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, 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