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Want the best decorative pumpkin on your street? DIY!




















DIY Vomiting Pumpkin Planter:


1. Pick out your plants and pumpkin (we used ornamental cabbage for the eyes and ornamental kale for the hair)

2. Remove the top of the pumpkin

3. Scoop the innards and place them into a bowl or Ziplock bag for safe keeping

4. Once all the seeds have been removed, carve the pumpkin to your liking

5. To encourage proper drainage, it may be a good idea to drill a few holes in the bottom of the pumpkin

6. Place paper towels in the mouth area to avoid dirt from spilling out while filling with potting soil

7. Insert cabbages into the eye holes

8. Fill the pumpkin halfway with potting soil

9. Insert the kale into the top of the pumpkin

10. Fill the pumpkin the rest of the way with dirt

11. Remove the paper towels and lay the seeds and other innards in and around the mouth (alternatively, as a less messy option, you can plant the mouth with succulents or other plants of your choice)

12. Display and enjoy!



Decorative Gourd Candles



gourds 1






1. Pick out your gourds (a variety of sizes and colors will create an attractive display)

2. Cut a tea light sized hole out of the top of the gourd

3.   If you are looking for a quick and easy display, leave the innards inside the gourds. This will hold the candles at the top. Other options include:

a. Removing the innards and replacing with stones or sand

b. Filling the inside of the gourd with melted wax to create a seal that keeps the gourd from rotting as quickly (don’t forget to add the wick first!)

4. Insert the tea light into the gourd

5. Light your candle

6. Enjoy!






















Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Design With Orchids

Oct 20, 2016 9:33:06 AM

Orchids are considered

to be one of the most popular flowers.


Symbol of perfection and beauty, they were popular since the time of great Exploration and Victorian England.

"A passion for orchids takes you into a complex and boundless world where you are always making new discoveries".Maurice Lecoufle, Orchids, Care and Cultivation.

They belong to Orchidaeae  family of the more than 25,000 species.

Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, Cimbidium, Cattleya, Dendrobium, Paphiopedilum can be found in almost all regions around the world.

Five points of success: Temperature, light, water, humidity and fertilizer.

Temperature: 70 - 90F during the day, 60-70F at night.

Light:  Phalaenopsis are the most tolerant of low light conditions, all orchids need good light to flower.

Water: Orchids benefit from thorough watering and allowing the medium to dry between the waterings.

Humidity:  Humidity should be at least 50% indoors, place orchids on a tray filled with water and pebbles, pot should be above the water line.

Fertilizer: Feed orchids every two weeks from spring until late summer.

Meaning of orchid colors: white - innocence, pink - joy, yellow - friendship, lavender- grace, purple- royalty, respect.


What is a good design?


Elements of design:  container, plants, decorative and supporting branches, moss.

Selection of container, plants, branches: Orchids have to compliment and be in the harmony with container- basket, glass cube, bowl or an antique.

Design must have a good proportion, balance of components and complementary colors. Maintenance of an arrangement should be offered as a part of a customer service.

"There is an orchid revolution underway that is unprecedented in the history of horticulture, driven in large part by a great value represented by a flowering orchid plants. Orchids are a great value simply because the floral display is much longer lasting than a comparably priced floral arrangement or potted flowering plant".

Four Seasons of Orchids, Greg Allikas & Ned Nash.


Mira Jovanovic

BCC Green House

Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Botanicals & Cocktails

Sep 14, 2016 3:11:04 PM

Fall brings us cooler evenings giving back the ability to comfortably entertain family and friends outdoors. Entertaining guests in your gardens is an easy way to enjoy them. Herbs are an obvious choice when cooking for your guests, but why not take it a step further and use your herb garden to enhance your cocktail menu.


We have a great selection of herbs to plan a brand new garden, or add to an existing one. Below is a small and simple set of recommendations for common herbs and their most favorable counterparts:




  • Basil - Rum, Tequila
  • Lavender - Gin, Vodka
  • Mint - Rum, Bourbon, Tequila
  • Rosemary - Bourbon, Spiced Rum
  • Sage - Bourbon
  • Thyme - Gin, Bourbon





The drink pictured I created as a play on two drinks, a boulevardier and an elderfashioned. It includes the following:

  • 2oz Bourbon or Whiskey
  • ½oz Dry Vermouth
  • ½oz Campari
  • ½oz Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 Dashes Orange Bitters
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
    • Put everything in a shaker with ice and shake for 15 seconds vigorously to help release essential oils from the thyme
    • Strain and serve over ice, or up. Garnish with more thyme



For even more great ideas check out Tinge for a great selection of cocktail books, fun and classic drinkware, and even bar tools. One of my personal favorites is The Drunken Botanist. Loads of great drink and gardening information.




Colin Kuhn

Annuals Manager

7405 River Road



Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Container Gardening & Lasagna Planting

Sep 10, 2016 11:31:00 AM


Container Gardening & Lasagna Planting

Planting bulbs in containers offers a solution to
gardeners who lack the space to create a full garden. Spring blooming bulbs can be grown in decorative pots to add accents to patios, decks, and entryways. Bulbs planted in beds outside require little maintenance, however, with a few guidelines and commitment, container bulbs can prove equally as easy. Guiding your customers to plant bulbs in containers also offers you the chance to upsell extra product within the garden center and increase fall sales.
Lasagna planting is when you stack bulbs in layers, which will delight your customers this spring with more blooms. Choose bulbs with different bloom times for greater effect. Some combination options are tulips, daffodils, and crocus, or tulips, hyacinths, and muscari. There are endless bulb and color combinations to choose from.
For detailed instructions click here


Shared by Patrick Gravel Perennials Manager at 7405 RIver Road

Thanks to Netherland Bulb Company- known for producing Premium Holland Bulbs

Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Fall Recipes

Aug 31, 2016 12:44:27 PM

Recipe Ideas for Your Fall Vegetable Garden

                  Even though it may still be quite warm, Labor Day weekend is fast approaching, and summer will quickly be leaving. It can sometimes be hard to get excited about fall crops since it can still be hot when we need to get them planted. Remember to plant items you know you will likely use, but also try some new varieties. To help get us all excited about fall, and fall food, some easy seasonal recipes should help get us in the mood. In the stores we can help you pick your fall vegetables from our great selection. Remember to check University of Maryland’s great Grow it Eat It program for information tailored just for our growing area.


Colin Kuhn

Annuals Manager

7405 RIver Road



Penne Pasta with a Champagne, Tarragon Vinaigrette

  • 16oz Penne Pasta
  • 3-4 Carrots
  • 10-12 Radishes
  • 2oz Arugula(roughly 2 small handfuls)
  • 1 Cup Champagne Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon or Whole Grain Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Tarragon(dry tarragon can substitute)
  • Kosher Salt, Pepper


This pasta salad is best served cool on a warm fall day, great for picnics, sides, or even a main dish. Feel free to add your favorite grilled meat, and cheese, feta would be a great addition.



                  Cook pasta according to package instructions. Make sure to salt the water well, and yes it should actually taste like the ocean. Drain the pasta and rinse to cool down. The vinaigrette will not have a problem adhering to the pasta in this case even after being rinsed. Prepare the dressing in a large enough bowl to eventually put all the ingredients in. Start with 1 cup of champagne vinegar, finely diced garlic cloves, Dijon mustard, and fresh tarragon. Whisk together until well combined. Continue to whisk while slowly adding the olive oil. Slice your carrots and radishes into ¼” discs. Add your cooled pasta to the bowl with the vinaigrette along with the carrots, radishes, and arugula. Mix well to combine and taste. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.



Zatar Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Dipping Sauce

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • 8oz Baby Carrots
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Zatar Seasoning
  • ¼ Cup Tahini Paste
  • 1 Lemon
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh Oregano – Dry oregano can substitute
  • Kosher Salt, Pepper


The great roasted flavor of cauliflower and sweetness of carrots pairs nicely with this easy tahini sauce. This easy Mediterranean side dish can pare with your favorite protein or turn into a salad. Zatar seasoning can be found in specialty food stores or from small spice purveyors at local markets. If you can’t find it however, don’t fret, substitute equal parts by weight of sesame seeds, ground oregano, ground cumin, ground sumac, and ground coriander.



                  Preheat your oven to 400F. Cut the cauliflower head into florets 1-2 inches long, and 1-2 inches wide. Add your cauliflower and baby carrots to an 8.5”x11” (or similar size) oven proof container and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle the zatar seasoning evenly over the vegetables along with 1-2 Tsp of kosher salt and pepper. Roast at 400F for 45 minutes. Toss every 15 minutes in the pan to promote even browning on the veggies. While the veggies roast, prepare the tahini sauce. Start with the ¼ cup of tahini paste, add the juice of 1 lemon, 1 Tbsp of oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Depending on how thick your tahini paste is you have purchased, you may need to add a few tablespoons of water to thin out a little more to make dipping easy. Use the rest of the oregano to toss with the vegetables before plating.

roasted veggies

Roasted Vegetables with Sausage, Apples, and Fall Herbs

  • 16oz Smoked Sausage or Kielbasa
  • 2-3 Sweet Potatoes
  • 16oz Brussel Sprouts
  • ½ White Onion
  • 4-5 Garlic Cloves
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Apples(Pink Lady, Fuji, Gala)
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 2Tbsp Fresh Sage
  • Kosher salt, Pepper


This all in one dinner is very simple to prepare, but the flavor profiles will make it seem like it took much more effort. The apples add a great fresh crunch. This easy dinner can be preceded by a simple mixed greens salad while dinner is in the oven.



                  Preheat your oven to 400F. Grab an 8.5”x11” baking dish to add your ingredients to. Peel and cut your sweet potatoes into roughly 1” cubes. Rinse the brussel sprouts with cool water and cut in half. Slice the smoked sausage into 1-2” pieces. Slice your ½ onion into strips, and your garlic cloves into quarters. Toss everything together in the baking dish with the olive oil and chopped fresh rosemary and sage. Bake at 400F for 45 minutes stirring once or twice during baking. The sweet potatoes should be easily poked with a fork with little to no resistance to signal they are fully cooked. While your dinner is cooling for a few minutes right out of the oven, peel, core, and dice 2 apples into 1/2” pieces. Place in the pan with the sausage and vegetable mixture and toss together. Keeping the apples raw adds a nice crunch and freshness to finish off the dish. Plate and enjoy.


dinner two

Pork Tenderloin with Apple Butter and Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin(generally around 16oz)
  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 2 Large Handfuls Kale
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper
  • 1 Medium Shallot
  • ⅛ Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • ⅛ Cup Gruyere Cheese
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • ¼  Cup White Wine
  • 3 Tbsp Parsley
  • 1 Cup Apple Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt, Pepper


This impressive dinner will be sure to wow for a date night in, or scale up for a great plated dinner with friends. Feel free to use pre made apple butter to save a step and time, but I have included a simple apple butter recipe at the end of the dinner preparation.



                  Preheat your oven to 400F. Cut the acorn squash in half perpendicular to how the stem connected to the fruit. Clean out the seeds and guts, scrape clean with a spoon. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400F for 30-45 minutes until fork tender and set aside. In a medium pot, add 2 Tbsp of Olive oil and bring up to medium heat. Finely dice the shallot and add to the pot. When the shallots become translucent, add the roughly cut kale and diced roasted red pepper (canned or jarred work fine). Cook the mixture until the kale is fully wilted, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, mix with the parmesan cheese and evenly divide into the acorn squash. Top with the gruyere. Place 1 cup of apple butter in a small pot on low to warm up.


Timing with this dinner is key. The easiest way to make sure everything is done together is to begin cooking the pork once you can put the acorn squash back into the oven to finish.


Cut the pork tenderloin into 2 pieces to increase the speed and ease of cooking, season with salt and pepper. Place a 10-12” oven proof sauté pan on the stove over medium high heat, this pan will be moved into the oven so be sure it is all metal. If you do not have an all metal pan move to a baking sheet once instructed to put the pork in the oven, this will increase cooking time for the pork. Once the pan is hot, add 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil, and add the pork. Move your stuffed squash back to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Cook the pork for 7-10 minutes on the first side until nice and golden brown. Turn to the other side for 1-2 minutes, and then move the entire pan to the oven for 10-12 minutes. Once out of the oven, leave in the pan for 5 minutes on the stove top, and then move to a cutting board. Place the pork pan back on medium heat and add 3-4 diced garlic cloves and cook until soft. Add the ¼ cup of white wine (any white table wine will work fine, I happened to have sauvignon blanc this night). Reduce by half and finish with the chopped parsley.


Assemble your dinner by placing the stuffed acorn squash on the plate first. Spoon half of the apple butter on the plate to act as a bed for the pork. Slice the pork into ½” pieces and lay on the apple butter. Spoon the pan sauce of the pork to complete the dish.


It may seem like a lot, but taking your time and working on each step carefully is key to this wonderful fall dinner.


                  Apple Butter Recipe

  • 10-12 apples
    • Use a mix of apples to provide varying levels of sweetness and flavor
  • 3 Tbsp Cider vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp ground Ginger
  • 1 Tsp ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Tsp ground Coriander
  • 3 Tbsp Sugar


Peel, core, and rough cut all apples. Add all ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours and let cool. Use a stick blender or regular blender to puree. Portion into freezer safe containers and freeze what you are not immediately using. Feel free to add more sugar after cooking if you would like it sweeter.




Posted By Gina DeMatteis

SImple Summer Bouquet

Aug 9, 2016 3:51:12 PM



Simple high-summer bouquet from the perennial garden.

You can plant one!

Rica Boeg

Perennial/Nursery Manager

5258 RIver Road

Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Cacti and Succulents

May 2, 2016 1:20:39 PM





 Cacti and succulents combine passion for growing plants with
  investing a minimum care in creating a special desert garden.  They are easy to 
  grow and are great for containers or small gardens alike. Why plant a cacti and
  succulent garden?  One of the reasons is that it is budget friendly and looks great
  both in concrete tubs or small coffee cups.  There are about 1,500 to 2,000 species and it is easy to make an interesting design combining different sculptural shapes and colorful leaves. It is easy to create an impressive sight of color, pattern contrast and texture.

Cacti and succulent habitat spreads from Patagonia in South America to British Columbia in Canada. It is believed that the origin of the species is on the American continent. Their habitats include tropics and subtropics, deserts and semi desert areas. They have adapted and evolved to survive in an extra arid environment and most extreme climates. It is believed that they developed some 25 million years ago.

High temperature and low precipitation force the plant to collect and store water to survive long dry periods. Water is conserved in fleshy leaves, stems and sometimes even in the root system.

All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti have spines as highly modified leaves, and areoles as highly modified branches. These characteristics separate them from succulents.

Growth habit:  Plants have stems, areoles, some have leaves, spines, roots, flowers. Metabolism -photosynthesis happens at night when the temperature is the lowest, thus reducing emission of water.

Reproduction:  Pollination is done by bees, bats, humming birds.

Propagation: From seeds, cuttings and grafting. Growing medium, soil, should be low in organic material, humus, but rich in lime and sand.

Plants should be grown in bright indirect sunlight, use water soluble fertilizer once a month. Water thoroughly but not frequently. Frequency of watering depends on the size of the plant, the environmental conditions including proximity to light and average humidity.

Pests are rarely a problem. Black stem rot is a sign of overwatering.

Cacti and succulents create an impressive sight as a single plant, small garden for a coffee table or a vertical garden - living wall.

Written by: Mira Jovanovic
Bethesda Chevy Chase Greenhouse


Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Watch Out for Scale!!

Apr 5, 2016 3:28:18 PM

If you have Hollies, Camellia, or Laurels, odds are that you’ve noticed a “sooty” black mold growing on the tops of the leaves or that the leaves are yellowing and dropping leaves. Most home gardeners attempt to treat these symptoms as a disease, but in reality, these types of damage are indicators of a very common garden pest, Scale insects.

Scale Basics

Scale are small insects, that look more like little bumps on the undersides of leaves than they do typical insects like aphids or whitefly. Most Scale live under a protective “shell” that is either a cottony, wax, or other firm substance as protection for themselves and the eggs. Males from a variety of species even develop wings and look like gnats around the plants. As for reproducing, females will lay their eggs under their protective covering, sometimes without even mating, and the eggs will hatch over a period of 2 to 3 weeks. Once these nymphs (or crawler) emerge, they move around the plant looking for a place to feed. This will typically only last a day or two, and once they settle, they begin to grow their protective covering.

Scale feeds using its straw like mouth parts to suck the sap or plant tissue out through the stems or leafs. This can cause stunting and reduced vigor, as well as dieback in some cases. The damage that scale causes is also a great indicator of what type of scale you might have on your trees or shrubs.

Soft Scale VS Armored Scale

Soft Scale, like Calico and Cottony Camellia Scale, are usually found on the undersides of the foliage and feed on the sap, but can also be found stems or along leaf veins. An easy indicator of soft scale is to look out for the honeydew (a sticky and shiny sugar) that the scale excretes which will drop onto the tops of leaves below, however you will probably notice the sooty mold that grows on the honeydew before you notice the honeydew itself. Because soft scale does not feed on chlorophyll, you should not see any signs of chlorosis, or yellowing on the leaves.

Armored scale on the other hand (e.g. Prunicola or White Peach Scale), can be seen on the twigs and stems, and by piercing the plant tissue on the stems, suck out the contents. Early damage signs of armored scale are yellowing of the leaves in the surrounding areas and in heavier infestations, defoliation and possible branch dieback. It is important to note that armor scale does not produce honeydew.



Nymph (Crawler) Stage- This will be the best time to spray for scale, however, this could prove challenging to the homeowners if they do not know what type of scale they have and may miss the already short window.

American Plant Recommends: Bonide®Neem-Oil- Spray top and bottom of the leaves in affected areas. Repeat every 10-14 days.

Plants near a fish pond? Substitute Organocide 3n1 Garden Spray, made with fish oils that will not harm fish.

Mature Scale- At this stage, most horticultural oils will not penetrate the scale’s protective covering so systemic insecticides are the most effective.

American Plant Recommends: ORTHO ®Tree & Shrub Insect Control- This granular treatment need only be applied once and will protect against scale and other garden pests for 10-12 months and also comes with a measuring cap for easy application. This should be applied around the drip line of the plant and be sure to pull away any mulch before application. Also available in 64oz concentrate.


Overwintering scales and eggs can also be controlled through the use horticultural oils like Neem-oil and Summit Horticultural Oil.

For more information on scale in our area, please visit

Landscape and Nursery IPM Alerts


Scale Commonly Encountered in Maryland Landscape and Nurseries



Common Scale in Maryland

Calico Scale (Eulecanium cerasorum) (soft scale)


Plants Damaged: dogwood, honeylocust, magnolia, maple, sweet gum, tuliptree and ornamental fruit trees.


Description: Adults are about the size of a pencil eraser. They are round and mottled white and dark brown to black. They are named after the calico pattern on their shell.


Monitoring: Look for copious amounts of honeydew in late May and early June. Look for the oval-shaped, yellow-bodied crawlers in June.


Crawler Stage: There is one generation a year. Early June through late September



cal 1 

green scale

Cottony Camellia/Taxus Scale (Pulvinaria occifera) (soft scale)

Plants Damaged: Taxus yews, camellia, holly, rhododendron, Japanese maple, English ivy, and mulberry


Description: These scales are cream to tan, elongated and flat. When females are producing eggs they create a white cottony ovisac that are two or more times their size.


Monitoring: Look for sooty mold and honeydew on the foliage. Examine the undersides of leaves for the white cotton-like sacs.


Crawler Stage: There is one generation a year. Crawlers begin to appear in mid-June.



 white scale

White Prunicola Scale (Pseudaulacaspis prunicola)
(Armored scale)

 Plants Damaged: Cherries, cherry laurels , magnolia, ligustrum (privets), rhododendron, forsythia, boxwood, and lilac.


Description: Females have a round, white body with orange to yellow center, like a fried egg. Males are more elongated and give bark a fluffy appearance.


Monitoring: Both male and female crawlers are salmon colored.


Crawler Stage: Three generation a year. First generation occurs in May. A second generation occurs in July and a third in September. Crawlers appear about 2 weeks earlier than white peach scale.


White Peach Scale Crawlers are out in early May to June. Second generation crawlers are out from mid-July to mid-August. The third generation crawlers are out in September.


Written by Wes Allen, Garden Supply Manager at 7405 River Road


Posted in Gardening Tips By Gina DeMatteis

Attract WIld Birds In Winter

Dec 3, 2015 1:21:12 PM


Why Should I Feed the Birds Now?

Now that most flowers have stopped producing seeds and insects are beginning to go dormant, wild birds will have a much harder time getting the nutrients they need to survive. Supplying food that is high in both calories and fat can make winter a much less stressful time for the wild birds in your area. Cole’s Black Oil Sunflower Seed is a great generic seed with high amounts of fat and protein that attracts a wide range of wild birds from cardinals to titmice. For Woodpeckers and songbirds that prefer fruit and insects, try C&S High Energy Suet Cakes or Cole’s Nutberry Suet Blend, made with premium fruits and insect suet kibbles.

Providing a birdbath or a shallow container with water is another important step in attracting wild birds to your yard. Consider adding a Birdbath Heater so that water can be available even during the coldest of days.

Bird Houses and Feeders

As the leaves drop from deciduous trees and shrubs, a quick hiding spot from predators or a place to shelter away from storms and cold windy days become much more difficult for the wild birds to find. Keep this in mind when planning the location of your feeders or bird houses. Be sure to hang feeders and houses out of the wind, either on the east or southern side of the house or along a row of large trees would be ideal. Birds will be more cautious to use a feeder that is out in the open with no cover. Nature’s Way Bamboo Birdhouses offer a durable shelter that birds will be using year after year.   

A Word about Squirrels…

Although squirrels will be hibernating through most of the winter months, these critters can still cause a bit of mischief before it is time for them to sleep. Creating a feeding area for squirrels complete with Cole’s Critter Munchies will go a long way in keeping squirrels away from your feeders and other areas of your yard.

Get a Gift for the Bird Lover in your Family!

-These Dry-Bins are a great way to keep your bird seed fresh all season long…not to mention keeping those pesky squirrels or chipmunks out of your seed. Available in two sizes; 30 liters and 50 liters.


Written by Wes Allen, Garden Supply Manager

Posted By Gina DeMatteis

Pre lit trees, the decorator favorite!

Nov 19, 2015 2:05:41 PM

pre lit trees

Faux Fir Trees: Quality, Brilliance, Value

Our trees are gorgeous, durable, sophisticated, realistic and unique.
Light strands unobtrusively extend a light to almost every tip,
giving you a brilliantly lit tree without unseemly wires.
The decorator favorite. The Bryce Canyon Pine is the perfect tree.
Available in 4 sizes: 6.5’| 7.5’| 9’| 12’

Posted By Gina DeMatteis
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