Dark-Eyed Juncos Have Arrived; Get Ready for Winter

Dark-Eyed Junco.  Photo by Ken Thomas. See Kenthomas.us.

  The dark-eyed juncos arrived yesterday. I was eating breakfast when I first saw them, flapping around in the waterfall out by my pond.  I wondered if they had been flying through the night to get here. About 30 of these little black and white birds seemed anxious to get a drink, take a bath, make Read More →

Native Plants Provide Fall Color & Feed Wildlife

Winterberry looks great in autumn.

Want to add some color to a small urban garden while helping out our native wildlife?  Try planting some native perennials. Below are a few of my favorites.   Bees need food throughout the growing season, and there are many native plants that can provide a late-season meal for pollinators. In this photo a bumblebee is Read More →

Monarch Caterpillar, Here’s Hoping You Make it to Mexico

monarch caterpillar sept 2016_cleaned

I was delighted to find this monarch caterpillar in our garden today, munching away on some Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). We used to see monarchs on a regular basis, but in the last few years these visitors have become very rare in my wildlife garden. My own anecdotal observations match what scientists who study these beautiful orange, Read More →

Planting for Pollinators in DC on Earth Day


This morning commuters across the District were reminded it was Earth Day when representatives from the city’s Department of Energy & the Environment (DDOE) arrived at 13 different Metro stations to hand out seed packets. “Want some seeds to help us plant pollinators?” DDOE Director Tommy Wells repeatedly asked people on their way to work and Read More →

Make Your Lawn Bay Friendly!

The Takoma Horticultural Club presents Bay-friendly Lawn Care and Alternatives to Turf Presented by Geoffrey Rinehart, U.S. National Arboretum Wednesday, March 16, 7:30 – 9:00 pm District of Columbia Library, Takoma Park Branch* 416 Cedar Street NW, D.C. 20012 Update: this meeting location will be changed due to the shut down of the DC Metro Read More →

Hey Maryland Residents: Want Free Trees?

Iphone download 349

  This week I’m posting a note/guest post from Aubin Maynard, an environmental planner at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.   How would you like 5 to 25 tree seedlings at no cost to you through the Maryland Forest Service’s Backyard Buffer program? This program was created to help landowners that own less than 6 acres Read More →

How to Take Good Flower Photos with Your Smartphone

Asclepias tuberosa is easy to grow.

I love taking flower photos in my garden, but I am not always pleased with the results! Strangely, my android smartphone seems to yield the best results, perhaps because my expectations are always low and I’m always pleasantly surprised how my relaxed attitude makes for a better pic. Either way, I wanted to pass on info Read More →

Hey DC: Can you host a beekeeper this year?

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The DC Beekeepers Alliance wants to know: can you host some bees this year? Below, Toni Burnham from the Alliance explains. Dear DC Gardening Community: About 50 households will soon participate in our 2016 beginning beekeeping class, which focuses on responsible urban apiculture, but many do not have a space to keep bees. Beehives in Read More →

Join Me to Talk about Urban Bees, tonite and next week

All are welcome to join me tonight as I talk with the Cheverly Garden Club about urban bees and my book, Hives in the City.  The meeting starts at 7pm at the Cheverly United Methodist Church (2801 Cheverly Avenue, Cheverly, MD 20785), and is free and open to the public. I’m also going to be Read More →

Last Minute Gift Idea: Hives in the City

HivesInTheCity cover scaled to fit FB

  **Update: as of Jan 12, 2016 the site (www.hivesinthecity.com) is back up and running. Thanks for your patience! I just got an important message from the company that hosts the website for my book.  It seems that our site has been shut down for a day or so in order to address some important security updates. While I’m Read More →

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