Home & Gardens

06/07/2016 - 11:10am
When should I start “feeding” my garden flowers? If you mean, when should you apply fertilizers to encourage flowering – maybe never. “Feed the soil, not the plant” is the mantra of experienced gardeners. While nutrients in one’s soil do get depleted, soil itself can be “fed” with regular additions of compost, manure, fish emulsion, cottonseed meal, bloodmeal, bonemeal, and liquid seaweed. Clay soil can be top-dressed with such materials, even... >>more
06/07/2016 - 10:11am
With all the April and May rain, homeowners may be seeing wet walls and fearing that the long-delayed decision to tuck-point their historic bricks has reached the point of no return. Just the mention of removing and replacing old, crumbled mortar between bricks, a process known as tuck-pointing, can alarm a homeowner. There are horror stories of botched jobs, permitting nightmares, dust covering everything you own, and expenses that empty out your bank account. It is not a surprise that we put... >>more
06/07/2016 - 9:27am
Container gardens add great beauty to courtyards and terraces. They’re a triple aesthetic threat because in addition to beautiful plants there is the sculptural interest of the pots themselves plus the spatial complexity derived from using containers of different heights. As an ensemble they can make a small space look larger and more sophisticated without actually having to build anything. The downfall of container gardens is our local climate. Unless an irrigation system is in place,... >>more
05/04/2016 - 10:42am
The month of May, jam-packed with proms and Mothers’ Day celebrations, is synonymous with roses.  Whether we grow our own, or buy stems at Eastern Market, the rose remains the most loved flower of all for many of us. Many do not know that the rose is the official flower of DC.   ‘American Beauty’ became the District’s flower in 1925, when it was the most cultivated rose in the US.  This hybrid rose originated in France, and its individual stems... >>more
05/04/2016 - 10:12am
There are many perks to living in DC, but did you know that as a DC resident or business you also qualify for rebates for purchasing energy-saving appliances, cooling and heating systems, and lighting – regardless of your income bracket? The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) offers discounts and rebates to help residents and businesses use less energy and save moneythrough energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. This is a resource that every DC resident or... >>more
05/04/2016 - 9:42am
What can I plant to hide the old leaves of daffodils? And, when my Virginia bluebells die back to nothing, as they do – and my white bleeding heart also disappears from view, as always – what should I put in their space that will not interfere with the bulbs and the Dicentra roots? You are right to allow spent tulips and daffodils to keep their leaves, thus replenishing their bulbs. Mask the spent leaves with any sun-loving perennial or annual, from lady’s mantle to Rudbekia... >>more
04/06/2016 - 12:11pm
In 2016 the Washington Youth Garden, a program of the Friends of the National Arboretum, is celebrating 45 years of teaching children the joys of gardening, food, and healthy living. Literally thousands of DC kids have learned about the birds and bees through this successful program that calls the National Arboretum home. Like a garden that is always changing, the Washington Youth Garden (WYG) is constantly evolving to meet the needs of urban children. Kids Get Dirty The Washington Youth Garden... >>more
04/06/2016 - 11:42am
I have already hardened off some kale and broccoli seedlings. I planted them in pots and planters outside. They are thriving. But snow is forecast for the weekend. Should I bring the pots inside? I believe that kale and broccoli can survive through a lot of cold. If these seedlings were mine I probably would cover them with a sheet or a wide strip of plastic fastened down somehow. If you choose plastic remember to remove it before sun shines on it so your seedlings will not “cook.... >>more
03/04/2016 - 1:00am
The peak bloom date is defined as the day when 70% of the Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) blossoms are open. Peak bloom (this year March 31 to April 3) varies annually depending on weather conditions. The most likely time to reach peak bloom is between the last week of March and the first week of April. Extraordinary warm or cool temperatures have resulted in peak bloom as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958).   The Yoshino trees typically bloom for a period of... >>more