Archive for the ‘Lawns and gardens’ category

Winter Class – Organic Food Gardening

January 30, 2015

For our community gardeners, I’m sharing the following information about a winter class on organic food gardening. I understand that the class is $200 (six classroom sessions plus field trip) with tuition assistance available. More information is below.

Prepare for the 2015 growing season and learn best practices for growing your own food in a way that is good for you, your community, and the land.

This hands-on course takes participants from winter into spring, showing how to reduce frustration and grow a productive, hardy organic food garden. The winter class is taught INDOORS and covers garden design, soil preparation, seed starting, and using grow lights and cold frames. Course includes six evening sessions, a field trip to a winter garden, and a detailed course instruction booklet.  Class size is limited, so be sure to register early!

Course starts February 11.
For more information, see the flyer below or visit NFI’s website:

Organic Gardening Course

New Community Garden in Planning for Girard Street

January 15, 2015

At last night’s meeting of ANC 1A, the Commission was presented with a proposal by residents in the vicinity of the 1300 block of Girard Street to turn a closed alley on the block into a community garden. The alley in question is on the north side of Girard Street between 13th and 14th Streets (about 1/3 the way to the east of 14th). The alley appears to have been closed for some time and has a fire plug blocking it at the street.

The garden would be created and built by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and run by local residents. The space currently contains a number of trees and an assortment of vines and other small plants. The plan calls for an arborist to assess the health and species of the trees currently on the site. Non-native, invasive trees and smaller plants will be removed to create the garden. The large, native catalpa tree at the center-east of the lot will almost certainly remain and lend its name to the garden as Catalpa Garden.

ANC 1A voted unanimously to support the project and looks forward to seeing the plan move ahead.

Below is a plan of the proposal.

Catalpa Garden


A Garden Visitor — the Hummingbirdmoth

May 12, 2014

Over the weekend, while in the garden, I noticed a visitor to the garden a couple of times — a hummingbirdmoth. This is not the first year I’ve seen one, either.  Last year hummingbirdmoths also frequently visited the garden. The seem to like the creeping phlox in particular.

According to Wikipedia, its official name is Hemaris and it “is a genus of sphinx moths, consisting of about 17 species native to the Holarctic.Four species occur in North and South America and three are found in Europe. Their main host plants are herbs and shrubs of the teasel and honeysuckle families. Moths in genus Hemaris are known collectively as Clearwing Moths or Hummingbird Moths in the United States and Bee Hawk-Moths in Britain.”

… and here’s another one.

Beautification Continues on Irving Street

June 11, 2012

After stopping by to check on the new Park View Welcome sign that I reported on last Monday, I’m happy to report that the new sign was not the end of beautifying the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Irving, but the beginning. On Sunday morning I had the pleasure to speak with three of the residents who were watering newly planted knockout roses and a boxwood. I understand that there are still more plants coming and that the pictures below do not represent a completed garden just yet.


Keeping a Tidy Lawn Can Avoid a $500 Fine

May 16, 2012

From May 1 to October 31, grass over 10 inches can not only be unsightly, it can also lead to a $500 fine. As the mowing season has just begun I wanted to give folks the opportunity to not only know the rules, but also share information on how to find a good lawn care provider if they don’t have one.

I’ve already been contacted by a few residents seeking recommendations for lawn and yard care but I really don’t know of anyone in the area that does this (mostly because our yard was converted to a garden). If you have had a good experience with someone please share.

Below are the District Grass and Weed Regulations from the DCRA Web site:

District regulations prohibit property owners (commercial and residential) from allowing grass and weeds on their premises to grow more than 10 inches in height. Failing to adhere to the rule could lead to fines of more than $500. Between May 1 and October 31, DCRA can immediately mow properties and issues fines.

DCRA will be hanging “door knocker” reminders at properties where the grass height is getting close to the threshold to try to encourage voluntary compliance before the city has to intervene.

Tall grass can trigger respiratory problems like asthma and allergies in District residents and rats and other vermin are also drawn to the over-growth. This holds serious public health implications.

DCRA regulates several types of excessive vegetative growth including: kudzu, poison ivy, oak and sumac, plants with obnoxious odors, weeds, grasses causing hay fever, and any weed growth that creates a breeding place for mosquitoes. Regulations require that these weeds be cut after no more than seven days of growth.

Weeds may be defined as any vegetation at any state of maturity that: (more…)

Park View’s Activist Wangari Gardeners Featured in Washington Post

April 16, 2012

A group of “garden activists” is creating the Wangari Mathai park/garden in the District’s Park View neighborhood (Post photo).

Saturday’s Washington Post included an article on ‘Guerrilla Gardening’ aka activist gardening that featured, among others, the Park View folks creating the Wangari Gardens located between Irving and Kenyon just west of Washington Hospital Center.

According to the Post, activist gardening is a “phenomenon … that is taking off this spring in cities such as Portland, Detroit, Baltimore and the District, where young urbanites are redefining the seemingly fusty pastime as a tool for social change.” The basic concept of activist gardening, which dates back to the late-1960s, is that members of the community organize to create a garden on land that is otherwise neglected. Sometimes this is done with permits — sometimes it isn’t. In the case of Wangari Gardens permits were issues.

While the article noted that some commenters on local blogs consider guerrilla gardening to be an “example of overly exuberant gentrifiers hoping to take over neighborhoods that may not want to change,” not everyone has that attitude. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), for example, told the Post he “wants the city to develop a permit process for community gardening and provide an inventory of vacant District land that could be used for community gardens.”

Whether you support activist gardening or not, it does highlight one very essential desire for those that live in urban environments, the need for green space that supports community and recreational activities. Such green space is notably lacking in much of Ward 1.


Community Gardening Opportunity at the Armed Forces Retirement Home

March 22, 2012

As someone who sees the community garden plots of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) on a daily basis, I find this opportunity exciting. At a recent Friends of the Soldiers’ Home planning meeting, I learned that the garden area just inside the fence at the intersection of Park Place and Rock Creek Church Road once supported about 60 resident gardeners at the AFRH. Now, there are only a few.

Because of the greatly reduced use of the gardens, the AFRH has offered to partner with the surrounding community and allow volunteers an opportunity to have garden plots of their own in exchange to those also willing to assist AFRH resident gardeners with their plots.

Those with garden plots would go though background checks and become full AFRH volunteers. For more details and to initiate the process, interested parties need to contact Carolyn Haug, Volunteer Coordinator at the AFRH. She can be reached at 202-541-7627 or at carolyn.haug (at)


Progress at Bruce-Monroe Park — Community Gardens & Water

July 1, 2011

New garden community garden beds at Bruce Monroe Park.

While most of the Lower Georgia Avenue communities were focused on the Caribbean Festival and Parade last weekend, some were otherwise occupied with construction of the new community garden at Bruce-Monroe Park. While organizers had hoped to finish the project in two morning blitzes on Saturday (6/25) and Sunday (6/26), it looks like they didn’t quite get there. None-the-less, the project appears to be off to a great start.

According to an email sent out by Bruce-Monroe Community Garden organizer Steve Seuser:

Community gardening is one of the hottest past times sweeping the country and today you have the chance to sign up to be part of it right in your own back yard! By growing you own food you’ll be:

  • getting back to nature,
  • saving money on grocery bills,
  • eating locally,
  • Improving your health,
  • helping the environment,
  • and meeting friends and neighbors!

Contrary to popular belief, summer and fall crops can be planted in throughout the summer, and harvested as early as July and as late as October!

So, whether you have little to no space to garden, or want to expand your existing gardening opportunities come and join the Bruce-Monroe Community Garden TODAY!!!

Use this LINK: to reserve your garden plot, and/or sign up to help.

Copper pipe being laid at Bruce-Monroe Park ... hopefully to bring much-needed water to the site

For more information on the garden, contact Ecolocity’s Steve Seuser: steve.seuser at g mail dot com

Also while looking over the garden beds I noticed that work is being done on the Irving Street side of the property. Judging by the copper pipe this must be in support of bringing water to the site.

Water is among the outstanding issues that the City yet has to provide to the park and its nice to see that there is movement on that front as well.


Build Community Gardens at Bruce Monroe Park

June 13, 2011

The community garden at Bruce Monroe Park is scheduled to be built on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26. The garden plot, located in the southwest corner of the park seeks volunteers to help with construction of raised beds from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. to avoid the heat of the day.

More specifically, volunteers are needed for either day to construct the raised beds (very basic carpentry skills needed) and haul wheelbarrows full of compost/soil mix into the raised beds. For more info or to volunteer, contact Steve.

For those seeking to start something similar, check out DC’s Field to Fork Network resource Starting a Community Garden in DC [PDF]


Spring Gardens Brighten Area

May 9, 2011

One thing I enjoy about Mother’s Day is the opportunity to walk the neighborhood and look at the many gardens in bloom. I genuinely think that the number of flower gardens has increased over the past few years.

While I’m sharing just a few images here, an idea that I think the community could work toward is an annual lawn and garden tour. I’ve proposed this before, but didn’t receive enough support for it to get off the ground. Should we get some momentum this year we could also work toward judging area gardens and awarding prizes for our top gardeners.

600 b/o Princeton Place

600 b/o Princeton Place


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