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AUGUST 2018 VOL. 13 NO. 6

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Fresh Lemongrass at Your Fingertips Top Tips to Prevent Powdery Mildew Testing Wearable Mosquito Protection

Edibles for Summer-Fall Transition Time Meet Kelly Billing, Water Garden Expert Centrolina Partners with DC UrbanGreens

De-stress in Local Meditation Gardens


Green Spring Gardens

www.greenspring.org

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. Haven’s Natural Brew Tea conditions the soil so your plant’s root system can better absorb nutrients needed to build a strong, healthy root base. The manure tea can also be applied to compost piles to accelerate the composting process.

Order some today at: www.manuretea.com

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RESOURCESsourc

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 301.588.6894 or email KathyJentz@gmail.com for available dates, rates, and topics.

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

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INSIDEcontents

FEATURES and COLUMNS

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Shield yourself from mosquito bites with a head net. The look may be a bit silly, but they are proven to keep the bugs away. Our product reviewer evaluates three brands, including this one from Texsport.

o The new Petworth Meditation Garden is located on Kansas Avenue NW, Washington, DC, at the intersections of Quincy and 13th Streets NW. It replaces a standard lawn triangle park with an inwardfocused meditation and community space along with an open lawn. The garden’s ribbon cutting was on June 24.

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BOOKreviews 6-7 Organic Gardening; Outdoor DIY Projects; Succulents and Cacti; Countertop Gardens CHEFgardens 14-15 Centrolina/DC UrbanGreens EDIBLEharvest 18-19 Lemongrass ASKtheexpert 22 Tasteless Blueberries; River Birch Foliage; Rolled-back Sod HORThappenings 12 Garlic Fest; Basil Bonanza; Farm Tour; 11th Street Bridge Project; Kenilworth Lotus Fest NEWPLANTspotlight 11 Heuchera ‘Wild Rose’ NEIGHBORnetwork 20-21 Kelly Billing PRODUCTreview 13 Mosquito Head Nets SPECIALfeature 14-15 Meditation Gardens TIPStricks 10 Stumptown Woods; Powdery Mildew; End-of-Summer Greens

DEPARTMENTS

ADVERTISINGindex BLOGlinks EDITORletter GARDENcontest LOCALevents MONTHLYtasklist NEXTissue READERreactions RESOURCESsources

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ON THE COVER Lemongrass thrives in warm and humid weather. This bundle of harvested, trimmed lemongrass has been tied together with its own leaves, and can be used to infuse flavor in a prepared dish. Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America is in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast Washington, DC. Photo by Rosie Kean.

In our September issue:

Glenstone Museum and much more . . .

If your business would like to reach area gardeners, be sure to contact us by September 1 so you can be part of the next issue of our growing publication! AUGUST 2018

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EDITORletter

Credits Kathy Jentz Editor/Publisher & Advertising Sales Washington Gardener 826 Philadelphia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: 301-588-6894 kathyjentz@gmail.com www.washingtongardener.com Call today to place your ad with us! Rosie Kean Racquel Royer Interns Ruth E. Thaler-Carter Proofreader Cover price: $4.99 Back issues: $6.00 Subscription: $20.00 Address corrections should be sent to the address above. • Washington Gardener Blog: www.washingtongardener.blogspot.com • Washington Gardener Archives: http://issuu.com/washingtongardener • Washington Gardener Discussion Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ WashingtonGardener/ • Washington Gardener Twitter Feed: www.twitter.com/WDCGardener • Washington Gardener Facebook Page: facebook.com/ WashingtonGardenerMagazine Your editor and a leaf from her Alocasia cucullata. Photo by Racquel Royer.

Foliage versus Flowers

It is said that the mature gardener cares far more about foliage than flowers. If that is the case, color me infantile since I’ll never prefer any leaf to the inflorescence of a peony. Not that I don’t also treasure all my fine foliage friends, but saying they will ever surpass flowers as the main attraction in most gardens is ludicrous. I could be happy for a time in a garden of all moss and ferns—two of my favorite plant families—yet, if a trillium or even a tiny common dog violet popped up amongst them, you know my heart would start to beat a bit faster. This is the time of year when plant combinations are at their fullest and we can really enjoy the interplay of foliage textures and colors against one another. In this issue is information about a new heuchera (‘Wine Rose’ on page 11) that I am trialing, and I must admit that it is stunning. I have it in hanging baskets with purple-flowering torenia and white-flowering bacopa. Both of these are annuals and will soon fade away, while the heuchera will play on with other combinations. Sometimes it will be the “thriller” plant, but most of the time it will be the “filler.” And that is as it should be. Foliage fades and flowers wilt, but the gardener’s memory endures. Happy gardening! Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener, KathyJentz@gmail.com 4

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• Washington Gardener is a womanowned business. We are proud to be members of: · Garden Writers Association · DC Web Women · Green America Magazine Leaders Network · Green America Business Network To order reprints, contact Wright’s Reprints at 877.652.5295, ext. 138. Volume 13, Number 6 ISSN 1555-8959 © 2018 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

Our Readers Share Their Thoughts and Ideas I read with great joy and renewed appreciation of the Washington Gardener and the awards bestowed upon your publication. I am thrilled that your publication stands out amongst the pack. I always thought it to be heads and shoulders above the horticultural literature that presents itself in my inbox. Kudos to the supporting staff for their work on these issues that led to the marvelous and well-deserved recognition. ~ Joe Francis, National Capital Orchid Society My favorite article was the one about the new Brugmansia, I have always liked the ones at Brookside, but they were too large to grow at my house! ~ Barbara Waite-Jaques, Silver Spring, MD

READERcontt

Reader Contest

For our August 2018 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, we are giving away a pair of passes to Tudor Place in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. They include a guided house tour and self-guided garden tour. Unlike most historic houses, Tudor Place presents not one specific era or topic, but six generations of public and private life, indoors and out, from the agricultural era to the Cold War. On 5½ acres, Tudor Place remains one of America’s last intact urban estates from the Federal period. Its open lawns and garden rooms are a delight and a useful historical record of land use over time. Thomas and Martha Custis Peter put their land to agricultural and ornamental uses. Trees and shrubs they cultivated still grow on the site today. Email WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on August 31 with “Tudor Place” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Include your full name and mailing address. Tell us which was your favorite article in this issue and why. The pass winners will be announced and notified on September 1.

My favorite piece in the July 2018 issue was the article by Carol Allen, “Ticked Off!” It was presented clearly and everything you need to know about ticks in our area. ~ Anne Hardman, Silver Spring, MD I am a believer in global warming, or the new politically correct term climate change. To do my part, I drive a hybrid car, planted a shade tree in my yard, use a rain barrel to limit runoff, and have a variety of native plants. Your article “Make America Green Campaign” in the TIPStricks section gives me another way to do my part in helping our planet by planting a Climate Victory Garden to grow some of my own food. In addition, the article “Up the Ladder at the Evening Star Cafe” helped me find a new restaurant that grows some of its own produce, further promoting climate-friendly gardening. ~ Sheldon Anderson, Columbia, MD I especially liked the article about the native Agave Virginica. The whole magazine is very interesting. Thank you! ~ Joanna Protz, Lynch Station, VA

CAST YOUR BALLOT FOR THE TASTIEST TOMATO AND ENTER A DRAWING FOR A BASKET OF GARDENING GOODIES!

Share Your ReaderReaction

Send your reviews, thoughts, suggestions, etc., to Washington Gardener at washingtongardener@rcn.com. o AUGUST 2018

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BOOKreviews Practical Organic Gardening: The No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Naturally By Mark Highland Publisher: Cool Springs Press List price: $30.00 Reviewer: Erica H. Smith Growing garden and landscape plants organically is a great way to have a positive effect on our environment and potentially improve your own health and well-being. Organic gardening methods emphasize sustainability and a holistic approach, viewing local ecosystems in their entirety: plants, insects, animals, soil—and the gardener—all working together. Gardening organically is definitely more than “don’t spray chemicals”! Highland’s Practical Organic Gardening is a good overview of the principles and practices of this complicated system, covering everything from the all-important soil preparation to dealing with pests and diseases naturally. Unlike many other organic gardening texts, it doesn’t remain inside the vegetable garden fence, but also strolls across the lawn and down the landscape paths, although edible plants still dominate the discussion. I’d recommend this book for experienced gardeners who want to take up organic gardening or improve their techniques. Not that beginners couldn’t find useful information here, but the level of detail in some sections might be daunting or lead them down rabbit holes difficult to crawl out of. (Rabbits, on the other hand, are covered fairly superficially, along with other animal pests—but then “build a fence” really is the simplest and best advice.) For example, the chapter on fertilizers and amendments goes into specifics to a degree that’s only surprising if you don’t realize that the author runs a company (The Organic Mechanic) that sells many of these products. This made me take some of the endorsements with a grain of salt (which you should never add to your garden). Perhaps—to give one example—the explanation of how to make your own biochar is designed to intrigue and frustrate just enough to steer readers 6

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to the easy solution of buying some on the company website. The information seems on the whole useful and accurate, however, with the possible exception of the section on compost tea, for which there isn’t yet scientific consensus of value. (Dedicated gardeners could try their own experiments: Treat part of your garden with compost tea and see if those plants do better than the untreated ones.) In general, though, this book is refreshingly up-to-date on scientific information. I cheered at the mention of how adding gravel to the bottom of containers doesn’t improve drainage and, in fact, creates a perched water table that stops the soil from draining properly. There are many other examples that show how closely Highland is following horticultural findings. The sections covering soil composition and conservation, keeping the garden watered, and interacting with both pest and beneficial insects are all terrific. The book also covers plant propagation, garden planning, lawn maintenance, and many other topics. Maybe it tackles too many subjects, in fact. I do have some editing quibbles with this book, some of which have to do with how inclusive it is: For example, if you only have room to spend one paragraph each on chickens and beekeeping, why mention them at all? Do we need a page and a half on houseplants claiming to describe how to grow them organically, but not offering much detail or contrasting that method to any other one? Organization is also sometimes odd; why hold off on (very sketchily) describing doubledigging until a section on designing mixed borders in the garden planning chapter, when there’s a much earlier chapter about how to deal with soil in gardens—because it contradicts the advice there to avoid disturbing soil layers? I am glad, though, that the author and editor resisted any impulse to include that otherwise-ubiquitous section covering individual plants, with a page or less for each that offers not quite enough information for success-

ful growing. That would have made the book too long and not any more useful, especially since it’s trying to cover the broader landscape. Consider this book as both an introductory guide to the world of organic gardening and a deep dive into some specific topics. Meanwhile, it skims over other subjects, identifying new interests for you to investigate on your own with more reading. On its own, it will keep you busy making your garden a valuable part of the broader natural world. Erica H. Smith is a Montgomery County Master Gardener whose volunteer activities include the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden in Derwood, MD; the Grow It Eat It program; and speaking engagements on food-growing topics. She is the author of several novels; visit her website at ericahsmith.wordpress.com.

The Complete Book of Outdoor DIY Projects: The How-To Guide for Building 35 Projects in Stone, Brick, Wood, and Water By Penny Swift and Janek Szymanowski Publisher: Creative Homeowner List price: $19.99 Reviewer: Andrea F. Siegel Between the television shows and the books, not to mention YouTube and the rest of the internet, there’s no shortage of do-it-yourself advice for outdoors, but here is a new book for the DIY crowd. This paperback offers a variety of projects grouped by the materials in the title, so readers should expect a


BOOKreviews few of many different types of projects. The wood section, for instance, provides instructions for log steps (stone steps are in the Stone section), a screen, a picket fence and gate, a bentwood arch, a garden bench, an arbor, a swing set, and a tree house. Valuable features give DIY enthusiasts a sense of project complexity. Ratings advise readers of the difficulty level of each project. Each section—Stone, Brick, Wood, and Water— has photos of tools used in that type of construction (even a tape measure is pictured, but let’s hope you don’t need a photo to identify that). Materials for each project are listed with measurements and amounts, and DIYers should know that not everything needed can be bought exactly that way, so trips to the store and assessments of leftovers from another project are crucial to calculating project costs. As the book points out, estimating a project’s cost is part of being a DIYer. Helpful color photos accompany stepby-step instructions and boxed text contains practical tips. There’s a time estimate for each project. Sadly, no DIY book can tell you whether you really can do the project. Nor can it assess your skill level, your artistic sense, your physical strength, or your clumsiness, or tell you if you should seek out friends to help you. Nor can it determine whether a given project is a good fit for your yard, or if you will give up midway through. Whether you find the projects inspiring or appealing is a different matter. The book does encourage readers to think beyond the project photos. And it can get you thinking: It offers some style tips. It points out, for example, that while the “Flowing Barrel” water feature has a “rustic appeal,” the idea “may be used in a formal garden, with pots instead of wooden barrels.” Also offered are suggestions for where to seek inspiration—welcome, despite the availability of photo-packed websites. Readers should keep in mind that changing the color of materials and the kinds of plants give a different look to even a simple project. Andrea Siegel is a Master Gardener in Maryland.

quick references. The content is very reader-friendly and easy to consume. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in growing succulents or learning about them in general. Racquel Royer is a senior studying broadcast journalism in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. This summer, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

Cacti and Succulents Handbook: Basic Growing Techniques and a Directory of More than 140 Common Species and Varieties By Gideon F. Smith Publisher: CompanionHouse Books List price: $19.99 Reviewer: Racquel Royer Succulents are some of the easiest plants to grow. It’s nearly impossible to kill a succulent; at least, that’s what I always seem to hear, as if all succulents are one species and they don’t still require love and care. Believe it or not, I’ve killed a succulent before and I’ve also learned that different succulents can tolerate different treatments. This probably seems obvious to many of you, but it wasn’t always so obvious to me. This year, I’ve grown several succulents in my apartment and I’m continuing to learn about their varieties and special needs. This book was a colorful eye-opener on the diverse world of cacti and succulents, and what makes them happy. The contents include cultivating cacti and succulents, common species, and “companion succulents” that are easy to grow for people like me. Author Gideon F. Smith is a past president of the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study and chief executive officer at the South African National Biodiversity Institute, so he knows what he’s talking about. This visually pleasing book of about 200 pages covers more than 140 common species of cacti and succulents. The information includes their scientific names, common names, descriptions, growing conditions, places of origin, location and climates, natural habitats, number of species, and extra notes from the author. The back of the book includes an alphabetical page index for

Countertop Gardens: Easily Grow Kitchen Edibles Indoors for YearRound Enjoyment By Shelley Levis Publisher: Cool Springs Press List price: $22.99 Reviewer: Rosie Kean In this practical guide for growing indoors, Shelley Levis appeals to those who are new to gardening or who think they just can’t garden because they don’t have the space or talent. Levis presents information in a concise manner, making sure to never bog down readers with the intricate science involved in growing plants. Instead, she focuses on covering the basics, such as soil choice, watering, light, and fertilization, before jumping into the fun part: showing what plants you can grow in a countertop garden and how you can grow them. I was amazed that growing indoors does not reduce the variety of plants you can grow by much. Of course, you can stick to more conventional indoor plants like herbs, but you can also grow your own salad mixes, peppers, and onions. You can even grow potatoes in a burlap bag! Throughout the book, Levis weaves in useful background knowledge about gardening, such as the difference between heirloom crops and hybrid crops, and why homegrown food tastes better than store-bought (her main argument here is love). After reviewing all of the possibilities countertop gardening has to offer, Levis moves on to describe many growing devices that are available on the market. From kits to grow your own mushrooms to repurposed wine bottles designed to grow herbs, there is sure to be something that will appeal to you. If continued on page 8 AUGUST 2018

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TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS Book Reviews continued from page 7

DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Events ~ August 2018 • Wednesday, August 15 7:30–9pm Fungi: The Gardener’s BFF This talk will explore the magical world of fungi, their functions, and how they are changing things in your garden. Come and learn about plant-fungi relationships and see the underground world like you have never seen it before. Held at Historic Takoma, Takoma Park, MD. Free. Hosted by the Takoma Hort Club, www.takomahort.org.

you’re like me, then nearly every device Levis mentions seems like a fun and exciting adventure. I do wish the prices for each growing device were mentioned, but it’s not hard to look those up online. For those of you who love DIY-ing, Levis also includes helpful tips for creating your own ideal growing container, as well as how to maintain and harvest your crop. DIY projects include using a mason jar to grow sprouts, upcycling plastic bottles into herb planters, and creating a hanging planter. The troubleshooting section at the end of the book is a great resource for new gardeners who are having difficulty with their new plants. Levis provides a great overview of the most common problems in every stage of plant growth, including germination, seedling growth, and common indoor pests and diseases. She also includes a list of resources that contains every growing device she mentions in the book and her experience with the product. Countertop Gardens is a useful guide to growing indoors. Whether someone is trying gardening for the first time ever or is a seasoned gardener not accustomed to gardening inside, this book will help guide them in the right direction. o Rosie Kean is a senior multiplatform journalism and English major at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is from Macungie, PA. This summer, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener. 8

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• Saturday, August 18, 9:30–11am Plants & Design: Grow a Fruit Tree Whether you have a small or large landscape, there’s always room for a fruit tree or two. Horticulturalist Nancy Olney highlights some unusual fruits like figs, dates, persimmons, and blueberries that you can grow without pesticides. Learn how to care for these plants and optimize fruiting. Take home a rooted cutting from our fig tree to get started. $22/person. Register online at www. fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parktakes using code 290 382 2801 or call 703642-5173. • Saturday, August 18, 10:30am Soup’s On! The Cucumber and Carrot Families Vegetables add flavor, color, texture, essential nutrients, and fiber to our diet. In this summer series of lectures, Todd Brethauer, U.S. Botanic Garden science education volunteer, will cover the major vegetable families, highlighting those growing in the Bartholdi Park Kitchen Garden. Come learn about the evolution, domestication, breeding, cultivation, key nutrients, and challenges of growing cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, carrots, and parsnips, and the many ways we consume them. Free: Pre-registration required, visit www. USBG.gov/Programs. • Wednesday, August 22, 7—8:30pm Succulents with Sparkle Terrarium Workshop We will make a glass terrarium with succulents and add a touch of sparkle to it. All materials are included, as well as care instructions to keep your succulent happy and thriving. No prior gardening experience required—beginners wel-

come! Held at the Catylator Makerspace in the basement level of the World Building in downtown Silver Spring, MD. Register at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3593098. • Saturday, August 25, 7:30am–4pm Irvine Native Plant Seminar and Plant Sale This seminar provides a great opportunity to increase your knowledge about native vegetation, sustainable practices, and the conservation of our regional landscapes. Irvine Nature Center, 11201 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mill, MD. Register online at www.explorenature.org. • Saturday, August 25, 10am–12n Tomato Tasting Join Washington Gardener Magazine at the FreshFarm Market in downtown Silver Spring, MD, for a celebration of everything tomato. Free. • Saturday, August 25, 9am–3pm DelaWILD at Winterthur A special day celebrating nature and the environment in the First State. DelaWILD includes talks, walks, demonstrations, and workshops about topics such as water, wildlife, plant life, and nature in the urban environment. Admission costs $20 for adults and $6 for children ages 2–11. Visit winterthur. org for details. • Saturday and Sunday, August 25-26 33rd Annual Begonia Show and Sale Feast your eyes on this show sponsored by the Potomac branch of the American Begonia Society. Be tempted with splashes of color and shape for homes and greenhouses that last long after frosts have put our outdoor gardens to bed. The sale offers a wide variety of begonias, including subtropical species. Free. Held at Green Spring Gardens. • Sunday, August 26, 9:30am–4:30pm Orchid Diagnostic and Repotting Clinic with Carol Allen Free, but fee for having an orchid repotted. Hosted by Behnke Nurseries, 11300 Baltimore Avenue, Beltsville, MD. Details at www.behnkes.com.


TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Events ~ August 16–September 15, 2018 • Sunday, August 26, 1–2pm Terrariums and You with Tovah Martin With the aid of a terrarium, you can host nature almost anywhere—in your parched apartment or your dim office cubicle. And you can do it beautifully. This lecture shares ideas for transforming everything from vases to cake stands, fishbowls, lemonade pitchers, and cookie jars into terrariums. Held at Homestead Gardens, 522 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, MD. Register at www.homesteadgardens.com. • Thursday, August 30, 12:15pm Stunning Shade Gardens Don’t ignore shady areas in your yard; embrace them! Find out how to assess your level of shade, choose the right plants, and bring together different design elements to create a stunning garden in low light. Free. Meet at the East Walk of the Smithsonian’s Enid A. Haupt Garden. See http://gardens. si.edu. • September 7-9 25th ZNA Potomac Koi Show See some of the finest koi on the East Coast and vendors selling both koi and merchandise. Held at Meadowlark Gardens, Vienna, VA. See ZNAPotomac.org. • Saturday, September 8, 10am–12n Family Garden Day: Pollinators Family Garden Days are monthly classes for all members of the community and their families to join Washington Youth Garden staff in our one-acre fruit and vegetable garden, for a guided, two-hour program. Suggested donation of $5 per individual. Registration required. See www.usna.usda.gov. Held at the U.S. National Arboretum.

Society of America creatively incorporates lemon-flavored herbs into everyday culinary fare. Free, drop-in, no registration required. Held at the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. Details at www.usna.usda.gov. • Wednesday, September 12, 1:00pm Dealing with Deer and Other Mammals in Your Garden Bambi may be cute, but he and the rest of the herd are very hungry and would love to make a feast of your garden. Learn from Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener’s editor, some proven and humane tactics to keep your edible and ornamental gardens safe from deer, rabbits, rats, groundhogs, and other warm-blooded creatures. Fee: $20/$22. Register at https://bit. ly/2MlFt9z.

Save These Future Dates • Friday, August 24; Friday, September 21; and Saturday, September 22 UDC Green Roof Tours The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES), of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), invites you to tour their green roof; hear more about sustainable agriculture from Sandy Farber Bandier, UDC GreenRoof/ Greenhouse Coordinator, and learn about green roof design from David Bell of BELL Architects. Free. Register at https://bit.ly/2vXCdqo.

focusing on bringing together suburban home, school, and community gardeners from across greater Washington, DC, to meet at the crossroads where gardeners of all levels can collaborate and learn from each other. Our goal is to offer a quality informal gardening educational program to a community of gardeners. Attendees will be able to network and find ways to improve their gardening skills via group roundtable discussions, interactive and hands-on workshops, and lots more. Attendees will also have the opportunity to build a diverse and collective network of new kindred spirits of the soil. Held in Waldorf, MD. Register at: https://bit. ly/2vUigkr.

Still More Event Listings

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

How to Submit Local Garden Events

To submit an event for this listing, contact kathyjentz@gmail.com with “Event” in the subject line. Our next deadline is September 1 for the September 2018 issue, for events taking place September 16–October 15. o

• Saturday, September 22 3rd Annual Paw Paw Fest @ Long Creek Homestead See details at www.ecologiadesign.com.

• Saturday, September 8, and Sunday, September 9 FOBG Annual Plant Sale Held at Brookside Gardens.

• Saturday, September 22 AHS Annual Gala Held at the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm, Alexandria, VA. See www.ahsgardening.org

• Saturday, September 8, 1–4pm Under the Arbor: Lemon Herbs A refreshing drink on an early autumn day. Tasty citrus cookies after a light lunch. What could be better? Discover how the South Jersey Unit of the Herb

• Saturday, October 6, 2018 The Stories of Our Gardens: A Fall Gardening Symposium/Expo for Home, Community, and School Gardeners The Stories of our Gardens is an all-day premier suburban gardening forum

Visit DCGardens.com for:

Photos of 16 Local Public Gardens shown in each month of the year.

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TIPStricks

The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) and JK Moving Services are partnering to save Stumptown Woods, an 87-acre piece of land just west of Lucketts, VA, that is home to many native plants and wildlife. JK Moving Services purchased the land for $1 million and put it into a conservation easement. The company will sell the property to the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy for a lower price, and JK Moving and the Kuhn Family Foundation will donate the remaining funds. “Stumptown Woods is a very special property that is worth saving as a natural space. We weren’t able to afford to buy the land, but with the help of JK Moving and the Kuhn family, we will save and preserve this rare wetland, leaving a legacy for future generations,” said Joe Coleman, president of LWC. “Having a local corporate partner that understands the value of conservation is invaluable.” Stumptown Woods is a wetland “at high risk of extinction,” according to the the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The land contains several vernal pools that provide habitat for native species, including wood frogs, spotted salamanders, fairy shrimp, and Jefferson salamanders. The Virginia Wildlife Action plan has described the Jefferson salamander as a “species of greatest conservation need.” Many other unique flora and fauna make their homes in this land, including great horned owls, loggerhead shrikes, and northern pin oaks. Once it has ownership of the land, LWC plans to maintain the natural habitat. The organization also wants to create trails so the public can enjoy the native beauty of Stumptown Woods. “As a company headquartered here, we know how special Loudoun County is. Preserving and protecting our environment will ensure that our communities will be healthier places to live and work. That’s good for our business, employees, and customers,” explained Chuck Kuhn, president and CEO of JK Moving Services. “Our purchase of Stumptown Woods furthers our interest in making meaningful charitable investments and protecting open spaces.” o 10

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Powdery mildew photo courtesy of Melinda Myers, LLC.

Partnership Protects Stumptown Woods

Prevent Powdery Mildew

If you’ve ever noticed a powdery residue on your plants, you probably had a case of powdery mildew. This widespread disease can be prevented by taking a few proactive steps, according to nationally known gardening expert Melinda Myers (www.melindamyers.com). Mildew is most common during hot and arid weather, and it also likes high humidity. Myers cautions gardeners against planting in crowded areas, as well as anywhere damp, shady, or with poor air circulation. Follow the recommended spacing and amount of sun for each of your plants to further reduce the chance of mildew developing. You can also prevent mildew by avoiding plants that are more susceptible to the disease. Some plants have disease-resistant varieties you can opt for instead, such as phlox, lilacs, and bee balm. Another method Myers recommends to fight that pesky mildew is to trim back your plants. Removing a quarter of stems from plants like phlox improves air circulation and sun exposure, making it harder for mildew to establish. For vine-growing crops, such as cucumbers, you can achieve better airflow by using fences or trellises. Myers also advises against using high-volume, nitrogen-rich fertilizer, because it can make plants more susceptible to disease. Using a slowrelease fertilizer with less nitrogen will help prevent this. If these preventative measures aren’t doing the trick, try applying horticultural oils on the infected plant. The oil will cover the plant’s fungal spores and prevent it from spreading. The oil will work best if applied to both sides of leaves and stems. Although mildew is extremely common, a few preventive steps or simple solutions can make a world of difference for your garden. o

End-of-Summer Planting

Summer is going by fast, but there’s still time left to plant some delicious greens in your garden. Kale can be a great and nutritious addition, offering calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C, according to Barbara Melera in Harvesting History’s “Seeding the Future” bulletin. This leafy plant is also well-known for its hardiness in cold weather. In fact, kale becomes sweeter when there are hard frosts, Melera explains. The plant matures in about 75 days. In our region, it is best to plant them in mid- to late- August. Here are some varieties you can try in your garden. • ‘Dinosaur’ kale has dark-green leaves and a mild taste. Also known as ‘Lacinato’ kale, ‘Tuscan’ kale, or ‘Black Palm Tree’ cabbage, the variety is an Italian heirloom. Growing to 2 feet tall with fronds nearly a foot long, this plant also does well in cold and warm weather. • ‘Dwarf Siberian’ kale is a shorter plant than its dinosaur cousin, coming to just about one foot tall when fully grown. The size does not affect its tastiness, though. Melera suggests using kale to make vegetarian lasagna, or sauteeing it in oil to make a delicious side dish. • One of the sweeter varieties, ‘Red Russian’ kale, matures in just 60 days and tolerates the cold very well. Because its leaves are delicate, Melera suggests the plant be eaten as soon as it is harvested. • ‘Vates Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch’ kale is definitely a mouthful to say, but it is also unique because it can be harvested during the winter—even when it’s buried under snow. • If you’re not a huge fan of kale, try planting ‘Bloomsdale Longstanding’ spinach in mid-September. An old favorite, this variety does best when the weather is cool. Melera suggests using straw to protect the plant over winter so it will last into the spring. This spinach will also grow well in pots. o Tips column compiled by Rosie Kean, a senior multiplatform journalism and English major at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is from Macungie, PA. This summer, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.


GARDENnews

Quick Links to Washington Gardener Blog Posts

• Finally Drying Out? • Top 10 Gardening Magazines • DIY: Natural Bug Spray • Garden Books Donated to Brookside Gardens Library See more Washington Gardener blog posts at: WashingtonGardener.blogspot.com o

August-September Garden Task To-Do List

New Plant Spotlight

Primo® ‘Wild Rose’ Coral Bells Heuchera hybrid Larger-than-normal leaves make this new Heuchera a real standout in any shade or sun garden. It stands out from other coral bells with large, bright, rosy-purple leaves with prominent deep charcoal gray veining. Upright, darkburgundy stems hold rosy-pink flowers. Duration: Perennial Garden Height: 8–10 Inches Scape Height: 18–20 Inches Spacing: 26–30 Inches Spread: 26–30 Inches Habit: Mounded Container Role: Filler Light: Part-shade to full shade Maintenance Category: Easy Bloom Time: Mid-summer Hardiness Zones: 4a–9b Water Category: Average, needs good drainage Soil: Average, acidic soil Uses: Border, container, landscape Maintenance Notes: Thrives in partshade but will grow in sun or shade. Plant in humus-rich, well-drained soil. Trim back tattered foliage in early spring. Special Features: Native to North America, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, color change, deer-resistant, drought-tolerant, easy care, foliage interest, multi-season interest, and salttolerant. o Heuchera photos courtesy of Proven Winners.

• It is harvest time and also a good time to start taking stock of what worked well for you this season and what didn’t. • Buy raspberries and peaches at a local pick-your-own farm or visit a local farmer’s market. • Let the lawn go dormant for now; it will green back up in the coming rains. • Check your local garden center for end-of-summer bargains. • If your pond water gets low from prolonged drought, top it off with tap-water and add a dechlorinator according to package instructions. • Wash out birdbaths weekly with diluted bleach solution. • Water thoroughly, especially if you receive no rain for more than seven days. • Turn your compost pile weekly and don’t let it dry out. • Start shopping for spring bulbs. • Divide and cut back Bearded Iris and Peonies. • Check your pond pump for debris and clean it out every few weeks. • Watch for slug damage and set out traps or Sluggo bait. • Check for mosquito breeding grounds. Dump out any water that sits stagnant for more than three days. • Weed and weed some more. • Cut back any leggy Asters or Mums. • Take garden photos and make notes in your garden journal. • Start collecting plant seeds for next year and for trading. • As the days get cooler, plant hardy mums. • Prune evergreens to get in shape for fall/winter. • Hand-pick or cut out any bagworm cocoons. • Harvest your herbs often and keep them trimmed back to encourage leafy growth. Dry them indoors if you can’t use them right away. • Bring Christmas cactus and poinsettias indoors if you took them out for the summer in preparation for holiday blooming. Fertilize them and put them where they’ll get 10 hours’ bright light per day. • Inspect for powdery mildew. If seen, prune back perennials to create needed circulation. Discard properly (i.e., not in your compost bin). • Clean your hummingbird feeders and add new sugar-water every three days. • Renew your container plantings, which may be looking a bit ragged at this point. Pinch back overgrown plants. Pull out any spent ones and pop in some substitute annuals or mums. Keep them well-watered and add a little liquid fertilizer every few weeks to keep them going through early autumn. • Switch your deer deterrent spray. • Start seeds for fall annuals such as pansy, calendula, and kale. • Plant fall crops such as Chinese cabbage, lettuce, radish, mustard, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, turnips, and beets. • Order garlic, onions, and shallots for fall planting. • Attend a county fair and enter some of your garden bounty. • Preserve gourds and dry flowers for display in the fall. • Apply grub control to your lawn. • Divide Hostas and Daylilies. • Deadhead garlic chives before they go to seed. They make nice cut flowers. o AUGUST 2018

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HORThaenings Washington Gardener Magazine hosted a table and handed out a back issue of the magazine that included a feature article on Kenilworth and tips for growing your first waterlily.

Squash Fest

Garlic Fest at the Takoma Park Farmers Market

On Sunday, July 22, the Takoma Horticultural Club hosted the Garlic Fest at the Takoma Park Farmers Market. Attendees gathered to celebrate all things garlic. There were recipe tastings, garlic tattoos, talks from Tony “the Garlic Guy” Sarmiento, and even roasted garlic gelato! Everyone was reminded why planting garlic is so beneficial, easy, and fun. It takes very little effort to grow garlic, not to mention that deer don’t eat it. The three-hour fest also included a Takoma Garlic “recipe trail” where attendees discovered dishes like pestoand-mozzarella croissant and garlic fried pork at local Takoma Park, MD restaurants.

On July 26, ECO City Farms hosted its first Squash Fest at its farm in Edmonston, MD. Community members and volunteers gathered to enjoy some live music and homemade squash dishes featuring squash grown at the farm. Visitors were able to walk around the growing areas, and a tour of the farm was offered shortly after the meal was finished.

the Anacostia River, into Washington, DC’s first elevated public park. It will be a one-of-a-kind civic space for education, recreation, and the arts. The goal of the Anacostia Watershed Society, is to make the river fishable and swimmable by 2025, by staying committed to cleaning the water, restoring the shore, and honoring the heritage of the Anacostia River.

Montgomery County Farm Tour Weekend 2018 Basil Bonanza

Kenilworth Festival

On Saturday July 1, the annual Lotus and Waterlily Festival celebrated the unique beauty and symbolism of the sacred lotus flower. Rain did not stop attendees from making it to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to take pictures, tour the water garden, and enjoy live entertainment. Dancers and musicians performed on the “Lotus Stage,” and experts gave informative talks about the symbolism of the sacred lotus in Buddhism. There was also an area to make colorful paper lotus flowers out of traditional Korean rice paper and rice glue. 12

WASHINGTON GARDENER AUGUST 2018

The 9th Annual Basil Bonanza took place on August 3 at the Marion Street Intergenerational Garden in the Shaw neighborhood of DC. Hosted by City Blossoms, the potluck featured a variety of basil-themed dishes and making floral headbands with flowers cut fresh from the garden.

11th Street Bridge Park Preview Talk

On July 11, Scott Kratz, director of the 11th Street Bridge Park, and Jim Foster, president of the Anacostia Watershed Society, spoke at the Montgomery Parks Speaker Series. The two civic leaders are pioneering plans directed at restoring, revitalizing, and reconnecting the DC community with the Anacostia River. The 11 Street Bridge Park will transform an old freeway bridge, spanning

Montgomery County’s 29th Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale was held on the weekend of July 28 and 29 and featured 19 farms. Each farm had different activities, such as hay rides, petting zoos, and music. Some were selling fresh produce and flowers. Tusculum Farm, the tour’s new addition this year, offered rock painting, yoga, and an essential oils class by dōTerra. o This issue’s “HortHappenings” were compiled by Rosie Kean and Racquel Royer. Both are editorial interns at Washington Gardener. See photos from events listed here, as well as many more photo albums of recent local garden events attended by our staff, at the Washington Gardener Facebook Page: facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine. Recent albums include pictorials from the Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit. Click on the PHOTOS tab, then select from the ALBUMS listed.


PRODUCTreview

by Louise Clarke

Insects are visiting your garden this summer, adding the lilting flight of bejeweled butterflies, pollinating honeybees, and droning bumblebees. While those fellas aren’t pesky, a few bad actors can make you miserable. Gnats, mosquitos, no-see-ums, and biting flies can drive you to distraction, or worse yet, back inside the house. Insect repellants certainly work, and compounds vary from those muscular formulas containing DEET to kinder, gentler options, containing plant-based botanical oils such as citronella, cedar, geraniol, lemongrass, and rosemary. A different and complementary strategy to thwart insects is to use physical barriers. Long sleeves and pants provide superior protection, but what about your head and neck? Every day, I typically work in buggy places—meadows, woods, and near water. I’ve found mosquito head nets, or “gnat hats,” to be lifesavers, especially when I tire of applying DEET cologne. Of the several I’ve tried, all work, by keeping bugs at a distance, but during my field work, I’ve found a clever new favorite among the tried-and-true. Military surplus websites are a good place to find options. New and used mosquito head nets are usually avail-

able—in olive drab, of course. Some are made to fit over or under a helmet or hat, and feature an elasticized neck opening to minimize entry by the unseen enemy. The netting is nylon, as may be the cap. Sometimes cotton is used for the cap, and either configuration is easily hand-washable. The netting is fine enough to filter out gnats, and also diffuses sunlight. The Texsport head net I recently tried had an adjustable interior elastic band that snugged to the head. A flexible, thin wire sewn into the lower portion kept the netting away from my face, and rested on my shoulders. Even on hot days, this was surprisingly comfortable, and I didn’t need to wear sunglasses. It performed well on my jungle missions. Similarly, the U.S. military surplus head net has held up to multiple summers of tall-grass mowing and bushwhacking. It doesn’t have a brand name; just a paper tag with some numbers. I’ve never washed it, and the mesh is surprisingly tough, although a close encounter with thorny thickets did result in minor netting tears. Womanswork offers a third option at www.womanswork.com. The genius of this head net version is that it’s open at the top, so that its elasticized opening

Marianne Willburn wearing the Womanswork head net in her Lovettsville, VA, garden.

Debugging the Garden: Wearable Mosquito Nets

fits over any hat—baseball cap to sombrero. It has an adjustable drawstring opening at the bottom, so you can vary the opening from covering your shoulders to cinching around your neck. The netting is black, allowing great visibility and eliminating reflection. Another benefit of this version is that there are no wires or frame, so you can roll it into a ball or stuff it in a pocket when its not needed. The net has enough length and weight that it settles on your shoulders, forming a bug-proof seal. It’s easily washable, and again, no need for sunglasses. During a recent visit to a friend’s garden in Virginia, my thoughtful hostess handed these out so guests could walk the garden without being swarmed by clouds of gnats. After a brief tutorial from the resident gardener, we donned our gnat hats and enjoyed a pest-free garden walk. Our hands were free to point and gesture, rather than swat. If you’re looking for these now, you’ll have to wait until September 2018, when Womanswork will be restocked. Besides gardening use, any of these gnat hats would be great to carry along on camping trips or during hikes. For children, wearing these would be a simple, chemical-free way to provide biting bug relief, although peer pressure might be a hindrance for tweens and teens. For grass cutting and string trimming, these can be worn to provide an additional barrier against flying debris. For this activity, you need to wear safety glasses for maximum protection. Adding a head net to your gardening wardrobe is an inexpensive, lightweight, and chemical-free way to thwart those unwanted flying pests. You can complete your gardening tasks in comfort and make those no-see-ums seek a meal elsewhere when you’re wearing a gnat hat. o Louise Clarke is a degreed horticulturist employed by the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, PA, where she tends more than 1,200 woody plants and two green roofs, as well as leading workshops, writing, and lecturing on horticultural topics. As a zonedenial gardener, she tends Halcyon, her lush home garden—a mixture of tender tropicals, bulbs, perennials, unusual annuals, and vines. She rarely has time to admire the garden while seated in her home-made tiki hut. AUGUST 2018

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SPECIALfeature

Meditation Gardens: Places of Healing, Solace, and Reflection By Rosie Kean

Gardens can serve many functions in our lives. Esthetically, gardens can be very beautiful. Their trees can provide us shade; a place of respite on a hot, summer day. Some offer us food to eat; they might also offer a source of income for a few. Maybe gardening is not your job, but your hobby—an act that brings you joy. In addition to all these wonderful purposes, gardens can be a powerful place for meditation. Throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, there are several gardens that are great for a quiet escape from the bustling world.

A Ravine for Healing

The ravine, or healing garden, of the Green Road Project lies in the midst of a sprawling campus at Naval Support Activity, Bethesda, MD, home of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The area seems to be a world apart from its busy surroundings. In actuality, the path that leads to the ravine is accessible from the residential facilities at the military base. Sheltered by towering trees, the space becomes ruled by nature. Fallen trees from storms are often left where they fall. It is not uncommon to see a group of deer along the stream that coincides with the path. The nearby buildings disappear, and there is a quiet that only happens when you find yourself immersed in a natural environment. Funded partially by a grant from the 14

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TKF Foundation and sponsored by The Institute for Integrative Health, this project was created to help heal veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other brain injuries by filling in the gaps conventional medicine can’t reach, said Frederick Foote, project administrator. By combining holistic and conventional medicine, Foote hopes to find a cure for PTSD. “War is wild. PTSD is wild, so you have to have something wild to heal it,” explained Foote, who is also a retired Navy captain and neurologist. Some scientists are skeptical of holistic methods because it is difficult to show the effects of nature on the healing process, but Foote said part of the project’s research is developing metrics that will show these effects. “We had to just trust in the healing power of nature with minimal enhancement or alteration, so it was really a journey, a big leap of trust, to believe we could do just that and have it work,” Foote said. “The indications are it does work.” To achieve an area to promote healing, several structures were built, said Jack Sullivan, a landscape architect for the project and associate professor at

the University of Maryland. A communal platform, commemorative pavilion, and council ring of five large stones are placed throughout the garden, but the majority of the space is left in nature’s hands. “Those little spaces become a way for the garden to become distinctive and memorable,” Sullivan said. He believes nature can help people connect with something outside themselves, which can be a very rewarding experience. “You can get out of yourself when you’re out in nature, and you can stop worrying about all the things that make you crazy in life,” Sullivan said. “That alone can help the healing process.” As of now, access the Green Road, requires applying with the base or asking one of the project’s team members, but Foote hopes that does not remain the case. The team is working to make it easier for nature-lovers to experience the garden, he said. Foote wants the Green Road to serve as a model for other military hospitals to follow. Other people can also benefit from the healing effects of nature, such as inmates, urban populations, and communities under stress, he added. “In many cases, nature can be the


SPECIALfeature answer for healing the stresses of modern life,” Foote said. The ravine also features benches with weatherproof journals for visitors to write in. Flipping through those pages, it becomes easy to see the power the Green Road has to offer. “I sit here in awe enjoying the sounds of nature,” one service member writes. “As I am listening, I can’t help but think about all of my fallen brothers, warriors who wait in Valhalla for me to join them. I am blessed to be able to still breathe, think, live and love.”

A Space for Reflection

While the Green Road isn’t open to the public yet, other gardens offer similar quiet spaces and are easier to access. Next to the Memorial Chapel at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD, is the Garden of Reflection and Remembrance, another project that the TKF Foundation helped fund. The entrance to the garden is to the left of the front of the chapel, where you can find a path that guides you through the area. Near the entrance is a rectangular fountain surrounded by three benches, as well as vibrant foliage and colorful flowers. While the space is often used by university students, staff, and faculty, other people in the community enjoy the garden just as much. Community service events that center on gardening are also held. “The goal of the garden is to provide a lovely and comforting setting that feels inclusive of all people on campus,” said Karen Petroff, assistant director of arboretum/horticultural services at the University of Maryland. A container filled with stones sits by the labyrinth’s entrance for visitors to mindfully take and leave at the center of the winding path. Like the Green Road, this garden also has benches with journals for visitors to write down their thoughts, concerns, wishes, or just about anything else. A contemplative labyrinth lies at the end of the garden. Inspired by a community outpouring after 9/11, this garden was dedicated nine years later in 2010. At the time of the attacks, the community needed support, Petroff said. “It became apparent that a garden—a

place of healing, a place of solace, a place of reflection—was very much needed on campus,” she said. The garden has a strong focus on community and remembrance, Petroff added. “This is where the community comes to remember—that unity in such a beautiful spot can be so healing in and of itself.”

A Place for Peace

The gardens at the Franciscan Monastery contain beautiful foliage and flowers, in addition to walking paths and various seating areas, that make for a peaceful getaway. The sprawling garden has several spots appropriate for meditation, one of which is the insect and butterfly garden. Located through the portico to the right of the church, this terrace is bordered by pollinator-friendly plants. Four benches sit near a rectangular pond that has lily pads and an abundance of koi fish. Watching the orange-, black-, and white-speckled koi fish gracefully swim underneath the shade of the trees is a relaxing experience. If you go to the gardens soon, you might even see a waterlily in bloom. Next to the pond area is a path that winds throughout the remaining garden on this side. The path will guide you to various religious statues, monuments, and replicas of holy sites. At the end of an offshoot from the trail, a peace monument with “May Peace Prevail On Earth” written in different languages stands in the center of a small stone circle. The main path will continue downward to a lower level of the garden, shrouded by the branches of large magnolia trees and crape myrtles. This is where the replica of the Grotto of Lourdes is located. Opposite the grotto is a rock-enclosed circle with rose bushes and another statue. Several benches facing the grotto sit on either side, offering another place for quiet reflection.

A Spot for Community

If you stumbled across the meditation garden in Petworth, you probably wouldn’t think much of it at first glance. The small triangular park, located at Kansas Avenue and Quincy Street NW,

opened in June as the district government’s first meditation garden. It is pretty nondescript, yet there is beauty in simplicity, and the tiny garden can be just as useful for meditation as any other. “The Petworth Meditation Garden is an example of how we can transform a small space into a tremendous community amenity,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser in a press release. “We thank the community for working with us to create such a unique and innovative space.” Nestled in a neighborhood of colorful houses and only slightly removed from the noise of the streets, the garden is a perfect place for people-watching or to write in a journal. The park features permeable pavement, in addition to block structures and a circular monument for sitting and relaxing.

A Garden for Tradition

Within Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA, is the Korean Bell Garden, an area designed and maintained with Korean tradition in mind. A magnificent gateway borders the garden, showcasing the beautiful woodwork also seen in the rest of the landscape. Four Korean totem poles (“jangseung”), which are supposed to ward off evil spirits, and gatekeeper statues called “Dol Hareubangs” can also be found in the garden. Influenced by elements like feng shui and containing several plants native to Korea, the garden’s beauty helps visitors connect with nature and other cultures. The pathway will eventually lead you to a large bell housed underneath the Grand Pavilion, a traditional Korean pavilion that is built without nails. Called the Bell of Peace and Harmony, it symbolizes hope, prosperity, and peace among people of all communities With its rich tradition and beauty, the Korean Bell Garden is another great place to go for quiet meditation, find a connection with nature and other people, or just enjoy a nice day. o Rosie Kean is a senior multiplatform journalism and English major at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is from Macungie, PA. This summer, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

AUGUST 2018

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CHEFgardens

Feeding Bodies and Growing Communities: Centrolina Partners with DC UrbanGreens By Ana Hurler

Centrolina photo by Greg Powers.

Centrolina’s unique partnership with DC UrbanGreens not only supplies produce for the restaurant, but also helps the nonprofit satisfy its mission of providing fresh food for the community. DC UrbanGreens has two urban farms, one in Ward 7 and another in Ward 8, that use underused space to grow produce for the surrounding community and help alleviate food insecurity. The organization aims to increase awareness and provide education to residents. “The passion is really driven by youth and making sure that—in just a holistic way—they’re being nourished,” said community outreach director Annie Li. “We all strongly believe that feeding yourself well leads to a healthy mind.” A couple of friends founded the nonprofit in 2013, and it has continued to expand and involve more of the community. It receives most of its funding from grants, which allows the organization to hire local residents and distribute produce. “There’s kind of two sides to the organization,” Li said. “There’s growing the food, and every day that can lead to different challenges, and then there’s 16

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also getting the food out to the people, which can also be very challenging.” The food they grow is based on what the community wants, which helps them have more significant engagement in the area, Li added. Centrolina is the only restaurant, and for-profit organization they sell to. After initially connecting last September, DC UrbanGreens and Amy Brandwein, the owner and chef of Centrolina, established a partnership consisting of weekly produce drop-offs. “Chef Amy at Centrolina is the only for-profit organization we partner with, which is special for us and a really cool thing we get to do,” said program director Avery Snipes. “It was never part of the vision.” “I was thrilled because I felt like it was really important to support our local economy,” said Brandwein. “I was really, really, really excited to be able to have a partnership with the farming community and residents of Washington, DC.” Brandwein added that she thinks organizations such as DC UrbanGreens are the future of growing fresh food in urban areas, and not only providing

it to residents, but also getting them involved in the process. “I think what they’re doing in terms of using land that wasn’t used before, converting it, and growing things, not only serves the community in terms of giving them access to local produce, but also helps improve the overall well-being of communities,” Brandwein said. “And it puts people to work in our city. I like the fact that my dollars go to residents of Washington.” At Centrolina, patrons will find an Italian market with a bakery, pastry shop, barista bar, wine shop, and Italian Osteria, in addition to the restaurant. All of the produce is bought from local farms, and everything the chefs get is made available to shoppers as well, said Brandwein. “Essentially, the idea is that I wanted to buy the best products, not only for myself for the restaurant, but also for consumers,” she said. DC UrbanGreens drops off about 50 pounds of produce per week, depending on the climate and time of year. Right now, the bounty consists of chard, arugula, turnips, lettuce, and tomatoes. This amount of produce only supple-


CHEFgardens ments the restaurant’s total needs, and Snipes said Brandwein lets them be creative with what they grow and send over. “We grow our food based on kind of a cultural demand,” Snipes said. “For the market, if you put a funky-looking anything out there, no one’s going to buy it, but with Chef Amy, she’s like ‘the weirder, the uglier, the better.’” “It’s rare to find partnerships that are so flexible and understanding,” Li added. To maintain this flexibility, Brandwein said she does not really plan anything in advance when creating dishes. “It really just depends on what’s going on that day, but certainly what they have available is what I’ll put in the dishes,” she said. Through this partnership, DC UrbanGreens has been able to expand the scope of their mission and continue to grow. There are still occasional setbacks, such as the lack of funding for a fence to keep deer out, but Snipes said they are humbled to have had such a great year already. Regardless, she maintains that serving their neighbors’ need for food will always be the top priority. “We’re also really grateful because even though that’s a revenue generator for us, Chef Amy is still meeting our mission,” Snipes said. “She loves the local movement, she loves what we’re doing on our farm, and she’s really involved in the mission of this.” Brandwein acknowledged the importance of farming locally, and said that she hopes to continue to spread the word about possibilities like her partnership with DC UrbanGreens to improve the overall community. “I just think that as a chef, as a business owner in Washington, as somebody who likes helping people who are in need, this is one of the most important things I can do in terms of how I direct my spending, how I can tell the story, and influence by exposing customers to the fact that we have a farm in DC that’s only 5 miles away,” Brandwein said. o Ana Hurler is a senior multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland, College Park. She was an intern with Washington Gardener during the summer of 2017.

Chef Recipe Chef Amy Brandwein graciously shared her recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi with Swiss Chard, Brown Butter, and Hazelnuts. For the gnocchi: 3.5 cups Ricotta 2 whole eggs 2 egg whites 1 cup pasta flour 1 cup Swiss chard 1 pinch fresh grated nutmeg In boiling salted water, cook the Swiss chard and place in ice water. Drain the water immediately and dry well. Chop into very small pieces. Mix all the ingredients by hand, in a mixing bowl. Roll into 1 inch balls and place dough on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper and a bit of flour. For the sauce: 8 tablespoons butter 4 sage leaves ¼ cup Parmesan cheese Heat a pot of water to boiling and add salt. In a sauté pan over low heat, warm butter and add sage leaves. Continue warming until light brown in color. Cook the gnocchi in boiling salted water until they float to the surface, drain, and add to the sauce. Add ¼ cup parmesan cheese and 1 small ladle of cooking water. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss very well, adding a touch of butter and extra virgin olive oil to incorporate. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and hazelnuts, and serve hot.

Y ou Can Make a Difference. . . by

Sharing Your Harvest

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 www.gardenwriters.org/par for more information. AUGUST 2018

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EDIBLEharvt

by Elizabeth Olson

Lemongrass is a frost-tender member of the grass family. It is popular for its strongly lemon-scented leaves and is propagated by seeds or division. The plant is perennial in warm climates, but must be treated as an annual or grown as an indoor-outdoor plant in the Mid-Atlantic growing region. The two most widely available species of lemongrass are Cymbopogon flexuosus and C. citratus, with the latter touted as being superior for culinary purposes. A number of garden centers and many seed companies offer seeds or starter plants. Both species are bunching grasses. They produce clumps of plants that have narrow, arching, medium-green leaves that can grow 3 feet long and bend downward near their tips. A mature planting of lemongrass is ornamental and has a fountain-like appearance. At the base of each lemongrass plant, the leaves swell, and generally become pale, crisp, and tightly wrapped, and form a rather bulbous shape. Markets usually separate lemongrass clumps into individual plants, trim the free-flowing part of their leaves short, and label them as lemongrass stalks. It is the fleshy stalks that are most often used in cooking. 18

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Culinary Uses

The lemony flavor from lemongrass is used commercially to make lemon candy, and gardener cooks will find that this herb does have a flavor more like the candy than a lemon fruit. Lemongrass is used in Asian cuisine, including soups, sauces, curries, and stir-fried dishes. It can also be adapted for use in American-style condiments such as Herbed Butter Balls with Lemongrass (see the recipe on page 19). The leaves are trimmed and the roots are removed before the stalks are sliced and cooked. Two to four of the outermost leaves of each stalk tend to be tough all the way to the roots and can be discarded when a stalk is prepared for cooking. The inner leaves are tender and moister at the base of the stalk and are usually prepared by being finely chopped. Larger pieces can be removed from a dish after imparting flavor and fragrance. The upper parts of the leaves are tough and relatively dry, but they can provide lots of flavor and fragrance. Folded or cut leaves can be tied in bundles and added to dishes, such as oven-roasted chicken with mixed homegrown vegetables, and removed later.

Lemongrass photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at RareSeeds.com.

Lemongrass: How to Grow and Use It

Growing, Harvesting, and Preserving Lemongrass

It takes an entire growing season for lemongrass to become sufficiently established to produce surplus plants for harvesting. That makes container growing with indoor-outdoor culture the most-useful and economical option. Containers for long-term growing should have drainage holes, be tall, and have a minimum diameter of 10 inches. In warm weather, the plants grow best outdoors in full sun. Optimum results are obtained when the potting medium is kept evenly moist and the plants are fertilized with an organic vegetable fertilizer. Exposed potting medium should be lightly mulched to prevent crusting until the plant produces enough clumps to fill the surface area of the container. Lemongrass-filled containers are handy and attractive on a deck or porch near the kitchen. Alternatively, the pots can be placed in a kitchen garden and sunk about three-quarters of the way up their sides and lifted when the weather starts to cool in autumn. Plants can be harvested one at a time as needed during the growing season. They can be clipped off at the soil line. Harvested plants that are not consumed immediately can be kept in a vase of water, with the water changed daily, for a few days. The green leaves should be cut short. Although lemongrass stalks and smaller pieces can be preserved by being dehydrated, a lot of flavor will be lost. The best way to preserve lemongrass is to freeze a prepared dish. The quickest way to propagate lemongrass is to divide healthy, established clumps, which are easily separated. Lemongrass will form clumps with several plants each in warm weather. Crowded pots may even have connected plants that sit above the soil line. The leaves of plants in newly divided clumps can be cut back about 50%. New leaves will be produced as soon as the roots of the divisions become established. Lemongrass plants are unlikely to bloom, much less produce seeds, in the local area. Seedlings must come from purchased seeds.


EDIBLEharvt

Lemongrass in Winter

Plantings that are grown to a large size, with many clumps, during the summer will have the most success in overwintering in a house. The plants need to be acclimated to indoor conditions before being moved indoors near the end of the growing season: The pots should be placed inside at night and moved outside during the day for several days in a row. Lemongrass has to be watered throughout the winter and will survive reasonably well in a warm room with bright light and added humidity, such as that provided by a whole-house humidifier. Even so, overwintered plants will probably show a significant amount of dieback, which can be removed in spring. This herb is one of the most interesting and decorative of the culinary herbs. Its refreshing flavor and beauty make it worth the wait for it to bounce back year after year. o Elizabeth Olson is a Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist. She is also an avid home gardener who is fascinated by the plants that she grows. She can be contacted through Washington Gardener magazine.

Herbed Butter Balls with Lemongrass

Courtesy of Jo-Anne van den BergOhms of John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds at KitchenGardenSeeds. com. Recipe adapted. It may sound strange, but these Herbed Butter Balls are a real lifesaver in the kitchen for all of us short-order cooks. There is no end to the clever combinations one can make to assist weeknight cooking. Ingredients: • Unsalted butter, room temperature • Garlic, minced • Ginger root, grated • Coriander, freshly ground • Finely chopped herbs: ‘Siam Queen’ basil, chives, cilantro, and lemongrass Directions: In a medium mixing bowl, whip butter until soft and creamy. Add your favorite combinations of finely chopped herbs, freshly ground coriander, and minced garlic or finely grated ginger root, and mix to blend. Refrigerate until almost firm. By spoonfuls, roll the herbed butter mixture into little balls and place on a cookie sheet with sides and freeze until solid. Once frozen, remove from the cookie sheet and freeze in airtight, plastic freezer bags, labeled by flavor and dated. Use as you like to pan-sear scallops and fish or to deglaze skillets after preparing swordfish steaks, salmon, or boneless chicken breasts: Then add snow peas, asparagus tips, roasted bell peppers, or whatever vegetables you have on hand to create spontaneous and easy masterpieces. Make sure to create enough herbed butter to use for warm bread over the winter.

Lemongrass photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at RareSeeds.com.

Another way of obtaining culinaryquality lemongrass plants is to buy fresh lemongrass stalks at a grocery store. Gardener cooks should scout for fresh, firm stalks that have obvious roots or root nodules since harvesters often cut them part way up each base. The stalks should be placed in 1 inch of water—just enough to cover each base—in a short, wide vase or tumbler on a brightly lit kitchen counter. The water has to be changed daily. Once the roots are growing well and the plants start to produce new leaves, each plant can be gently transferred to an individual 4- to 5-inch diameter plastic pot with drainage holes and filled with a sterile potting medium. It is beneficial for the containers to be placed on a heavy-duty horticultural heat mat and the plants grown indoors in bright light until the weather is reliably warm in spring. The plants can be transplanted to larger containers outside when roots can be seen in the drainage holes.

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NEIGHBORnwork

Meet Kelly Billing: Water Gardener, Consultant, and Artist

Responses edited for length and clarity.

By Racquel Royer I met up with renowned water gardener Kelly Billing at the Waterlily and Lotus Festival, held at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on July 22, where she displayed dried lotus pods and magnificent pieces of artwork made from dried lotus leaves. Kelly recently started her own business, Water Becomes a Garden (www.waterbecomesagarden.com), in Forest Hill, MD, where she provides water gardening consultations, manages projects, and creates beautiful artwork. She is the coauthor of The Lotus: Know It and Grow It and The Water Gardener’s Bible. She also writes for various water gardening publications. Billing speaks often horticultural societies, and garden clubs.

about the lawn, and my mom was all about the garden. As a child, I would learn all the plants in the forest. When I got older, I worked in corporate America and I hated it. I remember every spring, on the first warm day, how difficult it was to reenter a stagnant building full of humming machines. I knew at that point that I wasn’t cut out for being inside all day. Coincidentally, my uncle was starting a nursery. Kurt Bluemel was a family friend and he gave my uncle a small space to start a water plant nursery in the 1980s. I went up there one Saturday and asked if he needed help. I worked for bologna sandwiches the first year and it eventually grew into a sustainable business.

How did you get into water gardening? As gardeners, many of us spent our childhood outside. As a child I spent my time in the woods. We transplanted wildflowers, trees, and shrubs from the forest. From the youngest age I could remember, we had a fish pond. We built a pond with a concrete saucer and we had a couple of goldfish in it. I can’t remember a house where we didn’t garden or have a small pond. Our back yard was a reservoir. My dad was all

What projects are you working on? I’m all over the place, but that happens to creative people! I just finished a project at the FDA. It involved 530 waterlilies. I worked with someone from the federal government and a local contractor, and we built and planted three pools, each lined on both sides with 8 feet of waterlilies. Something that has always been important to me is having plants as the focus of the water feature. Often, contractors build ponds, and

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stone work is the focus. If you’re really going to incorporate plants as a focal point, you need to plan ahead. I also wanted this waterlily display to have a representation of what’s happened in hybridization over time. It ended up with orange and purple because the purple waterlily hadn’t existed until more recently. It was a bit of an art project, rather than just a waterlily pool. Plants are instrumental in improving water quality and providing shade and cover for all forms of wildlife, from worms, to dragonflies. If plants are an afterthought, some of that habitat isn’t accounted for. If the end goal is to have a complete ecosystem, planning for plants is critical to the end goal. One of the other things that we work on is using plants for nutrient removal— taking toxic environments and making them into healthy ecosystems. I started out in the mid-1980s not knowing much about water gardening. My mentors were from the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (www.iwgs.org). I started as a plant geek. Everything I do, even the waterlily pool at the FDA, I planted to be self-sustainable. There’s no circulation or filtra-


NEIGHBORnwork tion, so my approach has always been from a plant perspective. What are your tips for a first-time water gardener? Anything in your garden should be planted away from your house, so you can enjoy that time outside. There is so much life that occurs when you add water. For example, before I had a reasonably sized pond of my own, I asked my son, when he was about 5, if he knew what “build it and they will come” meant. Everything in my garden hinged around the first thing I planted. In the middle of my bare backyard, I buried a container that was just 12 inches deep and I grew a lotus in it, and every day we would sit and watch this lotus pool in the middle of the yard, attract life. In 14 days, we had 14 things. He said, “I get it, mom.” That is an example of the abundance of life that comes from just the placement of water. You want to have that as part of your thought process. I see people looking for the “best” filter and things like that, but, you can do it without those things. I think ponds are personality-driven and you must understand what you want out of it before you can address what it is you have. If it’s color, that would be a different answer from if it’s peace and serenity. Is it zero maintenance or a modern koi pond? If fish are what you’re after, the answer will be different from if color is the answer. How much do you want to invest in it? What’s your style and what makes you happy? Do you have children? Is it a place where you’re going to seek refuge, or do you just want the sound? It’s not the same answer for everyone. What should I avoid at all costs? Start with things that are easy. If you start with something that is difficult and you fail, then you didn’t have a good experience. There are plants and waterlilies that are easier to grow. There are some that if you look at them wrong, they don’t live, and there are some that are durable, and sturdy, and prolific, even in the worst conditions. Being successful is the most important. Right plant, right place. Don’t take on too much.

My most frequently asked question is why doesn’t my waterlily bloom any more? The answer is usually because it’s in the same pot you bought it in! Waterlilies need space. If you buy it in a 10-inch pot, you should account for giving it at least 16 inches. They grow across the surface, so you want to make sure you have adequate room for the foliage. Also, you must learn to think like a plant to know what a plant needs, and each plant has a different mission. You must provide for its needs. What is its happy place?

What are some specific water garden plants that do well here? In every category of plants, there are some that are easier to care for and more reliable. Knowing those varieties comes from having a source like a garden center that has someone in their employment who can lead you there. There are always rare collector plants and then there are plants like hostas. You can’t mess it up with a hosta. In every plant family, there are those that are easy and low-maintenance. One of my favorite waterlilies is always ‘Colorado’. It tolerates lower light, it blooms like crazy, it’s part pink and part yellow, and even in the worst conditions, it’s a great performer. There are many others. ‘Pink Sensation’ stays open later. There are some better suited to an earth pond, and some better suited to a small pond. My suggestion is to rely on someone who knows. There are some lotuses that are magnificent, but they have a good year and then a bad year. Some people are willing to deal with that, but start easy. Start with the ones that are shallow water. There’s pickerel weed and miniature cattails. There are hundreds of choices. Try to cover the seasons. Have things that bloom in the spring and some that are abundant in the late summer, like one of my favorite sturdy plants: the rain lily. It starts flowering in August and September, when all the other plants are tired. From the heat of the day, their sunny little faces just appear.

Can you tell me more about your artwork? One year, my coauthor went to Thailand and brought me back a cardboard box wrapped in a lotus leaf that was painted red and gold. I was so captivated by it, because lotus leaves get very crispy when they’re dry. Having an art background, I wanted to know how to do it immediately, but it was a Thai trade secret. I began to experiment by drying lotus leaves and testing the best way to dry them, attach them, and paint them. It took me years. It’s a continuous process but I apply anywhere from three to eight layers of color and I only use metallic paint. I’ll attach them to anything. I find It to be extremely therapeutic. I use metallic paint because the layering effect highlights the texture of the leaves. It accentuates the natural beauty of the leaf, and the veins. The lotus flower just isn’t like anything else. Would you like to say anything else to our readers about water gardening? As water gardeners, and people who are captivated by lotus and waterlilies, there is something among us that’s infectious. We have a Facebook page that we call “About the Lotus” and we have a section that’s called “Spread the Joy of Lotus.” In spreading our passion, we’re sharing the magic. It’s why we all do what we do. I think that’s a good place to see how a plant can bring unity from all nationalities and all parts of the world. o Racquel Royer is a senior studying broadcast journalism in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. This summer, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener. AUGUST 2018

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KNOWitall

Ask the Expert

to the ground. This year, many of the leaves are spotted. What is causing this and what should I be doing for this tree?

Fall Edible Garden Chores

It is not unusual for mature river birch trees to drop leaves throughout the summer season. During dry periods, interior leaves will yellow and shed in reaction to being too dry. Fungal leaf spots can be a problem during wetter times. This summer, we have had a combination of both conditions. Neither of these defoliations are cause for concern for the health of the tree, but many consider this tree “messy” because of the leaf drop. Regardless, river birch is a native tree that has many other positive qualities and should still be planted.

by Debra Ricigliano

This is my first successful year growing vegetables in my backyard garden. Planning ahead, what should I do to put the garden to bed in the fall after the last harvest? If you have not already done so, perform a soil test (soil test and cover crop information can be found at http://extension.umd.edu/hgic). The fall is a good time to add soil amendments. Doing so provides a head start on planting next season. An important task is clearing weeds and cleaning up old plant debris. This helps prevent diseases and pests from overwintering. Cover the bare soil after doing this to prevent soil erosion and help keep weeds down over the winter. Consider planting a living cover crop. Popular fall-planted cover crops include oats, winter rye, winter wheat, crimson clover, and hairy vetch. They should be planted by mid-October. Another option is to cover the soil with shredded leaves, which can be turned into the soil in early spring or you can plant right through them.

Sod Edges Rolled Back

About a month ago, I had sod planted in my front yard. Recently, near the edges of the driveway, the sod has been rolled back in places. This happens overnight. Something is trying to get to the soil underneath. What could possibly be doing this? Most likely the culprit is a hungry raccoon. They have a varied diet, but will feed on earthworms, grubs, and other soil-dwelling insects. Using their front paws, they flip the sod to expose the soil, looking for a snack. Newly laid sod with shallow roots makes this an easy process. This behavior should not continue for too much longer. Roll back the sod and make sure it is properly watered to help it take root.

Tasteless Blueberries

What would cause my blueberries to be rather tasteless this summer? I never tested or amended the soil before I planted them a few years ago. Could it be that the soil is deficient in something?

River Birch Foliage Issues For the second year in a row, my large river birch has shed about 25% of its leaves. They turn yellow and then fall 22

WASHINGTON GARDENER AUGUST 2018

First of all, make sure that you are not picking too early. Berries turn blue three to four days before they attain maximum sweetness and flavor. Do not pick berries with a reddish tinge—they are underripe and will not ripen after picking. Heavy rainfall days before harvesting can increase water content, causing the fruits not to be as sweet as normal. Amending the soil will not help with

flavor. However, we encourage you to test the soil for pH and nutrient deficiencies so your blueberry plants will be as healthy as possible. o Debra Ricigliano is a Certified Professional Horticulturist. She has worked as a horticulture consultant for the University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center since 1997. She is a graduate of the Institute of Applied Agriculture at UMCP and a talented, all-around horticulturist. Debra enjoys gardening at her home in Highland, MD. To ask a gardening or pest question, go to http://extension.umd. edu/hgic and click on “Get Help.” Digital photos can also be attached.


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Washington Gardener August 2018  

The August 2018 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine. Inside this issue: -De-stress in Local Meditation Gardens -Fresh Lemongrass at Your...

Washington Gardener August 2018  

The August 2018 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine. Inside this issue: -De-stress in Local Meditation Gardens -Fresh Lemongrass at Your...