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APRIL 2010 Welcome to the Washington Gardener Enewsletter! This enewsletter is the free sister publication of Washington Gardener Magazine. Both the print magazine and online enewsletter share the same mission and focus — helping DC-MD-VA region gardens grow — but our content is different. In this monthly enewsletter, we address timely seasonal topics and projects; post local garden events; and, a monthly list of what you can be doing now in your garden. We encourage you to subscribe to Washington Gardener Magazine as well for indepth articles, inspirational photos, and great garden resources for the Washington DC area gardener. Without your support, we cannot continue publishing this enewsletter. Our magazine subscription information is on page 6 of this enewsletter. If you know of any other gardeners in the greater Washington, DC-area, please forward this issue to them so that they can subscribe to this free enewsletter as well using the form on page 6 of this enewsletter to subscribe to our print magazine. You can also connect with Washington Gardener online at: • Washington Gardener Blog: • Washington Gardener Discussion Group: • Washington Gardener Twitter Feed: • Washington Gardener Facebook Page: • Washington Gardener Web Site: Sincerely, Kathy Jentz Editor/Publisher Washington Gardener Magazine

Reader Contest

For our April 2010 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away an Earth Day eco-tote bag (a $10 value) from and iVillage. The bag itself is made from three recycled plastic bottles spun into 100% polyester and the artwork is by Studio Number one (founded by artist Shepard Fairey). To enter to win one the tote bag, send an email with “Earth Day” in the subject line to by 5:00pm on Wednesday, May 5. In the body of the email please include your full name, email, mailing address, and what you are doing in your own garden to make the Earth a little more healthy. The tote bag winner will be announced and notified by May 5.

Current Issue

Our Spring issue cover story is on Community Gardens. I spent the last year gathering resources for the cover story. Community gardening is so popular right now and the supply of plots is nowhere close to the demand. I’m hoping this story will inspire more local governments to install gardens and give more gardeners the basis to demand them in their own community. I’m hearing many compliments already from readers saying, “Best issue ever!” and like. Many are enjoying the feature stories including a profile of filmmaker Cintia Cabib, whose documentary “A Community of Gardeners” will make you laugh and cry and think. Also in this issue is the Edibles column, “Magical Beans” by Cindy Brown. She shares her tips on how to grow these legendary legumes here in the Mid-Atlantic and the best varieties for our area. Our Daytrip is to American University in NW, Washington, DC. Did you know they were a certified arboretum now? You’ll also find in this issue: • a plant profile feature on Dwarf Iris • a how-to article on Building a Raised Growing Bed • a short piece on planting Bare Root Roses • a round-up of our 17 Photo Contest Winners • our InsectIndex column focuses on Bugs that Attack Broccoli and related greens • a club meeting with the Gesneriad Society (African Violets and such) To subscribe, see the page 6 of this newsletter for a form to mail in or go to our web page and use our PayPal link.

April Garden To-Do List

Spotlight Special

Hakonechloa macra FUBUKI™ ‘Briform’ In Japan, “Fubuki” translates into “snow storm” and this breath-taking new Hakonechloa ornamental grass from Briggs Nursery ( lives up to its name. This white variegated Japanese Forest grass lights up the shade. Discovered in the Briggs Nursery Lab, as a sport of ‘Aureola,’ this white and green striped grass is strikingly different from all the other Haks on the market. The contrasting tones of white and green foliage endure throughout the summer making Hakonechloa macra FUBUKI ™ ‘Briform’ USPPAF an outstanding plant for shade gardeners and partial sun locations. And for even greater impact, as soon as the weather changes in autumn, it reveals a stunning pink color among the blades. It is hardy to Zone 5. It has a compact, mounding habit and measures 14 inches tall by 18 inches wide. This Hakonecholoa tends to be lower in height than other cultivars. ‘Briform’ prefers partial shade to partial sun in neutral to slightly acidic, well-drained soil. It can be used in landscape beds and borders as a specimen or in groups of three to five plants Hakonechloa macra FUBUKI™ ‘Briform’ will be shipped to growers in early May and should be hitting garden centers in our area in late summer/ early fall in limited supply. BUT, folks can check with Briggs web site (www. for mail order availability and centers near them carrying this brand new grass.

Here is our comprehensive garden task list for gardens in the greater DC metro region for April 16-May 15. Your additions to this list are most welcome: If you started seeds last month, thin them and start the hardening off process. • Start some more seeds -- especially try flowering annuals like impatiens, marigolds, nasturtium, and petunias. •Do not set out seedlings or tender annuals until after Mother’s Day (traditional last frost-free date for our entire area). • Water shrubs and trees deeply during any dry spells. • Prune winter damage on evergreens. • Make compost tea and use on seedlings. • Turn your compost pile • Sharpen tools. • Prune flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, lilacs, and azaleas, when they finish blooming. • Repot and fertilize houseplants. • Set aside a few hours each weekend for attending garden shows and tours. • Weed by hand to avoid disturbing newly forming roots. • Soil preparation -- add lime, compost, etc. as needed. • Walk your garden -- look for early signs of fungal disease. • Divide perennials and herbs. Pot up extras to give away at plant swaps. • Fertilize new growth. • Plant and prune roses. • Transplants small trees and shrubs. • Buy or check on your stored summer bulbs (such as dahlias and caladiums). Pot them and start to water, if you want to give them an early start on the season. • Build a raised bed for vegetables. Add lots of manure and compost. • Buy an indoor plant to liven up your office space. Try an orchid or African violet. • Start/keep fertilizing your indoor plants. • Cut back and clear out the last of your perennial beds and ornamental grasses. • Mulch beds with a light hand. • Feed birds and provide nesting materials (try dryer lint) as well as houses for the start of their family season. • Sow beans and corn directly outdoors. • Start carrots, turnips, and parsnips in well-draining beds or in deep containers. • Keep cutworms off newly planted edible seedlings by surrounding them with a collar cut from a plastic bottle or cardboard tube. • Pick peas often to encourage the plants to produce more. • Ensure new seedlings do not dry out by installing a drip-irrigation system. • Start herbs from seed or cuttings. • Edge garden beds. • Remove Ivy, Pachysandra, and other vine-like groundcover from under shrubs. • Work in dry, not wet soil to avoid compacting the earth. • Hand pick cabbage worms from broccoli and other cabbage family plants. • Put row covers over vulnerable crops — remove cover to allow for pollinating once they set flowers. • Thin lettuce seedlings and plant more seeds in new rows. (You can eat the seedling greens you pull.) • Plant a tree for Arbor Day or Earth Day. • Have a wonderful 2010 growing season!

Quick Links to Recent Washington Gardener Blog Posts • Virginia Bluebells are NOT Always Blue • Wisteria, How I Love/Hate You • Look it up at the Tulip Library • Get Preppy in the Garden • Earth Days are Easy See more Washington Gardener Blog posts at


WASHINGTON GARDENER ENEWS © 2010 Washington Gardener Magazine All rights reserved.

April is National Safe Digging Month

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the international organization based in Washington, DC. dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and the safety of people who dig near them, announced results from a recent survey that found more than half (57 percent) of Americans who plan to dig on their property this year do not plan to notify their local call-before-you-dig center by dialing 811. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can cause serious injuries, service disruptions and repair costs if a line is damaged. Everyone who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local one call notification center that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. A professional locator will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas. Failure to call 811 contributed to an estimated 75,000 underground utility damages in 2008, according to industry data compiled by CGA. The national public opinion survey of 749 homeowners, conducted between March 11-16, found 52 percent of homeowner households plan to do at least one do-it-yourself project that involves digging this year, up from a reported 44 percent in 2009. Among homeowners who plan to dig this year, the most popular projects include planting shrubs (71 percent), planting a tree (57 percent), and digging to pour concrete to create a patio or walkway (29 percent). All of these common do-it-yourself (DIY) projects could damage the underground infrastructure if the person digging does not know the approximate location of buried utility lines. The survey also found that homeowners who plan to dig this year have a history of engaging in other DIY safety habits, which CGA hopes is a positive sign that Americans will be more likely to add calling 811 a few days before digging to their project checklists. Specifically, homeowners who plan to dig this year reported doing the following in the past during a DIY project: • 95 percent have worn gloves. • 86 percent have worn proper footwear when mowing the lawn. • 81 percent have turned off the electricity during minor repairs. • 76 percent have worn protective eyewear. • 58 percent have worn a protective mask. For the second consecutive year, CGA’s 1,400 members and 39 governors across the country have proclaimed April as National Safe Digging Month as a way to bring extra attention to the issue and increase the number of people who call 811 before digging. Additionally, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in support of the awareness month on March 26. 

SAVE THE DATE for the 22nd GARDEN PARTY Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Each day it is looking more and more like Spring and now is the time to plan for the Garden Party at Woodrow Wilson House! Brighten your day today and enjoy the 22nd Perennial Garden Party in full bloom on Wednesday, May 12th from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. Our Rite of Spring promises to be even more exciting this year. Fun and fierce competition with fabulous prizes for the best Spring Hats in categories from traditional to creative will, no doubt, inspire many stunning hats for the event. Also, there are the spectacular silent auction, live music, complimentary valet parking, cocktails and ultimate hors d’oeuvres in Wilson House Garden, plus the attention of our charming co-chairs: Mrs. R. Kendall Nottingham (Betsy) and Mr. and Mrs. David E. Frulla (Lisa); and for the Junior Committee Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey S. Powell (Elizabeth) and Mr. and Mrs. Joshua S. Borne (Blair). Your contribution is tax-deductible, except for the $40 fair market value of each ticket. Woodrow Wilson House is a financially self-sustaining site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tickets may be purchased online through May 7th. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door on May 12th for an additional $25 each. Visit or call 202.387.4062 x21 or email Claudia Bismark for information.

WASHINGTON GARDENER ENEWS © 2010 Washington Gardener Magazine All rights reserved.

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DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Upcoming Events April 16-May15, 2010 Beltsville Garden Club James E. Duckworth School 11201 Evans Trail Beltsville, MD 301 890 4733

• Wednesday, April 28, 7:30pm GARDENING WITH CHESAPEAKE NATIVES Guest speaker Christopher Puttock will give a presentation about some of the local perennial species that are finding their place in garden habitats and how they are bringing back native biodiversity. Dr. Puttock was born in England, lived in Australia for 34 years as a botanist and flora writer for Flora of Australia. In Maryland/DC he is engaged in flora projects as a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution, designing gardens as Chief Botanist for the Monarch Sister Schools Program and, is the Executive Director of Chesapeake Natives. As always we have plants for our door prize table and refreshments after the meeting. The public is welcome and admission is free.

Arlington Central Library Auditorium 1015 N. Quincy St. Arlington, VA

• Thursday, April 29, 7:00pm ARLINGTON READS AUTHOR TALK: NOVELLA CARPENTER, “FARM CITY: THE EDUCATION OF AN URBAN FARMER” Novella Carpenter has restaged the American agrarian dream in an abandoned Oakland, California lot, raising fruits, vegetables, bees and even pigs and goats in a neighborhood known as “GhostTown”. Her critically acclaimed “Farm City” featured on “best book lists” from Oprah to the New York Times-spreads the gospel of home-grown food and the empowerment it brings. This event is free and open to the public. For more information please contact • Tuesday, May 4, 7:00pm ARLINGTON READS FEATURED AUTHOR TALK: A CONVERSATION WITH WENDELL BERRY In a rare public appearance, literary legend, essayist, poet and Kentucky farmer Wendell Berry visits Arlington Public Library to discuss his life’s work and vision of people honoring and reconnecting with the soil. It was Berry who declared “eating is an agricultural act,” inspiring today’s movement toward safer, healthier, locally produced meals and sustainable living. Berry’s classic novel “ The Memory of Old Jack” is this years Arlington Reads featured title. This event is free and open to the public. For more information please contact 4

Bethesda Farm Women’s Market

Green Spring Gardens

• Thursday, May 6, 7:00am-1:00pm BETHESDA COMMUNITY GARDEN CLUB’S 67TH ANNUAL PLANT SALE Great prices on a large selection of perennials, most of them grown and dug from members’ gardens. We usually have some $1 and $2 plants, depending on how much of a particular plant we have to sell. You can also find herbs, vegetables, annuals, and sometimes small shrubs and trees. Anyone who loves plants won’t want to miss the sale. It is rain or shine. Be there early for the best selection.

• Saturday, May 1, 9:30-11:30am CONTAINER GARDEN DESIGN DEMONSTRATION Containers expand your growing space, accent garden areas, and provide floral interest in empty corners. Nancy Moitrier, a landscape designer with a fabulous eye for design, takes you on a visual journey of container gardens and then creates unique container designs. Advice is given on design principles, plants selection, soils, and nutrient and water management. Take home a lovely plant for your own container planting. Container designs will be available for sale. $20. Call Green Spring Gardens at 703.642.5173 to register.

7155 Wisconsin Avenue Bethesda, MD

Brookside Gardens 1800 Glenallan Avenue Wheaton, MD 20902 301.962.1400

• Saturday, May 1, 1:00-5:00pm and Sunday, May 2, 9:00am-4:00pm AZALEA SHOW Sponsored by the Brookside Gardens Chapter of the Azalea Society Inside the Visitors Center • Saturday, May 1, 10:00am-2:00pm DAHLIA TUBER SALE Sponsored by the National Capital Dahlia Society Outside the Visitors Center • Saturday, May 8, 9:00am-1:00pm SILVER SPRING GARDEN CLUB’S 60TH ANNUAL GARDENMART PLANT SALE The sale features heirloom tomato seedlings, native plants, herbs, houseplants, and much, much more. Come early in the sale for best selection. Free event, open to the general public. Directions at http:// Visitors Center front lawn • Friday, May 14, 10:00-11:30am SPRING LECTURE SERIES: LUSCIOUS LANDSCAPING – WITH FRUITING TREES, SHRUBS, AND VINES! Lee Reich, Ph.D., Avid “Farmdener,” Horticultural Consultant and Writer Meet some of the best trees, shrubs, and vines, plants that require little maintenance yet provide stunning flowers in spring, color in autumn and neat form in winter. Learn how to grow shadbush, gumi, actinidia, medlar, and other ornamental, fruiting plants, and how to use them to beautify your yard. Course number 102351 Free; registration required Visitors Center Auditorium

WASHINGTON GARDENER ENEWS © 2010 Washington Gardener Magazine All rights reserved.

4603 Green Spring Road Alexandria, Virginia 22312 703.642.5173

• Saturday, May 8, 1:30-2:30pm BASIC GARDENING SERIES: AMAZING ANNUALS AND PENNYWISE PERENNIALS Green Spring’s Master Gardeners share plant choices for annuals and perennials to plant in your garden. Sign up for the entire series or for individual workshops. $12. Call 703.642.5173 to register. • Sunday, May 9, 1-3pm A VICTORIAN MOTHER’S DAY TEA PARTY Queen Victoria enjoyed formal afternoon tea. Today, mothers become “Queen for a Day” as we relive the elegance of a Victorian teatime. We’ll look at the rituals and etiquette of the era and share Queen Victoria’s interesting observations on tea and motherhood! Hats and gloves or Victorian dress welcome, but not required. $27/ adult, $18/child under 12. Call Historic Green Spring to register at 703.941.7987. • Saturday, May 15, 9am-3pm SPRING GARDEN DAY SALE More than 40 vendors of rare and unusual plants descend on Green Spring Gardens to fill your spring gardening needs! FROGS receive 10% off plants in the Garden Gate Plant Shop. Don’t miss this exciting annual tradition. Call 703.642.5173 for more information.

The Local Food Project Garden at Airlie Airlie Center Warrenton, VA

• Sunday, May 2, 2-5pm TOTALLY ORGANIC! A HANDS-ON GARDEN WORKSHOP EXPERIENCE The Local Food Project at Airlie is combining three garden workshops into one action-packed afternoon. If you are starting an organic garden or seeking new

DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Upcoming Events April 16-May 15, 2010 ideas and approaches to backyard or market garden production, Totally Organic is for you! Demonstration stations and guest presenters will cover intensive backyard/ urban gardening, the wide world of garden tools, composting, garden bed preparation, hoophouse production, direct seeding and transplanting, organic crop protection, soil fertility, fencing and more…no weeding we promise! $20/ participant. Maximum 30 participants. Includes all workshop materials & refreshments. Gardening footwear and gloves suggested. RSVP to Pablo Elliott. E-mail: Phone 540.347.1300 ext. 3163.

canceled if it rains. For more information on registration, please visit www.usbg. gov/education/events. FREE.

Rock Creek Park Nature Center

• Friday, May 7, 10:00am-5:00pm SECOND ANNUAL NATIONAL PUBLIC GARDENS DAY With other public gardens across the country, the USBG will host activities celebrating the gardens that are our shared treasures. Enjoy activities that showcase our public gardens’ vital role in promoting environmental stewardship and education, plant and water conservation, and education. FREE

5200 Glover Road NW Washington, DC 20015 202.895.6227

• Saturday, May 1, 10:00am BEES: TALES FROM THE HIVE A screening of this public TV film featuring spectacular close-up footage of bees at work. Observe our Nature Center bee colony in person and stick around for the 11:00 AM garden activities! • Saturday, May 1, 11:00 AM Gardening in D.C. Join us for a container gardening workshop and learn about the history of gardening in Rock Creek Park. At 12:00 PM, we’ll release worms into the gardens at the Nature Center (bring the kids). Jennifer Jefferson will be giving the container gardening workshop. The folks from Sharing Backyards DC will also have a table, and we’ll have information available on the Capital Area Food Bank’s “Grow a Row” program.

United States Botanic Garden Conservatory (USBG) 100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 202.225.8333

• Friday, April 30, 12:00noon-1:00pm ARBOR DAY TOUR OF THE NATIONAL GARDEN Beth Burrous, USBG volunteer The first celebration of Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872. In 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April National Arbor Day. This year, the USBG will celebrate Arbor Day with a stroll through the National Garden to see trees and shrubs of the Mid-Atlantic region. Hear related folktales and stories. Please Note: This tour is held outdoors. We suggest wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, and bringing water. The tour is

• Saturday, May 1, 10:00am-4:00pm FOURTH ANNUAL HERB DAY Spend the day in the National Garden celebrating herbs. Discover the significance of herbs in our lives and the many ways herbs can be used safely and creatively for health, beauty, and culinary enjoyment. Enjoy demonstrations, tours, children’s activities, discussions and information tables. You won’t want to miss this amazing opportunity to learn more about herbs! FREE

• Friday, May 7, 11:30am-12:30pm THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PUBLIC GARDENS Christine Flanagan, USBG Manager of Public Programs Why and for whom do we garden, and for whom? Gardens come from willful acts requiring forethought and commitment on the part of individuals and societies alike. Gardens whose functions transcend food production e.g., for ceremony, pleasure, or religious use, are the subject of this program. They have been a persistent feature of complex human societies throughout history, implying that they result from a fundamental motivation originating in the human psyche. Dr. Flanagan explores the variety and meaning of public gardens in order to understand why they are created and supported by human societies, and discusses the enlightened role that public gardens play in the 21st century. For more information on registration, please visit FREE: pre-registration required

US National Arboretum 3501 New York Avenue, NE Washington, D. C. 20002-1958 202.245.2726

• Friday-Sunday, April 30, May 1, and May 2, 9:00am-5:00pm POTOMAC BONSAI FESTIVAL Administration building and grounds This annual festival features something for everyone, from the casual observer to the accomplished bonsai artist, including demonstrations, exhibits, vendors, lectures, and workshops. Potomac Bonsai Association members and prominent visit-

ing bonsai artists will share their expertise at several programs. Co-sponsored by the Potomac Bonsai Association, the National Bonsai Foundation, and the National Arboretum. Program schedule details and will be available in early March. Free festival admission. Some programs have fees. • May 8, 10:00am-12:00pm WORKSHOP: STRAWBERRY JAR HERB GARDEN Meet in arboretum lobby Back by popular demand! Grow fresh herbs for all your favorite recipes right outside the door. Chrissy Moore, curator of the National Herb Garden, will guide you through the process of planting an herb garden in a strawberry jar. Select ten herbs from a mix of annuals and perennials, and create your own perpetual herb garden. Great for a small space, and makes an excellent Mother’s Day gift. Fee covers all plants and materials. Fee: $69 (FONA $55). Registration required. • May 8, 2:00-4:00pm WORKSHOP: SUMMER PROOF CONTAINER GARDEN Meet in arboretum lobby Choose from a dazzling mix of heat and drought tolerant succulents to create your own container garden that will thrive on neglect and reward you with colorful foliage and unusual forms. Bradley Evans, arboretum horticulturist and container specialist, will teach you how to mix the special growing media, plant the terra cotta container, and care for the garden year round. Fee: $45 (FONA $36). Registration required.

Event Listing Notes

For even more area garden event notices than we can’t possibly squeeze in here, become a member of our free online discussion group. To join the email list serv, just send an email to: To submit an event for this listing, please contact: and put “Event” in the email subject head. Our next deadline is May 12 for the May 15 edition of this enewsletter featuring events from May 16-June 15.

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Are you trying to reach gardeners in the greater DC region/Mid-Atlantic area? Washington Gardener Enews goes out on the 15th of every month and is a free sister publication to Washington Gardener magazine. The ad rate is $250 per issue or $1,000 for five issues. The ad deadline is the 10th of each month. Please submit your ad directly to:

WASHINGTON GARDENER ENEWS © 2010 Washington Gardener Magazine All rights reserved.


Magazine Excerpt: Magical Beans by Cindy Brown

Jack stumbled upon a great secret; Plant a bean seed and unbelievable riches become available. Not high in the clouded kingdom as the story tale recounts, but hanging on the vine that served as mere scaffolding to the fi-fi-foe-fifedom. The brutish giant should have employed Jack as the royal gardener instead of trying to add him to the menu. Then Mr. Loud-and-Hairy wouldn’t have had to rely on the rare visiting Englishman for his supper. Beans are members of the large legume family (Fabacea). They are one of the oldest crops cultivated by humans and second only to grains in importance as a food crop. Different types of the protein-rich pod originated in countries around the world: lentils, fava (broad) beans, and chickpeas in West Asia and Europe; common (string) and lima beans in Central and South America; runner beans in the cool regions of Central America; chickpeas in the Middle East; soybeans in China; and black-eyed peas and yard-long beans in Africa. All can be grown in the Mid-Atlantic, with varying degrees of success. But when someone mentions beans, most American gardeners think “string bean.” Phaseoulus vulgaris is the best known and most widely cultivated bean in the world. It has a plethora of common names: green, snap, berlotto, cannellino, French, kidney, haricot, navy, flageolet, and, of course, string bean. Scrambling over trees and shrubs, the vines grow wild down the mountainous spine of Central and South America at heights between 700-2,400 meters above sea level. The wild bean isn’t green at all — it is purple-podded with small black seeds. Modern vegetable catalogs contain pictures of green, yellow, and even red-streaked varieties, with yellow, violet, white, and pink flowers, but the purple-podded varieties are still the hardiest... ...Bean Planting Tips: Green beans come in two forms: pole beans and bush beans. Pole beans, with their long, clock-wise twining stems, have been in cultivation the longest. Compact bush beans didn’t appear until the 18th century. Both forms are festooned with round, oval, or flat edible pods. Yields vary, but usually the pole beans produce a larger quantity of pods.... Want to learn more about bean growing basics and the best varieties for our area? Read the rest of this EdibleHarvest column in the Spring 2010 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine.

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Live Butterfly & Caterpillar Exhibit

May 1 through Sept. 19, 2010 10 am to 4pm daily $6.00 ages 13 and up $4.00 ages 3 — 12 Hotline: 301-962-1453 NEW! Purchase your

FREQUENT VISITOR PASS and enjoy unlimited return visits this season!

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Washington Gardener Enews - April 2010  
Washington Gardener Enews - April 2010  

Washington Gardener Enewsletter - April 2010 including local garden stories for the greater Washington, DC area.