Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hyattsville Elementary PTA Native Plant Sale

I saw this post on a local gardening message board and noticed that it had different dates than what I had listed in my list of Upcoming Native Plant Sales

I’ve corrected my post, but please verify dates and times of sales before you make a trip out to visit one!

3rd Annual Native Plant Sale
Hyattsville Elementary PTA

Planning your spring garden?
Looking for plants that will attract butterflies, honey bees, and cool friends?
Who needs grass? Boring! Do you wait for your grass to bloom? Or do you dread its growing? Replace that grass with a beautiful perennial cardinal flower!
Discover the joy, beauty, and wonder of native plants.

Two Days!
Saturday May 19, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday May 20, 8:00 a.m. to Noon
(or until supplies last; please call or check our website for updates on availability)

Sale Location: Hyattsville ES, 5311 43rd Avenue, Hyattsville, MD 20781

For pictures and information on available plants, visit our website at

For more information, please contact or call 301-312-9170.

All proceeds go to supporting the Hyattsville Elementary School PTA and its efforts to improve the academic achievements of all our students.

Nearly 40 Plant Varieties!—
Butterfly Milkweed (Monarch butterflies? Special stuff!)
Smooth Blue Aster
New England Aster (beautiful and hearty!)
Blue False Indigo
Lance-Leaved Coreopsis
Blue Flag Iris
Dense Blazing Star (insane!)
Spotted Joe-Pye
Cardinal Flower (red red red red!)
Blue Vervain
Purple Coneflower
Orange Coneflower
Wild Bergamot
Black-eyed Susan
Ironweed (William Kennedy anyone?)
Canadian Serviceberry
Eastern Redbud
Winterberry (berries in the winter?)
American Holly
Sweetbay Magnolia
Black Cherry
Allegheny Blackberry
Highbush Blueberry (pancakes!)
Arrowwood Viburnum
Blackhaw Viburnum
And more!Plugs & 1 Gallon pots Available
Prices $3—$15 per plant
(Plant list subject to change)

Searchable Database of Plant for Sale

Related Links -
Chesapeake Natives (
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (
Maryland Native Plant Society (
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—BayScapes (
U.S. National Park Service—Natives page (
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve (
U.S. National Arboretum—Fern Valley (

Searchable Database of Plant for Sale

Information for post from Bart Lawrence, Hyattsville, MD

Patuxent River Cleanup – March 31st

Take the plunge and help clean up the Patuxent River, Maryland's longest and deepest river. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), the Patuxent Riverkeeper, friends, neighbors and patrons of clean water are all part of the Annual Patuxent Trash Clean-Up being held on Saturday, March 31, from 9 a.m. to Noon.  And you can join too.

Volunteers can sign up at seven sites located at the recreation areas around WSSC’s two reservoirs, Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge. These include:

· Supplee Lane Recreation Area, 16904 Supplee Lane, Laurel;

· Scott’s Cove Recreation Area, 10904 Harding Rd. Laurel;

· Pig Tail Recreation Area, 5600 Green Bridge Road, Dayton;

· Big Branch Recreation Area, 14801 Triadelphia Mill Rd. Dayton; and

· Greenbridge Recreation Area, Greenbridge Road at New Hampshire, Brookeville.

To register to help at one of these sites, go to

For more information about WSSC’s sites, contact Sandy August at 301-206-8240. To get more information about the overall Patuxent River Clean-Up, contact the Patuxent Riverkeeper at 301-249-8200,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Building a Compost Screener

Here is the latest project that my sweet hubby and I built for our eco-friendly, “green” garden. It is a compost sifter and we got the idea from plans that we found in Organic Gardening Magazine.

It’s very easy to make. The only materials required are a few pieces of 2 x 4 lumber, some hardware cloth with 1/2 inch square mesh, a staple gun and some galvanized deck screws.

Of course, we love compost because it provides eco-friendly, chemical free nutrients for our garden.

I hope you enjoy the video! The link to the article is below.

Build a Compost Screener (Organic Gardening Magazine)

Monday, March 26, 2012

10 Tips for Rain Barrel Maintenance and Safety

rockville I know I’ve written a lot of posts about rain barrels, but that’s because I think they are a real no-brainer for an eco-friendly garden.

Rain barrels are easy to make, easy to install and they help the planet in two ways: by both conserving and protecting our planet’s water supplies.

Rain barrels capture and store the rainwater running off a rooftop. The harvested rainwater can be stored for later use, or used immediately for watering lawns and landscaped areas, filling ponds or fountains, or washing cars. This stored water helps to save money and it really comes in handy during times of mandatory water restrictions.

By collecting runoff from rooftops, rain barrels can also prevent stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is caused when heavy rains  run directly into streets and storm sewers, carrying it (and the pollutants it collects) directly to the local waterways.

Rain barrels require very little maintenance. However, to make sure that they remain problem free, here are:

10 Tips for Rain Barrel Maintenance and Safety

  1. Rain barrels can weigh about 400 pounds when full, but they need to be elevated for good water flow. Make sure that they are placed on a sturdy, level base to avoid all possibility of toppling over.
  2. Make sure that all overflow pipes or hoses are directed to pervious (landscaped) surfaces so that overflow water soaks into the ground instead of pooling where it can create slippery puddles.
  3. Don’t drink the water from your rain barrel. There is no telling what substances the rain has collected from your roof or gutters.
  4. Use the water in your rain barrel before using other water sources to help prevent standing water in the barrel.
  5. Clean your gutters regularly to reduce debris.
  6. Once a year, tip your rain barrel over during a dry spell and rinse it out with a hose. You can also put a capful of chlorine bleach into the water to help prevent algae growth.
  7. Check your rain barrel on a regular basis to make sure all openings are clean, free of debris and flowing freely.
  8. During severe rain storms, check your rain barrel to make sure the overflows are working properly.
  9. If your rainbarrel springs a small leak, most can be repaired with aquarium caulk, a clear sealant available at most hardware stores
  10. Rain barrels should be drained and removed for the winter months to prevent ice damage.

Related post about rain barrels: The Rain Barrel Response

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Patuxent River Cleanup

Volunteer Opportunity with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Saturday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to Noon Patuxent River Cleanup

Sign up for a number of sites to pick up trash throughout the Patuxent River watershed and help the Chesapeake Bay.  Email

For more information, visit the WSSC website.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Are these products REALLY environmentally friendly?

Here’s another product that doesn’t really seem to be “environmentally friendly” to me: those motion activated water repellent systems that are supposed to scare away nuisance animals from your yard.

You set the devices up in your yard, attach them to a garden hose, and turn on the hose. The motion detecting devices say that they protect over 1900 square feet, work day and night and even squirrels will activate them. The way that they "protect" your property is by squirting large blasts of water to deter the creatures that dare to set foot on your land.

One website describes their product this way: it “provides an environmentally-friendly and safe alternative to chemical repellents and electric fences, so it’s safe for use around your family and pets.”

I have to admit, I would love to find a product that would help keep the birds from eating the fish out of my garden pond and keep the neighborhood cats and dogs from pooping in my yard. But it just doesn’t make sense to me to waste a lot of water to do it. PLUS, if you had a few nights of really active critter activity, I would think that you would run the risk of overwatering you lawn, which really isn’t healthy for it.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Win a Prius by Saving Water? Contact Your Mayor

 prius How would you like a new Prius? I have to say, I wouldn’t say “No”, if someone wanted to give me a new car, especially if it was one that was more eco-friendly than my current ride. So I was intrigued when I saw the press blurbs about the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, sponsored by the Wyland Foundation.

According to their website, the Wyland Foundation, along with a whole slew of other organizations, are giving away $50,000 in prizes to people who take an online water challenge between March 30 – April 30th, top prize being a Toyota Prius Hybrid. 

But here’s the thing: in order to win, you have to live in the city with the highest number of residents who take the challenge….and this is a NATIONWIDE contest. So the first step to get anywhere near winning the Prius, or any of the other great prizes, is to contact your mayor and ask them to challenge their citizens. The website provides a letter that you can download and use to contact your mayor.

Sure, the chances of winning the Prius are a long shot, but what have you got to loose? Getting people in your city to pledge to conserve water and other valuable resources is a good thing, and a cleaner environment for your city is a great prize, in itself.

More information from the Wyland Foundation website:

Mayors are encouraged to challenge their residents to visit from March 30 to April 30. Visitors to the website enter their zip code and then make a series of online pledges to conserve water, save energy and reduce pollution.

Participants in cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge will be eligible to win more than 1,000 prizes, including a Toyota Prius and water-saving home products from Waterpik, Sterling Plumbing, Rainbird, and Lowe's.

“The mayor’s challenge gives communities a way to come together for one very important reason—the future of our planet,” said famed marine artist Wyland. “We see mayors making gentlemen’s bets over who will win college football games. Here’s a way for them to take on an even more important challenge in a friendly, competitive way.”

Raingarden Workshop – March 31st

Raingardens for Homeowners. Saturday, March 31st.  9:30 AM – 12:30 PM. 

Rain gardens, also known as bioretention areas, are attractive landscape features that allow rain water and snow melt to infiltrate into the ground.  A layer of mulch and plants intercept water running off streets, driveways, and rooftops, slowing its flow and removing pollutants before the water reaches local streams, the Occoquan River and the Potomac River, drinking water supplies for the region. 

The workshop will be held at Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St.  Arlington, VA.  

To register, please email Aileen Winquist at     More information:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 22 is World Water Day – Adopt a Waterwise Diet

Since 1993, March 22nd has been observed as World Water Day to focus attention on the importance of preserving and protecting our planet’s fresh water resources.

World Water Day has a theme each year, and this year’s theme is “Water and Food Security” and deals with the planet’s supply of clean, healthy, abundant water and its relationship to providing food to the people of the world.

As eco-friendly gardeners, we often talk about waterwise landscaping. We know that by utilizing rain barrels, choosing waterwise plants, and using mulch, we all can help conserve water in our landscapes. But for World Water Day, this year’s theme seems to focus on "waterwise eating". "Waterwise eating" means following a healthy, sustainable diet; consuming a less water-intensive diet; and reducing food waste.

Of course, we all realize that we need water to grow food for people to eat. But the “Water and Food Security” theme also wants to encourage everyone to consider the water required in the production of the food that they eat, and to adopt a diet that is less water “hungry”.

Each food has its own “water footprint”, which accounts for the amount of water used to grow and/or produce that food. By learning a little about the water footprint of your foods, you can choose to make a choice for a more “waterwise” diet.

Here are some quotes, and a short video, from the World Water Day Website:

The world is thirsty because of our needs for food. Today, there are over 7 billion people to feed on the planet and this number is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. To be able to feed everybody, we first need to secure water, in sufficient quantity and adequate quality. We will also need to produce more food using less water, reduce food wastage and losses, and move towards more sustainable diets.

Here are some additional links for information about the “water footprint” of various foods:

Water Footprint of animal products

Water Footprint – Product Gallery

No more plastic mulch bags

Here’s a neat idea I saw online and its so simple, it really makes you wonder why no one thought of it before.

The product is called Weed Recede and it is mulch that comes in its own, self-mulching paper bags. You just lay the bag on the ground, pull a couple of strings to open the bag, and spread out the mulch right on top of the paper bag. The video for the product says that “the landscape industry in the United States uses over 700 million and one billion plastic mulch bags each year”, most of which end up in our landfills.

Anyway, if you like this product, you can vote for it in the Walmart on the shelf contest (which will make the product available at Walmart stores).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

National Arboretum Planning Turf Exhibit

Many eco-friendly gardeners think that turf grass is a bad thing. The truth, of course, isn’t that the GRASS is bad. What can be bad, and detrimental to the environment, are the actions that people take to keep their turf grass green, manicured and healthy looking.

People often over-water their lawns and apply dangerous chemicals to help keep the grass green. They can also pollute the environment by over mowing and trimming.

So I think it is great that the National Arboretum is planning an exhibit to teach people about the benefits of turf grass, along with proper maintenance techniques.

The theme of the exhibit is: New developments in turfgrass-making and environmental choice for our homes and communities and will be arranged in three sub-themes:

Turf and the Environment - Proper maintenance practices, pest/weed control, seasonal issues, water quality, erosion control benefits, research

Turf in the Landscape - Why turf? Grass species, soils, landscape &turf cooling/other benefits, ecosystem services, home values

Turf in the Community - Urbanization, recreation needs, functionality, safety/human health/obesity issues, value of turf industry/jobs

The National Arboretum is currently raising money for the conceptual design phase. The goal is to install the exhibit for an opening by spring 2013. Plans are to continue the exhibit through 2016 or 2017.
For more information, here is a pdf file of the proposal.

Spring has Sprung! Along with the Native Plant Sales

The calendar has finally caught up with the weather and Spring has now OFFICIALLY sprung. If you are like me and always try to keep a personal calendar listing gardening events that will help you spruce up your green garden, here is a list of upcoming native plant sales planned for the area.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The proof is in the planting

buzz We just got the April/May issue of National Wildlife Magazine in the mail and I was excited to see that this issue is dedicated to Gardening for Wildlife.

If you have followed this blog for long, you probably know that my strong interest in eco-friendly gardening started because of my desire to attract more birds, butterflies and other creatures to my yard and gardens. AND my efforts to garden for wildlife became more focused after I learned about the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Certified Wildlife Habitat (CWH) program. I really wanted to get my yard certified.

My favorite article in the issue is called Certified Success, and it is about a woman named Stephanie Widows who did a study, as part of her master’s program, to determine how successful the NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat program is in providing habitat.

For the study, Widows visited 50 homes that have certified habitats and evaluated them to see the quantity and quality of wildlife habitat that each yard had. She compared both the habitat elements and the number of wildlife species on these properties to nearby properties and to other, randomly selected properties in the same neighborhoods.

Her study concluded that the certified properties did, indeed, provide more beneficial habitat AND had more wildlife species than the neighboring yards which were used for comparison. In fact, the certified yards had more than TWICE as many species present as the other yards which were visited.

Most people who garden for wildlife can attest to the fact that their eco-friendly gardening definitely does bring in the wildlife. I am sitting outside while I am writing this and can see several species of birds and butterflies and even hear a hummingbird up chittering away in the trees. I know that most of that wildlife is here only because I have made a concerted effort to attract it.

I also know that there haven’t been many official studies done to PROVE that gardening for wildlife makes a difference. I’ve looked for research on the topic before and know it was very limited. So I was excited to read about Ms. Widows ' research.

Of course, you don’t have to have your yard certified in the NWF CWH program to attract wildlife. Certainly, anyone can create an eco-friendly landscape with wildlife in mind and provide the same benefits. But with almost 150,000 homes enrolled in the program (adding up to some 300,000 acres of habitat) the program did provide a great basis for Ms. Widows' study.

To qualify for certification in the NWF CWH program, a property must provide wildlife with food, water, shelter and places to raise their young. Other sustainable gardening practices which allow a property to earn certification are:
Related Posts: Does eco-friendly gardening help local wildlife?
10 Tips for Creating a Wildlife Friendly Garden
How I Became a Bird Nerd

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rain barrel workshops for Leesburg Residents

The Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District, in partnership with the Leesburg Environmental Advisory Commission, will offer four rain barrel workshops for Leesburg residents during April and May.

Rain barrels are an economical and practical way for homeowners to conserve water and save money. In addition, they reduce runoff, as stormwater is collected before it picks up sediment and contaminants that pollute area streams and rivers, which drain to the Potomac River and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay.

The rain barrel workshops will be held at Tuscarora Creek Park, located at 425 Solitude Court SE, on Wednesday, April 25; Thursday, April 26; Tuesday, May 15; and Wednesday, May 16. All workshops begin at 6:30 p.m.

Residents can make a rain barrel to take home or purchase a pre-made barrel. Each workshop will last approximately one hour; participants need to attend only one workshop. The rain barrel kits to make on site are $50 each; the pre-made barrels are $65 each, plus tax. The EAC is offering a $20 discount on the purchase of a rain barrel to each Leesburg household as an incentive to promote water conservation. Discounts are limited to two per household.

Participants are reminded to dress appropriately if they will be constructing their own barrels. A registration form can be downloaded from the Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District website at For more information, call Suzanne Brown, education outreach specialist for the Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District, at 571-918-4530, ext. 105.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Continuing More than 50 years of Beautiful Garden Memories

Volunteer Opportunity with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Sunday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to Noon-“Continuing More than 50 Years of Beautiful Garden Memories”

WSSC planted an azalea garden over 50 years.  This fall, we added over 150 plants.  But weeds have also found the azalea garden-and we need your help to remove them.  Brighton Dam’s Azalea Garden, 2 Brighton Dam Road, Brookeville.

For more information, visit the WSSC website.

Planting Trees and Helping Wildlife

Volunteer Opportunity with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Saturday, March 24 from 9 a.m. to Noon-“Planting Trees and Helping Wildlife”-

We need Girl Scouts from southern Prince George’s County to help us plant hazelnut, black cherry and persimmon trees to provide food and cover for birds and butterflies. 

Piscataway Wastewater Treatment Plant, 11 Farmington Rd W, # W, Accokeek, MD 20607.

For more information, visit the WSSC website.

Vegetable Gardening 101

Saturday, March 24, 9 AM – Noon

An in depth look at starting a garden that includes instruction on seed starting, soil preparation, and tips on where and when to plant.  

Fairlington Community Center, 3308 S. Stafford St.  To register, call 703-228-6414. 

Plans for the weekend – lessen the lawn

It looks like we are going to have beautiful weather for getting outside and working in the yard today. And one of the main things on my garden to-do list is to remove some more lawn to make another garden area.

It’s a little bit of hard labor, but it’s still cool enough outside to make the work bearable. And the environmental benefits (plus having more garden area in the part of our yard that gets the most sun) will be well worth it.

Here are some of the eco-friendly benefits of reduced lawn area:
  1. Reduced water consumption – turf generally requires more water than plants which are properly chosen for your site’s conditions.
  2. Reduced storm water runoff -  shrubs, trees, and other leafy plants help absorb, intercept, and slow down rainfall, thereby reducing storm water runoff.
  3. Reduced labor – less time spent on lawn maintenance.
  4. Reduced need for chemicals – more homeowners use chemicals greening and feeding their lawns than on properly selected plant species.
  5. Reduced  air and noise pollution caused by gas mowers, edgers, blowers, etc.
  6. Enhanced biodiversity – replacing lawns with shrubs and flowers provide shelter and food sources for birds, butterflies and other local wildlife.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Benefits of Drip Irrigation – March 21st

Are you tired  of dragging water hoses across your lawn or fighting with soaker hoses?

The Wednesday, March 21 meeting of the Chevy Chase Citizens Association Garden Club features Murray Schmechel, a volunteer at the Common Good Garden located downtown in DC.

Murray will briefly talk about the Common Good Garden and then focus on the benefits of a drip irrigation system which targets water to specific plants and areas in a garden reducing overall water consumption.

He will navigate you through installation bringing samples of the hardware needed to put together a simple drip irrigation system.

The meeting is opened to everyone and starts at 7:15 pm in the Chevy Chase Community Center, McKinley St and Connecticut Ave., NW.

For questions or more details, email Barbara Baldwin,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tree Rebates available to green residential, commercial property in D.C.

Spring is an ideal time to plant trees and Casey Trees offers rebates up to $100 per tree to individuals who plant trees on private property — residential or commercial — in the District.

Small and medium canopy trees — including standard-size fruit and trees — are eligible for rebates up to $50 per tree, as long as the tree reaches 15 feet tall and wide at maturity. Seven genera and 27 species noted for their large canopy and environmental benefits qualify for rebates up to $100 per tree. There is no limit to the number of rebates per property.

Invasive tree species and any species of ash, dwarf trees and shrubs do not qualify for a rebate of any amount. 

To help customers identify rebate-eligible tree stock, many D.C.-area nurseries and home improvement centers are promoting the program in their stores with promotional signage and special tree tags. However, trees may be purchased from any store and through landscaping and landscape architecture companies.

The Tree Rebate program is funded by the District Department of the Environment.
Downloadable rebate forms, submission instructions and a complete list of trees eligible for the increased rebate are available at

It’s National Pi Day – And Albert Einstein’s Birthday - Seek out the Wonders

albert  In honor of National Pi Day…..and in honor of Albert Einstein’s birthday….I encourage you to get outside and observe the wonders around you.
My good friend Skip mentioned that today is National Pi day. March 14 is apparently the day that math geeks everywhere celebrate the wonder that is Pi. There is even a Pi Day website for it.
In 2009, the Congressional resolution which officially named March 14th Pi Day, stressed the importance that math and science play in every child’s education.
Whereas America needs to reinforce mathematics and science education for all students in order to better prepare our children for the future and in order to compete in a 21st Century economy;
March 14th also marks the anniversary of the birth of Albert Einstein. And I have to admit that I am a much bigger fan of Einstein than I am of Pi (or even Pie, for that matter).
In any case, I encourage you to take some time today “reinforcing your science education” by going outside and observing the wonders. Let your senses take over as you observe the sights, sounds and scents around you.  
Here are some of my favorite Albert Einstein quotes to help encourage you:
Albert Einstein:
”The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.”
 “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.”
“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything”
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
More Quotes by Albert Einstein from

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Fix a Leak Week – March 12th - 18th

According to the EPA WaterSense website, March 12th – 18th is Fix a Leak Week – a great time for everyone to check their household fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks.
Their website says that leaks can account for, on average, 10,000 gallons of water wasted in the home every year, which is enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.
Their site lists plenty of ways to check for and repair water leaks. Here’s what they say about the great outdoors:
  • An irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing.
  • An irrigation system with pressure set at 60 pounds per square inch that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
  • To ensure that your in-ground irrigation system is not leaking water, consult with a WaterSense irrigation partner who has passed a certification program focused on water efficiency; look for a WaterSense irrigation partner.
  • Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.
To help consumers save water and improve water efficiency in the home, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) encourages citizens to find and fix household water leaks during "Fix a Leak Week."
At a special Fix a Leak Week event on Wednesday, March 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., DC Water representatives will distribute water conservation information and demonstrate how to install water-efficient plumbing fixtures. The event will be held at the Frank W. Reeves Municipal Center, 2000 14th Street, NW. DC Water’s mascot, Wendy the Water Drop, will also make a special appearance. For more water-saving tips and information, consumers can visit DC Water’s Facebook page.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How to Use old Pantyhose in the garden

I was so bored last night, that I decided to clean out some dresser drawers. I can’t BELIEVE how many pairs of old pantyhose and stockings I found, which is pretty bad, because I can’t even remember the last time I wore any of them.

Anyway, rather than just throwing them away, I decided to take a look on the internet to see if I can find some logical uses for leftover pantyhose. Here are some that I found for the garden:

  1. Use the leg of a pair of pantyhose to store flower bulbs out of season.
  2. Place seeds in a pantyhose leg and hang to dry.
  3. Repel deer with bundles of human or pet hair tied in a piece of pantyhose and hung in the garden.
  4. Use strips of pantyhose to tie up and stake plants.
  5. Drop leftover slivers of bar soap into the foot of a pair of pantyhose and tie it shut. Hang it next to the outdoor faucet for a quick wash before going inside.
  6. Line the bottom of plant pots with old pantyhose  to keep soil from leaking when you water.
  7. Shape a wire hanger, covered with pantyhose,  into a “nature net” to help kids catch tadpoles and other critters to observe.
  8. Use a rubber band to secure a piece of pantyhose over the top of a jar when your child is catching fireflies, bugs and other critters to observe.
  9. Slide new melons into the foot section of a leg of pantyhose and tie or stake them off the ground to eliminate ground rot, mold and invasion by insects.
  10. Plant water plants in them for your garden pond.
  11. Fill them with compost, submerge them in water and make compost tea.
  12. Slip them over flowerheads and secure with twist-tie to collect seeds.

How about you? Do you have any other garden uses for old nylons and pantyhose?

Sources: How to Use Pantyhose in the Garden |

25 Re-uses for worn out pantyhose

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Keeping a River Running

Volunteer Opportunity with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Saturday, March 17 from 9 a.m. to Noon-“Keeping a River Running”

Join WSSC as we pull trash, branches and other debris out of culverts next to the Patuxent River.  This is an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful serenity of the river-while making a difference to the Chesapeake Bay.  

Supplee Recreation Area, 16904 Supplee Lane, Laurel, MD.

For more information, visit the WSSC website.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dog poop in the compost?

As a thrifty, eco-friendly gardener, it’s hard to throw away anything that might have some value as compost. Composting, after all, is a great way to create our own natural soil additives at home, eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers that could cause problems for the environment.

Certainly most green food waste and plant waste makes its way into our compost pile, along with eggshells, wood chips, hair, dryer lint and many other items that would otherwise get thrown out around a home.

The question of composting pet poop, however, has always been a messy one. Even websites such as the EPA page on composting lists Animal Manure on the IN list for items to compost while at the same time listing Pet Waste on the OUT list, for items to avoid.

My friend Susan McCullough recently tackled this question on the Metro DC Dog Blog.

Apparently the folks in the Fairbanks, Alaska Soil & Water Conservation District “performed a study aimed at developing ‘easy yet effective dog waste composting practices that reliably destroy pathogens found in some dog feces.’  The study found that good composting not only removes dog waste but also saves energy (from transporting the waste to a landfill) and also enriches the soil.”

To read more about this study, you can read Susan’s post entitled The Compost Post. And be sure to subscribe to the Metro DC Dog Blog for more fun about our four-legged friends.

By the way, I mentioned animal poop a couple of weeks ago when I was going out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a short trip. I wondered what they do with all of the elk poop on the huge National Elk Refuge that feeds about 10,000 elk during the winter. Well, I just wanted to pass along this tongue-in-cheek conversation I had with one of the rangers out there.

Me: “Excuse me. Can you tell me what you do with all of the elk poop on the refuge?”

Ranger: “Why? Do you want some?”

Me: “Well, not now, because I am getting ready to get on a plane to head home, but it just seems like all of those nice, compact pellets would make great fertilizer.”

Ranger: “Hmmm. I have to say, we have never had that question before. How would you suggest we collect the poop?”

Me: “I know you let boy scouts pick up elk antlers and sell them to raise money. Why don’t you let them pick up elk poop and sell it for fertilizer.”

Ranger: “Right. We could have a new kind of merit badge for collecting poop.”

Me: “Or maybe just the bad boy scouts would get elk doody duty.”

Ranger: “Haha. Actually we just leave all of the poop right where it lands. And it does act as great fertilizer for the grass that grows there that helps to feed the elk. So none of it really goes to waste.”

Which just goes to show you, sometimes the simplest answer is really the best one.

You may also enjoy reading: Can I put *bleep* in my compost heap

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment Annual Meeting

Wednesday, March 14, 6:30 - 8:30 PM.

The theme for this event is alternative transportation with a look at electric cars, bikesharing, electric charging stations and more. Several electric/hybrid cars will be on display.

The meeting will include an overview of ACE events for 2012, ACE board of director elections and light refreshments.  

Arlington Central Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New gardening product – Is it Good or Bad for the environment?

I’m always on the lookout for new products that help make eco-friendly gardening a little easier. So when I read the teaser about the Pure Rain watering tools on a website called, I had to take a look.

The teaser read : Pure Rain oxygen-infusing garden products provide chemical-free way to increase plant growth by up to 30 percent.

The article goes on to say :

“When people think of water pollution, they often imagine large oil spills or waste from industrial plants as the primary culprits. But according to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, nonpoint source pollution--or pollution from smaller, scattered sources, including residential lawn and garden chemicals--is the leading source of water quality problems. "Some of the chemicals put on landscapes gets taken up by the plants, but a lot of it washes off into the lakes, rivers, oceans, and streams and eventually winds up in the ground water," says Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual.”

So how does a watering nozzle help prevent water pollution? According to the article, when attached to a hose, the Pure Rain products infuse more oxygen into the water supply, which is crucial for the plants growth and vitality.

“Ultimately, plants grew up to 30 percent larger without the use of potentially harmful chemicals or other soil amendments that often end up back in the water supply.

And improving the dissolved oxygen content in tap water means less need for water overall, enabling homeowners to save money while saving the planet.”

Of course, eliminating harmful chemicals and soil amendments is a great thing, when it comes to preventing pollution. But in our landscape, we primarily use water from rain barrels and drip irrigation to water our plants, so it would SEEM like a waste of water to use spray nozzles, unless they don’t require a lot of pressure and can be used on a garden hose attached to a rain barrel.

We do sometimes use oscillating sprinklers on our lawn, but do we really want our lawn to grow faster?

What do you think? Has anyone out there ever used these products or do you know enough about the value of oxygenized water to have an opinion on these products? 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Helping Small Trees Thrive this Spring

Volunteer Opportunity with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Sunday, March 11 from 9 a.m. to Noon-“Helping Small Trees Thrive This Spring”-

We will be preparing 250 small trees to thrive this spring with watering, mulching and weeding.  Scott’s Cove, 11000 Harding Road, Laurel

For more information, visit the WSSC website.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Endangered Species in your own backyard?

moose1 We are on the last days of our trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We come out here often for several reasons. First, its a great place to ski, and my husband LOVES to ski. But its also a great place to view wildlife, which is what I usually do to fill my time while we are here. On the day we arrived, we saw moose, bighorn sheep, coyotes, elk and mule deer, all on the short 45 minute drive from the airport to our condo.

Tonight we are hoping to attend a lecture by Joel Sartore, a National Geographic photographer who uses his superb photographs to deliver his important message: We are living in a pivotal time, when many species are on the edge of extinction and ecosystems are on the brink of collapse.

“Most can be saved,” Sartore says, “but you have to know they exist.”

To make his point, Sartore  uses photos of some of the more notable and recognizable endangered species.  But the truth is, there any many endangered species all around us. Perhaps some as close as our own backyards.

If you get a chance, take a look at Sartore’s website to see some of his spectacular photos. And then, take the time to learn about some of the endangered species where you live. And consider that perhaps, maybe the things you are doing in your own landscape are part of the problem…or part of the future solution….for these local species.

As Sartore says: "...if we just pay a little attention, many of these species can be saved. But we have to see them, we have to respect them."

Endangered Species: Plants and Animals, Maryland
Threatened, Endangered, Sensitive, and Other "Species of Concern" in Virginia
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Endangered Species Program

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