Plant Bulbs Now! As seen on KDKA’s PTL

This is the time to plant bulbs, even though it’s not instant gratification, spring blooms are a welcome site after another long winter.
The best tool I’ve ever bought for gardening is a bulb auger. It’s a giant drill bit for planting.
Most of my bulbs go into good soil, but if they need a boost I use a fertilizer called Bulbtone. don’t use bone meal, it attracts rodents.
Tulips, hyacinths and daffodils are probably the most popular, but stretch a little and look for some other things at your local nursery.
All the bulbs I used on TV came from Hahn Nursery in Ross.
Here are some of the things I’m growing in my garden, you can too.

I love 'Tahiti' daffodil. It's a double, mid-season bloomer.

Snowdrops can bloom as early as February and are a nice thing to see after another long winter.

'Glory of Snow' are deer resistant and will spread in just a couple years. They bloom with the crocus and are a welcome addition to the spring garden.

I love all different types of crocus, they nurture the soul early in the season.

This is a pretty double grape hyacinth whose name escapes me. It's fun to grow different types of familiar flowers even if you can't remember their names!

Free Stink Bug Killer and ‘Sir Winston Churchill’ daffodils at gardening class taught by Doug.

'Sir Winston Churchill' is my favorite daffodil. I'll be giving away bulbs this Tuesday, Oct 4th, 2011.

My upcoming PGU this Tuesday, Oct. 4th is getting filled up, so if you’re interested in learning all about fall gardening, sign up for the event, all the information is below.
My class will run from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Downtown

I’ll be covering all the important fall chores (it’s not work, right?) including choosing and planting perennials, with a list of my all time favorites. I’ll also go over the easiest and most economical way to add spring blooming bulbs to the landscape, again with a look at my favorites and lots of tricks and tips on fall bulb planting. I’ll also teach proper tree and shrub planting, this is the perfect time to plant both. I’ll also touch on fall lawn care and how to have your greatest lawn ever without using chemicals.

Sign up for PGU soon to get free Sir Winston Churchill daffodil bulbs, I’ve also got bottles of St. Gabriel’s organic Stink Bug Killer to give away.
The cost is $29 for PG subscribers, $35 non-subscribers. Register at or 412-263-1302. The workshop is part of PGU, a PG continuing education series in which staffers teach skills related to their fields of expertise.

I’ll have lots of free bulbs of my favorite, ‘Sir Winston Chuchill’ daffodil. They are planted now for May blooms. The bulb produces creamy white flowers framed with a center of saffron yellow. Stems generally bear four flowers, each about 1-1/2in wide. Best of all the blooms are fragrant offering the aroma of gardenias from 20 feet away.

I’ve got limited quantities of each, They will be given out on a first come, first serve basis according to registration, so sign up soon before it sells out.

Plant Mums Now as seen on KDKA’s PTL

One important tip to making mums last is buying them before they are fully in flower.

I’m often asked “what can I do to make my mums come back in the spring?”
The reality is that there’s only a 50/50 chance that the plants will overwinter.
They’re expending so much energy when they bloom right now that it’s hard for the plant to establish a good root system.
Here are some tips-
Buy from a good grower who’s taken care of the plant. All the mums I used on the show are from Hahn Nursery in Ross, but any good nursery will work.
Choose plants with tight buds. I know gardeners love to buy their flowers in bloom, but the plants will flower much longer if bought in this stage.
Keep the plants watered when it doesn’t rain.
Plant them with the help of compost, always improve the soil.
Don’t cut them back until the spring. Mums benefit from holding onto their branches over the winter.
If they come back, give them a haircut, removing the buds, twice during the season. this will cause lots of branching and in turn, lots of flowers.

“Remeber Me” Rose Garden in Shanksville holds open house this weekend.

Sue Casey created the "Remember Me" Rose Garden in Shanksville. Photo by Doug Oster

“Remember Me” Open Garden Weekend honors the Heroes of Flight 93.
15 days after the 9/11 tragedies, Sue Casey decided she was going to create “Remember Me” Rose Gardens to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11.
This weekend there’s an open house at the gardens and I’ll have a story and video at the Post-Gazette site.
The gardens are located one quarter mile east of the entrance to the Flight
93 National Memorial Park on Route 30 between Shanksville and Somerset.
They will be open Friday from 12 noon until 6 p.m.. Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday 12 noon until 6 p.m.

Plant perennials now as seen on KDKA’s PTL

This is the perfect time to plant perennials, plants that return year after year.
There are so many cool plants out there, go to your favorite nursery and spend a little time shopping. Take your time, looking around at a nursery should be fun.
I love what breeders have done with purple coneflower, one I featured on the show is called Echinacea ‘Coconut Lime.’ I’m a sucker for doubles.
There are lots of wonderful coreopsis cultivars out there. They love full sun and many bloom all summer.
Try some pretty purple asters to have something blooming in the fall.
Blanket flower or gaillardia bloom in shades of red and yellow, they are long bloomers and light up the front of a bed.
A great way to save money is to buy the plants in four inch pots. They might not be blooming but most tags offer a picture to help you shop.
Get some perennials in the ground, you’ll be happy next year when they are blooming.