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DECEMBER 2018 VOL. 13 NO. 10




tthe magazine for gardening enthusiasts in the Mid-Atlantic region

25+ of the Best Japanese Maples for Winter Interest Visiting the North Carolina Arboretum

Your Garden Task List Fabulous Flavorful Fava Beans


TREE Issue

Trees Matter to Bees and Local Business DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar

Meet Joe Howard: The Big Tree Man

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. 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:

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 301.588.6894 or email 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: ���������������������� �

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Contact or call 301.588.6894 for ad rates. The ad deadline is the 10th of each month. Please submit your ad directly to:








Gardening books make great gifts. This botanical watercolor illustration from the Atlas of Poetic Botany by Francis Hallé is accompanied by witty text. See more garden book gift ideas in our “Top 10 Garden Books of 2018” list on the Washington Gardener blog posts at:


Established in October 2005, the North Carolina Arboretum’s Bonsai Exhibition Garden is a worldrenowned garden that hosts up to 50 bonsai specimen at a time. Represented are traditional Asian bonsai subjects such as this Red Maple.

‘Extra Precoce a Grano Violetto’ fava beans develop a lovely purple color as they mature. Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds,



BOOKreviews 6 Atlas of Poetic Botany; Orchid Handbook DAYtrip 16-18 North Carolina Arboretum EDIBLEharvest 8-9 Fava Beans GREENliving 22 Trees Matter Symposium HORThappenings 10 Holiday Exhibits and Parties NEIGHBORnetwork 20-21 Joe Herman NEWPLANTspotlight 11 Instant Hedges PLANTprofile 12-13 Japanese Maples PHILLYflowershow 24 Trip Details and Sign-up Form PHOTOcontest 5 Rules for 2019 Submissions SEEDexchanges 14-15 2019 Dates and Details


ADVERTISINGindex BLOGlinks EDITORletter LOCALevents MONTHLYtasklist NEXTissue RESOURCESsources

23 11 4 19 11 3 2


Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) ‘Arakawa’. Photo by Sharee Solow.

In our January issue:

New Year Gardening Trends and Resolutions and much more . . .

If your business would like to reach area gardeners, be sure to contact us by January 5 so you can be part of the next issue of our growing publication! Be sure you are subscribed!





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! Ashley O’Connor Intern 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.

Your editor at the Brookside Gardens lights how on a rare non-rainy evening.

Wet Enough for Ya?

I want to make it clear up front that I am NOT complaining! Having experienced drought years in the garden, I vowed to never complain about too much rain, since the lack of rain is ever so much worse. That being said, it’s official. We just passed the rainiest year on record for our region and for some of us, that meant regular flooding and standing water. According to the Capital Weather Gang, Washington has seen 122 days with measurable rain this year—and I cannot recall one weekend this spring or fall that wasn’t a washout. This put a damper on outdoor festivals, plant sales, and garden tours, but we gardeners are hardy folk and we don’t let a little wet weather get us down for long. As they say, “There is no bad weather; only bad weather gear.” There was a brief pause in the rains during the first half of July and everything in my garden, accustomed to regular hydration, screamed in protest. I hand-watered and pulled out the hoses for the first time in the season. I wished I had several more rain barrels or an underground cistern for storing all of that excess. Overall, my dry-shade back garden had its best year ever. The hostas and ferns were full and lush. The newly planted shrubs settled in quite nicely. Meanwhile, my sunny vegetable garden plot had its worst. There was never a good time to plant, and what seeds I did manage to sow, floated away in the next gully-washer. The weeds were aggressive and deep-rooted. Just when you think you’d conquered them, a new crop popped up overnight. How did your garden fare in 2018? Happy gardening!

Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener, 4


• Washington Gardener Blog: • Washington Gardener Archives: • Washington Gardener Discussion Group: WashingtonGardener/ • Washington Gardener Twitter Feed: • Washington Gardener Facebook Page: • Washington Gardener Youtube:

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• Washington Gardener is a womanowned business. We are proud to be members of: · GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators · Green America Magazine Leaders Network · Green America Business Network Volume 13, Number 10 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.

You’ve seen those gorgeous garden photos published in magazines and newspapers. Enter this year’s competition and have a chance of getting your images published, too! Whether you take the photos in your own backyard, a nearby public garden, or while visiting friends and family in their local gardens, there are so many photographic opportunities to be found. Let’s show off the best in DC-area gardening! This contest offers an opportunity for all photographers to present their best shots of gardens in the greater Washington, DC, area. Contest entries will be judged on technical quality, composition, originality, and artistic merit. More than $500 in prizes will be awarded! Winning images will be published in Washington Gardener magazine, displayed during the Washington Gardener Seed Exchange, and appear in a local photo exhibit.


Each entrant is limited to a total of 10 images. Each electronic file must be identified with your last name and entry category. For example, GardenCreature1-Jones.jpg or SmallWonders8.-Smithjpg. All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared in the viewfinder. Nothing should be added to an image and, aside from dust spots, nothing should be removed. Cropping and minor adjustments to electronic images to convert RAW files are acceptable. If an image is selected as a finalist, a high-resolution digital file might be required before finalizing our results. Digitally captured images should be taken at the camera’s highest resolution (3 megapixels or larger). For preliminary judging, digital files must be submitted in JPEG format sized to 1,000 pixels on the longest side at 300 dpi. If photos are taken with a film camera, they must be scanned in and submitted in JPEG format sized to 1,000 pixels on the longest side at 300 dpi. Contest entries can be submitted via email to DCGardenPhotos@aol. com. Use the subject line “WG Photo Contest” and include an entry form for each image in your email’s text field.

13TH ANNUAL PHOTO CONTEST Entries can also be sent as a CDROMs. Please verify their integrity by making sure they are readable and not damaged. We reserve the right to disqualify any disk that is unreadable or defective. Please check your CDs with the latest virus-detection software. We will disqualify any disk that appears to contain a virus or a suspicious file. Label each CD and case with your full name. We strongly suggest mailing CDs in protective cases. We are not responsible for disks damaged during shipping. No CDs will be returned, but they can be picked up after judging. Send your entries and entry fee to: Washington Gardener Photo Contest, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910. Mailed entries must be received by January 22, 2019. You can print out blank entry forms from the Washington Gardener blog ( or from our Facebook page. We will verify all entries so please ensure your email address is included on all items. Entrants must not infringe on the rights of any other photographer, landowner, or other person. Photos involving willful harassment of wildlife or destruction of any property are unacceptable. The entrant must have personally taken the photo. By entering, you state this is your work and it is free of copyright elsewhere. Failure to comply with any contest guidelines will lead to disqualification.

category or submit all 10 in one category. Photos must have been taken during the 2017 calendar year in a garden located within a 150-mile radius of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. • Garden Views: Beautiful, dramatic, or unusual perspectives of a garden landscape, including wide shots showing the setting. Subject can be a private or public garden. • Garden Vignettes: Groupings of plants in beds or containers, unusual color or texture combinations, garden focal points, and still scenes. Subject can be photographed in a private or public garden. • Small Wonders: Tight close-up images or macro shots of single flowers, plant parts, fruits, vegetables, etc. Subject can be photographed in a private or public garden. • Garden Creatures: Images of insects, birds, frogs, pets, etc., in a private or public garden setting.



Your entry to this contest constitutes your agreement to allow your photographs and your name, city, state, and photo description texts to be published in upcoming issues of Washington Gardener and used for other related purposes including, but not limited to, Washington Gardener Photo Contest promotions and online, live presentations, and gallery exhibits. Entrants retain ownership and all other rights to future use of their photographs.


Each entrant is limited to a total of 10 images. You may submit a few in each


Prizes include gift certificates to area camera stores, gardening tools, new plant introductions, and much more! If you would like to be a prize donor or sponsor, contact us today.


Photo contest winners will need to provide high-resolution versions of their images for publication and an 11x14 print suitable for framing. Winners may be asked to provide additional information for press and media coverage. The entry fee is $20.00 or $15.00 for current Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers. The fee includes up to 10 total image submissions per entrant. Please send a check or money order made out to “Washington Gardener” or send a payment via to


Entries are due by midnight on January 22, 2019.


Please call 301.588.6894 or email o DECEMBER 2018



BOOKreviews the way orchids are classified. Each species of orchid is given its own twoor three-page spread to go into depth about specific cultivation requirements. The book has a relatively formal narrative and the readers learn next to nothing about the author. Frankly, many sections can be dry, such as the award classifications and grammatical delineations for common and botanical names. But the book accomplishes what I believe author Michael Tibbs wanted— being a useful resource for anyone interested in orchids. The book may not be entertaining, but it is rich in easyto-understand information about these beautiful plants. o Orchids Handbook, A Practical Guide to the Care and Cultivation of 35 Popular Orchid Species and Their Hybrids By Michael Tibbs Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing List Price: $19.99 Reviewer: Ashley O’Connor As the title reads, “A Practical Guide”— the Orchids Handbook is just that. The book opens with an informative contents page to quickly locate different sections and is broken into two main parts. The first half of the book is about “understanding orchids.” Readers can educate themselves about the plant’s structure, growth habits, and life cycle. One interesting passage explains “mimicry;” the process by which a species, in this case orchids, uses appearance and scent to imitate pollinators. The page includes a high-resolution photo of the Ophrys calypsus orchid, which has a pattern remarkably similar to a bee. The first half of the book also tells readers how to care, cultivate, and show orchids. The author urges readers to tailor temperature, light, ventilation, and humidity to the exact species. Orchids species vary widely in what they need. The second half of the Orchids Handbook is all about orchid hybrids. The hybrids are separated by coolclimate, intermediate climate, and warm-climate. The section begins with an explanation of how science, particularly DNA capabilities, has changed 6


Ashley O’Connor is a senior multi-platform journalist at the University of Maryland. This autumn, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

our imaginations and awareness of these distant places.” The author worked as a botanist in tropical rainforests, so the plant selection is not of the kind we will find in our own Mid-Atlantic backyards. Some, like the giant ‘Victoria’ waterlily (Victoria amazonica) and the Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum), will be familiar to many readers from visits to local public gardens. The wide range of stories shared include a plant with just one solitary, monumental leaf; an invasive hyacinth; a tree that walks; a parasitic laurel; and a dancing vine. One may wonder why the author chose to use illustrations in the age of digital photography. The author contends that a photo achieves a quick thrill at the moment the image is captures, while a drawing represents an investment in time that returns a satisfying “dividend of wonder.” This book will make a terrific gift for the holidays and will appeal to nature lovers, armchair travelers, gardeners, and more. o Kathy Jentz is the founder and editor of Washington Gardener.

The Atlas of Poetic Botany By Francis Hallé Publisher: MIT Press List Price: $24.95 Reviewer: Kathy Jentz This book of botanical curiosities and oddities by Francis Hallé was recently translated from the French, although there was hardly any need to do so since the whimsical illustrations almost speak for themselves. In this short, richly illustrated book, the author introduces readers to exotic plant life and botanical adaptations that will delight and enthrall any plant nerds. The book’s intent is to “spark


NOV 16, 2018 - JAN 1, 2019 CLOSED NOVEMBER 19-22 & DECEMBER 24 & 25

Sun - Thurs | 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Fri & Sat | 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. �

$25 Advanced Sale Tickets

(available from the Gift Shop starting Nov.1)

$25 per car/van (Sun-Thurs) � $30 per car/van (Fri-Sat) �

* For safety reasons, pedestrians not permitted at the gate.� Visitors drive in, park and walk-through the display. * Last car admitted 30 minutes before closing time. * Visit our website for admission prices for buses, vans�and limos and call 301-96�-1451 for required reservations.


1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902 | 301-962-1400





by Elizabeth Olson

The first beans of the garden year are fava beans. Unlike the beans of summer, fava beans thrive in the cool weather of spring. Fava beans are legumes. They are sometimes called broad beans. The beans grow in long pods that form soon after the plants flower. Fresh fava beans are ready to harvest in 65 to 75 days. The pods contain from four to nine beans, depending on the cultivar. Large-seeded fava bean cultivars are grown as annual vegetables and are marketed for that purpose. They have been selected for the size, tenderness, and sweet, nutty flavor of their beans. 8


Small-seeded cultivars, called bell beans, are grown as cover crops for soil protection and enrichment. The scientific name for fava beans is Vicia faba. They belong to the pea family and are frost-tolerant. The plants are easily started from seed and grow well in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Culinary Uses and Preparation

Fava beans are high in dietary fiber. They are also a source of protein, several B vitamins, Vitamin K, and minerals including iron, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese. Fresh fava beans have many culinary

Fresh fava beans are ready for harvesting when the pods swell. Photo courtesy of

Fabulous Fresh Fava Beans

uses and are often used in soups, stews, salads, and pasta dishes. Other uses include preparing them as a side dish or substituting them for lima beans in recipes. Lance Frazon, general manager of John Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seeds, recommends using fresh fava beans as a topping on bruschetta, paired with goat cheese, garlic, basil, and olive oil. Plump, fresh fava beans have an outer covering that is tough, so the beans are skinned before use. “The shelled beans must be skinned, unless eaten very young,” said Frazon. “To skin them, parboil for one minute, cool, then pinch them so that the bean pops out of its skin.”

Availability and Recommended Cultivars

Garden centers rarely sell seedlings of fava bean plants, but usually have seeds for one or two cultivars for sale starting in mid-winter. Seeds for more cultivars are available from seed companies online. Two of the most widely available and well-regarded cultivars for fresh fava beans are ‘Broad Windsor’ and ‘Aquadulce’. Both cultivars are heirlooms and grow from 3 to 4 feet tall. ‘Broad Windsor’ produces extra-large beans that are sometimes almost 1-inch across. There are usually five to six beans per pod. ‘Aquadulce’ produces large beans that are a very palegreen color. The number of beans per pod varies from five to eight. Other fine cultivars include the openpollinated ‘Supersette’ and ‘Robin Hood’. ‘Supersette’ is an Italian cultivar that grows to 6 feet tall and has to be staked. The pods are very long and contain up to nine large beans. Seeds are available at KitchenGardenSeeds. com. ‘Robin Hood’ is an English cultivar that produces large beans early in the season. Most pods contain four to six large beans. The plants are stocky, growing 2 to 3 feet tall. Seeds for ‘Robin Hood’ are available at Fresh fava beans are generally a light-green color, but the seeds of one cultivar start to develop purple coloring as they mature. The cultivar is ‘Extra

EDIBLEharvt Precoce a Grano Violetto’ and it is offered by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at The plants grow from 3 to 4 feet tall and produce pods containing from five to six large beans.

Fava beans planted in rows. Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds,

How to Grow and Harvest Fresh Fava Beans

The harvest season for fava beans is relatively brief, and the seeds have to be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in early spring. Fava bean plants require full sun and fertile soil that has good drainage. The soil should have a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Fava bean plants benefit from crop rotation. Gardeners who have experience in growing peas will find that fava beans share their general cultural requirements, including the need for consistent moisture levels in the soil. However, fava bean plants need more space between them—from 10 to 12 inches apart—and more space between rows—from 24 to 36 inches apart. Some seed companies recommend planting seeds much closer. When the seeds sprout, the seedlings will have to be thinned. This allows for good air circulation and ease of maintenance and harvesting. Fava bean seeds should be planted from 1 to 2 inches deep, lightly tamped down, watered, and lightly covered with mulch. It will take at least one week for the seeds to sprout, and longer if the soil is very cool. The plants will grow quickly once they sprout. They are light feeders because they provide some of their own nitrogen through Rhizobia bacteria-filled nodules on their roots. If necessary, the plants may be fertilized with a moderate amount of an all-purpose organic vegetable fertilizer. Irrigation to supplement rainfall can be supplied with a soaker

hose or drip irrigation, and the garden bed should be kept mulched and free of weeds. Maintenance and harvesting ought to be avoided when the plants are wet, to help prevent the spread of diseases. Although some cultivars produce plants that mature at a short height, all fava bean plants require some sort of support to protect them from strong winds and storms. Methods include stringing wires on both sides of a row between poles on each end, staking or trellising tall plants, and growing short plants in tomato cages. Fava bean plants are prone to getting aphids, mainly on their growing tips. The easiest ways to handle an infestation of aphids are to blast them off with water from a garden hose or pinch off the tender growing tips where the aphids are in high numbers. Fresh fava beans are ready to harvest as soon as their pods swell and are well-filled from the stem end to the flower end. The pods can be clipped off the plants with either parrot-beaked garden shears or kitchen shears. It is important to harvest pods every few days so the plants continue to produce flowers before the weather becomes warm in late spring.

For best texture and flavor, the beans should be consumed soon after being harvested. Whole pods can be kept in the refrigerator for one to two days. While the harvesting season ends too soon, the good news is that surplus fresh fava beans can be frozen after they have been blanched and skinned so they can be enjoyed throughout the off-season.

Savoring Fava Beans

The herb summer savory (Satureja hortensis) is featured in some fava bean recipes, and fresh savory is difficult to find in stores. Seedlings are often available in the herb section of garden centers by mid-spring. Savory can also be started from seed. This herb is easy to grow in kitchen gardens and is especially well-suited to containers. Gardeners sometimes find savory to be temperamental. For best results, the whole plant should be harvested just before it starts to bloom. 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. It is easy to pop open a fava bean pod and remove the fresh beans. Photo of ‘Robin Hood’ cultivar courtesy of




HORThaenings More than 200 guests attended the event at Brookside Gardens’ Visitors Center on Saturday, November 10. Items in the auction included artwork, baskets, crafts, jewelry, and more. The biennial event also featured refreshments and live music.

The USBG Holiday Exhibit: All Aboard!

The 2018 U.S. Botanic Garden holiday exhibit, “Season’s Greenings: All Aboard!,” celebrated iconic train stations across America. The kid-friendly exhibition opened Thanksgiving Day and runs through New Year’s Day. Replicated train stations included New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, Detroit’s Michigan Central Station, and Maui’s Lahaina Station. Fanciful dinosaur and North Pole stations are also incorporated. Model DC landmarks— also made from plant materials—are featured in the Garden Court. Local railroad attractions include Ellicott City Station, the Viaduct Train Hotel, Point of Rocks Station, Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station, and Union Station. The U.S. Botanic Garden is open to the public every day from 10am to 5pm. The conservatory is at 100 Maryland Ave. SW, on the southwest side of the U.S. Capitol. Visitors are encouraged to use public transportation. More information is available at SeasonsGreenings.

Friends of Brookside Silent Auction 2018

The Friends of Brookside Gardens hosted a silent auction, “Holidays in the Gardens,” to raise money for Brookside Gardens and its programs. The funds raised added to the $1.3 million already given to Brookside Gardens by the group, over the past 21 years. 10


This is the public’s last chance to visit until February, because they will be closed during the entire month of January for annual museum cleaning. See more at

Gardeners Holiday at Green Spring Gardens A 1918 Christmas at Tudor Place

The theme of the 2018 holiday installation at Tudor Place Historic House & Garden is “Christmas of 1918” and shows how Tudor Place’s residents celebrated this holiday exactly 100 years ago. Although World War I ended with the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, many American servicemen were still on active duty—including the Peters’ 22-year-old son, Armistead Peter 3rd, who was an ensign in the Navy stationed here in Washington, DC. The holiday installation shows how the residents of Tudor Place—both the Peter family and their servants—were adapting to a return to normalcy after the war’s end. Rationing of certain food items and coal affected every household in Washington, even affluent households like Tudor Place. The 1918 holiday season was also just a few weeks after the Spanish flu epidemic claimed thousands of lives across the country, including Washington, DC. The Candlelight Tours are sold out, but regular daytime tours go on through December (except December 24, 25, and 31, when Tudor Place is closed).

On Sunday, December 2, Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA, hosted a day of holiday fun in the garden featuring decorations and seasonal displays, live music, holiday breads and ornaments for sale, and free refreshments. The day included festive holiday puppet shows by a professional troupe. The gardeners’ holiday open house was sponsored by the Friends of Green Spring.

Southside Singers’ Annual Holiday Performance

The Southside Singers’ annual holiday performance at AHS River Farm took place on December 8. This local community choir is made up of AHS employees, volunteers, neighbors, and friends. Attendees enjoyed River Farm’s beautiful decorations and nibbled some treats while enjoying a delightful selection of seasonal tunes. o This issue’s “HortHappenings” were compiled by Ashley O’Connor, a senior multiplatform journalist at the University of Maryland. This autumn, she is an editorial intern 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:


Quick Links to Washington Gardener Blog Posts • Beet Reporter • Top 10 Garden Books of 2018 • DIY: Fairy Houses • Great Gardener Gift Ideas See more Washington Gardener blog posts at: o

December–January Garden To-Do List

New Plant Spotlight

InstantHedge photos courtesy of

Instant Hedges InstantHedge is excited to debut their newest product, the 15–18 inch tall, 32-inch-long Green Mountain Boxwood (Buxus x. ‘Green Mountain’) hedge, packed five to a unit. These plants are the perfect package for instant beauty, an instantly finished look, and instant holiday decorating. Each unit weighs less than 40 pounds, making it an easy-to-buy, attractive, and affordable option for home gardeners. Designers and consumers can plant these well-rooted hedge blocks in a trench, in a straight line, or bent on a curve. They also can be cut and pieced together as needed. Green Mountain Boxwood is a highly blight-resistant boxwood variety based on the Chicago Botanic Garden studies. InstantHedge is enrolled in boxwood blight cleanliness programs in Oregon and the company is approved to ship boxwood throughout the United States. To order or see more, visit www. o

• Keep watering your poinsettias and give them plenty of light. Ensure they are away from drafts and that the pots drain freely. • Last chance to plant bulbs or, if you have waited until the ground is frozen, pot them up for forcing indoors. • Gather holiday greens. Some, like holly and boxwood, benefit from being pruned by growing thicker. • Feed birds and provide them with a fresh water source. • Check houseplants, and any plants you brought indoors for the winter, for insects. • Provide some special protection to tender or early-flowering plants like Camellias. • Stake newly planted large trees or shrubs to protect them from winter winds. • Check any tropical or summer-blooming bulbs, corms, tubers, and bare root plants in storage for rot or desiccation. • Apply scale and dormant oil treatment to evergreens. • Spread ashes from wood fires on your vegetable beds. • Keep succulents and cacti on the dry side. • Water your cut Christmas tree daily. • Gently remove layers of snow from outdoor evergreens with a broom. • Start organizing your pile of incoming garden catalogs. • Keep an eye out for bark damage from rabbits and deer. • Spray broadleaf evergreens with anti-desiccant to prevent dehydration. • Use the branches from your Christmas tree as bedding mulch or as a windbreak. • Keep watering newly planted trees and shrubs as needed. • Cover strawberry beds with straw or pine needles. • Prune stone fruit trees like cherries, plums, and peaches. • 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. • Continue to rotate houseplants to promote even growth. • Attend a local garden club meeting. • Start new indoor plants from cuttings—try an easy one, such as violets. • Check the plants under tall evergreens and under the eaves of the house to see that they have sufficient moisture. • Weed. Weed. Weed. • Pick a budding gardener on your gift list to give some inspirational garden books and magazines, then watch the new gardener blossom. • Store your fertilizer and seeds in rodent-proof containers. • Do any filling and grading needed around your yard. The soil will settle during the winter months. • Vent cold frames on sunny days. • Avoid walking in frozen planting beds. • Remove and destroy gypsy moth egg masses. • Clean your gutters. • Prune maples, dogwoods, birch, elm, and walnut—if needed. • Some alternatives to de-icing salts include sand, beet juice sugars, light gravel (grit), or non-clumping kitty litter. Using de-icing salts around driveways and sidewalks can harm your garden plants and turf. o DECEMBER 2018




Japanese Maples For Winter Interest By Sharee Solow

What is there not to like about Japanese Maples? They have beautiful spring and fall foliage, grow well in our region, live longer than us, come in numerous forms, can be pruned into graceful shapes, fit into pots or any size landscapes, are fun to collect, and display a crayon box of winter bark color. With hundreds of Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) cultivars to choose from, it can be intimidating because many of the names are in Japanese, but don’t be daunted. Remember the basic rule of shopping: Buy what you like. Beware that, like cute pets in a shelter, sometimes you can’t bear to leave them behind. A couple of years ago, I was shopping for maples for a client and A. palmatum ‘Fukinagashi’ had to be in my car. The deep, dark-purple stems and leaves decorated a perfectly open framework of opposite branches and were exceptional and unique. When the client rejected this beauty, it quickly went into a container at my back door, where it stands out against the light clapboard wall. Bark colors on “palmatums” range from purple/black to red to orange to bright yellow, exceeding the more familiar bright bark of the Redtwig dogwood (Cornus sps.) for design options with winter interest. Leaf color is just a bonus! Since forms of tall and dwarf cultivars naturally grow upright, columnar, tabletop, cascading, or round, plus anything in between that your skilled pruning might create, they fill any number of garden needs. I particularly enjoy them in pots, because I can easily move them around the garden.

Japanese Terms

Now, we’ll play a name game. Below is a short guide to those elegant Japanese cultivar names used as poetic descrip12


tions of plant characteristics. Here are a few you may have seen in a garden center, not only on Japanese Maples, but other plants as well. • Ai - love • Ara - rough • Ao - green or blue • Beni - scarlet red • Bo - long pieces of wood, as in weapons • Dai - large or maximum • Fübüki - snowstorm • Fuiri - variegated • Füji - peerless • Goshiki - multicolor • Harü - spring • Hime - dwarf • Hana - flower • Ichi - one • Kaku - angle, corner, write • Kara - from • Kawa - river • Koto - about • Mai - dance • Nishiki - brocade • Ogon - Golden • Ori - folding • Ryü - dragon • Sango - coral • Sei - tendency toward • Seiun - nebula • Yatsabusa - witch’s broom • Zümi - fingernail

Colorful Cultivars

Next, let’s walk around the exceptional collection of Ed Shinn and review some Acer palmatum to see how the words and the trees connect. • Aizumi-nishiki: Time to use your new list above, because this has a “brocade” of yellow and green swirls in the trunk and you’ll love the “fingernails” on these very splashy springtime two-toned leaves of white and pink, so intense that even the stems can have red streaks. • Allen’s Gold: Knobs of corky bark on a gold background give a rugged colorful accent; no dictionary needed. • Arakawa: A “rough river” of corky bark covers this great example of winter interest in Japanese Maples–Arakawa-

ku is a raging river. • Bazinga: New names can be fun, too. This one has bright-green rings like bamboo. • Beni-hime: A “scarlet-red dwarf” tree, where it’s easy to see the showy red bark that goes with the foliage. • Bihou: Neon-yellow bark and foliage make this tree glow in any winter garden, like “a beautiful mountain range” as it’s translated. • Cosmos: A modern named cultivar with a brocade of yellow and green swirls in the trunk. • Crimson Prince: If you like red stems and leaves, this might be the perfect one for you. • Daidai-haru: Waxy olive-green and burgundy branches shine out from pretty green leaves in fall, but it’s named for the bright-orange/red spring color on a fast-growing tree • Emporer One: If you can only find this large trees at your local shop, it can add nice movement to a static landscape. • Hana-fubuki: Bright-green branches hold its “flowery snowstorm” of white and pink variegated leaves • Harusame: This one is “spring-rain,” but you’ll want it for the fall color of red and gold on handsome, roughly textured bark. • Kara-ori-nishiki: Decorative red/ green, slightly variegated foliage leads to it being named for a Japanese brocade used by dancers and contrasts with the rugged green trunks. • Katsura-hime: Lime-green branches are very showy and the leaves on this dwarf reminiscent of the Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum). • Kocho-nishiki: By now, you are getting the idea with the names. Kōchō refers to a short era from 1261 to 1264, during the Emperor’s “Chrysanthemum Throne.” The tree has red trunks.


Allen’s Gold



• Koto-hime: Smooth green trunks are broken by corky rings for the stems of unusually small foliage, making it a favorite for bonsai training, so it is indeed all “about dwarf.” • Kouri-jishi: This wonderful green trunk with up-curled little leaves are so charming, the name must have a story: kouri (retail) and jishi (private secretary or respectfully). • Mikawa-yatsubusa: A witches’ broom with interesting green trunks prized for its unique, overlapping leaves that turn red/yellow in fall. • Noel: Apricot bark? Yes, you can. • Ryusen: Need a cascade for a wall? This displays orange/red bark and fall foliage. The trailing/twisiting maple’s name is from Ryu-sei “dragon spirit.”

• Seiun-kaku: Burgundy/green trunks echo the burgundy leaf corners. • Taiyo-nishiki: Gorgeous, brocaded trunks with dark bands make me think of the accompanying massive stonework in a shogun’s garden. • Tatsuta: Another brocade of green, but with thin contrasting lines like a Snakebark maple. • Trompenburg: Beautiful, red-orange fall foliage makes this popular, but the brown trunks don’t make it my first choice for bark interest. • Tsuri-nishiki: The contrast of the green trunks with spring’s twisted rosy leaves on the raspberry stems turning to multi-color red/orange/gold makes for amazing garden interest all year. • Windover: This modern foundling

has bright-yellow branches with salmon leaves that turn bright yellow in fall. To further your understanding of terms and nomenclature, I recommend Romaji-English Japanese Bonsai Terms and Tree Names by Robert Z. Callaham. That’s our Japanese Maple class for today. Congratulations! You are ready to go shopping for your own Japanese Maple and join a large group of gardeners who find them irresistible. o




Sharee Solow, PCH, ASLA, blends a lifetime of learning and global experience to offer uniquely sophisticated landscape designs ( She lives with her husband and one cat in Elkins Park, PA.




Join us for: Seed Swapping Planting Tips Expert Speakers Goody Bags Door Prizes Washington Gardener Magazine presents the

14th Annual Washington Gardener

Seed Exchanges

on Saturday, January 26, 2019, 12:30–4:00PM

National Seed Swap Day! at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD Registration is now open at

and on Saturday, February 2, 2019, 12:30–4:00PM at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA Registration is now open at

Feeling Crafty? We have a fun Make-it Take-It Seed Crafting Table


Space is limited, so act today! Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers get $5 off the $20 attendee fee!



Washington Gardener magazine, the publication for DC-area gardening enthusiasts, is hosting the 14th annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange at Brookside Gardens and Green Spring Gardens. These seed swaps are in-person and face-to-face. You bring your extra seeds and swap them with other gardeners. Everyone will leave with a bag full of seeds, new garden friends, and expert planting advice.


On Saturday, January 26, 2019, in MD and on Saturday, February 2, 2019, in VA from 12:30–4:00PM (Foul weather that day? Call 240.603.1461, for updates about possible snow/ice delay.)


We are holding a duo of Seed Exchanges one week apart on opposite sides of the Washington Beltway. We urge you to attend the one closest to you. One exchange will be held at Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, MD. The other will be at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA.

How to Register

Register online at for the 1/26/19 event and for the 2/2/19 one. OR you can fill out the form on the opposite page. Send the form, along with payment, to Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910, Attn: SE Registration. Please make checks out to “Washington Gardener.” Registration fee is $20 per person. Friends of Brookside members, Friends of Green Spring members, and current Washington Gardener subscribers receive a discount rate of $15 per person. We strongly urge you to register in advance. There is a limited enrollment of 100 participants at each location!

We are GREEN!!! Garden Book and Seed Catalog Exchange

Seed Exchange attendees are encouraged to bring their used or new garden books and seed catalogs to swap and share at this year’s event. We also ask you to bring your own water bottle or reusable mug and a home-made nametag. We will have a “best nametag” contest, so get crafty!

Hashtags #GardenDC and #SeedSwapDay

Washington Gardener Magazine’s 14th Annual

Seed Exchange Details

If You Have Seeds to Bring and Swap

Please package them in resealable plastic zipper or wax sandwich baggies. Put an average of 20 seeds per baggy—more for small seeds like lettuce, fewer for large seeds like acorns. Label each baggy with a white sticker (such as Avery standard 5160 address label sheets) giving all the information you have on the seeds. If known, include the plant’s common and scientific names; its soil, sun, and watering needs; and, its origins—where and when you collected the seeds. If you don't know all the information, that is okay; just provide as much as you can. Yes, you can bring unused or opened commercial seed packs.

What If You Don't Have Any Seeds to Swap?

Come anyway! Even if you don’t have any seeds to trade, you are welcome to attend. We’ll have plenty of extra seed contributions on hand and many attendees will be there just to learn, network, and prepare for next year’s seed collecting.

Education Program

Expert speakers from the local gardening community will give short talks on seed collection and propagation tips. There will be ample time for individual Q&A throughout the program with the featured speakers, and invited experts as well.


(Note: This schedule is subject to change.) 12:00-12:30 Registration check-in 12:30-12:40 Introductions 12:40-1:20 Gardening talk 1:20-1:55 Gardening talk 2:00-2:15 Snack break and room reset 2:15-2:30 Seed Swap preview time 2:30-3:00 Seed Swap 3:00-3:30 Photo Contest winners 3:30-4:00 Door prizes and closing talk

How Do We Swap?

As you check in, staff will collect your seeds and place them at the appropriate seed category tables. You will be assigned a random seed swap number. There will be a short period for attendees to preview all the seeds brought in and available for swapping. You will be called in by your number to pick a seed pack from each of the category tables (if desired).

After the initial seed swap is complete, attendees are free to take any of the left over seeds and to trade seeds with each other. Dividing of packets is encouraged and extra baggies with labels will be on hand for that purpose.

What Types of Seeds?

Seed swap categories will include natives, edibles, herbs, exotics, annuals, perennials, and woodies (trees/shrubs). If you can pre-sort your seeds in advance into which of these seven major categories fits best, that would help us speed up the process on the swap day.

Door Prizes! Goodie Bags!

Each attendee will receive a goodie bag at the seed swap. The bags include seeds, publications, and garden items donated by our sponsors. In addition, we have some incredible door prizes to give away especially for area gardeners. If your organization would like to contribute seeds or garden-related products for the goodie bags and door prizes, contact Kathy Jentz at 301.588.6894 by January 22.

14th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange Advance Registration Form

Please fill out this form and mail with your check/money order to: Washington Gardener Magazine, 826 Philadelphia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910

Name:____________________________________________________________________________________ Street Address:____________________________________________________________________________ Email:____________________________________________________________________________________ Seed Exchange Date and Location:  Jan. 26 at Brookside Gardens  Feb. 2 at Green Spring Gardens (We will only use your email address for Seed Exchange notices and will never share them with anyone else.) Seed Exchange Attendee Fee: $20.00 __________ Discount (if eligible*): -$5.00 __________ Optional: Washington Gardener Magazine Annual Subscription: $20.00 __________ TOTAL_____________ *The following groups are eligible to pay the discount attendee rate of $15.00; please CIRCLE if one applies to you: • Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers • Friends of Brookside Gardens members • Friends of Green Spring Gardens members A portion of the event proceeds will go to benefit Native Seeds/SEARCH for conserving crop genetic resources. DECEMBER 2018




So Much More than Trees: The North Carolina Arboretum By Cheval Force Opp

An arboretum is a botanical garden devoted to trees, but the North Carolina Arboretum offers so much more to visitors. Just over 30 years in the making, the 434-acre arboretum is a horticultural magnet nestled in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest, which is in turn in the Pisgah National Forest’s 500,000plus acres of blue mountain ridges and rocky streams. Plans for a research arboretum are documented as far back as the 19th century with Frederick Law Olmsted’s landscape work at the nearby Biltmore Estate. Olmsted envisioned a research arboretum as an extension of Biltmore into the Biltmore Forest that would display regional plants, even naming an “Arboretum Road.”

Bonsai Steal the Show

In 1992, the arboretum received a significant collection of bonsai and containers from George and Cora Staples of Butner, NC. Literally translated, “bonsai” means “planted in a container.” Staff member Arthur Joura, with no bonsai experience, took on the care of the bonsai in his spare time, beginning an adventure that led to his promotion to full-time bonsai curator in 1998. His attraction to this art led to studies 16


of traditional bonsai forms and techported to the joy of reaching Mitchell’s niques education in the DC metro area mountaintop view. at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in Washington, DC. Joura Olmsted Looms Large continued to enrich his skill in Japan, Anchoring the arboretum’s cultivated eventually becoming a protégé of the gardens is the Blue Ridge Court, “Father of American Bonsai,” bonsai graced with an eight-foot sculpture of master Yuji Yoshimura. Frederick Law Olmsted, a bronze tribute Joura’s creative pasto his deserved outsized sion includes creating influence in landscape bonsai for more than 50 architecture. His vision species, some native to continues as the touchwestern North Carolina, stone for the arboretum’s as well as several tray outstanding efforts in landscapes depicting education, research, and well-known regional economic development. sites. His locally referenced landscapes mimic Education North Carolina landMission marks in miniature using The arboretum’s Adult both native and Asian Education program offers trees to represent the more than 150 classes forests and mountaintaught by the region’s tops of the Blue Ridge leading experts. Outdoor Olmsted statue. region. The tray planting activities for children proof Mount Mitchell uses a small, skelvides hands-on experiences essential eton-like tree to showcase the lifeless to STEM (science, technology, engineertrees on the summit; dwarf spruce to ing, and mathematics) learning. If you represent the Fraser firs; and creeping visit the arboretum with kids, ask about thyme to represent wild blackberries. the self-guided visit material. Anyone who has climbed to this summit As part of the Bee Campus USA certiwill smile in recognition and be transfication, the arboretum creates pollina-

DAYtrip tor-focused landscapes on the grounds and supports volunteers and other outside organizations to create pollinator gardens in the community. The arboretum’s partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific led to pollinator gardens at five local schools, and the ecoEXPLORE initiative is fostering similar features at all 12 branches of the Buncombe County Public Library System.

Research Collection

Nestled against one of the oldest mountains in the U.S., the arboretum has access to a rich biodiverse region with a long tradition of medicinal plants. The North Carolina Arboretum’s Germplasm Repository performs several vital functions: conserving plants, testing products in the natural products industry, and promoting the use of highly nutritious native foods.

Economic Development

The expertise in the Germplasm Repository supports local economic development. Science-based verification provides opportunities for local growers of alternative medicinal products like Ginseng and Black Cohosh—two of the top-selling dietary supplements worldwide. Research verifying the efficacy of Western North Carolina’s botanicals is used to brand regional grower’s products and to support higher raw and finished product price points. The arboretum thus serves as a growing focus, supporting Western North Carolina as an international location for botanical medicine innovation.

Quilt garden in summer.

design every two years and plants are changed out three times annually with the seasons. She uses almost exactly 3,456 plants each spring for the 1,536-square-foot garden. For her three-dimensional patterns, each plant is grown in a specific pot size and each plant must fill its space exactly: not too tall, no quick wilting, no dieback, no crowding the space. The resulting colored patterns change with the light, kaleidoscope-like, mesmerizing and calming like Grandmother’s quilt when you drift off to sleep.

The Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding the arboretum hosts an amazingly diverse 14,000 species of plant and animal life. The National Native Azalea Repository represents nearly every native U.S. species and many natural hybrids and selections. Established to help preserve and protect native azaleas the woodland garden blooms beginning in late spring among native ferns, shrubs, and wildflowers. The Holly Garden showcases varieties that are good choices for the home-owner. The Plants of Promise Garden gives adventurous gardeners examples of new plants placed in landscapes using one of the region’s abundant resources: stones. Children are drawn to the dragonflies, and other creepy crawly inhabitants of the Stream Garden’s native plants. The Heritage Garden brings the drama of a brick chimney and stone foundations to frame the region’s heritage of medicinal herbs and plants used for arts and crafts.

Olmsted Would Approve

Hiking and biking is a year-round arboretum attraction, with more than 10 miles of trails available for every activity level, from casual dogwalker to experienced mountain bikers. The Baker Exhibit Center is a light-filled venue hosting intriguing displays ranging from greenhouse exotics to exhibits focusing on art, science, and natural history.

Fall stream garden dry river and gate. Photo by Cathy Hennessy.

Appalachian Heritage

Strolling the arboretum’s 65 acres of cultivated gardens, visitors find a cornucopia of plants and terrain emblematic of the rich regional heritage. Spread in mathematical precision adjacent to the Blue Ridge Court are 24 plant blocks forming the Quilt Garden. Each block represents a square in the “planted quilt,” delighting visitors with plants mimicking pieces of a log cabin, a flower basket, a double wedding ring—all patterns echoing Southern Appalachian heritage. Clara Curtis, senior director for mission delivery, changes the quilt DECEMBER 2018



DAYtrip If you visit Asheville, save time for the North Carolina Arboretum. The arboretum offers the unique beauty of Southern Appalachia in plants and terrain, and engages all ages and interests in educational adventures. Frederick Law Olmsted would be proud to claim this arboretum as his brainchild.

Plan Your Visit

The North Carolina Arboretum does not charge a per-person admission, only a parking fee. Current fees are $14 for personal vehicles. The first Tuesday of every month, the arboretum also offers a 50% discount on personal vehicle parking ($7). The arboretum is located in the mountains just south of Asheville, NC. The best address for GPS is 20 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806. The daytime hours during December are 8am–5pm and evening hours for Winter Lights start at 6pm. On December 25, the property is closed. Check the web site for updates.

Upcoming Events • Winter Lights Display Through December 31, nightly from 6–10pm Experience Asheville’s brightest holiday tradition, walk through an outdoor winter wonderland, and enjoy unique displays and landscapes composed of more than half-a-million holiday lights. Listen to the sounds of your favorite holiday tunes or enjoy a cup of holidayinspired cocoa, cider or beer. Bent Creek Bistro will offer its regular menu nightly, as well as specialty items on weekends and holidays. Proceeds generated from Winter Lights help support the arboretum’s educational programs, exhibits, and year-round access. • Winter Lights Holiday Tour Thursdays–Saturdays Enjoy a very merry ride from downtown Asheville or Biltmore Village, courtesy of the Trolley Company. Tour includes round-trip transportation in festively decorated buses from the Renaissance Hotel Asheville and DoubleTree Hotel Biltmore Village to the arboretum, 18


Winter Lights.

entry into Winter Lights and a free cup of delicious hot chocolate. Tickets are $29.50 per person and must be purchased separately via the Trolley Company (children 4 & under are free). For more information, call Eva Ritchey 828-606-8606 or go to the web site: • Reclaimed Creations Through January 6, 2019, from 9am– 5pm daily in the Baker Exhibit Center See a unique sculpture exhibit created by renowned artist Sayaka Ganz. Using reclaimed plastic objects, such as discarded utensils, Ganz creates amazing sculptures that visually appear unified at a distance, but are in fact separated when examined up close. Described as using a “3D impressionistic” style, Ganz’s exhibit includes installations of animals in motion, which are rich in color and energy, to create an illusion of form. • Blue Ridge Fiber Show Through January 6, 2019, The fiber show is an international biennial competition in weaving, spinning, and felting at the North Carolina Arboretum. The purpose of the show is to encourage and support fiber artists at all levels and to increase public awareness of their work. The Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild sponsors the competition with cash awards and

sales opportunities for entrants. The 2018 show is entitled “Fiber Connections.” The North Carolina Arboretum provides a beautiful setting to highlight the connections between artists, their fiber, and their work. Emerging and experienced fiber art artists, as well as junior exhibitors, are invited to enter in the categories of accessories, yardage, tapestries, garments, and home decor. Work may be created by weaving, spinning, and felting, creating a broad range of work for a compelling and comprehensive international fiber exhibit. o Cheval Force Opp gardens in Dunn Loring, VA, where she lives with her husband Dana and corgi Marzipan. As a passionate garden tourist, she is always searching for new gardens to visit. Let her know if you have a favorite garden to share at Thanks to Whitney Smith, marketing and public relations manager who has been incredibly supportive of visits to the arboretum and answered all the questions about the many opportunities available to visitors. Thanks also to executive director George Briggs, who provided insight to the Olmsted vision that inspires the arboretum mission. Many thanks to Arthur Joura, bonsai curator, who introduced us to the unique aspects of the arboretum collection.

TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Events ~ December 16, 2018 to January 16, 2019 • Thursday, December 20, 11:00am Gardener’s Focus: Bones of the Winter Garden Get an intimate look at Hillwood’s gardens with the experts. The winter garden may not be as splashy as spring bulbs or summer blooms, but there’s something equally amazing about a peaceful winter garden. Also offered on December 18, 21, 27, and 28. Held at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC. See • Through December 22, on Fridays and Saturdays, 6–9pm Illuminated London Town Explore the gardens, illuminated with festive holiday lights. Discover colonial nighttime and holidays at a candlelit William Brown House, decorated for the season. Held at Historic London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, MD. See fees and details at • Thursday, January 3, 6:30–8pm Garden Book Club Winter Meeting Discuss The Roots of My Obsession with the Washington Gardener Garden Book Club. Meet at Soupergirl, right next to the Takoma metro stop. Free and open to all. • Wednesdays, January 9 to March 13, 6–9pm Eco City Farms: AGR-319 Intensive Introduction to Urban Commercial Agriculture In this intensive course, you will be taught strategies for planning and designing an ecologically sound urban farm, based on your needs, goals, and resources. Staring with the basic principles of sustainable farming, this course will touch on crop and soil science, composting, resource management and farm business planning. Held at Prince George’s Community College at University Town Center, 6505 Belcrest Road, Suite 125, Hyattsville, MD. Cost: $583. See: •January 9–11 Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show MANTS is celebrating its 49th year of success with its 2019 show at the Baltimore Convention Center in Balti-

more, MD. MANTS is where the industry comes to buy, shop, meet, see, and be seen every January. See • Saturday, January 12, 1–2:30pm Floral Design Workshop: Winter Blues Don’t let the chill in the air keep you from enjoying outdoor riches. Create a fun, fresh winter floral arrangement to adorn your home with the help of Certified Floral Designer Betty Ann Galway. Register for program and $30 supply fee. Program cost is $39/person. To register, go to www.fairfaxcounty. gov/parks/parktakes and use code 401.5E45 or call Green Spring Gardens at 703-642-5173. • Wednesday, January 16, 10:30– 11:30am Behind-the-Scenes at the U.S. Botanic Garden Production Facility Join Ian Donegan, USBG facility manager, and see what it takes to keep the USBG Production Facility functioning properly, from the various types of water used and ventilation needs of the Garden to the intricate steam systems and controls of the different environmental zones. Take a peek behind the scenes during this lively tour and experience the life of USBG facilities personnel. Free: pre-registration required. See for details.

Save These Future Dates • Saturday. January 19, 10am–12n Kokedama: The Art of Crafting Living Moss Balls Originating in Japan, kokedama are living plant and moss balls. Traditionally displayed sitting, they also look magical bound up with string and hanging. Similar to bonsai, they are a lovely way to bring a bit of greenery indoors and can live for years with proper care. Held at Brookside Gardens. Register at events/kokedama-the-art-of-craftingliving-moss-balls/. • Washington Gardener Magazine’s 2019 Seed Exchanges are on January 26 at Brookside Gardens and February 2 at Green Spring Gardens. Make your “wanted” list, as well as saving, packing, and labeling your seeds! See pages

14–15 of this issue for details and the registration links/form. • The 39th annual NCOS Paph Forum on January 26 at the U.S. National Arboretum will feature internationally renowned speakers, an unparalleled selection of Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium, and Cypripedium plants for sale by leading vendors; a show table featuring hundreds of slippers in bloom; ribbons and trophies for outstanding show plants; door prizes; a silent auction; and American Orchid Society judging. The registration fee is $60. For further information, visit

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, contact with “Event” in the subject line. Our next deadline is January 5 for the January 2019 issue, for events taking place after January 16, 2019. o

Advanced IPM PHC Short Course January 7–10, 2019 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.

 DECEMBER 2018




Joe Howard: The Big Tree Man Interview by Ashley O’Connor Photos by Donna Will

Joe Howard began working for the Montgomery County Forestry Board in 1978; 40 years later, he’s as passionate as ever about preserving the beautiful trees in our area. I spoke with him to find out more about his extensive career as an educator and forestry board member. Q: Tell us about your background. A: I’m from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, a little town called Easton. That’s where a famous tree called the Wye Oak resided in Wye Mills, MD. It was a national champion white oak that is Maryland’s state tree, and it’s the biggest oak they’d ever found. It is a magnificent tree. I went to college for my undergraduate degree at Salisbury, which is now Salisbury University, but back in the 20


’50s when I went there, it was called Salisbury State Teachers College. It just prepared teachers, so I got my degree from Salisbury and then I started teaching in Montgomery County, in elementary school and one year in junior high school. After three years, I got my master’s degree in educational administration at the University of Maryland, College Park. I went back to Talbot County and was teaching at a little school, and I was also the principal of the school. There were just five of us teachers, and I was also a part-time bus driver there. The reason I bring that up is because the school bus I drove—on the Eastern Shore, the individual drivers own the school bus. Especially in the spring, I used to tell the kids, “Boys and girls, if we get all of our work done this morn-

ing, we can take a fieldtrip.” Basically, what I did when we took these little fieldtrips was I would take them to some of the famous estates down on the Eastern Shore. Back in the ’50s, Talbot County had six national champion trees, including the Wye Oak, and every year, we’d go see the Wye Oak and some of these other magnificent trees. That’s how I kind of got into it. I was only down there for four years, but in that time, I became president of the teachers association, so I was very active in trying to improve the situation for teachers. I came back to Montgomery County in 1960. While I was there, I got a program started called the outdoor education program, where we tried to identify things in the curriculum that we could teach better outdoors than indoors. Other schools got very interested in participating in the outdoor education program; in just a couple years, we had nearly a dozen schools involved. I was spending as much time helping other schools get started in outdoor education as I was being principal. The program was expanding very quickly and I said, ‘I feel like I’m doing two half-a** jobs and want to do one half-a** job.’ I actually took sabbatical leave that year and went to Michigan State University on a fellowship to get a doctorate, I got all the work done except the dissertation. In the meantime, I was trying to get an outdoor education center built here in the county. I always thought that was kind of my dissertation and we actually succeeded in doing this in 1973, (opened in 1974): the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center in Rock Creek Regional Park. Q: What got you interested in working with trees? A: When I was a kid growing up back in the ’30s, sometimes on a Sunday, Dad would pile all us kids into the car and he’d take us to see different local attractions. One place he always took us was to see the Wye Oak, so I’ve always felt that was what got me interested in the first place. Q: What’s it like working for the Montgomery County Forestry Board?

NEIGHBORnwork A: For a while, I was president of the forestry board and I got a program started here in the county to make a contest out of finding big trees—that was in 1989. Originally we just put out a little sheet with our list of champion trees every two years, but in more recent years, we put out a very nice booklet every two years that we call “our register of champion trees.” This is mainly put together by one of our board members: Linda Pepe. Originally, the board was much more involved with forestry. But in Montgomery County. We don’t do much of that anymore we’re involved in getting trees planted. Every spring and fall, we find a school that would like to have trees planted on the campus. We find the trees and we help the kids plant the trees. Usually it’s about 50 trees, about $1,000 worth of trees every year. We don’t have a budget from the county so we have to find someone who will underwrite it financially. We also have a summer camp for students who may be interested in a career with natural resources and each county is allowed to send two kids. That camp takes place in Garrett County, way up in Western Maryland. We did get a law passed: an ordinance that if you have a champion tree, you can’t just cut it down; you have to go through a process to get a permit. Right now, we have the national champion crabapple, and we’re in the process of trying to save it, so it doesn’t get cut down, because someone wants to put up a high-rise building at the property it’s on.

For a tree to be listed as a tree, it has to have is one permanent trunk at least 13 feet tall. Sometimes things that you don’t think of as trees are actually listed on the national list. For instance spice bush: the very name suggests it’s a bush, and it easily is. But it occasionally will grow with one trunk. Some national champions aren’t gigantic trees, but that just makes it more interesting if you’re looking for these things. Q: Tell us more about champion trees and why they’re important. A: The big deal about champion trees is that, you don’t associate big trees with Montgomery County, but over the years, we’ve had more state champion trees than any other county in Maryland. At the current time, we have five national champion trees in Montgomery County and 14 national champion trees in Maryland. Q: What can our readers do to help?

A: The whole idea behind the registry, and identifying big trees, was to try to save them. Usually, you only heard about big trees when they were being cut down. We thought if we gave them some publicity beforehand, there would be a much better chance of saving these trees. We’ve succeeded in a few cases. We identify big trees but the only way you get big trees is by planting little trees, so my message, as my doormat in front of my house says, is ‘plant a tree’ and that’s a simple message I give to people. There are so many benefits in doing that, that’s the message I would want to get out. Go to to find out more about the Montgomery County Maryland Forestry Board. o Ashley O’Connor is a senior multi-platform journalist at the University of Maryland. This autumn, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener. Responses edited for length and clarity.

Q: What makes a tree a champion? A: There’s a way of measuring the trees. The most important thing is measuring the size of the trunk. You measure the trunk at 4 and ½ feet, the circumference of it—and you record that in inches. Then you measure the height in feet. The third thing you measure is the spread: how wide the tree is. You add the three figures up and that’s the way they do it all over the country. It was a system that began in Maryland, a state forester worked out the system in 1925, but they only list native trees, unless an exotic tree has become naturalized in Maryland. DECEMBER 2018




Trees Matter: From Native Bees to Baltimore’s Inner City By Ashley O’Connor

The 2018 Trees Matter Symposium, hosted by Montgomery Parks and Casey Trees of Washington, DC, was full of insightful tree-related discussion—from drones to social justice to bees. The day kicked off with a welcome breakfast and time to meet exhibitors and sponsors, including the Washington Gardener. The first speaker of the day, Dr. Jessica Vogt, talked about cities’ costly mistakes when it comes to tree maintenance. According to the assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Studies, DePaul University, “The Cost of Not Maintaining Trees” is millions of dollars for municipal budgets. Many cities plant trees improperly and reduce pruning and watering to save money, making the trees vulnerable to storms. A 1998 storm in Minnesota cost $11 million in preventable tree failure alone. Vogt called for more data-driven studies to better inform practitioners. Presenter Dan Staley is looking at urban forestry from a new perspective. The principal of Arbor Drone, LLC, uses cutting-edge technology to identify disease and other risks for arboriculture clients. An aerial view can find water stress that a farmer couldn’t identify, for example. The company is receiving national attention, recently placing in the top 10 of the NASA iTech Competition. But Staley warned that with an evolving industry comes detrimental change to the traditionalists in utility vegetation management. Companies like Staley’s will cause significant job-loss for ground inspection crews in the future. He suggests jumping onto the data side now to secure a career in unmanned aircraft. A licensed remote pilot himself, he encouraged the audience to explore offthe-shelf drones, for quickly identifying problems with your trees or a client’s. A drone can capture a 12-20, megapixel image, giving you the clarity to see freeze, hail, and squirrel damage. But be sure to acquire a UAV pilot license before working with a client. And be 22


mindful of privacy invasions. It’s not illegal to fly over private residences, but it is unethical and strongly discouraged. When discussing Arbor Drone’s business model, Staley said it’s an “everchanging Venn diagram.” Each day and situation is different, with data collection, data processing, and data interpretation teams working together.

David Myers, associate professor in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland, College Park, led a lunchtime speed tour of urban tree plantings in several public and private plazas in the Silver Spring Central Business District.

Wildlife biologist Sam Droege wowed the audience with stunning bee photographs. And the images had a bigger purpose: Most people aren’t aware of how many different bee species exist; in the U.S. alone, there are 4,000. Droege presented some of the lesser-known types, such as a blue-colored bee. His lecture emphasized the important role trees play in the bee ecosystem. A single tree can support thousands and thousands of bees with its flowers. To support bees, cities should aim to include flowering trees in their forests and parks. Individuals should strive to make their residences less cut-off from the surrounding environment, as well as reduce chronic mowing. Check out Droege’s Instagram account @usgsbiml for beautiful bee and nature posts. At the close of the event, director of SavATree Consulting Group Mike Galvin accepted the Gold Leaf Award for the Urban Wood Project—the topic of his lecture. The project includes an ambitious business model aimed at improving the lives of underprivileged Baltimore citizens. Baltimore has an estimated 17,000 vacant homes and 14,000 empty lots, where an abundance of urban wood is being thrown away, Galvin said. After identifying this issue, the Baltimore Wood Project was created, employing residents who have struggled with addiction or been through the criminal justice system. The project involves all aspects of the wood processing business: sorting, processing, producing, and even retail. “Brick and Board” is the project’s storefront space on Howard Street, Baltimore. The project recently partnered with Room and Board to create a special line of furniture using Baltimore’s repurposed wood. o Ashley O’Connor is a senior multi-platform journalist at the University of Maryland. This autumn, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.


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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 (Heucheras) 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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13th Annual Washington Gardener Philadelphia Flower Show Tour Organized by Washington Gardener Magazine Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 10:00AM-10:00PM Leaving and returning from downtown Silver Spring, MD

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the oldest and largest indoor flower show in the world. The theme for 2019, “Flower Power,” will pay tribute to the enormous impact of flowers on our lives. America’s leading floral and garden designers will create stunning landscapes, imaginative gardens, and breathtaking floral displays. Through imaginative exhibits, guests will see ideas like community, healing, peace, transformation, and hope brought to life in surprising, vibrant ways. The Flower Show attracts non-gardeners as well as die-hard green-thumbed people of all ages. First-time and returning riders will enjoy the welcoming, custom details of our coach service. Schedule for the day: • 10:00AM Coach leaves downtown Silver Spring with lunch, games, and DVD viewing en route • 12:45-7:15PM Explore Philadelphia Flower Show ~ dinner on your own • 7:30PM Coach departs Philadelphia Convention Center with snacks, games, and DVD showing onboard • 10:00PM Coach arrives at downtown Silver Spring This tour package includes: 1. Charter Passenger Coach ~ reserved seating, storage under the bus 2. Choice of Gourmet Box Lunch on the way up to the show 3. Snacks for the return trip 4. Suggestions of restaurants near the show for dinner on your own 5. Information package on the show to assist in prioritizing your day 6. Two Garden DVD showings 7. Admission to the show & driver tip 8. Convenient drop-off and pick-up at downtown Silver Spring, MD 9. Lively show and garden discussions led by Washington Gardener’s Kathy Jentz 10. Surprises and prizes.

To register, please use the form below. (One form per person.) Name _______________________________________________________________ Address______________________________________________________________ Phone number________________________________________________________ Email________________________________________________________________ Name of seatmate_____________________________________________________ We will try to seat groups together, but cannot guarantee group seating. Name of group _______________________________________________________

Registration deadline: March 1, 2019

Full refund if canceled by February 7. $40 refunded until February 28. No refunds after March 1.

Questions? Kathy Jentz

Brought to you by:

Check/money order #_______ ~ Please make payable to “Washington Gardener” Send this registration form along with your payment to: Washington Gardener, 826 Philadelphia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

If you’ve never been to the Philadelphia Flower Show, this is your opportunity to escape from the last of winter’s cold winds and experience a garden paradise. Walk through floral wonderlands, take notes at one of the many workshops, enjoy new plants on display, and shop the vendors’ tempting array of goodies.



Code 3/6 Silver Spring

Fee: $100.00 each $95.00 each for Washington Gardener Magazine subscribers

Washington Gardener December 2018