Washington Gardener Magazine June 2015

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JUNE 2015 VOL. 10 NO. 4




the magazine for gardening enthusiasts in the Mid-Atlantic region

Pretty Native Groundcover: Canada Mayflower June–July Garden Tasks Microgreens Local Garden Events Listing

Lisianthus: the New Rose Meet the Interns

Visit to Sunshine Farm and Gardens How Biochar Alters Soil’s Water Flow Making Room for Fragrance

Odonating in our Region:

Dragonflies and Damselflies

GoGardeners Garden Coaching

Elise Stigliano Garden Coach elise@gogardeners.com • 301-518-8333


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 wgardenermag@aol.com for available dates, rates, and topics.

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.

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

Order some today at: www.manuretea.com


Specializing in Garden

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Green Spring Gardens




JUNE 2015

A “must visit” for everyone in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area. It’s a year-round gold mine 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.





Barry Glick at Sunshine Farm and Gardens says his mission is “to be a bridge between the most knowledgeable people in a particular genus of plants and the home gardener.”


Win a vintage-style, limited-edition DC Plant Swap poster! The contest entry deadline is 5:00pm June 30.



Lisianthus ‘White Rose’ is easy to grow alongside other annuals, unfazed by heat and drought. This wonderful variety has pristine white 2-inch flowers. It’s relatively difficult to start it from seed, so it is recommend to start with seedling plants. Photo courtesy of Burpee.com.

BOOKreviews 6-8 Edibles for Small Spaces, Digital Garden Photography, Grow Your Own Flowers, Wildlife-friendly Vegetables DAYtrip 14-16 Sunshine Farm and Gardens EDIBLEharvest 17 Microgreens GOINGnative 22 Canada Mayflower INSECTindex 20-21 Dragonflies and Damselflies KNOWitall 9 Weeding Groundcovers, Orange Serviceberries, Fast-fading Azaleas, Watering Veggies NEWPLANTspotlight 11 Hydrangea ‘Fire Light’ PLANTprofile 18-19 Lisianthus TIPStricks 10 Biochar Research, Pollinator Week, Room for Fragrance


ADVERTISINGindex BLOGlinks EDITORletter GARDENcontest LOCALevents MONTHLYtasklist NEXTissue RESOURCESsources

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Female Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) in your editor’s Silver Spring, MD, water garden. Photo by Kathy Jentz.

In our JULY 2015 issue:

Microgreens are also known as “baby” greens and are the small forms of edible greens/herbs. They can have intense flavor, but are similar to their grown-up versions.

Stewartia Trees 10-year Story Index

Green Groundcovers and much more...

Be sure you are subscribed to:


Click on the “subscribe” link at http://washingtongardener. blogspot.com/ JUNE 2015





Credits Kathy Jentz Editor/Publisher & Advertising Sales Washington Gardener 826 Philadelphia Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: 301.588.6894 wgardenermag@aol.com www.washingtongardener.com Call today to place your ad with us! Ruth E. Thaler-Carter Proofreader Daven Desai Gaby Galvin Marissa Paiano Interns Gaby Galvin, Daven Desai, and Marissa Paiano. Photo by Kathy Jentz.

Meet the Interns This summer, I have taken on three editorial interns. If you attend any of our upcoming events, you are bound to run into one or more of them. You will also see some of their first bylines as garden writers in this issue. I asked them to write a short introduction to our readers. Here are they are (see washingtongardener.blogspot.com for the full-length versions)... • My name is Gaby Galvin and I am a junior at the University of Maryland in the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism. I’ve been writing all my life, and at UMD I’ve written for several on campus publications, including Her Campus, the Campus Trainer, and The Odyssey. I garden a little bit at home in Davidsonville, MD, with my mom and grandparents, and I love being outdoors and taking trips to the beach – I couldn’t be happier that it’s finally summer. • Hello Readers. My name is Daven Desai and I am a broadcast journalism student at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism as well. I am excited to be writing for this great local publication and I hope my skills as an editor and writer will help take the magazine to a whole new level this summer. In the past I have edited blog posts for readUnwritten.com, a college lifestyle blog for the hip, young collegiate. I look forward to sharing my perspective to the gardening world. • I am Marissa Paiano, a summer intern at Washington Gardener Magazine. Originally from Connecticut, I am a rising junior at the University of Maryland where I am majoring in multi-platform journalism with a minor in business. In summer 2013 I was a reporter for a local Connecticut newspaper, The Valley Press. Then in the spring and summer of 2014, I worked as a digital intern for WTOP and a communications intern at the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office respectively. We are working hard on indexing all the back issues of Washington Gardener Magazine over the next few weeks and I’m excited to have that project completed for our 10th anniversary, so we can see how much we’ve covered over the past decade.

Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener wgardenermag@aol.com WASHINGTON GARDENER

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 is a womanowned business. We are proud to be members of: · Garden Writers Association · Think Local First DC · 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 10, Number 4 ISSN 1555-8959 © 2015 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.

Happy gardening!


Cover price: $4.99 Back issues: $6.00 Subscription: $20.00

All uncredited photos in this issue are © Kathy Jentz. JUNE 2015


Reader Contest

Local Gardening Calendar

Each month includes a list of what to do in the garden for local DC-MD-VA and Mid-Atlantic gardeners, along with a gorgeous photo of a seasonal flower from a local public garden collection in our area. Go to http://www.cafepress.com/ washgardener to order this new calendar for gifts and to treat yourself! Be sure to note on your order what month you want the calendar to start with. This calendar is a keeper that you can use for years!

For our June 2015 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away 3 limited-edition poster prints from our recent DC Plant Swap (prize value: $10 each). Ben Schifman of the Wangari Gardens in Washington, DC, designed this vintage-feel poster to commemorate and promote our 8th annual plant swap. The poster is 11x17 and is numbered on the back. It is suitable for framing and sure to become a collector’s piece. To enter to win one of the three remaining DC Plant Swap Posters, send an email to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Tuesday, June 30, with “Swap Poster” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in this June 2015 issue of the magazine and why. Please also include your full name and mailing address. The pass winners will be announced and notified on July 1.

Caption Contest

This Buddha’s Hand aka Fingered Citron is in the US National Arboretum’s herb garden. We asked our Facebook page followers: How would you caption this “touching” photo? Look for more monthly caption contests at the Facebook.com/ WashingtonGardenerMagazine page.

Winning Captions: “Phooooone hooooome!” ~ Julie Blackwell “Seymour, that tickles!” ~ David A. Hill “Are you touching my fingers to find enlightenment or just for that fresh citrus fragrance?” ~ Sylvan Kaufman “May the Force be with you!” ~ BetteLou Green Campbell “Feelings, whoa oh, oh, feelings.” ~ Jack Sparrow “In Great Cthulhu’s name - Fhtagn.” ~ David A Hill “I usually charge $15 for a manicure, but for you it’ll be $50.” ~ Julie Blackwell “You cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world!” ~ Jane Aire

Buddha’s Hand photo by Kathy Jentz.

JUNE 2015




Fast, Fresh Garden Edibles: Quick Crops for Small Spaces By Jane Courtier Publisher: Creative Homeowner List Price: $14.95 Reviewer: Gaby Galvin Complete with easy-to-navigate sections and stunning, full-page photography, this book is a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to grow fruits and vegetables quickly and in small spaces. It may be especially helpful for new gardeners, who may not know basic gardening terms or techniques, but Courtier is sure to enlighten experienced gardeners as well with tips found throughout the book. The first portion of the book explains basic gardening methods, like how to sow, transplant, and harvest crops. This might be a section skipped over by gardeners who know the tasks well, but it is probably the most valuable for new gardeners. In addition to explaining key terms (like the difference between annual, biennial, and perennial crops), it explains how to choose a space to garden, as well as listing vegetables that will do well in your climate. Throughout this section are “time saver” tips, like making sure to twist string beans the right way around their supports when getting them started, because they grow counter-clockwise and will unwind themselves if twisted the wrong way. Tips like these are scattered throughout the book and will help any gardener, regardless of experience level. The “No Garden, No Problem” section 6


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is what I found particularly interesting. Courtier details several ways to garden in small spaces. She shows different, versatile mini-gardens for different spaces, like hanging baskets for courtyard gardens and raised beds on patios or decks. Most spaces with access to light can be used to plant fruits and vegetables, and Courtier provides many examples of creative solutions to the small-space dilemma. The majority of the book is dedicated to different fruits and vegetables, and how to manage them in a small garden. Courtier separates them into three sections: “Superfast,” “Faster than the average vegetable,” and “Worth the wait.” The fruits and veggies take anywhere from 10 days to three months to harvest, based on their section. Each fruit or vegetable’s page contains photos and detailed instructions on how to plant, care for, and harvest it. It even includes the best season to plant it and a time-frame for when it should be ready to pick and eat. This book is a great read for new gardeners who aren’t quite sure where to begin and experienced gardeners who may be surprised by its usefulness. One thing I would have liked to see would be more specific details on how long each plant takes to be harvestable, but overall, Courtier provides a solid starting point for quick fruits and veggies with Fast, Fresh Garden Edibles. Gaby Galvin is a Washington Gardener Magazine summer 2015 intern who is studying multiplatform journalism at the University of Maryland. She does some gardening at home in Davidsonville, MD, with her mother and grandparents. She can be reached through Washington Gardener.

The Photographic Garden: Mastering the Art of Digital Garden Photography By Matthew Benson Publisher: Rodale Books List Price: $24.99 Reviewer: Daven Desai From light effects to point of view to patterns to design, there are endless factors contributing to the perfect shot. In digital photography, there are so many different ways you can capture an image, and Matthew Benson tells us in a step-by-step format what one must

consider when taking pictures. Benson understands that, to master the art of digital photography, you must understand your environment and how light can either make or break the perfect shot. From light and understanding one’s environment, Benson also talks about design and how every shot depends on your surroundings, the weather, and, most importantly, your position. With so many contributing aspects around you, Benson wants you to understand that your surroundings can be controlled by manipulating other factors. For dealing with bad lighting, Benson has a chapter dedicated to adjusting your camera’s filters, white balance, and exposure to teach the reader how to take professional shots in such lighting. If you’re having trouble finding a good shot, Benson has a section explaining how perspective and point of view can change the image and its effect. For each concern, Benson has included a solution for it. You will also find a thorough description of what is depicted near each image as well as what technique or factor contributed to the shot. In addition to handling bad lighting, there are many other “How tos…” throughout the rest of the book. One of the earlier topics discusses seasonal gardening. Benson provides a short informative section on “How to Photograph the Seasonal Garden.” In this chapter, Benson uses two paragraphs to explain this. The first paragraph is “Technique,” where he

BOOKreviews explains how to do it. The second paragraph is “Assignment,” where he gives you a task to test for yourself so that you can practice the technique he provides. This Technique-Assignment format is used throughout the book and it’s a great way to get photographers, gardeners, and everyone else interested in digital art to master it in a short amount of time. Towards the end of the book, the final chapter is titled “Post-Production,” which is quite literally about how to manipulate lighting in Adobe Lightroom, as well as a detailed seven-step process to use when editing images in Adobe Photoshop. Calling it “The Magnificent Seven,” Benson has created a helpful guide with image references that includes crop, unsharp mask, clone stamp, adjustments, dodge and burn, layers, and image size. All of these features comprise what Benson refers to as the Fundamentals of Photoshop. From his “how tos…” to his step-bystep editing guide, Matthew Benson spares no detail in his guide to helping any reader become a master of digital garden photography. Each image and each section is dedicated to helping any reader become an expert in no time. Daven Desai is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a broadcast journalism student at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. This summer, he is also an editorial intern for Washington Gardener Magazine.

Grow Your Own Flowers By Helen Yemm Publisher: Mitchell Beazley ]List Price: $19.99 Reviewer: Marissa Paiano This extensive manual for “growing your own flowers” is the perfect read for beginner gardeners, like myself, or readers looking to improve their current gardens. I was originally drawn to the perfectly arrayed, bright pictures on the front cover, but, after reading the introduction, I was hooked. In the first few pages, the author discusses how the way that people envision their gardens is based on what they’ve seen in movies and in books. If someone picked up this book unsure of whether

they should start a garden, after reading the introduction, they will be full of confidence and eager to start. The rest of the book sets about explaining and teaching the reader how to achieve a dream garden. I say this book is mainly for beginner gardeners because it explains a lot of basics and terminology (it even has a glossary) that a well-versed gardener may already be familiar with. It explains the difference between types of planting styles, such as formal versus informal, woodland, naturalistic, and exotic, what plants to buy for each type, and what maintenance each style of garden will require. There is also a small, but useful, segment on cutting flowers that shows which ones are the best to cut and how to arrange a garden with these types of flowers. One of the most important parts of the book is the “Know Your Site” section. Determining what kind of plants will have success growing in your yard is crucial to gardening. This section directs the reader on how to know this by observing soil, wind, light, and drainage. Another one of my favorite sections is the “Problem Solver” spread, which covers issues from bugs to fungus and diseases, and how to treat them. While all of these smaller sections are crucial and contain very relevant information, the main substance of the book is the “A-Z of Flowers.” Almost 100 flowers are featured in this section, with one or two pages dedicated to each. For every flower, there is a summary of the history and varieties of

the plant along with soil information, a buying guide, the care it needs, deadheading instructions, how to overwinter the plant, and propagation techniques. Along with a brief overview of how to grow biennials, perennials, bulbs, and transplants, and a “Year Planner,” this book is a one-stop-shop for anyone who is serious about starting a successful flower garden. If you are looking for a short and quick guide, though, there may be better options. The extent of the information compiled in this book makes it a little bit of a longer read. The only complaint I have is that there is only a tiny, half-page discussion about shrubs, which are also a key component to any garden and are wonderful flowering plants. Although, seeing as herbaceous flowers are implied in the title, I guess I can’t be too upset that this is the book’s main focus. Marissa Paiano is a summer intern at Washington Gardener Magazine. She studies journalism at the University of Maryland and, in her free time, she enjoys reading and exploring DC.

The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Food in Harmony with Nature By Tammi Hartung Publisher: Storey Publishing List Price: $16.95 Reviewer: Erica H. Smith I was curious about this book as soon as I saw it in the Washington Gardener Magazine review pile, and selected it full of anticipation and questions. What does “wildlife-friendly” mean? Are we supposed to let animals, birds, and insects have a fair share of our harvest, and how much is that? The author lives in Colorado; does she have the same issues that we do with voracious deer, rabbits, and groundhogs? I couldn’t help thinking back to a talk at Brookside Gardens given by Jennifer Bartley, author of the lovely book Designing the New Kitchen Garden. She showed us slides of her front-yard French-potager-style food garden, beautifully laid out and verdant, with only a short decorative fence surrounding it. We all looked at each other and then one audience member spoke up to Book Reviews continued on next page

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BOOKreviews ask, “What about deer?” Bartley looked at us in surprise and said, “They come that close to the house here?” Yes, we all nodded sadly, they do. So I was definitely reserving judgment about someone who might tell me to leave my vegetable and fruit gardens wide open for our animal friends to munch on. Having read the book, I still have some reservations about trying some of Hartung’s methods, but it’s also clear that she understands how circumstances can vary and that a viable solution in one situation may not work in another. Hartung doesn’t talk about permaculture in this book, but I’d still shelve it next to others that discuss that ecologically based system, and I would recommend The WildlifeFriendly Vegetable Gardener to those who are interested in a theoretical basis for gardening with the natural world in mind, as well as those who don’t know much about the creatures around them and would like to learn more. You might also push it at friends and neighbors whose first reaction to seeing a bug or animal is repellent spray (or, where legal, firearms). “Live and let live” is the core thesis here. In fact, the first section of the book, “Rethinking Our Relationships with Nature,” is more about observation of the natural world than anything obviously to do with gardening. Hartung suggests keeping a nature journal, sitting for a long time to watch the animal world, creating a photographic record, etc. Will most of us take hours out of busy lives to do this? Probably not, but it’s still useful to stop every once in a while and just look around us. She also makes the point that not all insects, birds, and animals are detrimental to our gardens, and even those that are destructive are exhibiting natural behavior that can, in many cases, be redirected to our benefit. This isn’t just a book about keeping fauna away from your garden or appreciating their cuteness; it follows a much more holistic approach. Subsequent 8


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chapters discuss building and caring for soil to enhance the positive effects of organisms that live there, putting in garden elements for wildlife food and habitat, attracting pollinators and beneficial predators, and strategies for peaceful coexistence with wildlife. These include crop rotation to discourage insects, planting a surplus with the idea of sharing some with visiting animals and birds (including designating an area to place the excess, to keep foragers away from what you want for yourself), distracting with decoy plants, adding strongscented plants, using repellent sprays and scare devices, and blocking access with fences and covers. It’s possible that none but the last couple of solutions will work for many of us, but it’s worth trying some others if they are less labor-intensive. These strategies keep in mind all aspects of an environment at once, and address the effect of actions on other wildlife populations than the one currently causing frustration. Plan ahead, and think before you act: important messages. The book also includes some designs for wildlife-friendly gardens, which are among the book’s charming illustrations by Holly Ward Bimba. Flexibility is key to design, Hartung stresses; you may need to factor in the possibility of a fence even if it’s not built immediately, or change some of the plants in your design if they prove to be too alluring to animals or insects. This is an attractive and interesting book — and a quick, entertaining read — that has given me some new ideas about dealing with wildlife, and helped me see the process in a more positive light. Erica is a Montgomery County Master Gardener, runs the Grow It Eat It blog for the University of Maryland Extension, and grows vegetables in her own community garden plot and in the MG Demonstration Garden in Derwood, MD. She is the author of several novels; visit her web site at ericahsmith.wordpress.com. o

Next Book Club Meeting

For our next Washington Gardener Magazine Book Club selection, we will be discussing: Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell. The book club meeting will be held at the Takoma Park Neighborhood Library,* Washington, DC, in the TPK Meeting Room on Thursday, July 30, from 6:30-8:00PM. The library room allows food and drink and you may bring your dinner and/or snacks to share. The book club meetings are FREE and open to anyone who would like to attend. Please RSVP to “WG Book Club” at WashingtonGardener@rcn.com. I will be limiting attendance to 20. If you need to cancel, let me know ASAP so we can give your spot to someone else, should we have a wait-list. *NOTE: This is the library on the Washington, DC, side of the border, NOT the City of Takoma Park, MD, location.

Love Reading?

These books were reviewed by volunteer members of the Washington Gardener Reader Panel. We are looking for a few additional volunteers who live in the greater Washington, DC, region to serve on our Reader Panel. This will consist of about two email exchanges per month. Reader Panelists may also be asked to review new gardening books and test out new garden plants, tools, and seeds. To join the Washington Gardener Volunteer Reader Panel, please send an email with your name and address to: wgardenermag@aol. com. We look forward to having you be a vital part of our local publication and its gardening mission. o


Ask the Expert by Debra Ricigliano

Weeding Amongst Groundcovers

Can you help me? I have so many weeds in my periwinkle bed. Is there anything I can do to kill them off without much labor? ~ Seema Zoe Xara Weeds tend to invade areas where groundcovers are sparse. Is your Periwinkle (Vinca minor) thinning out for some reason? Controlling weeds in a bed with a mature groundcover can be difficult. It is helpful to identify the weeds that are invading your groundcover, as this can help with a control strategy. Start by hand-pulling, as this is the safest and preferred method. You could follow up with a preemergent herbicide labeled for groundcovers to prevent the germination of annual weeds. There are selective herbicides that will control grassy weeds without harming the Periwinkle. The active ingredient is fluazifop. There are no organic herbicides that can be used because they are nonselective and would injure your groundcover, too. In the future, pull the weeds as soon as they appear. It is easier to pull them when they are young rather than tackling them when they are mature. Read and follow all label directions if you decide to use an herbicide.

Azalea Blooms Fade Fast

Can you talk about the Azalea blossoms this year? Mine were loaded with flowers and looked great, but the bloom time seemed really short this year and they are fading more quickly and all at once — even with many different varieties. Is anyone else experiencing this? ~ Felicia Carr We have not received any inquiries from folks about shorter bloom times for their Azaleas. The flowering of trees and shrubs can vary from year to year and is mostly driven by weather conditions. I did notice that some flowering shrubs like Forsythia bloomed later this spring. Early spring was cool, but we also had a period of unusually warm weather. Hot weather causes blossoms to be short-lived. The fact that this is happen-

ing on many different varieties leads to the assumption that your blooms faded quickly because of our variable weather. Many gardeners keep journals about their gardens. It can be a very helpful exercise to keep track of what occurs in your yard from year to year.

Watering Vegetables

I am a beginner vegetable gardener and have a pretty basic question. What is the best way to water a vegetable garden and how much water should I give my plants? ~ Jane Doe Vegetables planted in average, welldrained soil require about an inch of water per week from rainfall or irrigation (which is approximately 62 gallons of water per 100 square feet). Gardens in sandy soil will require a bit more than that at the height of the growing season. Water is crucial during seed germination, after planting transplants, and during flower and fruit production. Avoid dumping water from overhead as well as frequent low-volume watering, which encourages plant diseases and a shallow root system. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation are the most efficient means of watering. They provide water right to the root system and minimize water usage. With a hose, use a wand attachment so the water can be directed under the foliage, directly to the roots. Water as early in the day as possible to allow the foliage to dry before evening. Add compost or other types of organic matter to increase the water-holding capacity of the soil and mulch generously.

Orange Serviceberries

Our Serviceberries are covered with orange goo. What is it? ~ Cathrine Nelson This is Cedar-quince Rust, which is a fungal disease closely related to Cedarapple and Cedar-hawthorn Rust. These diseases are caused by different species of the fungus Gymnosporangium and are very common diseases in our area. Quince Rust has a complicated life cycle as it requires two living hosts: Junipers/Cedar and plants in the Rose family (which includes Serviceberry and many others).

In the spring, orange, gelatinous spore horns form on Junipers. When they mature, they burst open to release spores that can infect susceptible plants. The whisker-like structures that form on Serviceberry fruit are called aecial columns. This is a difficult disease to control because spores from infected Junipers can travel from up to two miles away. Chemical control involves applying multiple fungicide sprays to the Serviceberry in early spring. As this is not practical for a home-owner to do, we do not recommend it. The disease will not kill your tree. o

Debra Ricigliano is a Certified Professional Horticulturalist. She has worked as a horticulture consultant for the University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center since 1997. Debra enjoys gardening at her home in Highland, MD. She is a graduate of the Institute of Applied Agriculture at UMCP and a talented, allaround horticulturist. To ask a gardening or pest question, go to http:// www.extension.umd. edu/hgic and click on “Ask Maryland’s Garden Experts.” You can also attach a digital photo. Got a gardening question you need answered? Send your questions to wgardenermag@aol.com and use the subject line “Q&A.” Please also include your first name, last initial, and the city and state you are writing from. Then look for your answered questions in upcoming issues.

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Biochar Alters Water Flow by David Ruth and Jade Boyd As more gardeners and farmers add ground charcoal, or biochar, to soil to both boost crop yields and counter global climate change, a new study by researchers at Rice University and Colorado College could help settle the debate about one of biochar’s biggest benefits — the seemingly contradictory ability to make clay soils drain faster and sandy soils drain more slowly. “Understanding the controls on water movement through biochar-amended soils is critical to explaining other frequently reported benefits of biochar, such as nutrient retention, carbon sequestration, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rebecca Barnes, an assistant professor of environmental science at Colorado College. Biochar can be produced from waste wood, manure, or leaves, and its popularity among do-it-yourselfers and gardening buffs took off after archaeological studies found that biochar added to soils in the Amazon more than 1,000 years ago was still improving the waterand nutrient-holding abilities of those poor-quality soils today. Studies over the past decade have found that biochar soil amendments can either increase or decrease the amount of water that soil holds, but it has been tough for experts to explain why this occurs. In the new study, biogeochemists at Rice conducted side-by-side tests of the water-holding ability of three soil types — sand, clay and topsoil — both with and without added biochar. “Not all biochar is created equal, and one of the important lessons of recent studies is that the hydrological properties of biochar can vary widely, depending on the temperature and time in the reactor,” said Rice geochemist Caroline Masiello. “By adding our results to the growing body of literature, we show that, when biochar is added to sand or other coarse-grained soils, there is a simultaneous decrease in bulk density and hydraulic conductivity, as opposed to the expected result of decreased bulk density correlated with increased hydraulic conductivity that has been observed for other soil types,” Barnes said. o 10


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Make Room for Fragrance

by Judie Brower A garden’s appeal is spread across our senses — or that’s the way it should be. We’ll be drawn in by the deep red of a rose; we’ll reach out to touch its velvety petals; and we’ll definitely lean in to smell its fragrance. These three senses are the key, and of these, scent is king. Here’s how to add some to your garden • Tip one: Spring bulbs pack a punch and are like little seasonal time bombs. They lurk unseen in the soil, poking green leafy tips of promise through at the end of winter. They’re exciting to watch simply because they grow so quickly — in no time at all, they’re in flower, filling the air with the scent of childhood memories. Jonquils are fabulous, as are Freesias, Sweet Peas, and many annuals, too. You can get away with a clustered handful close to the steps, or, if time and money allows, scattered drifts through a woodland or across the lawn. And don’t forget to cut some to bring their fragrance indoors. • Tip two: Summer is also a season filled with scented plants. If you were fortunate enough to grow up with the perfume of Peonies or Phlox filling the warmer months, you know what I mean. Happily, the newer varieties like ‘Volcano’ Phlox are just as special as those of our childhoods, but with much higher levels of disease tolerance. Then there’s the gorgeous Gardenia, delicious Heliotrope ‘Cherry Pie,’ and, for filling vertical spaces, Jasmine. • Tip three: There is a simple way of making a garden feel like it’s full of fragrance, sometimes using only a few plants. Pick the spot to plant your scented additions carefully — beside the front gate, near the back door, behind the garden seat. These are places where we all pause, and, with a few new additions, they’ll become places where we stop to draw in a few good deep breaths of perfume. o

Pollinator Week 2015

Source: PollinatorWeek.org U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, proclaimed June 15-23 as Pollinator Week. In an unprecedented act of vision and solidarity, all 50 state governors have proclaimed Pollinator Week in their states as a time to celebrate and protect the nation’s pollinating animals. Joining and supporting this effort are some of the largest businesses and most powerful voices in the country. This year has marked a strong surge in interest in the health of America’s pollinators, including First Lady Michelle Obama’s announcement at the White House of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, an initiative of the newly formed National Pollinator Garden Network, 22 first-class nonprofits and organizations representing gardens, pollinators, and plant nurseries. Pollinator Week celebrates a new dawn of wise land management across the country, spearheaded by the May release of the first-ever Federal Strategy for the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators. Efforts during Pollinator Week, and indeed year-round, are working to reverse and prevent pollinator declines caused by loss of habitat, disease, pesticides, parasites, and other interconnected assaults on pollinator populations. Laurie Davies Adams, executive director of the Pollinator Partnership, said, “It’s appropriate to see the highest levels of government, as well as grassroots actions by individuals and communities taking action for pollinators. There are over 130 events taking place around the world for Pollinator Week 2015 — We applaud everyone participating. It’s a great starting point for actions, large and small, that support the future of our pollinators, our food supply, and our environment.” o


Quick Links to Recent Washington Gardener Blog Posts

• Turning Black Thumbs Green • Edible (and Not So Edible) Flowers • Native Spotlight: Indian Pink • Honeybees Find a Haven at UMD See more Washington Gardener blog posts at: WashingtonGardener.Blogspot.com

June-July Garden To-Do List

New Plant Spotlight Fire Light® Hardy Hydrangea

Hydrangea paniculata ‘SMHPFL’ PPAF; cbraf The award-winning Fire Light™ is the new standard for measuring all hardy hydrangeas. Upright panicles are packed with florets that transform from pure white to rich pomegranate-pink. Its thick, sturdy stems hold up the beautiful flowers so they are prominently displayed in the garden.

Plant Details

Height: 4.5-6' Spacing: 4.5-6' Exposure: Plant in sun or partial shade Hardy Temp: -40°F (-40°C) Uses: Mixed borders, hedges, foundation plantings. Features: White summer flowers turn red in fall. Very hardy. Soil: Adaptable to most well-drained soils. Bloom color is not affected by soil pH. Pruning: Prune in late winter/early spring. Type: Deciduous Bloomtime: Summer Flower Color: White Foliage Color: Green Zone: 3 - 8 Fire Light® hydrangea was crowned the 2015 National Champion in the recent Shrub Madness competition — prevailing in a tough field of 64 contenders, ‘Fire Light’ is part of the Proven Winners® ColorChoice brand from Spring Meadows Nursery. See retailers at: http://springmeadownursery.com/ proven-winners. o

• Direct-sow annual flower and vegetable seeds. • Water newly planted trees and shrubs weekly or as needed. • Contact a certified arborist to have your trees’ health inspected. • Check on your container plants daily and keep them well-watered. • Watch for insect and disease problems throughout your garden. • Mow in the early evening and cut off no more than one-third of the grass height at one time. Leave clippings on the ground to provide nutrients. • Add barley straw (in a bale or ball) to your pond to improve water clarity. • Take cuttings from azaleas and roses to start new plants. • Harvest herbs to use in salads and summer dishes. • Try a few new tropical plants on your patio. • Shape your evergreens and hedges. • Look for slug trails in the early morning and put out slug bait as needed. • Tie-up climbing roses and other wandering vines. • Fill in bare spots in the garden with annuals. • Deadhead spent flowers to encourage reblooming. • Prune flowering shrubs as their flowers fade. Last chance to do so for fallblooming camellias. • Spray roses with Neem oil every two weeks. • Start a sunflower patch with help from a few kids. • Harvest strawberry beds daily. • Cut a few flowers to enjoy at your workplace. • This is the perfect time to apply grub control. • Change the water in your birdbath daily and throw a Mosquito Dunk (or bits) into any standing water. • Put in supports for tomatoes and tall-blooming plants such as dahlias. • Order spring-flowering bulbs to arrive for planting this fall. • Take photos and update your garden journal. • Inspect your garden hose for leaks and tighten all connections. • Weed. • Sow beets, beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash for fall harvest. • Prune boxwoods. • Sharpen your lawnmower blade. • Avoid using pesticides or any chemicals near your water garden. • Make hummingbird food by boiling two cups sugar in four cups water. • Turn your compost pile. • Clean up fallen fruit and berries. • Cover berry bushes and fruit trees with bird netting. • Dig up garlic when the tops turn brown. Let dry in the sun, then store. • Fertilize your azaleas and rhododendrons and monitor them closely for any lacebug damage. • Sow heat-tolerant greens like Swiss Chard and mustard greens in partshade. • As the heat and humidity move in, take it easy by working in the morning or early evening to avoid intense sun and humidity. Leave the big projects for this fall. For now, concentrate on maintaining the beds you’ve already established and nurturing your new plantings. JUNE 2015



TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Upcoming Events ~ June 16–July 15, 2015 •Saturday, June 20, 10:30am–12noon Container Gardening and Composting in Small Spaces Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia (Arlington/Alexandria) will present a program on container gardening and composting in small spaces at Barrett Branch Library, 717 Queen St., Alexandria, VA. The segment on container gardening will focus on how to select the right pots and plants, prepare for planting, and keep plants healthy and happy. The composting segment will cover small-scale composting tailored to the space available ― in a backyard, on a balcony, or even indoors. It includes what to put in a compost pile, how to maintain it so materials break down, and how to use finished compost. The program is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so registration is highly recommended; sign up online at mgnv.org. •Saturday, June 20, 10–11am The Plight of Urban Bees Honey bees have a lot to show us about our food production, and our relationships with nature. In the midst of the drastic rise in the disappearance of honeybee colonies, there is optimism and hope to be found in the stories of people who are keeping bees in the most concrete-laden, urban places. There are ways that everyone — even those who don’t keep bees — can help bees thrive. Author Alison Gillespie followed Mid-Atlantic beekeepers and shares their stories with you. Fee: $12/ person. Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, VA. Register on-line at www.fairfaxcounty. gov/parks/greenspring using code 290 385 7601 or call 703-642-5173. • Saturday, June 20, 9–3pm Edible Landscaping Annual All About Fruit Day Edible Landscaping will be hosting its famous spring open house — an event that is not to be missed. ALL regularly priced plants will be 20% OFF (pick up at the nursery). Throughout the day there will be tours, door prizes, workshops, and plenty of time to ask your edible plant questions!. See details at: http://ediblelandscaping.com/. 12


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• Saturday, June 20, 6–9pm Music in the Garden Twilight Walk Enjoy music and the landscape as an evening of beauty and talent unfold in the gardens at Surreybrooke in Middletown, MD. Various musicians perform classical and folk music as visitors walk on candlelit pathways. Hammered dulcimer, harp, and classical guitar can be heard while enjoying the fragrant evening gardens. Try your hand at dancing with the Scottish Dancers. Register at www.surreybrooke.com. •Thursday, June 25, 10–11:30am Hummingbirds in the Garden The designer of the 2015 Rain Garden hummingbird display, Lisa Tayerle of Brookside Gardens staff, will reveal the importance of flower shape and recommend beautiful plants that will have “hummers” coming to call in your garden. Course #316305 Fee: $6 FOBG: $5; registration required. Meet at the Conservatory Entrance at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD. Details at: montgomeryparks.org. •Saturday, June 27, 1–4pm Bonsai Repotting for Tropicals Learn to repot your tropical bonsai correctly with expert guidance and individual attention. Soil and tools provided. Note: Often, bonsai will be repotted into the same container. For questions, call 202-245-5307. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the US National Arboretum. Fee: $29 Registration required. See www.usna.usda.gov or call 202245-4521 for information. •Sunday, June 28, 2pm Secrets of Lake Line: Meadowlark Virginia Native Wetlands Way down at the lowest elevation in the gardens, a wetland collection of native plants holds many secrets. Join garden manager Keith Tomlinson on a one-hour tour of Lake Lina and discover a part of the garden devoted to understanding wetlands. There is no program fee, but regular Garden admission applies ($2.50–$5.00). Reservations are not required. Questions? Please call 703255-3631. Held at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA.

• Tuesday, June 30, 7:30pm Native and Non-native Vines in Maryland’s Natural Areas Carole Bergmann will share her knowledge of both native vines and nonnative invasive vines found growing in our Maryland Natural Areas. The presentation will include a lecture/slide component and a table or two of “samples” gathered from nearby natural areas for “hands-on” identification and discussion purposes. Location: White Oak Library, 11701 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD. The meeting is open to nonmembers. Registration is not required. Hosted by the Maryland Native Plant Society. For information on this event: http://mdflora.org/event1911522. • Starting July 1 Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar Exhibit The seasonal display at Brookside Gardens features hundreds of live butterflies from all over the world. Families, students, nature lovers, and everyone in between can get an up-close experience with these brilliant butterflies from North America, Costa Rica, Africa, and Asia as they soar among colorful flowers. Visitors can learn about their amazing metamorphosis, the important role butterflies play in having healthy ecosystems, and how to ensure these beautiful insects thrive in our own gardens. The display runs July through October and is open seven days a week from 10 am to 4 pm. Cost is $8 ages 13 and up, $5 ages 3–12, and free for ages 0—2. Frequent visitor, family, and dual passes available at the Brookside Gardens’ Visitors Center or at the Conservatory gift shops. See details at: www.montgomeryparks.org. • Saturday, July 11, 10:30–11:30am Yoga Gathering: Stop & Smell the Roses WithLoveDC is a movement to spread love, joy, and acceptance throughout the district. The Practice With Love classes aim to create an accessible space for all people to tune into their breath while enjoying the amazing spaces around our beautiful city. Please note: This program is first-come, first-

TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Upcoming Events ~ June 16–July 15, 2015 served with limited space available. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own mats. Location: National Garden (Rain Location: Conservatory West Gallery) of the U.S. Botanic Garden. FREE: No pre-registration required. See more at: http://www.usbg.gov/. • Sunday, July 12, 2–4pm Garden Photo Show Reception You are invited to view the winning images of the 9th annual Washington Gardener Photo Contest at an art show at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. All 17 stunning photos were taken in DC-area gardens. Both inspirational and educational, this show represents the best of garden photography in the greater DC metropolitan region. The reception is open to the public and is free to attend. You may also come by and view the photos any time during the normal Visitor Center hours (10am-7pm daily). The photo show runs through August 31. • July 14–August 27 DC’s First Master Naturalist Volunteer Training Come learn about DC’s natural history during the Master Naturalist volunteer training, then “give back” by contributing 40 hours of volunteer service to advance conservation, environmental stewardship, and outreach in the District. The volunteer training meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30am—5pm (including a lunch break), plus two field trips. Classes are taught by local subject-matter experts, and there is a strong emphasis on hands-on and field activities. The training will be held at UDC’s David A. Clark School of Law; the cost is $250 per person. Space is limited to 18 people. Please register here: http://goo.gl/ forms/KKau7jIXzS. After registration, you will be contacted to schedule an interview. For more information contact me, Mary Farrah, at mfarrah@udc.edu or 202-274-6682.

Save These Future Dates: • Thursday, July 16, 7:30am–2:30pm Green Industry Professional Seminar The Professional Grounds Management Society, D.C. Branch and the Northern

Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association are holding their annual Field Day and Trade Show at American University in Washington, DC. The Field Day will have talks and demonstrations by professionals and vendors on topics including trees, landscape maintenance, and landscape architecture/design, and a session for Spanish-speaking employees. For more information, visit www. greenindustryseminar.org. • Wednesday, July 22, 6:30–8:30pm Dealing with Deer & Other Mammal Pests in Your Garden Bambi may be cute, but he and his mother, cousins, and rest of the herd are very hungry and they would love to make a feast of your garden. This talk will cover proven and humane tactics for gardening with deer, rabbits, rats, groundhogs, and other creatures that are attracted to both edible and ornamental gardens. Held at the Raymond Rec Center in WDC. For more detailed descriptions of the class and teachers and how to register, go to: http://dcdpr. asapconnected.com/Courses.aspx?Cou rseGroupID=11845.

• Saturday, August 1, 9am–1:30pm Grow It Eat It Summer Event Learn how to keep your garden going. Visit the Montgomery County master gardener demonstration garden in Derwood, MD. Come attend the tomato tasting, meet with the garden consultants, and attend classes/ demonstrations. The plant sale will include many of the plants and items discussed in the classes and demonstrations. If you have any questions, write to mc.growit@gmail.com.

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, please contact: Wgardenermag@aol. com — put “Event” in the subject line. Our next deadline is July 10 for the July 15 issue, featuring events taking place from July 16—August 15, 2015. o

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. JUNE 2015




Sunshine Farm and Gardens

A Wild and Wonderful WV Garden Text and Photos by Cheval Force Opp

Philadelphia in the ’60s, he gleefully recounts how, at the tender age of five, he cut up one of his mother’s favorite Coleus to try rooting it, just as he saw on TV’s “Mr. Wizard.” So, how did he get from Philadelphia to West Virginia? When his plants crowded him out of his city space, he visited Vermont, only eight hours from Philly. But he reckoned Vermont was too cold; an eight-hour drive south should be warmer. That is when a fateful “for sale” advertisement (reproduced below here) in the Philadelphia Inquirer caught his eye.

He bought the farm in 1972 on his first visit. Why the name Sunshine? It was taken from the name of the LSD, Orange Sunshine, he was tripped out on at the moment he first set foot on the farm. Of course, his first winter, he realized that West Virginia’s 3,500-feethigh, Zone 5, mountains could equal Vermont winters.

Mountain-side Gardens

West Virginia is a state I had never really visited, only passed through on the way to somewhere else and, even then, just skirted its corners or boundaries. When Barry Glick agreed to host my visit to his Sunshine Farm and Gardens, I assumed the topography would be just more of, well, Virginia. But the five-hour drive took me far away from Virginia’s matronly hills, mega-house developments, and tailored farms. Three-quarters of West Virginia is covered in forest; roads cling to the edges of narrow, lush green valleys and keep company with rock-lined streams. The horizon is bound by sharply rising mountains, peaks rounded like PlayDoh by Dogwood blooms and newly leafing trees like Willow, Poplar, White Oak, and Red Maple. There are only forest between small farms and towns. 14


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Exiting speedy Interstate 81 onto Interstate 64, we soon left that paved comfort and slowed to follow Barry’s directions over one-lane wooden bridges, past tiny white churches perched high above us on steep hillsides. Log cabins nestled below us in shaded hollows as we snaked up two mountains. The road dwindled, going from paved two-lane, to one paved lane, and then one narrow graveled lane. The tall trees crowded over us, filtering sunlight into a golden green. The wild flowers strewn along the roadside stream sparkled with iridescence. Wild Geranium, Trillium, and Columbine spotted the rocky banks. All was quiet, disturbed only by a solitary farmer’s truck that passed us going in the opposite direction. I wondered why Barry was drawn to this part of our country. Raised in

After snaking up the “two mountain” drive with only a few false turns, I was overjoyed see the Glicks Road sign and make the final push up his gravel road to find a redwood, three-story home, centered on good-sized, cleared, flat space of land. At a distance, greenhouses ringed the clearing, snug on the crest of the steep downslopes. Barry greeted me warmly and immediately began walking me up the facing hill. He gamboled ahead goatlike, pelting me with his humor and pointing out landmarks. First to be admired were his apple trees, the few bare, dead trees recently bartered for a gourmet meal at Greenbrier; the live trees are 44 years old and still producing. Breathing hard and taking care not to stumble, I scrambled after Barry to his young plants enclosure, a sloped area about the size of a football field under

DAYtrip not already said. But for you, dear readers, we will ask: “Why Hellebores?” “They are plants that deer do not eat, bloom when few other flowers can be seen, are evergreen and long-lived to 100 years.” I agree with him: The Hellebores I ordered years ago have thrived, despite little care, and have become the backbone of many of my beds. Over this 40-year love affair, Barry has collected every species within the genus and maintains more than 200,000 flowering stock plants for seed production. He invites anyone and everyone to come see his six acres of Hellebores in full bloom, recommending peak bloom time in mid-March to mid-April.

Display Gardens and Barry Keep Evolving high trees and fenced against deer. He led me around plots of bright spring plants, Latin names peppering his fond description of each plant’s virtues. His farm holds a collection of over 10,000 different, hardy to Zone 5 perennials, bulbs, trees, and shrubs. Many are natives, but his eclectic investigations have brought plants from all over the world to this haven. One of my favorites, Trillium, was blooming. I have always despaired of growing these natives, but Barry admonished me to try. He propagates Trillium not only because they are longlived and grow quickly, but are easy to grow with minimum care. His advice, “Just keep them weeded and fed with a good perennial plant food and mulched to keep them from totally drying out during dry spells.” Like any plant-aholic, I am heartened to try them again. Barry’s production stock bed of over 100,000 Trillium plants are shipped to gardens internationally. He employs 12 people, most of whom are related and living on or near Glicks Road. His reasonable prices and well-illustrated, humorous web catalog convinced me to order from him years ago. Trillium luteum, one of Barry’s favorites, shows off bright-yellow flowers against silvery marbled foliage in early to mid-spring. He extols its lemony jasmine scent, strong enough to perfume the garden and I am

smitten. Barry fuels my lust by assuring me it is easy to grow in any garden with “Woodland Conditions” — full to bright shade and average to well-drained soil. And for those of us deer-cursed, a good repellent. Buoyed by his unabashed enthusiasm, I ask Barry if there is anything about his business he does not like. Without hesitation, he responds, “business paperwork” and turns to take me back down the hill to the show off his true love, Helleborus.

Hellebore King Crowned

Barry has championed Hellebores for so long, I am sure I can’t write anything that he or some other interviewer has

An avid reader, Barry makes special efforts to meet horticulture authors and garden writers whom he admires, many of whom he now counts as life-long friends. Matthew Bishop of Devon, England, is one such friendship struck when Barry toured England. Bishop, a graduate of the Wisley Garden Certificate, has gone on to fame as head gardener at several of Britain’s famous gardens. The display gardens that sweep around Barry’s home were designed by Bishop in the summer of 1993. I found it interesting that Bishop is now the “Snowdrop King,” with a business of collecting, writing about, and selling unusual and sought-after Galanthus sp. This summer, several Temple University horticultural interns will be work-

JUNE 2015



DAYtrip ing with Barry to refresh this display garden. I cannot imagine a better realworld experience for new horticulturist. Perhaps Barry should consider conferring a “Sunshine Garden Certificate” in the future. You can take a virtual tour of the gardens through the photographs taken in June 2000 by world-famous garden photographer Mark Turner of Turner Photographics.

Only If You Are Crazy

Barry has not only spent a lifetime molding his 60 acres into a successful business, but is a recognized plant expert who lectures world-wide. You will find his articles in just about every horticultural publication and magazine

(including this one). In 1995, he developed a hands-on propagation workshop called “The Joy of Propagation” or “Everything that You Wanted to Know About Plant Propagation, But Were Afraid to Ask.” The workshop runs from four to six hours and was first presented at the 5th annual Millersville Native Plant Symposium at Millersville University, Millersville, PA, and Barry is in his record-breaking seventh repeat workshop at that symposium. If you ever get a chance, sign up; he has taken the workshop on the road to sell-out crowds.

He is justifiably proud of sending his two kids through college, even as Barry succeeded without formal education, referring to his education as UHK or the University of Hard Knocks. He no longer needs to drive the eight hours to Philadelphia to visit family — his mother, now 92, lives a few miles from Glicks Road in Lewisburg, WV. When I asked Barry if he would recommend this business to others, he quipped, “Only if you are crazy.” As I wind back down Glick Lane to the shaded roads leading away from Barry’s Sunshine Farm and Gardens, I reflect on West Virginia’s history. Originally, West Virginia was indeed part of Virginia, but during the Civil War, the independent farmers pulled away to form a new state which, unlike Virginia, refused to secede from the United States. Barry Glick would have fit right in with the crazy farmers in 1863, but we are lucky to have him now in this century.

How to Visit

Be sure to visit Barry’s web site, it is a treat. www.sunfarm.com. This is Barry’s home, as well as his business, so please call first to schedule your visit. His number is 304.497.2208. You can also reach Barry via email at barry@sunfarm.com. Sunshine Farm and Gardens is located at 696 Glicks Rd., Renick, WV 24966, USA. Detailed Directions can be found on Barry’s web site: http://www.sunfarm.com/. Cheval Force Opp lives and weeds in Dunn Loring, VA, with her husband Dana and corgi Marzipan. Her current project is to shrink her garden beds down to the few she can manage with arthritis. In between, she is visiting as many gardens as her feet will take her. She is available to share her garden day trips with groups and organizations. Contact her at gardentours@gmail.com. 16


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Microgreens Pack a Mighty Punch

by Kathy Jentz

Microgreens are a nutritional powerhouse that are super-easy to grow and cook with. Young lettuce seedlings, harvested seven days after germination, have the highest antioxidant capacity as well as the highest concentrations of health-promoting phenolic compounds, compared with their more mature counterparts, according to a study published in the Journal of American Society for Horticultural Science. Microgreens are beloved by chefs for adding just a kick of flavor to a wide range of dishes, from sandwiches and soups to garnishing a white pizza. My own favorite use is to put baby arugula greens in an egg-salad sandwich (leave out the celery and onions). Try them in omelettes and, of course, as the

base of a salad or just sprinkled in for color, texture, and added flavor. Wendy Kiang-Spray, who blogs at www.greenishthumb.net and is a big microgreens enthusiast, shares several smoothie recipes on her site that use these tiny and delicious plants. Why pay high grocery store and restaurant prices when you can easily grow your own? All you need is a space on a sunny windowsill or a shallow container on a patio or porch. Start with a wide plastic container, like a salad take-out shell. Poke several holes in the tray bottom and put the lid of the

tray underneath to collect any excess water. Next, add good potting soil. Look for a brand without added fertilizers, which are unnecessarily for these tiny seedlings and may actually “burn” the new growth. Fill the container with no more than about two to three inches in depth of the soil. You’ll want to buy your seeds in bulk as you need to plant them fairly thickly and you may want to do several batches, planting a new container as the old one starts to thin out. Scatter the seeds across the soil surface. Try to space them out fairly evenly and then press them into the soil surface gently. Water them in well using a spray bottle filled with filtered water, set on mist. Then place the tray in a sunny window. Keep the soil moistened by misting it a few times a day. You should start to see seeds sprouting by the end of one week and can start harvesting the greens at any time thereafter. To harvest the greens, use clean kitchen scissors to snip off the seedlings just above the soil. With many varieties of lettuce greens, you can let the seedlings grow back and then come back to cut them again and repeat the process a few times before they eventually tire out. Great choices for microgreens include radishes, beets, almost any lettuce green or brassica (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), peas, watercress, sunflowers, and leafy herbs like basil and parsley. Try your hand at growing these baby greens and you may find that your easy success with it can be your “gateway drug” into the rest of the wide, wonderful gardening world! o Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener Magazine (www.washingtongardener.com) and is a long-time DC area gardening enthusiast. Washington Gardener is all about gardening where you live. She can be reached at @WDCgardener on Twitter and welcomes your local DMV gardening questions. This article originally appeared on The DC Ladies blog at http://www.thedcladies.com/.

JUNE 2015




Lisianthus: The New Rose Text by Gaby Galvin Photos by Kathy Jentz

Beautiful Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) flowers, whether pink, blue, purple, white, or a myriad other bright colors, command the attention of any garden. With their oval-shaped leaves and delicate petals, single forms of Lisianthus resemble tulips, while double forms look like roses — they are even sometimes referred to as the “new rose.” Also known as Eustoma, Prairie Gentian, Tulip Gentian, or Texas Bluebell, Lisianthus is an annual that will bloom in July, with another smaller bloom in the fall. Varieties include ‘Mariachi,’ ‘Sapphire,’ and ‘Magic,’ each with its own color, size, and number of blooms. Most Lisianthus available to local gardeners are potted, dwarf variations, so they don’t get too big before they bloom. Many cut-flower growers buy plugs to start them out because they can be difficult to start from seeds. They need to be seeded in early January to give them enough growing time before they are moved to the garden in early spring. However, if you buy plugs from a local grower, they don’t need much maintenance once in the ground. Lisianthus can be planted in the garden in early April. It can tolerate a light frost and isn’t a heavy drinker, so, once it is in the garden, it will only need to be watered once or twice a week, though it does need full sunlight to survive. Pests won’t bother Lisianthus, so you won’t have to worry about losing your crop to deer or bugs. Some growers disbud* the first two flowers on Lisianthus to allow the color to develop more fully. It should be cut after the first two have been disbudded and three flowers open up. Lisianthus will continue to mature for another two to three weeks after that. Make room in your sunny borders for Lisianthus. While it will hide itself in your garden for months, when it finally blooms, its beauty will make you realize it’s worth the wait.

Name Confusion

Lisianthus is found in the Caribbean and southern United States. It is a genus of three species of the Gentianaceae family. Lisianthus is popular in horticulture as a cut flower and 18


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PLANTprofile an indoor potted plant. Lisianthus can sometimes be confused with the separate species that has the Latin name Lisianthius, which is found in the Caribbean and Central America. It is unclear how Lisianthus earned its name, as it is not similar to Lisianthius. Lisianthius comes from the Polalieae tribe, and Lisianthus, otherwise known as Eustoma, comes from the Chironieae tribe. The name Lisianthus comes from the Greek words lysis, meaning dissolution, and anthos, meaning flower.

Best Growth Conditions

While Lisianthus can be difficult to grow from seeds, it can also be tough to find as plugs. Seeds don’t need to be covered; instead, allow 10 to 14 days for them to germinate. Once seeded, Lisianthus requires a controlled temperature of 70 degrees or lower, and does well with high humidity, conditions that can be difficult to achieve. It will need this kind of care for about four months before they are large enough to move into the garden. When planting them in the garden, they should be planted six or seven inches apart because they don’t spread out or become bushy. They can grow anywhere from 20 to 30 inches tall in the garden, so they need to be supported. When they are short for the first month or so, they can be left alone, but once they start getting tall, local flower grower Leon Carrier of Plant Masters in Montgomery County, MD, suggests using netting. He uses 6 by 6-inch squares of netting supported on each side by plastic rows. The netting is typically about a foot high above the plants. Carrier also recommends putting 1010-10 dry fertilizer down and mixing it in with the soil, ensuring the plants get full sunlight, and giving them the right amount of water. If the plant starts to droop, it’s a sign that it needs more water. However, make sure there is somewhere for the excess water to drain if it is not yet in the garden, because Lisianthus is prone to disease if it doesn’t get enough drainage. It will bloom in mid-summer, usually July, and, if kept as cut flowers or are deadheaded, there will be a second flush in the fall around September.

Cultivars for the DC Area

Lisa Mason Ziegler, author of Cool Flowers, a book filled with tips on growing annuals in cool weather, grows ‘Mariachi’ Lisianthus flowers at her flower farm in Newport News, VA, The Gardener’s Workshop Cut-Flower Farm. These flowers vary in color from blue to green to pink and do particularly well in zone 6. ‘Mariachi’ have large, thick petals and are perfect for mixed or straight bouquets. The ‘Sapphire’ Lisianthus is one of the easiest to grow and best-performing variations as it does well in any hardiness zone between 5 and 10. The edges of their petals are lined with different colors and are perfect for planting in containers or edging borders.

Companion Plants

Because Lisianthus needs plenty of sunlight, planting it in a sun garden is where it will flourish. It will do well with any mid-summer bloomer. Annual vinca make a nice border for Lisianthus because of their glossy, beautiful flowers and ability to withstand different growing conditions. While they need more water and have to be planted later in spring with no chance of frost, they make a nice addition to any sun garden and bloom throughout the summer. Lisianthus also goes well with Zinnia because it also needs a lot of sun and a little water. Zinnias also grow much faster and will keep your garden full and

colorful while you are waiting for your Lisianthus to bloom. They also both attract butterflies!

Sources and Information

Look for Lisianthus at your local gardening center. In Montgomery County, Leon Carrier’s wife, Carol, sells their Lisianthus and other plants and flowers at The Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market in Bethesda, Maryland, only a short distance away from Washington, DC. Ziegler grows thousands of Lisianthus flowers a year and also sells the seeds. She sells flowers at local farmer’s markets and through The Gardener’s Workshop, where people can order seeds via an online garden shop or a mail-order catalog. Her web site is shoptgw.com. Lisianthus plugs and seeds can also be ordered online at Burpee.com or ParkSeed.com to be delivered to your doorstep. If a gardener is willing to put in the effort to grow them, Lisianthus is a great addition to any garden. Lisianthus fans will save themselves quite a lot of money by growing them at home, because they are expensive when bought as cut flowers. After cutting them, many growers leave them in a sugar solution for a minute or so, or even add some sugar to the vase water to ensure having a successful and longlasting Lisianthus. Once cut, they will brighten any home with their beauty. o Gaby Galvin is a Washington Gardener Magazine summer 2015 intern who is studying multiplatform journalism at the University of Maryland. She does some gardening at home in Davidsonville, MD, with her mother and grandparents. She can be reached through the Washington Gardener web site. *To disbud is to remove or thin out flower buds in order to improve the quality and/or quantity of the remaining blooms.

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JUNE 2015




Odonating: Spotting Dragonflies and Damselflies in our Region

Text by Carol Allen Photos by Kathy Jentz I have always enjoyed having water features around my yard. I love the waterlilies, lotus, and pickerel rush that bloom all summer and I enjoy providing water for the birds and pollinators that I work so hard to bring to my garden. Also, I enjoy the “dragonflies” that I find in my garden. However, I must confess to serious ignorance as to what I have been watching! I find there are two different types of dragonflies: true dragonflies (suborder Anisoptera) and their cousins, damselflies (suborder Zygoptera). They are both in the order Odonata, one of the oldest groups of insects. Can you believe that, during the carboniferous period, our dragonfly ancestors had 20


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wingspans of over two feet across! How do you know what you are looking at? Both groups of insects have large heads with well-developed, compound eyes. They both have six legs that they use to capture prey and, of course, to land on a nearby vantage point and scout for the next bunch of mosquitos that happen by! They both have long “darning-needle” abdomens and two sets of wings. It is how they carry their wings that helps distinguish between the two groups. Dragonflies at rest hold their wings out to their sides — like a jet airplane sitting on the runway. Damselflies fold their wings back along their bodies, covering their abdomens. There are a lot of

other differences, but those are the “Oh look! A dragonfly!” most obvious differences as one zooms off after its lunch. And zoom they do! Dragonflies are especially strong fliers and some species can fly for miles even crossing oceans. They move in six directions — forward, backward, up, down, right, and left — and can hover. Dragonflies can make those directional changes very rapidly as they spar with a rival or catch prey. Damselflies have a more “fluttery” flight and, for some species, their courtship behavior involves the male showing off his complicated dance moves to both repel rivals and attract females. One generally looks for dragonflies

INSECTindex and damselflies near wetlands, ponds, color. They feed on Daphne sp., mosquistreams, and other bodies of water, but to larvae, and other aquatic organisms. there are some species that spend part The nymphs can go through as few as of their adult lives in other habitats. six molts or as many as 15, taking as There are 450 species found in the little as a few months to mature or sevUnited States and Canada, with about eral years, depending on the species. 180 species being found in the DC Most species over-winter in the nymph region. As with birdwatchers, there are stage. folks who go out and seek the rare and In the spring or summer, when their wonderful dragonflies and damselflies larval form has developed enough, to add to their life lists. The hobby is the nymph will laboriously climb some known as “Odonating” and is increasing vegetation to get above the water level. in popularity around the country. Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) Though both dragonin a Brookeville, MD garden. flies and damselflies are busy predators as adults, they are easy to spot and watch as they feed. They consume midges, mosquitos, flies, moths, butterflies, and smaller Odonata. The adults may gangfeed if mayflies or termites are swarming. As nymphs, their diet may be limited to aquatic arthropods, but they are still very desirable insects for our gardens. The males defend their territories against all other Odonata members. Males select their territories based on the type of vegetation, sunlight, and, of course, the presence of water. The type of water depends on the species, with some preferring fastmoving streams and others still-water ponds. There it will split the exoskeleton of the Both dragonflies and damselflies larva, gradually ease its body out of the undergo a gradual metamorphosis old skin, stretch out its wings, harden (hemimetabolous). The eggs are laid and dry off and is ready to take flight. near or under the water on vegetation, There is no pupal stage with Odonata. rotted logs, or other substrate, dependI find their often jewel-like colors ing on the species. Damselfly nymphs amazingly beautiful. The Ebony Jewelare slender, with three feathery gills wing (Calopteryx maculate) has black extending from the end of the abdowings and a brilliant blue-green abdomen. Dragonfly larvae are thicker in the men. The Twelve Spotted Skimmer abdomen and, though they do breathe (Libellula pulchella) is a large Dragonfly through the anus and have internal with — you guessed it — a dozen black gills, there are no external gill appendblotches arranged on its otherwise clear ages. Both nymphs have six legs, large wings. The Blue-Fronted Dancer (Argia eyes, and are a camouflage-brown apicalis) sports a bright powder-blue

head, thorax, and abdominal tip with the rest of the abdomen being black. He looks like he is in 1970s formalwear and ready for the prom. There are several government, hobby, and academic groups that catalog the dragonflies and damselflies in our area. They are beautiful, yes, but, more importantly, they are the bellwether of degrading wetland conditions. Many dragonflies and damselflies are listed as rare in our area and that is disheartening. They require clean and well-oxygenated water in which to breed and much of our local water ways are negatively affected by pollution. Consider tailoring your water feature to house these fascinating insects. For me, that means no fish, more plants, allowing a bit of pond muck to accumulate on the bottom, and no pesticides. The plants provide the nymphs with areas of varying depths for feeding and the deep area provides hiding places from predators. I have several still-water containers, one of which is deep enough to not freeze solid in the winter. I will add bird-bath heaters to the smaller ones to keep the water fluid enough to over-winter the nymphs. Keeping some containers of fluid water is very appreciated by the birds in the winter as well. Maybe I can make my yard into a dragonfly and damselfly sanctuary. Then I could go odonating from the comforts of a lounge chair with a drink in my hand! o Carol Allen describes herself as a committable plant-a-holic. She has more than 25 years’ experience in the horticulture industry, with a special interest in plant pests and diseases, and is a Licensed Pesticide Applicator in the states of Maryland. Carol can be contacted at carolallen@erols.com. Please use pesticides safely! Read and heed all label directions!

JUNE 2015




Canada Mayflower

by Barry Glick

Good morning, children. It’s time for today’s Latin lesson. Actually, although most botanical nomenclature is in the beautiful language of Latin, there is much in Greek and other languages, so, to be correct, we should refer to a plant name as its “Scientific Name.” The flavor of the day today is Maianthemum canadense, a plant that rocks my world every spring. If you break down the genus name, “Mai” refers to the month of May (duh), the time that this woodland beauty flowers with its soft sprays of creamy-white flowers, and, of course, “anthemum” means flower. So there you go, and that brings us to its common names, “May Flower,” “Canada Mayflower,” and “False Lily of the Valley.” Common names can be so charming, don’t you agree? By the way, although the specific epithet is canadense, that doesn’t mean it is native only to Canada. During the time of Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, 1707–1778, there was no United States and this whole 22


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part of the world was referred to as Canada. Consequently, plants like Asarum canadense, Aquilegia canadense, etc., were given the specific epithet of canadense to describe the region of the world that they inhabited. Although Maianthemum canadense is native to 27 mostly northern states and every province of Canada (see map at: plants.usda.gov/), it also grows well in the south and west — if provided full shade. So I guess that just about covers every state in the mainland US and I’d venture to say they’d probably grow well in Alaska, also. Hawaii? I don’t know. Maianthemum canadense is one of my all-time favorite native groundcovers. It forms a dense mat of glossy green foliage that emerges through the leaf litter in my garden very early in the spring. Even after the long flowering period, the foliage is persistent throughout the growing season. It spreads by underground runners (stolons) to quickly form a natural colony, though I would never consider it invasive or even aggressive.

If you start off with one single-leaved plant, next year, you’ll have two or three and the following year, more; and the following year, even more, and... well...you get it. They’re very easy to plant bareroot anytime of year that the ground isn’t frozen. Keep them moist, not wet, until they get established. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, and in case you were wondering, the deer have never touched them! (And I live 10 miles down a one-lane road on a 3,000foot-high mountain in a town of 18 people, where the deer outnumber the humans three to one.) And neither have the rabbits or other little varmints. o Barry Glick, a transplanted Philadelphian, has been residing in Greenbrier County, WV, since 1972. His mountaintop garden and nursery is a mecca for gardeners from virtually every country in the world. Barry writes and lectures extensively about native plants and Hellebores, his two main specialties, and welcomes visitors with advance notice. He can be reached at barry@sunfarm.com, www.sunfarm.com, or 304.497.2208.


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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

MARCH/APRIL 2008 • Patio, Balcony, Rooftop Container Gardens • Our Favorite Garden Tools • Coral Bells (Heucheras) MAY/JUNE 2008 — ALMOST SOLD OUT! • Growing Great Tomatoes • Glamorous Gladiolus • Seed-Starting Basics • Flavorful 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 UT! • 40+ Free and Low-cost Local D O Garden Tips SOL • Spring Edibles Planting UT! Guide O LD for a Fresh Start • Testing Your SOSoil UT! • Redbud LD O Tree Selection and Care O S • Best Viewing Spots for Virginia Bluebells

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

SUMMER 2009 • Grow Grapes in the Mid-Atlantic • Passionflowers • Mulching Basics • Growing Hops 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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Donate to Support DC Gardens and Gardening in DC! What is DCGardens.com? • Images and videos of DC-area gardens by month, enticing people to visit yearround (see DCGardens.com for examples). • Deep local resources for turning more residents into gardeners. • Digital images donated by volunteers, so DC Gardens is inexpensive. managed and funded independently from the gardens; nimble and very useful! Why Gardens (and Gardening) Matter The Washington, DC, area is blessed with fabulous gardens that are open to the public, most of them free. Sadly, many are largely unknown and lack the funds to get the word out. If people could just see what they look like throughout the year, more would visit, and that matters because: • Gardens bring visitors close to plants and to all of nature, which benefits them mentally, spiritually, and physically. • Visiting gardens is a gateway experience to taking up gardening at home and in the community. • Public gardens are the primary teaching facilities for turning residents into gardeners, with classes and workshops on growing food, providing for wildlife, protecting our waterways from polluting runoff, and creating beauty in our home gardens or balconies. • Turning people on to gardening results in more beauty for all of us to enjoy and better stewardship of our land — without nagging.



JUNE 2015