Home & Gardens

02/18/2017 - 10:30am
Two local entrepreneurs now offer gardening help to residents of the Hill and beyond: Laurie Gillman, owner of East City Bookshop, and Amanda McClean, co-owner of Izel Native Plants. Both businesses opened fairly recently and each one integrates the best practices of analog and digital worlds in refreshing and contemporary ways.  East City Bookshop On a recent shopping trip, I stopped into East City Bookshop at 645 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, and was thrilled to discover the largest... >>more
02/18/2017 - 9:12am
We forgot to prune our beautiful lacecap hydrangeas and are now wondering whether we should still do it this late. Or have we missed the boat as far as expecting any beautiful flat blue blooms in 2017? I always get lacecaps mixed up in my mind with the snowball and oak leaf varieties of hydrangea. You are not the only one. Some hydrangeas can be cut back anytime because they bloom on “new” (this year’s) wood. But a lacecap blooms on “old” wood. Its buds are already... >>more
01/18/2017 - 11:25am
What is the best after-care for a beautiful Poinsettia? After its blooms have fallen, instead of trying to provide the water, light, and temperature control available in a greenhouse, throw out your Poinsettia and buy another next year.   What long-blooming houseplant can cheer me up in these cold dark January days? Try buying a cyclamen in full bloom now. In reds, pinks, or white, cyclamen will bloom for months indoors. Water very moderately, and every two weeks add a high-phosphorus... >>more
01/18/2017 - 10:34am
With the holidays over, the rest of winter will fly by. Don’t miss the chance to follow the advice of American horticultural giant Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954), who wrote, “A garden is half made when it is well planned. The best gardener is one who does most gardening by the winter fire.” Now is the time to just sit and do nothing with respect to your garden. Whether you are considering minor adjustments or a total makeover, taking advantage of the slow season will give you... >>more
01/18/2017 - 9:15am
Mold. If you’re a homeowner or landlord, it’s not a word you want to hear.  Yet in older homes mold can be quite common. Dan Davis, owner/operator of AdvantaCleanhere in the District, notes, “In DC, and specifically the Hill, most mold issues that I see are in basements. Older homes tend to have leaky foundations. Over time, structures settle, materials degrade, and tree roots push through cracks and enlarge them. Moisture finds its way inside, and wood, drywall, and... >>more
12/14/2016 - 10:41am
Question: How many cans of partially used paint cans are sitting in your garage or basement in the hope that one day you’ll find a use for them? If you’re like me, you have too many, and you know that at least some of that paint has aged beyond use. But what to do with it? As of November, the DC Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) and PaintCare Inc.are sponsoring a program that will reuse, recycle, energy-recover, or responsibly dispose of your unwanted paint. This... >>more
12/14/2016 - 10:29am
Why do my Garden Clubby friends say that in Washington, DC, tulips are “annuals”? Certainly not where I come from. Our summers are too hot for the longtime survival of tulip bulbs, which simply rot in the ground before they can survive to re-bloom properly. New England, the Middle West, even Canada are better for tulip growing. That is the reason, perhaps, why the National Park Service has given us an outdoor Tulip Library on the Mall (in SW, near the Tidal Basin). There, about 100... >>more
12/02/2016 - 1:34pm
It takes a long time to build public landscapes in Washington, DC. With hearings and approvals required at every stage of the design process from commissions and agencies at all levels of government, design development can easily last over a decade. Construction can take years. But when projects are completed, DC residents, particularly those on the Hill, benefit more than most US citizens, with unparalleled access to some of the most significant designed landscapes in the country. This column... >>more
11/19/2016 - 9:11am
If I stick geranium shoots in water until roots form and then plant them in potting soil, can my healthy geranium plant overwinter indoors? Probably yes. You can also put the shoots directly into potting soil at once – minus any buds or blooms. Another way to overwinter tropical (Pelargonium) geranium plants is to bring the entire plant indoors, either in its pot or bare-root. There are excellent YouTube online illustrating both methods (Google “overwinter geranium”).  ... >>more