Monday, October 31, 2011

Getting Your Garden Ready for Winter

What: Getting Your Garden Ready for Winter 

When: Thursday, November 10th at 7pm 

Where: Takoma DC Public Library, 5th and Cedar Streets 

Kathy Jentz, editor and publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, will be presenting a free talk on Thursday, November 10 at 7 pm, at the Takoma DC Public Library about how to prepare your yard and gardens for the next growing season in an eco-friendly way. 

Kathy will share her secrets on how to grow a beautiful garden filled with flowers and foliage and still honor the earth by using sustainable gardening practices.

The talk marks the donation of 18 new garden books to the Takoma DC library by the Takoma Horticultural Club. They will be on display at the talk. For information, call the library at 202 576-7252.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

More Flakes than Usual this Halloween as Mother Nature gets into the act

Halloween always brings out the flakes. Although most people opt for the predictable costumes like witches, werewolves and pirates, there are always a few flakes who go for something extreme that is sure to elicit a few groans. I've heard that a Casey Anthony mask is big this year. Grooooaannn.

Mother Nature is even getting into the act this weekend by dressing up as winter, bringing a few groans and even some possible flakes (snow, that is) of her own to much of the Northeast.

Low temperatures, howling wind and precipitation will put a chill on your Halloween fun AND can cause damage to your gardens. So before you dress up for the festivities, take some time to bring in your hanging or potted plants, dig up and store your tender bulbs, and lay a little mulch to protect the roots of your shrubs.

And don't get mad at Mother Nature. Everybody likes to get a little wicked for Halloween!  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Common Good City Farm Harvest Festival

What: Common Good City Farm annual Harvest Festival

When: Saturday Oct. 29, 11am-2pm

Where: Common Good City Farm, V Street NW between 2nd & 4th Sts NW

This free event open to the public will offer an afternoon of activities to include: pumpkin carving and painting, costume contest, scarecrow making, face painting and more! Food and drink will be served.

Stay for Oktoberfest on the same day happening in the neighborhood and hosted by the LeDroit Park Civic Association.


Promoting Native Bee Abundance

What: Promoting Native Bee Abundance and Diversity with Native Plants

When: Thursday, November 10, 2011, 7:30 pm  

Where: Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria, Virginia 

Join Maria Van Dyke, the Program Coordinator for Virginia Working Landscapes for a slide lecture about the importance and habitat requirements of native bees. Maria will discuss ongoing academic research which is identifying which native plants best support healthy and diverse native bee populations. Learn how you can best use native plants in your garden for this important part of our ecosystem.
Maria Van Dyke is the Program Coordinator for Virginia Working Landscapes and is also the Secretariay for Virginia Food System Council. She holds an MS in Ecology and Environment Sciences from UVA with work at Blandy Experimental Farm. Her talk will draw on native plant research she has participated in through Rutgers University, the NRCS Plant Research Center in Cape May and the Xerces Society.

Virginia Native Plant Society Programs are free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary.

For more information related to this press release please contact Alan Ford, VNPS Potowmack Chapter President at 703-732-5291.

Information received from: Kathy Jentz , Editor/Publisher , Washington Gardener Magazine

Rainscaping at the Coolidge High School Garden

What: Rainscaping at Coolidge Highschool Garden
When: Saturday, November 12 , 8:30 am to noon
Where: Calvin Coolidge Garden 6315 5th St NW, Washington DC

Please join the Friends of the Garden and Coolidge High School students in restoring 3600 sq ft of beds after last summer's drought. Gardening experts from the area's Watershed Stewards Academy and the American Society of Landscape Architects will explain how and why rainscaping (also known as riverscaping) helps local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay stay healthy, while making neighborhoods more attractive. The Native Species you will plant are drought resistant and hardy, and will attract birds and desirable insects like butterflies for years to come.

Tools and Gloves: Provided but bring along your favorite weeding tool if you have one. 
Coffee, tea, juice and snacks provided.
RSVP by Wednesday, November 9 to James Proctor at or 202-652-9423

Information provided by Kathy Jentz, editor of Washington Gardener Magazine

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are you tired of the rich getting all of the gold? It's time to occupy "fall" street

Are you tired of the tree-rich landscapes hoarding all of the gold (and red, and yellow) of autumn’s splendor while your plant-devoid landscape does without? Well, be part of the 99% who appreciate Autumn color! Get outside and go occupy “fall” street.

There is plenty of fall foliage in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia to go around. So take some time this weekend to “go for the gold”. Take a tour around DC, visit a park or take a little drive to one of the other great locations for Fall Foliage in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia that I found on

Before you head out, I encourage you to read the post (with gorgeous photos) on Casey Trees blog, which lists some trees to look out for, including:
  • American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) - at the U.S. Capitol grounds, Dumbarton Oaks and along the Capital Crescent trail.
  • Red maples (Acer rubrum) - in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and on the White House grounds.
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) - Check it out near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, at the National Zoo and in West Potomac Park.
  • White oak (Quercus alba) - The white oak can be found all over D.C., including at Dumbarton Oaks, Tudor Place, Logan Circle, Cedar Hill and the Capital Crescent Trail. Most white oak leaves turn red, but some turn a gorgeously rare deep-wine.
  • Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) - Find these simple oval-leafed trees at Glenwood Cemetery and the U.S. Botanic Garden on Maryland Ave SW.
Now don’t despair. You, too, can grow your own gold! October – December are great times to plant trees, since they enter their dormancy during this period. And best of all, there are rebate and incentive programs to help cover the costs of tree planting in your Metro DC yard.

Casey Trees and the DDOE now offer rebates of up to $100 for having qualified trees planted in your landscape.

Montgomery County Maryland’s website lists rebates of up to $150 per tree ($600 per lot) for residents who plant trees.

There is a coupon for $25.00 off the purchase price of a tree on the Marylanders Plant Trees website.

So get started on your own tree-rich landscape. Just make sure that you are committed to the regular investments of time and care needed to watch your new treasure grow!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Here's the scoop on worm poop

Every now and then, the rugs in my house look like this:

That’s because my yard is often covered with piles of this:

I don’t really LIKE having a messy home and I sure wish I could learn to wipe my feet a little better before I come inside. But I’m definitely not complaining. As an eco-friendly gardener, I know that having piles of worm poop in my yard is a very good thing.

Earthworms help aerate the soil by crawling around creating little tunnels and passageways. And the whole time, they are just eating and pooping, eating and pooping. Aristotle called worms the "intestines of the soil" for their role of converting organic matter to fertilizer. Most of that pooping occurs underground, but during times of extreme moisture, the worms migrate towards the surface and leave their poop, also called castings, in little piles around your lawn.

The scoop on worm poop is that it is full of nutrients and extremely beneficial to your lawn and plants. Worm castings contain 0.86 percent nitrogen, 0.37 percent phosphorous and 0.25 percent potassium. Other nutrients include 2.3 percent calcium and 0.72 percent iron. The castings provide natural nutrients, often eliminating the need for harmful synthetic fertilizer products. The healthy lawn will then attract more earthworms, which will further improve soil aeration and increase the penetration of rainwater.

Earthworms help in breaking down thatch, increasing decomposition and creating usable nitrogen in the soil. In fact, five or more earthworms per square foot of soil provides the lawn with 25% of its seasonal nitrogen requirements.

Some people, however, don’t see the value in worm poop. They find these tiny piles of poop unsightly, both outside their home and when tracked inside. Weak thin lawns, which have been mowed too low, will certainly make these piles more evident.  

Dealing with Worm Poop
  • Rake or sweep castings into the lawn when they are dry. You can also sweep up castings and add them to your compost pile or potting soil mixture.
  • Don't overwater. Earthworms will stay near the surface if it's continuously moist.
  • Mow high and keep the lawn healthy to hide the poop piles and minimize the unsightliness.
  • Some sources recommend using a roller to press down the casts but over time, this can cause compaction of the soil.
  • Keep castings outside where they can do some good. Put doormats outside all of your doors and use them!
  • If you can’t remember to do that, sweep up worm castings that make it into your home with a hand held vacuum or broom and dump them in your potting mix! (That may sound silly, but worm castings sell for about $3.00 a pound and provide many valuable nutrients to your plants.)
Here are some more posts about the value of earthworms:

Earthworms: Wriggling Wonders of the Garden

Recycled Worm Info

Friday, October 21, 2011

Saving Electricity Helps Save Water - Saving Water Helps Save Electricity

Here's a good reminder for all of us: Saving electricity helps save water.
And saving water helps save electricity.

A recent article on Blue Living Ideas explained why saving electricity helps to save water.

Saving water directly is an important way to conserve, but did you know that electricity uses billions of gallons of water every year? Coal-fired and nuclear power plants use water. LOTS of water. 

In order to keep the power plant from overheating, utility companies pump in water to cool things off. The average coal power plant uses between 3500 and 28,000 gallons of water to produce a megawatt hour of electricity. That adds up to billions of gallons of water every single year! When you use electricity, you’re indirectly using water, and by cutting your energy use, you can help reduce water use at power plants.

But, saving water ALSO saves electricity. Here is some information from the EPA's Drops to Watts campaign:

Although most people understand that heating water requires energy, they don't always consider the energy it takes to treat and deliver the water they use. In 2005, the nation's municipal water infrastructure consumed about 56 billion kilowatt hours of electricity—that's enough energy to power more than 5 million homes for an entire year. Plus, as the demand for water grows, water utilities must pump water from more distant and deeper sources, which, in turn, requires even more energy. 

Conversely, while it takes vast amounts of energy to run our water infrastructure, it also takes vast amounts of water to cool power plants that generate our electricity. About half of the water gathered in the United States from surface and groundwater sources is used to cool power plants. On average, each kilowatt-hour generated requires approximately 0.2 to 0.3 gallons of water.

I think I'm getting pretty good about learning to save water. I use rain barrels around my home and I keep a container in my sink to rinse cans and plates rather than running the water. You can see more ways that I conserve water, especially in my landscape, by reading some of the Water Conservation posts on this blog.

But I know I still have a ways to go when it comes to saving electricity. One way I save is by pre-drying some of my clothes after I wash them. I put them on hangers and let them drip dry in the garage or back yard to get most of the moisture out. Then they need much less time in the dryer to get the job done and to tumble some of the wrinkles out. I think I will head over to to find some more ideas.

But what about you? What are some of the ways that you save electricity and water around your home? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Garden Mission Statement - First, Do No Harm

"If you don't set your goals based upon a clearly defined mission statement, you may find yourself following a path that doesn't take you where you thought you were going." From
Every business seems to have a mission statement these days - a statement that spells out the values and goals the business hopes to achieve. I think mission statements are a great practice, not just for businesses but for most aspects of life. They can help you to keep anything on track - your relationship, your family and even your landscaping.

A mission statement should guide the actions of the people involved, spell out the overall goals, provide a path and guide the decision making.

Back in December of 2008, fellow garden blogger Helen Yoest put out the call, encouraging gardeners to write their own garden mission statement. She said:

For the new year, I suggest you give your garden some deep thought. By doing so, you help to not only identify yourself in relation to your garden, but elevate your garden’s status by naming it and then to concisely describing it by giving it a mission statement. Next time someone asks you to describe your garden, you can do so in a very concise manner.

I love Helen's own garden mission statement.  


Helen’s Haven is a sustainable wildlife habitat, created to attract and feed birds, bees, butterflies and for the enjoyment of friends, family, and visitors to educate, enjoy, and to understand we are the earth’s caretakers, so let’s take care.

Back in 2008, my garden mission statement probably would have been almost identical to Helen's. Since then, mine has gotten shorter....more succinct.

My garden mission statement now is simply this: First, do no harm.

When taking care of my yard, my mission is to not pollute, not waste water, not displace wildlife and not destroy anything that would probably be here if I wasn't. Of course, there are lots and lots of ways I do that. You can read some of them here in my post about Bare Naked Gardening or learn many more by following this blog.

But I'd love to hear from some of you and hear what your Garden Mission Statement is. Does your garden have a name? Do you have a specific mission or vision for your gardens? Do you garden for food, beauty, exercise or some other reason? Please feel free to add your statement in the comments section below. I'd love to add it to this post, as well as a link to your garden blog, if you have one.

Thanks. And happy gardening.

Be sure and visit Helen Yoest's new and updated garden blog at:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No reason to be junkin' that punkin' - 18 ways to recycle pumpkins

If you love carving Halloween pumpkins, you have GOT to visit and check out the FANSTASTIC carvings on the site. I know we will use that site for some inspiration before we do our carving this weekend.

We rarely get any trick-or-treaters at our home anymore, but my husband and I still always buy a pumpkin or two and carve some jack-o-lanterns. It’s fun, and it gives us something colorful and nutritious to add to our compost pile.

Compost, which is made of decomposed organic matter, makes a nutrient rich natural soil enhancer. Adding pumpkins to a compost pile also keeps them out of local landfills.

To speed along the process of decomposition, it is best to let your inner Halloween imp loose for a little pumpkin smashing.

Once they are smashed and bashed, toss them in your compost pile and layer with other organic materials such as shredded leaves, grass clippings and food scraps. Turn the pile from time to time and keep it moist, and by the time you are ready for your spring planting next year, you'll have some nutrient rich, home-made fertilizer to add to your planting beds.

For more information about creating compost, visit:
Composting 101 for DC Residents
Composting at Home
EPA Composting Site

If you haven't yet started your own compost pile, here are 17 other things that can be done with leftover pumpkin, gathered from various sites around the internet. I've provided links to the original content so you can get more info on the ideas that interest you.

1)Feed your old pumpkin to your pet - When cooked and mashed, pumpkin can be a fantastic natural digestive remedy for dogs and cats alike. A little mashed pumpkin can go a long way to treat diarrhea, weight gain, or infections in your pet, and they’ll probably appreciate the taste as well. (Source)

2) Donate it to the zoo - There are also many zoos which accept pumpkin donations and then feed them to their animals as local, seasonal treats (green, sustainable, organic zoo food!). Source: sustainablog (

3) Treat Your Skin - Pumpkin is full of rich vitamins, enzymes and even essential amino acids, all of which can benefit your skin. They also boast alpha-hydroxy acids that are known to decrease the appearance of wrinkles. Pop on over to this post to find out how to make a homemade face treatment. sustainablog (

4) Spice up your home - If you’re craving Thanskgiving already just for the scrumptious smell of fresh pumpkin pie, then you might want to make your own pumpkin pie potpourri. If your pumpkin is already hollowed and carved, you’re halfway there. If not, scoop it out clean and cut some small holes for venting. Rub cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice on the interior and insert cloves into the lid. Place a small tea candle inside and just wait for the delicious scent of warm pumpkin pie to start wafting through your home. Source: sustainablog (

5) Whip up some pumpkin purée - Pumpkin purée is the No. 1 use for the fleshy insides of your pumpkin, and it’s super easy to make. Find out how to make it here: Souce: Earth911  

6) Make a pumpkin planter - A pumpkin can make a beautiful centerpiece or front step adornment when used as a flower pot or vase. The photo on this post will inspire you to make your own: Source: ahamodernliving  

7) Roast the seeds - Roasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty fall favorite, and there are plenty of ways to use them. Reads this post to get the most from these tasty treats: Source: Earth911

8) Grow new pumpkins with the seeds - Source: How to Grow Your Own Pumpkins  

9) Feed the wildlife - Depending on where you live, a pumpkin you’d otherwise throw away could be a tasty snack for a furry or feathery neighbor. Old jack-o-lanterns are perfect food for deer, and any pumpkin seeds you don’t want to toast up for yourself will make a yummy treat for birds. Source: Earth911

10) Make a Pumpkin Bird Feeder Making a pumpkin bird feeder is a fun way to keep your backyard songstresses fed when temperatures begin to drop and food becomes a bit more scarce. To make a pumpkin bird feeder, select a pumpkin that is no more than about 5 pounds in weight. Cut it in half width-wise and thoroughly scrape out the goop so that the inside feels relatively dry to the touch. Leave a 1/2 inch wall on the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin seeds into this wall so that they stick up and form a ledge around the outside of the feeder.For more info: Source: ahamodernliving  

11) Make pumpkin candy - Pumpkin candy is a Mexican tradition, but when you discover just how tasty they are, you’ll likely make it one of yours, too. Find the recipe here: Source: Earth911  

12) Mix up a pumpkin cocktail- Thanks to the ever-widening selection of flavored vodkas on the market, you can make a tasty cocktail out of almost anything – even your Halloween pumpkin. While you enjoy your grown-up dessert drink, you can use some of that pumpkin purée in a tasty milkshake for the kids. Find recipes for both, here: Source: Earth911  

13) Pumpkin as a Cooler Since large, wide pumpkins are naturally bowl-shaped, they make great receptacles for beer, soda, and other bottled drinks. Choose a nice hefty pumpkin and begin by cutting off the top 1/3. Thoroughly scrape out all the goop and seeds. Next, place a glass or plastic bowl inside the pumpkin cavity. This is important to help prevent the pumpkin from getting waterlogged. If you do not have a bowl, smear Vaseline on the inside of the pumpkin, then cover it with plastic wrap. Fill the bowl with ice and bottled beverages of your choice. Source: ahamodernliving  

14) Another take on a beer cooler pumpkin If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can try your hand at this customized pumpkin beer cooler from It would definitely make a good conversation topic for any fall party. Just be careful- because a huge pumpkin filled with ice is going to be pretty heavy!  

15) Pumpkin as a Stew - recipe available on ahamodernliving  

16) Make some pumpkin serving bowls - Instead of hitting the trash can, those pumpkin shells could be hitting the dinner table and impressing all of your guests. Turning your pumpkin shells into festive serving bowls is easy. Source: Earth911  

17) Have pumpkin butter with breakfast - Fruit butters are delectable additions to a fall breakfast, and pumpkin butter is one of the easiest to make. Recipe on Source: Earth911

There are many more recipes for cooking with pumpkin on the page on

Have fun! And have a safe, happy and FUN Halloween.

Nightmares for Nature Nerds

I woke up in the middle of the night the other evening having a nightmare. In it, someone was chasing a hummingbird around my yard with a can of bug spray, trying to kill it. I was yelling and screaming at the person, trying to get them to realize the horrible thing they were doing.

The dream was a pretty good reflection of my life. I spend a lot of time trying to encourage people to be a little more aware of how their actions impact all of the living things in their gardens.

But like most dreams, there was something that had put the thought of dead hummingbirds into my mind, where it found its way into my dreams.

Last week, I found some photos on someone's blog of a hummingbird flying to a feeder where a large praying mantis was sitting. It was on the Birds 'N Such Blog, created by Alan Pulley of Norfolk Virginia.

I began reading the post, about how he was watching the hummingbird fly up towards the mantis, and already my mind was screaming "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

Well, you all probably know how much I love hummingbirds. They are like tiny little flying miracles to me. They bring me joy every time I see one. AND, I knew that praying mantises can eat hummingbirds.

I know it seems hard to believe, but its true. After first reading that statement, years ago, I did some online research and found both photos and videos of praying mantises killing hummingbirds.

That is one reason I never mention Praying Mantises as  beneficial insects, even though they are great at devouring a lot of bad insects in our yards. The unpleasant truth is, they don't stop with insects and will be happy to kill a beautiful little hummingbird if given the opportunity.

The whole thought of it is so sad to me, that I'm not  going to provide any links to  the many gory photos you can on-line. Feel free to search for praying mantis and hummingbirds if you want. But some of the photos are bad enough to cause nightmares for real nature nerds.

It's just another reminder  that you really have to be careful of everything you do in your yard and garden. Alan  made the choice of relocating his feeder. The last time I found a praying mantis, I made the choice of moving the mantis. In any case, no matter how you do it, I encourage you to watch out for the critters! As an eco-friendly gardener, the responsibility comes with the territory.

Now I need to figure out what the nightmare I had about hawks being trapped in my attic was all about. At least it wasn't bats in my belfry.

Related Post: Gardening for Hummingbirds

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weeds Are Like Belly Fat

It's always fun to find a fellow blogger who puts a new, interesting slant on an eco-friendly gardening technique. So I got a kick out of a post that I found on Sprinkler Juice called How to Kill Weeds. In it, the writer compares weeds to belly fat and mentions that getting rid of both of them require time and discipline.

Weeds really are like belly fat. No matter how hard you try (or think you are trying), both of them keep coming back. You work and work for HOURS and they find a way to creep back into your life. 

You try new things, you spend money on new products, and you might see some results for a few days but then suddenly.. 
they're back. 

And you start over. Pretty soon you become depressed and start blaming yourself because surely you must be doing something wrong, right? You start thinking that maybe you are just not good enough. You were never meant to have a flat stomach or a weed-free lawn. 

This leads to you eventually giving up, quitting. Throwing your hands up and saying, "Forget it! I'm not even going to care anymore because nothing I do is good enough!"

Getting Rid of Weeds is Easier than Getting Rid of Stomach Fat

The key is making time and setting up a routine. Just like exercise, you have to do it consistently in order for it to make any difference at all. But the thing about exercise is that it needs it to be a daily ritual. Starting out, it probably won't hurt to work on your lawn a little bit each day but once you get to the point to where you're just keeping it weed-free, you're looking at once, maybe twice a week tops.

Once a Week
Be strict with yourself. The obvious time for yard care is Saturday morning. Tell yourself that every Saturday at 7am, you are going to be out in the yard picking some weeds. Pick and pull until they're all gone. If you are doing it consistently each Saturday, there is no way you are going to find yourself up to your neck in weed problems. 

The best way to kill weeds is doing so with the environment in mind. Here are some Eco-Friendly Options For Weed Control:
  • Hand Pulling - More of that in a minute.
  • Boiling Water - For weeds in sidewalks, driveways etc, you can pour boiling water directly on the weed.
  • Corn Gluten Meal
  • Solarization
  • Hand Torches
  • Mulch
Picking Weeds By Hand 
If you have a few weeds popping up here and there in your flower bed or around your yard, the best thing you can do is take the time to pull the weeds, one by one, by hand. Get down and dirty and make sure you pull up the roots. 
The nice thing about picking weeds by hand is that you see the results instantly. With weed killers you don't really know if it's going to work and even when it does work, it doesn't work right away. 
Pulling weeds can be a relaxing and meditative exercise. Turn on some music that puts you in a good mood and lose yourself in pulling weeds. Don't think about how terrible and nasty they are for ruining your yard. Think about how much joy it brings you to kill them! Click here to read the rest of the post.

Here are some of my previous posts about eco-friendly weed control methods.

Please Don't Poison My Planet

Zen and the Art of Landscape Maintenance

Changing Your Relationship With Weeds

AND, here's one that might help anyone with a belly-fat problem!

Health Benefits of Eco-Friendly Landscaping

Ideas for a Green DC

I saw this article on Paisajismo (a landscape magazine) the other day:

Washington, D.C. leadership has requested input from a range of organizations as it develops a new “unified vision” and “comprehensive framework” for a more sustainable Washington, D.C. The end goal: to connect sustainability with economic development and become the number-one, most sustainable city in North America. Washington, D.C. is currently ranked eighth in a recent Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by Siemens.

As part of this process, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) polled members from its Potomac, Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland chapters and incorporated their input into a set of bold recommendations in the priority areas identified by the city government.

There are a lot of great ideas in the list. My only comment is that, as always, most of the ideas seem to be geared more towards business and government rather than what the average property owner can accomplish from their own homes and yards. However, the report does reiterate many of the ideas that green gardeners follow, such as re-using water, using trees for shade, using native plants and providing spaces for wildlife in our own home landscapes.

Anyway, here are some  of the ideas from the American Society of Landscape Architects for a Sustainable DC.  You can read the full report by following the link, above.

If you want more ideas for how you, personally, can create a more sustainable DC, subscribe to the Metro DC Lawn and Garden Blog!

Energy: Reuse brownfields as solar energy farms. Through revised building codes and local tax incentives, expand use of smart tree placement and green roofs and walls. Reduce building energy use through green infrastructure. Incentivize the use of rooftop solar panels.

Climate Change / Mitigation: Reduce total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by expanding urban park land, further improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure, incentivizing the growth in the number of bicycle and pedestrian commuters, creating highly walkable pedestrian-only areas, and introducing new innovative forms of public space such as parklets and underpass parks.

Climate Change / Adaptation: Increase coverage of street trees for shade and expand use of green and cool (white) roofs in order to adapt to higher average temperatures along with more varied temperature fluctuations within the District. Improve building and landscape water efficiency measures. Develop resiliency plans for Washington, D.C.’s plant and animal life within parks and green spaces, including the introduction of wildlife migration corridors and heat and drought-tolerant plants.

Water:  Use Sustainable Site Initiative™ (SITES™) guidelines to improve water efficiency measures, require the use of appropriate plant species in public and residential landscapes, and enable rainwater capture and filtered or treated greywater (and even blackwater) reuse for landscape irrigation.  In addition, approve the use of rainwater cisterns for irrigation of green roofs and other green infrastructure. Improve the permeability of the District’s park surfaces and their ability to capture and store water. Create multi-use infrastructure, or rain gardens or bio-retention systems in District parks, turning them into green infrastructure and water treatment systems. Continue to expand urban tree canopy and preserve larger trees to manage stormwater runoff.  As part of a public education campaign, parks and public green space should follow the highest water efficiency standards.

Transportation: Expand bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Create safe bicycle infrastructure. Connect the Metro system with bike infrastructure and bikeshare stations.  Incentivize the growth in the number of bicycle and pedestrian commuters. Create highly walkable pedestrian-only areas, and introduce new innovative forms of public space such as parklets and underpass parks.

Waste: Set clear, ambitious targets and deadlines for achieving zero waste in the District and measure progress against targets. Ensure all building materials are reused in new buildings (if the materials are non-hazardous). Use Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) guidelines for park maintenance and eliminate grounds waste generated from Washington, D.C., parks through composting.

Built Environment: Invest in turning more brownfields into parks.  Develop an Internet-accessible inventory of all brownfields in the city to enable easier remediation and redevelopment of derelict sites by local developers. Create a certification program for remediated brownfields to facilitate faster reuse. Invest in retrofitting older school buildings to make them LEED Platinum and also integrate green school redesign activities into school curricula.

Nature: Develop a biodiversity and environmental education action plan based on the concept of biophilia. Recreate wetlands along riverfront edges and reintroduce native wildlife. Reduce the mortality rate of trees and extend their lifespan by enabling them to grow in larger tree pits with structural soils and under permeable pavements. Use appropriate trees grown locally for urban forestry campaigns. Experiment with growing trees in park nurseries.

Food: Develop a comprehensive urban agriculture plan. Evaluate all available empty lots (including brownfield sites) as potential opportunities for commercial and community urban agriculture. Allow local residential food production.  Allow and also increase tax incentives for rooftop food production.

Green Economy: Invest in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvement projects to boost job growth. Use green infrastructure systems, including green roofs, to increase number of local, non-exportable green jobs. Launch a comprehensive green jobs program, training chronically unemployed and former convicts in brownfield remediation, green roof installation, and other tasks. Launch a national campaign in an effort to lure the best green talent to the District.

Governance: Organize watershed councils at the local level and appoint ward-level sustainability advocates to help implement and align SustainableDC initiatives. Use Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) guidelines as a management tool for achieving high-performing landscapes across the district.

Monday, October 17, 2011

And now, a message from my muse

Her name is Mother Nature.

Life of flowers from VOROBYOFF PRODUCTION on Vimeo.

Fall Lawn Care

I have to admit, that we don't do much to maintain our lawn. We don't really have a lot of it, and we prefer to put up with a few weeds rather going through the time and money of adding things to try to kill the weeds or green up the grass.

But for those of you who like a lush, green lawn, here are some:

Tips for Fall Lawn Care

1. First, decide if you want to keep the same amount of lawn - Today, more and more eco-minded gardeners are deciding to cut back or cut out their lawn, all together. Groundcovers, larger garden beds, rain gardens, wild flower gardens or vegetable gardens are all good alternatives for water hogging, fertilizer intensive lawns. For more ideas about replacing your lawn, visit . If you decide to keep some or all of your lawn, keep reading.  
2. Get to know your grassAs with everything in your landscape, it’s best to get to know as much as you can about the species that you are dealing with so that you can make the right choices in taking care of it. Whether you already have an established lawn or are putting in a new one, get to know your grass. Turfgrasses that provide winter lawn color in the area are known as cool-season grasses. Grasses which go dormant after the first hard frost, and stay brown through the winter months are known as warm-season grasses. Your choice of grass species will affect how you mow and maintain your lawn. Selecting turfgrass.
3. Get your soil tested - If you have determined that you have cool season grass, fall is the optimal time to fertilize. A soil test can let you know what nutrients are missing from you lawn which will allow you to apply the proper amount of lime and fertilizer, minimizing the water polluting nutrient runoff which can be caused by overfertilization.  
4. Use proper fertilizer - If you decide you need to apply fertilizer, choose one that contains at least 30 percent slow-release nitrogen. Also, check the three numbers on the front of the bag to select the right mixture for your lawn's current needs, as determined by the soil test. The numbers represent the fertilizer's nitrogen (first number), phosphorus (second number) and potassium (third number). Using high nitrogen fertilizer on a lawn that does not need it is a waste of money and will eventually be washed away by storm water if not used by the plant.
5. Seed to fill in bald spots - Fall is a good time to plant cool-season grasses such as bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass. Laying down sod is also good for this time of year, but sod is much more flexible in timing, so it can be done almost any time the soil is not frozen. To apply seed, first prepare the soil by breaking it up with an aerator or hard rake. After aeration, top-dress the lawn with 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick layer of organic matter. Then apply the seed. The seed should be misted once or twice a day (not heavily watered) until germination, especially in a dry fall. Don't allow autumn leaves to pile up and mat on seedling lawns.  
6. Keep it on the lawn - Whether you are fertilizing, seeding or just dealing with fallen leaves, make sure you keep them on the lawn and out of stormwater drains. Avoid fertilizer applications if weather forecasts call for heavy rainfall. And always take a few moments to sweep or blow any fertilizer that ends up on the street, sidewalk, or patio back into the turf. Any granular material on a hardscape is often only minutes away from entering our waterways during the next heavy rain.
For more information, visit the Virginia Cooperative Extension website and search on Fall Lawn Care

Friday, October 14, 2011

Protecting Watersheds: Rain Gardens in our Landscapes

There are so many great seminars and workshops this fall, that there is no excuse for the eco-friendly gardener to get bored! Here is another one I just found out about on Rain Gardens.

What: "Protecting Watersheds: Rain Gardens in our Landscapes"
Where: Common Good City Farm
When: Saturday, October 22, 2-4pm

"Come see Common Good City Farm's rain garden and learn how to design your own as an attractive way to prevent water run-off from polluting our watersheds. USGS scientist Dean Hively will talk about the relevance and importance of diverting water run-off, and plants that thrive in rain gardens. This workshop is free, but we are suggesting a $25 donation if you earn more than minimum wage."

Saturday, October 22, 2-4pm at Common Good City Farm, V. St, NW between 2nd and 4th Sts.

Please visit Common Good City Farm's  website to register.

Submitted by:

Kate Lee
Farm Manager
Common Good City Farm
V Street NW between 2nd and 4th Streets
Washington, DC 20001

Common Good City Farm's mission is to grow food, educate, and help low-income DC community members meet their food needs. Our programs provide hands-on training in food production, healthy eating and environmental sustainability.

Sustainable Garden Design - Seminar

What: Sustainable Design

When: October 28, 2011 – 12:00pm – 1:00 pm

Where: U.S. Botanic Garden
Nick Nelson, USBG Landscape Architect

Put into practice the techniques of sustainable design, without compromising aesthetics! Nick will show you how, as he provides tricks of the trade like grouping plants that have similar requirements but are complementary, in addition to broader topics, like the visualization and creation of dynamic spaces.

The USBG, in partnership with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, has developed Landscape for Life, a program for home owners on sustainable gardening and based on the principles behind the Sustainable Sites Initiative. This  Landscape for Life series serves to highlight how home gardeners can incorporate sustainability into their personal landscapes. These brown bag lectures can be done individually or as a series.

Code: LH102811

Location: Conservatory Classroom

FREE: Pre-registration required

Early registration ends on 08/14/2011.
Regular registration starts on 08/15/2011 and ends on 10/29/2011.

Building Good Garden Soil

What: Building Good Garden Soil

Where:  Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue in Richmond, VA

When:  Saturday, November 12, 9 AM – 12 PM

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue in Richmond, VA, is holding a workshop on Saturday, November 12, 9 AM – 12 PM called "Building Good Garden Soil." From the course catalog: Everything starts with the soil, and late fall/ winter is a good time to begin building your soil for spring gardening! Learn the characteristics of basic soil types, and how to analyze your own soils. Soil types and characteristics, amendment techniques, drainage, and more are discussed. Receive a soil test kit to start you on the quest for the perfect soil for your garden! $41 / $30 members

For more information, visit the Lewis Ginter Classes website  or call (804) 262-9887

Submitted by Judy Thomas.  Visit her  garden blog at and her VirginiaOrganicGardener pod cast on itunes!

Turning a New Leaf Conference

It's in Pennsylvania but it's about taking care of our Bay. And early registration is ending Saturday!!

Fourth "Turning a New Leaf" Conference
Friday, December 2, 2011

Double Tree Resort by Hilton
Lancaster, PA


Early Registration through October 15
$89 members; $99 non-members; $49 Student

Registration after October 15
$109 members; $119 non-members; $59 student

The Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council announces its fourth sustainable landscaping conference. This conference brings together landscaping professionals, environmental non-profits, and government agencies to exchange information and network. From the science of storm water management to native plant marketing techniques, this conference focuses on innovative practices to improve your business and the health of the environment and the Chesapeake Bay.

For more information, visit their website: Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Save the Dragonflies!

I love dragonflies. Despite their delicate appearance, dragonflies are the perfect hunting machines. More than 80% of their brain is used for processing visual information. It is believed that some species can see objects up to 30 feet away and detect movement as far as 60 feet away. And those big compound bug-eyes of theirs allow them to see in almost every direction at once.

Dragonflies also have more body mass dedicated to flying than any other insect. They can take off backwards, launch vertically, hover for more than a minute and fly at speeds estimated at 25-35 mph. Many of their flying talents are the result of the fact that they can control the movement of each of their four wings independently. They are such amazing fliers that both the U.S.military and NASA have studied them in hopes of developing aircraft with similar abilities.

And how do dragonflies direct these tremendous talents? They lay havoc to the bugs that bug us the most. Dragonflies consume 10 -15 % of their own weight per day dining on favorites such as mosquitoes, termites, deerflies, blackflies, horseflies, and midges.

Most of this dining is done mid-flight, as dragonflies use their mouths to scoop insects directly out of the air. When dragonflies are hunting in this way you may see them flying back and forth, back and forth, tracing the same path again and again in search of food.  Some scientists believe that dragonflies remember areas that are rich in prey and return to them repeatedly. Catching their prey in flight is called “hawking”, and there is really no more welcome sight than an army of hungry dragonflies “hawking” a swarm of termites which is emerging from a landscape. Dragonflies also “glean” their prey, which involves using their long legs or mouths to grab insects which are perched on plant stems or leaves. When they “glean” they eat plant pests up to the size of grasshoppers.

You can help Save the Dragonflies by participating in WSSC's volunteer day on Sunday, October 16th from 9 – 11:00 a.m at  Brown’s Bridge Recreation Area, 2220 Ednor Rd., Silver Spring.

Volunteers will be picking up trash in WSSC’s Brown’s Bridge Recreation Area, noted for its large number of dragonflies and damselflies. Brown’s Bridge is the best place on the Patuxent River to see these colorful insects, which help the environment by feeding on mosquitoes, flies and other small insects. Trash and weeds are threatening this special spot, so cleaning their habitat will help the damselflies and dragonflies to thrive.

WSSC is providing gloves for this project. You provide the helping hands.  Note to high school students: This events are approved for service-learning hours.

If you miss this volunteet opportunity, you might enjoy their next one…planting azaleas!

Plant Azaleas: Saturday, October 22, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Brighton Dam Azalea Garden, 2 Brighton Dam Rd., Brookeville

WSSC, with help from a troop of Girl Scouts and other volunteers, will plant more than 150 evergreen and deciduous azaleas at its Brighton Dam Azalea Garden. The azaleas to be planted include yellow, orange, purple, red and salmon-colored blossoms. These will join the pink, white and fuchsia flowers already in the garden. Currently the five-acre garden’s plants bloom for approximately one month in April through May. But the season will be extended into mid-June once the new variety of plants takes root, which normally takes about a year.

 WSSC is providing gloves and other materials for both events. You provide the helping hands.  Note to high school students: These events are approved for service-learning hours.

 For more information, contact Kim Knox at (301) 206-8233 or

2011 Farm Color Tour - Oct 15th & 16th

Don't you just love the fall? I know I do. I can remember, when I was a child, riding out to country farms with my family to buy our Halloween pumpkins. It was just the perfect thing to do on a Fall day.

The Loudoun County Farm Color Tour held on October 15th and 16th allows you to share that same kind of simple country pleasure with your family as you take a self-guided tour of 24 farms in Loudon's countryside. It also gives you the opportunity to visit and support local organic farmers and growers, such as Ayrshire Farm.

Ayrshire Farm, located in Upperville, Virginia, was the first Virginia farm to be certified both organic and humane. The farm produces a variety of meats and organic produce supplied to top regional restaurants.

“October is traditionally the month when farm communities come together to celebrate the harvest. This is a great opportunity to show what we are doing right here in Loudoun with certified organic, certified humane, local agriculture and our work for the preservation of traditional-breed livestock,” stated Sandy Lerner, owner of Ayrshire Farm. “We at Ayrshire Farm have been working for more than a decade to bring our farm and our community together in support of our local, family farms and to provide this community with more wholesome food, reduced food miles, and make our shared environment a healthier place to live and grow."

Each farm has special activities scheduled for the Farm Tour including visits with animals, hayrides, artwork and gourmet foods, honey production demonstrations and much, much more.

Come hungry and spend the day!

For more information about the Loudon County Farm Color Tour, visit their website.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Make a Difference Day is October 22nd – 15 Ways to Give from the Garden

Created by USA WEEKEND Magazine, Make A Difference Day is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October (October 22nd this year) to encourage acts of generosity and kindness.

Here are my suggestions for how gardeners can Make A Difference on October 22nd and everyday!

Make a Difference to Others:

    1. Feed the needy – If you have extra produce, fruit or other edibles in your garden, donate your surplus to a local food pantry.
    2. Take flowers to hospitals or senior centers - My brother-in-law's lovely mother, Jeannie Poulos, used to grow roses which she generously shared with neighbors, friends and anyone in need of a little extra beauty. If you have flowers to share, take them to a local hospital or nursing home to share with someone in need of a smile
    3. Teach someone to garden – Give a man some food, feed him for a day. Teach a man to garden, feed him for a lifetime. Consider becoming a Master Gardener so that you can teach people to garden.
    4. Offer to rake leaves for an elderly neighbor – add the beautiful bounty to your compost pile.
    5. Plant a garden to add beauty to the lives of others - Shawna Coronado planted this beautiful garden to share joy with others.
    6. Share cuttings, seeds and starter plants with friends and fellow gardeners. Northern Virginia Plant Exchange
Make a difference to the Planet – Learn eco-friendly gardening:
    1. Test your knowledge - take our Eco-Friendly Landscaping quiz.
    2. Eliminate chemicals from your landscape - eco-friendly options for weed control
    3. Create a raised bed garden - Water, fertilizer, compost, mulch, etc. can be applied more carefully
    4. Plan and implement a Waterwise landscape - overwatering your landscape is a waste of money and bad for the environment
    5. Garden for Wildlife - learn to provide the four basic needs of all wildlife: food, water, shelter and places to raise their young.
    6. Remove invasive species - invasive species can destroy an area's natural biodiversity
    7. Plant a tree in memory of a loved one - Your Gift of Trees is actually three gifts - one to someone you care for, one to future generations, and one to the environment.
    8. Choose an eco-friendly lawn care company - if you don't do your own gardening, pick a landscape company that is eco-friendly.
Make a difference to yourself:
  1. Gardening helps you burn calories, it gets you outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and is also good for the soul!
Whatever you do on Make a Difference Day, do it with a grateful heart. Someday you may be the one in need and the seeds of kindness that you plant today will surely come back to you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How to Make Squirrel Bread - Start with One Fresh Squirrel…… (It’s Yummy!)

Fall is a great time to bake bread, and since October is National Squirrel Awareness and Appreciation Month, I thought it would be a great time to share a recipe for Squirrel Bread.

Even as someone who loves most forms of wildlife, it’s hard for me to understand why someone would feel compelled to start Squirrel Awareness Month.

Squirrels are always cleaning out our bird feeders, digging up our new plants and eating our home grown fruits and vegetables just as they are getting ripe enough to pick.

I do admit that I feel a certain bit of awe for some wildlife species, such as hummingbirds and moose and foxes. And I’ll even admit that I go so far as to talk to a lot of the critters that I see outside in my yard. Still, I’ve never had any sort of life changing encounters with a squirrel . But apparently, a gentleman by the name of Greg Bassett did. George is the one behind National Squirrel Awareness Month. Here is an excerpt from The Squirrel Lover’s Club website:
Greg Bassett founded The Squirrel Lover’s Club™ in 1995 after an experience at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. While standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and marveling at the beauty and grandeur of the worldwide attraction, Gregg Bassett was unaware that life as he knew it was about to change. The instigator, a fox squirrel, affected Gregg irrevocably when it stood up on its legs and motioned with its hands. For a few moments, tourists forgot the Grand Canyon. Instead, they gazed into the face of an endearing creature that captured their attention and the heart of at least one visitor – Gregg Bassett. How many other lives did that one squirrel affect? We will never know. Gregg, however, never forgot that squirrel when he returned to his home outside of Chicago, Illinois.

My husband and I did have a bit of a squirrel encounter when we built our home. A mother squirrel had built her nest in our house during construction and after we knocked the nest down, we ended up raising one of the tiny squirrels from infancy. It was NOT a wise decision and taught me a good lesson about not interfering with wildlife. It also taught me how to make Squirrel Bread.

To make squirrel bread, you start with one fresh squirrel……….and you study him for awhile and learn what he likes to eat.

I learned about Squirrel bread when I visited France in 1993. Bread, of course, is a staple in France and you can buy fresh loaves from merchants on the street. I didn’t speak any French, and when I looked up the words Pain écureuil in my French to English dictionary, I was a little concerned about what I was eating. (I’m still not sure whether I ate horse one day when I ordered something called cheval.)  

Pain écureuil is a hearty, dark bread that is chock full of things that squirrels like to eat, like nuts, figs, apricots and dried fruits. It does NOT include any écureuil (squirrel).

Since I returned from Paris, I’ve often looked for a recipe for Squirrel Bread and haven’t been able to find one. However, this recipe from the book Patricia Wells at Home in Provence is very similar in taste and texture. (Refer to Ms. Wells book for complete recipe details.)

Anyway, it’s a great wonderful bread for anyone who likes to eat like a squirrel. And is really yummy with sweet cream cheese. Feel free to experiment with the amounts and varieties of dried fruits and nuts. And if anyone wants to convert this to a bread machine recipe and share the steps with me, please do!

Recipe for Pain écureuil - Squirrel Bread

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ½ cups lukewarm water
10 dried apricots, quartered
½ cups golden raisins
4 dried figs, quartered
2 cup chopped walnuts
5 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup rye flour
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon raw honey
  1. Combine yeast, sugar and water and stir to blend. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In separate bowl, combine apricots, raisins, figs and nuts and toss with 1 tablespoon flour.
  3. Add bread flour, rye flour and salt to yeast mixture, a little at a time, mixing until dough forms a ball. Add honey and continue to mix until soft but firm, 4 to 5 minutes. Add dried fruit and nuts.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until double the bulk, about 8 hours
  5. Transfer dough to floured surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Return to bowl, cover, and let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, 2 to 3 hours.
  6. Shape dough into large round loaf, cover with a floured cloth and let it rise again at room temperature, for 2 to 3 hours.
  7. Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Then lower temperature to 400 and continue baking for another 30 minutes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Manure Days for Gardeners

As a green gardener AND an animal lover, I thought I would pass along this information about Star Gazing Farm's Manure Days for Gardeners.

Star Gazing Farm is a small farm animal sanctuary in Western Montgomery County that provides safe haven to abused, stray, and neglected farm animals. They offer educational programs and community service opportunities to young people. They also offer some great, locally produced manure, of the goat, sheep, horse and cow variety.

As you know, manure is a great addition to a compost pile. And Star Gazing Farm doesn't use any chemicals or pesticides on their property. All animals are free range, and their primary diet is orchard grass and timothy hay.

Taking your kids to a farm is a great way to spend a fall afternoon and letting them visit the animals allows you to teach them the important lesson about the value of natural fertilizer in a garden. So why not take a trip to Star Gazing Farm in Boyds on either the 15th or the 29th?

And before you make the trip, take a look at Star Gazing Farm's wish list to see if you have any of the items they need to help take care of the animals.


Come and pick up buckets, bags, or pickup trucks full of composted manure from our sanctuary farm animals. Well-rotted manure is available from Star Gazing Farm in Boyds, Maryland, and your donation will help to provide shelter for injured, abused and abandoned farm animals. 

Anne Schroeder, the owner, will be pleased to tell you about the farm and introduce you to the animals during your visit. 

Feedback from people who have used the compost is AWESOME - like "my tomatoes grew to one and a half times the normal size" and "my flowers are towering high". 

•We invite you to come and take as much as you want, as many loads as you want. 

• There's no set price for this manure except a donation to the farm. Star Gazing Farm is a non profit 501(c)3 organization, and contributions are tax deductible. 

Your donation will be profoundly appreciated! 

You might try a donation approximating what you'd pay at Home Depot or Behnkes for well-rotted manure.

There are a few options: 

- The green stuff. SMOKIN'! If you need hot manure to get your own compost pile cooking fast, we have A LOT of this. 

- Composted manure, multi-variety: this has been composting over the summer and since last year. It is pretty much ready to go, but there are still bits of undecomposed hay so it could stand to be worked into the soil. This contains manure from goats, sheep, horses, and a variety of fowl, plus straw and hay.

- Uncomposted manure, bovine-variety: straight from the cows. Just picked up from the fields, mixed with hay: great additives to your existing compost piles. 

Note: we are not "organic", but we do not use pesticides or any kind of chemicals on the property. 


TWO DATES: Saturday Oct. 15 & 29, 2011 

TIME: 9:00 am-1:00 pm 


Stargazing Farm 
16760 Whites Store Road, Boyds, MD 

Please drive slowly up the driveway, as the animals are free to wander. Go up the left side of the house, and drive up straight into the pasture.
 Directions on the web site:


For large loads, if you can't make it that day, please contact us regarding other arrangements for pickup. 

Email Anne Schroeder with any questions:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Getting to know Steve Jobs

I’ve been spending the last few days trying to learn more  about Steve Jobs. NOT what Steve Jobs invented but who Steve Jobs really was.

Almost every article I’ve read talks about Steve Jobs’ genius mind. I’m not very high tech and I live a very frugal lifestyle which doesn’t allow for a lot of high tech gadgetry, anyway.  So I can’t relate very well to all the talk of how Steve Jobs changed the world.

What I’ve been searching for is some evidence of who Steve Jobs was inside.  The heart and soul of Steve Jobs.

Why did I feel compelled to do this? I guess because I wanted to humanize him. To make him more than his inventions and his ideas.

Jobs was well known for being very secretive about his personal life, so it was difficult to find out much about him other than his business life.  But I did uncover some things about him that I could really relate to. I found some of his personal philosophies very inspiring. Some of them similar to the ideals I try to live by in my own life. So I wanted to share them with you.

1)      He was born the same year I was, 1955. He grew up in the same generation, listening to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan and the Beatles. It is rumored that he dated Baez briefly and that the Beatles were some of his idols.

2)      He realized the value of teamwork and co-creating with others. When asked about his business model on 60 Minutes, he replied: “My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other's negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.”

3)      He was grateful. He didn’t take his good fortune for granted. “ I love my life. I really do. I've got the greatest family in the world, and I've got my work. And that's pretty much all I do. I don't socialize much or go to conferences. I love my family, and I love running Apple, and I love Pixar. And I get to do that. I'm very lucky."

4)      He liked to walk barefoot.

5)      He always followed his heart. He dropped out of the courses that didn’t interest him in college and took  things that he found more interesting. “Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.” It was these calligraphy classes that helped him to later design “the first computer with beautiful typography.”

6)      Jobs didn’t adopt someone else’s religion, but went on his own spiritual quests. He  traveled to India in the 70’s to visit a well-known ashram in search of spiritual enlightenment. He came back a Buddhist with his head shaved and wearing traditional Indian clothing.

7)      He knew love was more important than money:  Even though he was well-known for being a workaholic, he skipped a meeting to take Laurene on their first date: "I was in the parking lot with the key in the car, and I thought to myself, 'If this is my last night on earth, would I rather spend it at a business meeting or with this woman?' I ran across the parking lot, asked her if she'd have dinner with me. She said yes, we walked into town and we've been together ever since."

8)      He was a romantic: In 1991, Jobs and Powell were married in the Ahwahnee Hotel at Yosemite National Park, and the marriage was officiated by Kobin Chino, a Zen Buddhist monk.

9)      He lived a healthy  lifestyle: Jobs believed in Eastern medicine.  He sought to treat his own cancer through alternative approaches and specialized diets before reluctantly seeking his first surgery for a cancerous tumor in 2004. He was a vegetarian since his teenage years. He didn’t consume most animal products, and didn't eat meat other than fish.

10) He didn’t dress to please other people. I don’t give a sh*t what I look like,” Steve once confided to friends. This is why he was always seen in his Levi’s blue jeans and black mock turtleneck, even for public occasions. He often declared that his rationale was “to save him some time in the morning, not having to decide what to wear.”

11) With all his money, he lived a humble lifestyle, in a modest home with a nice garden. A Times journalist described Jobs home this way:  “Laurene has planted a garden of wildflowers, herbs and vegetables all around. The rooms are sparsely decorated, the only extravagances being Ansel Adams photographs.”

Here are some Steve Jobs quotes I found that I found particularly inspiring.
  • “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
  • “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "no" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
  • “I want to put a ding in the universe.”
  • “Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”
  • “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith.”
  • “You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.”
  • “There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
A CBS poll taken in 2010 concluded that 69 percent of Americans didn't know enough about Jobs to have an opinion about him. I can honestly say that I do know enough about him to form an opinion now. Steve Jobs was a pretty incredible guy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Components of a Sustainable Garden - Seminar

Landscape for Life Brown Bag Lecture: Components of a Sustainable Garden
Event Type: USBG Program or Event
Category: USBG Workshop
What: Components of a Sustainable Garden

When: Oct 21, 2011 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Where: U.S. Botanic Garden

Ray Mims, USBG Conservation and Sustainability Horticulturist – Soil, Water and Materials

Holly Shimizu, USBG Executive Director – Human Health

The Sustainable Sites Initiative recognizes the importance of human health and wellbeing as a critical factor in sustainable landscapes. Considerations include creating outdoor spaces for social interaction, providing views and quiet outdoor spaces for mental restoration, reducing light pollution and protecting and maintaining unique cultural and historical places. At this lecture, learn why human health is integral to a sustainable landscape and how the appropriate use of water, soil and materials is crucial to your success.

The USBG, in partnership with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, has developed Landscape for Life, a program for home owners on sustainable gardening and based on the principles behind the Sustainable Sites Initiative. This Landscape for Life series serves to highlight how home gardeners can incorporate sustainability into their personal landscapes. These brown bag lectures can be done individually or as a series.

Code: LH102111

Location: Conservatory Classroom

FREE: Pre-registration required

Early registration ends on 08/14/2011.
Regular registration starts on 08/15/2011 and ends on 10/22/2011.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More Eco-Friendly Resources for Metro DC

Last month, in conjunction with National Pollution Prevention Week, I decided to create a post that listed ALL of the great, eco-friendly resources in the Metro DC area. Hah! Once I got started, I realized what a monumental task I had undertaken. There are just so MANY great environmentally focused groups in the area, it was really foolish of me to try to list them all. It was even more foolish for me to call my post “Everything you Need to Know to Be Eco-Friendly in Metro DC” because, of course, we’ll probably never know EVERYTHING we need to know.

 I have since changed the name of the post and the resource list to Eco-Friendly Resources for the Metro DC Area and would like to invite everyone to please contact me with any information that I may have left off of the list.

 I’m grateful to Kimberley Knox, Community Outreach Manager of the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission (WSSC) for sharing some of the information available from WSSC. The WSSC Community Outreach Group is very active in programs throughout the area to educate and encourage others to be better environmental stewards. The group works with community volunteers, high school students and college students on environmental stewardship projects, such as planting trees and removing invasive weeds. In fact, Kimberley recently received the Izaak Walton League Wildlife Honor Roll Award in recognition of her work with volunteers to remove invasive weeds and to conduct planting projects along the Patuxent River. Congratulations Kim!  And again, thanks for sharing these links with our readers.

WSSC's Native Plant Garden for Butterflies and Birds - WSSC created a native garden for butterflies and birds at Brighton Dam, 2 Brighton Dam Road, Brookville, MD 20833. You can see photos and learn more about the garden here.

Scott's Cove Streambank Restoration Project – WSSC works with volunteers to restore streambanks along its watershed. You can see photos and learn more about this project here.

WSSC has some great photos of birds of the Patuxent Watershed

Birds of Prey

Water Birds

Song Birds

And illustrations of Fish of Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge Reservoirs

Their Facebook page, Friends of Brighton Dam, provides a variety of tips for gardeners throughout the year.

And of course, the wonderful publication, Water Conservation Landscaping, which is being used as text by the National Capital Area Watershed Stewards Academy can be downloaded in pdf in both English and Spanish.

 Water Conservation Landscaping. pdf file (English)

 Water Conservation Landscaping pdf file (Spanish)

Check our online calendar to learn how you can participate in some of the great eco-friendly programs that WSSC has planned for the Metro DC area.

For more information about WSSC events, contact the Communications and Community Relations Office at 301-206-8233 or

Conservation Landscaping Training and Demonstration Garden Installation

Conservation Landscaping Training and Demonstration Garden Installation
Sat, 10/22/2011 – 9:00am – 5:00pm 
About the workshop:

Homeowners can learn how to manage stormwater runoff from their homes utilizing conservation landscaping techniques. These landscape features, which include native plants and a substantial mulch layer, can effectively collect and treat stormwater and reduce localized flooding.  To effectively manage stormwater, conservation landscapes must be accurately sized and properly constructed. In addition to a lecture portion and hands on installation, this 1-day workshop will present a design segment for sizing and designing a garden and detail proper construction techniques for homeowners.

As a result of this training you will:
  • Understand why stormwater needs to be managed,
  • Understand the principles of conservation landscape garden location, design, construction and maintenance,
  • Be able to select appropriate vegetation,
  • Select and use design templates, build and plant a conservation landscape garden, and
  • Help to install a demonstration garden in public place that may help other homeowners decide to utilize this residential stormwater management tool on their own property.

The workshop will include a 3-hour lecture with hands-on design component and then participants will install a conservation landscape garden on the IWLA property. Wear appropriate work clothes and no open-toed shoes.  Participants should also dress accordingly for the weather (this event will take place RAIN or SHINE unless severe weather threatens the safety of participants.  Note – if garden installation is disrupted by weather, the garden will be installed on Wednesday the 23rd.) This is a full day course, so bring a lunch and plenty of water for the day.


IWLA headquarters, 707 Conservation Lane, Gaithersburg, MD 20878 in Gaithersburg. (Muddy Branch Watershed, in Montgomery County)


No fee is charged for this class.

How to register?

Use this link:

 NOTE: Registration will be on a first come, first served basis, and will be limited to 20 participants.  Sign-up now to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Take the Girls Out

Have you noticed all of the "pink" popping up everywhere? Even some of the NFL players are donning pink socks or armbands to help remind everyone that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.An estimated three million woman are living with breast cancer. One million don't know it yet. This year, nearly 2,000 men will also be diagnosed. And did you know that Washington, DC has the highest breast cancer death rate for women in the United States?

Through Take a Bite Out of Breast Cancer, you can donate money to breast cancer education and outreach just by taking the girls out on the town!

Take a Bite Out of Breast Cancer is an outreach and fundraising campaign focused on educating Washington, DC area residents about the importance of early detection and breast cancer awareness. For the entire month of October, chefs and restaurateurs commit their establishments to helping in the mission of reaching tens of thousands of men and women in the area. For one day, a week, or the entire month, participating restaurants generously donate a portion of their food and beverage sales to promote the work of Pink Jams!

Pink Jams!, is a DC area non-profit promoting breast cancer awareness to young men and women by combining this important message with fashion, art, social events, live music and now dining!

There are many great restaurants participating in Take a Bite Out of Breast Cancer.
Check out the list on the Pink Jams! website and take your girls out on the town!

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