Archive for October, 2013

Still time to plant perennials as seen on KDKA’s Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Corydalis lutea is a long blooming, beautiful perennial flower.

Corydalis lutea is a long blooming, beautiful perennial flower.


There are lots of things which can still be planted and one of them are perennials. Nurseries are almost giving them away and they will be fine once planted.
They come back year after year and most get bigger with time.
Improve the soil with compost and plant away!
One of my favorite plants is corydalis lutea. It starts blooming in April and continues into late October. It will form a nice colony in a couple seasons. The tiny yellow flowers will bloom in full shade of full sun and the plant is deer resistant.
Conelfowers like ‘Raspberry Truffle’ are indestructible and beautiful.
Blanket flower is another winner which loves full sun.
I showed some creeping thyme which works well between rocks or on the edges of paths. When it’s walked on the fragrance of the herb is released.
Don’t stop planting, perennials will enjoy finding a home in the cool soil and will reward gardeners with decades of blooms.

Travel with Doug to the Gardens and Villas of Italy!

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Lake Como is just one of the stops on Doug’s tour of Northern Italy.


Next September I’m taking gardeners on a once in a lifetime trip to northern Italy. It’s a 10 day trip starting with our overnight flight to Venice on September 6th, 2014 (my birthday). Gardeners who came to London with me last May have already started to sign up. There’s a $250 discount for travelers who sign up early. The price of the trip includes air fair, lodging, 12 meals, bus travel, admission to all venues and more. Highlights include Venice, Murano Island, Doge’s Palace, Giusti Giardino, Como, Lugano, Switzerland, Bellagio, Stresa, Lake Maggiore, Villa Cicogna Mozzoni, Isola Madre, Isola Bella.
We’ll have local professional guides at each area and I’ll be traveling with you to help them.
It’s going to be a wonderful time. There’s nothing better than traveling with other gardeners. But this trip is more than gardens, there will be lots of other things to see too.
Here are all the details.
Call me with questions, 412-779-5861.

Plant bulbs now for bloom in the spring as seen on KDKA’s Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Tulips are one of many bulbs which can be planted right now and will bloom in the spring.


Planting bulbs is a leap of faith. There’s no instant gratification, but after a long winter, nothing can compare to the beauty of their blooms.
There are thousands of choices and I’m obsessed with double daffodils.
I’ve experimented with many ways to plant and I’ve settled on the bulb auger as the easiest tool to use.
It’s just a giant drill bit and when attached to a drill it makes bulb planting pretty easy and fun.
Planting bulbs right now doesn’t give us blooms right away, but after a long winter there’s nothing like seeing snowdrops or crocus blooming. They might not be around long, but the flowers provide welcome relief from the bland surroundings of the season.

If you ever get a chance to watch Rick Sebak’s Cemetery Special, there’s a segment on Lake View that includes me explaining how the flowers affected me. It’s where my grandparents are buried and they have a place there called Daffodil Hill.

I’ll plant the big three; daffodils, tulips and crocus, but there are many different bulbs to consider. Here’s a list of my favorites-

Snowdrops an early bloomer, I plant them close to the house and have seen flowers as early as February 15th. My first planting was a gift from a reader who thought I would enjoy them. These little white flowers would be lost in June, but are the star of the show as one of the first flowers in bloom.
Chionodoxa (glory of snow), blooms with the crocus, if deer resistant and forms a colony over the years. ‘Pink Giant’ is one of my favorite cultivars.
Hyacinths are beautiful and wonderfully fragrant. One bloom can fill a room with the aroma of spring.
Alliums come in many shapes and sizes but are probably best known for their globular purple blooms. I like to mix white blooms with the purple.
Fritillaria is a wide ranging genus that offers something different in the bulb garden.

Asian lilies offer amazing early summer blooms and many are intensely fragrant. They are easy to grow and will provide more blooms each season when planted where they are happy.

I like to buy bulbs locally when I can find what I want. Right now, I pay retail, but as the season progresses nurseries will mark them down. By Thanksgiving the price drops to 50 percent, then down from there. As long as the ground has not frozen solid, you can still plant. One year I put in 1000 grape hyacinths in January and it only cost $11.

When ordering online, use a reliable bulb house, my favorites are Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, Old House Gardens, White Flower Farm and Dutch Gardens. If you see an ad for bulbs and it seems too good to be true, it is. You’ll be shipped small bulbs that won’t reach their potential until seasons to come, if ever. The best bulb catalogs tell you how big the bulbs are.

Plant some bulbs now, you’ll be so happy you did in the spring.

Fall Lawn Care as seen on KDKA’s Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

An organic lawn can be as beautiful as a chemical lawn and it’s safer!


This is the great time of the year to get the lawn in shape.
You can have the a great lawn without chemicals. The organic lawn allows you to walk barefoot in the grass again.
The key is treating the grass as a plant. Fertility and the Ph must be correct. When it is, the grass outgrows the weeds.
I like Jonathan Green organic products, but there are lots of different organic choices out there.
This is the time to apply a good fertilizer like ReVita which I showed on the program.
Use this good organic fertilizer to keep the grass growing strong. The last mowing of the season should be at about two inches.
Over seeding with a good grass seed like Black Beauty will help keep the lawn healthy too.