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MAY 2018 VOL. 13 NO. 3




tthe magazine for gardening enthusiasts in the Mid-Atlantic region

L’Auberge Chez François Chef’s Garden What’s Bugging Your Azalea?

Tantalizing Trillium Which is best for your lawn? Cool- vs. WarmSeason Turfgrass

Meet Seedsman William Woys Weaver

Easy Annual Flowers for Direct Sowing

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:

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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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Ask � � � �Maryland’s � �� � � � � � � � � � � � � � �Garden � � � � � � � � � � � �Experts � � � � � � � ������ � � � � �� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � ����

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Twisted Trillium (Trillium stamineum) has mottled silver and green leaves. The dark-maroon, twisted flower petals contrast with alternating silvery-green sepals, further enhancing this special trillium’s unique architectural appeal.

o L’Auberge Chez François owner and executive chef Jacques Haeringer continues his family’s tradition of serving fresh French classics in the original River Bend Country Store. The restaurant has always had a small garden, which has provided seasonal produce and herbs to its kitchen since opening in 1976. It was expanded about six years ago and now occupies one acre.

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Food historian and author William Woys Weaver maintains the seed collection his grandfather started in 1932. The Black Chestnut Bean, part of that “Roughwood Seed Collection,” is a rare soybean from Korea. Photograph courtesy of the Roughwood Seed Collection.


ASKTHEexpert 18 Native Hollies; Rabbits; Moving Amaryllis Outdoors BOOKreviews 6-7 Straw Bale Gardening; Scout’s Guide to Foraging; Succulents CHEFgardens 16-17 L’Auberge Chez François GARDENbasics 13 Cool- vs. Warm-Season Grass GOINGnative 19 Trilliums HORThappenings 12 Dumbarton Park Clean-up; Garden Fair; Plant Sales INSECTindex 22 Azalea Lacebugs NEWPLANTspotlight 11 Romeo Dwarf Cherry Tree NEIGHBORnetwork 20-21 William Woys Weaver PLANTprofile 14-15 Direct-sowing Annual Flowers TIPStricks 10 Pesticide Tips; Turfgrass Diseases; Growing Calla Lily


ADVERTISINGindex BLOGlinks EDITORletter GARDENcontest LOCALevents MONTHLYtasklist NEXTissue RESOURCESsources

23 11 4 5 8-9 11 3 2


Swallowtail butterfly on a zinnia at a cutting garden in Ashton, MD.

In our June 2018 issue:

Growng Soybeans

Arlington Cemetery’s Trees and much more . . .

If your business would like to reach area gardeners, be sure to contact us by June 10 so you can be part of the next issue of our growing publication! MAY 2018




Editing the Garden At the DC Environmental Film Fest screening of the “Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf,” I was lucky enough to chat with the film’s subject in person. We talked about the long, cool spring and the facts that he loves the look of “dead” (actually just dormant) plants in his designs. Grass seedheads, bare stems, dried flowers, etc.. all play a role in the garden as it travels through the seasons of the year and it ages over the years. The conversation turned to editing this magazine, the movie, and his own writings. He said that editing the garden is his favorite of the landscape designing tasks. “You mean weeding?” I asked. “A bit of that,” he replied. But, he went on to explain, it is more about knowing what plants should stay and which should Your editor swinging into the Victory be taken out to let the garden evolve Garden-era at the recent Smithsonian Gardens’ benefit party in Washington, DC. “naturally”—editing the plantings to reveal patterns and connections between groupings, to guide the eye in a pleasing way that appears as if Mother Nature created it, when actually it was an intense amount of planning and labor to establish and maintain. And there it was: the key idea that separates a great landscape designer from the hobby gardener. How many of us are willing to plant thousands of grass and perennials plugs in a precise plan, then go back every season and ruthlessly edit out all those plants that don’t fit the plan? Most of us would choose to adapt the plan to fit in those plants that are most successful, rather than constantly fighting to maintain a certain vision. Soon, we’d end up with big swaths of Monarda, Goldenrod, and Northern Sea Oats, while the Echinacea and Pink Muhly Grass would have long ago been overpowered and likely disappeared from our gardens. We gardeners are essentially editors of nature’s plantings, selecting and growing what we like best, but eventually conceding that the small Rhododendron we loved so much when we first planted it is now a monster that needs removing and replacing with another dwarf shrub selection. My favorite gardening moments are the natural “accidents” that occur without the gardener’s direct efforts. The Clematis that fell off its trellis and wound its way through a bed of Rudbeckia was one stunning display in my garden that would never have happened had this gardener been dutifully editing the bed and not let the vine escape its ties. I believe the genius of Oudolf and why his work is so beloved is that he has a knack for seeing and creating these “accidental” combinations and making it all appear utterly effortless. Happy gardening!

Kathy Jentz Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener, 4


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! Allison O’Reilly Kelly Zheng Interns Ruth E. Thaler-Carter Proofreader Cover price: $4.99 Back issues: $6.00 Subscription: $20.00 Address corrections should be sent to the address above. • Washington Gardener Blog: • Washington Gardener Archives: • Washington Gardener Discussion Group: WashingtonGardener/ • Washington Gardener Twitter Feed: • Washington Gardener Facebook Page: WashingtonGardenerMagazine • Washington Gardener is a womanowned business. We are proud to be members of: · Garden Writers Association · DC Web Women · Green America Magazine Leaders Network · Green America Business Network To order reprints, contact Wright’s Reprints at 877.652.5295, ext. 138. Volume 13, Number 3 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.


Reader Contest

For our May 2018 Washington Gardener Magazine Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away two copies of The Budget-Wise Gardener by Kerry Ann Mendez (prize value of $19.95). Mendez gives the inside scoop on nailing the best deals and having it all: selecting plants that give you the most bang for your buck; timing your purchases to take advantage of deep discounts and giveaways; finding treasures at plant, bulb and seed swaps—and much more. With luscious color photos on nearly every page, this is an essential guide to creating the garden of your dreams without breaking the bank. To enter to win one of the two copies of The Budget-Wise Gardener, send an email to by 5pm on Thursday, May 31, with “Budget-Wise” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us which was your favorite article in this issue and why. Please include your full name and mailing address. The book winners will be announced and notified on June 1.

MAY 2018




Straw Bale Solutions By Joel Karsten Publisher: Cool Springs Press List Price: $24.99 Reviewer: Jamie Moore Straw Bale Solutions is a follow-up book to Straw Bale Gardens (2012) and Straw Bale Gardens Complete (2015). I have not read the previous books and was unfamiliar with the Straw Bale Gardening Method, but after reading Straw Bale Solutions, I feel confident I can use this method. Straw Bale Solutions starts by giving an overview of and instructions for using the Straw Bale Garden Method, a technique using decomposing bales of straw as a growing medium. The body of the book gives vignettes of gardeners worldwide who have creatively adapted this technique to overcome a diverse array of gardening challenges. I felt inspired by the stories of the gardener in Switzerland who uses straw bales to successfully grow vegetables on an extreme slope, and the gardener in the Netherlands who is able to garden on straw bales in an area that frequently floods. Many other gardeners have overcome problems of poor or contaminated soil using this method. Using straw bales can also be an economical way to create raised beds, improve the physical ease of gardening, and increase efficiency by minimizing weed and water issues. Karsten goes on to include profiles of larger groups (from schools and community gardens) and horticultural professionals who are using his method. 6


A landscape designer in France used straw bales to create a truly impressive and unique garden in an international gardening show. A designer in the Netherlands uses straw bales to create “flash gardens” (akin to “flash mobs”), gardens that appear overnight in unused urban spaces and draw attention to the feasibility of urban gardens. Karsten says the Straw Bale Garden Method has the potential to improve the ability of gardeners in developing nations grow their own food, and provides several examples of this. Overall, this book is very readable, well-illustrated, and inspiring to read. However, I think it is best consumed in small doses, or you will start to feel like you are in an infomercial (“But wait, there’s more!”). After reading this book, I am excited to be creating my first Straw Bale Garden with my daughter. Jamie Moore gardens in Frederick County, MD. In addition to gardening, she loves to read; cook with local and seasonal produce; hike; and spend time with her husband, three children, and four cats.

The Scout’s Guide to Wild Edibles: Learn How to Forage, Prepare & Eat 40 Wild Foods By Mike Krebill Publisher: St. Lynn Press List Price: $18.95 Reviewer: Kelly Zheng I was always curious about whether certain berries were edible, specifically the ones that look similar to blackberries. Mike Krebill’s guide to wild edibles is perfect for someone who is curious like me. I have never been camping or hiking. Those are things I would want to try. The Scout’s Guide to Wild Edibles is digest-sized and could probably be packed with you when you go on camping trips. This may seem like a nobrainer, but I would suggest looking through it ahead of time first. This would give you a better idea of what to look out for on your journey into the woods. Krebill talks about several wild North American plants in this book and the only ones I recognize are asparagus, black raspberry, blueberry, dandelion, milkweed, pawpaw, and plantain. I flipped to those first since I already

know something about them. Asparagus is not a good example, because I do not like it to begin with. However, I liked how each section includes the plant’s range, habitat, positive ID, edible parts and preparation, when to harvest, sustainable harvesting, and preserving the harvest for the plant. This is helpful for beginners, especially for unknown plants. There are a few photos for each edible plant and that is always needed— with any foraging trips, visuals are key. The wild black raspberries in this guide looked just like the ones that I mentioned. Seeing that they are edible makes me want to try them the next time. I did not know dandelions were edible, although I did use them as decoration on the sand cakes I made during recess in elementary school. How ironic. But I am not sure if I would eat them myself. As to milkweed, I learned about the plant recently from covering the Boy Scouts’ conservation project at the U.S. National Arboretum, so I will pass on comsuming it and save it for the monarch butterflies instead. Another plant I was exposed to because of a Washington Gardener Seed Exchange is the pawpaw. I did not know what that was, but it is from a tree. Since it is a fruit, I think I will give it a try.

BOOKreviews Sections on “Wild Mushrooms,” “Projects and Activities,” and “Recipes” are also in this guide. I like mushrooms in general, but I have not tried wild ones. I would most likely want to cook them first, if I were to eat them. I am glad Krebill included recipes and photos of their preparation, because I like seeing what people come up with. I am not sure how many projects and activities I would go out of my way to do, but some of these are interesting. I love food, so I would try recipes such as dandelion donuts, dandy burgers, and shagbark snickerdoodles. Overall, this would be a good read for someone who wants to try something new and explore the natural world. Kelly Zheng is a junior multiplatform journalism major, with a minor in technology entrepreneurship, at the University of Maryland, College Park. This spring semester, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

Success with Succulents By: John Bagnasco and Bob Reidmuller Price: $24.99 Publisher: Cool Springs Press Reviewer: Allison O’Reilly Success with Succulents by John Bagnasco and Bob Reidmuller is a basic, image-heavy guide to caring for all sorts of succulents in a variety of environments and circumstances. The book opens up with a history and background on succulents and cacti, explaining where they’re from, the environments they like, and how each succulent is different. This intro chapter (aptly titled “What are cactuses? What are succulents?”) is laden with images and is formatted in an easy-to-follow way, with text boxes and reliable subheadings. The other two chapters get into the nitty-gritty of caring for succulents. I recently obtained two baby succulents of my own, so I was excited to get into these chapters. The chapter titled “Cactuses and Succulents Outdoors” wasn’t very relevant to me, an apartment-dweller with no yard or patio, but it was interesting nonetheless. This chapter examined watering basics, how climate affects succulents, the importance of a well-lit space, eradicating pests, and more. The biggest

takeaway was how quickly succulents can whither when overwatered or not given adequate sun. This chapter also included a section called “Basics of Propagating Succulents,” which was an easy, straightforward guide to growing succulents from seed, stem cuttings, or leaf cuttings. The propagation techniques were explained with plain language and helpful images. The next chapter was more applicable to me and my succulents, and it was extremely helpful in setting me on track to care for my new baby plants. This chapter focuses on giving succu-

lents a proper soil, using well-draining containers, keeping the plants moist, and dealing with pests. This chapter is short and to the point, giving helpful hints I wouldn’t have thought of myself. The best tip I got from this book is using a chopstick or bamboo skewer about one to two inches taller than the plant’s pot to gauge the moisture of the soil. The book suggests sticking the chopstick or skewer down into the soil and watering as normal, pulling out the stick to see how low the moisture level is after a few days; if the moisture is an inch down from the top of the soil or further, it’s time to water again. The best thing about this book was the images, though. It has beautiful, colorful images of what seems like every succulent imaginable. Ending on a colorful note, Success With Succulents includes a 67-page feature about 100 of the top choices of cactus and succulent. o Allison O’Reilly is originally from WinstonSalem, NC, and is a sophomore majoring in journalism, as well as government and politics, at the University of Maryland, College Park. This spring semester, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

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 for more information. MAY 2018



TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Events ~ May 16–June 16, 2018 • Thursdays, 12:15–12:45pm May through September Let’s Talk Gardens! Series May 24 – Landscape Design: Where to Start for Your Yard May 31 – Planting to Attract Butterflies June 7 – Creating a Smithsonian Gardens’ Hanging Basket at Home June 14 – How to Prune Roses Held on the East Walk of the Smithsonian’s Enid A. Haupt Garden, Washington, DC. Free. See http://gardens. • Friday, May 25, 10:30–11:30am Guided Garden Tour at Tudor Place: Get Your Garden On Like the historic 1816 mansion, Tudor Place’s grounds evolved over time. Take a guided tour of the property’s 5½-acre landscape. Hear the stories of the people who created and cared for the gardens for more than 200 years in this quiet retreat in bustling Georgetown. This outdoor program will take place rain or shine. Please dress for the weather. Tudor Place member: FREE; nonmember: $10. The gardens are open for self-guided tours during regular museum hours Tuesday through Sunday, admission $3. See details at • Saturday, May 26, 8am–12n Mum Plant Sale by the Potomac Chrysanthemum Society The locations are: Gaithersburg, MD, at the parking lot on Rt. 355 and Fulks Corner across from the Gaithersburg Police Station, and at White Oak in Silver Spring, MD, at the parking lot near the Bank of America north of New Hampshire Ave. and the White Oak Shopping Center (turn right at the first traffic light on Rt. 29). $1.50 per plant. Many colors and mum types will be available. These well-rooted plants are ready to plant. Chrysanthemum experts will be at both locations to answer any and all questions. Details at www. • Saturday, May 26, 9:30am–3pm 31st Annual Baltimore Herb Festival Held at Leakin Park. In addition to 8


shopping the 50+ plant and garden vendors, entertainment will include two bands, free rides on real miniature steam trains, and herb and gardening lectures. A choice of delicious options will be available for sale for lunch from local food trucks. Admission is $7 for adults, children 12 and under free. Parking is free. • Sunday, May 27, 10am–12n Pop-Up Plant Bar With floral season officially in bloom and the risk of frost over, The Market at Grelen in central Virginia is celebrating with Plant Bar parties, where guests can design the perfect container garden to use indoors or outdoors. Featuring an array of gorgeous annuals, succulents, and tropicals, guests can create the perfect mixed planters for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Register at • Thursday, May 31, 11am–12n Marvelous Morphology: Fruits Did you know that bananas and avocados are berries, and apples are mostly non-fruit tissue? Join Dr. Susan Pell, U.S. Botanic Garden’s deputy executive director, as she discusses fruit structure and function. Take a tasting journey through fruit morphology as we explore the Conservatory’s (and local grocery stores’) bounty. Topics such as true vs. accessory fruits, fruit layers (pericarp), seed arrangement (placentation), and the evolutionary role of fruit will be explored and explained. Tour meets in the center of the USBG Garden Court. Free: pre-registration required at www. • Thursday, May 31, 7–8pm Mosquitoes and Ticks: Identification and Control In this fascinating presentation, you will learn the science of how best to control mosquitoes and ticks, keeping them away from you and your family. This includes learning how to identify the mosquitoes and ticks that are common in our area, as well as about their life cycle, how they reproduce, and where they go in the winter. We will focus on implementing sustainable options for

you and your yard.Free. Advance registration requested at Held at the Cherrydale Library, 2190 North Military Rd., Arlington, VA. • Friday, June 1, 1:30–2:30pm Talk: Edible Ornamental Garden Make your garden beautiful and tasty with edible plants. Let Master Gardeners show you the many wonderful possibilities of incorporating edibles, including veggies, berries, and roots, into the ornamental landscape. Fee: $10/person. Register at www.fairfaxcounty. gov/parks/parktakes using code 290 284 5601 or call 703-642-5173. Held at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. • Friday, June 1, 6–9pm City Blossoms Garden Fiesta Celebrate City Blossoms’ 10th Birthday at their Annual Garden Fiesta. This year, for the first time ever, they are proud to host this fabulous event in our own backyard at the City Blossoms’ Studio Garden at 516 Kennedy St. NW, Washington, DC. Come enjoy a magical, larger-than-life evening with the wild theme of “Overgrown Oasis.” Details at events/240822193161135/. • Saturday, June 2, 11am Good Bugs & Bad Bugs Talk What is a bug? Why are some considered “good” while others are called “bad?” Join Christopher Lewis, certified professional horticulturist, as he investigates the world of bugs in our gardens. Learn about beneficial bugs and those that are bad (really bad), and how to control the bad bugs without hurting the good bugs. Held at Behnke Nurseries, Beltsville, MD, Free. Registration requested at • Sunday, June 3, 2–3:30pm Garden Photo Show Reception Come view the 17 winners of the DC Garden Photo Contest Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. • June 6–9 2018 Native Plants in the Landscape

TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Events ~ May 16–June 16, 2018 Conference Join landscape professionals and enthusiastic plant lovers for the annual Bowman’s Hill “Native Plants in the Landscape Conference” at Millersville University in Millersville, PA. Continuing education credits are available, along with field trips, educational workshops, and a native plant and book sale. Topics will focus on the knowledge, propagation, cultivation, and use of native plants in the Mid-Atlantic and New England region, promoting methods of land management and design that respect “sense of place” by preserving and restoring native species and natural processes, and to engender an appreciation of regionally appropriate landscapes that are harmonious for people and nature. Learn more and register at • June 8–10, 10am–4pm Potomac Bonsai Association Bonsai Festival A weekend of everything bonsai. This event, co-sponsored by the Potomac Bonsai Association (PBA), the National Bonsai Foundation, and the U.S. National Arboretum, features a show of PBA members’ trees, vendors selling trees and supplies, and a juried exhibit of bonsai in the Special Exhibits Wing of the museum. The festival is free to attend. Learn more about the festival at: • Saturday, June 9, 12n–5pm Phish in the Garden If you are a fan of the band Phish and cannot wait for the summer tour to start, set the gearshift to the high gear of your soul! Celebrate the upcoming summer tour, and enjoy time with “phamily,” and live music, entertainment, food, vendors, and fun surrounded by vegetables and flowers. Don’t miss your chance to learn from seasoned herb growers and pick up all the supplies you need to start growing your own. H St. Farms is Cultivate the City’s hub for vertical farming, community events, classes, and all your garden supply needs. H St Farms is conveniently located two blocks from the H Street Rail Car. All ticket sales go to support

DC School Gardens in the Cultivate the City Network. Register at eventbrite. com/o/cultivate-the-city-8327007868. • Sunday, June 10, 10am–12n Summer Food Forest & Garden Tours Come see our “Fruitfull” collections of Long Creek Homestead Frederick, MD. Details at http://www.ecologiadesign. com/category/workshops-talks-tours/, scroll down for sign up. Fee: $45. • Sunday, June 10, 10am–4pm District of Columbia Area Open Day Four gardens will be open in Washington, DC, and Maryland to benefit the Garden Conservancy. Admission to each garden is $7 for members and nonmembers. See details and map at www. • Saturday, June 16, 10–11:30am Water in the Landscape: Creating an Oasis in Your Garden Water features and water gardens can be magical additions to your landscape. They can stimulate or calm, sustain native wildlife, and mask ambient noise. Washington Gardener Magazine and Water Garden Journal editor Kathy Jentz explains the basics of installing and maintaining a water feature of any size in your garden and highlights water garden plant choices appropriate for our region. Fee: $18/person. Code 290 286 0301. Register at or call 703-6425173. Out-of-county registrants, add $2 for programs. Held at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. • Saturday, June 16, 10am–3pm Enchanted Summer Day From activities in Enchanted Woods at Winterthur in Wilmington, DE, to exploring the 13 garden follies in a first-ever outdoor exhibition for making magic and memories. More fun awaits in the museum, where kids can make a variety of creative creatures, step back in time on a tour of the du Ponts’ home (complete with sticker book), and exercise their imaginations in the Touch-It Room. Enchanted Summer Day takes place rain or shine, with activities tak-

ing place both inside and outdoors. Admission costs $20 for adults; $18 for students and seniors; and $6 for ages 2–11. For details, visit • Saturday, June 16, 10–11am and again from 1–2pm Hands-on Workshop: Serene Succulent Workshop Build and learn how to maintain a tranquil desert landscape with charming succulents in this hands-on workshop at Hillwood, 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Fee: $65, $55 Hillwood member. Register at www.

Save These Future Dates • Saturday, June 23, 10am–12n Herb Fest Kathy Jentz, editor of Washington Gardener Magazine, will host culinary herb talks and tastings at the 14th & Kennedy St. Farmers Market in DC. Free. •Friday, June 29, 8am–5p Slow Flowers Summit Called a “TED Talk for Flower Lovers,” the summit is a one-day lecture series for creative professionals, thought leaders, and pioneering voices in the progressive American-grown floral community. Designed to stimulate curiosity, examine conventional assumptions, and explore conscious and ethical practices in the floral industry, the summit agenda asks speakers and audience members alike to inquire, inform, include, instigate, and inspire. Held at Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC. See

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 June 10 for the June 2018 issue, for events taking place June 16–July 16. o MAY 2018






Pesticide Pointers and Fertilizer Forewarnings

Calla ‘Captain Reno’, ‘Garnet Glow’, ‘Beatrix’, ‘Captain Murano’, and ‘Mint Julep’. Photo courtesy of

Ready-potted Calla Lilies are versatile summer-flowering bulbs. The crisply contoured flowers of the plant give it a contemporary, elegant, and yet nonchalant look that adds up to a wonderful impression, quickly giving your patio or balcony a special look, according to iBulb ( The Calla Lily (Zantedeschia) are native to South Africa, where it grows on sites where it has to tolerate both wet and dry periods. This explains why Calla Lilies are such strong plants. Calla lilies come in a variety of colors, such as pure white, deep dark purple, golden yellow, deep orange, burgundy red, hot pink, and more. Some calla lilies have speckled leaves along their stems. Calla Lilies can thrive in more than just a patio or balcony space; they also work well in garden beds. For success with the flowers, water calla lilies regularly and use fertilizer every week or two. A place in partial shade will lead to the most blossoms. Accent them with ornamental summer grasses. If you do decide to pot your Calla Lilies, your containers should be porous or have a hole in the bottom to allow excess water to drain away with ease. If you want to put your calla lily in a vase, you shouldn’t use a knife to cut it away. Instead, grasp at the bottom of the flower stem and gently pull it from the pot or ground. o

The Sustainable, Secure Food Blog ( says you should consider these three questions when purchasing garden products like fertilizer and pesticides: “What are you trying to fix or improve? What is the cause of the problem? How big of an area do you need to treat?” Pesticides should be your last resort, after exhausting all other possible remedies. Before choosing a fertilizer, you should test your soil to see which nutrients are already sufficient or lacking. Most fertilizers consist of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The individual qualities of your soil will determine how much of the fertilizer you should apply. Reach out to a university near you for more information about soil testing and fertilization rates of different plants. When choosing a pesticide, you should identify the pest that’s bothering your garden, then consult with local master gardening groups or universities to determine a careful way to eradicate the problem. It’s important to follow the label instructions for each pesticide and handle it with care. Using the wrong pesticide or using a pesticide incorrectly can cause harm to humans, wildlife, and the environment. Persistent pest problems may require intervention beyond pesticides, like relocating a certain patch of garden or re-spacing your plants. When you purchase a pesticide, you should read all of the product’s instructions before using it in your garden. No two products or gardens are alike, so it’s important to tailor the amount of product you use to your garden. o

Graphic courtesy of American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America.

Eye-catching Calla Lily for Summer Color

Top Turfgrass Diseases

Red thread and pink patch, as well as brown patch, are common problems with turfgrass. Symptoms of pink patch and red thread are fairly easy to notice: pinkish-red to tan patches about 2-4 inches in diameter will appear in the lawn. The red thread pathogen will create a thread-like fungus that can be seen with the naked eye on the infected leaves. Red thread is caused by Laetisaria fuciformus and pink patch is caused by Limonomyces roseipelllis, according to the Maryland SoccerPlex (www. These diseases often occur on bentgrass, Kentucky and annual bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine-leaf fescue during cool, wet weather in the spring and fall. To prevent red thread and pink patch, you should maintain soil fertility; water deeply and infrequently while preventing moisture stress; water in the morning, so the grass can dry during the day; keep mower blades sharp to minimize wounding the grass blades; and collect grass clippings when disease is active so it won’t come in contact with freshcut grass. To treat red thread and pink patch, treat the grass fertilizer with nitrogen, about 0.2 pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Brown patch is most-common in bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and annual bluegrass. Brown patch will appear as small, circular patches of brown, lifeless grass. Newer lawns are more susceptible than well-established lawns. The blades of the grass will wilt and turn brown but stay upright. To prevent and treat brown patch, avoid heavy early spring and summer fertilization; avoid over-fertilizing in shaded areas; collect grass clippings and heavy thatch; allow all part of your lawn to see adequate sun; water to a depth of about six inches once a week; and replant in dead areas during the early spring or fall. o Tips column compiled by Allison O’Reilly. She is originally from Winston-Salem, NC, and is a sophomore majoring in journalism, as well as government and politics, at the University of Maryland, College Park. This spring semester, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

GARDENnews Romeo Cherry Tree photo courtesy of Nature Hills.

Quick Links to Washington Gardener Blog Posts

• Weigela? Why Not?!? • Cilantro Stand-Off • Dogwood Plant Profile • DIY: Herb Drying Rack See more Washington Gardener blog posts at: o

May-June Garden To-Do List New Plant Spotlight

Romeo Dwarf Cherry Tree (Prunus ‘Romeo’) Cherry trees are a delightful addition to the landscape—especially when the delicious cherries ripen in the late summer. But, alas, not every yard is big enough for a full-sized cherry tree. That’s why cherry lovers have embraced Romeo Dwarf Cherry Tree (Prunus ‘Romeo’). A Romeo cherry tree only grows to 6–8 feet tall. It fits into virtually any garden space and looks much like an ornamental shrub. The shrub/tree produces full-sized deep-crimson cherries with very high sugar content for a “tart” type of cherry. The fruit comes after the tree has bloomed out in a profusion of classic white cherry blossoms in late spring. Romeo Dwarf Cherry Tree is a very cold-hardy variety that thrives throughout USDA zones 3–7. It is easy-care, a great juicer, a sun lover, and fits into any landscape. The fruit has a high flesh-to-pit ratio, which means more fruit per pound without as much weight from the fruit pits. (More juicy fruit for you!) Romeo is great to eat fresh out of hand, but try it for baking, canning, juicing, and especially wine making. Romeo is newly available to home gardeners in the U.S. and is destined to win over the hearts of cherry lovers everywhere. It is a self-pollinating tree with beautiful spring flowers, but you may want to pair it with a Juliet Dwarf Cherry Tree that’s slightly smaller than Romeo (and Juliet is cold hardy to zone 2). Both Romeo and Juliet are available as 2gallon potted trees for $65.95 from o

• If you started seeds last month, thin them and start the hardening-off process. • Cut back spent Tulip and Daffodil blooms, but not the foliage! • Divide and replant crowded Daffodils. • Feed your roses and new plantings with slow-release fertilizer sparingly. • Provide supports for fast-growing perennials such as delphiniums, peonies, and lilies. • Tie up clematis and other fast-growing climbing vines. • Hose off aphids, white flies, or spider mites on your roses or other perennials. • Deadhead spent blooms on your annuals and perennials to encourage re-flowering. • Water your newly planted shrubs, trees, and perennials. • Weed regularly. • Go on a local house and garden tour to see what plants are thriving in other area home gardens. • Pinch back mums, salvias, and other late-season bloomers to encourage bushy, not leggy, growth. • Check pots and containers daily for water needs. • Plant dahlias, gladioli, caladiums, and cannas. • Direct-sow annual flower seeds. • Thin vegetable seeds sown directly in the garden. • Move your houseplants outdoors for a summer vacation on your porch. • Put slug traps around your vulnerable edibles and hostas. • Prune back forsythia, spirea, and other early-spring blooming shrubs. • Check for black spot on your roses—remove and discard any affected leaves in the trash, never back into your garden or in your compost—and apply a fungicide with Neem oil every two weeks during the growing season. • Cut some flowers to enjoy inside—make a small arrangement for every room. • Sow squash and melon seeds. • Plant seedlings or direct-sow sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. • Fertilize azaleas and rhododendrons, if needed. • Divide crowded perennials and share them. • Turn your compost pile. • Start a water garden or renew yours for the season. • Mark and photograph your bulb plantings now, while they are still visible. • Keep a sharp eye out for fungal diseases and pests. • Replace cool-season annuals with heat-loving ones. • Be vigilant for mosquito breeding spots—any standing water, from a bottle-cap to blocked gutters—and clean them out immediately. Ask your surrounding neighbors to do the same. Put Mosquito Dunks in any areas that accumulate water. • Plant tomatoes and peppers. To start them off right, put cages/stakes in at same time as you plant them, so you do not disturb their roots later. Place a collar (cardboard tube or cat-food can) around the tender plants to prevent cut worms. Put crushed eggshells first in the planting hole of tomatoes for extra calcium and mix lime in the soil you surround the plant with to prevent blossom-end rot. Fertilize with kelp extract or fish emulsion. • Hand-pick cabbage worms from cabbage and broccoli. o MAY 2018




AHS Plant Sale

The American Horticultural Society hosted Spring Garden Market on April 13 and 14 at River Farm in Alexandria, VA. With more than 40 vendors from the Mid-Atlantic region, customers were offered a variety of gardening accessories, tools, and plants, along with a botanically themed art show. Master Gardeners were able to answer gardening questions. The event included baby alpacas and rescue raptors, as well as self-guided garden tours.

Beltsville Plant Sale

The Beltsville Garden Club held their annual plant sale on April 21 at High Point High School. Members and vendors had tables in the school’s parking lot from 8am to 12noon; however, most plants sold out in the first hour. Customers were able to buy annuals, flowers, herbs, and vegetables. The sale attracted a large crowd early in the morning and then slowed down throughout. Washington Gardener editor Kathy Jentz even sold some of her own plants—heirloom peas, peony ‘Red Charm,’ and ornamental Lily bulbs.

FONA Garden Fair

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) had one of the widest range of plants in the DC area during their annual garden fair and plant sale. Local gardening enthusiasts, from novice to expert, came to shop on April 28 and 29. There were also visitors who arrived on tour buses while the arboretum’s azalea collection was at peak bloom that same week. FONA’s annual fair includes rare and hard-to-find plants as well as tried-andtrue favorites. Gardeners usually find exactly what they are looking for. If you missed this one, there will be another next year on April 27 and 28.

Washington National Cathedral Flower Mart

The 79th annual Flower Mart was held on May 4 and 5 at the Washington National Cathedral. Washington’s premier outdoor family festival had 130 booths this year. Some of the offerings included an antique carousel, carnival rides, entertainment, and a tower climb and taste. Vendors sold local food specialties, summer fashions, and unique 12


jewelry. Guests gathered in the white elephant tent for bargain finds. There were plants for sale, including herbs to annual flowers. Embassies and their floral designers installed displays that highlighted each country’s natural and cultural heritage. They were showcased inside the Cathedral. There were different flowers and other aspects used for uniqueness. This event will be back again next year on the first Friday and Saturday of May.

MoCo Greenfest

On Saturday May 5, Jesup Blair Park in Silver Spring, MD, was home to the Montgomery County Greenfest — the premier environmental festival in the area, according to its website. People of all ages attended this event to learn about being green. There was a wide variety of organizations present, such as food vendors, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Montgomery Parks, Montgomery County Master Gardeners, green groups, and eco-friendly salespeople. Apart from the vendors, GreenFest included an electric vehicle and hybrid car show, dance performances, informational speakers, and activities for kids.

Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week

The Garden Club of Virginia’s 85th annual Historic Garden Week took place April 21 to 28. According to the event’s brochure, 200 private homes and gardens from 28 communities throughout

the state were available for touring. About 26,000 people from around the globe took park in the Historic Garden Week Tours and 3,300 volunteers help make the event happen. The proceeds from Historic Garden Week go toward 50 different restoration projects in the state, such as Mount Vernon and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.

Dumbarton Oaks Cleanup

Dumbarton Oaks Park in Georgetown celebrated its 77th anniversary on April 14, two days after its actual anniversary, with an annual cleanup event. The event lasted from morning to midafternoon—the earlier portion of the day was dedicated to collecting trash as part of the Potomac Watershed Cleanup (pictured above); the latter portion was dedicated to a guided tour of the park and an exhibit and activity fair. Ecological planting design expert Claudia West and landscape architect Liza Gilbert led the tour, which focused on the creativity behind revitalizing the garden. To get involved, contact the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy at o This issue’s “HortHappenings” were compiled by Allison O’Reilly and Kelly Zheng. Both are editorial interns at Washington Gardener. See photos from events listed here, as well as many more photo albums of recent local garden events, at the Washington Gardener Facebook Page: Recent albums include pictorials from the events listed on this page. Click on the PHOTOS tab, then select from the ALBUMS listed.


Lawn Grasses: Warm or Cool? By Kathy Jentz

The terms “warm-season” and “coolseason” for turfgrass are misleading. The temperature preferences actually refer to their climate zone rather than the time of year. If you are above the Mason-Dixon line, your choices are limited to cool-season grasses. Below that line, though, things get fuzzy. You can grow a mix of cool-season and warmseason, or choose one or the other according to your lawn’s microclimate. In the deep south, your palette is warmseason grasses only. Let’s take a closer look at these choices.

Cool-season Grasses

Transition Zone

If you are in the fuzzy transition zone between grass types, you can grow warm-season grasses, and then overseed them with cool-season varieties to fill in when the warm ones die back. The next natural question, once you have established your grass zone, is whether to start your lawn from seed or sod. Sod is instant gratification. Seed is the better choice, since you can control the blend and establish a healthier growing base. First, do a basic soil test. Second, determine the best time for lawn establishment. Spring is optimal for warm-season grasses, while early fall is best for cool-season varieties.

Wait to mow your lawn until it reaches at least 3 inches tall and then maintain that height. This will discourage weed seed germination and save soil moisture. You do not need to mow during dormant periods for warm-season grasses. Finally, fertilize your turfgrass lawn only during the active growing season. Note that too much fertilizer in the early spring on cool-season grasses can actually harm them, so wait until late spring for that first application of the year. o Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener and is replacing all her turfgrass with perennial beds and a moss lawn.

Cool-season turfgrasses species grow optimally at temperatures between 60 and 75°F (15.5 to 24°C). Cool-season grass species include fine fescue, tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, Canada bluegrass, annual ryegrass, creeping bentgrass, and perennial ryegrass. They will struggle in direct sun and at temps above 80°F. They do not go dormant and will stay green throughout the year in the right conditions. The leaf texture of cool-season grasses is soft feeling and they are easier to mow.

Warm-season Grasses

Warm-season turfgrass species grow optimally at temperatures between 80 and 95°F (27 to 35°C). Warm-season grass species include bermudagrass, carpetgrass, centipede grass, St. Augustine, Bahiagrass, and Zoysia grass. Once the soil temps go below 65°F, they go dormant and turn brown. They will turn green again once the soil temps warm up again. The texture of warm-season grasses is rough feeling on barefeet and they can be hard to mow.

MAY 2018



PLANTprofile mos (aka Klondike Cosmos or Sulphur Cosmos) grows best in full sun, but tolerates poor/clay soil and thrives in heat and humidity. I never give mine any water unless we have a prolonged period of no rain and excessive heat. Orange Cosmos is a bright spot and one of those old-fashioned, reliable plants that is the backbone of my cottage garden.


Easy Annual Flowers for Direct Sowing

By Kathy Jentz

From seed to flower in a matter of weeks, direct-sowing annual flowers is one of the easiest and most-rewarding of all garden tasks. To directly sow seeds in your garden, first wait until the threat of any late frost has passed (early May for our region). Clear an area in full sun of weeds and rocks, then rake it smooth. Plant seeds at the depth recommended on the packet. Keep the area lightly moist. Germination will vary by seed variety, but most will sprout within a few weeks. Finally, weed the area of any potential competitors, thin out any crowded seedlings, and water as needed. And yes, you can direct-sow into containers. Make sure the pot is big and sturdy enough to accommodate your flowers and give them room to flourish. Best of all, most of these will self-sow for years to come, if you allow them to. Simply leave the area around them unmulched and, when seedlings start to appear next season, just pull the ones that are too crowded together or in inconvenient spots (like the middle of a walkway). There are many great annual flower choices that do well in our Mid-Atlantic climate. See the list at the end of this 14


article for some great options and read on for details about three of our very favorites.


Orange Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) is a prolific annual flower that re-seeds liberally, so once you have this plant, you will see it return each year in abundance. To start it off, sprinkle (direct-sow) a pack of seeds in mid-spring. The ‘Bright Lights’ seed mix is popular and widely available. The seeds are easy to collect, so it is likely that you can get some free from fellow gardeners or at a local seed swap. If you do not want it to re-seed in your garden, deadhead and collect the spent blooms regularly. This cosmos has ferny foliage and is covered with orange/yellow/gold flowers from mid-summer to frost. It is a wonderful cut flower, although it only lasts a few days in a vase. It is a pollinator magnet—beloved by bees and butterflies. Finches enjoy eating the seed-heads. Cosmos is native to the desert areas of the USA, so that gives you a big clue to its growing preferences. Sulfur Cos-

Zinnias are colorful summer annuals that are practically care-free and a great choice for beginner gardeners. The zinnia is an especially rewarding plant for those of you who have never started flowers from seeds before. “Rewarding” is an understatement, actually! Last summer, I picked 10 bouquets of flowers from my small zinnia patch before August, when it really its prime. The bees and butterflies love them, too. I am often cutting my blooms right out from under the insects with a quick “Sorry” as I run off to put them in a vase. Zinnias come in an array of colors, from soft pastels to bright neons. Your own tastes will dictate which you prefer. Personally, I love the look of fuchsia-pink blooms along with chartreuse-green ones, so I like to combine ‘Queen Lime Green’ and ‘Uproar Rose’ in one bed. ‘Oklahoma Pink’ is a morerecent favorite of mine for its full double blooms that are 1-1/2 to 2-1/2″ across. I give that a featured section by itself. To start zinnias from seed, clear off a patch of soil in a sunny area of your garden. Here in the humid Mid-Atlantic U.S., good wind circulation is a must since zinnias are vulnerable to powdery mildew, so make sure this is out in the open and not next to a brick wall or blocked by tall shrubs. If your plants do

PLANTprofile get powdery mildew, they will still keep on flowering and growing. The lower foliage will just not be very nice and you will want to strip that off anyway when you add them to a vase, To start them from seed, scratch a few lines in the ground and then sow your seeds according to the package instructions. Water them in well. If it doesn’t rain consistently, you may have to give them supplemental water, but usually they are fine without it. The only other care note is to have your floral snips handy whenever you are in the garden., because once they start blooming, you will want to pick them practically daily. The more you cut them, the more flowers they produce. And it is not too late for this growing season! One year, I did not start zinnia seeds until early August and I was picking flowers by the end of September, and they kept on producing through October. Great companions for zinnias in both the cutting garden and the vase include: Lemon Basil, ornamental Sunflowers, Cosmos, and Celosia. For container-grown zinnias, you might pick one of the many dwarf, compact varieties available. You will also want to fertilize your plants more often than those planted in the ground since the soil in containers can quickly become depleted of nutrients.


Sunflowers have power. They can give a drab garden instant zing, but they also provide food, shade, structure, and energy. Most of all, they are great for supporting pollinators and wildlife. With all those attributes, it is flat-out amazing how easy they are to grow from seed in your own home garden. You will need a sunny spot. (They don’t call them sunflowers for nothing!) They are not picky about soils, but make sure it is well-draining since they do not like wet feet. Seed them about 6 inches apart, either in clumps of 3 or in rows. You can start them indoors and plant them out after the last frost, although they are just as easy to directsow. Keep your seedlings well-watered. They will grow fast and a touch of liquid fertilizer will help give them quick ener-

gy as well. Once established, they do not need much watering unless it has not rained in your area for a few weeks. Most sunflowers do not need staking. If you plant them where they get constant wind or lean out from shade into the sun, then you might want to tie them with soft cloth strips to a sturdy rod of rebar or metal stake. Sunflowers make great trellises for edible climbing plants like beans or ornamental annual vines. You can also use tall sunflowers to create an almostinstant fence and shade around a portion of your garden. Small children enjoy planting and playing in a sunflower house made up of tall varieties planted in a tight circle. Be sure to leave 2–3 feet of room for the door opening! There are an amazing variety of sunflowers available in seed catalogs. You can choose from knee-high to gargantuan. Some produce huge heads full of nutritious seeds, while others are

“teddy bear” style, covered in fuzzy petals and practically sterile. Then there are the color choices—classic yellow is always in fashion, but don’t stop there. Check out the chocolate hues, deep reds, and buttery creams. Sunflowers make a great cut flower. One caution, though: You want to put them in a bottom-heavy vase, so when they turn to face the sun, they don’t topple the vase with them. Leave your sunflower heads up at the end of the season to allow the wildlife to enjoy the seeds, and the extra spilled on the ground will grow for you next year. You can also cut the flowerheads and hang them to dry to harvest them yourself for seeds to share with other gardeners. Once you are ready to take down your plants, you may find the stalks to be quite strong and fibrous. Chop them up before adding them to your compost.

12 More Easy Annual Flowers for Direct Sowing • Alyssum • Bachelor’s Buttons • Calendula • Castor Bean • Celosia • Cleome (Spider Flower) • Four-o’clocks • Globe Amaranth • Marigolds • Morning Glory • Nasturtium • Nigella (Love in a Mist). o

Kathy Jentz is editor of Washington Gardener and is direct-sowing Celosia like crazy.

MAY 2018




L’Auberge Chez François Alsatian-style Freshness

By Ana Hurler Owner and executive chef Jacques Haeringer continues his family’s tradition of serving fresh French classics at L’Auberge Chez François in Great Falls, VA ( “We do a seasonal menu—unapologetically French classics,” Haeringer said. “We kind of, not snicker, but we kind of go, ‘oh, farm to table, garden to table,’ isn’t that the way it was supposed to be all along? I think it’s really over-used.” Haeringer gardens about one acre of the property’s six total acres. The restaurant has always had a small garden since opening in 1976, but Haeringer greatly expanded it about six years ago because “it just was the right time to do it,” he said. The garden still continues to expand as Haeringer takes on new projects. “We grow quite a bit of our own stuff, but it’s right here,” he said. “We like that a lot, and I think our customers—long-time patrons—appreciate that it’s actually done right here and you can see it and touch it and feel it.” 16


“You can’t beat the freshness and flavor of organically grown greens that have traveled only a few yards to reach your plate.”

“My dad was an avid gardener, and I am,” Haeringer added. “It’d be a shame with all this property not to.” Chez François has not always been the idyllic country inn that patrons know today. Haeringer’s father, the late François Haeringer, founded the original restaurant in downtown DC in 1954. Jacques began helping his father in the restaurant at 11 years old. Eventually, changing cityscapes pushed the Haeringers to move away from DC and closer to François’s vision for the French restaurant. “Dad had always wanted to do a country-type inn because when he was an apprentice in Alsace, he worked in a country-type inn and always wanted to have one,” said Jacques, “so he looked around for properties and found this place and bought it in ’72. Then the restaurant downtown—they knocked the whole block down.” Jacques continues to run the restaurant with his brother, Paul. While the business has continued to grow (Haeringer now manages a 93-member staff), he maintains his father’s legacy of serving “unabashedly French classics” to the public. “It’s a small business,” Haeringer said. “It’s a pretty nice-sized small business, but it’s a small business—a family-run business.” And business is going strong for the Haeringers. L’Auberge Chez François

CHEFgardens has been in the top 100 on Open Table in the U.S. for the last four years, and won many awards, Haeringer said. He added that he is “humbled to have such a great following.” “People wait for it. It’s nice. They are looking forward to the local produce— our produce,” he said. The garden cannot supply all of the restaurant’s produce needs—Haeringer said he would “need a hundred acres” to do so—but it certainly provides a great deal of seasonal produce and herbs. He said right now, all of the tomatoes and peppers come from the garden. No matter what is being planted, Haeringer’s priority is using the space efficiently. “What we do are high-value crops for us,” he said. “We try to use the space. We do intensive farming, so we plant the tomatoes in between the rows of lettuce, and then when it gets too hot and the lettuce is gone, the tomatoes will come. … It supplies a lot, so for maybe two-and-a-half months, you won’t buy any tomatoes.” Even with all the food the garden is providing, Haeringer said it can still be a struggle to get the kitchen to actually feature the produce in dishes. “Believe it or not, the hardest thing is getting the chefs to use the stuff,” he said. “It’s so easy to get that box of lettuce—they don’t have to clean it, they don’t have to pick it, and all that stuff.” Even so, Haeringer does not want the produce to be used only as garnishes. Rather, the produce often becomes a featured part of the dish. “We’ve pushed everybody, and the servers, and the front of the house people to feature the stuff rather than, ‘oh, it’s just a garnish,’ it’s ‘on your plate you will see X,’” he said. “And then we encourage people to go out and walk around the garden.” While they continue to grow the garden, the Haeringers maintain their father’s vision of providing customers with authentic French cuisine using garden-grown produce in a farmhouse setting and on a garden patio. o Ana Hurler is a senior multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland, College Park. She was an intern with Washington Gardener during summer of 2017.

Alsatian-style Tomato Salad

Chef Jacques Haeringer shared his recipe for his popular salad, using produce grown on-site. It serves 4. Ingredients: 4 ripe tomatoes 1 head of Boston or Bibb lettuce Sea salt and freshly ground pepper Pinch of evaporated cane juice or sugar (optional, if tomatoes are not fully ripe) 4 tablespoons finely chopped onions 4 teaspoons finely minced scallions 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar 4 tablespoons vinaigrette Steps: Wash the tomatoes and lettuce; drain both well. Make a bed of lettuce on four individual salad plates. Remove the stems and thinly slice the tomatoes. Fan out the tomatoes over the lettuce. Season the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and pepper, and sugar, if desired. Top each tomato with 1 tablespoon onion, 1 teaspoon scallions, ½ teaspoon basil, and ½ teaspoon parsley. Pour ½ teaspoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon vinaigrette over each serving. MAY 2018




Ask the Expert by Debra Ricigliano

Putting Amaryllis Out

As a holiday gift, I was given an amaryllis that bloomed beautifully. Can I move the plant outdoors for the summer? You can move your amaryllis outdoors after the danger of frost has passed typically by mid-May. Containers can be sunk in the ground if desired but that is not necessary. Slowly introduce plants to a partial sun location, so the leaves do not get sun damage. Keep them watered and fertilize twice a month for the entire season. If you want the amaryllis to bloom around the holidays, you need to begin to induce dormancy around midAugust. Stop watering and dig up or move the pot to a dark location where it can be kept at about 55° F. The leaves will begin to turn yellow and die back. Keep the bulb on the dry side. After about 8–10 weeks of dormancy, you should see some new growth emerging. Move the container to a sunny location and begin to water and fertilize. It is not necessary to repot the bulb. They bloom better when potbound. A healthy, vigorously growing bulb will produce young bulbs around the base (where the roots originate from the bulb). These can be detached and planted to grow into new plants. They will require a few years to reach the minimum flowering size of 3–4 inches.

Three Native Hollies

My goal this year is to plant more native plants in my yard. I was wondering if ‘Nellie Stevens’ hollies are native to Maryland? If so, I really would like to plant one. No, ‘Nellie Stevens’ holly is not a native species. It is a hybrid cross of Ilex cornuta and Ilex aquifolium. Cornuta is Chinese holly and aquifolium is English holly. If you are interested in planting a native species consider American holly (Ilex opaca), which are common in the coastal plain (the Eastern Shore and parts of the Western Shore), less-common in the piedmont (cen18


tral Maryland), and rare in western Maryland. They grow to 15–50 ft. tall and provide food and shelter for wildlife. Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata), a deciduous holly, that ranges in height from 3–12 ft. with an equal spread, is known for its beautiful berries in the winter and is another excellent choice, though, as with the American holly, you need a male specimen planted nearby to fertilize female flowers for berry production. For smaller spaces, Ilex glabra is a native evergreen shrub that grows to about 5–8 ft. tall and is known as inkberry holly. These three native hollies would make a beautiful addition to your landscape and help you meet your goal of planting more local species.

Battling Hungry Rabbits

Last year, rabbits pretty much ate most of my vegetable garden. Being the optimist I am, I want to plant my garden again. What is the best way of discouraging them, so I can enjoy what my garden produces this summer? Your best deterrent is building a rabbit fence using chicken wire. It should be 3 feet high, with the bottom secured tightly to the ground or buried 6 inches

below ground level. This will prevent the rabbits from going underneath the fence. If you don’t get your fence up before you plant your vegetables, you can cover individual plants or beds with a light-weight material known as floating row cover. It allows sufficient light and water to reach the plants, while providing protection from wildlife and insects. Secure it to the ground with pins, rocks, or boards. For growing cucumber, squash, melon, and pumpkin, remove the cloth when plants begin to bloom, so the flowers can be pollinated. o Debra Ricigliano is a Certified Professional Horticulturist. She has worked as a horticulture consultant for the University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center since 1997. She is a graduate of the Institute of Applied Agriculture at UMCP and a talented, all-around horticulturist. Debra enjoys gardening at her home in Highland, MD. To ask a gardening or pest question, go to and click on “Get Help.” Digital photos can also be attached.

GOINGnative I’m constantly queried about what my favorite wildflower is and that’s a difficult question to answer. It would be akin to asking a parent, which is their favorite child. When seriously pressed for an answer, I have to honestly narrow it down to two very different wildflowers, both early-spring bloomers. One would be Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and the other Trilliums—any variety of Trillium, and fortunately we have several different species growing right here in our region. Virginia Bluebells are super-easy to grow, the deer don’t pay them any mind, and they’re one of the first plants to bloom. But they are ephemeral and disappear soon after flowering—only returning the following spring. On the other hand, Trilliums have a longer flowering period. They are also very early bloomers, but will stick around the whole growing season long, if they are fortunate enough to have sex and get pollinated, which they usually do. The name Trillium derives from the flower having three petals and three leaves. Well, they’re really not leaves; they’re called bracts. Bracts are structures similar to leaves and, as leaves do, they photosynthesize and feed the plant. Of the six species of Trillium found locally, the most common is Trillium grandiflorum, a graceful, pure-white variety, about 12–18" tall, which slowly ages to a deep-pink color over its long bloom time. The second-most prevalent species is Trillium erectum, with its deep-burgundy flowers that seem to bend forward in a naturally enticing manner. These long-lived perennial plants are commonly referred to as “Wake Robin,” a reference to the fact that Trilliums are historically in bloom before the robins appear. Native Americans used Trillium roots medicinally to aid in childbirth, this use led to another one of the Trillium’s common names, “Birthroot.” They also ate the leaves as veggies. Trilliums can be grown from seed since that’s how they reproduce in nature. But the small seeds, which are usually spread by ants, take 5–7 years to produce a flowering-sized plant. If

Tantalizing Trilliums By Barry Glick

you’re as impatient as I am, try cutting the thick rhizome that the Trillium grows from into ½" pieces and replant them, each piece develops at least one new bud that will flower in two to three years. These shade-loving plants are very easy to grow. They prefer an averageto-rich soil in full shade to dappled sunlight. (There is one exception, though, and that is Trillium undulatum. Known as the “Painted Trillium,” this beautiful specimen grows in bog-like, acidic soils and is not happy being transplanted.) Trilliums make a great addition to

almost any shade garden; however, the deer do enjoy nibbling on them. 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. He writes and lectures extensively about native plants and Hellebores, his two main specialties, and welcomes visitors with advance notice. He can be reached at,, or 304.497.2208. Trillium in its seed-producing stage at the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware. MAY 2018




Meet Seedsman William Woys Weaver

Photo by Rob Cardillo.

By Kelly Zheng William Woys Weaver is an internationally known food historian and author of 17 books. Weaver has been featured on such national programs as “Good Morning America” (with Julia Child) and NPR’s “Fresh Air,” and has appeared in many special food documentaries, including “Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds.” He has served as visiting professor of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a consultant for a wide variety of culinary projects, from 17th-century foodways at Pennsbury Manor, to guest curator at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City. He is also founding president of the Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley. He lives in the 1805 Lamb Tavern, a National Register property in Devon, PA. On the grounds of the tavern, Weaver maintains a jardin potager in the style of the 1830s, featuring almost 4,000 varieties of heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs. 20


Q Tell us about yourself and your back-

ground—where you grew up, where you went to school, etc. A I was born in West Chester, PA, and spent my childhood about equally split between Pennsylvania and New York. My parents and paternal grandparents were members of the Religious Society of Friends; thus, I was keenly aware of the fact, even as a small boy, that I was descended from a number of Quaker horticulturalists, among them the Peirces, who founded what is now Longwood Gardens and the painters who started Tyler Arboretum. My grandfather Weaver established an amazing kitchen garden in West Chester and became wellknown for his plantsmanship, honey bees, and racing pigeons. Since both of my parents were working full-time to save money to build a house, I was raised by my grandparents, thus I came in close contact with my grandfather’s garden and what it meant to grow heirloom vegetables and other food plants. My grandfather started his seed collec-

tion about 1932 and after his death, I managed to continue it and enlarge it to what it is today.

Q What influenced you to pursue food

history? A I have been gardening all my life, so there was really no beginning point; as soon as I was able to help my grand-father, I pitched in and learned from him in a hands-on manner. It was during high school, when I spent time in Pennsylvania, that I found my grandfather’s frozen seed collection (he had passed away by then) and began to revive the large garden he had once maintained. While in college at the University of Virginia, I spent my summers in West Chester and continued gardening, even after I graduated and then went on to graduate school. I realized the value of our seed collection once I began to work for Dover Publications in New York during the early 1970s. Since I knew a lot about plants, I ended up doing much of the copy-editing for gar-

NEIGHBORnwork den reprints, cookbooks, herbals, and the like, so I was both educating myself in the basic literature but also preparing myself for an eventual move back to Pennsylvania, where I became a consultant for historical sites. My work took me all over the East Coast, so I more or less created a niche for myself as a food historian. My experience in publishing in New York made me realize that there were not many people in this field, so it offered me a way to make a living while increasing my learning curve at the same time. I began to edit and publish early-American cookery books; the whole thing just snowballed. And finally, I received my PhD in food ethnography at University College in Dublin, Ireland, the first degree of that kind to be awarded by that university. I guess you might say I have been on the cutting edge since the 1970s and that seems to hold true even today, since Heirloom Vegetable Gardening is now back in print because heirlooms are now “in.” They weren’t when the book first came out in the 1990s. Food history is what I do naturally, so I took my grandmother’s advice and followed my heart.

things rolled into one is that every day offers a new experience, a new challenge. Not being a team person, I like being my own boss and living according to my own rules. I also like communicating with the plants, since they do speak to us in their own way. It is a very grounded existence.

Q What is a typical day like for you? A A typical day is spent at my desk

loom varieties of 37 vegetables—what are your favorites to grow? A The vegetables profiled in Heirloom Vegetable Gardening are really only the tip of the iceberg; there are thousands of other foods I could have written about. Indeed, I am convinced we need a large encyclopedia covering the whole world, but that would be a daunting project. I don’t have “favorites”; the veggies are like my children, I love them all equally, although I do like Native American corns and most certainly I would be a potato farmer in my next life, because I do appreciate beautiful tubers. The kitchen garden at Roughwood always has a little bit of everything, perhaps as many as 400 different varieties. It all depends on space, and we do not have enough room here, so we shall be growing much of the collection at other sites.

working on book projects (four in progress), article deadlines, and research on the vegetables in the Roughwood Seed Collection (www.roughwoodseeds. org). I do putter in the greenhouse and garden, but that is now under the oversight of the seed collection manager, Stephen Smith, who is part Cherokee. He is undertaking an ambitious breeding project with Native American corns, beans, and squash, so I think more will be heard about the collection in the coming years. I want to write another garden book, but focus it on the new and evolving philosophies that are stirring in my head. It will not be a “how to” book, but rather a “spiritual guide,” if I may express it that way. I do like Shumei (Japanese natural gardening), perhaps because the Shinto emphasis on nature also strikes close to my Quaker roots.

Q What is the best part about being an author, food historian, and gardener? A The best part of being all those

Q What are some challenges and tri-

umphs you have faced in your career? A The biggest challenge has been to make this life experiment of mine pay for itself. Even when my books have been successful, the financial rewards have not always matched expectations. On the other hand, I have been able to shape my life according to my own design and remain true to myself, so regardless of the money side of it, happiness and satisfaction far out-balance the rest. Triumph for me means getting an important book published, books that change the conversation, like Heirloom Vegetable Gardening, or my justfinished book on the foods of medieval Cyprus, a text that will also change a lot about what is known about medieval cuisine in general.

Q In your book, you profile 280 heir-

Q What advice would you give to home gardeners in order to prevent heirloom vegetables from becoming extinct? A The best way to ensure heirlooms from going extinct is to use them and

incorporate them into your daily life. Don’t treat them as museum pieces; rather, treat them as the cultural artifacts that they are. After all, seeds are food waiting to happen.

Q What kinds of interactions have you

had with other members of the seedsaving movement and other gardeners? A I am in constant contact with seed people all over the world and have shared seeds with more than 200 museums, botanical gardens, and historic sites. My email is full of queries from people looking for this or that. They read about something in one of my books, etc. This is a daily thing that happens throughout the year. I am very grateful for email because this has made the communication so much easier (as opposed to the stacks of letters that came and went back in the 1970s–1980s).

Q What do you enjoy doing when you

are not working? A I am always working! I happen to consider what I do one of the mostenjoyable things going on, so my “work” is really quite fun. I like writing books and I feel bored if I must sit on a beach and watch the waves. I cannot go anywhere in the world for a so-called “vacation” without turning it into some kind of research project. There are so many new things to explore. The mind needs that kind of stimulation, at least mine does. Who knows what lies over the next hill? Perhaps a plant I have never seen before.

Q Is there anything else you would like

to share with our readers? A I think growing your own food, even if on a limited scale, is an important way to reconnect with nature. It is good for the mind, and it will give endless satisfaction. If offers healthy exercise, and a practical reason to get outside and take in the green world around us. o Kelly Zheng is a junior multiplatform journalism major, with a minor in technology entrepreneurship, at the University of Maryland, College Park. This spring semester, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

Responses edited for length and clarity. MAY 2018




Not So Delicate Lacebug by Carol Allen

Although they may be a cliché in Washington, DC, I still love azaleas! The photo-op, feast-your-eyes displays in our area are numerous, and azaleas are pretty easy-care, aren’t they? Maybe! The biggest sin-against-azalea is improper siting and that is all because of the azalea lacebug. The azalea lacebug (Stephanitis pyrioides) is a sucking insect that can gather in huge numbers on the underside of the leaves. From the upper surface, the damage is very similar to spider mite stippling. Fortunately, the azalea lacebug is much larger and more easily seen. This insect overwinters in the egg stage. The eggs had been inserted into the midribs and large veins of the underside of the leaves the previous fall and the nymphs emerge concurrent with the new leaves in the spring. The nymphs go through five instars as black, spiny juveniles and can grow into adults in as quick as 30 days. The adults are about 1/10" long with back-swept, translucent, and netted wings. Since the body is a cream color, a hand lens may be needed to get a good look at them. However, they are easy to spot, because both nymphs and adults are usually present in fairly high numbers if conditions are right. Even more incriminating are the numerous “tar spots” of black fecal material. As the hordes of lacebugs feed on the leaves, the loss of chlorophyll renders the surface stippled and silvery. The 22


damage is aesthetically unappealing, can cause early leaf drop, and generally weakens the plant. There are three generations per year in our region; May, July, and September. The best control is siting azaleas in the shade, where natural enemies (jumping spiders, lady beetles, lacewing, and others) will keep the population suppressed. If chemical control is needed, a spray program can be initiated in early to mid-May or as soon as the nymphs are spotted. Horticultural or neem oil are preferred products, although others are also effective (read the label of the prod-

uct for application directions and insects they control). Regardless of the chemical used, thoroughly coat the underside of the leaves. A good effort to control the early generation will limit later populations. Caution: Do not spray while the shrub is in bloom, so you are not killing our beneficial pollinators. Azaleas are not the only plant that suffers from this family of pests. The azalea lacebug and the andromeda (S. takeyai) lacebug are non-native pests, whereas the rhododendron (S. rhododendri) and hawthorn lacebug (Corythucha cydoniae) are native species. In general, each species is specific for its host, but the hawthorn lacebug plagues many members of the rose family, including buttonbush, cotoneaster, flowering quince, pyracantha, and shadbush to name a few. Keep an eye out this spring for these widespread pests and either move the plants to the shade (if possible) or initiate control measures early. Adequate moisture during times of drought and an appropriate organic mulch will help boost the plants’ natural immunity. 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; is a Licensed Pesticide Applicator in the state of Maryland; and is an ISACertified Arborist. She can be contacted at Azalea lacebug photos are courtesy of Keisotyo and Forest & Kim Starr [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons,


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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 ! 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

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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Washington Gardener May 2018  

The May 2018 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out. Inside this issue: • Easy Annual Flowers for Direct Sowing • Which is best f...

Washington Gardener May 2018  

The May 2018 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out. Inside this issue: • Easy Annual Flowers for Direct Sowing • Which is best f...