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NOVEMBER 2019 VOL. 14 NO. 9




the magazine for gardening enthusiasts in the Mid-Atlantic region

Plant Profile: Calamintha How to Mix Flower Bulbs for Stunning Spring Color Winterizing Your Power Equipment

Alarming Oak Tree Declines What To Do in the Garden This Month DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar

The New Delaware Botanic Garden

Meet Patrick Dougherty:

Renowned Stickworks Sculptor

o oo ooo


Need a Garden Club Speaker?

Washington Gardener Magazine’s staff and writers are available to speak to groups and garden clubs in the greater DC region. Call 240.603.1461 or email for available dates, rates, and topics.

Green Spring Gardens

A “must visit” for everyone in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area. It’s a year-round goldmine of information and inspiration for the home gardener. It’s an outdoor classroom for children and their families to learn about plants and wildlife. It’s also a museum, a national historic site that offers glimpses into a long, rich history with colonial origins. Located at 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. Information: 703-642-5173.

RARE AND EXCEPTIONAL PLANTS FOR THE DISCRIMINATING GARDENER AND COLLECTOR Barry Glick Sunshine Farm and Gardens 696 Glicks Road Renick, WV 24966, USA Email:

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FEATURES and COLUMNS After three weeks of weaving work, Patrick Dougherty’s sculpture at the U.S. Botanic Garden is complete. The sculpture, woven from thousands of plant saplings and branches, stands 15 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Dougherty has titled the sculpture “O Say Can You See.” Photo courtesy of Devin Dotson, U.S. Botanic Garden.


Calamintha ‘White Cloud’ in the Smithsonian’s rose garden is an eye-catching plant that gets a great deal of public interest.


BOOKreviews 14-16 Mini Meadows, Growing Herbs, Backyard Wildlife, Dragonflies DAYtrip 18-19 Delaware Botanic Garden HORThappenings 22 Bulb Bash, Koiner Compost, Veterans Day Planting NEIGHBORnetwork 6-7 Patrick Dougherty, Sculptor NEWPLANTspotlight 11 A Prostrate Boxwood PLANTprofile 8 Calamintha (Calamintha sp.) SPECIALfeature 20-21 Oak Tree Declines TIPStricks 10 Bulb Mixes, New Stamps, Winterizing Outdoor Tools


ADVERTISINGindex BLOGlinks EDITORletter GARDENcontest LOCALevents MONTHLYtasklist NEXTissue READERreactions RESOURCESsources

23 11 4 5 12-13 11 3 5 2

ON THE COVER Patick Dougherty, U.S. Botanic Gardens, Washington, DC. Photo by Jessica Kranz.


In our December issue:


The new Delaware Botanic Garden is a world-class, inspirational, educational, and sustainable public garden in southern Delaware.

Holiday Gift Guide for Gardeners Trees Matter Seed Exchange Details and much more . . .

Be sure you are subscribed! Click on the “subscribe” link at





Credits Kathy Jentz Editor/Publisher & Advertising Sales Washington Gardener 826 Philadelphia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: 301-588-6894 Call today to place your ad with us! Jessica Kranz Taylor Markey Intern Ruth E. Thaler-Carter Proofreader

Your editor at Brooksde Gardens’ chrysanthemum display. Photo by Anne Hardman.

A New Intern Crop

This is the time of year that I am interviewing potential magazine interns for the spring semester. If I am lucky, I will have several qualified candidates and can line some of them up for the summer and fall semesters as well. The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park, MD. It is the program I graduated from and I did two internships myself while attending. Many journalism students today try to complete multiple internships completed before graduation. It is a super-competitive world out there and they are looking for any edge they can get. Internships are also a great way to learn during your college years what you do and don’t want to pursue in your career after graduating. Occasionally, I’ve taken on interns who thought that a job in broadcasting was their goal, but after interning at a local television or radio station, they want to try out a publication to see if that is a better fit for them. Most of my interns, though, are already focused on a publishing career and are mainly looking to build their portfolios of writing examples and experiences. This year, the Merrill College offered a career day for students as part of UMD’s alumni weekend. I was happy to attend this first-ever event, both to scout for potential interns and to network with our UMD journalism graduates. The college scheduled us for a series of informational interviews with students who had requested topic experts. I shared a room with a recent graduate who was working for NPR radio and she had a steady stream of eager interviewees. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the young woman “keep it real” and reveal to the students that she was living at home currently and took on freelance work to make ends meet. The students who asked for my advice were mainly interested in digital publishing and writing feature stories. They were eager to analyze my résumé and career choices to glean tips and directions for starting out. Many were particularly keen to be writing in a field covering green/environmental topics. I was pleased to not only be able to help the next generation of young journalists, but also to see that the future is in good hands. Happy gardening,

Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener, 4


Cover price: $4.99 Back issues: $6.00 Subscription: $20.00 • Washington Gardener Blog: • Washington Gardener Archives: • Washington Gardener Discussion Group: WashingtonGardener/ • Washington Gardener Twitter Feed: • Washington Gardener Facebook Page: GardenerMagazine/ • Washington Gardener Youtube:

• Washington Gardener Store:

• Washington Gardener is a womanowned business. We are proud to be members of: · GardenComm (GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators) · Green America Magazine Leaders Network · Green America Business Network Volume 14, Number 9 ISSN 1555-8959 © 2019 Washington Gardener All rights reserved. Published quarterly. No material may be reproduced without prior written permission. This magazine is purchased by the buyer with the understanding that the information presented is from various sources from which there can be no warranty or responsibility by the publisher as to legality, completeness, or technical accuracy. All uncredited photos in this issue are © Kathy Jentz.

READERreactions I just wanted to reach out to thank you for all you do for the gardening community. I’m sure I speak for the masses who love gardening and are part of the Washington Gardener community. Moving here from CT and CA, it was an adjustment to garden in the MidAtlantic and somehow someone told me about your listserv. Since I’ve joined, I look forward to your posts every day. You always share your endless wisdom, foster sense of community, foster stewardship of our planet. I’ve never met you in person, but I wish there were more like-minded people in our world! Again, thank you for all you do and all that you share. Happy gardening and happy autumn. ~ Effie Shu, Chevy Chase, MD You presented an excellent program to the Great Falls Garden Club on the challenge of cultivating gardens in dry shade. You gave us good information on soil amendments and plant choices. Many members told me afterward what a good program it was! ~ Justine Harris, Great Falls, VA You presented a wonderful, informative, and inspiring talk on gardening in small urban spaces. The PowerPoint photos were fabulous! You could use many of the ideas even in large gardens. This is Kathy’s second talk to our club and we are anxious to have her return on another topic! ~ St. Louis Garden Club, MD


Reader Contest

For our November 2019 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener Magazine is giving away several passes to the Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD. Each pass admits a car-load-full of visitors and then you walk around the garden light displays. (Prize value is $30.) Brookside Gardens has transformed into a magical winter wonderland for the 22nd year of Garden of Lights. Twinkling lights and glimmering displays dot the paths and flowerbeds throughout the 50 acres in Wheaton. More than 1 million dazzling and colorful LED lights are handwoven into original works depicting animals, flowers, and other natural elements. New this year is the exhibit’s first computerized display matching lights with music, fog bubbles, and selfie stations to get that perfect family holiday photo. The Visitors Center will feature live nightly musical performances. For warming up, refreshments, cider, and hot cocoa are available to purchase. A visit is not complete without experiencing the G-scale model trains in the Gardens’ Conservatory. The Washington, Virginia, and Maryland Garden Railway Society hosts the exhibit that kids of all ages love. Trains wind their way through seasonal greenery and miniature reproductions of local landmarks. Montgomery Parks’ holiday-season tradition, Garden of Lights, will open on November 22, 2019. The exhibit is open every night through December 31, except November 25–28 and December 24–25. Find out more at To enter to win a pass that admits one car-load of guests to the Garden of Lights, send an email to by 5pm on Saturday, November 30, with “Lights Show” in the subject line. In the body of the email, tell us your favorite article in this issue. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified by December 1. o

Y ou Can Make a Difference. . . by

Sharing Your Harvest

My favorite article in the October 2019 issue is the one on assassin bugs. I’ve seen them in the garden before, but didn’t know what they were. Now I know they are the “good guys.” ~ Jennifer Whalen, Silver Spring, MD My favorite article in the October 2019 issue is the one on “What To Do in the Garden This Month.” Even though I have experience as a gardener, it directs me to what is important to take care of NOW. Thanks! ~ Madeline Caliendo, Washington, DC The article in the October 2019 issue on DC’s Garden Cemeteries was great, and perfect for the season! ~ Anne Hardman, Silver Spring, MD o

Plant an extra row in your garden and deliver the harvest to a local food bank or shelter. The need is great! With your help, PAR can continue to make a difference for America’s most vulnerable. Call our toll-free number (877.GWAA.PAR) or visit our website at for more information. NOVEMBER 2019




Nature as Art:

Patrick Dougherty’s Life as a Stickwork Sculptor

By Jessica Kranz

Patrick Dougherty is known for his stickwork sculptures (http://www.stickwork. net). He has built more than 250 stickwork sculptures in locations all over the world, from Scotland to Japan to Brussels, and across the United States. He has been sculpting over the last 30 years and has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Factor Prize for Southern Art, through combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature. We caught up with him at the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG), where he built a beautiful stickwork sculpture that will stand throughout 2020, the celebratory year of the USBG’s 200th anniversary. Tell us about you and your background. Are you native to the MidAtlantic region? I live in North Carolina, and I was born in Oklahoma, but I didn’t stay there long. My childhood in North Carolina was formative because we had lots 6


of sticks to play with. Other children looked at the architectural details of clouds, but I found myself looking at the drawing quality of the winter landscape—you had all those hash marks. I started out in health administration, but just felt the call of the wild. How did you become a stickwork artist/what inspired you? I went back to school and tried to become a sculptor, and incidentally discovered this material. I think your childhood does affect your choice of material and the scale, at least for me. It’s kind of like a big drawing. To work at life-size and use your whole body to help with these sticks makes it more pleasurable for me. Do you already have an idea of what you are going to sculpt beforehand, or do you decide once you see the plant materials you are working with?

It’s like a floating concept. You compromise in dealing with the materials and the quality of it. You don’t really know what that is until you start handling it. We ask the sponsoring organization to provide some volunteers for us, so you don’t know who’s going to help you. The scale that the space demands is also one of the marks of it being successful or not, so it needs to scale up to the size of the space. That affects the idea of what you’re going to make as well. In this case (his newest sculpture at the USBG), we have this big lawn out here, and you want to use it adequately and have a credible work that sits in it, so we decided on the idea of an English knot garden where you have one set of hedges jumping over another. We have three strands that move against each other and throughout this piece. We laid the piece out on the ground with some extension cords, and we laid a little bit of a grid out so we could

NEIGHBORnwork see where we were at according to our drawing. Then, we drilled a series of holes around the outside of that configuration. We stuck some large pieces of tall, small trees around 3-inches in diameter at the base down in those holes. We set our scaffolding around it and then tried to pull the shape we wanted. In this case, we had flying walls where one had to jump over the other. We had to plan that out as we went. All the bending and pushing of the initial uprights laid over sideways and then we were able to create the matrix for the walls we were working on. For the second phase, we work on aesthetics, and we were trying to make a wall that’s luxurious and seems to move. Part of that is just the way you’re using sticks that are going from big to small, and also kind of get a sense of flow on the surface that would enhance the sense of one strand jumping over another. Then, the final phase is what we’re working on today, which is the cosmetics of it—trying to make it safe to run through. As we just saw with a group of children, they do barrel through things, jump in and out the windows, and so forth, so we have to look at all the weak spots as we perceive and try to build up. How often will you build a sculpture? I make 10 works a year, and we spend three weeks at each site. We’re about to go to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina, and before we were here, we were at Auburn University. They’ve got a museum and we worked there. Do you normally use the same plant source materials when you sculpt; if so, what kind? Maples are a favorite, and it runs all the way from Maine to Jacksonville, Florida. Sweet Gum in the south is another. We can use a bit of cherry, and elm is also another. Each one of these things has to be in the right configuration. No patch of sticks is the same, so if things grow under heavy wooded situations, they usually have fewer limbs and strive for the light, and using these little, long saplings really helps. [Devin Dotson, the Public Affairs and Exhibits Specialist at the USBG,

said that roughly half of the materials used for this sculpture came from local invasive materials—Norway maple from the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm and Siberian elm and hybrids of non-native cherry from the U.S. National Arboretum. Willow sustainably harvested from a farm completes the plants used to create the sculpture.] What is a typical day like for you?

We always are working. We work every day, doing work somewhere. Generally, in the two months I have off, I’m making site visits. If I’m home, I’ll have some projects that I’m working on around my house, but generally, we’re on the road. My son, Sam, is currently helping me, and we just travel and work. What mistakes and triumphs have you encountered in stickwork sculpting? I would say that every day is a problemsolving event. If we’re missing something in the scaffold, we try to go get it. If we find hard pan and we can’t drill through it, we figure it out. Sometimes the material is less than what we would like, and we try to figure out how to use it. That’s just what the days are made out of. You’re trying to overcome the [challenging] things and maximize your wins. What has been your favorite sculpture that you have made so far? I always like the one I’m working on because that’s where all the problemsolving is taking place. Once something

is made, it’s less exciting for me as a maker. It’s more exciting for the site because they’re really ready to have the sculpture finished. This morning, everybody who walks by has been taking pictures, so they’re all ready to see what it’s like inside. What do you enjoy most about partnering with public gardens? I partner with all kinds of organizations; private ones, museums, galleries, and so forth. I like getting familiar with people in the community because that partnership also includes using their volunteers. This work is always intended to engage the public, and they’ll bring their families and friends. Generally, we have to use the goodwill and leverage of the organization to produce the piece because they know where the sticks are. They can also ask permission for it, because they’re embedded in the community, so you wouldn’t be able to produce a work without a good partner. What advice would you give to people who are interested in trying out stickwork sculpting? We have lots of volunteers who are really interested in doing it because they want to do something in their backyard, or they want to work with their grandchildren, or they want to do this, or that, so, my advice is to get a pile of sticks. Is there anything else you want to add or think would be of interest to our magazine readers? What we say when we’re working in gardens is how important gardens are to the sanity of the general population. As urbanization is taking place, people have less and less open space or garden space. I think that our psyches need the natural world, and as urbanization closes in on it, it squeezes a little bit, so it’s great to have garden spaces like arboretums. I think these big urban forests that they are developing are really great for the populations who live nearby. o Jessica Kranz is a senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland, College Park, and an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this autumn. *These responses have been edited for length and clarity. NOVEMBER 2019




Calamintha (Calamintha nepeta) By Kathy Jentz

Calamintha is a low-growing, bushy perennial that prefers full sun and well-drained soils. Once established, it is extremely drought-tolerant. It is a member of the mint family and resembles catmint, in particular. The Latin epithet “nepeta” and common name “Calamint” lead to some confusion between the two plants. It has a long bloom period in our region—typically from June up to a hard frost. Calamintha’s cloud of flowers are loved by pollinators and detested by deer. It does well in rock gardens, at border edges, and in containers. An ideal situation for Calamintha is planted under and among roses, where it creates fluffy underskirts around the bare lower rose canes. Think of it as a great-smelling replacement for baby’s breath. Two Calamintha varieties that I recommend are ‘White Cloud’ and ‘Montrose White’. The latter is sterile and won’t reseed all over your garden. It is maintenance-free beyond cutting it back in late fall or early spring. o Kathy Jentz is the editor and founder of Washington Gardener. Pictured below, Calamintha ‘White Cloud’ in the Smithsonian Gardens’ Kathrine Dulin Folger Rose Garden.







The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) provides tips on how to prepare outdoor power equipment for winter. 1. Review your owner’s manual. Refamiliarize yourself with how to handle your equipment safely and any maintenance needs. If you lost your manual, you can usually find it online. 2. Service all of your equipment. Before storing equipment, clean and service it yourself or take it to a small engine repair shop. Drain and change engine oil and dispose of old oil safely. Service the air filter, and do other maintenance activities as directed by your service manual. 3. Handle fuel properly. Unused gas left in gas tanks over the winter can go stale and even damage your equipment. For equipment you’ll store, add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart and run the equipment until the gas tank is empty. For winter equipment, be sure you know what fuel your manufacturer recommends. Most outdoor power equipment is designed, built, and warranted to run on 10% or less ethanol fuel. 4. Charge the battery. If your equipment has a battery, remove and fully charge it before storing. It is important batteries not be stored on metal shelves or touching metal objects. Store the battery on a plastic or wood shelf in a climate-controlled structure. 5. Shelter your equipment from winter weather. Store your equipment in a clean and dry place. Keep your outdoor power equipment out of the reach of children and pets. 6. Find and prepare to fill your gas can. Buy the type of fuel recommended by your equipment manufacturer no more than 30 days before you will use it. You should use fuel with no more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment. Also, fuel goes stale and will have to be replaced if you have not used it within a month. Use a fuel stabilizer if recommended by your manufacturer. Get more information about fuel safety at o 10


2020 Forever Stamps in Botanical Themes

The U.S. Postal Service recently released the designs of their 2020 Forever stamps collections. Among the new designs will be the following. • Wild Orchids The Postal Service celebrates the exotic beauty of orchids with 10 new stamps. Each stamp features a photograph of one of nine species that grow wild in the United States. • Contemporary Boutonniere Contemporary Boutonniere is a new Forever stamp similar in design to the new 2-ounce Garden Corsage stamp. The stamp features a photograph of an arrangement of a burgundy minicymbidium orchid bloom, a succulent, and a touch of green hydrangea, accented with loops of variegated lily grass. These materials are on trend for today’s modern designs, as arranged by floral designer Carol Caggiano and photographed by Renée Comet. • Garden Corsage The Postal Service introduces Garden Corsage, a new 2-ounce stamp. The stamp features a photograph of a corsage containing a spray of peach roses and a pink ranunculus, accented with deep-pink heather and seeded eucalyptus. The corsage was arranged by floral designer Carol Caggiano. • American Gardens This pane of 20 stamps features 10 photographs of botanic, country estate and municipal gardens taken between 1996 and 2014. The gardens include Biltmore Estate Gardens (North Carolina); Brooklyn Botanic Garden (New York); Chicago Botanic Garden (Illinois); Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (Maine); Dumbarton Oaks Garden (District of Columbia); The Huntington Botanical Gardens (California); Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park (Florida); Norfolk Botanical Garden (Virginia); Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Ohio); and Winterthur Garden (Delaware). • Fruits & Vegetables The Postal Service captures the classic beauty of still-life paintings in a booklet of 20 stamps featuring 10 portraits of fruits and vegetables. Each stamp features a collection of one kind of fruit or vegetable. o

Photo by iBulb.

6 Tips to Help Get Your Outdoor Power Equipment Ready for Winter Storage

Mix Flower Bulbs Now for Color Next Spring provides tips about how to get ready for spring by planting flower bulbs now in fun, new color combinations. • Choose your colors. When creating a mix of flower bulbs, feel free to experiment. For hot colors, choose fiery oranges, reds, and yellows. For dramatic color combinations, choose contrasting colors like yellow and blue or purple and orange. If you want a tranquil, harmonious look, go for pastels, or use just one color in various shades—light to deep pinks, for example. • Live it up. Consider shape and height when creating your mix. Just a few inches tall? Choose a combination including such flower bulbs as Dwarf Iris (Iris reticulata), Fumewort (Corydalis solida), Early Crocus (Crocus tommassinianus), and Grape Hyacinth (Muscari). If you’d like to experiment with different heights, try giant onions (Allium giganteum) that will tower over tulips (Tulipa). Or combine the Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis) with tulips; Even in the same flower color, their completely different flower shapes will distinguish one from the other. You could also create a mix of flower bulbs that will bloom at various times. You could then have flowers all through the spring. • Toss together, scatter, and plant. For a natural effect, toss the various flower bulbs together in a container, then scatter them over the ground with a flick of the wrist. Plant them wherever they land. The packaging tells you how deep each kind should be planted. A general rule, however, is to plant a bulb three times as deep as it is tall. Plant the flower bulb with its “nose” (the point) facing upward (this isn’t important for small bulbs). In short: Mix them now and enjoy them in spring! o These tips were compiled by Taylor Markey. She is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park majoring in multi-platform journalism and an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this autumn.


Quick Links to Washington Gardener Blog Posts

New Plant Spotlight

Boxwood with Prostrate Habit Buxus Flat-tery,™ selected by Michael Yanny of JN Plant Selections, LLC, is “shaping up” to be a sought-after boxwood due to its unique, prostrate habit, Zone 4 hardiness and extended juvenile growth period, which means a green winter color and few fruit pods. Grower and propagation partner Mark Richey of Richey Nursery Company says, “When describing Buxus Flat-tery™ to customers, we say just think of a Chamaecyparis ‘Mops’; It has the same shape, which is totally different from any other boxwood on the market.” This new favorite will appeal to designers looking for compact, prostrate broadleaf evergreens for landscapes and container gardens. It’s equally at home as a medium-height groundcover as it is performing in container combos. Its name aptly describes its shape: wider than it is tall. With its small, fine-textured, glossy green leaves and a low-growing habit, designers can get the look of cotoneasters without their associated problems. Excellent for adding texture to shade gardens when paired with hosta, ferns, carex, and other shade staples. Buxus Flat-tery™ originated from a seedling of ‘Green Velvet’ that was planted in 1989. It was one of 100 plants that were screened from a crop of about 1,000 seedlings for superior hardiness in Wisconsin conditions. Breeder Mike Yanny noticed that the low-growing form of this plant was similar to the popular Picea abies ‘Nidiformis,’ Nest Spruce. o

• Pansy and Viola Plant Profile • Pumpkins Decorated 3 Ways • Gleaning and Clean-up • Kale Plant Profile See more Washington Gardener blog posts at: o

November-December Garden To-do List

• Switch your deer deterrent spray if you’ve been using the same one for several months. Re-apply after heavy rains. • Have your soil tested at least once every three years. • Cover carrots and other root crops with straw to extend the harvest season. • Deadhead spent mums and plant them (if still in pots). • Don’t panic over leaf/needle drop on established evergreen shrubs and rhododendrons. It is normal at this time of year for them to shed a third. • Bulb foliage already starting to surface? Don’t fret. It is also normal and will not affect next year’s blooms. • Check for vole problems and set out traps. • Caulk and seal your home to prevent wildlife from coming indoors. • Protect fig trees from freezing by piling up leaves around them. • Clean the leaves of your indoor houseplants to prevent dust and film build-up. • Collect plant seeds for next year’s planting and for trading. • Turn off outdoor water valve and store hoses. • Store terra cotta pots in a shed or protected areas. • Prune and mulch hybrid tea roses. • Harvest the last of your vegetables and till compost into the beds. • Plant garlic for harvest next spring. • Force spring bulbs for indoor blooms this January by potting them up, watering thoroughly, and placing them in your vegetable crisper for about 10 weeks. • Remove this year’s fruiting raspberry canes down to the ground. • Clean out your ponds and compost annual plants. Move hardy plants to deeper water. Cover with netting to block falling leaves. • Clean, sharpen, and store your garden tools. • Reduce fertilizing of indoor plants (except cyclamen). • Set up a humidifier for indoor plants or at least place them in pebble trays. • Vacuum up any ladybugs that come in the house. • Rotate houseplants to promote even growth. • Pot up Paperwhites and Amaryllis for holiday blooming. • Water evergreens and new plantings to keep them hydrated this winter. • Fertilize your lawn and re-seed if needed. • Transplant trees and shrubs. • Continue to divide and transplant perennials. • Rake leaves, shred, and gather in compost piles. • Start feeding birds to get them in the habit for this winter. • Attend a local garden club meeting. • Turn your compost pile weekly and don’t let it dry out. Work compost into your planting beds. • Plant evergreens for winter interest. • Weed. • Take a break from holiday stress to enjoy your garden. • Do not place live wreaths or greenery in-between your door and a glass storm door, especially if the doorway is facing south. This placement will “cook” the arrangement on a sunny day. • Sign up all your friends and family for garden magazine subscriptions as holiday gifts. o NOVEMBER 2019



TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Events ~ November 16–December 16, 2019 • Wednesday, November 20, 7:30pm Playing in the Dirt at the Ripley Garden A talk hosted by the Takoma Horticulural Club. For over 20 years as the sole gardener for Smithsonian’s Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, Janet Draper has been inspiring people to look beyond the common when planting their gardens through her inspirational plant combinations on this tiny 1/3 of an acre garden on the National Mall. It is open 24 hours a day to visitors from around the globe. The meeting is free and open to all. See more details at: • Tuesday, November 26, 7:30pm Emerald Ash Borer Update Speaker Colleen Kenny, a Forest Health Watershed Planner with the Maryland Forest Service, will discuss Maryland’s ash trees being under attack from the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle. This program will present an overview of the current status of emerald ash borer in Maryland; new projects including treatments, biocontrol, and genetic research; and the long-term outlook for emerald ash borer and ash management. Hosted by the Maryland Native Plant Society. Held at the Kensington Library, 4201 Knowles Ave, Kensington, MD. The program is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For more information, go to https:// • Through Sunday, January 5, 2020 Winter Walk of Lights Bring your family and friends to be dazzled by the magical Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. The garden is transformed into a half-mile walk of lights. Revisit perennial favorites such as the animated Lakeside Lights, Fountain of Lights, and Holiday Nature Walk, and look for new displays. Put on your walking shoes and bring the family to experience a Northern Virginia festive tradition. Round out your visit by roasting marshmallows and sipping on hot beverages—available for purchase—by the fire. Fees: $8–$17. Details at www. 12


• Saturday, November 23, 10am—12n Ivy Pull & Thanksgiving Wreathmaking Workshop Since the 18th century, English ivy has been planted as a decorative groundcover in America, but it is also an aggressive, invasive plant that blocks light from reaching other plants, creating “ivy deserts” where nothing else can grow. Take part in this effort to remove it and join Tudor Place for an ivy pull. Then, in the spirit of the Peter family, who frequently reused materials in their garden, use the ivy you pulled to create a beautiful fall wreath to take home. Fee: $20 members/$30 nonmembers. Register at • Saturday, November 24, 10am—12n Thanksgiving Centerpiece Workshop Create your own Thanksgiving centerpiece using fruits, flowers, and foliage. There is a $60 supply fee per person for this workshop, which includes all of the materials for the centerpiece. Arrangements will be created in a simple floral container, and our team will show you how to place your arrangement into a decorative vessel when you return home. Held at Merrifield Garden Center, Fair Oaks, VA. Register at https://www.merrifieldgardencenter. com/events/. • November 28–January 5 Season’s Greenings: America’s Gardens The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) holiday exhibit caps off a year of celebrating the diversity and beauty of the more than 600 public gardens in the United States. Explore botanic gardens from Hawaii to Maine in this year’s holiday show, featuring 24 plant-based recreations of conservatories, fountains, and sculptures in the model train room, where eight model trains chug around waterfalls, through tunnels, and over visitors’ heads. The building models will showcase iconic garden scenes from 22 states. The USBG Conservatory is at 100 Maryland Ave. SW, WDC, near the U.S. Capitol. Visitors are encouraged to use public transportation. More information is available at www.USBG. gov/SeasonsGreenings.

• November 28–January 12 A Longwood Christmas Thousands of poinsettias, towering Christmas trees, and fragrant flowers transform the Conservatory into a warm holiday wonderland. Outdoors, more than 500,000 decorative lights glitter in more than 100 trees, and colorful fountain displays set to holiday music enchant visitors. Evening choral concerts, strolling carolers, and organ sing-alongs fill the Gardens with the festive sounds of the holiday. Details at • Tuesday, December 3 and Wednesday, December 4, 12n–6pm Poinsettia + Sale The NOVA Community College Horticulture Club is selling 13 specialty poinsettia, sleeved and foiled, along with succulent wish gardens, deluxe desert gardens, beautiful bromeliads, and colorful coleus. All plants are $4 and up. Held at the Loudoun Campus Greenhouse, 21200 Campus Drive, Sterling, VA. Details at Saturday, December 7, 10am–12pm Guerrilla Gardening in Your Yard: Converting Neglected Spaces into Food, Beauty, and Diversity See your yard anew through fresh, guerrilla gardening eyes. Learn how those difficult, abandoned, or underused parts of your yard can be transformed into successful garden spaces that provide natural beauty, healthy foods, and important support for pollinators and other beneficial insects. They’ll show you best practices, tools, and techniques to transform your yard’s missed opportunities into attractive and productive gardens—by working with Mother Nature and not against her. This class is offered by Extension Master Gardeners at the Walter Reed Community and Senior Center, 2909 S. 16th St., Arlington, VA. Free. Advance registration requested at Questions? Phone 703-228-6414 or email to • Saturday, December 7, 1:30–3pm Winter Wreath Workshop Create a beautiful, winter wreath to

TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Events ~ November 16–December 16, 2019 take home for your front door after Green Spring Gardens staff members demonstrate the dazzling possibilities. Greens, forms, ribbon, and cones included in the supply fee. Register online at parktakes (code 4D0.44B2) or call Green Spring Gardens at 703-6425173. Cost: $39 program fee plus $25 supply fee. • Sunday, December 8, 12n—4pm Gardeners’ Holiday Open House Treat yourself to a day of holiday fun in the garden, featuring decorations and seasonal displays, live music, holiday breads and ornaments for sale, and free refreshments. This festive day is for gardeners of all ages. Bring the children to a holiday puppet show at 1pm or 3pm ($5/person; advance registration recommended). Held at Green Spring Gardens, Alexandria, VA. Details: www. • Wednesday. December 11, 3—5pm School Garden Community of Practice: Garden to Cafeteria: Implementing Garden-based Activities in the Cafeteria Held at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), 1050 First St. NE, Sixth Floor, Room 623, Washington, DC. The OSSE School Gardens Program will host a series of Community of Practice (CoP) sessions related to school gardens during the 2019–20 school year. CoPs will be offered on a quarterly basis between December 2019 and September 2020. These sessions are open to all pre-K through grade 12 District of Columbia Public School (DCPS), District of Columbia public charter school, and independent school teachers, staff, garden coordinators, food service staff, and community members who work in schools with school garden programs. The session will focus on implementing garden-based activities in the cafeteria. Visit the School Gardens Program Technical Support and Trainings page for additional information about this training series, including the schedule of additional trainings, training notes, and resources related to each training. You will also find information about other

trainings the OSSE School Gardens Program offers. Register today. For more information, contact • Saturday, December 14, 9am-2pm AHS Holiday Open House at River Farm Bring the family to the American Horticultural Society’s free holiday event, featuring seasonal decor at the River Farm manor house, festive food and drinks, a musical performance by the Southside Singers, professional photographs of your family for purchase, and crafts and other gift items from local vendors. The River Farm Garden Shop will also be open for last-minute gift ideas. Details at • Year-round VCE Horticulture Help Desk The Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Help Desk operates year-round and welcomes your garden-related questions, including those related to plant and insect identification. The Help Desk operates from 9am–12noon on weekdays at the VCE office at the Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington, VA. Contact 703228-6414 or, or drop by to speak with our Help Desk volunteers, although it’s best to call before you come to make sure they’re available.

Save These Future Dates •The Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) is celebrating its 50th year of success. MANTS will hold its 2020 show from January 6–10 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, MD. MANTS is where the industry comes to buy, shop, meet, see, and be seen every January. See • Sunday, January 19, 1:30pm 50 Years of Green Spring As Green Spring Gardens turns 50, discover how this special place became a unique county resource. Green Spring historian Debbie Waugh discusses the fascinating lives of the last private owners, Michael and Belinda Straight, and their gift to the Park Authority in 1970.

Enjoy a photo history of the first 50 years and look ahead to the next 50 years. $10 per person. Register online at (code 288.09DB) or call Green Spring Gardens at 703-642-5173. • Washington Gardener Magazine’s 2020 Seed Exchanges are on January 25 at Brookside Gardens and February 1 at Green Spring Gardens. Stay tuned for more details soon. Start saving, packing, and labeling your seeds!

Still More Event Listings

See even more event listings on the Washington Gardener Yahoo discussion list. Join the list at com/group/WashingtonGardener/.

How to Submit Local Garden Events

To submit an event for this listing, email washingtongardenermagazine@gmail. com with “Event” in the subject line. Our next deadline is December 5 for the December 2019 issue, for events taking place after December 15. o

Advanced Landscape IPM PHC Short Course January 6-9, 2020 Location: University of Maryland, College Park, MD Contact: Amy Yaich, Admin. Assist. II, 301-405-3911 Email: Information: Recertification credits will be posted on the website Recertification page as awarded by participating states.

 NOVEMBER 2019




Mini Meadows: Grow a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere around Your Yard By Mike Lizotte Publisher: Storey Publishing List Price: $16.95 Order Link: Reviewer: Taylor Markey Mike Lizotte, the owner of American Meadows, provides an easy-to-follow guide for how to create your own meadow in his book Mini Meadows. This book features beautiful photos by Rob Cardillo that help readers picture what their meadows could look like and what plants they could use. The book starts off with a preface, “My Life in Meadows,” followed by an introduction titled “You’ve Got the Perfect Spot for a Meadow.” The introduction lists and goes into detail about why you should plant a meadow. These reasons include to cultivate beauty, engage kids, conserve water, help the pollinators, attract birds, mow less, and tackle hills and hellstrips. Following these sections are five chapters: “Meadow Planning 101,” “Digging In,” “Autumn and Beyond,” “Meadows with a Purpose,” and “Planting for Pollinators and Wildlife,” with an appendix, “Meadow Plants for Specific Regions.” Lizotte stresses the importance of setting realistic expectations before planting your meadow. It is beneficial to identify a goal and observe the area where you wish to plant a meadow. He also provides information that one should know when planting. Lizotte says, “Even though meadow plants can be remarkably drought-tolerant once they’re established, they benefit from 14


regular watering early on—especially when the seeds are just starting to germinate.” If seedlings do not have enough water, it will affect their ability to compete with weed seeds in the soil around them. The book also provides sections with examples of mini meadows and “Seed Man Says” tips. For example, Lizotte recommends that in spring, you should wait to sow seeds at the same time you put your tomato plants out, and to try to weed after a rainstorm. When looking for quality seed, “good meadow mix should have a balance of species that bloom all season long, with a nice blend of different heights and textures.” Lizotte advises that it should be 100 percent pure seed, lab-tested with germinator and purity information on the label, and from a reputable seed company so they can answer any questions you have. Within the first 30 days of planting your meadow, you should see similarlooking seedlings scattered evenly throughout the meadow, according to Lizotte. After 60 days, you should see significant growth, and after 90, perennial plants and plugs should be blooming. The book also suggests what to plant in a meadow based upon the region you live in. For the northeast region, some of these plants include Eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), and many more. I would highly recommend this book to both experienced and first-time gardeners who want easy tips and tricks for how to plant your own small meadow. o Taylor Markey is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park majoring in multiplatform journalism and an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this autumn.

Backyard Farming: Growing Herbs for Food and Medicine By Kim Pezza Publisher: Hatherleigh Press List Price: $5.95 Order Link: Reviewer: Jessica Kranz Kim Pezza’s book, Backyard Farming: Growing Herbs for Food and Medicine,

is the all-in-one guide you need to help you start planting and tending herbs. The book begins with a brief history of herb use, discussing how they have been around and used for more than 60,000 years, and have been a key contributor to culinary arts and medicine. In this chapter, you will learn how herbs have come full circle in medicine, which I found to be very interesting. In the past, herbs were used solely for medicine, but then in the 1900s, Pezza says they were pushed to the back burner for pharmacology. The interesting part is that now, people are starting to use and embrace herbs for medicine again. After covering the history of herbs, Pezza jumps right into discussing the variety of gardening methods available to any home grower looking to try herb cultivation. She first goes over how to choose the types of herbs to plant and the amount of space they will need to grow because every type of herb is different. In the remainder of the chapter, Pezza discusses the different types of herb gardens; type of soil they need to grow, pros and cons of starting with seeds, cuttings, divisions, or plants; and also the art of foraging for both medicinal and culinary herbs. The third chapter of Pezza’s book provides an in-depth sample list of herbs that are great for anyone wanting to dabble in herb cultivation. Pezza says this list is nowhere near complete, and

BOOKreviews it is meant to give readers an idea of what herbs you can plant and how they might be used, whether it’s medically, culinarily, or both. I was surprised to find out that Catnip (Nepeta cataria), a treat for your feline friends, is an herb that you can grow yourself. If you are worried about not being able to use all of the herbs that you produce, Chapter Four will guide you through the ways that you can preserve them. Pezza says that using specific methods of preservation are an easy way to get more use out of your herbs before they go bad. The methods of preservation that Pezza focuses on are drying them out; infusing them with oils, which can be made into ointments, too; freezing them; soaking them in vinegar to create herbal vinegars; and mixing them with butter to make herbal butters. You can also preserve your herbs to make a tasty herbal syrup. Although a number of applications for herbs are discussed in the herb catalog chapter, Pezza goes more into detail on these methods in the final chapter of the book. She talks about how you can use herbs for making crafts, essential oils, warm or cold compresses, fabric dyes, poultices, or for aromatherapy. They can also be infused or decocted with water. The book concludes with some final words from Pezza, and a few recipes you can create in your kitchen with the herbs you grow. I will definitely be trying out the Mint Lemonade recipe sometime. o Jessica Kranz is a senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland, College Park and an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this autumn.

Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife (Expanded Second Edition) By David Mizejewski Publisher: Creative Homeowner List Price: $19.99 Order Link: Reviewer: Andrea F. Siegel Wildlife conservation begins at home— your home, your landscape, your gardens, and your practices geared toward welcoming wildlife. The expanded second edition of

Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife by David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation and one of its most-recognizable faces, is a worthwhile resource to get you started and remind you why you care. An update of a 15-year-old edition, this is a good tool for anyone who wants an outdoor space that provides for both people and wildlife. It includes a timely focus on helping improve the lot of pollinators and why they are important. You don’t need to be an ecologist or horticulturist to understand the book. Still, it sounds the alarm on dire predictions that a third of America’s species is at risk of extinction, tells you that every wildlife habitat garden makes a difference, and offers advice on dealing with the critters you don’t want devouring your backyard buffet. Attracting Birds is accessible to everybody, since Mizejewski takes a straightforward approach: You don’t need to rip up your entire yard. You do have to know that your beneficial changes will be noticed by birds, bees, and butterflies, and other wildlife that shows up. You don’t have to make helping restore a little ecological balance overly complicated. You do need to know that a wildlife habitat draws a greater diversity of species than a plain lawn and can reconnect you to nature. Mizejewski also links the plants and the animals in ways that gardeners especially will appreciate. He champions native plants, yet notes that many

non-natives help sustain wildlife, too. Mizejewski has compiled a lot of information in a textbook-like way, with a section for each of the four needs of all wildlife, whether birds or bugs—food, water, cover, places to raise young—that explains how they work in concert in a habitat. He follows this with a chapter about sustainable garden practices. As an NWF book, Attracting Birds promotes creating wildlife habitat gardens and having your property recognized by the conservation nonprofit as a Certified Wildlife Habitat (there is a fee). But look further: Its checklist of requirements tells you what wildlife needs to call a yard home, making that list a worthwhile tool by itself. Among the updates are new photographs, always a draw when the topic is flora and fauna. For identification not in a caption on the page, a reader can turn to the photo credits. The book also has projects to attract wildlife, ranging from the easy to the rigorous. Some are nicely suited for youngsters. The mix of how-tos and why reminds us that simple things we do have a substantial effect on wildlife. o Andrea Siegel is a master gardener in Maryland. More than 20 years ago, what was then her family’s yard was an NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat.

Dragonflies and Damselflies: A Natural History By Dennis Paulson Publisher: Princeton University Press List Price: $50.00 Order Link: Reviewer: Jim Dronenburg While this book is fascinating, it is not a gardening book, but is better called a work of natural history—a detailed text about members of the order Odonata, holding more than 6,000 species. That said, it is a fantastic look into a part of the insect world that many of us take for granted, having seen these flying jewels from childhood on. There is an interesting format here: Chapter texts about various parts of the life histories of dragonflies (the suborder Anisoptera, with wings that stay spread) and damselflies (the suborder Zygoptera, whose members can NOVEMBER 2019




fold their wings along their backs) are interspersed with subchapter vignettes highlighting individual species. For purposes of this review, they will all be called “dragonflies.” Within each subsection, and each vignette, are exquisite photographs. Living jewels indeed. And monsters. Not all species are covered, nor could they be. The text was deadly boring for about the first six pages—your reviewer read it through—and then it got more



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and more involving, as more and more of the text used terms previously defined. (There is also a glossary.) This is not a dull scientific work, although it oozes detailed information. Too detailed in some cases—I have not been able to find a sufficiently polite way, for instance, to tell you exactly where the gills of dragonfly nymphs are situated—and certainly not a book for small children, especially those with vivid imaginations. Odonates are predators in every stage of their lives, aquatic nymphs and airborne adults—and closeup photos and drawings of the mandible (think: jaw) parts are enough to give a child nightmares. An adult will think, “well, these are blow-ups.” And then about two-thirds through the book there is a picture of an Asian market. Side by side are skewers of shrimp and of dragonfly nymphs for human consumption. They are the same size. Back to review. The book is divided, after the introduction, into sections about what a dragonfly is, how they capture prey and avoid being captured, reproduction (so radically different from vertebrates as to be another thing not

Local Gardening Calendar


Each month includes a list of what to do in the garden for local DC-MD-VA and MidAtlantic gardeners, along with a gorgeous photo of a seasonal flower from a local public garden collection in our area. Go to: to order this calendar for gifts and to treat yourself! This calendar is a keeper that you can use for years! 16


to show small children), dragonflies and people (think cultural references here), and diversity around the world. Dragonflies have two pairs of wings that, unlike butterflies, move independently of each other. They are capable of any motion a helicopter can make. Another interesting thing is the growth cycle. Unlike, say, ants, butterflies, wasps, or bees, which make a pupa or a chrysalis (and essentially dissolve within it and reform as an adult, which is called complete metamorphosis), odonates do not pupate. Instead, they change as they grow (incomplete metamorphosis), without pupating or cocooning. This is why they are called “nymphs” rather than “larvae.” Think locusts here—one form crawls out of the (earth for locusts, water for dragonflies) and up on a tree/reed/ whatever; it sheds its last skin, having changed inside it while still growing and moving about; and then a winged adult of totally different form emerges and expands its wings in the sun. Aaannnddd... Reproduction. They do have males and females. They do have eggs and sperm. Who does what to whom and with which will not be described here. Mammals can’t do it. Read the book. Do not let impressionable children see it. As a first step, the male has clasps on the end of his abdomen, very distinctly shaped in each species to clamp onto the female’s head. From then on, as I said, read the book. If you have a home library with a natural history section and children, say, over 12 years old, you should consider getting this book. Otherwise, go to your local public library and take it out. You will be horrified. You will be fascinated. And most importantly, you will be educated. There are more things in heaven and earth… and these odonates are among them. o Jim Dronenburg is a retired accountant and now gardens full-time in Knoxville, MD.

Note: These book reviews include links to Amazon for ordering them. Washington Gardener Magazine may receive a few cents from each order placed after clicking on these links.





A New Wave:

The Delaware Botanic Garden Opens By Kathy Jentz



DAYtrip It takes your breath away. The twoacre Meadow Garden at the Delaware Botanic Garden (DBG) was designed by world-renowned landscape designer Piet Oudulf. It is probably why you made the trip, but until you see it in person, you are not prepared for how beautiful it is. Waves of (mostly native) grasses and perennials move with the breezes and form ever-changing patterns. More than 70,000 plants were put in to create the installation, but it takes awhile for your eyes to focus on individual selections because the effect of the whole is more than just its parts. The best vantage point over the meadow is a grass knoll about twothirds of the way in. From that vista, you can take photos of the surrounding views or just stand and observe. The garden is full of visiting birds and pollinators. This is a garden that demands visiting in each season to experience the layers and natural interactions of the meadow. From dried seed-heads to newly emerging foliage, there is something to appreciate all year round.

Exploring the Gardens

pathways that are an easy stroll down to Pepper Creek. The water is rising there and slowly encroaching on the pathways. That sign of climate change is intentionally being left uncorrected and it will be measured and studied in years to come. Keep a sharp eye out for the several specimen hollies planted throughout the landscapes. These 32 American holly trees were donated from the Charles R. Anderson Holly Collection in Owings Mills, MD. Anderson was a former president of the Holly Society of America.

Years in the Making

The brand-new Delaware Botanic Garden (DBG) in Dagsboro, DE, took seven years from conception to opening. The years only tell part of the story, though: the dedication of dozens of volunteers, the board of directors, and a tiny staff were the real force behind making it happen. All gardeners know that a garden is never truly “finished” or ready for company. It is always a moving target of

more to be done, so it is a real accomplishment to see not only that the Meadow Garden in fine shape at opening time, but also extensive progress on many other sections of the property. In years to come, the garden will mature and develop in exciting ways.

Plan Your Visit

The welcome center is a modest wooden building—actually an enlarged garden shed plan—where visitors can check in and get information before taking a self-guided tour of the grounds or sign up for the 10am daily guided tours (for an additional $10 fee). The DBG is open Wednesday through Saturday from 9am until 12 noon until November 30 (except for November 27–29). It will then be closed until spring. Admission is $15 for adults and free for DBG members. For directions, visit o Kathy Jentz is Washington Gardener’s editor. A version of this article was previously published in the Shore Home & Garden Magazine.

Next to the meadow is the new Inland Dunes habitat garden. Landscape architect Karen Steenhoudt designed the area as an interpretation of a rare native Delmarva habitat with a connection to Delaware’s natural heritage. It is paired with the Wetlands Outdoor Classroom to act as a demonstration of nature ecosystems for educators and researchers. Stepping into the shade, one finds the Folly Garden. It is built on the site of the farmhouse that once stood on the property. Bricks from the foundation were collected and stacked to form a semienclosed clearing on the edge of the woodlands. Thousands of spring-blooming bulbs that were donated after the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show (Holland theme year) are planted around the pathways. There is a small crevice island and some iron gate pieces that hint at the agricultural history at the location. Following a path deeper into the Woodland Garden, you pass by several large man-made bird’s nests. They were created from reclaimed wood when clearing the garden. The woods have over a mile and a half of ADA-compliant NOVEMBER 2019




Alarming Oak Tree Declines By Karen Rane, Stanton Gill, and David Clement, University of Maryland Extension



SPECIALfeature The following advisory was sent out this fall to commercial horticulturists throughout the region. It is reprinted here so DCarea homeowners and gardeners can be on the alert for issues in their oak trees. Please document and share samples of dead and dying trees with local university extension services for analysis.

Ambrosia beetles frass photo by David Clement.

The University of Maryland Extension Central MD Research & Education Center (CMREC), Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC), and UMD Plant Diagnostic Lab have received numerous reports of sudden discoloration of foliage and death of white oak (Quercus alba) trees throughout the Mid-Atlantic region from August through October of 2019. We have visited sites with symptomatic trees; examined samples submitted to the UMD lab,; and spoken with several arborists, landscapers, state and local forestry officials, and landowners, in pursuit of information that might reveal a specific cause. While our investigation is still in progress, here are some factors that these individual cases all have in common: 1. Affected trees are older ones, approximately 40–80 years old or older. Younger trees in the same areas are not affected. 2. The onset of symptoms is fast: Foliage that appeared healthy in spring and summer became brown in color in August, often within 2–4 weeks. Most of the brown leaves remain attached to twigs of affected trees. 3. Although other oak species have been showing twig dieback and decline symptoms for several years, it is primarily white oaks that have this sudden browning of the canopy. 4. Symptomatic white oaks are often in urban and suburban landscapes, but trees in forests and in large landscaped areas with unrestricted root zones are also affected. 5. In some cases, affected trees have large trunk wounds, and previous root damage from compaction or construction, and show previous branch dieback, but many trees do not have any visible obvious symptoms of injury or major decline before browning of the foliage. 6. A variety of pests and diseases that are usually considered to be oppor-

tunistic invaders of stressed trees (such as ambrosia beetles, Armillaria root rot, and Hypoxylon canker) are often observed in symptomatic trees. Sawdust-like frass (see photo below) at the base of the tree or on the bark of the lower trunk indicates an invasion of ambrosia beetles. We have not found a single factor that is responsible for this problem. At this point, our best assessment is that the phenomenon is most likely an accelerated version of what is commonly called “tree decline.” Symptoms of typical tree decline include loss of vigor, early fall color, and dieback in twigs and branches. These symptoms usually progress over several years, and are usually related to root problems (soil compaction, root

or trunk damage from construction activities, and environmental extremes like drought or excessive rainfall). As the root system becomes unable to fully support the moisture needs of the tree, twig dieback occurs. Poor pruning, resulting in cavities, and repeated defoliation from insect pests or foliar diseases will add additional stress and continue the decline saga. Opportunistic insect pests like twolined chestnut borer, ambrosia beetles, and diseases like Hypoxylon canker and fungal root rots can aggressively invade weakened trees, resulting in severe decline and eventual tree death. Again, it usually takes several years from initial symptoms to death of affected trees. We believe that weather extremes in 2018 and 2019 have accelerated this decline scenario in white oaks. In 2018, our area received excessive rainfall—up to more than 70 inches in

some areas, resulting in flooding and saturated soils. Such conditions are very damaging to fine roots of trees like white oaks, and can favor the development of root rot diseases caused by water mold pathogens like Phytophthora. We had similar moist conditions in early 2019, and numerous isolated storms that dropped 2+ inches of rain, resulting again in localized flooding. The summer of 2019 then turned quite hot and dry, with a record number of days above 90°F and very dry weather in August and September. We speculate that this sudden hot and dry weather caused rapid water loss from the foliage of these trees and the impaired root systems were not adequate to provide enough moisture under dry conditions. The presence of secondary invaders, like ambrosia beetles, cankers, and root rot, contributed as well. The rapid browning and death of affected trees is the result of this “perfect storm” of factors. We still have unanswered questions. What type of ambrosia beetles are present? How many affected trees show secondary insect pests and opportunistic pathogens? Will healthyappearing trees be threatened by these organisms in browning oaks nearby? Will trees with brown foliage this year develop new growth next year? We will continue investigating and working with colleagues from other agencies and other states in our region to find answers. What can you do? White oaks would benefit from irrigation during times of drought. Trees that enter winter dormancy under drought stress are more likely to show additional decline symptoms next year. Deep, but infrequent, watering to the root zone will help reduce drought stress. o Karen K. Rane is director of the UMD Plant Diagnostic Clinic, University of Maryland Extension, College Park, MD; Stanton Gill is extension specialist in IPM for Nurseries, Greenhouses, and Landscapes, University of Maryland Extension, Ellicott City, MD; David L. Clement is extension specialist in Plant Pathology, University of Maryland Extension; NOVEMBER 2019




Riversdale Bulb Bash

Riversdale House Museum’s annual bulb planting took place on Sunday, November 3. The crowd of 20 participants included a few local Master Gardeners, but many of them were locals just curious to learn how bulb planting works. They planted exactly 2,900 bulbs. According to Amy Winkler of PGParks, they chose the bulb varieties by looking at historic trends and what was popular in this area in the 1800s. “A good example of this is bicolor tulips,” said Winkler. “People were absolutely in love with varieties that resembled what we’d now refer to as ‘Rembrandt’ tulips.” Winkler added that, “we know that Rosalie Calvert, the mistress of Riversdale during the time period we follow, was absolutely obsessed with tulips and hyacinths. This was a passion she shared with her father, and she wrote to him about these bulbs on multiple occasions. Thanks to modern innovations, the flowers grown at Riversdale today are more like the flowers of Rosalie Calvert’s dreams. They resemble what she would have grown but are in general much more successful.” o

Garden Book Club

A half-dozen people met at the Soupergirl restaurant in Takoma Park, MD, for a garden book club meeting to discuss The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food by Janisse Ray. The book consists of stories from the author and other people from 22


around the country about the act of saving seeds. Kathy Jentz, organizer of the book club, reached out to the author in search of some discussion questions for the meeting. After realizing there was no set list of questions, Ray created discussion questions and shared them with Jentz for the garden book club. The group had mixed reviews of the book, but members were able to relate the story back to their gardening experiences in this area and where they have previously lived. Some key themes discussed throughout the meeting included cross-pollination, saving seeds, and seed diversity. They also discussed a shocking fact presented in the book: “94 percent of seed varieties available at the turn of the [20th] century in America, and considered a part of the human commons, have been lost.” The club ended its meeting with a discussion about what books they will read for next year. Those titles will be announced at a later date. o

Kate Medina and Hannah Sholder, cofounders of the Charles Koiner Center for Urban Farming, led a tour of the farm and provided some background information about its history. Koiner Farm has a three-bin hot compost system created through a grant from the Sierra Club. According to Medina, this was the fifth event this year focusing on composting. Two master composters described the different types of composting and highlighted that the bins were in the shade and that sun and wind are the enemies of composting. The system takes about two to three weeks for compost to be processed. The event also provided handouts with information for composting, light refreshments, and a raffle for attendees. o

Veterans Day Planting

Koiner Farm Compost Tour As part of Manna Food Center’s 2019 Community Food Rescue Week, more than 20 people gathered at Koiner Farm in Silver Spring, MD, on Saturday, October 26, for a tour and composting demo. Participating organizations (The Compost Crew, Bethesda Green, Community Food Rescue, and Montgomery Food Council) had tables set up at the farm for attendees to visit. “This past week has been Community Food Rescue Week, so [this event was] a way to celebrate all that’s been happening with food recovery in Montgomery County and also to raise public awareness of hunger and food waste throughout our county,” said Cheryl Kollin, Community Food Rescue program director.

Several members of the Silver Spring Garden Club met at Jesup Blair Park on Veterans Day 2019 to reclaim a neglected corner of the park. They weeded, cut vines, and pruned back overgrown shrubs. They planted nearly 200 daffodil bulbs and several Fothergilla shrubs provided by Montgomery County Parks for the project. In the last few years, the club has planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs to honor those lost in the world wars. Founded in 1942, the Silver Spring Garden Club brings together garden enthusiasts in the spirit of education, conservation, and volunteer service. A core component of the organization’s mission involves beautifying parts of the local community. This tradition of service has remained steadfast throughout the decades. o This issue’s “HortHappenings” were compiled by Taylor Markey and Kathy Jentz. See more photos from events listed here at the Washington Gardener Facebook Page. Click on the “Photos” tab.


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MARCH/APRIL 2005 • Landscape DIY vs. Pro • Prevent Gardener’s Back • Ladew Topiary Gardens • Cherry Trees

MAY/JUNE 2007 • Roses: Easy Care Tips • Native Roses & Heirloom Roses • Edible Flowers • How to Plant a Bare-root Rose

MAY/JUNE 2005 • Stunning Plant Combinations • Turning Clay into Rich Soil • Wild Garlic • Strawberries

JULY/AUGUST 2007 • Groundcovers: Alternatives to Turfgrass • How to Pinch, Prune, & Dead-head • William Paca House & Gardens • Hardy Geraniums

JULY/AUGUST 2005 • Water Gardens • Poison Ivy • Disguising a Sloping Yard • Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007 • Succulents: Hardy to our Region • Drought-Tolerant Natives • Southern Vegetables • Seed Saving Savvy Tips

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2005 • Container Gardens • Clematis Vines • Sponge Gardening/Rain Gardens • 5 Insect Enemies of Gardeners

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2007 • Gardening with Children • Indoor Bulb-Forcing Basics • National Museum of the American Indian • Versatile Viburnums

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2005 • Backyard Bird Habitats • Hellebores • Building a Coldframe • Bulb Planting Basics

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 • Dealing with Deer • Our Favorite Garden Tools • Delightful Daffodils

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006 • Garden Decor Principles • Primroses • Tasty Heirloom Veggies • U.S. Botanic Garden MARCH/APRIL 2006 • Top 10 Small Trees and Large Shrubs • Azaleas • Figs, Berries, & Persimmons • Basic Pruning Principles MAY/JUNE 2006 • Using Native Plants in Your Landscape • Crabgrass • Peppers • Secret Sources for Free Plants JULY/AUGUST 2006 • Hydrangeas • Theme Gardens • Agave • Find Garden Space by Growing Up SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2006 • Shade Gardening • Hosta Care Guide • Fig-growing Tips and Recipes NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006 • Horticultural Careers • Juniper Care Guide • Winter Squash Growing Tips and Recipes • Layer/Lasagna Gardening

SUMMER 2009 • Grow Grapes in the Mid-Atlantic • Passionflowers • Mulching Basics • Growing Hops

MARCH/APRIL 2008 • Patio, Balcony, Rooftop Container Gardens • Our Favorite Garden Tools • Coral Bells (Heuchera) MAY/JUNE 2008 D SOL • Growing Great Tomatoes UT! • Glamorous Gladiolus DO L O !S • Seed-Starting OUT Basics •SFlavorful OLD Fruiting Natives


JULY/AUGUST 2008 • Landscaping with Ornamental Grasses • Edible Grasses to Graze On • Slug and Snail Control • Sage Advice: Sun-Loving Salvias SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 • Autumn Edibles — What to Plant Now • Beguiling Barrenworts (Epimediums) • Best Time to Plant Spring-blooming Bulbs • 14 Dry Shade Plants Too Good to Overlook NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2008 • Outdoor Lighting Essentials • How to Prune Fruiting Trees, Shrubs, Vines • 5 Top Tips for Overwintering Tender Bulbs • Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009 • Compost Happens: Nature’s Free Fertilizer • Managing Stormwater with a Rain Garden • Visiting Virginia’s State Arboretum • Grow Winter Hazel for Winter Color

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007 • Indoor Gardening • Daphne Care Guide • Asparagus Growing Tips and Recipes • Houseplant Propagation

MARCH/APRIL 2009 ! OUT Tips D • 40+ Free and Low-cost Local Garden SOL ! T • Spring Edibles Planting Guide OU LDfor a Fresh Start • Testing YourSO Soil ! Selection and Care UTTree • Redbud O LD Viewing Spots for Virginia Bluebells • SOBest

MARCH/APRIL 2007 • Stormwater Management • Dogwood Selection & Care Guide • Early Spring Vegetable Growing Tips • Franciscan Monastery Bulb Gardens

MAY/JUNE 2009 • Top Easy Summer Annuals for DC Heat • Salad Table Project • Grow and Enjoy Eggplant • How to Chuck a Woodchuck

FALL 2009 • Apples • How to Save Tomato Seeds • Persimmons WINTER 2009 • Battling Garden Thugs • How to Start Seeds Indoors • Red Twig Dogwoods • Unusual Edibles to Grow in Our Region SPRING 2010 • Community Gardens • Building a Raised Bed • Dwarf Iris • Broccoli SUMMER 2010 • Fragrance Gardens • Watering Without Waste • Lavender • Potatoes FALL 2010 • Vines and Climbers • Battling Stink Bugs • Russian Sage • Garlic WINTER 2010 • Paths and Walkways • Edgeworthia • Kohlrabi SPRING 2011 • Cutting-Edge Gardens • Final Frost Dates and When to Plant • Bleeding Hearts • Onions SUMMER 2011 • Ornamental Edibles • Urban Foraging • Amsonia/Arkansas Blue Star • Growing Corn in the Mid-Atlantic FALL 2011 • Herb Gardens • Toad Lilies • Sweet Potatoes • Cool Weather Cover Crops WINTER 2011/EARLY SPRING 2012 • Green Roofs and Walls • Heaths and Heathers • Radishes SPRING 2012 • Pollinator Gardens • Brunnera: Perennial of the Year • Growing Yacon SUMMER 2012 • Tropical Gardens • Captivating Canna • Icebox Watermelons SPRING 2013 • Great Garden Soil • All About Asters • Squash Vine Borer SUMMER/FALL 2013 • Miniature/Faerie Gardens • Beguiling Abelias • Growing Great Carrots WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2014 • Ferns for the Mid-Atlantic • Chanticleer Gardens • Beet Growing Basics

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Jentz Prints

Antique Botanical Prints for the decorator, collector, connoisseur, and art lover. Jentz Prints can be purchased on most Saturdays at the Eastern Market, and most Sundays at the Georgetown Flea Market.

Antique prints are affordable — most in the $10-$30 range — and they are the perfect gift idea for that plant lover in your life. And don’t forget to buy a few for yourself! For more information, to make a private appointment, or to get a detailed show schedule, please contact Jentz Prints by email at You can also find Jentz Prints on under the seller ID: printyman. 24


Profile for Kathy J

Washington Gardener Magazine November 2019  

November 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine Inside this issue: • Meet Patrick Dougherty: Renowned Stickworks Sculptor • Plant Profil...

Washington Gardener Magazine November 2019  

November 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine Inside this issue: • Meet Patrick Dougherty: Renowned Stickworks Sculptor • Plant Profil...