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MAY 2019 VOL. 14 NO. 3




the magazine for gardening enthusiasts in the Mid-Atlantic region

Zinnia-Growing Secrets Insects that Suck! Japanese Maple Scale

Pointers for Potting Up Pretty Native Plant Containers Renovating a Monastery Greenhouse Minimizing Soil Contaminants DC-MD-VA Gardening Events Calendar

Practical Tips for Mixed-Border Design with English Roses

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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.

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David Austin English Rose ‘Kew Gardens’ companion planting display includes, in foreground, still-green aster and dark-cream Rodgersia; in background, additional rodgersia plus deep-magenta Geranium psilostemon. Photo from

Win an Abelia from Gardener’s Confidence Collection. See contest details on page 5.


Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild helps maintain the Franciscan Monastery’s gardens, which have been an oasis of quietude for over a century for visitors from all over. Although the gardens are particularly known for their prized rose beds and formal ornamental gardens, a production greenhouse and edible gardens are also part of this urban public garden.



According to Barbara Melera of Harvesting History seed company, the first zinnias were discovered in Mexico and brought to Europe by the Spaniards in the 1500s. Zinnia peruviana was an altogether ugly sight: a sparsely foliated, rangy plant that produced small flowers whose petals were often various muddy shades of yellow and orange.

BOOKreviews 14-15 Straw Bale Gardening, Creating Sanctuary, Heirloom Vegetables, Container Vegetable Gardening COVERstory 6-9 Designing Mixed Borders with English Roses GOINGnative 20 Native Plant Containers HORThappenings 22 Grow It Eat It, MoCo Greenfest/ Earth Day, Arlington Cemetery Tours, Takoma Garden Day INSECTindex 16 Japanese Maple Scale NEWPLANTspotlight 11 Cuphea ‘FloriGlory Diana’ NEIGHBORnetwork 12-13 Joe Bozik, Monastery Volunteer PETgarden 21 Capitol Hill Cat TIPStricks 10 Zinnia-Growing Tips, Minimizing Risks of Contaminated Soils


ADVERTISINGindex BLOGlinks EDITORletter GARDENcontest LOCALevents MONTHLYtasklist NEXTissue READERreactions RESOURCESsources

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David Austin English Rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ is seen with multiple companion plants: blue ‘Geranium ‘Phillippe Vapelle’, blue Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ (catmint), and yellow Anthemis tinctoria ‘E.C Buxton’ (chamomile). Photo courtesy of

In our June issue:

The Gardens of Bunny Mellon and much more . . .

Be sure you are subscribed! Click on the “subscribe” link at MAY 2019




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!

Your editor at two recent spring planting events with very different weather conditions. Photos by interns Johnny Moseman and Alexa Silverberg.

Let’s Talk About the Weather Last year was wet. The wettest on record for our region. You will never hear me complain about the rain, though, as I vividly recall recent drought years and summers of hoping/begging for any drops to fall, fill my rain barrel, and hit the parched grounds. During drought summers, I spend most of my time hand-watering containers, new plantings, and my vegetable plot. I pray that my established plantings will make it through. The “too much rain” seasons are rare and a relief. With all my dry shade beds under tall oak trees, the hostas are finally happy and filling out. The time I usually spend on watering can be used for weeding and other long-delayed maintenance tasks. I think, “Wow, this must be what it is like to garden in England or the Pacific Northwest.” This spring has been fairly wet, but it has also been oddly windy. I hate the wind. Wind is the worst. When I have a booth at outdoor events, all I want to see in the forecast is calm. I don’t care about cold or rain. Those I can deal with. The wind, however, is a howling, horrible monster. On those days, I have to hold down my display materials and run after any that may blow away, so I arrive home exhausted and my neck and back are one big, tense muscle knot. The high winds also ruin my garden, which sits at the intersection of two main state highways. The road convergence creates a funnel effect for northeasters aimed right at my corner. Pea poles and tall grasses are knocked over or split. The climbing vines are torn to shreds. The perennial beds are beaten and whipped. Pictured above are two recent spring planting events that I hosted. The one at left was a pollinator potting at the Takoma Park Farmers Market. It poured and was a bit cool. As a result, we had fewer attendees than we normally would have and I lost a fewer paper butterfly decorations to the damp, but it was overall a successful event. The event pictured at right was an herb potting workshop at White Flint. The winds were so bad that we were moved inside to a vacant restaurant. We came out for a quick minute to stage this photo and the container soil was blowing upward in my face. That was a unique experience. What does all this portend for the future? Will it keep being wet and windy? Will there be an abrupt shift to hot and still weather? Only time will tell. Happy gardening,

Kathy Jentz, Editor/Publisher, Washington Gardener, 4


Johnny Moseman Alexa Silverberg Intern Ruth E. Thaler-Carter Proofreader Cover price: $4.99 Back issues: $6.00 Subscription: $20.00 • Washington Gardener Blog: • Washington Gardener Archives: • Washington Gardener Discussion Group: WashingtonGardener/ • Washington Gardener Twitter Feed: • Washington Gardener Facebook Page: GardenerMagazine/ • Washington Gardener Youtube:

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• Washington Gardener is a womanowned business. We are proud to be members of: · GardenComm (GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators) · Green America Magazine Leaders Network · Green America Business Network Volume 14, Number 3 ISSN 1555-8959 © 2019 Washington Gardener All rights reserved. Published quarterly. No material may be reproduced without prior written permission. This magazine is purchased by the buyer with the understanding that the information presented is from various sources from which there can be no warranty or responsibility by the publisher as to legality, completeness, or technical accuracy. All uncredited photos in this issue are © Kathy Jentz.



April 2019 Issue I liked the article on Peonies, since I just planted four of them in the last year! ~ Rita Hamlet, Baltimore, MD Since I have never grown Black-eyed peas before, I found the article “Bountiful Blackeye Peas” very interesting and informative. I just may have to try them this year. Thank you! ~ Joanna R. Protz, Lynch Station, VA I loved the article on black-eyed peas. As a good ‘southern’ gal, black-eyed peas have long been a favorite bean, and always celebrated on January 1st with my collards. I lately have been playing around with growing beans for drying, and was really happy to see that the procedure I have been using is the same recommended in the article. I had no idea that they were so long. Since my garden has limited space, they seem a better choice to grow— more beans per inch of garden. So thank you so much for running the article and thank you to Elizabeth Olson, for her wisdom on Black-eyed peas. Now to go and order some. ~ Faith Hood, Falls Church, VA My favorite article this month is “Native Pussytoes, an Almost-ideal Ground Cover.” I’ve been looking for a new groundcover and this sounds perfect. Plus, I love the name. ~ Jennifer Whalen, Silver Spring, MD I recommend when people are suggesting plants to use in yards, particularly in a naturalizing area as under a shade tree, that plants known to be invasive not be recommended. Two suggestions, liriope and mondo grass particularly, frustrate me as I see these plants increasingly in forests where they’ve been planted by birds. Ivy, as well, is terrible when people abut a park, or let it grow up a tree and berries get spread into parks and other peoples’ yards (and damaging trees). When the question is open-ended, then it’s easy to suggest ferns and carex in general, or specific species, and people will be educated about both the uses and benefits of natives. ~ Kit Gage, Silver Spring, MD

Reader Contest

For our May 2019 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away two new abelias coming out this year—Vintage Charm™ and Rosy Charm™ from the Gardener’s Confidence® Collection ( Abelia x ‘Cloud 99-6-7’ PPAF Rosy Charm isn’t bashful when it comes to blooming—this abelia is covered in red-purple blooms starting in May and lasting until frost. With all the reliable performance qualities that make abelias a popular landscape plant—drought-tolerance, deer-resistance, and the ability to handle heat (plus, one of the more cold-tolerant abelias on the market)—you’ll soon succumb to this one’s charms as well! Fill the summer garden with clouds of highly scented white flowers. Vintage Charm™ Abelia x ‘Cloud 99’ PPAF reinvents a classic favorite into a morecompact form with an unbelievable flowering display. With more flowers clusters per branch, this fragrant abelia turns into a billowing mass of white blooms in early summer. They last and last, aging to pink, and finally a light parchment-tan. Holds its leaves well in late summer heat; mostly deciduous in winter. All the hardiness and low-maintenance qualities you’d expect from abelia. Its medium-sized growth habit, approximately 4 ft tall by 6 ft wide, eliminates pruning chores, too. To enter to win one of the two abelias, send an email to by 5:00pm on May 31 with “New Abelias” in the subject line and in the body of the email. Tell us what your favorite article was in this issue and why. Include your full name and mailing address. Winners will be announced by June 1.

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 2019




Practical Tips for Mixed-Border Design with English Roses by Sally Ferguson

Photo credit:



COVERstory David Austin English Roses are known for heavily-perfumed, heavily petalled flowers that recall the romance of heirloom Old Roses. But, in fact, English Roses are hugely varied in flower form, color, bush growth habit, size, style, and fragrance. In form alone, English Rose flowers come with petal counts ranging from five to 200 per flower. For gardeners, the choices can seem endless. “Choice is a big part of what makes growing English Roses such fun,” says Michael Marriott, a garden designer and senior rosarian for David Austin Roses in Albrighton, England. “To this, add the fun of choosing their bloom partners. When a particular rose and its partners hit it off; when your plants mesh in terms of color, height, and texture; when they hit the mark for bloom time, sunlight, and hardiness—when all of that comes together, it’s magic.” Marriott believes that, ultimately, the best design choices are the ones that please a gardener personally. That said, over years of experimentation, he’s found fairly universal appeal in certain mixes. Asked to describe a sure crowd-pleaser, he immediately suggests, “nearly any English Rose with blue flowers.” Here are practical tips and design notes from Marriott, culled from his decades of hands-on experience with English Roses and mixed border design.

General Tips

Marriott recommends David Austin English shrub roses. Their flower colors are rich but generally soft, and so tend not to clash with other colors in the garden. In shape and dimensions, the bushes can be quite upright but are typically more informal and shrubby. Thus, they are very good for filling up large spaces and pairing with other plants. Depending on the variety chosen, the climate, and how they are pruned, English Roses can be anything from 3 feet tall through to 6-foot shrubs. There also are English Rose climbers that grow 8 to 12 feet tall and sometimes taller, and repeat-blooming ramblers that are bred to grow to manageable sizes of 8 to 10 feet. English Roses are available at fine

garden centers or by mail-order from or 800328-8893.


With six or more hours of sun daily, English Roses will bloom full-tilt. With five hours of sun, they’ll bloom a bit less. Even in north-facing positions, if access to light is sufficient, then English Roses will grow and flower very well and, as a bonus, the roots will probably stay damp and cool, which is just what they like. In especially hot areas, plant roses where they won’t be exposed to extreme afternoon sun. Plant individual English Rose bushes of the same variety 18 to 30 inches apart, depending on the variety and the climate. Positioned closely like this, the bushes effectively knit together as they grow to create one large bush. Allow 3 to 4 feet between plants of neighboring varieties to allow access for deadheading, weeding, and so on. Marriot includes companion plants of varied heights. He points out that, because English Roses tend to bloom from the ground up, their big flowers are literally held at all heights, top to bottom. Opportunities for companionable bloom happen at many levels. Asked to name which companion heights he feels work best, he puts the “sweet spot” at 2 feet to 4 feet tall. “This zone is where most partnering action occurs,” he says. Marriott’s general rule is to plant English Rose climbers 6 to 9 feet apart. To cover a pole or trellis, one English Rose should suffice, he says. To cover an arch, plant one bush on each side to provide quick, balanced coverage. For an obelisk, depending on its size, plant one or two roses on each side.

Keep Them Healthy

In any bed, having a mix of different plant types—roses, shrubs, perennials, biennials, and annuals—helps keep all of the plants healthier by breaking up the monoculture. He also suggests adding plants known to attract beneficial insects. Good bugs—lady bugs, damsel bugs, lacewings, and others—are welcome additions to any garden bed because they’ll munch their way through aphids, scale, mealybugs,

thrips, mites, and other pests. Some of the best candidates for this purpose are Eryngium; members of the borage family like Phacelia and Anchusa, Agastache; goldenrods; and members of the Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) family, including bishop’s flower (Ammi majus) and fennel. Never plant perennials or other companions directly against the base of roses because they’ll deprive the roses of essential food and water. Roses need water and energy. It takes oomph to bloom and repeat bloom from early summer till frost. Marriott’s mantra is always interplant rather than underplant. Roses love a moist soil. You want companions to cuddle up nicely to rose bushes, but not in their root systems. A very general rule is to place companion plants 18 to 36 inches from the rose, depending on the projected mature size of both the perennial and the rose. Plant companions in clusters so no soil is visible between the plants at maturity. This way, the soil stays moist and cool, plus sunlight is blocked so weeds don’t grow.

Design Tips

One way to showcase the more informal habit of English Roses is to stage them in a more-formal setting. Where this look is desired, Marriott sometimes adds hedges to introduce strong boundaries that frame the bed. To do this, plant two hedges, short in front, tall in back. Options for a short front hedge (12 inches tall) include boxwood, lavender, germander, or yew. Clipped yew is gaining more interest in England as an alternative to boxwood for short hedging, as boxwood’s problems with blight increase, says Marriott. Although clipped yew is most often seen in tall walls and topiaries, he’s found that it’s surprisingly easy to maintain yew as a short, good-looking hedge. For the taller back hedge (6 to 8 feet tall), evergreens such as arborvitae or yew work nicely. Inbetween, plant the border. Hedges also provide a pleasing structure in winter. Certain perennials are known for thuggish tendencies and if allowed to grow right around the base of a rose, MAY 2019



COVERstory will take the lion’s share of water, nutrients, and space. Other plants can become invasive in certain settings and quickly spread either by seed or vegetative growth. As always, gardeners beware—and never hesitate to eliminate any plants that seriously misbehave. Still, If you love them, even pushy partners can be indispensable. In these cases, hybrid varieties often have better habits. Space them generously and chop back as needed. Since English Roses are informal in growth habit, they usually mix well with wilder looking chums that are equally informal or are less highly bred. Often, these are plants more likely to attract beneficial insects. Prized for their large, colorful flowers, English Roses shine in the company of plants with smaller flowers and interesting foliage. When it comes to color association, there are two basic choices: contrast or complement. Both can be effective within a border and, says Marriott, it’s always good to have both.

The spiky upright flowering spikes of Verbascum (mullein) and Digitalis (foxglove) contrast wonderfully with the rounded, informal form of shrub roses. The very soft, rounded shape of the likes of Hakonechloa or pheasant’s grass (Anemanthele lessoniana) is also effective. Taller plants for the back of the border can set off the roses in front perfectly as long as your border is deep enough. Good choices include: giant scabious (Cephalaria gigantea), delphinium, and tall asters belonging to the novae-angliae group (New England asters). Besides partnering roses with perennials, biennials and annuals, consider adding in summer flowering shrubs. Of course, that is exactly what roses are.

Color Theory

Massed color is more pleasing to the eye—scattered dollops of different colors feel choppy and insignificant. Too many small groups of plants look messy, like a dog’s dinner. In larger borders, it can be very effective to

repeat the same plants (or clusters of the same plants) to draw the eye. Repetition with regular spacing creates one effect; with irregular spacing, another. Complement yellow and apricot colored roses with similarly hued plants like Achillea ‘Gold Plate’ or A. ‘Teracotta’, Cosmos sulphureus, Euphorbia ‘Fireglow’, various Helenium (sneezeweed), Geum (a wonderful and often very long-flowering group), and Hemerocallis (daylily) or plants with yellowish leaves like Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’. With pink and red roses, consider some of the pink geraniums like G. oxonianum and G. ‘Patricia’, Erigeron karvinskianus, Sanguisorba, Sedum, Japanese anemones, Aster, and Astrantia. For contrast, anything blue, purple, or in the deep maroon-blue-black shades will work superbly: Aster f. ‘Mönch’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, G. ‘Johnson’s Blue’, various delphiniums, salvias, and Verbena bonariensis. One of Marriott’s favorites is annual Phacelia tanacetifolia. But contrasting color can be many English Rose ‘Vanessa Bell’ is a soft yellow rose of delicate beauty, set off by a darker yellow eye and paler outer petals that catch the light in a translucent halo effect. The fragrance is best described as green tea with aspects of lemon and, at times, honey. ‘Vanessa Bell’ is seen with a late-season companion: a non-seeding hybrid Verbena bonariensis. Photo courtesy of



COVERstory hues. Pink and red with apricot can work wonderfully. The eyes will guide. Even extreme color combinations can work beautifully. The trick is to choose colors that sing with great gusto—not abrasiveness. It’s great fun to play with this. Famed English plantsman Christopher Lloyd from Great Dixter was a master at the technique, never afraid of pairing vividly contrasting colors to great effect. To pre-test your hunches about certain color combinations, snip flowers in colors you like and carry them around to hold up to candidate partners or arrange cut flowers in those colors in a vase. Some combos will sound a sour note, others will sing.

David Austin English Rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ is seen with green garden companion Euphorbia characias ‘Wulfenii’. In the foreground are Allium seed heads. Photo by

Seasonal Timing

The best rose partnerships bloom together and for a long time. Sublime bloom partners hit their stride during exactly the same stretch of weeks or months. Since roses flower over such a long period, these long-lasting combos can provide interest for about half the season. Annuals are particularly valuable from this point of view because they often flower over a very long period. Since English Roses repeat-bloom, you can double up on bloom partners. Think of your companion plants as working in shifts: Shift one will bloom with your roses in early summer, then depart; shift two will join in later in the season to augment your roses’ rebloom. It’s always the conundrum in garden design: Do you try for as long a season of sustained garden interest (sustained, not necessarily maximum interest), in which case you may miss out on exquisite but short-term color associations? Or do you go for bursts of magnificent overlapping bloom, regardless of duration? Marriott prefers the latter. Go for broke, he says. And why not—English Roses repeat-bloom in waves from early summer until frost. The next exquisite moment is about to bloom. o Sally Ferguson is the owner of Ferguson Caras LLC , a marketing communications agency specializing in strategic messaging, content and media exposure for the home and gardening, horticulture, floristry and outdoor living sectors. MAY 2019




Minimize Your Risk from Soil Contaminants

According to the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA,, contaminated soil is unhealthy for humans, soil, and plants. “Long-term exposure to items like petroleum products, chromated copper arsenate, and radon can cause problems for humans—and other plants and animals dependent on healthy soils,” said Aaron Daigh, assistant professor of soil physics at North Dakota State University. There are three types of contaminants that the SSSA says are most harmful to humans and plants. 1) Petroleum products can harm humans. Soils contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons can affect soil health and it can affect soil health at much-lower concentrations compared to the effects on human health. They can harm soil microorganisms, reducing their number and activity. 2) The arsenic portion of chromated copper arsenate is water soluble. This means it can soak into the soil, and anyone playing or gardening near it can get contaminated. If any structures in your yard are made with wood and have a green tint, they could be contaminated. If not properly sealed (or removed), they can cause a hazard. 3) Radon is a gas. It’s a natural byproduct of the radioactive decay of radium, and is a naturally occurring substance, so this soil contaminant is not human-generated, but the problem with radon building up in homes is humanmade. Managing this soil contaminant is more about reducing the problems caused by radon versus getting rid of it completely. o

Making sure your car is tuned and gaskets are leak-free can help prevent petroleum products from running off onto soil—or groundwater sources. Credit: SV Fisk . 10


Zinnia Growing Tips

Flowers have always been a great way to communicate what words could not always express: joy, love, friendship, sadness, and loss. One of the best flowers to do that through time has been the zinnia, according to Barbara Melera of Harvesting History ( Zinnias are members of the Aster family and very closely related to daisies. In Joseph Breck’s Book of Flowers, he said, “The colors of some of the varieties are very brilliant, and, particularly, the scarlets. The colors are white, pale to dark yellow, orange to scarlet; shades from rose to crimson, from crimson to light purple, lilac, etc.” One of the best zinnias to grow is ‘Green With Envy’. The fully double blossoms are pale, but still very green. The average blossom size is 3–4 inches in diameter and the plant reaches a height of 30–36 inches. Among the most important things to remember about this zinnia is that the blossom should be cut in the early morning, before 10am. These blossoms tend to fade quickly in sunlight and will become less than their yellowish-green. If harvested in the morning, it retains its bright-green color. For more than 120 years, American seed companies advised their customers to plant zinnia seed around the 4th of July. This is actually very good advice. Zinnia seed germinates best in warm soil. By warm, Melera says that the soil is warm to the touch when you poke a finger 2–3 inches down. Warm soil causes the seed to germinate in one to five days and the seedlings also grow rapidly and can begin to produce blos-

soms in as little as three weeks. Zinnias can be planted as late as the third week of July and still produce an abundance of blossoms. Few plants offer the dazzling array of color choices and large flowers that characterize the Zinnia family. Only dahlias and, perhaps, roses, can compete for size of bloom, intensity of color, and showiness. The zinnia asks very little of its garden caretaker and gives so very much. Zinnias can be grown almost anywhere. They are not finicky about soil or water, but they do require full sun. The more you deadhead them, the more flowers they will produce. Japanese beetles do love them, but so do butterflies—lots and lots of butterflies. In mid- to-late summer, they are very prone to developing powdery mildew on their leaves, but this does not affect their flowers. Spacing the plants 6-8 inches apart sometimes helps, but not always. Zinnias LOVE containers! They produce the most dramatic presence in a container garden when single colors are planted in individual pots. For example, a pot of yellow zinnias positioned next to a pot of magenta zinnias and a pot of green zinnias is much more attractive to the human eye than three pots of mixed zinnias. Melera recommends planting zinnias in 10 to 12-inch diameter pots with 8 to 10 zinnias to a pot. They should be fertilized using a blossom booster fertilizer every two to three weeks and the blossoms have to be removed from the plants as soon as they begin to fade. If you do not remove the blossoms, the plants will stop producing flowers. For school teachers, starting zinnias in February-early March, in the pots they will be permanently grown in, in your classroom will produce blossoms by the end of the school year. If the plants are cared for throughout the summer, they will make an extraordinary “Welcome Back to School” in the fall. o Johnny Moseman is a senior multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland from Columbia, MD. He is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this spring semester.


Quick Links to Washington Gardener Blog Posts • Bloom Day Fleur de Lys • Girl Scouts Visit • DIY: Rabbit-Proof Cage • Beatrix Farrand’s Everlasting Impact

See more Washington Gardener blog posts at: o

May-June Garden To-Do List New Plant Spotlight

Cuphea ‘FloriGlory Diana’ Cuphea, commonly known as Mexican Heather, is an ideal plant for borders, mass plantings, and containers. ‘FloriGlory Diana’ was introduced by plan breeder Westhoff and was highly praised by the All-America Selections (AAS, https://all-americaselections. org/) judges for its larger flowers; impressive number of flowers; and darker, more intensely colored magenta flowers. The dark-green foliage complements the flowers and really makes a statement for this new AAS Winner. The new FloriGlory series of cuphea has five times the flower power with excellent garden vigor compared with the old standards. With ‘FloriGlory Diana’, gardeners will be delighted with the compact (10–12 inch) size, longer flowering time, and heat and weather tolerance. Genus species: Cuphea hybrid Common name: Mexican Heather Flower color: Magenta Foliage color: Glossy dark green Flower size: 3/8 inch Bloom time: Late spring, summer, fall until frost Plant height: 10–12 inches Plant type: Annual to zone 7, overwinters in zone 8 or higher Garden location: Full sun Garden spacing: 16–18 inches Weather tolerance: Drought-tolerant, heat-, rain-, and wind-resistant Uses: Low-edger, containers, hanging baskets Care: There is no need to deadhead them. Closest comparisons on market: ‘Allyson’ and ‘Lavender Lace’. 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 2019



NEIGHBORnwork seeds and watering in the greenhouse to sprout and nurture these seedlings, some for the outdoor farm gardens and some for sale at our annual Plant and Herb Sale that we hold the last weekend of April. In the summer, after these seedlings are planted in the outdoor farm gardens (in prepared furrows with weeddeterrent fabric), these plantings are watered, naturally fertilized with mushroom mulch, and staked, while awaiting harvesting. In the fall, after a season of harvesting, a final harvest “gleaning” is completed, and the gardens are “taken down” for dormancy over the winter. In the winter, there are still activities in preparing for the fundraising luminaria event, organizing the greenhouse for the next year’s plantings, and general cleanup tasks.

Joe Bozik, Dedicated Monastery Volunteer By Johnny Moseman

We met up with Joe Bozik after we toured the newly renovated greenhouse at the Franciscan Monastery in the Brookland neighborhood of northeast Washington, DC. Bozik is a longtime volunteer with the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild ( We asked him about his background and experiences volunteering. Tell us about your background. Are you native to the DC region? I came to the DC region in 1976 for employment from upstate NY, specifically from Ghent, NY. I retired in 2008 after working for the federal government, departments of Navy, Coast Guard, and Energy, as a civilian program engineer. I grew up on a dairy farm in Ghent and always enjoyed being “close to the Earth” and being a good steward of creation. We grew most of our vegetables, learned the workings of gardening tools and machinery, and improvised when the need arose. 12


How did you get started with the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild? In December 2001, I volunteered at the Franciscan Monastery’s Garden Guild, helping with the “Seven Nights of Lights” luminaria program. I was “hooked” on the beauty and serenity of the Monastery, the gardens, and the greenhouse. Although I was still working, I would try to volunteer and became more involved with the projects the Guild was planning. What is a typical volunteer day like? The beauty of volunteering at the Guild is that there is no “typical” workday, as there are always various and interesting activities ongoing, and tasks are seasonally changing. In general, there are volunteering opportunities weekly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. A weekly email is distributed on Mondays to indicate the upcoming week’s activities and volunteering needs. In the spring, we are preparing potting materials for planting vegetable

What challenges have you encountered with the Guild? One challenge we typically have is how to entice more people to enjoy volunteering in the gardens—if not on a routine basis, then on a “come-whenyou-can” basis. Volunteers who do get involved are overwhelmingly happy and grateful to have this experience, right in the midst of central DC! We hope that word gets around about this wonderful opportunity to see how an urban vegetable farm thrives in the city. In addition to the gardening activities of the Guild, I was fortunate to bring in a local beekeeper as a mentor to bring honeybees back to the Monastery in 2006. Now, this is our 14th year of beekeeping at the Monastery, and we have eight hives. We also have partnered with other beekeepers, who have brought their hives to our gardens. We generally have at least one annual honey extraction workshop, where we demonstrate to the public how honey is extracted, spun, filtered, and bottled in its raw form. What plants are your favorite to use in the greater DC area? Plants in the DC region are a challenge to grow, mostly because of the frustration and damage caused by the local deer population. We try to grow flowering perennial plants that are deerresistant, such as lilies of the valley, iris

NEIGHBORnwork (including Japanese Iris), mums, and roses. What do you do when it is not the growing season? There are many projects such as tool care (cleaning, sharpening), repairs to equipment, improving efficiencies in planting tables and setup, and painting as needed. What garden misunderstandings do you frequently encounter? Not totally related to the gardens, but we are usually asked whether the gardens are private and only for the friars. The gardens are open to all, regardless of religious affiliation, race, experience, etc. We are a welcoming volunteer group and we are all learning each day from the beauty of the living world around us. There are fewer friars, so the friars’ duties are more administrative and they do not spend time in the gardens anymore. Therefore, volunteers are urgently needed, and the friars do contract out main mowing and seasonal garden bedding changes. What garden questions do people ask you the most? What plants are deer-resistant? What grows best in shady areas? What plants are best to flank along an entrance sidewalk to a main door? What is your favorite part about volunteering with the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild? My favorite part about the Guild is the opportunity to share our gardening knowledge with others who have an interest in learning about vegetable, herb, and flower gardening. It is gratifying to see how getting closer to the earth is an inspiring and meditative part of volunteers’ psyche. Anything else you want to add or think would be of interest to our readers? I greatly encourage people to stop by the Monastery and ask for the greenhouse volunteers on a Saturday (or Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday), and soak in the beauty of the viewscape of the meadows and the vintage feelings of a 100+-year-old greenhouse. Come see what it means to have a “Smart Greenhouse for Smart Gardeners.” *Responses edited for length and clarity.

Greenhouse Renovation The century-old. historic Lord & Burnham greenhouse at the Franciscan Monastery was in desparate need of repair. Windows were broken and missing. Walls were leaking and crumbling. The Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild helped raise more than $180,000 for the restoration. How long has the greenhouse renovation taken? The greenhouse renovation is a phased project, and we have now finished Phase 2, which included repainting all metal and reglazing all glass. The planning for this project began in 2015. The next phases include an automated shading system for temperature control, an automated watering system, and a heating system.

Before After

When did the greenhouse first open? The greenhouse has been open for the Guild’s volunteers since 1998. The friars have been using the greenhouse since its construction in 1915 for growing many plants, including bananas, angel trumpets, and poinsettias. What will it be used for now? The goal of the Guild is to have the greenhouse used for growing plants year-round. It will be wonderful to have enough volunteers to be able to grow leafy vegetables (kale, lettuce, spinach, etc.) in the winter months. Just imagine, harvesting kale and spinach in the middle of a DC January winter snow, indoors in a greenhouse having a temperature of 70 degrees! What was most difficult about the renovations? The most difficult aspects about any historic structure’s renovations are the unknowns, such as any hidden deterioration of wood or metals—and that was our case as well. However, this was a state-of-the-art structure of that time period, and as such, was quality built with quality iron truss work by the Metropolitan Ironworks Company of New York City. o Johnny Moseman is a senior multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland from Columbia, MD. He is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this spring. MAY 2019




Straw Bale Gardens Complete, Updated Edition: Breakthrough Method for Growing Vegetables Anywhere, Earlier and with No Weeding By Joel Karsten Publisher: Cool Springs Press List Price: $24.99 Reviewer: Alexa Silverberg The newest edition of Joel Karsten’s revolutionary book Straw Bale Gardens solves all of your gardening challenges. Karsten first tells the reader to set aside the skepticism. Straw bale gardening might seem far-fetched, but it is possible. Karsten says that the biggest advantage of straw bale gardening is that the gardener doesn’t have soil and doesn’t need to purchase a container. This is because the bale provides the place for growing and serves as its own container. Other advantages are that it is a raised height garden, so if you are limited on space, you can build up vertically. Straw bale gardens are also great for community gardens. Karsten says that some of the drawbacks of community gardens—weeds, diseases, insects, shared water spigots—can all be helped with bales. Karsten then starts to explain how to plan out your straw bale garden. He says you can plant this virtually anywhere; you just need full sun exposure. He says that the most-productive and efficient garden will have singlefile rows of bales positioned end to end. Karsten explains that this allows easy access to the plants on the sur14


face from either side of the row and maximizes air circulation. Karsten also talks about how to deal with weeding through the bale. Karsten says you can simply mow the grass or weeds that grow up between bales. Using pictures and detailed instructions, Karsten explains how to set up the garden. He gives example of crops and flowers to use and the best way to plant them using the straw bales. He recommends setting up the rows of the garden in a north-south orientation. He says that this way the garden will capture the first sunlight of the morning. He explains how to properly care for the straw bales. The process of conditioning the bales takes approximately 10 to 12 days, based on air temperature. Karsten gives examples of different fertilizers for bale conditioning. His favorite is the bale buster. He gives an inclusive and extensive chart list for how to plant different things in the bales. The chart details how many inches apart a crop needs, how many plants per bale you should plant, and more. (Note that straw is the stalks or stems of grains. Hay is grass that have been cut and dried for animal feed.) This book is great because it is so detailed. Karsten uses real pictures, drawings, and charts to thoroughly explain how to use straw bales to garden. This is the perfect book for those looking to branch out in their gardening adventures, or those who are struggling to make the most of their gardening space. o Alexa Silverberg is a senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland and is from Short Hills, NJ. She is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this spring semester.

Container Vegetable Gardening: Growing Crops in Pots in Every Space By Liz Dobbs with Anne Halpin Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing List Price: $19.99 Reviewer: Johnny Moseman When reading Container Vegetable Gardening, you should expect to be taken step-by-step through the latest practices in high-density area gardening. These walk-throughs show you how to grow delicious fruits, vegetables, and

herbs in containers, window boxes, and hanging baskets. The book starts off by instructing you in exactly how to start growing your plants, from watering to choosing the container to continually caring for your crops. The next section goes into detail about how to grow all kinds of crops. Each crop has its own page, and Dobbs explains what you need to plant this crop, where and when you should grow it, along with the suggested container size and the spacing between each seed. With this information, you have everything you need to complete your garden in a small space. After guidance on the 34 individual crop you can grow in your container, Dobbs and Halpin take you through some more-creative aspects of container gardening. One section deals with what to do given small spaces with small containers, while the next shows how to use your larger space for beautiful flower creations. These two sections include 35 easy-to-follow projects with illustrations for container gardens. In each project, you are told what you will need and all the steps to complete this container garden to brighten your patio or outdoor area. This is a terrific guidebook, filled with pictures and all the instructions you would need to make beautiful and creative container gardens. I recommend this book if you are looking for new ideas about how to garden using containers when you do not have the space for more than that. o Johnny Moseman is a senior multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland from Columbia, MD. He is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this spring.


Creating Sanctuary By Jessi Bloom Publisher: Timber Press List Price: $24.95 Reviewer: Jamie Moore Are you feeling frazzled by the hectic pace of modern life? In Creating Sanctuary, ecological landscape designer Jessi Bloom shows how we can cultivate peaceful, healing spaces in our own backyards. Such refuges help restore our minds and soothe our souls through building deeper, moremeaningful connections to nature. Bloom gives clear, simple instructions about how to plan your personal garden sanctuary. Your sanctuary will be richer if you incorporate elements that appeal to all five senses. Visually, color and texture help set the mood of the space. Soothing sounds can be created by wind, water, or wildlife. Flowers contribute fragrance, and edible plants satisfy the palate. Spongy moss or soft, fuzzy foliage are nice to touch, and grass is comforting to bare feet. Sanctuaries also can include sacred elements such as a defined entrance or portal, gathering space, space for meditation, memorials, chimes, art, lanterns or lights, stones, and water features. Using a permaculture perspective, Bloom advises planting in layers (trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous perennials, ground covers, bulbs, fungi) to create a community of plants that will develop into a stable ecosystem. She also recommends building layers in time by incorporating plants that provide a variety of seasonal interest. Bloom goes on to profile 50 of her favorite sacred

plants, describing their benefits and common uses. Further chapters describe how nature can help us “detox from modern life.” Meditating and exercising in nature help bring clarity and comfort. Bloom points out several plants that are used medicinally and provides recipes for salves, creams, and infusions. She describes rituals and ceremonial practices, such as smudging. This book ventures way beyond garden design. It is an exploration of our relationship with nature and how we can use nature to promote emotional, spiritual, and physical health. o 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.

Heirloom Vegetable Gardening By William Woys Weaver Publisher: Voyageur Press List Price: $40.00 Reviewer: Erica H. Smith Heirloom Vegetable Gardening was first published in 1997. It’s a unique and revolutionary book, written by a food historian who is also an accomplished gardener and an indefatigable, obsessed researcher. I fell in love with the book when I first read it, and refer to it whenever I’m investigating the origin and history of garden vegetables. It was out of print for a long time, and got very pricey on the used book market. I own two copies: one pristine and signed by the author that stays in the

house; one bashed-up and ex-library that I take around to show people when I give talks, so I was thrilled to find out that a new edition had come out in 2018. It’s wonderful to have Heirloom Vegetable Gardening available again, and I urge anyone who’s inquisitive about where vegetables come from and how they were grown in the past to consider adding it to your gardening library. It will help you choose some fascinating heirlooms and teach you a lot about growing them, but it will also tell captivating stories in a voice simultaneously scholarly and personal. Who doesn’t want to read the tale of the Peach Blow Potato, or Crosby’s Improved Egyptian Beet, or Howling Mob Corn? Most of the plants Weaver profiles are deeply familiar to him, grown in his Pennsylvania garden from seeds passed down by his grandfather. The resulting Roughwood Seed Collection is available for purchase in catalogs such as Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange. This book is not just a plant reference or garden guide; it’s good reading, a volume to settle down with over the winter and then return to many times. When I got my hands on this review copy, I did a close comparison with the 1997 first edition. “Above and beyond,” I hear you cry, but really it wasn’t for all of you as much as a way to decide whether I was going to buy the new version. And, I probably won’t. I have to say it’s a far more-beautiful volume, better laid out and with lots of full-color photographs. But it is not so much a revision as a reissue. Most of the text is exactly the same, aside from a new foreword and introduction, an updated list of seed sources, and various minor edits. Some new heirloom vegetables have been profiled (for those keeping score, my count includes nine new beans, one new cucumber, five lettuces, two shallots, seven peas, five peppers, five squashes, one radish, and three tomatoes). Zone information has been added for each type of vegetable, noting in which growing zones the plant is perennial or needs special protection. Few alterations have been made, Book Reviews continued on page 21 MAY 2019




Insects that Suck: Japanese Maple Scale By Carol Allen

For the gardener, probably the mostbewildering insects are the scale insects. They don’t even look like bugs! They don’t show any legs or wings, they don’t (seemingly) crawl around, they are too small to be easily visualized by “older” eyes, and sometimes they leave a sticky mess! What’s up with that? Scale insects can be divided into two groups based on how they feed. “Soft” scale insects insert their slender mouthparts right into the vascular system of the plant. The pressure in those vessels pushes the sugary fluids right into the animal’s body. The fluids are digested and excess sugars are expelled out the “other” end. Yes, they make sugary poop. If you have plants with an infestation of soft scale, there will be the telltale honey dew on surfaces near the plant. If the weather or environmental conditions are right, sooty mold can grow on the honeydew turning the plant and nearby surfaces black. The other type of scale insects is referred to as “armored” scale. These insects insert their mouthparts into the deep flesh of the leaf or stem. This is an area called the mesophyll. Typically, the insect injects an enzyme that dissolves the plant cell walls, effectively liquefying the tissue. The liquefied tissue is then sucked up. This kind of scale does not produce honeydew and even more serious, the liquidating enzyme can kill enough plant tissue to cause defoliation, twig and branch dieback, and eventual plant death. 16


Both types of scale insects have complex life cycles, so control strategies have to have several approaches. If you are buying and bringing new plants into your house or landscape, I strongly suggest close inspection and even a short period of quarantine. This is especially important if you maintain a collection of overwintering tropical plants. In your outdoor landscape, most scales are host-specific, so it is a matter of know your host and know your pest. There are scale insects that are specific to needled evergreens or a specific family of plants. There are hundreds of scale insect species. Often new ones are inadvertently brought into the country, where without their controlling natural enemies, their populations can quickly explode into damaging numbers. Such is the case of Japanese Maple Scale (Lopholeucaspis japonica), hereafter referred to as JMS. JMS was first found in the U.S. in 1914. It has since spread throughout the Eastern region and into the Midwest. Since it has a wide host range, it can be devastating in both the home landscape and the commercial nursery. Host plants include red maple, Japanese maple, dogwood, redbud, elm, Itea; broadleaf evergreens like cherry laurel, holly, Japanese holly, and boxwood. This armored scale can be difficult to see because the “covers” that shield the insect body are only about 1 mm in length with an approximate oyster-like shape. The brown cover is coated with a white wax that disappears from view when rubbed or coated with oil. On the plant, the scale prefers interior, protected branches, so it can be difficult to detect. In our area, there can be two generations with the immature males and females being the overwintering stage. Egg laying and crawler emergence can be prolonged based on the weather. Typically, this activity occurs in midMay to early June. The use of accumulated degree days (DDs) and/or plant phenology can help indicate the best time to initiate control measures. The first generation will appear at about 816 degree days (50˚ base). That is when the Smokebush is in full bloom and activity can go on for about eight

weeks. The second generation can initiate at 2508 DD or when the Devil’s Walking Stick is in bud. Although control can be tedious and in large-scale operations difficult, the best first course of action is mechanical removal. This can be done early in the spring, followed by a chemical control when the crawlers start to hatch. A very strong spray of water augmented by scrubbing with a soft brush will remove most of the insects. A dormant oil spray (2–3%) in fall after leaf drop or in spring before bud break is a good chemical approach, followed by a summer rate (2%) applied when the crawlers have hatched. Since the hatch period can cover 8–10 weeks, two sprays during that time may be necessary for good management.

Female Japanese maple scales with a wax covering are white. Photos courtesy of Stanton Gill and Paula Shrewsbury, Extension IPM Specialists, UMD.

Gardeners may not have access to an appropriate insect growth regulator (IGR), but the addition of pyriproxyfen (Distance) or buprofezin (Talus) to the oil spray when crawlers are at peak numbers will increase efficacy. Read and heed label directions whenever using any material as a spray (organic or conventional) and be sure to wear protective gear. Even water splashed into your eyes can be uncomfortable at best and damaging at the worst. 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






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TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Events ~ May 16–June 16, 2019 • Thursdays, 12:15–12:45pm Let’s Talk Gardens! Summer Series May 23—”Edible Flowers: Beautiful and Delicious” Surprise dinner guests, or even your own family, with colorful, edible additions to your meals. May 30—”Herbs for Summer Cocktails” Add seasonal flare to your summer cocktails with herbs from your garden. June 6—”Create a Centerpiece from Your Garden” Learn how to use what is growing in your garden to make creative, beautiful centerpieces. June 13—”Mini Gardens on a Shelf” Learn how to design and assemble a miniature landscape suitable to display in a home. A variety of examples will get your creative juices flowing. June 27—”Gardening for Pollinators: Creating Habitat for Everyone” Whether you have a large property or a few containers on an urban balcony, you can create a habitat. Learn how to increase habitat for pollinators in your homes and communities. Held on the East Walk of the Smithsonian’s Enid A. Haupt Garden, Washington, DC. Free. See http://gardens. • Wednesday, May 22, 6–9pm 27th Annual Spring Garden Party at Tudor Place Join friends, neighbors, and celebrants at Tudor Place in Georgetown, WDC, for this festive event, chaired by Beth Clifton and Whitney Rosenthal, draws which prominent Washingtonians and guests from around the nation. Bruce Whelihan, a stalwart and longtime supporter and former trustee, will be honored at the biggest fundraiser of the year for Tudor Place Historic House & Garden. Prohibition-era jazz live with the Foggy Bottom Whomp-Stompers. Fees: Tudor Place members: $225 and nonmembers: $250. Register at www. • Wednesday, May 22, 7:30–9pm From the Ground Up The Beltsville Garden Club meeting features speaker Jim Dronenburg’s presentation on his passion for growing things that other people don’t have, especially if they “aren’t supposed to 18


grow here.” Programs are free and open to the public. Please remember to bring a plant or related item for the door prize table. Refreshments are served at end of meeting. Held at the James E Duckworth School, 11201 Evans Trail, Beltsville. MD. Details at • Saturday, May 25, 9:30am–3pm Annual Baltimore Herb Festival Held at Leakin Park. In addition to shopping the 50+ plant and garden vendors, there will be entertainment by 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. See • Saturday, May 25, 8am–12n Mum Plant Sale by the Potomac Chrysanthemum Society The two locations are Gaithersburg, MD, at the parking lot on Rt. 355 and Fulks Corner across from the Gaithersburg Police Station, and at Bowie High School parking lot, 15200 Annapolis Road, Bowie, MD. $1.75 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 25, 11am—12pm Propagation and Cloning Workshop Cloning and propagation are essential techniques for any successful gardener. The ability to save and reproduce your desired plant’s genetics through winter or until the next season is not only simple, but efficient and economical. Imagine buying a basil plant only once and having endless basil plants for the rest of the year! The foundation of a perpetually successful garden starts with cloning. Plants will be provided for practice and each student will receive a free root pouch to take home. Class held at Cultivate the City, 910 Bladensburg Rd., NE, WDC. Fee: $20. Register at

• Saturday, May 25, 11am—12pm Herbal-infused Oils & Salve Crafting Join Clinical Aromatherapist Olivia MacMillan at Smile Herb Shop in College Park, MD, for an informative workshop about the crafting of natural topical remedies, effectively eliminating the need for many toxic OTC preparations. Learn how to prepare healing botanical oil, study the healing effects of various essential oils, and find out how to combine them with herbal oils for natural, yet expert first aid preparations. You will help make (and take home.) a healing salve and a whole packet of salve and ointment recipes to make on your own. Fee: $35. See • Satuday, May 25, 9:30am Creative Garden Designs: The List You Need Gardens that reflect the beauty and effectiveness of natural plant communities actually take thoughtful planning. This workshop reviews meaningful plant choices both native and hybrids to built plant palettes for full sun, shade, and woodland environments. The instructor is Heather Wheatley, CPH, the Education Coordinator for the Homestead Gardens’ Garden Academy. Fee: $5. Held at Homestead in Davidsonville, MD. See https://homesteadgardens. com/upcoming-events/ • Wednesday, May 29, 7—8pm Pollination, Pollinators, & Flowers: Garden Talk by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia Diverse flower plantings welcome bees and beneficial insects. Held at the Central Library, 1015 N Quincy St, Arlington, VA. Visit the library’s native flower garden. Talk meets by the garden (tennis court side). Free. No registration necessary. Presented with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). See https://mgnv. org/public-education-events/. • Saturday & Sunday, June 1 & 2 Spring Rose & Photography Show at Merrifield Garden Center—Fair Oaks Exhibitors compete in categories of horticulture, design, and photography. Expert John Smith works with all newcomers/novices. Over $3,000 in gift

TOP AREA GARDENING EVENTS DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Events ~ May 16–June 16, 2019 certificates, cash, garden products, and decorative housewares are awards for best exhibits. Open to the public. Details at • Friday, May 31, 12n—1pm Water in the Landscape: Creating a Garden Oasis Kathy Jentz, editor/publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, gives a talk on water features and water gardens. They can be a magical addition to your landscape. Water can be stimulating or calming, depending on how it is used. Water gardens can sustain native wildlife and mask ambient noise. This class explains the basics of installing and maintaining a water feature of any size in a garden. It also highlights water garden plant choices appropriate for this region. Held at the US Botanic Garden. Free: Pre-registration required. Visit • Saturday, June 1, 1—2pm Free Outdoor Concert at USNA The National Bonsai Foundation, U.S. National Arboretum, and the National Symphony Orchestra are partnering to present a free chamber concert at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum (within the U.S. National Arboretum at 3501 New York Ave., NE, WDC). The concert is free and open to the public. NSO musicians Hanna Lee and Jing Qiao (violins), Eric deWaardt (viola), and Loewi Lin (cello) will perform the outdoor chamber concert among the storied bonsai collection in the courtyard of the museum. The program will be inspired by and be a celebration of bonsai, nature, springtime, and the folk music of China and Japan. Although the event is free and open to the public, advanced reservations are strongly suggested and can be made at: www. national-symphony-orchestra-chamberconcert-at-the-museum. • Saturday, June 1, 1—2pm Herbs for Flavor and Fragrance, as well as Growing Microgreens Learn about edible gardening with hands-on dsiplays. Montgomery County Master Gardener demonstrations for urban gardeners are held at the Fresh-

Farm Downtown Silver Spring Market on Ellsworth Drive and Veterans Plaza. See details at http://www.extension.umd. edu/mg/locations/montgomery-countymaster-gardeners. • Sunday, June 2, 9am Intro to Small-Scale Aquaponics 101 The Small-scale Aquaponics Training Course will give participants the skills and knowledge necessary to meaningfully participate in the design, construction, and operation of aquaponic systems with between 30 to 500 gallons of water. Held at H Street Farms, 910 Bladensburg Road NE, WDC. Registration at small-scale-aquaponics-training-coursecertificate/. • Saturday, June 8, 10am—4:30pm Field Botany Class Learn the basics of plant identification with DC-based herbalist, botanist, and forager Holly Poole-Kavana. This class will be taught in two sections: The morning will consist of an indoor presentation of the basic concepts of botany and the plant characteristics used in field identification, illustrated with close-up photographs. The afternoon will be spent outdoors, observing real-life examples of the concepts from the morning presentation, learning to recognize common plant families, and practicing ID with a key. Fee: $35—$85. See • Saturday, June 10, 8–9:30pm Talk on Succulents, Temperennials, and Shrubs for Low-maintenance Landscapes Scott Aker of the U.S. National Arboretum will speak about marginally hardy plants for our region. The Silver Spring Garden Club (SSGC) invites you to their meeting at Brookside Gardens Visitors Center/Education Building, 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD. This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. SSGC dues are only $10 per year for individual or $15 for a couple/household membership. Learn more about the club at: https://groups.

• Saturday, June 15, 10–11:30am Gardening with Climate Change Horticulturist Brenda Skarphol highlights ideas from Climate-Wise Landscaping by Sue Reed and Ginny Stibolt so you can make your garden betteradapted to our changing climate. Learn about some of the best-performing native and non-native plants and trees that adapt to erratic climate conditions. Discover ways to manage rainwater for better drainage. Class takes place outdoors in the gardens. The cost is $18/person. Code 1A9.709F. Held at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria, VA. Register at

Save These Future Dates • Sunday June 30, 2–3:30pm Garden Photo Show Reception Come view the 17 winners of the DC Garden Photo Contest Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. Free. • Sunday, July 14 Garlic Fest Day at TP Farmers Market Hosted by Main Street Takoma and Takoma Horticultural Club, starring Tony “Mr. Garlic” Sarmiento. Free. • Wednesday, July 24, 6:30–8pm Garden Book Club Summer 2019 We will discuss Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katherine S. White. Held at Soupergirl, right next to the Takoma Metro stop. RSVP at WashingtonGardenerMagazine, The Washington Gardener Magazine’s Garden Book Club is free and open to all.

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 5 for the June 2019 issue, for events taking place after May 16, 2019. o MAY 2019







ing how to make a container garden, she packed in about 10 different plants in one average-sized pot. Some will do better than others, but piling in plants helps you get a sense of how they will grow, and it mimics the way they would grow in the wild. Experimenting with native plants is especially important with climate change affecting local temperatures, Tate reminded the audience. “You are all now citizen scientists trying to determine what will grow in your gardens,” Tate said. Rosie Kean is a communications intern at the Potomac Conservancy. She is from Macungie, PA. Last summer, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.

Photos courtesy of Marcia Tate.

Photographer and garden designer Marcia Tate shared tips for creating native plant container gardens during a recent presentation to the Silver Spring Garden Club at Brookside Gardens. There are many benefits in choosing native plants for your garden, Tate said. These plants can adapt to local conditions better, require lower maintenance, and handle stress well. In addition, once established, native plants can help conserve water and provide natural habitat for other critters. A native plant is one that grew naturally in an area before humans introduced different plants. In this case, “native” means anything that grew naturally between the Rocky Mountains and along the Eastern Seaboard, Tate said. Containers can showcase these native beauties and serve as points of interest throughout a garden. Pots and other containers are the perfect place to experiment with a new plant or variety of flower. They also control plants that like to spread. Some of Tate’s favorites to put in containers include heuchera and phlox. (A good list of native plants for our region can be found on Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve’s website at Many different types of materials can be used to create a container garden. Some options include terracotta, ceramic, plastic, or metal pots or buckets. Tate encouraged gardeners to be creative—feel free to spray-paint a pot or use odds and ends like old tires or boots as containers. You do want to make sure there is a hole for drainage in whatever container you choose.

When it comes to choosing what to put in your container, consider color, texture, fragrance, and how the plants will look in each season. Tate likes her containers to have at least “a couple seasons of interest.” When planting in a pot, don’t use the same soil from your garden. Fill your container with potting soil (without added fertilizer/salts) and mix in compost. To care for the plants, Tate recommends cutting them back in spring and adding a bit of extra compost every once in a while. An important part of making container gardens is experimentation. Tate often stuffs a container to the brim with different types of plants and “lets them duke it out.” When she was demonstrat-


BOOKreviews Book Reviews, continued from page 15

Claudia M. Hosky of Washington, DC, shared this photo and wrote, “This is Lucian The Grifter. (Yes, his tag actually says that!) He roams the Cathedral Heights neighborhood in search of birds for pouncing and friendly neighbors.” Heather McGann, the cat’s owner, said, “Regarding my fluffy, white, blue-eyed Persian rascal, who is named Baron von Lucian (BvL), he was dumped on my desk one day when I was working in the Middle East at a university near Dubai. His previous owner, a professor, had bought him for his new bride But, as so often happens, when dating is not allowed or is strictly monitored, they didn’t really know each other and it all came out after the wedding. Two months later, she left him. Every time the professor looked at him, BvL broke his heart. And he is not shy, so he wouldn’t leave the professor alone to these thoughts. My husband and I intended to find him a home. We thought such a cat would be easy to place, but there are abandoned cats and dogs all over the UAE, so it was not to be. When my contract was up, of course I couldn’t just leave him, so he traveled back to the States with me. “Though we live in a condo, we do have a rather lovely garden/patio. It’s actually larger than our condo. I think it might be 600 square feet and of course, BvL is a part of what makes it lovely. Alas, he refuses to stay in our condo or even our garden and he roams. He has his rounds of people he visits. And Claudia’s parents’ home is one of them. He thinks everyone is on this Earth to do his considerable bidding. He has become a little famous in our neighborhood and people ask after him all the time. when he has withheld his love and not stopped by. He does not like winter, so he rarely ventures out of the condo in the winter, but come spring, he starts his meandering. “Once, he was kidnapped. My husband got a ransom call. We had to go to the police and they tracked him down for us. He was returned safe and sound. Evidently, the kidnappers wanted to keep him, but he screamed and meowed all night (he knew he was in dire straits and these new servants would be too much to train), so they decided to give him back or we would pay a nominal fee to reimburse them for their expenses. People are incredible! No shame.”

however—and yet the world of heirloom vegetable gardening has changed considerably since the first edition came out, and the general public is much more aware of heirlooms. This might not matter too much, since Weaver writes mainly about the past, delving into historical seed catalogs, cookbooks, gardening manuals, government reports, and many other sources for data. Not being a food or garden historian myself, I can’t tell you what’s new in this research field in the last 20 years, but I will note that the list of cited publications includes nothing after 1996 that’s not written by Weaver himself. Plenty of material in the book covers recent developments—recent, again, meaning the 1990s, so that we read, for example, the assertion that Fish Peppers are “almost forgotten” when I’ve been buying seed for them for years from many more catalogs than the one he implies is the sole source. Speaking of that source, Seed Savers Exchange—it’s discussed at some length but its recent book on seed-saving, The Seed Garden, isn’t mentioned alongside the older and also excellent Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth. The photos in the new edition are nice to have, but in a few instances I missed the line drawings in the old version, like the sketch of an ancient Egyptian relief depicting lettuce that’s described in the text but hard to visualize, and all the illustrations of the weird tuber called oca, not replaced by any photos. I’m just saying, closer attention to editing might have been valuable: an opportunity missed. But I’m still glad the book is out there and available to a new audience. Just pretend it’s 1997, and enjoy reading. o Erica H. Smith is a Montgomery County Master Gardener whose volunteer activities include the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden in Derwood, MD, the Grow It Eat It program, and speaking engagements on food-growing topics. She is the author of several novels; visit her website at

MAY 2019



HORThaenings shop, garden planning and houseplant care tips, complimentary snacks, and giveaways. Capping it off was the Takoma Park House and Garden Tour. The theme was “Politics and Prayer” and the tour explored the history of Union Chapel and the first town election as part of celebrating the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church’s 125 years as a community focus.

Gardens. This informative gathering convened experts in the fields of horticulture and landscape architecture, focusing on the gardens of Beatrix Jones Farrand and Rachel “Bunny” Lambert Mellon and the present-day White House Gardens. A large volume of history surrounds the White House grounds and gardens, making this event a fascinating look at both the White House grounds and DC history.

GreenFest/Earth Day

This year, the Montgomery County GreenFest merged with the Brookside Gardens Earth Day Festival. About 4,000 people gathered from all over the region on April 28 at Brookside Gardens for talks and demonstrations on green lifestyle trends. This environmental festival was a free event and the attendance was a huge increase from the previous year. There were many food truck options and live music for everyone to enjoy. There was also face painting and tree climbing for younger attendees. Attendees were encouraged to go green when it came to transportation as well: There was a free shuttle from the nearby Glenmont Metro. The Silver Spring Timebank held a popular Garden Tool Repair Cafe, where they cleaned and sharpened hand tools to give them new life. Toward the end of the day, Kathy Jentz led a workshop on vegetable gardening for beginners. She divulged some of her best garden tips and tricks for those who are just starting out.

Takoma Park Garden Day

On Sunday May 5, several garden-related events in Takoma Park, MD, kicked off the gardening season. First was a pollinator event at the Takoma Park Farmers Market Spring Planting Day. Kathy Jentz answered questions on “How to Grow a Pollinator Garden” and folks came by to pot-up annual flowers for pollinators. Next, Old Takoma Ace’s Annual Spring Garden Party offered 20 percent off all plants, pottery, and gardening supplies. There was a Q&A with local master gardeners, a hands-on seed-starting work22


Arlington Cemetery Tours

Grow It Eat It

On April 27, Montgomery County Master Gardeners hosted the University of Maryland Grow It Eat It Spring Event at the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood, MD. The day started with a Master Gardener plant sale and garden demonstrations. There were various workshops for children and adults running throughout the day, including “Designing Your Vegetable Garden” and “Composting with Worms.” There were also education and sale tables hosted by vendors, such as MG Plant and Supply Shop, Montgomery County Beekeepers, and M&M Plants. This was a great event for people to come and learn about all things edible.

White House Gardens History Symposium

On March 21, the White House Historical Association and Rachel Mellon’s Oak Spring Garden Foundation hosted a day-long event focusing on the history and development of the White House gardens, specifically the West and East

On Wednesday, April 10, several members of the Silver Spring Garden Club toured the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery with staff horticulturalist Kelly Wilson. The cemetery’s 624 acres are a unique blend of formal and informal landscapes, dotted with more than 8,600 native and exotic trees. Intimate gardens enhance the beauty and sense of peace. Arlington Cemetery tours run from April through September and allow visitors to tour through history. Some stops include the Ord & Weitzel walking gate to see the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, the Kennedy gravesites, U.S. Coast Guard Memorial, U.S. Army Gen. John J. Pershing’s gravesite, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Changing of the Guard), and The Arlington House (Robert E. Lee Memorial). In addition to paying respects and soaking up history, visitors can enjoy the hundreds of different flowers, trees, and plants planted throughout the cemetery grounds. o This issue’s “HortHappenings” were compiled by Alexa Silverberg. She is a senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland and is from Short Hills, NJ. She is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this spring semester. See photos from events listed here at the Washington Gardener Facebook Page:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARCH/APRIL 2008 • Patio, Balcony, Rooftop Container Gardens • Our Favorite Garden Tools • Coral Bells (Heucheras)


U MAY/JUNE 2008 DO SOL • Growing Great Tomatoes UT! O • Glamorous Gladiolus LD ! SO • Seed-Starting OUT Basics D L •SFlavorful Fruiting Natives O

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jentz Prints

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

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


Profile for Kathy J

Washington Gardener May 2019  

The May 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out. Inside this issue: Practical Tips for Mixed-Border Design with English Roses...

Washington Gardener May 2019  

The May 2019 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine is now out. Inside this issue: Practical Tips for Mixed-Border Design with English Roses...