Home & Gardens

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
11/18/2016 - 9:12am
You may think that the time to plant bulbs was in September, or October at the latest. Think again. With the hottest year on record, and temperatures hitting 90 degrees on Oct. 19, we must move back our bulb planting to November. Spring flowering bulbs are best planted after the first hard frost. If you’re reading this in early November, you are right on time to begin a bulb planting campaign, which is one 2016 campaign guaranteed to bring you pleasure. Bulb Basics Bulbs are the most... >>more
11/18/2016 - 8:18am
The Farmers’ Almanac and other weather forecasters all warn that we’re headed for a winter with above-average snowfall and below-normal temperatures for the Washington area. We may be lulled into complacency by a mild end of the year, but some sources are predicting more than 24 inches of snow for February. For Hill homeowners that much snow can cause monumental problems. Fall is a great time to prepare for weather-related issues. That includes doing an annual check of equipment and... >>more
10/14/2016 - 9:12am
I am helping a friend transplant two grandiflora rose plants that are struggling in shade. When and how should we undertake the task? Prune the roses to about 30 inches in height in late fall, well before the first frost. Make your cuts just above a growth point. In two sunny spots that you have previously identified, dig two wide, very deep holes with plenty of compost at the ready, along with some bone meal and composted manure. Fill the holes with water, letting it recede while, with great... >>more
10/14/2016 - 8:21am
More frequent and violent storms, hot summers, pesky mosquitoes. Welcome to the world of climate change. It all sounds quite sobering – and overwhelming. What can any one person do to make a difference? In a previous article I outlined some of the actions the DC government is taking as a part of its Climate Ready DC Plan(www.sustainabledc.org/climatereadydc/). Did you know there are actions that you can take to make your home climate-ready and more comfortable? Read on! The DC government... >>more
10/13/2016 - 9:14am
A photographer walking through Dublin one evening in 1970 was struck by the beauty of the Georgian-style doors. He photographed 36 doors and put them together into a collage. On St. Patrick’s Day the Irish Tourism Board put the collage in its window in New York, and “Doors of Dublin” became one of the best-selling posters of all time. The same could be true of Capitol Hill doors today. The different styles, colors, and shapes make each home unique, and collectively they create... >>more
10/13/2016 - 8:10am
Just because you’ve made the effort to build a garden for yourself or have others design and build one for you, doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to take care of it afterward. Or you may know how but don’t have the time, or maybe you just don’t want to. Be honest and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Have you ever hired a crew to work on your garden and got that sinking feeling they’re not as environmentally friendly they could be, even if you can’t... >>more
09/12/2016 - 10:05am
A friend says that she can dig her garden soil with her bare hands! Woe is I. Even with a sharp trowel I have trouble digging my own. Although watered daily, my plants look exhausted. Any ideas? Gardeners make much about the “friability” of their soil. Your friend probably added fresh compost annually for the past 40 years. Relax. It’s true that garden soil should be about 50 percent air, but plants, like all of us, make do in less than optimal conditions. Roots have trouble... >>more
09/12/2016 - 9:15am
I would venture an educated guess that as recently as 20 to 30 years ago more than 75 percent of Capitol Hill flat and low-slope roofs were standing-seam tin roofs (or terne roofs as they are often known). I say “educated” because our family has been working on Capitol Hill roofs for nearly 100 years and I think we have seen it all! You would also have seen some copper roofs and slag roofs (also known as asphalt-and-gravel roofs). And, continuing our look-back in time, the steeply... >>more