Club Website

For official club information and news go to the website and Facebook page.

This blogspot is maintained for the the historic record from 2010 to 2014.

Who We Are

The Capitol Hill Garden Club brings together Washington area people interested in gardening, landscaping and the environment. Members enjoy lectures, demonstrations, workshops and tours.

We are a 501(c)(3) District of Columbia non-profit corporation. We undertake community projects and contribute to garden and beautification projects in our neighborhood. In past years the club donated thousands of spring flowering bulbs to groups and individuals for planting in public areas on Capitol Hill. Our income comes from membership dues and donations.

We are a member of National Garden Clubs, Inc., National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc. and its District I, and the Central Atlantic Region of State Garden Clubs, Inc.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


December 4, 2013:  Capitol Hill Garden Club's annual floral design workshop is a long tradition and a continued success.

--photos by Bill Dean

Thursday, November 14, 2013

USDA Seeks Apple Tasters

          Tell us how you like Fresh-cut Apple

USDA needs a Hundred and Twenty Volunteers to taste apple slices on Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday of next week (November 20, 21, or 22), at 10:30, 1:30, 2:15, or 3:15

A project in the Food Quality Lab is aimed at developing high quality, tasty fresh-cut apples to eat at home, in restaurants, or on the go.  We need people to taste apple slices and tell us what they like or dislike.  The only requirement to participate is that you generally enjoy eating apples.

You will taste two types of apples and rate their taste/flavor acceptability.  All are commercial varieties, grown commercially, and freshly sliced in our fresh-cut preparation room.

 Our aim is to determine what apple flavor and texture attributes YOU like.

Please email or call Eunhee Park to make an appointment: eunhee.park@ or phone 504-6982.  Please provide both your email address and phone number so we can contact you to confirm your appointment (and remind you when to come!).

Tasting is done in the Sensory Evaluation Facility (Taste Panel) Rm.004, ground floor of Bldg. 002.  We must schedule ten appointments at a time to ensure that panels are completed efficiently.  It is really important that you come on time, so your fellow panelists don't have to wait for you.
                Thanks for your participation in this research.

Eunhee Park and Bruce Whitaker  
Food Quality Lab                                                                                                    

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Perennial Favorites of the Hillwood Gardeners.

Favorite and Reliable Perennial Introductions was the topic for Jessica Bonilla and Drew Asbury, gardeners from the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.  They featured a variety of recently introduced perennial cultivars which due well in our Zone 7 from shade to sun, wet to dry, good soil to poor.  [See list below.]
Jessica Bonilla

Drew Asbury

EJ has a Question.

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

Favorite and Reliable Perennial Introductions
Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
Jessica Bonilla & Drew Asbury
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 L
Nepeta x faassenii 'Walker's Low', Catmint
Chrysanthemum 'Sheffield Pink', Hardy Mum
Echinacea purpurea 'Mag
nus', Purple Coneflower
Amsonia hub
richtii, Arkansas Blue Star
Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum', Japanese Painted Fern
rus orientalis, Lenten Rose
Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold', Japanese Forest Grass
ysimachia nummularia 'Aurea', Creeping Jenny
iarella '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 perra
lchicum '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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

E.J.'s Pumpkin

"I didn't grow this," she said.  She plans to donate it to the U.S. National Arboretum compost.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hill Gardens News for November 2013


 Member of National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc., Member of National Garden Clubs, Inc.

Volunteers Needed for October 26 & 27
The Capitol Hill Garden Club Bulb Sale is in the home stretch. Please contact Carol Casperson, or 202-714-0566, to volunteer. All volunteers will receive a deep discount bulb purchases.
Bulb Sale Extra!
Bulbs will go on sale to the general public as of 2:00 pm on Saturday.  Please spread the word to your friends and neighbors.

Favorite and Reliable Perennial Introductions
Tuesday, November 12

What perennials work best in Washington gardens?  Jessica Bonilla and Drew Asbury from Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens will share their love of perennials with garden club members.  Tried and true, new interesting cultivars and some of their personal favorites will all be presented.  Hillwood, the former home of heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, gives these two experienced gardeners 13 acres of formal gardens (plus greenhouse and cutting garden) in which to observe as well as try new plants and planting combinations.  They will be bringing their experience and expertise to share.

As usual the garden club meeting starts with informally with refreshments at 7:00 pm with the presentation at 7:30 pm.  See you at the Church of the Brethren, corner of South Carolina Avenue and Fourth Street, SE (enter by the 4th Street side door).

Jessica Bonilla and Drew Asbury
Jessica Bonilla is the Lead Gardener at Hillwood.  She was previously employed caretaking gardens at a private estate in Rochester New York  and started her career managing garden installations at Leisure World in Silver Spring, Maryland.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Contracting from Penn State.  Drew Asbury is Hillwood’s Greenhouse and Cutting Garden Grower.  Drew was landscape supervisor at Baywood Greens in Rehoboth, Delaware and started his horticulture working in a tropical greenhouse while in college.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Indiana University and graduated from the Longwood Gardens Professional Gardener Training Program in 2006.

Synopsis of Gardening in the Great Indoors

In October, Regina Lanctot, 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”—sticky, 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.

Membership Dues for 2013–2014 due by October 31

Please mail your membership form to Donna Brauth.  Only members will be able to register for the Holiday Greens Workshop & Potluck Dinner, which will be held on Wednesday December 4 at 6:30 pm.  Watch your email for further details and the workshop registration form.

Tour of Fallingwater

On May 17, 2014,  District I of National Capitol Area Garden Clubs is sponsoring a bus trip to Fallingwater,  the amazing southwest Pennsylvania home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This all day trip includes transportation by motor coach, a morning stop to purchase breakfast, a guided tour of Fallingwater with extra time, and a late lunch (included) at the Stone House Inn.  The tour is open to all Capitol Hill Garden Club members.  Registration fee is $100.  For further details, please see the registration form. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hill Garden News for October 2013

Hill Garden News

Member of National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc.,
Member of National Garden Clubs, Inc.

Capitol Hill Garden Club Bulb Sale

The bulb sale begins on Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29.  We do not have enough volunteers to sell bulbs.  If you can donate two hours, please contact Bulb Sale  Chairs Leanna Fenske (202-544-4331) or Carol Casperson (202-714-0566) without delay.  Selling bulbs is fun and easy.  No expertise is needed. There will be “how to” instructions available for buyers.  Volunteer shifts beyond the first weekend are also available.  The success of our sale depends on you.

Synopsis of Bodacious Bulbs

Bodacious Bulbs was the topic covered by Adam Pyle, Horticulturist from the US Botanic Garden, at the first meeting of the Capitol Hill Garden Club on September 10 at the Church of the Brethren.  For five years Adam was lead gardener of Bartholdi Park, planning displays and trying out new gardening techniques for the mid-Atlantic region.

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 moisture—with 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 mulch—or, 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 layer—up 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 years—unlike tulips, which he treats as annuals, because hybrid tulips decline rapidly after their first blooming, losing size, color, or sometimes disappearing altogether.  And yes—he 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

September 29, 2013
3:00 – 5:00 PM
Fall Garden Party
325 South Carolina Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Join us at the fall garden party and please bring a friend or neighbor to learn about more about the garden club.  Please bring a donation of food for six people, finger food only.  Label your containers to make them easier to reclaim as you leave.  Beverages will be provided.  The party will be held at the home and garden of Diane Brockett. All are welcome. 

October 8, 2013
Gardening in the Great Indoors
Regina Lanctot

Cold weather needn’t spell an end to the many rewards of gardening. Regina Lanctot, Merrifield Garden Center’s expert on houseplants, will discuss plants that thrive indoors—how to promote their optimal growth, banish common pests, and other topics.

Regina was born in Brazil and has degrees in software engineering from universities in Brazil and Japan. After working on Wall Street, and then for Fairfax County Public Schools, she found her true love and cure for burnout in 2005 working for Merrifield Garden Center as a Plant Specialist in the indoor tropical greenhouse at the Fair Oaks location. Since working at Merrifield, Regina, in addition to her usual work in the tropical greenhouse, has taught numerous classes, given lectures, regularly hosts field trips for children of all ages, coordinates and hosts workshops, and has taught the indoor plants chapter for the Loudoun County Master Gardeners’ program in Virginia (and will be teach it again this coming year). Regina lives with her husband and three sons in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Also, at the October 8 meeting, Garden club members will vote whether to approve the budget for 2013-2014 proposed by the Board of Directors.  A draft of the budget will be posted on the Capitol Hill Garden Blogspot,,  for your review prior to the meeting. 

You can also find  the 2013-2014 Capitol Hill Garden Club membership form and questionnaire at the blogspot.  Membership dues for 2013-2014 are due by October 31. 

Being Green With Greens

Did you participate in the 2012 Deck the Halls Workshop?  If so, please let us know whether you had leftover greens in your bag that you either discarded or gave away.  We are striving to order the right amount of greens this year—not to much or too little.  If you had excess greens last year, please take just a minute to email a note to Sandra Bruce,, this week.

Tour of Fallingwater

On May 17, 2014,  District I of National Capitol Area Garden Clubs is sponsoring a bus trip to Fallingwater,  the amazing southwest Pennsylvania home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This all day trip includes transportation by motor coach, a morning stop to purchase breakfast, a guided tour of Fallingwater with extra time, and a late lunch (included) at the Stone House Inn..  The tour is open to all Capitol Hill Garden Club members.  Registration fee is $100.  This trip will fill quickly so act without delay.  For further details, please contact David Healy.

Capitol Hill School Seeks Gardeners

Carole LeRoy would like to establish a garden at Ludlow Taylor Elementary School on 7th and G Streets, NE.  If you are interested in working on this project, please contact her at

2013-2014 Proposed Budget

2013-2014 Proposed Budget

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013-2014 Membership Form

Capitol Hill Garden Club 2013-2014
Membership Form & Questionnaire

Please carefully read and complete this form (both sides) and mail it with your check, payable to Capitol Hill Garden Club, to Donna Brauth, CHGC Treasurer, 1100 Constitution Ave., NE, Washington DC 20002 – or bring your form and check/cash to a meeting.  Membership renewals for 2013-2014 are due by October 31, 2013.
All contributions over and above the dues are tax deductible.
Membership dues: $25 person ____   $45 couple ____ New Member____
Additional Tax Deductible gift _______________
            Total enclosed:           _______________
Name(s) __________________________________________
Street Address  _____________________________________
City, State, Zip  _____________________________________
Tel preferred (home/work/cell?)________________________  
Tel alternate (home/work/cell?) ________________________
Email (PRINT) ______________________________________

Fall Bulb Sale

The club’s primary source of income is selling spring-flowering bulbs from Holland every autumn at Eastern Market. All Capitol Hill Garden Club members are encouraged to help sell bulbs for one 2-hour stint. Sales begin Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29 and run for two-day weekends through October or until all bulbs are sold.  There will be a sign-up sheet for bulb sellers at meetings.  Also for the following essential tasks, please check where else you can help:
_______ Help once or more to transport bulbs to the market at 6:00-7:30 a.m. on a Saturday or Sunday.
_______ Help once or more to transport bulbs back to storage from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on a Sat. or Sunday.
SUVs and station wagons are especially welcome.

The Capitol Hill Garden Club only succeeds through active member participation.  In addition to the annual bulb sale, club by-laws strongly encourage members to serve on at least one committee or event of their choice.  Please sign up below for as many as you wish.
___ Communications.  Help with writing, editing and/or publishing the bi-monthly newsletter.  ___ Help to maintain the web site by answering inquires or posting  periodic updates to web content.
___  Community Projects. Help organize special projects to serve the community.
___  Membership.  Welcome new members by email, phone and at meetings; help raise awareness among underrepresented populations; with the treasurer, update and maintain membership records.         
___  2014-2015 Programs.  Help plan meeting programs for next year. (Committee meets once, in the Spring of 2014.)
___  Hospitality Committee. Help obtain, serve and manage clean-up of refreshments for a meeting or
        an event. This includes providing a plate of savory or sweet items from time to time.
___ Nominations Committee. Help indentify a slate of officer candidates for  the April 2014 election.
___  Watering Co-op.  Be part of a co-operative group who water one another’s gardens during absences.
___  By-laws Review. Help review club by-laws and recommend revisions. (Meets once bi-annually.)
Garden Design Consultation Committee.  Experienced gardeners offer suggestions on garden makeovers and
         garden designs for Club members requesting this free service.

___   Yes, I am an experienced gardener who would like to help.

___   Yes, I would like design assistance or advice for a garden makeover.

Please check any or all of the following events with which you could help:
Annual Greens Workshop, Wednesday Dec. 4, 2013   Please circle any or all below:
I will help: 1) bag greens, 2) set up before workshop, 3) clean up afterwards.
Annual Garden Party, May 29, 2014
___  I will help to plan and stage our annual garden party.

1.   Do you have special knowledge or skill on any aspect of gardening?  If so, please tell us about it so that we all can benefit from our in-house expertise, as the need may arise. 

2.  Do you have enough space in your house and garden that you would be willing to allow the club to hold a small      event? — such as our annual fall party, or our gathering after the spring garden walk. _______________

3. Can you recommend any large garden or space nearby suitable for our 2014 Garden Party

4.   Would you be willing to help organize an outing or field trip?  ___________ If “Yes” -- where to in the DC area:

5.   How do you get information about the Capitol Hill Garden Club?  ____________________________________
6.   I am ______ (yes or no) aware of events/classes offered through the National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc. 
      I plan to attend or participate in

8.  General Comments about, and Suggestions for, the Capitol Hill Garden Club

Sunday, August 25, 2013


2013-2014 Capitol Hill Garden Club Calendar

September 10, 2013
Bodacious Bulbs
The best time to think Spring is in the Fall. U.S. Botanic Garden horticulturist Adam Pyle will offer ideas for using the right bulbs and other spring blooming flowers for a fine show in our gardens.

September 28, 29, October 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27, 2013
8:00 AM–5:00 PM*
Bulb Sale
The garden club’s sale of spring flowering bulbs at Eastern Market.  This fundraiser supports the club’s activities.
* Dates may be added due to inclement weather; September 29 only, 8:00 AM3:00 PM

September 29, 2013
3:00–5:00 PM
Fall Garden Party
All are welcome.  The board of directors encourages you to come to learn about more about the garden club and mix with friends and neighbors.  Location to be announced.

October 8, 2013 
Gardening in the Great Indoors
Cold weather needn’t spell an end to the many rewards of gardening. Regina Lanctot, Merrifield Garden Center’s expert on houseplants, will discuss plants that thrive indoors—how to promote their optimal growth, banish common pests, and other topics.
Adoption of 2013–2014 budget.

October 31, 2013
Membership Renewal Deadline for 2013-2014
Mail dues and completed membership questionnaire (available at to Donna Brauth, Treasurer, or submit at a meeting.

November 12, 2013
Favorite Perennial Introductions
Hillwood Estate lead gardener Jessica Bonilla will share some of her favorite perennials, including some recent introductions. She will let us know which perform reliably.

December 4, 2013 (Wednesday)
6:30 PM
Deck the Halls Workshop & Potluck
Join us in making wreaths, swags, and table arrangements.  (Members only. Prior registration and fee required.)

January 14, 2014
Let Me Tell You About My Garden
Three club members will each describe notable features of their gardens and their experiences as gardeners with visuals and Q&A.

February 11, 2014
The Nature of Ikebana 
Ikebana, an ancient floral art of Japan, has captured people’s attention because of its graceful lines and pleasing forms.  Diana Cull, a Master Teacher, will demonstrate how Ikebana reveals the beauty and vigor of its floral components.

March 11, 2014
John Bartram Lives
John welcomes you to witness horticultural history.  With passion and humor, he describes his influence on English and early American presidential gardens.

April 8, 2014
Designing With Texture to Make a Shady Garden Shine
Janet Draper, horticulturist, Smithsonian Gardens, will bring her creativity and experience with the Ripley Garden to shed light on designing our shady garden spaces.
Election of officers.

May 13, 2014
6:30 PM
Garden Walk
On this walking tour of our neighborhood, members share fellowship and the beauty of gardens in springtime.

May 31, 2014
6:00 PM
Annual Garden Party
The year’s finale is an elegant dinner, where members enjoy dining together in a garden setting. (Members and up to one guest per membership welcome.)