Beeswax Christmas Ornament Workshop Dec. 5

This Advent, join the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., and learn to make beeswax Christmas ornaments. The $25 workshop fee includes a gift box of five ornaments plus you can purchase additional boxes for just $10 each. Download and share the workshop flyer here. Questions? Email us at

And, don’t forget to order your luminaria in honor of your loved ones!  Details are here.

15beeswax christmas FB

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Gardening Schedule, Nov. 2-7

IMG_0300Have a free morning this week? Join other volunteers any day(s), Tuesday, Nov. 2-Saturday, Nov. 7, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. as we continue our transition to winter.

We have a lot of opportunities – weeding, digging up, moving to the greenhouse and more. Download the full project list here. Questions? Contact Lou Maroulis via email.

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Luminaria Orders – Join this Christmas Tradition

Simpson-300x200Welcome the Holy Family into your heart and prayers this Christmas by dedicating luminaria candles in honor of your loved ones. Each name will be inscribed on a luminaria that will illuminate the outdoor Rosary Portico at the historic Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, DC from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve.

Your loved ones will be remembered in the friars’ daily prayers and a Dec. 27 rosary.

Download our Luminaria Order Form (PDF) and mail with your donation, or drop it off in the Franciscan Monastery Gift Shop.

Mark your calendars:

  • Luminaria orders due Dec. 15
  • Christmas Eve blessing and lighting of the luminaria: Thursday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m.
  • Rosary in the Portico: Sunday, Dec. 27, 1 p.m. (after 12 noon Mass)

If you have questions or are interested in volunteering to set up the luminaria, please contact Joe Bozik.

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Join Us Oct. 27 for End-of-Season Garden Prep

The Monastery’s Greenhouse will be open on the following days. Thank you in advance for volunteering!

  • Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10-1
  • Wednesday, October 28 – CLOSED due to forecasted inclement weather
  • Thursday, October 29, 10–1
  • Saturday, October 31, 10-1

Saturday, Oct. 31: Taste of Stokes, 3700 Oakview Terrace, NE, Brookland, 10-1
FMGG will set-up a table to display activities from bees, vegetable garden, flowers, etc.
Email Joe Bozik for further information:

Below are tasks for Tuesday and beyond!

Tender Plants’ Winter Storage

  • Dig-up all banana trees (near the service drive) and the Angel Trumpets (Fr. Jim’s Insect Garden) and bring to Greenhouse storage room
  • Return two potted planters from the Lourdes Shrine; two potted planters from St. Anne’s Shrine; one potted planter from the Gethsemane Shrine to Greenhouse storage room
  • Move all potted plants from around the picnic tables (adjacent to the greenhouse) to the Greenhouse storage room
  • Cut-off, dig-up and divide/pot lemongrass from Culinary Herb Bed and bring to Greenhouse storage room
  • Dig-up and dry Cana Lilies and bring to Greenhouse storage room

Vegetable Garden – Dismantling Tasks for Winter Preparation:

  • Rototill former squash bed at top of the main vegetable garden (mix in mushroom mulch)
  • Rototill Joe A’s bed, upper tomato beds and upper corn bed (mix in mushroom mulch)
  • Move swiss chard, chives, and herbs (parsley, oregano, etc.) to the top of the garden in the rows near the kale
  • Swiss chard: dig a long trench or two (the current crop is pretty robust and could be spaced a bit more to make two rows, with two trenches, each about a foot or foot and a half deep and about three feet apart) at the top of the garden to form the swiss chard row(s); add mushroom mulch to the bottom of the trench, then carefully lift and immediately replant the plants about two feet apart and mound in the trench(es) with mushroom mulch and water thoroughly
  • Chives are not nearly as transplant-sensitive and can be easily and roughly dug up, divided and replanted right below the swiss chard
  • Plant hard neck and soft neck garlic by mid-November right below swiss chard, chives and kale
  • Garlic: plant the garlic that has been drying in the greenhouse and can be used to plant next year’s crop. Additional garlic may be used for an extra row or two
  • Spread hay/straw on top of amended soiled around the swiss chard, chives and garlic

Asparagus Bed (top of the main vegetable garden):

  • Once the asparagus greenery has faded, the asparagus should be cut down to a couple of inches above the ground
  • Straw and mushroom mulch – after it has been cut back, a few feet of loose straw should be applied, followed by lots of mushroom mulch – several wheelbarrows-full, at the least

Soil Amendment:

  • Move sand pile via wheelbarrow and distribute evenly in main vegetable bed
  • Move mushroom mulch via wheelbarrow and distribute evenly in main vegetable bed
  • Till soil either via tractor (pro bono) or roto tiller (set to deepest)
  • Spread hay/straw on top of amended soiled around the remaining portion of the main vegetable garden


  • Run chipper/shredder to grind up the corn, sunflower stalks, amaranths’ stalks and green mulch
  • Layer mulch on top of main vegetable bed
  • Ask Level Green to add ground-up leaf and pine needles mulch
  • Compost bins – soak compost soil with water and cover with black vegetable felt (to heat weed seeds)


Move all luminaria from the Rosary Portico and return to the root cellar below the greenhouse

Herb Gardens:

  • Weed in the four formal herb gardens (in front of Monastery) and culinary herb garden (in Fr. Francis’ Garden)
  • Cut dead tansy stalks to the ground, cut out dead sage and remove leaves from gravel (spray with hose first)
  • Deadhead calendula, horehound, and tansy, and pull garlic chives
  • Cut old basil plant to the ground and cover spot with potted pineapple mint
  • Pot up the bay laurel and move indoors in greenhouse for winter storage

Perennial Garden:

Weeding and plant tulip bulbs

Rose Garden:

  • Weed in the Fr. Francis’ Rose Garden
  • Rototill rows of weeds between roses
  • Prune out deadwood for all roses in Fr. Francis’ Rose Garden


  • Turn-off water valve in greenhouse for six outdoor water spigots in Fr. Francis’ garden
  • Remove hoses on all spigots except for lowest spigot in the main vegetable garden
  • Extend the hose of the lowest spigot in the main vegetable garden
  • Open all spigots to drain all water (the lowest spigot will act as a syphon to drain remaining water out of the system)
  • Remove hose from lowest spigot
  • Turn off all spigots and bring all hoses to greenhouse for winter storage


  • Mowing
  • Wash the Rosary Portico Shrine’s green marble shelves with water
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Upcoming Events

It may be fall, but we have a busy few weeks ahead. Mark your calendar and come over to the Franciscan Monastery, 1400 Quincy St. NE, Washington, DC 20017 (greenhouse is behind the gift shop) for these events.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Harvested vegetables will be donated to Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) at 11:30 a.m.

Garden projects (meet near the greenhouse):

  • Herb Gardens: weeding in the gardens in front of the monastery and in the culinary herb garden (in Fr. Francis’ Garden)
  • Perennial Garden: weeding
    Rose Garden: weeding and deadheading (Fr. Francis’ Garden)
    Vegetable Garden: weeding around the upper corn bed and middle main vegetable garden; around the chives, Swiss chard and middle tomato bed
  • Top-dress the following with a shovel-full or two of mushroom mulch: the relatively young  tomatoes, upper squash bed, Joe A.’s vegetable bed
  • Apply mushroom mulch to all plants
  • ‎Pinch back sucker growth on tomato plants, including tomato bed near catnip/catmint and below sunflowers
  • For all rows NOT planted in garden fabric, using a hoe or the like, create furrows between rows to facilitate watering
  • Planting lettuce seeds in rows in open areas in upper squash bed
  • Harvesting, packaging & distribution of vegetable produce
  • Watering


  • Mowing
  • Fill watering lids in lower tomato bed for birds to reduce “tomato pecking”
  • Compost bins – soak compost soil with water and cover with black vegetable felt (to heat weed seeds)

Thursday, October 1, 2015, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Move Luminaria from Rosary Portico to root cellar

Saturday, October 3, 2015, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Same projects as Wednesday, with two exceptions: move Luminaria from Rosary Portico to root cellar and harvested vegetables will be donated to the Iona Senior Services Center (Tenleytown) at 1 p.m.

SAVE THE DATE: FMGG General Meeting
Saturday, October 17, 2015. 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

  • 9:30 am – 10:30 a.m., Greenhouse Meeting Room (Upper Level)
    Review 2015 season including financial updates, garden tours, vegetable garden, etc.
    Discuss lessons learned: what went well and what may be improved for 2016 season
  • 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m., St. Bonaventure Conference Room
    Canning fruit preserve demo – Donna Cestone
  • 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., Greenhouse picnic tables or St. Bonaventure Conference Room (inclement weather)
    Autumn Pot Luck Luncheon (bring your favorite dish!)
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