Monthly Archives: January 2017


January Gardening Tips

Hello Friends, Neighbors, Fellow Gardeners,

Happy New Year!  Hope you enjoyed the holidays! Here are some garden tips, educational opportunities, and events for January. Events include a Rock Gardening class, Farm Transition Workshop-Derwood, 12th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges, Master Naturalist Training, Future Harvest – A Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture 2017 Conference, early registration is open for the Spring Gardening Conference in Derwood MD, a “Healing Herbs” program on Tuesday, January 24th featuring Heather Whirley, Mill Creek Towne Garden Club Vice President and Master Gardener at our Mill Creek Towne Garden Club’s meeting,  and more!


  • Evaluate the gardening year, and make notes of desired changes.
  • Decide where your plants from seed are going in your garden.
  • Start to browse seed catalogs and dream. If a street tree is wanted, pick one under 20-30 feet if you have overhead power lines.
  • Start organizing your incoming garden catalogs.
  • Collect supplies for starting seeds.
  • Sharpen and replace tools as needed.
  • Attend a local garden club meeting.
  • Go on a local house or garden tour to see what plants are thriving in other’s areaseed-starting_video home gardens:
  • Try some self-paced videos to learn about seed-starting. NEW! Guide to Videos about Seed-Starting contains 12 videos selected by an expert.

Flowers and Groundcovers:

  • Water transplants if weather is dry.
  • Provide some special protection to tender and early flowering plants like Camellias.
  • Plant the bulbs you forgot to plant last fall!
  • Start seeds for Petunia, Dwarf Snapdragons. Check daily for moisture.
  • Avoid walking in frozen planting beds.
  • Pests to watch for: Squirrels, Deer
  • Diseases to watch for:  Damping off of seedlings.
  • See UMD’s HGIC’s January Flower tips for more details.

Trees and Shrubs:

  • Gather holiday greens. Some, like holly and boxwood, benefit from being pruned by growing thicker.
  • Prune maples, dogwoods, birch, elm, walnut, and yellowwood to prevent “bleeding”.
  • Prune damaged branches.evergreens
  • Cut a few branches of flowering shrubs to force into bloom inside.
  • Use the branches from your Christmas tree as bedding mulch or as a windbreak.
  • Remove dead and dying trees.
  • Stake newly planted large trees or shrubs to protect them from winter winds.
  • Root prune trees and shrubs to be transplanted next year.
  • Apply scale and dormant oil treatment to evergreens.
  • For care of holiday plants and trees, see “Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs” publication for details.
  • Keep watering newly planted trees and shrubs as needed.
  • Water slowly and deeply if weather is very dry and ground is not frozen.
  • Prune out Fireblight damage Malus and Pyrus when very cold.
  • Gently remove layers of snow from outdoor evergreens with a broom.
  • Check the plants under tall evergreens and under the eaves of the house to see that they have sufficient moisture.
  • Remove and destroy gypsy moth egg masses.
  • Remove bagworm bags.
  • Prune maples, dogwoods, birch, elm, and walnut—if needed.
  • Keep an eye open for bark damage from rabbits and deer.
  • Spray broadleaf evergreens with anti-dessicant and prevent dehydration.
  • Use branches from your Christmas tree as bedding mulch or as a windbreak.
  • Pests to watch for: Deer, Rabbits, Vole.
  • Diseases to watch for: Phomopsis and Kabatina of Juniper, Diplodia tip blight of 2 and 3 needled pines.
  • See HGIC’s January Trees and Shrubs Tips for more details.

Herbs, Veggies, and Fruit:

  • Prune out Fireblight damage on apples and pears when very cold.
  • Prune dead bramble canes.
  • Cover strawberry beds with straw or pine needles.healing_herbs
  • Cover garlic plants with straw or leaf mulch.
  • Vent cold frames on sunny days.
  • Spread ashes from wood fires on your vegetable beds.
  • Prune stone fruit trees like cherries, plums, and peaches.
  • Pests to watch for: Fruit flies, Squash vine borer, slugs.
  • Diseases to watch for: Fireblight.
  • Here are some more fruit and vegetable gardening tips for January from UMD’s HGIC.


  • Avoid walking on frozen grass to avoid damaging the crowns.
  • Store your fertilizer and seeds in rodent-proof containers.
  • Do any filling and grading around your yard. The soil will settle during the winter months.
  • Some alternatives to de-icing salts include sand, beet juice sugars, light gravel (grit), or non-clumping kitty litter. Use de-icing salts around driveways and sidewalks can harm your garden plants and turf.
  • Mulch or compost healthy leaves.
  • Get your lawn mower serviced.
  • Clean your gutters.
  • Turn your compost pile weekly and don’t let it dry out. Work compost into your planting beds.
  • Diseases to watch for: dollar spot, brown patch and red thread
  • Pests to watch for: Grubs
  • See HGIC’s January Lawn Tips for more details.


  • Change water in cuttings started last fall and add 2–3 pieces of fish tank charcoal.
  • Pinch out growing tips of leggy cuttings and plants that are overwintering. No fertilizing yet. Maintain moisture in pots wintering indoors, but do not over water!
  • Keep watering your poinsettias and give them plenty of light. Ensure they are away from drafts and that the pots drain freely.
  • Take cuttings of plants you want to overwinter inside and place in water.
  • Check houseplants, and any plants you brought indoors for the winter, for insects.
  • Check any tropical or summer blooming bulbs, tubers, and bare root plants in storage for rot or desiccation.
  • Keep succulents and cacti on the dry side.
  • Force spring bulbs for indoor blooms this January by potting them up, watering thoroughly, and placing them in your vegetable crisper for about 10 weeks.calanchoe
  • Start new indoor plants from cuttings—try an easy one such as violets.
  • Great guide to houseplant care from New York Botanical Garden: light, water, temperature, soil, feeding, and more. |
  • Start to fertilize with half strength houseplant fertilizer (every 2 weeks).
  • Remove old leaves and damaged stems.
  • Set up a humidifier for indoor plants or at least place them in pebble trays.
  • Continue to rotate houseplants to promote even growth.
  • Pot up Paper Whites and Amaryllis for holiday blooming.
  • Pests to watch for: Spidermites, mealybug, scale, aphids,  whitefly
  • See HGIC’s January Houseplants Tips for more tips.

Indoor/Outdoor Insect and Wildlife Tips:

  • Keep bird feeders clean and filled.
  • Destroy brown marmorated stink bugs in a jar of soapy water.raccoon_on_snow
  • Switch your deer deterrent spray if you’ve been using the same one for several months. Re-apply after heavy rains. Apply repellents such as “Liquid Fence”, ”Deer-Away”, “Deer-Off”, “Hinder” or “Ro-Pel” to vulnerable plants.
  • See HGIC’s January Insect Tips for more details.
  • Watch for: rabbits, raccoons, groundhogs, deer, moles, snakes, squirrels, and voles, flies.
  • For more information on wildlife management and attracting wildlife see HGIC’s January Wildlife tips.

Source: University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) and the Washington Gardener.


See below for upcoming local events in January.

Montgomery Parks Special Events & Festivals

More events are being added regularly. Please check back often!

Save the dates for these upcoming Winter events!   Events include a Rock Gardening class, Farm Transition Workshop-Derwood, 12th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges, Master Naturalist Training, Future Harvest – A Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture 2017 Conference, early registration is open for the Spring Gardening Conference in Derwood MD, a “Healing Herbs” program on Tuesday, January 24th featuring Heather Whirley, Mill Creek Towne Garden Club Vice President and Master Gardener at our Mill Creek Towne Garden Club’s meeting,  and more!

Future Harvest – A Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture 2017 Conference

Thursday, January 12 – Saturday, January 14, 2017futureharvest2017conference

College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center,
3501 University Boulevard East, Hyattsville, MD 20873

Come join 650+ farmers, chefs, advocates, and foodies for 3 days of learning, networking, and good food at our 17th annual conference!

Registration info:
Early Bird Rates Extended to January 5, 2017!
*NEW!* We are now offering a one-day ticket option for those of you that can only attend a single day.

Rock Gardening: Reimagining a Classic Style

Saturday, January 14rock_garden_lecture
10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Conservatory Classroom
United States Botanic Garden Conservatory
100 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 225-8333

FREE: Pre-registration required

Joseph Tychoneivich, Author and Plantsman
In researching his new book, Rock Gardening: Reimagining a Classic Style, Joseph traveled all over the U.S. and U.K. visiting and photographing rock gardens. Join Joseph as he shares some of his favorite images, ideas, and plants from his travels as he gets you excited and thinking in new directions about your own rock garden! Please note: This program is being offered in conjunction with the Potomac Valley Chapter of the National Rock Garden Society.

Farm Transition Workshop-Derwood

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017
9:00am to 2:00pm

Montgomery County UME Officeagnr-h50
18410 Muncaster Road
Derwood, MD 20855

United States

Event Type: Class/Workshop

FARM TRANSITION WORKSHOP TO BE HELD IN DERWOOD College Park, MD.  Derwood will be one of several workshop locations in a series of one-day workshops to be held throughout Maryland this fall and winter for family farmers and ranchers interested in learning about the components of a successful farm transition.

The Basics of Farm Transitions and Estate Planning will be held January 18th at the Montgomery County UME office in Derwood from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sessions will cover business and personal goal-setting, financial analysis, human resources, family communications, estate planning, estate taxes and retirement planning.

“Research tells us that fewer than one-third of family businesses survive the transfer from one generation to the next,” said Paul Goeringer, extension legal specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. “These workshops will help farmers keep their families farming together.” This workshop is hosted by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the Agriculture Law Education Initiative, and University of Maryland Extension.

The cost to attend is $10 per person which includes lunch and all materials. To register contact the Montgomery County Office at (301) 590-9638.

Mill Creek Towne Garden Club Meeting Topic: Healing Herbs

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
7:30 p.m.

Mill Creek Towne Elementary School
17700 Park Mill Dr, Derwood, MD 20855

Please plan to join us for a program on healing herbs at our upcoming January meeting presented by Heather Whirley, Master Gardener and our Vice President of Mill Creek Towne Garden Club! As always, guests from Mill Creek Towne AND the surrounding Derwood communities are welcome. Using herbs for healing is shrouded in mystery, going back centuries. Heather will highlight 15 herbs that can be grown in our area, with unique scientific properties that can aid in preventative medicine for healing herbs2overall health. This interactive meeting will include live and dried samples to smell and touch.

Date:  January 24, 2017 @ 7:30 p.m.
Location:  Mill Creek Towne Elementary School Teacher’s Lounge
Speaker:  Heather Whirley
Topic: Healing Herbs



12th Annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchanges

Saturday, January 28, 2017washington_gardener_logo
Brookside Gardens
11800 Glenallan Ave.
Wheaton, MD 20902
Washington Gardener magazine, the publication for DC-area gardening enthusiasts, is hosting the 12th annual Washington Gardener Seed Exchange at Brookside Gardens and Green Spring Gardens. These seed swaps are in-person and face-to-face. You bring your extra seeds and swap them with other gardeners. Everyone will leave with a bag full of seeds, new garden friends, and expert planting advice.seed-ex-brookside-1-30-2016-051

Join us for:

  • Seed Swapping
  • Door Prizes
  • Planting Tips
  • Expert Speakers
  • Goody Bags
NEW This Year:
Make-it Take-It Seed Crafting Table
(Foul weather that day? Call 240.603.1461, for updates about possible snow/ice delay.)
How to Register
Registration fee is $20 per person. Friends of Brookside members, Friends of Green Spring members, and current Washington Gardener subscribers receive a discount rate of $15 per person. We strongly urge you to register in advance. There is a limited enrollment of 100 participants at each location!

You need a night out every once in a while, but what to do? Whether it’s with a friend, sibling, or sweetheart, let Brookside take care of the details! Each fee covers the cost of two people. 21 and up. FOBH $55 Brookside Gardens Staff…we want to celebrate Valentine’s with you! Come relax and savor pairings of luscious wine and chocolate, while you hone your flower arranging skills by making two nosegays-one for yourself and one for your guest. Fee includes all refreshments, expert flower arranging instruction, and materials to make two nosegays. Intended for ages 21 and up

Registration Info


Brookside Gardens Orchid Show and Sale

Saturday, March 18th and Sunday, March 19thbrookside_gardens_march_2017_orchid_show

Brookside Gardens Visitors Center
1800 Glenallan Avenue
Wheaton, MD, US 20902

Brookside Gardens

The annual weekend-long Friends of Brookside Gardens Orchid Show and Sale will be held at the Visitors CenterBrookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD on Saturday, March 18 from 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday, March 19, from 10 AM to 3 PM.