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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  • December 04, 2013 4:30 PM | Anonymous member
    Deck The Halls Workshop

    This is one of our most popular events, where members make holiday wreaths, swags and table arrangements using a beautiful assortment of holiday greens and ribbons provided by the Club.

    'Coaching' is provided by members to those who want help with the design and making of their arrangement. Refreshments are served.

    This year's event was very well attended, with many beautiful holiday arranges going home with the members who made them.

    Sandra Bruce was the 2013 chair, and offered the following thanks to those who worked to make Deck The Halls a success:

    "I want to thank the following volunteers who either helped in the morning with set up and bagging or in the evening with clean up and putting the tables back in order. Ed Peterman and E J manned the registration table and when Gail and Cherie came over to do their shifts Ed wanted to stay so they were able to work on their projects. Johann Yurgen is not on this list but tied beautiful ribbons all evening and entertained everyone that came to visit him. And last, Carol Edwards who kept an eye on things and stepped up when she was needed."

    Bagging and Setup

    Pat Hanrehan
    Judy Canning
    Janet McKenney
    Faith Brightbill
    Evelyn McKay
    Elizabeth McClure
    Donna Brandes
    Carol Edwards
    Jennifer Newton


    Anthony Pontorno
    Everyone who brought something


    E J Truax
    Ed Peterman
    Gail Giufridda
    Cherie Klein

    Clean up

    Jennifer Newton
    Pat Hanrehan
    Vira Sisolak
    Elizabeth Edwards
    Edee Hogan
    Olivia Sparer
    Amy Dapot

    To see more of Bill Dean's photos from our event, visit his site here.

    Want to be the 2014 Chair?

    Sandra Bruce has chaired this event for the past 2 years, and so it's time to find someone who can run it next year.  If you want to find out more about what chairing this event will require, contact Sandra.  Or reach out to Carol now and let her know you want to chair Deck The Halls for 2015.
  • November 12, 2013 5:30 PM | Anonymous member
    Favorite Perennial Introductions

    Featuring: Jessica Bonilla and Drew Asbury

    Like gardeners everywhere, the gardeners at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens have their favorite plants – the ones they have found work well and look good in both their public and home gardens. Since Hillwood’s gardeners get a chance to observe new introductions before most of the rest of us do, they also are keenly watching for plants that might make the next “favorites” list. At the November Capitol Hill Garden Club meeting, Hillwood’s lead gardener, Jessica Bonilla, and Drew Asbury, greenhouse and cutting garden grower, combined their observations and expertise to present an overview of 47 notable plants – some old, some new – along with hints about each plant’s characteristics and cultural preferences.

    [See additional notes and the list of recommended plants below.]

    The bulbs remaining from the annual bulb sale fundraiser were steeply discounted.

    Most fascinating tip of the evening? 

    Add foot powder (think Dr. Scholl’s) to tulip beds to keep the squirrels at bay.

    Picks for new and exciting plants? 

    There’s Thalictrum (Meadow Rue) ‘Black Stockings’, best planted with lots of leaf compost and in dappled light. Or if you’re looking for a plant for a hot, dry sunny spot, try the Kniphofia (Poker Plant) Popsicle Series that are smaller than many Poker Plants and rebloom in late summer. Another long-blooming plant is Coreopsis ‘Mercury Rising’, a red coreopsis that the Mt. Cuba Trial Gardens in Delaware found to be less susceptible to disease than many of the new cultivars. Helenium autumnale Mariachi Series was recommended as a “great late-summer-blooming Sneezeweed” that will add oranges and reds to the landscape. A new grass to consider is Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’, a Little Bluestem grass that grows 2’ – 3’ tall in a very upright form with the bonus of red and purple fall color. Another is the Giant Sacaton Grass, Sporobolus wrightii ‘Windbreaker’, recommended as a worthy replacement for Pampas Grass that is becoming a problem invasive in warm climates. (Several other new plants were also included in the evening’s list (Joe add a link to the full list, which should be posted on the website.)

    Some favorite perennials that perhaps you haven’t considered yet? 

    Hillwood’s gardeners found it difficult to settle on their favorite and reliable perennials but they finally winnowed the list down to 36. If you don’t have a Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) in your garden, the recommendation was to go buy one for a dry shady spot. At bloom time, be sure to cut off the old leaves so you’ll see the new leaves emerging. Another plant good for shade is the spring-blooming Barrenwort, Epimedium perralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’, which holds its flowers above the green and red foliage.

    Thinking beyond the usual ground covers? 

    Bonilla and Asbury suggested Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ (Japanese Forest Grass) to add texture to the garden and which has more vigor than many of the other varieties of this plant. Also suggested for ground covers were Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, (Creeping Jenny), if you can supply the all-important moisture, and Tiarella ’Elizabeth Oliver’, an 8” – 12”- tall Foam Flower that is suitable for shade and is stronger than the native.

    Some recommended perennials that are perhaps less well known are Acorus gramineus ‘Minimum Aureus’, a Dwarf Golden Sweet Flag with a pleasing fragrance (but keep it moist if it’s in the sun) and the Cranesbill Geranium ‘Rozanne’ that “blooms non-stop from June to November”. The Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop) rewards the gardener with foliage that changes color every season from green to yellow to orange in the fall. For bold foliage, one to think about might be the South African native Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ (Pineapple Lily) that grows from a bulb and is an easy plant in part to full sun.

    Notable Plants:

    Baptisia australis, False Blue Indigo
    Verbena bonariensis, Tall Verbena
    Agastache rupestris, Sunset Hyssop
    Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian Sage
    Verbascum 'Southern Charm', Showy Mullein
    Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldstrum', Black-Eyed Susan
    Sedum rupestre 'Angelina', Angelina Stonecrop
    Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy', Pineapple Lily
    Nepeta x faassenii 'Walker's Low', Catmint
    Chrysanthemum 'Sheffield Pink', Hardy Mum
    Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus', Purple Coneflower
    Amsonia hubrichtii, Arkansas Blue Star
    Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum', Japanese Painted Fern
    Helleborus orientalis, Lenten Rose
    Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold', Japanese Forest Grass
    Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea', Creeping Jenny
    Tiarella 'Elizabeth Oliver', Foam Flower
    Primula japonica, Japanese Primrose
    Chelone Iyonii 'Hot Lips', Pink Turtlehead
    Liriope 'Monroe White', Lily Turf
    Astilbe chinensis 'Superba', Chinese Astilbe
    Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila', Chinese Astilbe
    Epimedium perralchicum 'Frohnleiten', Barrenwort
    Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum', Variegated Solomon's Seal
    Trillium grandiflorum, Wood Lily
    Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, Plumbago
    Heuchera 'Caramel', 'Citronelle' & 'Mocha', Coral Bells
    Hosta 'Krossa Regal', Hosta
    Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears', Hosta
    Acarus gramineus 'Minimus Aureus', Dwarf Golden Sweet Flag
    Geranium 'Rozanne', Cranesbill
    Stokesia laevis 'Peachie's Pick', Stokes' Aster
    Phlox paniculata 'Shortwood', Garden Phlox
    Eupatorium fistulosum, Joe Pye Weed
    Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard', Adam's Needle
    Panicum virgatum 'Northwind', Switch Grass

    New and Exciting

    Thalictrum 'Black Stockings', Meadow Rue
    Kniphofia Popsicle Series, Poker Plant
    Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising',. Tickseed
    Helenium autumnale Mariachi Series, Sneezeweed
    Brunnera macrophylla 'Alexander's Great', Siberian Bugloss
    Lobelia cardinalis 'Black Truffle', Cardinal Flower
    Delosperma 'Fire Spinner', Ice Plant
    Agave neomexicana, New Mexico Hardy Century Plant
    Agave salmiana 'Crazy Horse', Crazy Horse Hardy Century Plant
    Schizachyrium scaparium 'Standing Ovation', Little Bluestem
    Sporobolus wrightii 'Windbreaker', Giant Sacaton Grass
  • October 08, 2013 6:30 PM | Anonymous member
    Gardening In The Great Indoors

    Featuring: Regina Lanctot

    Regina is a plant specialist at Merrifield Garden Center in Fair Oaks, gave a lively presentation October 8 on “Gardening in the Great Indoors.” Starting with the psychological and health benefits of houseplants, which like all plants absorb toxins in the air, she provided many suggestions on how to keep houseplants thriving. Among the highlights:

    · Be careful when transporting plants home; even brief periods in the car in freezing winter can kill newly purchased plants, especially orchids but other tropicals as well.

    · Houseplants need time to acclimate to your home’s surroundings; gradually introduce plants to new settings. Try to replicate the conditions in which they thrive in their natural habitat. Even cacti can burn if thrust suddenly in a very sunny spot.

    · Many houseplants like humidity, especially during the winter when artificial heating creates desert like conditions. Don’t spritz houseplants with water. It’s better to place them in a saucer on pebbles in tray above a small layer of water. Gravel at the bottom of a pot is not helpful for drainage, either (contrary to common perception). A clever way to prevent water accumulating in the potting soil is to place a block of Styrofoam at the bottom of a jardinière and set the pot on top of it. Clear plastic “growers’ pots,” which permit a good look at the plant’s root system and general state of in-soil health, are especially good for this technique of displaying houseplants.

    · Plants love an occasional hose-down with water to provide moisture and to eliminate some kinds of insect pests.

    · Don’t repot houseplants often; some actually thrive in root-bound conditions. And never report a new houseplant until it’s clearly adapted to your home’s surroundings.

    · Indoor plants, like those outdoors, need ventilation, which helps prevent fungus. In still air try a gentle fan.

    · A layer of activated charcoal can help prevent root and stem rot.

    · Don’t overwater plants, notably succulents. Houseplants love rainwater, free of many compounds present in tap water that can be harmful to plants.

    · Don’t over fertilize houseplants, and don’t fertilize at all during their natural “resting periods.” Light-colored deposits on the top layer of houseplant soil can be a sign of fertilizer salt accumulations, which can be treated by running water gently through the plant’s soil in the pot.

    · Another sign of overfertilization can be leaf tip discoloration, which can also the result of other difficult-to-diagnose problems.

    · Orchids like to be potbound, but when the bark and other aerating planting medium breaks down and gets mushy, it’s time to repot, generally in 2 years.

    · Don’t prune more than one-third of a plant’s foliage or its roots at a time.

    · Insect pests come in many varieties, some of the common ones being mealybugs (which look like tiny cotton tufts) and scale (look like tiny shields); both are sap suckers (often resulting in “honey dew”undefinedsticky, carbohydrate-rich goop from the insects’ feasting on your plants) and are best treated by plucking them with Q tips and alcohol.

    · Two good websites are and

    This is but a sampling of Regina’s thorough presentation. For more information, visit Merrifield Garden Center at Fair Oaks and talk to Regina one-on-one. But do call the center at 703-968-9600 to make sure she’s there. Regina’s a busy lady who conducts many workshops, including those for Master Gardener candidates, and was recently asked to organize all Merrifield workshops and related activities.

    Many thanks to Roberta Gutman for organizing and presenting tonight's speaker.

    Also, 2013–2014 budget approved.
  • September 10, 2013 7:30 PM | Anonymous member
    Bodacious Bulbs

    Featuring: Adam Pyle 

    Adam delivered a timely and informative presentation on Bulbs that will undoubtedly help members select and plant a better bulb display in their garden, and help us close a few more sales during our annual fund-raiser.

    Tonight's presentation materials on bulbs along with an array of photos and informative materials written by Adam can be found on his website,


    Adam Pyle grew up in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, spending time withgrandparents who were avid gardeners. From a young age he was always obsessed with plants and knew that he wanted to work with them as a career. Later, at the University of Maryland, Adam intended to major in landscape architecture, but found himself drawn to horticulture and botany, and graduated in 2007 with a degree in Natural Resources and Plant Sciences. He soon joined the staff at United States Botanic Garden, where for five years he worked as the lead gardener of Bartholdi Park, experimenting with new gardening techniques for the Mid-Atlantic region. He now works as a professional horticulturist there and spends much of his time planning and designing exhibits, displays, and programs for the visiting public. Adam particularly enjoys sharing his Washington gardening experiences in the hopes that others can learn from his successes and failures.

    Synopsis of Adam's presentation:

    Some basic recommendations for spring flowering bulbs are:

    1) plant in full sun (may be under deciduous trees which come into leaf later)
    2) moderate moistureundefinedwith excellent drainage is required
    3) bone meal or an organic fertilizer is preferred
    4) plant to a depth of three times the height of the bulbs
    5) use a pine straw mulchundefinedor, if in a pot, overplant with pansies.

    If you are planting bulbs in pots, the pots should be at least 12-14 inches deep and wide. Use a mixture of potting soil and perlite, fill half way up and then start layering bulbs as close as shoulder-to-shoulder covering each layer with soil before adding the next layerundefinedup to 7 layers in very deep pots. Experiment with color and bloom time.

    When do you plant your bulbs? Usually when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees. Practical hints: when the asters and mums are on the wane or you turn on the heater in your car.

    In planning for use of tulips, Mr. Pyle recommends aiming for patches or splashes of color with no less than 10 tulips with similar heights and blooming times, but varied flower shapes and patterns in a color scheme of two or three variations. He also suggested staggering bloom times when planting larges swaths of tulips.

    He very generously gave us his email address: (under the heading "Think Spring") for checking out blossom heights, bloom times, etc. on several charts he has created. This information can be enormously helpful.

    He did not confine himself to tulips and daffodils, but included ideas about crocus, snowdrops, fritillaria, alliums, dwarf iris, and anemones. He especially recommended the multiflowering hyacinth ‘Anastasia,’ which multiplies readily and will last for yearsundefinedunlike tulips, which he treats as annuals, because hybrid tulips decline rapidly after their first blooming, losing size, color, or sometimes disappearing altogether. And yesundefinedhe recommended leaving the green leaves of perennial bulbs to die back naturally without cutting or tying so the bulbs can develop strength for their next year’s flowering. –Pat Driscoll

    Many thanks to Pat Discole for planning, organizing and introducing this program.

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