Home & Gardens

06/19/2017 - 10:21am
I heard that a garden in a pot should contain just three things – “a Thriller, a Filler, and a Spiller.” Meaning what? Fine Gardening magazine popularized this wise mantra. The Thriller can be a brilliant spike of bloom or leaf. Filler – any bushy thing. The Spiller – something drooping down over the edge of the pot. Find three that go together, and go for it.   My springtime Japonica camellias were sensational this year. But I can never figure out how to... >>more
06/19/2017 - 9:17am
Capitol Hill has been compared to a village, a finely integrated community, a place to call home. Perhaps one of the most alluring parts as many Hill homes are their entries. Some have grand, long walkways like the homes on East Capitol St. and Massachusetts Avenue. Some are secret enclaves, little pockets, all are enchanting. 12th St NE. #1 The alliums that were planted here are a demonstration of restraint. In the large bed in the front of the home the only plants are allium’s--... >>more
06/17/2017 - 10:12am
Capitol Hill is a neighborhood built with brick.  Almost every street is lined with colorful row homes built about 100 years ago.  Though most brick row homes look similar, these buildings were designed and constructed by various builders and architects and there are unique differences between the buildings. Almost all the bricks you see in Capitol Hill row homes were actually created locally.  Because masonry is composed of simple material-- sand and clay--bricks can be produced... >>more
06/17/2017 - 9:10am
Nearly 100 years ago, a man named Fritz “Frank” Frager got laid off from work at the Navy Yard in DC. It was the end of World War One. But instead of trying to find another job, he decided to put what money he had toward opening a local hardware store on Capitol Hill—Frager’s Hardware. Frager’s has prospered through the decades with community support and the leadership of first the Frager family and later co-owners Ed Copenhaver and John Weintraub. Now as it nears... >>more
05/23/2017 - 9:12am
I oversee the maintenance at a local private garden. For the past two springs, the multitude of daffodils planted in 2012 have not flowered well – lots of buds, but most dry up before blooming. My own daffodils and others all over the Hill bloomed profusely. What is the problem? Soil? Crowding? We did have hot weather in January, followed by hard freezes – but as you say, your own daffs bloomed well. Moisture has been similarly sporadic – first months of drought, then rains.... >>more
05/23/2017 - 9:12am
CFLs, LEDs, lumens, and Kelvins. The simple process of buying a lightbulb seems to have become a lot more complicated in recent years. Fortunately the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU; www.dcseu.com) is around to demystify this terminology and provide deep discounts for energy-saving home lighting. Energy-efficient Energy Star light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs are now available for as low as 95 cents from select retailers around DC, with a limit of 12 LED bulbs per residential... >>more
05/22/2017 - 10:12am
Spring can be a bit overwhelming, especially in the life of a gardener. Early season garden tasks can become prodigious even for the best of us. Then there is the pace we must keep to make sure our garden is perfect. There is never enough time for all those springtime chores. It is always hurry and rush. As if this were not enough to throw you off your A game, spring has a tantalizingly wicked sense of humor. In March and April spring unfolds, no, explodes, with showmanship that even a... >>more
05/22/2017 - 10:12am
Spring can be a bit overwhelming, especially in the life of a gardener. Early season garden tasks can become prodigious even for the best of us. Then there is the pace we must keep to make sure our garden is perfect. There is never enough time for all those springtime chores. It is always hurry and rush. As if this were not enough to throw you off your A game, spring has a tantalizingly wicked sense of humor. In March and April spring unfolds, no, explodes, with showmanship that even a... >>more
05/22/2017 - 9:12am
On April 18, 2017, Matthew McClanahan was killed on the US Capitol grounds when a large portion of a tree fell on him. Roads around First Street and Independence Avenue were closed for hours as the branches were removed and the tree was inspected by staff of the Architect of the Capitol. Had this happened during a thunderstorm it might not have been so surprising, but the tree went down on a lovely spring morning. Big trees contribute so much to our Capitol Hill neighborhood. They seem to take... >>more