A Water Garden for your Deck

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 9.00.40 AM

This Water Garden photo comes from Vidya Nairin in her blog post, HOW TO SET UP MINI WATER GARDENS ON YOUR DECK.

Many of our members have only a balcony or small porch, so I thought it might be fun for some of us to try. Wouldn’t your family and friends be impressed to see this on your deck?

According to the author, you can create a water garden like the one pictured here for less than $50, using household and garden items available at your local box stores. For a complete list of materials and Vladya’s six “how-to” steps for making your own water garden, click on the link to her blog (above). 

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to PLANT CARE TODAY . It’s a great source of gardening-related topics like this. Just click on the link to discover it for yourself.


Revised 3/26/2016




Container Gardening with Herbs

At the October meeting, this year, Maria Price, Proprietor of Willow Oak Flower and Herb Garden in Severn, Maryland, will demonstrate how herbs from our garden can delight the senses and heal the spirit.

Why not plant some herbs now, and freshen up your patio at the same time, with a container garden of herbs.  Here’s a how-to video you might find helpful.

To see a list of other programs for the 2011-2012 garden club year, click on PROGRAMS on the left column of this website.


Crofton Gardening Tip – Spring Flowering Bulbs

Daffodils, tulips and other flowering bulbs are such a delight throughout Crofton in Spring, but we can’t wait ’til then to plant them.  NOW is the time for doing that!


Your choice of bulbs is important – this is no time to skimp by shopping at your local dollar store.  Visit a local nursery or place your order through a reputable catalogue or website, such as Burpee’s.  Look for bulbs that are plump and firm, not soft or mushy, and avoid any that seem to have mold growing on them.  Keep in mind that larger bulbs are more likely to grow into beautiful healthy plants than smaller bulbs of the same variety.

Plant your bulbs in well-drained soil, at a depth 3 times their vertical diameter.


Daffodils on white background

There are hundreds of daffodil varieties and their growing season can extend several weeks if you choose a mix of bulbs, such as Burpee’s 100 Days Mix.  Daffodils are typically a golden yellow, but some varieties are lighter – almost white – and they can light up your home interior as well as your yard.

Daffodils are the centerpiece of Golden Days, a National Garden Clubs, Inc. project promoting the planting of daffodils in public places.  In fact, Crofton Village Garden Club has donated daffodil bulbs to the Crofton Library for planting near the entrance this fall for the entire community to enjoy in spring.


Tulips2If you’re looking for color variety in your spring garden, you’ll want to plant tulips.  Reds, yellows, purples, and oranges in every imaginable shade… Gorgeous, whether they’re planted one color en masse or mixed in any combination.  Tulips tend to bloom after many daffodil varieties have faded, so there’s no reason you can’t have both dressing up your garden.  As cut flowers, they are beautiful in a vase or in an arrangement with other spring flowers.


Hyacinth, Crocus, Anemone, Iris… the list is long, the flowers are gorgeous, and you’ll be wishing for a larger yard or more energy –  or both –  for planting more spring flowering bulbs.  You can purchase them locally at Homestead Gardens or Behnke’s Nursery (among others), or shop from home via catalogue or the Internet at a reputable company such as Burpee’s.

At the very least, you can educate yourself about the options by going online and checking out the different varieties with their special characteristics.



How to Winterize Your Crofton Garden Pond

If you live in the greater Crofton area in Maryland, it’s important to prepare your garden pond for winter so you can minimize the loss of fish and plants.  Now is the time to do this chore, if you haven’t already.

Dave Kemon, the water gardening expert at Homestead Gardens in Davidonsonville, recommends these five steps to get your pond ready for winter:

  1. Water GardenDrain your pond halfway and scoop out all leaves and debris with a net. Fill the pond back up with fresh water and a de-chlorinator if you have chlorine in your water (Stress Coat is recommended).
  2. Bring in all UV filters, lights and clarifiers so they don’t freeze and break. If your outside filters are large, drain all the water out of them and shut them down for the winter. Also shut off all water pumps if you have concerns about the pond freezing them. Finally, add a pond de-icer or raise your pump halfway up.
  3. Cut back all water lilies and hardy bog plants, and bring tropical plants indoors. Remove all water hyacinths and water lettuce so that don’t rot in the pond.
  4. Cover the pond with netting but never lay it flat on the water, or falling leaves will push it down and turn the water dark. Always place your net like a tent using PVC pipes so the leaves fall to the side and frogs can still get up on the ledge.
  5. Switch fish food over to cold weather food, although they only need to be fed through the month of November. There will be enough organic matter in the pond to sustain them through the winter months.

Check the water gardening page of Homestead Gardens website for additional information including a list of items you’ll need for winterizing your garden pond and a list of thing NOT to do.

PHOTO: Istockphoto.com

Plant Bulbs Now for Spring Blooms in Crofton



As you drive around Crofton Maryland in early spring, the first flower you’ll notice (perhaps even popping through the snow) will probably be a crocus.  Soon after, you’ll see stunning gardens and accents of yellow daffodils and blue grape hyacinths… and a few weeks after that, colorful beds of tulips.  These and all spring-flowering bulbs must be planted in fall – and that means NOW.

A few bulb-planting tips from Crofton Village Garden Club:

  • Choose healthy bulbs – i.e., large ones that are not spongy, dry, or moldy.
  • Bulbs love sun.  (Keep in mind that some areas are sunny in spring but not later, when there are leaves on the trees.)
  • Plant several bulbs to create a showy display of color in spring – either in a bed or in clumps.
  • Plant them at a depth 3 times the size of the bulb’s diameter.  (See charts below)
  • Plant bulbs with the pointed side up.
  • Mix some bone meal or superphosphate with the soil at the bottom of the hole to encourage strong root growth
  • Water newly-planted bulbs after you replace soil on top of them.

Plant Spring Bulbs in Fall

Plant Spring Bulbs in Fall


Click here for information about Golden Days, a project of National Garden Clubs, Inc.

Planting Pansies in Crofton Maryland

The Better Homes & Gardens website has advice for Crofton Village Garden Club members and any of our neighbors who may be thinking about planting pansies this fall.

Pansies in Bloom


1.  Don’t wait. In fact, plant your pansies this week if you haven’t already.  This will assure plenty of time for them to get established before winter so they’ll survive well and provide lots of colorful blooms in spring as well as now.

2.  Choose healthy plants, in four inch pots or larger, for the same reason.  Their rapidly growing root system will help the pansies get established in the ground or in your pots before winter.

3.  Choose hardy varieties with medium size flowers because, as a general rule, they are more likely to survive the winter than those with large flowers.  A few suggested varieties include Sky, Delta, Bingo, Accord, Crystal Bowl, Prestso, Skyline, Universal and Maxim pansies.

4.  Provide good drainage because you will lose pansies that have too much moisture.  In fact, sometimes they’ll overwinter successfully only to suffer and die as snow and ice begin to melt and soak into the soil.

To maximize the colorful pansy blooms, be sure to deadhead the spent ones as long as the pansies are growing.  Over the winter plants won’t look their best, and you may even lose some of them, but they should come back in Spring.  When that happens, it will be time to dead-head again throughout the growing season.

Your Spring pansies will stay beautiful ‘til May, and you could have them last longer if we have a mild spring, but plan on replacing them with colorful annuals around Memorial Day.

P.S.  If you’re planting your pansies in a decorative pot, be sure to view the video posted a few months ago in 3 Easy Steps to Container Gardening.

Homestead Gardens on Pansies

Margaret Woda


Whether you’re a beginning gardener, a master gardener, or somewhere in between, find out how to join the Crofton Village Garden Club by contacting club president Sunny Frank by email SunnyFrank@verizon.net.  Membership is limited.

Is the Bark Peeling on Your Crepe Myrtle Tree?

Crofton Village Garden Club members ask, “Is the bark on your Crepe Myrtle tree peeling?”

Photo from Flickr by

Photo from Flickr by yumievriwan

Bark is peeling from the ground to the tip of every branch on the crepe myrtle tree in my yard, so I did some investigating as to the likely cause.   Here’s what I found:

Horticulturist Neil Sperry says that crepe myrtles have exfoliating bark which peels off in long hunks, often exposing glossy honey-color trunks. According to him, peeling bark is completely harmless in all species of crepe myrtle. (also called “crape myrtle” or even “crapemyrtle”)

I have to say that it looks pretty creepy, even if it is “normal”.  But I’m glad to know peeling bark isn’t a symptom of disease or insects in this beautiful tree, because it provides a gorgeous canopy of shade for arranging outdoor seating whenever I entertain in the summer.

By the way, October is an ideal time to plant crepe myrtle and they are 50% off now at Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville (thru 9/30/09).

By Margaret Woda


Whether you’re a beginning gardener, a master gardener, or somewhere in between, find out how to join the Crofton Village Garden Club by contacting club president Sunny Frank by email SunnyFrank@verizon.net.  Membership is limited.


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