Tag Archives: Edible Landscaping

Peg’s Picks for July Events

FRONTmdfarmtourfinal2014July is the time to visit the public gardens, many of which have tours. Because there are too many to list here, see the tab or page above entitled “Public Gardens” and call to find out if a garden near you has guided tours and/or events. July is also National Park and Recreation month, sometimes local parks have demonstration gardens, classes, and tours. Below are just a few edible gardening related events this month.

Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD, has a catalog of classes for the season and the July edible related ones are below. Great place to take kids too. Must register, fee involved; (301) 962-1451.
July 10, 10:00 am to 11:30 am, Dealing with deer
July 16, noon to 1:30 pm cooking class, truly tomatoes
July 19, 9:00 to 10:30 am, Low Tunnel construction Demonstration

University of Maryland Extension’s “Grow it Eat It” has a free summer open house on Saturday, July 26, 8:30 to 1:00 pm at the Agriculture History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Road, Derwood, MD.

The Montgomery County Farm Tour and Harvest Sale will take place on Saturday and Sunday July 26 & 27. Most farms will be open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm both days. A map and brochure are on the website.

Open to the public, the Takoma Horticultural Club will have a speaker at their meeting on Wednesday July 16, 7:30 to 9:00 pm, Historic Takoma Building, 7328 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, MD. The speaker is Mike McConkey, who will talk about growing and propagating fruit trees. Mike owns Edible Landscaping, a nursery in Afton, VA, that specializes in edible fruit trees/shrubs for the Mid-Atlantic area, see http://ediblelandscaping.com).

The Virginia Cooperative Extension in Prince William County has “Saturdays in the Garden.” Every month from April through October the master gardeners will host an event from 9:00 am to noon at the teaching garden at St. Benedict Monastery, 9535 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA. Free but must register in advance, (703) 792-7747. On July 12, there is a lecture on simple ways to use water wisely in your landscape plus a talk on the fall vegetable garden, tips for planting the fall vegetable garden and extending the season.

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.

July 2: no events
July 9: Gardening with and for kids
July 16: Foraging the wild edibles
July 23: (indoors) How vegetables are used around the world
July 30: Therapeutic gardening

Alpine Strawberries


Close up of Alpine strawberry leaves

Close up of Alpine strawberry leaves


It’s Mother’s Day, time to move the seedlings out into the big wide open garden and hope they do well on their own. Cutting the apron strings for my Alpine strawberry (Fragaria vesca) seedlings has been hard though. For months now, I have been coddling them from seed, growing them under lights, hardening them off on the deck, and protecting them from heavy rains. I first read about them last year in Rosalind Creasy’s Edible Landscaping book, published in 2010. Although Rosalind lives in California, these small, fruit bearing plants seemed perfect for a typical suburban home in Northern Virginia. Coincidentally, my colleague in my garden club had just visited Switzerland and shared the packet she bought but it was too late in the season to start them. This year, Renee’s Garden is offering two types, a yellow fruited variety called Heirloom Pineapple and a red fruited variety called Mignonette. I started the Swiss packet and the two varieties from Renee’s Garden months ago, under lights, and surprisingly they germinated well but the seedlings were very small. After the true leaves appeared, I transferred them to small, plastic containers, still under lights. When the days warmed up in April, I put the tub of containers outside, and even then, only during the day time.

Unlike regular strawberries, Alpine strawberries do not produce runners, are not as productive and have smaller fruit. Also known as fraise des bois, these are herbaceous perennials, hardy to my zone 7. They grow to a mound shape, about 8 inches tall, and prefer well drained soil high in organic matter. In my garden, I will give them morning sun and afternoon shade or dappled shade. I know it looks like I have a lot but I have read that birds like the fruit which hang above the plant like beacons – I am sure the devil squirrel will find them too. To deter such nonsense, I will plant them in various places around the garden and on the deck in containers.

As a “have-to-have-it horticulturist,” I am the type who will read about a plant, buy it, and grow it without having actually tasted the fruit but I have read that the Alpine strawberries are even sweeter than grocery strawberries. According to the Renee’s Garden seed packets (the Swiss packet was not in English), the Heirloom Pineapple tastes like “delectable flavor of pineapples and roses” and the Mignonette has “ambrosial woodland flavor.” I am looking forward to this summer!

Alpine strawberry seedlings in plastic tub

Alpine strawberry seedlings in plastic tub