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MAY 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: www.washingtongardener.blogspot.com • Washington Gardener Discussion Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WashingtonGardener/ • Washington Gardener Twitter Feed: www.twitter.com/WDCGardener • Washington Gardener Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/washington.gardener • Washington Gardener Web Site: www.washingtongardener.com Sincerely, Kathy Jentz Editor/Publisher Washington Gardener Magazine

Reader Contest

For our May 2010 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener is giving away 5 sets of passes to the Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy live butterfly exhibit (each set has two passes and is a $12 value). Beginning in early May and running daily through mid-September, from 10:00AM to 4:00PM, Brookside Gardens South Conservatory will feature live butterflies. Come witness the butterfly life cycle as tiny eggs hatch into crawling, chewing caterpillars, which then encase themselves in jewel-like chrysalides and emerge as sipping, flying adult butterflies. Learn about the best annual and tropical plants, and hardy shrubs that are used as nectar sources to attract butterflies to your own garden. To enter to win one the tote bag, send an email with “Wings” in the subject line to WashingtonGardener@rcn.com by 5:00pm on Wednesday, May 31. In the body of the email please include your full name, email, mailing address, and your favorite butterfly-attracting plant. The pass winners will be announced and notified by June 2. Some of the entry responses may be used in future online or print articles.

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.


May Garden To-Do List

Spotlight Special

Tickled Pink Blueberries! Pink is the new blue. The first-ever pink blueberry Vaccinium ‘Pink Lemonade’ from Briggs Nursery (www. briggsnursery.com) is one of the most exciting new plants we have seen in years and is a must-have for your garden. ‘Pink Lemonade’ provides delicious, sweet fruit rich in antioxidants, plus four seasons of color: pinkish-white flowers in spring, bright pink fruit in summer, great fall color, and dusky auburn stems in winter. Growing about 5 feet around, this showy ornamental looks great as a hedge border or stand-alone shrub with the added benefit of luscious fruit in your cereal or pies — or by the handful! This new blueberry may be pink, but it’s as rich in anti-oxidants as its blue cousins. Gardeners may choose to leave the fruit on the bush to encourage song birds and other wildlife in the garden. The fruit ripens mid- to late-season. Growing requirements demand an acidic soil pH (4.5 – 5.5), full sun, welldrained soil rich in organic matter, and adequate, even moisture. Leaves are glossy green and lanceolate, with a serrated leaf margins. Leaf surface texture is smooth, similar to that of V. ashei. Because of the inherent self-fertility problems of rabbiteye germplasm, it is recommended that another rabbiteye cultivar be planted with ‘Pink Lemonade’ to ensure good cross-pollination. Pink Lemonade (Pink Blueberry) is in limited supply (sold out to growers!), but growers are sending them out to garden centers and they will most likely be found in late summer/fall for sale at local plant retailers and also through mail order. Folks should check with their favorite garden center to see availability or on the Briggs Web site (www. briggsnursery.com) for more updated information. 2

Here is our comprehensive garden task list for gardens in the greater DC metro region for May 16-June 15. Your additions to this list are most welcome: 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’s 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 out 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 and affected leaves in the trash, never back into your garden or in your compost -- 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 rhodos, if needed. • Divide crowded perennials and share them. • Turn your compost pile. • Start a water garden or re-new yours for the season. • Mark and photograph your bulb plantings now, while they are still visible. • Keep a sharp eye 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 or Bits in any areas that accumulate water. • Plant tomatoes and peppers. To get them started off right, put cages/stakes in at same time as you plant them, so that you are not disturbing their roots later. Place a collar (cardboard tube or cat food can) around the tender plants to prevent cutworms. 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. Fertilizes with kelp extract or fish emulsion. • Hand pick cabbage worms from cabbage and broccoli. • Have a wonderful 2010 growing season!

Quick Links to Recent Washington Gardener Blog Posts • Blooming Native: Indigo Bush • Steal This Idea - Pt 1 - Stuff in the Edibles • Happy Mother Earth Day! • Mind Your Manners: House & Garden Tour Season Starts • When Bloggers Collide See more Washington Gardener Blog posts at WashingtonGardener.Blogspot.com.

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


Fill Your Pond to the Brim with Annuals for Your Water Garden By Kathy Jentz Just as you use annual flowers to add fast color and punch to your growing beds and containers, you can use water garden annuals for your pond to provide almost instant coverage, lushness, and flowers. Now that the last danger of frost has passed (traditionally after Mother’s Day in our region), you can set about rejuvenating your pond or water garden for the season. “Greater demand means there’s a lot more exciting aquatic plant material to be found out there,” says Chris Wilson, a technical expert at Aquascape Designs, Inc., Batavia, IL. “Today’s water gardener has their pick of hundreds of aquatic and marginal plants from water lilies and lotus to papyrus, cattails, cannas, and more.” Here is a list of annual water plants to fill your pond and get the season started in style: • Water Hyacinth: This floater needs no planting. Just place it on the ponds surface and off it goes. It has a purple, scented flower and is a prolific grower in full sun. • Water Lettuce: This is another floater plant. It is also called shellflower. The plant Water Hyacinth has pale green leaves that resemble a bunch of frilled lettuce. It is a fast grower and will quickly fill in any blank pond spaces. It divides easily for sharing with other gardeners.. • Parrot’s Feather: This plant gets its name from the feathery lime-green foliage that is beautiful to look at. It is a very quick grower that is essentially a floater, but likes to have its roots anchored in the edge of other plants’ pots or between rocks along the pond edges. • Papyrus: Add vertical interest and an exotic touch to your water garden with this ancient plant. It is a bog plant so should be placed just below the surface and at the edge of your pond. Elevate it on a few bricks if necessary. Choose a dwarf variety if you only have a small pond or water garden container. • Tropical Water Lily: Unlike their hardy cousins, tropical water lilies will not survive our DC-area frosts and freezes. However, you’ll want to add one or two to your water garden every year as these wonderful bloomers comes in luscious colors and with scents that their hardy cousins can never match. Tropical water lilies bloom either by day or night. Be sure to purchase on that will bloom during the hours you are home most and can get the most enjoyment out of it. One of the best sources for water garden plants in the area is Lilypons (www.lilypons.com) in Adamstown, MD. Since 1917, Lilypons has been the source for water garden plants and supplies. Treat yourself to a visit to their beautiful 300 acres of natural ponds, woods and rolling hills, next to the Monocacy River. They host several special events each year including Children’s Day and the British Car Show, but stop by anytime to consult with their knowledgeable staff or just to take a stroll among the herons and frogs.

Don’t have a water garden?

It’s easy to set one up even with a limited planting area. All you need is full sun, a water-tight container, and, of course, water. Just take a tub or half-barrel fitted with a liner. The container should be at least 2 feet deep and 3 feet in diameter. You can bury the tub or liner in the ground or let it sit on your patio. Now fill with water and be sure to check and patch any leaks. Once your water garden is ready, add the plants. You’ll want a backbone of perennial plants such as hardy water lily, lotus, cattails, or pickerel rush. Place these hardy plants in first and let them settle in a few days. Then layer in a few of the annuals listed in the article here. If you want to add a few goldfish, add a few drops of chlorine-remover to treat the water or let the water sit for a few days to allow the chlorine gas to escape. To prevent the build-up of algae and any chance of mosquito larvae, throw in a barley ball as well as a few pieces of mosquito dunks. Finally, add your decorative elements such as a pond pump and fountain, statuary, and lights. With one weekend’s work, you’ll have an easy-maintenance water garden to enjoy for years to come. 

Parrot’s Feather WASHINGTON GARDENER ENEWS © 2010 Washington Gardener Magazine All rights reserved.

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DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Upcoming Events May 16-June 15, 2010 Arlington County 703.228.6535 www.arlingtonva.us

• Sunday, June 6, 2:00-4:00pm NATURAL HISTORY OF OUR TREES Come wander through the early summer woods of Long Branch Nature Center and Glencarlyn Park with Tree Steward and Master Naturalist volunteers. Improve your woody plant identification skills and discuss woodland ecology; bring your urban tree questions along as well. Adults and families with children ages 10 and up. Come dressed for the weather, with good shoes for hiking. Meet at LBNC. Free. Register at https://registration.arlingtonva.us. Program #: 643640-01.

Beltsville Garden Club James E. Duckworth School 11201 Evans Trail Beltsville, MD 301.890.4733 www.beltsvillegardenclub.org

• Wednesday, May 26, 7:30pm MITIGATING TREE HAZARDS FROM SNOWMAGEDDON During the winter of 2010 the DC Metro area had the snowiest year on record. The unusual amount of snow caused unforeseen tree care complications that are not usually experienced on an annual basis. Joshua Nadler will discuss the strategies regarding tree “clean up” that were used by the University of Maryland at College Park, MD. He will also discuss arboricultural topics of which homeowners should be aware; including how to prepare for record snow accumulations and tree species that are particularly acceptable to heavy snow loads. Mr. Nadler enjoys promoting and discussing trees and shrubs for the ornamental landscape with emphasis on the newer selections. He became a certified arborist in 2004. The Kindred Spirit Hybrid Oak is a tree on which he holds a patent and registered trademark. As always we have plants for our door prize table and refreshments after the meeting. The public is welcome and admission is free.

Brookside Gardens 1800 Glenallan Avenue Wheaton, MD 20902 301.962.1400 www.brooksidegardens.org

• Monday, May 17, 8:00pm (doors open at 7:30pm) BUILDING A BUTTERFLY GARDEN Your flower garden gives you pleasure on many different levels: the sensuous feel of good soil in your hands, the joy of watching them grow and bloom, and the wonderful fragrances of flowers and earth. Can it get any better? It sure can! Add the 4

wonder of butterflies to all of that and you have enchantment! Join Carol Allen, as she shows how to create an environment that attracts these graceful dancers of the insect world. Through the choice of plants and garden techniques you can create a garden space that will delight both young and old. Carol Allen has been involved in many aspects of gardening and horticulture since childhood and likes to describe herself as a committable plant-a-holic. She has over twenty-five years experience in the horticulture industry with special interests in Integrated Pest Management, landscape design, native plants, tropicals of many kinds, and especially orchids. Carol enjoys helping people understand how to care for their plants and holds a monthly diagnostic clinic in Washington, DC. After serving a term of two and one half years as supervisory horticulturist at the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory, Carol returned to college and earned a degree in horticulture. Fascinated by the interplay of pest and prey, Carol continues her education on plant pests and diseases. She enjoys teaching people how to outwit their garden pests with little or no pesticide application and also authors the InsectIndex in the Washington Gardener Magazine. FREE event. Brookside Gardens Visitors Center Auditorium. • Friday, May 21, 10:00-11:30am SPRING LECTURE SERIES: EDIBLE ORNAMENTALS AND ORNAMENTAL EDIBLES Diane Lewis, Brookside Gardens Staff Learn about ‘ambidextrous’ plants that have both exceptional landscape qualities and sometimes-surprising edible uses in this engaging, slide-illustrated lecture by Brookside’s own, Diane Lewis. Course number 102352. Free; registration required. Visitors Center Auditorium. • Wed, June 2, 9:30-11:30am and repeats at 1:30-3:30pm BLUEBERRIES AND STRAWBERRIES CONTAINER WORKSHOP Adding edible plants to your ornamental garden offers a return of beauty and great food to eat. In this new program, learn how to plant and grown blueberries and strawberries in a large container for 4-seasons of garden interest. Register online at www.parkpass.org course # 101852. Brookside Gardens Visitors Center. SUMMER TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES Join us in the Gude Garden every Tuesday evening throughout the month of June for a series of performances set in the beauty of the gardens! Brookside Gardens offers all concerts free of charge; no registration is required. Don’t forget your chairs and blankets! • Tuesday, June 1, 6:30-8:00pm

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

The Moonlighters Motown Cover Band, featuring a combination of ’60s and ’70s hits. • Tuesday, June 8, 6:30-8:00pm The Steve Scott Project A percussion-heavy mix of Jazz, Reggae, Calypso, Latin Jazz, Brazilian music, Top 40 and R&B. •Tuesday, June 15, 6:30-8:00pm Bad Influence Band Washington, DC-based, blues-infused, high-energy music.

Garden Conservancy’s Open Days www.opendaysprogram.org

• Saturday, May 22, 10:00am-4:00pm OPEN DAYS GARDEN TOUR Six exceptional private gardens will be open in the District of Columbia. Included are Sally Boasberg’s renowned shade garden, a Thomas Church-designed garden on Upton Street NW, and four other unique, inspiring gardens that should not be missed. Here are the addresses of the six gardens on the tour, for easy reference. · Jones Garden – 3725 Upton St., NW · Boasberg Garden – 3136 Newark St., NW · Cleveland Park Writers Fancy – 3516 Newark St., NW · Private Garden – 2855 Woodland Dr., NW · Miller “Roji” Garden – 3820 52nd St., NW · Sessums/Biles Garden – 5081 Lowell St., NW (recently-announced winner of a Merit Award by the Perennial Plants Association in its 2010 Residential Design Awards competition) Please note: although the Jones garden at 3725 Upton St., NW, is designated as the lead garden, you may begin your tour at any garden. Admission is $5 per person and the gardens will be open rain or shine.

Green Spring Gardens 4603 Green Spring Road Alexandria, Virginia 22312 703.642.5173 www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/gsgp/

• Saturday, May 22, 1:30-2:30pm BASIC GARDENING SERIES: NATIVE PLANTS IN THE GARDEN Green Spring’s Master Gardeners share gardening tips, dazzle you with time-saving techniques, clarify simple steps and debunk horticulture myths. Sign up for the entire series or for individual workshops. $12. Call Green Spring Gardens at 703642-5173 to register. • Saturday, May 22, 2:00-3:00pm FAMILY FUN: POT PEOPLE APLENTY Family-friendly workshops for kids (6 and up) with an accompanying adult. Dust off those clay pots and put them to work in the garden as “pot art.” We will show you whimsical ways to use pots and help you


DC-Area Gardening Calendar ~ Upcoming Events May 16-June 15, 2010 build your own pot person to decorate your provide our favorite beverages with their United States Botanic home. $15/project includes all materials. unique flavors, from hops for beer to sarsaGarden Conservatory Call 703.642.5173 to register. parilla for root beer. Also featured are tea, (USBG) fruit and vegetable juices, and healthful • Thursday, May 27, 7:00am-7:00pm GARDEN GETAWAY TWO IN ONE TRIP AND WORKSHOP: BRENT AND BECKY’S GARDENS AND TAKE-HOME CONTAINER Come with us to Gloucester, VA, to Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. View the lovely Courtyard garden from the gazebo, stroll down the pathways of the Living Catalog Garden, and enjoy their colorful home gardens. Before heading home, plant a container of summer bulbs to take home. Box lunch included. $107. Call Green Spring Gardens at 703-642-5173 to register.

Historical Society of DC 801 K Street NW Washington, DC. www.historydc.org

• Sunday, May 23, 2:00-3:330pm THE FUTURE OF LOCAL GARDENING The Future of Local Gardening Panel Discussion led by Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener Magazine editor/publisher. Come join us for a slice of cake and cup of bubble to mark Washington Gardener Magazine’s 5th Anniversary in print. We will host a panel discussion on local garden trends and the future of urban gardening in the 21st. Local experts will share their views and we anticipate a lively discussion of where we’ve been and where we are headed next. Washington Gardener Magazine, the gardening publication published specifically for the local metro area — Washington DC and its suburbs. We sent out our premiere issue in March/April 2005. The magazine is written entirely by local area gardeners. This event is part of the DC Urban Gardening Talk series. Presented by Washington Gardener Magazine and the Historic Society of Washington DC. Free to attend.

Ronald Reagan Conference Center

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20004 • Tuesday and Wednesday, June 1 and 2 WASHINGTON REGIONAL GREEN ROOFS & WALLS CONFERENCE AND TRAINING Join Green Roofs for Healthy Cities in Washington, DC, for this unique conference will address issues such as economic benefits, new government incentives and regulations, maintenance and procurement best practices. In addition to an excellent lineup of speakers, we encourage you to check out the trade show and green roof tours. For more information, visit our web site at wdc.greenroofs.org or contact Jennifer Sprout at jsprout@greenroofs.org.

100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 202.225.8333 www.usbg.gov

• Friday, May 21, 11:00am-2:00pm ENDANGERED SPECIES DAY AT THE U.S. BOTANIC GARDEN This lunchtime event raises awareness of Earth’s rare and endangered plants and animals. To raise awareness of the many plants and animals struggling for survival, the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) will host presentations and tours in honor of Endangered Species Day. USBG, its partners, and other organizations will showcase the important issues around our disappearing wildlife. • Tours of the U.S. Botanic Garden’s native and endangered plants, and • Presentations from 11:30am-1:00pm by: • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service • NOAA • U.S. Forest Service • U.S. Geological Survey • Endangered Species Coalition – And many others. Please visit www.endangeredspeciesday. org, for more information on Endangered Species Day. • From May 29 to October 11, 10am- 5pm THRIVE! FROM THE GROUND UP The U.S. Botanic Garden celebrates the many ways plants make life better, from health to aesthetics, and teaches how you can do it yourself! Join the USBG in exploring the many ways plants improve the quality of our lives. The summer Terrace exhibit features seven outdoor gardens, each focusing on various aspects of our daily lives. Whether you live in a studio apartment or in suburbia, there’s something here for everyone. The Thrive! Gardens will span the Terrace across our Maryland Avenue façade: • Medicinal Garden – Learn how the natural substances produced by plants provide medicine as well as nutrition. Check out the plants currently being researched to combat cancer, heart disease and other diseases. • World Flavors – Discover the plants that make our favorite spice mixtures, such as curry and za’atar, as well as other Mediterranean and world flavors. • Cutting Garden – Brighten your day and see the best flowers for the Washington region in a garden that features the best flower picks for bouquets. • Kitchen Garden – Find out which heirloom herbs and vegetables, and which new varieties grow best in our region to enliven our palates. • Beverage Garden – See the plants that

herbal drinks. • Townhouse Garden – Anyone can have a garden! This townhouse garden will show how to make the most of a small space, whether you’re interested in aesthetics or edibles. • Living Walls – Living walls are a spectacular way to use small spaces and we’re making a statement with ours! All summer long a number of programs celebrating wellness will take place in our gardens. T’ai chi and yoga classes will be held in our National Garden, and cooking demonstrations and beverage tastings will take place on the Terrace. Various children’s programs are planned on Saturdays; gardening experts will conduct containergardening workshops, as well as much, much more. Free.

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

• Saturday, June 12, 1:00-4:30 pm Sunday, June 13, 10:00am–3:00 pm POTOMAC HOSTA CLUB SHOW AND SALE Browse through hostas of every imaginable color, size, and form at this judged show. Choose from an extensive selection of the popular small and mini types and some brand new varieties at the sale. Take an informal tour through the show with an expert grower who will explain the judging and answer questions. Presented by the Potomac Hosta Club. Free admission.

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: WashingtonGardener-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. To submit an event for this listing, please contact: Wgardenermag@aol.com and put “Event” in the email subject head. Our next deadline is June 12 for the June 15 edition of this enewsletter featuring events from June 16-July 15.

Your Ad Here

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: washingtongardener@rcn.com.

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

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


Magazine Excerpt: Dwarf Iris by Kate Tyndall

As I write this, I have 44 — yes, I counted — dwarf irises blooming in my rock garden. I cannot tell you how much joy they bring to me each year when they appear, usually right around the beginning of February, and exactly when most needed. They were on schedule this year, and, even after being covered by a two-foot blanket of snow, resumed blooming unscathed once the snow melted. In fact, they seem to have appreciated the extra water the snowmelt brought. The three-to-six-inch dwarf irises, looking like so many tiny standard bearers at attention in the garden bed, are but the beginning of the iris’s march through our spring gardens, with various species holding sway at different times over the next several months. Miniature bulbs are a passion of mine, and I freely admit that, when it comes to irises, the dwarf ones are my favorites. That said, I like them all, and there is a huge variety to choose from. The tall bearded form is probably the iris most familiar to people. It was certainly the iris that I remember growing in unplanned patches in our yard when I was a child. The colors most common then were violet, purple, yellow, and white. Today, breeders have given us irises in a paintbox of colors, solids as well as bicolors. The bearded irises (Iris germanica) come by their common name because the falls — the three petals that reflex downward from the trio of stiffly upright petals known as standards — have a fuzzy strip running part-way down the middle of each petal. The beard is strictly ornamental, although it would seem to provide a cushy landing place for pollinators. If I were a bee, I’d certainly opt to glide in onto that soft landing strip, which would seem tailor-made for the purpose. The beard may be the same color as the falls or it may be a contrasting color. In bicolor irises, the beard might be different in color from either the standards or falls. Irises, of which there are some 300 species, fall into two broad categories: bulbous, like the dwarf irises such as I. reticulata, I. histrioides, and I. danfordiae; and rhizomatous, which grow from swollen underground stems, or rhizomes. The bulbous irises.... Want to learn more about Dwarf Iris, Bearded Ladies, and other Spring Delights? Read the rest of this PlantProfile 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!

8 WASHINGTON GARDENER ENEWS © 2010 Washington Gardener Magazine All rights reserved. 1500 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, MD 20902

www.brooksidegardens.org

Washington Gardener Enews May 2010  

May 2010 issue of Washington Gardener Enews, the monthly online newsletter for Washington Gardener Magazine.

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