Home & Gardens

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
04/18/2017 - 9:10am
Planning and Planting Around a Finicky Season Spring for all of its beauty and wondrous renewal can be dark, often voracious. Plants have to grow at accelerated rates to please this finicky season. All the while our rapacious creditor gives no guarantee of success for their efforts. Spring takes from the delicate and quickly devours the fragile – part selection of the fittest, part only the strong surviving, with a sprinkle of Mother Nature’s twisted sense of humor. Spring can... >>more
04/17/2017 - 10:12am
Our new townhouse back yard is entirely unplanted. There is a brick patio at the back door, a nine-foot wood fence around three sides, and nothing. What perennials do you suggest we might plant first? The Problem Lady loves a tabula rasa, but not if it exists inside the gardener’s own mind! Please stop all planting plans for a few seconds to focus on some questions: What purpose must this back yard serve in your life? A place to sunbathe? Meditate? Entertain? Impress your mother? Grow... >>more
03/30/2017 - 1:40pm
The Smithsonian Associates’ March program, “Vertical Gardens,” sold out in advance. About 120 gardeners of all ages spent two hours in the S. Dillon Ripley Center with three young, highly educated, tech-savvy farmer-entrepreneurs who are leaders in the burgeoning urban agriculture movement here in DC, and nationally. These folks are the farthest thing from the back-to-the-land hippies of yore. Niraj Ray, founder of Cultivate the City (www.cultivatethecity.com/), and Mary... >>more