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!

  • April 09, 2016 8:30 AM | Anonymous member
    Weeding and Mulching At Eastern Market

    Also on April 9th, a group of Club volunteers led by Leanna Fenske, weeded and mulched the tree boxes on the north plaza of Eastern Market and in front of the Natatorium.

    This is becoming an annual event for our Club, doing what we can to keep our neighborhood beautiful.

  • March 08, 2016 5:30 PM | Anonymous member

    Growing Roses In An Urban Garden

    Featuring: Jay Jensen, American Rose Society

    Basics and beyond: In one of our most informative meetings, our speaker introduced us to growing techniques and varieties suitable to our micro-climate, energy levels and environmental concerns.

    His photos were wonderful, and the details in his PowerPoint incredibly valuable to novice and experienced rose gardeners alike. The presentation deck that he used is attached below, and has lots and lots of information, photos, etc.

    Mr. Jensen on several occasions referred to our Past President, Carol Edwards, as a great source for information on Organic Rose gardening.

    Members who are particularly interested in roses will want to visit the website for the American Rose Society, or maybe consider joining. The Society exists to promote the culture and appreciation of the rose, through education and research to members, to local rose societies and their members, and to the public. After you have seen the sampling of photos here, taken from their website, you'll want to click the link below to see all the rest!

    For even more information on growing roses, please visit the Member's Articles page of the Club's website where you'll find articles written by our own member and past president, Carol Edwards.


    The American Rose Society

           Presentation Deck:

    Rose Overview

  • February 08, 2016 5:30 PM | Anonymous member

    Capitol Hill's Alluvial Soil

    Well, if you ever wanted to get all the dirt on soil, I hope you were at this meeting! Maxine Levine, a Soil Scientist from the USDA/NRCS/SSD, brought Capitol Hill's alluvial soil to life, telling us it's history, contents, living creatures, and what amendments it may need for successful gardening.

    It was very informative, with lots of pictures, charts and graphs. Her complete presentation deck is available below where you can view it, download it, and learn from it.  It's a big file, make sure you have a good connection.

    Many thanks to Sandra Bruce for planning and organizing this presentation.

    PDF Alluvial Soil.pdf

  • January 11, 2016 5:30 PM | Anonymous member

    Tell Us About YOUR Garden

    For our January meeting, 3 Club members shared how they planned their garden, what is in it, and a few of their secrets for maintaining and enjoying it. 

    This program is always a favorite with our members, and drew the largest crowd for any meeting this season.

    Many thanks to Evelyn McKay for planning and organizing this evening's presentations.


    Marian Wiseman - House Renovation

    After a major house renovation in 2011, our back garden was decimated. We took the opportunity to create an entirely new garden. 

    Along each side of our lot we built triangular planters that are angled to complement the new deck. Each of the three planters on one side has a bush that stays green throughout the winter: a Pieris japonica and two azaleas. 

    Flowering perennials are the basis of the garden. Something is in bloom all during the growing season, starting with azaleas, Jack Frost, astilbe, heuchera, and iris in April and May, continuing with plants such as peonies, bee balm, phlox, smooth beard tongue, and cone flowers through the summer, and asters in the fall. 

    To break up the large brick wall bordering one side of the garden, we installed a twine trellis system on one end, and we are espaliering a pyrochantha at the other end.



    Joseph Purdy & Anthony Pontorno - Jenkins Row Terrace

    After many years of gardening on Capitol Hill, Joe and Anthony sold their home and moved to a top floor condominium with a 12x18 terrace where they can look down to see Pennsylvania Ave, and across the city to the Capitol dome, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Arboretum.

    Although they would still able to garden, the terrace was a game-changer in that they would now be container gardening in almost full sun.  Their goal was to create a space that would look ‘heavily landscaped’ all year by using an array of evergreen plants and trees, but also be a space that would offer seasonal color via deciduous, flowering plants and trees.  Finally, for summer impact, Anthony chose an assortment of non-traditional planters (plastic containers from the Container Store), to fill in 3 1/2 sides of the terrace with colorful perennials and annuals.  In the end, "I wanted the plants look like they were growing right out of the ground, like the hanging gardens of Babylon” according to Anthony.

    To connect them spiritually with their former house and garden, they incorporated a few plants that they brought with them, as well as 4 statues (the Four Seasons), and most importantly, the very unexpected crystal chandelier that Anthony used to hang from a large oak tree.

    The result is a lush space where they feel that are still in a row house garden, where they can enjoy morning coffee, have afternoon wine and cheese with friends, or sip a late evening martini before retiring.

    Noteworthy plants that Anthony selected include Cherokee Princess Dogwood, Weeping Carolina Cedar, Fox Tail Spruce, Climbing Hydrangea, Japanese Cut Leaf Maple, Varigated Euonymus (Glacier), Boxwoods, Japanese Forest Grass, Japanese Painted Ferns and a very spectacular chocolate drop weeping coleus.

    To alter the effect each year, Anthony chooses his annuals carefully, e.g. one year everything bloomed with white flowers, while last year he chose Black Satin Petunia with chartreuse potato vine as his dominant colors.

    Joe feels that the biggest difference between in-ground and roof top gardening is the enormous quantity of water that the plants need, even in winter.  The biggest surprise was seeing so many mosquitos traveling 5 stories high for a bite to eat.  The most unexpected pleasures are the many small birds attracted to the water feature.

    "In this garden, the only thing I do is take the tags off the new bushes, and water", quipped Joe,  "Anthony does all the rest".



    Joyce Jones and Floyd Brown 

         Artistic Accents in a Lovely Garden

    After many years of fighting mosquitos on our deck, and a very overgrown crabapple tree in our backyard, we decided to take the plunge and create a smaller growing space, water feature and fountain with Koi, and a screened porch from which to view the garden and decorative artifacts. One of my favorite features is a new brick wall constructed using old bricks and a wonderful new medieval style gate leading to the parking area. An American Fringe tree, planted in place of the crabapple is surrounded by a growing boxwood border.

    A curly willow started from little more than twigs is now about 12ft. tall and waiting to be repotted in late winter so that it can continue to add graceful swaying against our stairs and fence.

    This leaves more time to devote to the front garden which continues down to the sidewalk where I have used boxwood and other evergreens for structure and a background for garden artwork, including an iron tree and seated statue that all can enjoy--photo ops with grandchildren on the block are popular!  A very large Harry Lauder Walking Stick oversees summer annuals and winter cabbages. A healthy ligularia plant provides summer, fall, and winter interest. A spring iris border on the other side of the walkway is watched over by a friendly satyr.

    Some years ago, it seemed like a great idea to create a small step and walkway between our garden and that of our neighbor to be used in snowy weather as she leaves early for work--meaning Floyd has only one path to shovel! Providing a helping hand in keeping the next door garden watered and casually maintained has been worthwhile both because we wanted to do it and also because it adds to the appearance of our adjoining gardens. Recently, a new garden club member has taken on the job of redoing our neighboring garden and it looks great!



  • December 02, 2015 4:30 PM | Anonymous member

    Deck The Halls Greens Workshop

    Our Club kicked off the holiday season with another successful Deck The Halls Greens Workshop. Thirty one members participated this year, making an array of holiday wreaths, table arrangements and other holiday decorations.

    Instructions and guidance were provided to those who wanted some help. Ed Peterman demonstrated bow-making. A few members took the greens home, without making anything at the workshop.

    The refreshment table was particularly impressive this year, with an array of foods and beverages bought by our members.

    We had several new members attending this year, we hope they enjoyed the evening!

    Many thanks are sent to the members who worked so hard to make this year's event great, including Sonia Conly, Marissa Zapata, Sandra Bruce, Mary Ann Sroufe, Carol Edwards, Doris Celarier, Ed Peterman, and Donna Brauth.

  • November 10, 2015 5:30 PM | Anonymous member

    Techniques and Challenges for Growing Vegetables Year-Round in Small Places

    Featured: Sandy Farber Bandier, UDC Master Gardener Coordinator and Wendy Kiang-Spray, Freelance Writer

    Sandy’s presentation focused on growing food on the new green roof at the University of the District of Columbia. She emphasized for growing successful edible crops on roofs it is critical to:

    • Use good soil
    • Install drip irrigation and when needed use supplemental watering
    • Select the right types and varieties of plants to match the roof top conditions of hot sun and stronger winds
    • Ensure the availability of pollinators

    She also communicated the important role that Master Gardeners played in raising and harvesting the first year’s crops of a dozen different vegetables which included: spicy bush basil, cucumbers, Swiss chard, Cherokee Purple tomatoes Vanguard sweet peppers, and purple podded okra.

    Wendy’s presentation focused on growing vegetables year-round in small spaces. She started by pointing out that:

    • Small spaces often are not ideal for growing edibles but with minimal effort can be very productive if the right crops are grown
    • Few tools were needed for this type of gardening

    She provided information on a wide array of containers from raised beds to pots, identified locations from front yards to window boxes, and showed multiple planting strategies from mixing flowers and vegetables to succession plantings. She also covered soil and watering requirements, how to extend the growing season, and wrapped up with a list of great winter vegetables to try. For more information about Wendy’s presentation, and to download her presentation deck (with photos), please click here.

    The Club extends thanks both Sandy and Wendy for their thorough and interesting presentations.

    Presentation Decks

    Gardening in Small Spaces.pdf

    Techniques and Challenges for Growing Vegetables on a.pdf

  • October 21, 2015 8:30 AM | Anonymous member

    Club Members Honored by Garden Visit

    Long-time Club member Joyce Jones and newer Club member Steven Bauer were honored to be included on a Washington garden tour for the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. (NLAPW). 

    Founded in 1897, the NLAPW sites respect, knowledge, creation, and preservation of the arts as their core values. Current members include journalists, painters, choreographers, sculptors, illustrators, songwriters, poets and others interested in the arts, while prior members include Eudora Welty, Pearl Buck, Vinnie Ream, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

    The NLAPW discovered our Club's website while searching the web for interesting, garden-related things to do during their visit to Washington, and then reached out to Sonia Conley for help.

    Joyce's garden was chosen for her collection of interesting plants, koi pond and wonderful garden sculptures. Floyd, who is often behind the scenes helping and inspiring Joyce, joined in the presentation.

    Also on the tour was the house next door to Joyce's. The next-door garden was designed, created and is now managed by Club member, Steven Bauer who does not own the house, but who was looking for a gardening project and asked permission to create something for the space. The house belongs to Congresswoman Slaughter of New York. To Steven's surprise, he discovered a buried treasure trove of white granite cobble stones which were used many years ago on the streets around the Capitol building. They now accent this lovely garden. 

    To decrease the amount of early snowy morning shoveling, Floyd set up a path between the 2 gardens for Congresswoman Slaughter to use on her way to work. 

    After touring these gardens, the group went to the U.S. Botanic Garden, the gardens at the Museum of the American Indian, and the Gardens of the Smithsonian.

    Their tour was photographed by Joe Purdy, while Mary Ann Sroufe provided logistical support for their visit.

    As a 'thank you', the NLAPW made a small financial donation to our Club.

  • October 13, 2015 6:29 PM | Anonymous member

    Small Space Grand Gardens

    Featured: Derek Thomas, Thomas Landscapes

    Derek began by pointing out the importance of taking time now to answer the following questions as a first step in maintaining, or changing, or creating your garden during the next growing season.

    · What would you like to have your garden become?

    · What needs to be changed, added, or deleted?

    · What worked, or did not, and why?

    He then indicated that once you know the answers to these questions, then there are four factors for you to consider in your planning. They include:

    · Exposure – learning what direction your home faces helps in determining which plants will do best in your garden environment.

    · Scale – knowing the size of the planting helps select the right number of plants that are the right size for the space.

    · Time – understanding whether or not you have the time to devote to maintaining the garden you desire. For example, a 10 foot by 8 foot garden requires at least two hours per week to do the tasks that a well-maintained garden demands.

    · Traffic – selecting plants and/or enclosures that protect our city gardens the feet of humans, waste from dogs, and other stuff that harms plants.

    He wrapped up by sharing information about misbehaving plants and disasters in the garden.

    Derek's presentation deck is available here for downloading, and provides more details and photos from his talk.

    National Capital Area Garden Clubs

    Julie Harrison, District 1 President of the NCAGC will joined us to talk about District 1 activities. As a member of the Capitol Hill Garden Club, you are entitled to various opportunities and benefits offered by not only the National Capital Area Garden Clubs, but our other affiliate clubs, too.

    Our Club's website has now been updated to include important information about these affiliates. To find out more, visit the new Affiliate Clubs page soon.

  • September 27, 2015 3:00 PM | Anonymous member

    Fall New Members Party

    Our first big party of the season was held in the lovely home and garden of Club member (and Board member) Barbara Marks.

    Members enjoyed an array of refreshments, and learned more about the upcoming bulb sale.

    Many thanks to Barbara for hosting our event!

  • September 08, 2015 7:30 PM | Anonymous member

    Welcome To Our New and Returning Members

    Our first meeting of the season was very well attended as we welcomed new and returning members.

    The business portion of our meeting included Sonia Conly, Program Chairperson with an overview of the 2015-16 Program; Gail Giuffrida, Chairman of the Ad Hoc CHGC Fund Raising Committee with an overview of their current status; Donna Brauth, Treasurer with a presentation, discussion and request for approval of 2015-16 Budget which as approved; and Elizabeth McClure, Bulb Chairperson for a bulb sale presentation - why, when, where, sign up reminder.

    Featured Presentation: Sandra Bruce, CHGC Member

    Sandra shared a 'Garden Vignette' featuring her own small shady west facing front garden and how she is adapting to increased shade.

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