Sunday, May 31, 2009

native plants of matyland

this past thursday, i attended maryland master gardener annual training day held at the university of maryland's college park campus. it was awesome to meet all 600+ attendees from all over the state! the volunteers from the native plants of maryland group were so wonderful and had gorgeous specimens! you can get all their info and their, i mean "our" plants, too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

keyhole gardening

i had never heard of a keyhole garden before stumbling upon the awesome site a keyhole garden is a raised bed garden design developed by the send-a-cow organization to teach african children to grow food all year round for their families in a small space. it is a fantastic concept!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


urban eco-artist edina tokodi paints the town green with her moss graffiti.

Friday, May 22, 2009

guerilla gardener

i walk by this stump everyday...this is what i saw today. sad irony though: as i bent down to take the photo, i noticed a little carolina wren, dead:(

Thursday, May 21, 2009

invasive species alert!

has anyone else noticed some weird looking bugs invading their houses and garages? they look like miniature rhinoceros with wings and antennae. i had first noticed these exotic bugs last fall 2005, but didn't think much about them as i put them back out the window. then i ran across a blurb in a gardening magazine ( with a photograph of the beast. what i had seen was a brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) or bmsb, which gets it’s name from the nasty odor it emits when disturbed.

the insect was first identified in this country in allentown, pennsylvania in fall 2001. the extent of it’s range is unknown, but it has since been documented on plant materials in new jersey and on buildings in western maryland as well as in several western pennsylvania counties and parts of west virginia. originally known as a fruit tree and legume pest in its native china, south korea, japan and taiwan, the bmsb eats more than 70 types of ornamental plants and trees such as burdock, empress tree, butterfly bush, catalpa, rosa rugosa, and honeysuckle. also soybeans and the fruit of many pear, cherry, peach, apricot, apple, mulberry, fig and persimmon trees are on the bug’s menu. the list of host plants continues to expand as awareness of the stink bug spreads. the bmsb’s range continues to increase as it flies or hitch hikes on vehicles moving from place to place. because of its diverse appetite and ability to expand both it’s population and range, the potential impact on agricultural crops could be devastating. the stink bug initially feeds on the more common landscape ornamentals, therefore making the home gardener the first to spot new infestations.

the bmsb adults can become a nuisance when large numbers try to over winter in side of houses or other protected areas. they will emerge in april when the weather warms up, and from june to august females lay clusters of 20-30 light green, barrel shaped eggs on the underside of leaves. newly hatched nymphs are yellowish mottled with black and red. the adult insect is about 1/2” long and shaped like a shield with mottled brown coloring. it’s long antennae are banded with alternating light and dark brown. specimens should be positively identified before action is taken, as the bmsb does bear a resemblance to our native Brochymena, a grey-brown stink bug variety without banded antennae.

rutgers university’s cooperative extension is currently conducting a study to determine the bmsb’s rate of infestations in the tri-state area of new jersey, pennsylvania and new york, and is taking reports from anyone in every state who has seen one of the stink bugs. they would love to have a specimen if possible. their stink bug identification information is helpful and can be located at here.

for more info and photographs, visit here.


the alliums are really rocking my garden, like delicious inedible lollipops!

robin's egg blue

a robin has nested in the overgrown variegated euonymus next to my porch. i scare her every time i open and close the gate, so i am trying not to do that!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


after completing the montgomery county master gardener program in 2004, i accidently launched a garden design business! many beautified landscapes later, the rusty hoe is ready to make your garden grow! gardening is an obsession for me, but my gardening business is really side work, as i am also an award winning jeweler, painter, designer, interior architect and blogger. find out more about me on my website. or my for my high contrast enamalled jewelry on etsy or on dawanda and my herban elements line featuring native species also on etsy.

garden design services:
my initial visit with you will address discovering your vision for your garden, and how we can accomplish it together.
approximately one week after our first meeting, (this may be longer during my busy seasons of april through june and september through november), you will receive a written proposal from me detailing the implementation of your garden design and the estimated costs associated with fulfilling your plans. with the acceptance of my proposal, there is a minimum charge paid as a retainer of $500 to begin design work. we will meet again to review my preliminary design for your garden and work out final details to the plan. following our review and agreement on the draft design, we will meet once more to go over the final schematic design, which will show architectural and decorative additions, exactly where each plant should be planted in your garden, as well as a list and count of each plant specified for you to take to the nursery. a detailed cost estimate will also be presented. plants and trees will be selected to suit your aesthetic needs, living requirements, garden micro-climate(s), soil type and sun exposure. Recommendations concerning existing plant/tree removal(s) and/or relocation or preservation, soil amendments and future plant care will be presented as well.
the charge for my design services will be mutually agreed upon prior to the presentation of this final schematic design.

garden consulting services:
sometimes, a client may not want a detailed design plan, but rather advice about their garden. my advice on existing spaces, new additions and plants that will be beautiful and meet your garden’s growing conditions as well as your needs is billed at $80/hour.

garden installation services:
many clients want to install their new garden themselves with some professional assistance from myself as well as instruction on how to maintain the garden once it is planted. the charge for this service is $80/hour.
i can install your new garden for you or simply assist you in installing it yourself for a charge of $45/hour.
alternately, if you have a landscape maintenance crew who you would like to perform the installation, but would like me to oversee the work, the charge for this service would be $80/hour.
finally all purchases made by me on your behalf will be billed to you at the wholesale cost plus 20% to cover the costs of my research and travel time, as well as fuel.
garden maintenance services:
my hourly charge for maintaining your garden is $45/hour.
i also offer monthly, seasonal or yearly maintenance packages, as well as one shot clean ups and “curb appeal” plantings for a party weekend or house showing.