Archive for December, 2013

Fun with terrariums as seen on KDKA Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Terrariums come in all shapes and sizes.

Terrariums come in all shapes and sizes.

Remember the 1970′s? Terrariums were big back then and they were so groovy. Well what comes around goes around and they are hot again.
Nothing could be easier than making a terrarium, they can be made with anything from an old fish tank to a beautiful container bought from a nursery. Even a two liter soda bottle can be converted into a terrarium.
Terrariums are a closed growing system, so they only need a little water every few weeks. The first layer is gravel, some charcoal which keeps the air clean and then a growing medium. One trick that Matt from Chapon’s Greenhouse alerted me to was to moisten the planting mix first to get it right where you want it instead of drowning the soil with water.
You can design either a dry or wet terrarium depending on what you like to grow. I love both.
Succulents are used for the dry one, and bog plants are used for the wet environment. Both are easy to find at a good nursery.
All the terrariums and plants came from Chapon’s Greenhouse in Baldwin. I’m so thrilled to rind terrariums again that I think I’m going to make a bunch. They have everything you need. Chapon’s is located at 4846 Streets Run Road Pittsburgh, PA 15236, (412) 881-1520. It’s a wonderful place to explore during the winter, it’s filled with plants you’ve never seen before. The staff is very helpful and friendly.

See Santa Free at Hahn Nursery Sunday 1-4pm

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Come see Santa for free at Hahn Nursery in Ross on Sunday 12/15/13.  Big and little kids will always enjoy time with Santa. Who knows, you might even get your gardening questions answered too!

Come see Santa for free at Hahn Nursery in Ross on Sunday 12/15/13.
Big and little kids will always enjoy time with Santa. Who knows, you might even get your gardening questions answered too!


Santa Claus will appear at Hahn Nursery in Ross at Babcock and Three Degree RD. on Sunday 12/15/13 from 1-4pm. Stop by to see the old guy and get some cookies too! Call 412-635-7475 for more information.

Holiday Gifts for Gardeners as seen on Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Gardeners are easy to buy for, here’s a list of stuff I know your favorite gardener will love.

Sloggers Garden Shoes are my favorites.

Sloggers Garden Shoes are my favorites.

Sloggers Rain Shoes- I’ve got the only men’s pair with a floral print and I love them. They are waterproof, comfortable and best of all slip on and off so you’re not tracking the garden through the kitchen when you come in for a break. You can find them locally, I know for sure they have the shoes at Penn Hills Lawn and Garden.

Dramm Colorpoint Pruners are beautiful and functional. One of the things I like the most about them is they stay unlocked when working with them. Nothing is more annoying than going about your pruning chores with a tool which constantly is locking while you cut.
Everything else I talked about on the show was from Hahn Nursery in Ross.
Plants like amaryllis, Norfolk pine and poinsettias make great gifts. When you step it up a notch and include a cool looking pot, you’re in business.
Atlas Garden Gloves are great. They keep your hands dry and warm, but still allow tactile sense in your fingers.
Garden decorations are also a good choice. Statues, stones, gazing balls and many other things will be welcomed into the garden. Every time the gardener sees the item, they will think of you.
There are some cool herb kits to plant and Fairy Garden kits too.
Don’t forget your Black and Gold flamingos! They go perfect with my new book The Steel City Garden.

Holiday Plants Make The Winter A Little Easier For Gardeners as seen on KDKA’s Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

There isn't much prettier than a amaryllis blooming on the windowsill.

There isn’t much prettier than a amaryllis blooming on the windowsill.


I love to give plants as gifts during the holidays. My favorites are amaryllis, Christmas cactus, cyclamen, rosemary plants trimmed like trees and paperwhites.
There’s not much out there prettier than an amaryllis.
Amaryllis offer some of the most beautiful flowers for the holiday season. For the first season the bulb has everything in it that the flower needs. The job of the gardener is to treat the plant right to get blooms next season. I’ve got about a 50/50 record for re-blooming. I never throw them away and they will bloom when they are happy. Sometimes that’s every year, sometimes it takes three.
After the plant is done blooming remove the flower stalk leaving the tall, floppy foliage. Grow it as a houseplant all winter and start fertilizing in March. Mid-May it goes outside in the shade. Sometimes transplanting to a pot one size bigger will help. Keep feeding the plant every couple weeks through the season.
In August stop all watering and fertilization and bring the amaryllis back inside. I put mine down in the basement for six to eight weeks until they go into dormancy. The leaves will turn brown, which feeds the bulb. Then bring the plant back to the windowsill add a little water and hope for buds to emerge.
I rarely get them to bloom at Christmas, but anytime they flower, it’s wonderful. Usually it’s about being too busy at the end of the season and not getting them into dormancy fast enough. Others never make it outside, are forgotten about and bloom after given a little water.

The Christmas cactus is a perennial favorite gift for gardeners. It’s indestructible, usually killed with kindness. It’s not really a cactus, so it’s watered like any other houseplant, but prefers dry over wet. I like to grow them in eight inch and bigger pots so they don’t need watered as often and they get nice and big.
They are triggered to bloom in the same way poinsettias are. That means when growing on the windowsill they are often turned into an Easter or Thanksgiving cactus.

I forgot about one out in my unheated greenhouse and it received the perfect light to be in full bloom on Christmas day.

For many gardeners a Christmas cactus becomes a family heirloom passed down for generations. I’ve done stories on plants that were 100 years old.

The rosemary tree is easy to find and a great gift for gardeners who cook. Give them a haircut here and there and use the trimming for cooking. The trick to keeping the alive over the winter is to make sure they stay moist, but do not over water.
Cyclamen needs constant moisture too, if they are allowed to dry out, they will die. They will bloom for months if given the right amount of water.
Not everyone loves the fragrance of paperwhites, but I do. They are white indoor daffodils which go to the compost after blooming since they are not hardy and tough to make rebloom.

Enjoy your holiday plants now and for years to come.