Tag Archives: DC

Local Gardening Books for the DC Metro Area

statueAre 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

Three Heat-Tolerant, Pollinator-Attracting, Deer-Resistant Perennials

We are having a hot, dry streak now which really separates the weak from the strong in the garden. Now is a good time to see which plant is tolerating this weather well in other people’s garden so you can copy for your own garden.

On one particularly hot day this past weekend I was downtown visiting the Smithsonian museums. I spent a lot time in the Pollinator Garden, next to the National Museum of Natural History. This is a 400 x 40 feet area on the east side of the museum at 9th Street between Constitution Avenue and the Mall. The Pollinator Garden is managed by Smithsonian Gardens staff and is a wonderful place to relax and watch the butterflies.

I noticed several plants that were tolerating the heat well, that is, they were in full sun and not covered in powdery mildew.  As expected, they were definitely attracting bees and butterflies. These seemed worthy of copying in my garden. When I got home I looked them up and learned that they are rabbit and deer resistant as well as being full sun, drought-tolerant perennials. This is not to say there weren’t other worthy notables in the Pollinator Garden but these are definitely plants to add to my collection next year!

Wild Petunia

Although this plant is called wild petunia (Ruellia numilis), it is not related to petunias. These plants have lavender blue flowers that bloom from summer to fall. They are low growing with a trailing habit, reaching about a foot tall. They can serve as a groundcover and be used as a spiller in a container.

Allium ‘Millenium’

‘Millenium’ is a member of the onion family (Allium) grown for its ornamental, purple globe flowers. The plants grow to 1 to 1 ½ feet tall, providing a strong vertical interest.  They are great in the garden and can be used in containers as thrillers. After the flowers fade and die, the globe structure becomes tan and remains for a while, which also provides interest.

Walker’s Low catmint (Nepeta) is a member of the mint family, so it has gray green aromatic foliage. In the summer, the plant has small, lavender blue flowers, but each stalk has so many that sometimes the plant seems covered in a purple haze. The plants are low growing, about a 1 to 2 feet tall, and used as a groundcover or small shrub.

Walker’s Low Catmint

Local Resource for Growing Tomatoes Successfully This Summer

year-of-the-tomato-logoThe University of Maryland Extension (UME) has a fantastic “Grow It Eat It” program. This year, they have declared 2016 as the Year of the Tomato. To celebrate this popular veggie, they created a site devoted to learning more about growing, harvesting, and preserving/canning tomatoes, http://extension.umd.edu/growit/2016-year-tomato. The site has a variety of resources: a list of local UME offices, contact information for Maryland’s gardening experts, and the list of the Master Gardener plant clinics for getting answers to tomato problems. It also has a link to their Youtube playlist of tomato information; recommended cultivars; winners of the 2015 tomato tasting events; and tomato-related articles on the Grow It Eat It blog. Although this is a UME resource, the information is applicable to those of us who live in the Mid-Atlantic area so Virginia and DC residents can enjoy the bounty. If you ever wanted to grow tomatoes successfully, now is the time!

Peg’s Picks for June Gardening Events in the Washington DC Metro Area

Peg’s Picks for June 2015 Gardening Events in the Washington DC Metro Area, with an emphasis on edibles

3, Wednesday, 10:00 to 11:30 am or 4, Thursday, 10:00 to 11:30 am, Herb Container Garden, fee and must register, Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902; http://www.brooksidegardens.org

6, Saturday, 10:00 am to noon, Saturdays in the Garden: Keep Your Garden Growing Strong, presented by the VCE Loudoun County Master Gardeners, free. Outside at the Loudoun County Master Gardeners demo garden, Ida Lee Park, Leesburg, VA. http://www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org

6, Saturday, Joe Yonan, food/dining editor at the Washington Post and author of “Eat Your Vegetables,” will talk on eating and growing vegetables, 2-3 pm. The U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington DC; (202) 225-8333; free but must register. There are many more events and exhibits; check out the USBG’s calendar on their web site, http://www.usbg.gov

6, Saturday, Behnke Nurseries’ Annual Garden Party, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Behnkes, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD; (301) 937-1100. http://www.behnkes.com

6 & 7, Saturday and Sunday, Virginia Herb Festival, hosted by the Sunflower Cottage Garden Center; admission fee required.150 Ridgemont Road, Middletown, VA 22645; (540) 869-8482. http://www.virginiaherbfestival.com

12, Friday, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, A Permaculture Homestead, spend a summer morning at local author and permaculture expert Michael Judd’s homestead. Fee and must register, meet at Wheaton Regional Park, 11715 Orebaugh Avenue, Wheaton, MD, for van transportation, register via http://www.parkPASS.org

13, Saturday, 9:00 am to noon, Saturday in the Garden: A Walk Through the Native Bed and tips and tricks used in the Drought Tolerant Bed. Taught by VCE Prince William Master Gardeners at the teaching garden at St. Benedict Monastery, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136. Free but must register. E-mail master_gardener@pwcgov.org or call 703 792-7747

13, Saturday, 11:00 am, 8th annual DC plant swap hosted by The Washington Gardener at the U.S. National Arboretum, R Street parking lot, Washington, DC 20002. For more information & instructions on how to do a plant swap, check out “events” on http://www.usna.usda.gov

18, Thursday, 7:00 to 8:30 pm, “Managing Pests and Diseases in the Landscape.” Presented by the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia at the Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22206. Offered again on Saturday, June 20, 10:30 to noon at Burke Branch Library, 4701 Seminary Road, Alexandria. Free but must register. http://www.mgnv.org

19, Friday, Todd Brethauer, USBG science education volunteer, will talk about “The Right Soil and Fertilizers,” noon to 1:00 pm. The U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington DC; (202) 225-8333; free but must register. http://www.usbg.gov

27, Saturday, Under the Arbor: In Love with Lavender, at the National Arboretum’s National Herb Garden, presented by the Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America, 1:00 to 4:00 pm, free. 3501 New York Avenue, NE, Washington DC 20002. http://www.usna.usda.gov

The Arlington Central Library hosts the “Garden Talks” series of free, one-hour presentations every Wednesday evening from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm starting in mid-March through the end of October. The web site lists the topics and also serves as a resource for gardening in the area. 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA; (703) 228-5990. http://library.arlingtonva.us/events/garden-talks/

  • June 3:             Insect pests & beneficiaries
  • June 10:           Weeds, mulches, tillage
  • June 17:           to be determined
  • June 24:           Pollination, pollinators, and perennials

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation is offering over 50 free garden workshops from May through September, taught by the leaders of DC’s urban garden movement. Each class is 2 hours long, on Monday or Wednesday evening, and there are various Saturday field trips. Free but must register online at http://www.dcdpr.asapconnected.com. For a full list of classes and locations, check out http://dpr.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dpr/publication/attachments/SummerGardenWorkshopSeries2015.pdf

For further questions, contact the DPR community garden specialist, Joshua Singer, e-mail: Joshua.singer@dc.gov. Here is a sample of June topics:

  • medicinal and edible plant walk
  • garden pests and diseases
  • edible annuals tour
  • native and invasive identification walk
  • garden leadership course
  • urban fruit tree management