Monday, October 24, 2011

Recapping: Purl and Plant

Well, the DCGG's first-ever Purl and Plant wasn't a whopping success - only three people participated - but it was a success nonetheless! For we learned and accomplished several things.

The first thing we learned is that Qualia Coffee is a popular place, yo. We were hard-pressed to find a spot to park our three butts. For this reason I was slightly relieved that we had only three people to seat.

The second thing we learned is that both I and HWINSSL - who will forevermore be called Guerilla #3 for sanity's sake, but just keep in mind that no matter what he's called, that I still not-so-secretly love him - are total klutzes. We both knocked the wee table and spilled our coffee on multiple occasions. You'll see several coffee-stained napkins in the picture above. You'll also see my strange white eyelashes, the source of all my evil power and adorableness.

The third thing we learned is that we are crocheting PRODIGIES! In the space of two hours, Guerilla #3 completed a pocket (shown front and center in the photo), Guerilla #2 made insane headway on a second pocket despite his previous lack of crocheting experience (note his amazing yarn-y concentration), and I busted out of a good chunk of something that is entirely too large to be categorized as a pocket at all. Maybe more like a dog blanket. Or a kitty scarf. Regardless, we crocheted and things were made.

We will continue to hold Purl and Plants throughout the season, so don't worry if you couldn't make this first one. There will be another in November! And then December! And then FOREVER AND EVER, FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES. Bwahahaha! *<--that's my evil villainous crocheting laugh, brought to you by my strange white eyelashes*

Friday, October 21, 2011

Announcing: Removing Toxic Coal Tar

Hidey-ho, guerillas!

Today I'm passing along this super interesting press release from D.C.'s Department of the Environment. Read! Rejoice at the removal of toxic coal tar! Enjoy saying "toxic coal tar" for the rest of the day!


District-Banned Product a Major Source of Pollutant

WASHINGTON, DC -- The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) announced today that a 23,000 square-foot privately-owned parking lot in Northeast DC, contaminated with toxic coal tar pavement, was successfully remediated on Sunday, October 16, 2011.

Remediation of the lot, which drains into the Anacostia River, started on October 11, 2011 after a DDOE inspector issued a Notice of Violation to the property owner and contractor. The remediation process took 2.5 days, but was halted due to rain. The coal tar pavement product was removed with a shot blast machine, which uses steel beebees, or "shot," to pulverize the sealant layer on the lot. The machine was equipped with a HEPA filter and vacuum to eliminate ambient dust release.

"I’m excited to see the swift and successful remediation of this site," said DDOE Director Christophe A. G. Tulou. "Keeping highly toxic chemicals away from our local waterways help to ensure the health of our aquatic life as well as the public. That is our #1 priority." Director Tulou added that private property owners should always inquire about the products being used on their properties and not to permit contractors to use coal tar pavement products.

Coal tar pavement products are commonly used to seal parking lots and driveways and contain high levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). According to the Comprehensive Stormwater Management Enhancement Amendment Act of 2008, it is illegal to use, permit the use of, sell, or distribute coal tar pavement products in the District of Columbia as of July 1, 2009.

"This is a huge step towards reducing PAH levels in District waterways," said Councilmember Mary Cheh who sponsored the coal tar limitations section of the statute. "Eliminating coal tar pavement products is low-hanging fruit in reducing this major source of pollutant. I hope that other jurisdictions see the environmental benefits and follow suit." The District is the only municipality in the Chesapeake Watershed to ban coal-tar-based sealants.

A 2010 study showed that dust from coal-tar-sealed parking lots contained 530 times more PAHs than dust from parking lots with other surface types. This dust from coal-tar sealed parking lots contained about 7 times more PAHs than undiluted used motor oil, which has been recognized as having one of the highest PAH concentrations of all urban PAH sources. Rainwater washes these toxic PAH-containing sealant particles and dust down storm drains and into our local streams and rivers, threatening aquatic life in the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

For more information on the coal tar ban, visit or call the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Doing: Screening "A Community of Gardeners"

Attention guerillas! Mark your calendars for the free screening of a new documentary called A Community of Gardeners.

"An outdoor classroom, an oasis of peace in an inner-city neighborhood, a link to an immigrant's homeland: the roles of seven Washington, D.C. community gardens are as varied as the gardeners themselves. Meet them and visit their plots in a new documentary, A Community of Gardeners."

The screening will be held in celebration of Food Day, a national day created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest to promote healthy eating, access to fresh food, and sustainable food production.

A Community of Gardeners focuses on the people who grow fruits, vegetables and flowers at seven community gardens in Washington, D.C. and shows how these green spaces are changing their lives, their communities and their environment. You can see the trailer and learn more about the film at

The screening at Busboys & Poets will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Marsha Weiner of Food Muse Media with filmmaker Cintia Cabib, five D.C. community gardeners, and Alice Kamps, the curator of the National Archives exhibit, "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?"

What: Screening of A Community of Gardeners
When:Monday, October 24th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where:Busboys & Poets - 2021 14th Street NW, Washington D.C.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reminding: Purl and Plant

Just a friendly reminder that the D.C. Guerilla Gardeners will be getting creative this Sunday!

Join us at our first-ever Purl and Plant, a knit-tastic event dreamed up by He-Who-I-Not-So-Secretly-Love (HWINSSL). HWINSSL is not only a knitter, but also a Master Gardener, a fugitive from the law, AND a cheesemaker. I know! A bundle of talent that boy is! So get your butts to Purl and Plant so that you can meet this cheese-making gardener fugitive.

Also you'll get to meet me, and I'm sort of lovable, too. Ask Guerilla #2! He thinks I'm awesome. So does Great Britain, but now I'm just bragging.

What: Purl and Plant
When: Sunday, October 16th at 2:00pm
Where: Qualia Coffee at 3917 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington DC
Bring: Knitting or crochet needles, yarn, etc.

See you there!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Doing: Purl and Plant

Avast, me hearties, yo ho!*

*Tis' Friday, the joy of which warrants some pirate-speak. Arr!

Have you recently looked at your calendar and noticed a large gaping hole on October 16th? Has that gaping hole made you question your appeal as a social being? Do you need some plans to remind you that you are indeed lovable and that people want to be around you? Well, then do I have an idea for you!

Join your fellow miscreant lubbers (Pirate-to-English translation: land lovers) at Qualia Coffee as we knit plant pockets!**

**Knitting know-how not necessary. You can crochet. Or sew. Or sit there and drink coffee and tell us dirty limericks. Whatevs.

"What's a 'plant pocket'?" you ask. "What if I don't know any dirty limericks?" you wonder.

To answer your first question: A plant pocket is a square of yarn closed on three ends, creating a pocket. It has a handle-y like attachment thing, too. Into the pocket we will put dirt and plants. The handle-y attachment thing will be handle-y attached to things. Come Spring 2012, the pockets will be hung in ugly areas all around the District. Woot!

To address your concern about not knowing any dirty limericks, I'll share one with you:

"There once was a girl named Theresa,
Who every man wanted a piece'a.
But she wasn't for sale to some lusty ol' male.
You can't buy her, but money will lease'er!"

There, don't you feel better? Now you know at least one dirty limerick. Go forth and share the limericky love, peeps. And make plans to join us at Purl and Plant. Savvy?

What:Purl and Plant
Where: Qualia Coffee at 3917 Georgia Avenue NW
When: Sunday, October 16th at 2:00pm
What else? You don't need to know how to knit or crochet, we can help you! Nor do you need to like gardening. If you're a knitter who wants to knit but doesn't want to plant, that's okay! All are welcome.
What to bring: If you have them, bring some yarn, your knitting or crochet needles, and whatever limericks you know. Also some doubloons so you can get yourself some grog. If you don't have supplies, we'll have extras to share.

Be there, you watery bilge rats!***

***Said in love. Said. In. Love.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Doing: Rocking the D.C. State Fair!

Good morning, my adorable little kumquats! Were you sitting there at your desk, all sad and mopey on this overcast Tuesday morning, longing for a little non-caffeinated pick-me-up? Well have no fear, for I am here to deliver some jolly good news that will banish your mopey longingness: The D.C. Guerilla Gardeners will be manning a booth at this Saturday's D.C. State Fair! Woo! Happiness! Joy! Wild excitement!

Yes, kiddos, the DCGG will be at the Fair in all of our guerilla-y glory, making seed bombs and taking suggestions for 2012 projects. So get your green thumbs and your butt-colored butts to the Fair. While you're there, be sure to stop by our booth and say, "Howdy!" Also, bring me a hot pretzel or a large Diet Coke when you do. Afraid you won't be able to find us in the Fair-y fantastickness? No worries. You won't be able to miss us... We'll be the ones covered in dirt. And we'll likely have our African Gray parrot, Gandolf, with us. And our booth will be all blue camoflauge and chalkboard pennant-ness. And did I mention we'd be covered in dirt?

WHAT: The Illustrious D.C. State Fair
WHEN: Saturday, October 1st from 10am to 5pm
WHERE: Crafty Bastards at 2200 Champlain Street NW
WHY: Because I said so. And also because it will be fun.
MORE: For more information, visit the D.C. State Fair website.

See you there!

Doing: Pruning the Social Media Maze

Looking for something to jazz up your Tuesday night? Itching to blend your love of gardening with your love of Tweeting, but can't figure out how? Then I recommend attending Pruning the Social Media Maze for Gardeners and Garden Organizers being held this evening at the Walker Jones Education Campus Library. Kathy Jentz, editor and publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, will tell you where gardeners are hanging out in the social media sphere and how best to reach them. The pros, cons, how's, and why's of Twitter, Facebook, blogging, e-newsletters, and, the newest to the party, Google+ will also be discussed.

WHAT: Pruning the Social Media Maze for Gardeners and Garden Organizers
WHO: Moderated by Kathy Jentz, editor/publisher of Washington Gardeners
WHERE: Walker Jones Education Campus Library at 1125 New Jersey
Avenue NW
WHEN: Tuesday, September 27th at 5:00pm
WHY: Because it's awesome.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doing: Saving the WORLD!

Greetings, guerillas!

Today's post is brought to you by the letters S, T, W, and P, and an exclamation point. As in SAVE THE WORLD, PEOPLE!

Listen (or read) carefully, because I'm going to give you step by step instructions on how to preserve the planet. Here goes:

1. Read this article about the Landreth Seed Company, the oldest seed house in America and the fourth oldest corporation of any kind in the U.S.

2. Raise your fist in the air and silently curse our crappy economy and its effect on companies like Landreth Seed.

3. Ruminate on "heirloom seeds" and acknowledge that you really have no idea what they are. Read this to find out why you love heirloom seeds with all your squishy blood-filled heart, and why you want to eat them with all your saliva-laden taste buds.

3. Recognize a growing warmth in your bosom, telling you to take action to save Landreth. And to eat more endangered tomatoes.

4. Hunt and peck your way to and purchase a $5.00 seed catalog. Maybe purchase some seeds while you're at it.

5. Get on the horn and tell everyone you know about Landreth, the crappy economy, the coolness of heirloom seeds, the warmth in your bosom, and your soon-to-arrive wicked cool Landreth Seed Catalog.

6. Feel like a superhero, because you totally are.

And just like that, you've saved the world. Capital S. Capital T. Capital W. And an exclamation point.

All right, so maybe buying a seed catalog won't save the whole wide stinkin' world, but it will save a company. Saving Landreth will save heirloom seeds, and those heirloom seeds and their vegetable fabulousness could quite possibly, very maybily* SAVE THE WORLD. Only it will be a longterm-ish kind of save.

Fight genetically modified veggies! Fight the system! Fight the crapola economy! Buy a catalog and tell everyone you know to do the same.

CATALOG BUYING INCENTIVE: Anyone** who buys a Landreth Seed Catalog and brings their receipt to the D.C. Guerilla Gardeners' booth at the D.C. State Fair on October 1 will get a super-cool gift. Save the world. Get a present. It's a win-win.

*Maybily adv 1) A word I made up. 2) An adverbed*** version of a word that is already an adverb. 3) An incorrect way to say "perhaps; possibly."

** Limited to the first *mumble mumble* people who come to the booth with a receipt. (Number of gifts available as of yet undetermined. Depends on my level of laziness over the next week. [Level of laziness is directly proportionate to the number of gifts I can make. I'm just sayin'.])

***An adverbed adverb is a word that is already an adverb, but with an unnecessary -ly added at the end. It makes it more fun that way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Doing: The Pimped-Out Police Call Box

Good afternoon, guerillas!

It's been a slow season here at the OK Corral, aka the DCGG, but slow isn't necessarily bad. In fact, in gardening slow is often good! Trees grow slowly, right? And trees are good, right? So if trees grow slowly (let's call that A) and trees are good (let's call that B), then Logic tells us that slow is good! (A = B) Look'a me! Doing math!

Because of our slowy gardening goodness, Guerilla #2 (G2) and I were able to tackle an ambitious project on behalf of some super cool peeps from over the pond. Hayes Garden Furniture - a company I like because they're British (pip pip!), because they sell gardening furniture at discounted rates, and because they support our guerilla-y antics - contacted the D.C. Guerilla Gardeners and said, "Yo! D.C. Guerilla Gardeners! We totally support your efforts and want to help. P.S. Theresa, you're friggin' awesome; Great Britain loves you.*"

Hayes' monetary support of the DCGG brought about this totally amazing project that I have lovingly entitled "The Pimped-Out Police Call Box."
I present it to you here a la Dr. Who, because: 1) Dr. Who is the fan-freakin'-best; 2) the new and improved call box was painted Tardis blue (the Tardis being The Doctor's time and space-traveling police call box); and 3) our sponsor is British, just like Dr. Who and Paul Bettany, who's totally hot. See? There is a method to my madness after all.

But before I get into the project itself, a brief history lesson...

The District is littered with the skeletal remains of emergency call boxes. You've probably seen them around and wondered, "What the heck's up with these rusty thingamajigs?" What's up is that the rusty thingamajigs (pre rust) were installed in the 1860s to provide a direct link to police and fire services in case of emergencies.

Emergency call box, Washington, D.C., year 1912 (Source: Wikipedia)

The introduction of the 911 emergency call system in the 1970s made the elegant call boxes obsolete, and by 1995 the working electrical components were all removed. Non-functioning though they were, the heavy structures remained on their street corners, prey to the destructive forces of weather and vandalism.

Fast forward one hundred years to today, when one lucky box fell prey to the constructive forces of me, Guerilla #2, and Hayes Garden Furniture (UK).

Meet The Box. This lovely clunker resides on the corner of 10th Street at W Street NW, about two blocks from the U Street Corridor. Rusty, peeling and nasty, The Box was victim to graffiti, dog urine, and garbage stashing.

Rust, urine and garbage made it the perfect victim for us. It also made it gross.

First we cleaned the rubbish (I'm British!) out of it, rubbed it down with some steel wool, and then applied several coats of paint.

After the paint dried, we filled the base with a mixture of compost, enriched garden soil, and chicken wire. (The wire created an internal structure for roots to cling to.) Packed and ready to go, G2 and I planted stonecrop, rosemary, and hens and chicks.

Several hours later, our sad call box had a new lease on life. Gussied up and growing, no longer was the corner of 10th and W a broken-down reminder of the past. Now it was a bright blue statement that anywhere - everywhere - is a good place for a garden. Geronimo!

Sincere thanks to Hayes Garden Furniture (UK) for their generous sponsorship of this project.

*Okay, so this is a wee exaggeration... Hayes didn't actually say that Great Britain loves me, but I'm sure this is only because Great Britain's never met me. If it had, it would totally love me. Totally.

Monday, June 20, 2011

D.C.'s First Edible Urban Garden Tour

Get your grow on with DC’s first Edible Urban Garden Tour hosted by

Explore city spaces and residential gardens that will open their doors and gates for the public to see what growing good food in our own backyards, front yards, rooftops, and empty lots is all about. It’s a chance to ask questions, learn from and hear what inspires some of DC’s best gardeners.

The tour will start at Old City Green, a beautiful, plant-filled garden shop and stretch through the revitalized neighborhoods of Shaw, Bloomingdale and Ledroit Park. Plus, see for yourself and learn more about Common Good City Farm, the community garden that Prince Charles recently toured as part of his inspiring Future of Food visit to DC. A map of tour locations will be distributed on the day of the event at Old City Green. Purchase tickets online or pay with credit/cash at the door.

The tour is self-guided and will cover several miles so a bike or a car is recommended.

LOCATION: Old City Green at 902 N Street NW
DATE: July 15, 2011
TIME: 3pm to 8pm
COST: $20 - To buy tickets, go here!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Oh, Those Clever Japanese! Gardening in Reused Bottle Caps

Reblogged from, Eco & Sustainability, April 8, 2011

Heightened interest in all things green means that gardens are popping up everywhere. We’ve seen them in greeting cards, we’ve seen them in giant bubbles — we’ve even seen them created on the sly in guerrilla fashion. (THAT'S US, PEOPLE! We're the guerilla fashionistas!) The latest spotting? Gardens in bottle caps from Japanese Merry Project.

Priced at JPY 158, the Merry Farming Kit includes a tablet of compressed, dry soil that’s just the right size to fit inside a standard plastic soda bottle cap along with basil seeds for planting. Urban gardeners need only place the soil in a cap, moisten it, and plant the seeds, as specified in the accompanying directions. After that, all that’s left to do is wait for the seeds to germinate and grow up into full-sized plants. Merry Project is planning to expand the selection of seeds it has available, according to its site.

Urban gardening is an alluring trend in its own right, but when combined with a dash of plastic reuse, it may just prove irresistible. Retailers around the world: one to offer for eco-minded adults and kids in your part of the global garden?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spiral Growing Tubes Enable Farming in Small Spaces

Reblogged from, Eco & Sustainability, 1st June 2011Gardening in bottle caps is a fun concept that’s well-suited to urban settings, but consumers interested in growing more substantial crops might be better off with Whirligro instead. Targeting those with limited growing space, Whirligro uses spiral-shaped tubes to elevate food crops off the ground and enable greater production.

Designed primarily for fast-growing leaf crops, Whirligro uses durable, transportable growing tubes that can each hold three plants. Each Whirligro unit, in turn, holds 10 tubes spiraling around a central post, offering the combined ability to grow 30 plants in an area smaller than one meter by one meter. Plants grow through holes in the plastic tubing, reducing any weeding requirements to a bare minimum; because the plants are off the ground, meanwhile, pests tend not to be a problem, the device’s Scottish maker says. Watering can be done by hand or with a small drip irrigation system. Pricing for the Whirligro ranges from GBP 55 to GBP 140, depending on size.

No end in sight to the urban gardening trend. Who will help bring the Whirligro to urban farmers in your neck of the woods?To find out more, check out Whirligro's site, or send them a message.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wanted: Someone Who Knows Facebook Better Than I Do!*

*Which is everyone.

Hear ye! Hear ye! I am in need of some help, y'all.

Any guerilla out there willing to take on the DCGG Facebook page? It's super easy... Right now nothing ever happens on the DCGG FB page, so anything you do will be an improvement. The bar has been set low so no matter what you do, you'll be a tremendous success! Guaranteed greatness, you gotta like that.

The problem is this: I don't understand Facebook. For someone who works in marketing, my inability to "get" Facebook is somewhat comical, but it be the truth, people! I don't "get" Facebook. All those Friends, all those Pokes, all those News Feeds and Notifications! Bwah! It makes my head swim, and not in that fun way that happens when you've taken too much Nyquil.

So! I need someone who will periodically check Facebook and respond to Friend Requests and Notifications, and who will post some things about gardening and stuff! You know, make our page cool and whatnot, so that people will think that I'm - *ahem!* *cough* WE'RE - cool and whatnot. I won't pay you, so you can be as slack as you like. Set your own goals and be fruitful! Or be not fruitful! Just so long as your not fruitful is more fruitful than my not fruitful. See? Low bar. Guaranteed greatness.

Seriously. I need help. Interested? Drop me a note and let me know if you'd like to manage the D.C. Guerilla Gardeners' Facebook page. You'd be my hero! And while I can't pay you, I CAN buy you a cup of coffee. Or a beer. Or a Cosmopolitan. Or lemonade. Or something. Anything beverage-y. I'll even throw in a pastry or two.

Gracias in advance, my greeny guerillas!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Guest Post: The Wealth of Benefits Stemming from Self Sufficiency

Guest Post: by Ryan Halston

Growing with the popularity of more eco-friendly lifestyles, many have decided to begin on the path to a simpler and more self sustained style of living. For those looking to take part in a more simple and sustained lifestyle, starting a home garden and growing crops is an easy way to make life more efficient and sustainable.

One of the most noticeable reasons people start with produce is the freshness of home grown food. Home growth effectively eliminates food miles and carbon footprinting, and thus reducing a serious toll on the environment. By growing your own crops at home, you can eliminate crop decay from travel times as well as environmental decay from fossil fuel emission. The choice to home grow food can assure that the freshest food possible is available at all times.

Home growth can also have a multitude of health associated benefits. When you are planting your own crops, you assure control over all aspects of plant life; from seed to crop. This ensures the removal of health risks caused by toxin and pesticide contamination that are extremely common in purchased foods. In the past there have been multiple of examples of issues stemming from Bisphenol A, complications relating to asbestos exposure, melamine, and pesticides. Taking the time to develop your own crops cuts out any of the unknown factors that may afflict food purchased from common sources.

What might be the most prevalent reason people choose to grow food from home is because of the long-term positive financial implications. The purchase of a pack of seeds is most often significantly less in cost than having to buy individual fruits and vegetables, and a pack of seeds can produce multiple fruits or vegetables at a time, and over time, making for true savings.

Gradually attempting to grow produce is generally a better idea than attempting to plunge in head-first. Caring for a few small plants and trees at first can help with adjustment period between the old and the new life. Small berry plants and fruit trees are great options because they are incredibly easy to care for and have a long production lifespan and continue to grow throughout the years.

A major benefit of the ongoing development and popularity of self-sufficiency is the growing amount of resources to help with living the lifestyle, and growing your own produce. There is a strong developing community full of others from all walks of life and experiences completely willing to help. Even in the beginning stages, the benefits of self sufficiency cannot be denied.

Ryan Halston, a graduate of the University of Central Florida, is an aspiring writer and advocate of self-sustenance and green living. Contact Ryan at[AT]gmail[DOT]co​m.

The opinions expressed by guest bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the D.C. Guerilla Gardeners (DCGG). The DCGG is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Asking: Rats In The Belfry (Or Rather, Brussel Sprouts)

Calling all urban gardeners! I need some advice, yo.

This year I started my very own vegetable garden - MY VERY OWN GARDEN! - in the backyard of my very own apartment - MY VERY OWN APARTMENT! (The My Very Own Apartment is Big and Important - capital B, capital I - so proper props are due.) I've been super excited about the fresh fruit and vegetables MY VERY OWN GARDEN will yield, but there's a small problem...

... Or rather, a large problem.

A rather large RAT problem.

Living in the city has its benefits, but there are also drawbacks. Rats? They're the biggest drawback, the motherlode of drawbacks. There's nothing worse than walking down the sidewalk all nonchalant, only to be disrupted from your reverie by the SQUEAK! and SCRABBLE! of rats as they skedaddle from the garbage cans they were ravaging.

When those SQUEAKS! and SCRABBLES! are happening in your garden - ON YOUR FOOD - the worse becomes even worser.

I know that there will always be something out there in the world that will sneak into my garden and eat my vegetables, and I will concede that rats will occasionally feast on my Brussel sprouts, but there HAS to be a way to keep that feasting to a minimum.

Any advice from you seasoned urban gardeners? How do I dissuade the rats from my garden? (Solutions that do not include me picking up dead rat carcasses preferred.)

*Year of the Rat image from

Monday, May 23, 2011

Checking In On The Past: Vermont and T

Hidey-ho, guerillas! So... it's been like... A MILLION YEARS since we last spoke. You're probably thinking, "Dang, that girl Theresa, what a loser." And if you are thinking that, you'd be A) correct, and B) kind of mean. C'mon! What did I ever do to you?! Golly.

Anyhoo, it occurred to me that Life took me out of the game for a while and that it's now time to get back into it. Put me in, coach! I'm ready to play! And to get dirty. So chime in with some project ideas, people, so that we can get our hands into D.C.'s dirt. I live in Baltimore now and need your input on the District's "need some green" spots.

In other news, I'd like to share some SUPER AWESOME SMILEY news! Our project site at Vermont and T is ALIVE! And CLEAN! And GROWING! As evidenced by these photos taken by he-who-I-not-so-secretly-love's friend:

This site is near and dear to my heart, as it is the first project the DCGG ever did. On a brisk morning in 2010, I sat on those concrete steps with trays of plants, some bags of compost, and a nervous heart because I was about to meet strangers. STRANGERS. People I DIDN'T KNOW were going to show up and help me plant this cut-out.

Fear, guerillas. I feared you! You could have been crazies! Stalkers! Weirdo's! And delightfully, you were (are) all of those things. The other thing you are is AMAZING. And I'm so happy that this group has gotten us together to do amazing (and crazy) things for our beloved city.

A couple of weeks ago I was going to write about Vermont and T, but my news then wasn't so encouraging. The photos taken by Guerilla #2 (aka: my love-muffin, Doug) showed a less-than-successful guerilla gardening story. The box was weedy, the plants were crumbly, and the site was a general mess. That it is different now means one of two things. Either: 1) the garden cleaned itself up; or 2) a citizen - A CITIZEN - took the site under its wing and nursed it back to health.

I believe we're looking at #2 here.

And if it is #2, then WOOOOOOOOOO! That is EXACTLY what we want! For people to see our work and be inspired to keep it going and to then go out and do it on their own. Every empty space is a blank canvas waiting to be greened, oh yes indeedie.

To the wonderful person caring for Vermont and T, our hats are off to you, good person! Thank you sincerely. And also send me an email so that we can chat about your wonderful gardening work. Drop me an email and I'll send you something to add to your wonderful garden.

Go out and green, y'all. And send me some ideas for our next project. For reals! I don't know what's happening in D.C. now that I live in Charm City and he-who-I-not-so-secretly-love (HWINSSL) moved to Saudi Arabia. (We miss you, HWINSSL. Don't forget about that pygmy camel I want.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

HELPING: Rebuilding Together Baltimore

On Saturday, April 30, I will be working with Rebuilding Together Baltimore (RTB), a Baltimore non-profit that revitalizes communities and provides free home repairs for low-income homeowners in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. As part of RTB's work, they hold an annual Rebuilding Day in which volunteers undertake numerous projects in designated neighborhoods. This year, RTB is focusing on Pigtown.

As part of Rebuilding Together's beautification efforts in Pigtown, volunteers (myself included!) will be cleaning an existing "pocket park" and then planting new flowers and shrubs to turn the space into an attractive, healthy spot for the local community. But we need your help!

Pigtown Pocket Park at Present
I invite you to get involved and make this project the best it can be. We are seeking donations of plants, compost, fertilizer, mulch, and the like. In-kind donations are critical to Rebuilding Together's success by helping stretch limited resources.

These are the plants we are currently seeking, but will happily take anything that enjoys shade and moist soil.

  • Sweet Joe Pye Weed - Eutrochium purpureum

  • Japanese Skimmia - Skimmia japonica

  • Bottlebrush Buckeye - Aesculus parviflora

  • Mountain Laurel - Kalmia latifolia

  • Carol Mackie Daphne - Daphne burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie'

  • Dwarf Japanese Yew - Taxus cuspidata

  • Sweet Pepper Bush, Summersweet - Clethra alnifolia

  • Rosebay Rhododendron, Great Laurel - Rhododendron maximum

  • Bleeding Heart - Dicentra spectabilis

  • Lady’s Mantle - Alchemilla mollis

  • Hairy Alumroot, Maple Leaf Alumroot - Heuchera villosa

  • Black-Eyed Susan - Rudbeckia serotina

  • Eastern Purple Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea

  • Hosta
  • Woodland Phlox - Phlox divaricata subsp. Laphamii

  • Lily Turf, Monkey Grass, Liriope - Liriope muscari

  • Black Mondo Grass - Ophiopogon planiscapus

If you're able to help by donating one or more of the plants above, please contact Amanda Malone at Rebuilding Together Baltimore. If you have other plants that you think will flourish in a shady, moist location, those are welcome, too! Delivery of your donations to the garden site on April 30th would be a tremendous help, but local pick-up may be available. If you have a donation that you'd like to give, but are unable to bring it to Baltimore on Saturday, please contact me and let me know. I can arrange for pick-up during the week.

Thank you for helping us make this shady, neglected spot something fun and attractive for this deserving neighborhood! Nothing brings together a community as beautifully as a garden.

Friday, April 15, 2011

NOT Doing: Biking and Bombing!

People! And again I say, "PEOPLE!" Tomorrow's Greenhorns event - the event in which supercool people on bikes tour D.C.'s gardens and then drink cocktails and watch the Greenhorns film - has been CANCELED! (Except that the cocktails and movie part isn't canceled. Read on!)

Yup. Canceled. How sad is that?! Not only was the DCGG going to be at the Neighborhood Farm Initiative teaching the peoples how to make seed bombs, but I was going to unveil the spanky new blue camouflaged tablecloth I bought! (It's oilcloth, y'all. Easy to clean! It's retro kitsch at its best, and I love me some retro kitsch.)

Oh, and also? There were going to be chalkboard pennants. CHALKBOARD PENNANTS! Made especially for the DCGG and our chalkboardiness. All flaggy and pointy and blue and chalkboardy.


So anyone who was planning to bike with the Greenhorns and/or visit the workshops and tours along the way, DON'T! Unless you want to be TORRENTIALLY DOWNPOURED ON. And maybe lighteninged.

But if you were going to meet the cyclists in Georgetown (cupcakes!) and then mix and mingle at the Greenhorns' film screening, THAT'S STILL ON! 6pm at the Letelier Theater. Go forth and enjoy!

So again, but condensed: Greenhorns Bike Ride and associated workshops and garden tours = C A N C E L E D. But 6pm movie and cocktails = NOT canceled.

Peace out! And if you're going to be gallivanting in the rain tomorrow, avoid tall trees and kites with metal keys attached to them. LIGHTENING!

Doing: Checkin' Out The Neighbors!

Interested in native plants? Want to help the environment and make your garden look great at the same time? YOU TOTALLY DO!

Join Mike Tidwell on Saturday, April 16th for a native plant tour and sale at his Takoma Park home. Learn how to ornament your home with easy-care natives that provide habitat and food for local critters and look great.

Native plant experts from Chesapeake Native Nurseries will be on hand to answer your questions, and many ornamental native plants will be for sale. You don't want to miss this!

Date: Saturday, April 16, 2011
Time: 9am - 1pm
Location: 7125 Willow Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

For more information, email Beth Knox.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Doing: Saving the Azaleas!

Hello, you rascally guerillas!

I came across the following message in the DCUrbanGardeners Digest and, distraught, wanted to share it with you plant-lovers. It is about the death of azaleas...

Death? Of azaleas?! Now in the spirit of honesty and in the method of transparency (the buzzword du jour), I have been the killer of many an azalea, but never on purpose! And never at a national institution. One must draw the line somewhere.

So check this out and act accordingly, mon amies. SAVE THE AZALEAS! And also visit the koi pond because those koi are super frisky and fun to watch.

Should we, D.C.'s green-minded, fail to raise a million bucks and save the azaleas, do you think they'd give me a few of the bushes? My front yard is naked.

Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) recently announced a major fundraising campaign to save the Azalea and Boxwood Collections. Tens of thousands of Washingtonians flock to the U.S. National Arboretum each spring to witness one of Washington's premier springtime attractions: thousands of azaleas in a blaze of color during a six-week blooming period. However, the future of these collections is in jeopardy due to the loss of funds from a private trust. FONA's campaign seeks to raise $1 million from individuals, families and organizations who value and enjoy one of the area's most magnificent and culturally important natural displays. Supporters can make donations via FONA's website (, or by mailing a check to FONA (3501 New York Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002-1958, payable to "FONA Save the Azaleas Fund"). Credit card donations can be called in to the FONA office at (202) 544-8733.

The Arboretum is free and open to the public. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Check the "Azalea Blossom Watch" on the Arboretum's home page ( for blooming dates and conditions. Peak azalea bloom can vary, but usually takes place around the end of April. The azaleas attract many visitors to the Arboretum, especially on weekends, so you may want to consider visiting during the week or early in the day.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Doing: Seed Bombs and Bicyclists!

On April 16th, the D.C. Guerilla Gardeners will be teaching the messy art of seed bomb-making to the masses of bicyclists pedaling through D.C. for the Greenhorns' URBAN FARM BIKE TOUR!

Join us at 1pm at the Mamie D. Lee Community Garden (100 Gallatin Street NE) in Ft. Totten. Tour the garden, pet the bicyclists, and get your hands dirty making your very own seed bombs!

Then follow the bicyclists on their route through D.C.: From Ft. Totten to the Washington Youth Garden to the Common Good Community Farm to the Letelier Theater in Georgetown, where the Greenhorns will screen their film "The Greenhorns." Workshops on bees, rain gardens, urban farming, city blossoms and seed bombs occur throughout the day at each of their stops.

If following bikers and learning super cool stuff aren't your cup of tea, then do what I'd do and beat them to the final destination. While those kooky cyclists sweat atop bikes, you and a few dozen cupakes can chillax in Baked and Wired.

And if cupcakes aren't your thing... Well, you're crazy. How can you not like cupcakes?! But if you're crazy and don't like cupcakes, know that Baked and Wired has other stuff, including something called "Hippie Crack," which appears to be granola.

Post-bike/workshops/cupcakes/granola, down some beer, eat some food, watch "The Greenhorns," and mix with awesome people at the Letelier Theater.

Here. Look at this neato flyer. It tells you about the event so much better than I am. (I blame the thought of cupcakes. CUPCAKES! They mess with your mind.)

So! To sum up: Get your butts to Ft. Totten on Saturday the 16th at 1pm to encourage the Greenhorns' intrepid bikers and to make seed bombs! Then either follow them on their bike-y tour-y path to Georgetown, or follow my direct-to-site path to Georgetown's Baked and Wired.

Third choice is to do whatever you want, but we have an impending government shutdown, people. Government shutdown = eat cupcakes.)

See y'all there!

P.S.! Any guerillas interested in helping out at the DCGG's DIY Seed Bomb Stand at Ft. Totten? Please let me know!

P.P.S.! Don't forget to sign up for the DCGG listserv!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Getting Savvy with the Tech!

Good morning, ye guerillas! Is anyone else out there happy to see the rain? I am awash in joy that it is raining, for lo! I have already planted my vegetable garden. (Impatient much? Oh yes, indeedie!)

Today's scintillating post is about the super-cool D.C. Guerilla Gardeners LISTSERV! *happiness! joy! glee!*

One of our awesome guerillas, the one who I'm not-so-secretly in love with, is a tech genius as well as a gardening genius, and he kindly set up a listserv so that we can speak to one another like the best buds we are! To sign up, go to We'll use the listserv to post messages, ideas, arrest reports, etc. It will be all sorts of fun! Woot!

So jump on the listserv bandwagon and sign up today, folks! All the cool people are doing it. For reals.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Meeting Moved!

Hey everyone! Turns out that our meeting place, Tynan Coffee in Columbia Heights, HAS CLOSED DOWN! We're heading over to Red Rocks Pizza at 1036 Park Road NW. If you're up for walking a few blocks, come on over!

Monday, March 7, 2011

REMINDER: We're A-Meetin', Yo!

Hear ye, hear ye! The D.C. Guerilla Gardeners will be getting together tomorrow evening, 6:30pm, at Tynan Coffee in Columbia Heights to plan our 2011 season o' guerilla-y fun!

Come prepared to drink some coffee - Let's make sure we give Tynan lots of props for letting us use their space! - and hash out ideas to transform D.C.'s concrete jungle into a green, uh... actual jungle.

I'll also be soliciting (read: begging) y'all for some help with some of the administrative and leadership roles within the DCGG. If there's a project you'd like to oversee, by all means, oversee! If you're a guerilla with an interest in writing, we have an entire blog for you to write for! And if you're a Facebook whiz, please take over our Facebook page! Because I don't understand Facebook! At all! For reals! There's lots of fun for everyone, and I love to share the love.

The first-ever DCGG Planning Meeting is sure to be memorable, so be there!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Event: DCGG Planning Meeting

Good morning, guerillas! Spring is in the air and I am READY TO PLAY IN THE DIRT!

The DCGG will hold its first-ever MEETING OF THE MINDS on Tuesday, March 8th at Tynan Coffee & Tea in Columbia Heights. Over wonderful, wonderful caffeine, we will brainstorm ways to overtake D.C. with our guerilla-y ways, and then? AND THEN! We will schedule our events for the season! Look at us, being all organized and such... We're gardeners, guerillas, AND organizational gurus! Woo!

2010 was an amazing year for the DCGG. The press we got was overwhelming, and though being so out-in-the-open isn't guerilla-y per se, it brought us lots and lots of recruits. With a bigger team than ever, we can sneak attack D.C. in even bigger ways!

I'd love to hear your ideas, my friends. Let's pow wow on the 8th and make 2011 the Year of The Guerilla Gardener!

What: DCGG Meeting of the Minds
Where: Tynan Coffee & Tea - 1400 Irving Street NW, Washington D.C. - Right at the Columbia Heights Metro stop on the Green/Yellow line.
When: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 6:30PM
Why: Because we want to turn all of D.C.'s forgotten spots into green ones!
RSVP: If you plan to come, please let me know so that we can commandeer enough tables.

Happy almost-Spring, my awesome guerillas! I look forward to seeing your green thumbs on the 8th!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Swap 'Dem Seeds!

Hey kids, you know what time it is? IT'S SEED SWAPPIN' TIME!

Yes indeedie, Spring is right around the corner so all of us gardenin' folk are antsy with cabin fever. The dirt! It calls to us! Which means that we're planning our beds and preparing our tools and, yes, swapping our seeds!

Join me and lots of other super cool people at the Washington Gardener Magazine's 6th Annual Seed Exchange. There'll be seed swapping, door prizes, planting tips, expert speakers, and goodie bags! Woo! Fanfare!

Event Overview

Washington Gardener magazine, the publication for DC-area gardening enthusiasts, is hosting its Sixth Annual 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.


This year, there are DUAL Seed Exchanges one week apart and on opposite sides of the Beltway. One Exchange will be in the Visitor's Center Auditorium of the Brookside Gardens, 18oo Glenallen Avenue, Wheaton, MD. The other will be at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road in Alexandria, VA.


> Saturday, January 29, 2011 (Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD)
> Saturday, February 5, 2011 (Green Spring Gardens, Alexandria, VA)

I'll be at the February 5th event, swappin' seeds and telling everyone who will listen about the D.C. Guerilla Gardeners and our fabulousness!

Check out for more information and to register.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bombs Away! The DCGG In Washington Gardener Magazine

When the amazing Kathy Jentz contacted me about writing an article on seed bombs for Washington Gardener Magazine, I jumped for joy. A chance to write! About seed bombs! Is there anything better than that? Methinks not.

I'm super behind the 8-ball with posting this, but it's not too late for you fine folks to check the magazine out. Peruse the magazine rack at your local Borders, contact Kathy for a copy, or - better yet - A SUBSCRIPTION! Nothing says, "Gardening, I love you, man!" like a subscription to Washington Gardener Magazine.

Check out the issue's information and how to subscribe to the magazine here. Happy reading!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fame, Fortune, and Felonious Acts

Guerilla gardening is all about The Sneak, but we at the DCGG seem to be attracting a lot of attention. Do we mind? Oh hells no! We love the love, people, and hope that our not-so-clandestine doin's inspire others to take matters into their own hands and beautify their neighborhoods.

Our mission at 932 Florida Avenue was our first night event, as well as our first time working under the watchful eye of the vivacious Mana Rabiee, journalist for Voice of America. Mana, a District resident herself, was doing a piece on guerilla gardening and so joined us for our nighttime planting. I have a feeling that we'll be seeing Mana again... she has the spirit of a guerilla gardener.

Watch (or read!) us in action, my gardening friends. And when you do, I give you permission to fall in love with my boyfriend's parrot, Gandalf. She's a super star! Also, try not to notice that around 2:30 in the video you can totally see down my shirt. (And that it ain't pretty, yo.)

Most favorite quote ever: KEN - "Oh, this is totally beauty. It's also vandalism."

Ken, I not-so-secretly love you.

Many thanks to the valiant guerillas who transformed 932 Florida Avenue into something awesome: Abbie, Doug, and Ken.