Possible Frost/Freeze Early Next Week


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Just as we were getting used to all this balmy, Spring weather, March rears its ugly side to hit us with possible damaging frosts and freezes on Sunday and Monday night (Monday night is predicted to be the coldest). Here are a couple of things to keep in mind over the next few days:

  • Tender annuals, vegetables, etc. The average last frost date for the D.C. metro area is April 25th (earlier to the south and east of the city, later to the north and west), yet some impatient gardeners have undoubtedly gotten too early a start. If you are one of them, be sure to cover your frost-tender annuals, vegetables, etc., to protect them from the frost. If you have pots planted with tender plants or haven’t planted your tender plants yet, and you can bring them inside, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do so both Sunday and Monday nights.
  • If you’ve put your houseplants outside on the porch or patio already, bring them in and leave them inside until all danger of frost has passed.
  • Blooming camellias, etc. Blossoms on early-blooming shrubs and trees can take some cold weather, for the most part. But if you are worried and want to protect them, you can cover these items with frost cloths, sheets or light blankets to help protect the flowers from frost.

Let us all think good thoughts and hope the temperatures moderate Sunday and Monday nights!

If you are thinking of getting my help this Spring for some landscape work, please let me know soonest, as my Spring calendar is filling up early this year.


Posted under The Spring Garden, Weather vagaries

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on March 19, 2016

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It’s Time to Greet Spring!


Here’s a link to my Early Spring newsletter. Enjoy, and Happy Spring!


Posted under Garden maintenance, Newletters, The Spring Garden

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on March 21, 2015

Freeze Warning Tonight (4/15/14) and Maybe Wednesday Night, Too

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I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write this…there is a Freeze Warning posted for tonight, Tuesday, April 15, in the D.C. metro area. Be ready for Wednesday night, too, just in case. This is not uncommon at this time of year when we are teetering between warmth one day and cold the next. The recent warmth brought out new growth on most plants.  

In my own garden, I have Azaleas starting to bloom and the Japanese Maples have leafed-out; I’ll cover what I can. I am not going to worry about the Daffodils and other bulbs, Pansies, Hellebores, Pieris, Camellias, for example—these should go relatively undamaged, other than maybe a few burnt flowers.

Anytime the night temperatures are expected to hover around freezing at this time of year, I consider covering. My goal is to keep frost off the flowers and new growth of tender items. I always keep a stack of old sheets, towels, and blankets for nights just like these when I need to cover plants. Just drape them gently over the plants you are trying to protect. Beware using plastic bags and tarps—they do a good job of protecting your plants, but the air underneath them can heat up too much the next morning when the sun hits the plastic. If you do decide to use plastic covers, be sure to remove them in the morning when the temperature warms a bit. Special frost coverings and blankets are available at some nurseries and hardware stores.

If you have planted tender annuals or vegetables prematurely, cover them. Bring indoors any tropical houseplants you may have set outside when it was warm. The average last date of frost in the D.C. area is April 25th—often earlier to the South and East, often later to the West and North. May 1 is a good marker for planting your tender annuals and vegetables and putting out your tropical plants for the summer. It pays to wait until then.  Still, keep those sheets, towels and blankets on hand for an unexpected cold snap.

Posted under Southern Gardens, Spring Flowers, The Spring Garden, Weather vagaries

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on April 15, 2014

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Romancing the Azalea

Here’s a link to my latest article for Wrightsville Beach Magazine, “Romancing the Azalea”, in celebration of the upcoming, annual Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC.  Enjoy and Happy Spring!  (Hoping for a warm up soon!)

Posted under Garden Travel, Media, Southern Gardens, Spring Flowers, The Spring Garden, Travel

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on April 3, 2013

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A Tale of Two Seasons

Woke up to this:


Every twig, every leaf, every surface has snow on it.






When I look up into the trees, the first thing that pops into my head is “reindeer antlers”, for some reason.  What do you think?


Soon, I hope, the temperature will rise above freezing so the snow will begin to drop off the plants.  It’s heavy and wet, and many of the shrubs are arching over a bit too much for comfort…I am praying for no breakage.

Checking my notes, I see we had a dusting of snow on March 27, 2011.  The photos show the flowers much more advanced than this year.  It’s been a cold, cold March–many days more like January.  While snow is not uncommon this late in the season (and even a dusting on the flowers in early April is fairly common), I can’t remember having this much so late.  I measure 3″-4″, and it’s still snowing.

The cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin are due to peak in a week–really?  Hard to believe on a day like today, yet it will come to pass.  My hillside of blooming daffodils is hidden under the snow this morning.

Can’t wait for shorts, flip-flops, and flowers!

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Posted under The Spring Garden, The Winter Garden, Weather vagaries

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on March 25, 2013

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A Guide for the Novice Gardener

Spring gardening tips in my article for the latest issue of Wrightsville Beach Magazine (Wilmington, NC).


Posted under Garden maintenance, Pruning, Southern Gardens, Spring Flowers, The Spring Garden

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on March 4, 2013

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Greetings from Wilmington, NC

Loropetalum beginning to bloom in our front yard

Loropetalum beginning to bloom in our front yard

After what always seems like an eternity (in other words, getting through January), I made it down here to Steve’s in Wilmington.  I’ve been here a week and, already, I feel the relaxation and calm streaming into my body and the stress and tension slowly draining out.  The air is not all that much warmer down here–though I don’t sense the chill that emanates from the ground in Arlington at this time of year–yet the sun is much, much brighter, warmer, and intense.  It’s done wonders for my outlook!

We’ve had lots of rain.  That’s a good thing since there have been many years of drought and heat down here and the soil is practically all sand.  Great for digging (compared to the rocky clay in Arlington); not so great for holding moisture or nutrients.

With the rain and warmer sun, the plants are responding with bloom.

Carolina Jessamine around our front porch

Carolina Jessamine around our front porch

Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection'

Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection'

Cheerful Daffodils in the bright sunlight

Cheerful Daffodils in the bright sunlight

Carrying over from Winter, Tea Olives powerfully fill the garden with a deep, sweet fragrance

Carrying over from Winter, Tea Olives powerfully fill the garden with a deep, sweet fragrance

One of Wilmington’s crown jewels is the annual Azalea Festival.  This year, it’s happening April 10th-14th.  The entire town is filled with blooming Azaleas, gorgeous gardens (there’s a big fundraising tour) and glamorous belles–yes, in hoop skirts.  I was asked to write an article on a couple of the featured gardens for the April issue of Wrightsville Beach Magazine. Today, I met my charming contact and she took me by two of the gardens.  They are all that and some change, and I can’t wait for you to see them…but for that you’ll have to wait.  Meantime, I did snap some close-ups of flowers in these two gardens, and I’m sharing those here.





Variegated Winter Daphne

Variegated Winter Daphne...

And a lovely, canopied street here in Wilmington--appropriately called Live Oak Drive

And a lovely, canopied street here in Wilmington--appropriately called Live Oak Drive

Tomorrow, we are heading South for a week in the Low Country:  Charleston and Beaufort, SC, and Savannah, GA.  We can’t wait to get to our beloved Low Country and savor the gardens, history, architecture, and surprises along the way.  We want to explore the Sea Islands and see as many plantations and gardens as we can.

Photos by the blogger; if you copy, please link back.

Posted under Fragrance in the garden, Garden Tours, Garden Travel, Gardeners, Southern Gardens, Spring Flowers, The Spring Garden, The Winter Garden, Travel

A Moss Garden in Richmond, VA

In my last post, I wrote about moss paths.  I mentioned visiting a moss garden in Richmond, VA.  This evening, I was looking at past episodes of ‘A Gardener’s Diary’, hosted by Erica Glasener.

Mossy pathways at Woodland Cottage

Mossy pathways at Woodland Cottage

[A little aside here…this has always been my favorite garden show.  It used to be on HgTV (yes, big ‘H’, little ‘g’–they’ve let us gardeners down) at 7am Eastern, and I was up and on my stationary bike every morning at that time, ready to watch.  What a shame they took it off the air.  They need to put it back on!]

Anyway, the episode, ‘Mad About Moss’, is on Hulu.com currently, and Erica is touring the same Richmond garden I toured so many years ago, with the owner–but hurry, they will not be posted for long.  Here’s the link to the show.  Enjoy!  http://www.hulu.com/watch/315467

Posted under Gardeners, Media, Southern Gardens, The Spring Garden

Late Spring Newsletter is Up…

Hydrangea Time!

Hydrangea Time!

…in the news section of my website.  Here’s the link:  http://www.minnichgardendesign.com/news.html


Posted under Newletters, The Spring Garden

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on June 6, 2012

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