Capitol Hill Garden Club In Washington, D.C., Since 1952

Recent Happenings

Take a look at some of the things our Club has done, they are all listed here. We hope you enjoyed them.  If you are not a member, then take a look at what you are missing and consider clicking Join Now!

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  • June 15, 2019 11:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Faith Brightbill won the top garden hat contest at the June 9 annual potluck in the Fellowship Hall of the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church. Four other members were recognized as runners up.  The hat contest was judged by NCAGC president Cherie Lejeune and NCAGC first Vice President Arlene Stewart.   

    Left to right:  President David Healy with hat winners Faith Brightbill, Sonia Conly, Melanie Dann, Vice President Teri Speight and Mary Ann Sroufe.

    About 40 members and guests attended on a rainy afternoon.  

    President David Healy delivered to Vice President Teri Speight the District I Busy Bee award for 2018-19.  

  • May 14, 2019 5:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The May Garden Walk is a tradition of the Capitol Hill Garden Club.  Over 40 members and guests participated this year!

    The walk started with the East Capitol Street gardens of the United States Supreme Court. Keely Shaughnessy, from the Architect of the Capitol's Office, walked us through the gardens discussing their history, their horticulture and the challenges of public gardening. The AOC maintains the Supreme Court grounds.

    Another destination was the native plants garden at Peabody School where a Master Gardener volunteer discussed the development and maintenance of this garden.

    The walk ended with a Garden Club Happy Hour at Cafe Berlin.

  • April 15, 2019 5:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Gerard Brown knows a thing or two about rats. He is the Program Manager of the Rodent and Vector Control Division, Dept. of Health. He has developed partnerships with both public and private entities in order to try to eradicate rodents and other vectors from our city.

    If it seems as though rats are more of a problem these days, you are correct.  There are more rats in DC.  It's a combination of several factors: Mild winter have allowed rat populations to flourish.  We also have a 25% increase in food establishments in the city.  More food for the rats if care is not taken.  And more of the natural rat habitats are being disturbed with buildings for our greatly increase populations of residents.  This natural convergence of factors has allowed the rat population to increase, not just here but in other areas of the country.

    Mr Brown's program is aimed at a couple of the factors listed above. They works with food establishments to contain discarded food and garbage.  They assist them to secure the containers, but also find them if they do not.  Citizens can also help by closing their trash containers securely, wait to put the trash out until 6 pm the night before, washing containers out with ammonia, and report trash can damage that allows rats access.  If the rats have damaged the bin, you can contact 311 and report the damage.  If it is confirmed that a rat has chewed the plastic bin, the city will replace it for free.  Mr Brown discourages citizens from using bird feeders, since rats will eat whatever falls to the ground.  Compost bins may also be a food source for rats.

    The Rodent Control Program is also experimenting with pest control through birth control.  The liquid contraception is available in the black “rat boxes” for them to drink.  They started making it available last month, so this program is still being evaluated.

    While Mr Brown works to eradicate rats, he also acknowledges their intelligence.  He recommends watching Rat Genius by National Geographic (  to fully appreciate the enemy we are up against.

  • March 15, 2019 5:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Scott Krantz (Director and Vice President, Building Bridges Across the River, 11th Street Bridge Park) spoke on the creation of the 11th Street Bridge Park which will be Washington, DC's first elevated park and span the Anacostia River. The park will connect the communities on either side of the river, Wards 6 & 8. These communities are already helping to create the park by providing input into the typpes of amenities that should be available. The park will include an environmental center, intergenerational play space, a kayak & canoe launch, public space for walking, sitting, urban agriculture and a cafe/restaurant.

    The communities will be able to access the park by foot, bike, bus, or car. It will also be ADA compliant. Security issues are being addressed with a working relationship with the Metropolitan Police Department. Citing Jacques Cousteau, "We protect what we love," the hope is that people will feel ownership of the space. People hired to work at the park will be 50% from east and 50% from west of the river.

    Construction will begin in 2021, with completion expected by 2023.

  • February 15, 2019 4:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jan Lane, registered horticultural therapist, spent over 30 years in Government Relations.  After retirement, she bagan the Master Gardener program in Virginia.  Her AHA moment came when she was kneeling on a muddy ground picking blue berries.  She loved it and did not want to training to end.  After some investigation into the field of horticulture, she decided to become a Registered Horticultural Therapist. She wanted to work with others and help them learn the joy of working with nature.

    She connects with her clients through gardening and working with the products of gardening. At Melwood, she worked with a group of women with intellectual disabilities. They would make sachets of scented geraniums. They planted the geraniums and tended the garden all spring and summer.  In the fall they harvested the plants.  Some were rooted, to become plants for next spring.  The rest were stripped of their leaves. The leaves were to be dried for the sachet packets.

    One woman, who is blind and deaf, was part of the group, but no one interacted with her prior to this project.  As this client took the lead in turning the leaves to ensure they dried properly, Ms. Lane noticed that the rest of the group seemed to acknowledge her hard work and began interacting more with her.

    Ms. Lane went on to show a variety of hospital gardens that create outdoor space for patients and their families to enjoy "green therapy" while convalescing.--Susan Thompson, Program Chairman

  • October 16, 2018 6:49 PM | Anonymous member

    Garden Anywhere: Growing Ornamental and Edibles in Containers

    Speaker: Dara Ballow-Griffen

    Grow what you want where you want! Container gardening makes it easy to have beautiful plants. 

    We covered the benefits of gardening in containers, plant and pot selection, basic design and troubleshooting, with lots of visual inspiration!

  • September 18, 2018 7:00 PM | Anonymous member

    Our Wetlands

    Speaker:  Kevin Smith, Director, Restoration and

    Resiliency, Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources

    We need wetlands. Why? For the answer, let's leave our own gardens and backyards and explore the larger DMV area with Kevin Smith.

    About Mr. Smith

    Kevin has been working on coastal and shoreline related issues for over 30 years with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Early in his career, he started working to introduce "non-structural" shoreline practices as part of on-going effort in Maryland to promote more environmental- friendly approaches to reduce erosion. He has worked on a number of innovative shoreline designs which have been installed throughout Maryland's tidewater region. Many of these projects set the standard for what became known as "living shoreline" practices. Over the years, Mr. Smith has led many trainings and education workshops regarding the design and construction of living shorelines for designers and marine contractors. He continues to develop and implement innovative shoreline projects which promote ecologic compatibility and help to move the science of shoreline restoration forward.

  • May 08, 2018 6:00 PM | Anonymous member

    The May Walk

    The May Walk is always a great way to begin the new gardening season!

    We began our Garden Walk at 325 A Street SE.  We then proceeded to the 600 block of A Street NE to see Vira’s garden. A combination of two neighbors working together to beautify their small spaces. These were must see gardens! Our journey continued as we wandered over to a garden that was mostly installed by our Capitol Hill Garden Club, under the leadership of Vira Sisolak, at the phone company building on 7th and Constitution. 

    Finally, we visited three gardens on the 600 block of Constitution Avenue, ending at 611 Constitution Avenue for refreshments. 

    Members who attended and who took photos are encouraged to send them to the webmaster so that they may be posted and enjoyed here.

  • April 10, 2018 7:00 PM | Anonymous member

    Hot, New Tried and True Annuals and Perennials

    Our final speaker for this season was Ruth Rogers Clausen. 

    Ruth wowed us with examples of plants and plant combinations that we may not have considered for our summer gardens. There are so many old favorites, as well as new options being introduced each season as new cultivars are introduced seasonally. One of my favorite trusted perennials is Heuchera. From vibrant red foliage to dark onyx leaves, you can't go wrong with this sun, sun-part shade perennial that just gets better with time. From its dainty bloom atop a thin spire, Heuchera is something to consider for the small gardens found on the Hill. If you attended the meeting, what is your tried and true plant for the summer garden?  

    Ruth also shared news about the upcoming Delaware Botanic Gardens. More on this as I await an update from Ruth. The last of the Spring planting has taken place and plans are being made for small private tours. This is so exciting for the East Coast.

  • March 13, 2018 7:00 PM | Anonymous member

    A Guide to Creating Something Extraordinary in Your Ordinary Space

    Marianne Willburn delighted us with her beautiful photos, a brief review of her book Big Marianne Willburn delighted us with her beautiful photos, a brief review of her book Big Dreams, Small Garden - A Guide to Creating Something Extraordinary in Your Ordinary Space as well as her recommendations on how we can utilize the lessons in our gardens. 

    We had a terrific time engaging with Marianne by asking lots of questions. We were surprised that she thanked us for the beautiful tulips and daffodils that greeted her as she arrived in Our City. One of the most important things we learned was it is OUR garden and we have creative license to try new and different things. Make gardening fun and fulfilling. 

    If something does not work one season, it is ok to pull it out. The garden is never finished and is always waiting for our next big idea. 

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