Dear Garden Problem Lady


Why doesn’t the Capitol Hill Garden Club sell spring flowering bulbs at Eastern Market every fall, the way it used to?”

Here are all the reasons why according to David Healy, President of the CH Garden Club: The supplier changed, the market changed and the club changed.  The club sold bulbs on Saturdays in October for more than 40 years. Members met face to face with a Dutch merchant in February, received the bulbs the following September, and arranged cool storage. Half the effort was moving the bulbs to and from the market and the other half was operating the stand. In the beginning the club, Market Pottery and Ma Brown were the only non-farm vendors at the market. In the end the sidewalk market had grown into the street and we had both more sales competition and more difficulty getting a spot.  Our Dutch supplier was acquired by a large cooperative that offered less personal assistance. Meanwhile, our membership aged and we had greater difficulty getting enough volunteers to set up, sell and take down. In the end members voted to increase the dues and give up market operations.

I love oriental Lilies. How and when should I plant them?
You can buy and plant oriental (also called Asiatic) Lily bulbs in both the fall and spring. They like soil rich in organic matter that drains well. They like sun, but in DC some partial shade may be preferable, to afford respite from hot afternoon sun. The shade could be dappled, or come from surrounding plants. Place the bulbs not more than a foot apart, and not less than eight inches; and fairly deep, a good 8“ deep – again because of our hot summers.

Can I grow the shrub rose called ‘Knockout” in a pot?
Yes indeed.

Can Knockout rose be trained as a climber?
There is no climbing version in the ‘Knock Out’ rose family and no pink climbers that bloom all summer with the disease-resistance or heavy-blooming performance of the ‘Knock Outs.’ Those are pretty impressive roses.

However, there are dozens of great pink climbers. Try Zephirine Drouhin (pictured), Our Lady of Guadalupe, Gertrude Jekyll, Eden Rose, or even New Dawn!

Is it true that Squirrels do not care for the taste of Daffodil bulbs, and so will not dig them up in one’s garden?
Yes. But I have not had this from Squirrel Nutkin herself.

The Capitol Hill Garden Club welcomes website visitors at, and at meetings if they resume at 7 pm, Tuesday, September. 14, 2021 in the basement of the NE Public Library, at 7th Street and Maryland Avenue, NE.

Feeling beset by gardening problems? Your problem might prove instructive to others, and help them feel superior to you. Send them to the Problem Lady c/o Complete anonymity is assured.