Homegrown Herb Garden, Ann McCormick and Lisa Morgan

How to Grow More Vegetables, John Jeavons

How to Grow Perennial Herbs, Martin Crawford

Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers, Edward Smith (and any of his other books)

Landscaping Fruit, Lee Reich and any of his other books

Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Harvest the Best Edibles: DE, MD, PA, VA, DC, and WV, Katie Elzer-Peters

Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One Tenth of an Acre, Eric Toensmeier (and any of his other books)

Perennial Vegetables, Martin Crawford

Perennial Vegetables from Artichoke to “Zuiki’ Taro, Eric Toensmeier (and any of his other books)

Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Claire Kowalchik, William Hylton, and other Rodale books

Square Foot Gardening, second edition, Mel Bartholomew, and his other books

Starter Vegetable Gardens, 24 No Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens, Barbara Pleasant (and any of her other books, lives in VA)

Take Our Advice: A Handbook for Gardening in Northern Virginia, Margaret Fisher

The Bountiful Container, Rosemarie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey (good for minimum depth of container to grow veggies)

The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook by Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch (and any of their other books)

The Sustainable Vegetable Gardener, John Jeavons

The Veggie Gardener’s Answer Book, Barbara Ellis

The Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Book, Felder Rushing and Walter Reeves

The Winter Harvest Handbook, Eliot Coleman, and his other books

The Year Round Vegetable Gardener, Niki Jabbour (and her other book)

Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello, Peter J. Hatch

Fruits for Every Garden, Lee Reich (and any of his other books, lives in NY)

Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible, Edward Smith (and his other books)

Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th Century Methods for Today’s Organic Gardeners by Wesley Greene

Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruits, Matthew Biggs and Jekka McGiver

Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook, Ron Kujawski and Jennifer Kujawski

What’s Wrong with my Vegetable Garden, David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, they have a series of “What’s Wrong” books

75 Exciting Vegetables, Jack Staub, has an “exciting” series – herbs, vegetables, and fruits, lives in PA

This list could go on plus there are books focused on particular types of plant/vegetables. Other sources are public or botanical gardens such as Greensprings in Virginia and Brookside Gardens in Maryland; both have non-lending libraries. One can look at publishers’ web sites such as Chelsea Green Publishing, St. Lynn’s Press, Timber Press, Story, Rodale Press, and Cool Springs Press.

Do You Prefer It Cold or Hot?

Heat loving peppers

Heat loving peppers

One of my first lessons in growing veggies is to learn the plant’s preference for temperature. To keep it simple, there are cool season and warm season crops. Getting to know what the plant prefers determines when to buy/plant, what to buy/plant, where to buy/plant, and when to harvest/eat! In the mid-Atlantic area, typical cool season plants are anything in the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, collard, Brussels sprout), lettuce, pea, kale, chervil, dill, cilantro, leek, scallions, radish, spinach, arugula, beet, pak choi or bok choy, carrot, mustard, parsnip, turnip, and Swiss chard. Some can carry on during the summer such as spring onions and Swiss chard; others “bolt” as soon as it warms up in May/June. For example, cilantro will “bolt,” that is, flower and go to seed, as it warms which is good if you want the seed but bad if you want to harvest the leaves. When the plant bolts and goes into flower/seed production stage, the leaves tend to taste bitter.

Most people associate the warm season edibles with summer itself, fresh tomato and basil, eggplant, pepper, corn, summer/winter squash, zucchini, melon, watermelon, cucumber, okra, and pumpkins.

The idea is to plant the cool season plants/seeds in mid-March – beginning of April and the warm season plants/seeds in early May – end of May in my zone 7 area. Several good ways to figure this out:
Read the seed packet or label
Read seed catalogs
Research on the internet
Read local gardening books
Visit garden nurseries and ask knowledgeable staff.

Most catalogs put their plant/seed offerings in alphabetical order but really it would be useful if you read them in order of the calendar year. My 2014 Botanical Interests catalog has “warm season” or “cool season” to the right of each plant type, making it very easy to identify. I have often thought that it would be better to cut out the pages of the plants I was interested in and re organize them to place them in order of season, not alphabetical, as a way of determining which to should start first. Then I discovered that the Botanical Interests web site allows you to sort the veggies by warm or cool season – very smart of them!

The three books I found most useful books for determining a time table are:
The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook by Ron Kujawski & Jennifer Kujawski (Storey Publishing, 2010)
The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast by Ira Wallace (of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (Timber Press, 2013)
The Year Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour (Storey Publishing, 2011)