Articles: Garden

New Plants and more from MANTS

Garden

Only a gardening geek can get so excited about visiting the Mid Atlantic Nursery Trade Show in Baltimore. It’s a place where all the new plants, seeds and garden items are introduced. I go every year to see what the trends are for nurseries and to discover interesting things gardeners should know about. I stumbled […]

Sign in to view article

Innovative Cold Frames

Garden

It’s sunny but barely 10 degrees as Michael Bechtel gently lifts up a uniquely shaped cold frame. A peek inside reveals surprisingly green herbs that survived the brutal early-winter cold spell in their translucent winter home. The edibles coordinator at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is checking out what’s remained under cover on the Rooftop […]

Sign in to view article

Winter Garden Checklist

Garden

A brutal start to winter like this one is especially tough for gardeners. Time away from the garden provides a nice respite at first, but only for a short time. Then the urge to start gardening kicks in. As the offseason progresses, the longing to dig in the dirt intensifies. This winter checklist is filled […]

Sign in to view article

Seed Catalogs

Garden

It’s said that a $50 investment in seeds can pay off with nearly $1,500 of produce. There’s something special about watching that little seed come to fruition in just a few short months. The economic downturn a decade ago brought seeds back to the forefront of gardening as people were looking for any way possible […]

Sign in to view article

Plants with Winter Interest

Garden

On a brisk walk through Frick Park, Phil Gruszka is in his glory pointing out trees and shrubs that are stars of the show during the winter. The 65-year-old director of horticulture and forestry for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory says he’s not ready to retire, “because I love what I do, that’s what keeps you […]

Sign in to view article

Gifts for Gardeners

Garden

This is the time of the year when panic starts setting in as the deadline looms to fulfill holiday gift lists. Luckily, gardeners are one of the easiest groups to buy for, a quick trip to the local nursery for 10 packs of seeds makes a great stocking stuffer for starters. When trying to figure […]

Sign in to view article

Poinsettias

Garden

A sea of red, cream and pink greets visitors as they enter the warm and humid greenhouses at Janoski’s Farm and Greenhouse in Clinton. They’ve been growing poinsettias here since 1972, back when just about every plant was red. “There’s been a lot of changes since then,” says owner Mike Janoski, who starts nearly 40,000 […]

Sign in to view article

Indoor Bulbs

Garden

There are many roads taken to become a horticulture professional, Cheryl Whalen found was literally struck by her calling in her sophomore-year dorm at the University of Connecticut. “We had lofts in our room and I sat up one morning, hit my head on the ceiling and said, ‘I’m going to be a horticulture major,’ […]

Sign in to view article

Putting the garden to bed

Garden

Even though they are only about 6 years old, Jessica Horenstein’s work boots are already starting to reveal the silvery steel toes wearing through the leather, caused by the long hours she spends on her knees working in the garden. Horenstein has readied the beds at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, where she’s outdoor display […]

Sign in to view article

A Lifetime of Gardening Together

Garden

Glenn and Phyllis Ribblett have spent a lifetime together gardening, both inside and outside. When the couple moved into their Baldwin home 52 years ago, there was no question the two would garden, but there was always a division of labor. He was in charge of the vegetables and she surrounded the house with a […]

Sign in to view article

Fall Planting Guide

Garden

My fingertips begin stinging and then go numb while pushing the last cloves of garlic into the cold soil as deep red maple leaves float down around me, forming a magenta mat over the vegetable garden. There’s lots to do before winter takes hold. I’ve written about bulbs and garlic over the past few weeks, […]

Sign in to view article

Planting Bulbs

Garden

Shelby Stockline and Jo-Anne van den Berg-Ohms share their passion for planting bulbs in the fall in anticipation of spring blooms, even though one has spent a lifetime immersed in bulb culture and the other is just starting her journey of discovery. Stockline planted bulbs for the first time last fall, while van den Berg-Ohms […]

Sign in to view article

Growing Garlic

Garden

A small hawk swoops down and perches on a tree limb outside of Lyn Lang’s sun porch in Richland, Allegheny County. Wearing beautiful floral print garden clogs bought on a trip to London at the Chelsea Flower Show, the 67 year-old Penn State master gardener talks about her long love affair with garlic. She had […]

Sign in to view article

A Love of Elephant Ears

Garden

There’s certainly no question where Sharon Schwartz lives when driving down her street in Penn Township, Butler County. Huge trumpet-shaped, colorful brugmansia flowers dangle from branches surrounded by pots filled with humungous, deep green leaves of elephant ears. The plants act like a beacon for neighbors and strangers alike who are drawn to the unusual […]

Sign in to view article

Tree Planting 101

Garden

The biggest mistake gardeners make when adding trees to the landscape is to plant them too deep, says Dick Till, assistant district manager South Pittsburgh for the Davey Tree Expert Company. For over 30 years, Till has helped homeowners make good choices when planting trees. “More than half of my job is educating people on […]

Sign in to view article

One Tree Per Child

Garden

Charlie Hargroves enthusiasm for planting trees is infectious as he speaks to students at Avonworth Elementary in Ohio Township. He’s there to introduce the One Tree Per Child program for the first time in America. As he challenges the kids with tree questions, the adults in the audience are spellbound as precocious 9-year-old Lyla Sebeck […]

Sign in to view article

Shrub Season

Garden

Randy Soergel is carefully arranging shrubs just like he would if he was presenting them to a customer. Different colors and textures are combined to demonstrate how they could used in the landscape. The owner of Soergel Greenhouses in Wexford has one major concern though when it comes to recommending shrubs. “It all comes down […]

Sign in to view article

How to compost

Garden

A thick layer of plants that fills a dumpster behind Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is being sent away to be transformed into compost. “Roughly 80 percent of all of our waste we have on campus is compostable,” says Jason Wirick, director of facilities and sustainability at Phipps. That includes food from the cafe and […]

Sign in to view article

Compost Cooking Roast

Garden

Randy McManus came up to me in March at the Duquesne Light Home and Garden show with an amazing compost tale he was able to verify with photos and witnesses. He recently recalled the story from September 1998. “Ron really got into gardening,” McManus says of his late friend Ron Hubbard. “He was taking the […]

Sign in to view article

Planting vegetables for fall and winter harvest

Garden

Most gardeners cuddle up with their seed catalogs in January dreaming of spring, but Karin Eller, of Plant-It Earth Greenhouse near Homer City, waits until July, when she gets a break from the busy season, to search for new varieties to plant in the late summer and fall. Gardening doesn’t have to stop as the […]

Sign in to view article

A Widower’s Garden

Garden

There is a neatly folded red sweater on the pillow of Robert Slabe’s bed where his late wife Elsie used to sleep. She passed away a little over two years ago of congestive heart failure wearing that sweater. When Slabe wakes up in the morning next to it, he looks up at her wedding photo […]

Sign in to view article

Unique trees offer something special

Garden

When a nursery is off the main drag, it needs something special to draw customers. Plumline Nursery in Murrysville and Bedner’s Farm and Greenhouse in McDonald both fit the bill. These garden centers have to carry things that are unique, diverse and interesting, and right now, their offering their favorite trees. Russ Bedner, owner of […]

Sign in to view article

Beauty brings happiness at Saint Vincent gardens

Garden

Driving into Saint Vincent College, three gardeners are braving the hot sun while working in the middle of the road on a long traffic island. Fred Byrne, OSB (Order of St. Benedict), and his team are transforming a patch of tough grass into what they hope will be a spectacular garden. They are laying down […]

Sign in to view article

Hospital garden provides healthy food for cancer patients

Garden

It’s quite a surprise for patients to see Jamar Sheffey serving three different hummus creations in the waiting room of the UPMC Cancer Center at Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland. Sheffey is team lead caterer at Magee and many of the ingredients come from the garden on site. He’s also showing visitors how they can make […]

Sign in to view article

Preserving Pittsburgh’s past with an Iron Garden

Garden

A young rabbit emerges from tall grass in front of Anna Johnson as she walks through the Iron Garden at the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark site in Rankin. The bunny freezes for a second, then calmly hops across a path to the other side — finding refuge in patchy grass. Johnson is exploring this […]

Sign in to view article

Teaching takes root at Sarah Heinz House

Garden

Storm clouds break up and drift away on a humid summer day. Bonnie Banze is followed by a group of excited children through the gate of a pale green picket fence into the Learning Garden in front of Sarah Heinz House on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The children pick from the garden then begin tasting the […]

Sign in to view article