Saturday, May 12, 2007

In the Garden District

The unpleasant heat and humidity of a Washington, DC, summer provide the perfect environment for a lush, colorful garden. I’m fortunate to have a postage-stamp plot in front of the house and space on the back patio for potted plants galore. Today the warm weather and forecasted evening thunderstorms made it the perfect day to work on the garden.

For plants, supplies and advice, your best bet is Garden District at 14th and T Streets, NW. And the best part about GD is their advice about gardening and philosophy of gardening. Two years ago, the owner advised me to try an exotic long grass that grows along the roadside all over the Midwest but is fabulous in an oblong pot on an urban patio. Last year, when I asked about flowering plants to add color, GD talked me into several species of leafy, non-blooming annuals that produced a melange of luscious leaves in various shapes and sizes and in shades across the red and green spectra.

GD’s prices probably are on par with other garden stores in DC. A trip to a large home improvement chain superstore in the ‘burbs to save a buck really won't. First of all, GD deals in quality. Secondly, have you ever had to ask for advice at one of those big chain stores? Thirdly, a trip to the 'burbs requires a car. Which is another great thing about GD: They have a fleet of wagons on loan so that you can haul your goodies back home.

In gardening, as with most things in life (unless you are dull-minded and do only dull-minded things), there is no absolutely right or wrong way to go about it. Even postage stamp gardens present innumerable possibilities and limitations. Because it's almost impossible to account for all of the variables that affect a garden, such as weather, soil composition and depth, animals, and sunlight, it's hard to know, from the start, what works best. Rather, you have to be willing to undertake some trial and error, and give it a couple of years.

Garden District
1801 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

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