Archive for May, 2014

12th Annual Plant Swap and Giveaway Sunday June 1, 12-2pm North Park Swimming Pool

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

'Chocolate Stripes' is one of the many different tomatoes I'm giving out on Sunday June 1, 2014.

‘Chocolate Stripes’ is one of the many different tomatoes I’m giving out on Sunday June 1, 2014.


This will be the 12th year I’ve held the Post-Gazette Backyard Gardener Plant Swap. Although there’s some dispute with participants about how many years this has been going on. The first couple seasons I actually held the event at my house. It quickly grew and that’s when we moved to North Park.

On Sunday June 1st, 2014 the event will be held in a new location in North Park in the Swimming Pool parking lot from 12 noon until 2 p.m.

Bring divisions from your garden to trade with other gardeners. Be sure plants are labelled and please don’t bring anything invasive.

Thousands of gardeners attend every year and it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet like minded people.

I’ll also be giving away ‘Limbaugh Legacy Potato Top’ tomato plants. The Pittsburgh heirloom tomato was introduced to me by the late Fred Limbaugh, here’s the whole story. The plants produce large (1-2pound), pink and meaty tomatoes. I also have a limited quantity of plant I started from seed which I don’t have room for. One of the tomatoes is ‘Chocolate Stripes.’ This tomato yields lots of three to four inch, mahogany colored fruit with with dark, olive green-striping. They are easy to grow and taste great too.

Usually they are the last fruit picked in the garden, so grow other varieties too. There are a limited supply of plants, they will be given away on a first come, first serve basis, one to a family please.

Mindy Schwartz of Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery in Wilkinsburg will have lots of plants to give-a-way too.

Amazing New Introductions for Gardeners as Seen on KDKA’s Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Sometimes gardeners stick with what’s worked for years, but there are always amazing new things that plant breeders release each season. It’s fun to experiment with new introductions and see how they work in your garden.

Grafted tomatoes are all the rage. They actually have been grown around the world for decades, but have just become popular of late in the U.S.
A vigorous rootstock is spliced together with favorite varieties to create a sort of super tomato. Since the rootstock is so hardy and creates this amazing amount of roots, the top of the plant (scion) can get up to three times as much fruit as a normal tomato. The rootstock is also very disease resitant.

Julie Johns from Territorial Seeds reacts to grafted tomato varieties. On the left is a non-grafted plant, on the right is grafted.

Julie Johns from Territorial Seeds reacts to grafted tomato varieties. On the left is a non-grafted plant, on the right is grafted.


How about a basil which never goes to seed? Breeders have crossed a Greek and Italian basil to create a plant which produces foliage all season long. When we plant normal Italian basil, it eventually goes to seed and changes the flavor of the herb. This forces gardeners to go buy another plant.

For decades dedicated gardeners have used every trick in the book to keep fig trees growing in our climate. Now there are hardy varieties which take much less work to overwinter.

‘Bonfire’ begonia has been a round for a few years, but it’s worth talking about again. This is my favorite trailing plant. It needs only water and a little fertilizer to bloom all season long. The trumpet shaped flowers can trail down four feet.

Any one interested in an amazing chartreuse, tie dye colored fern for the shade? I know I am.

How about a variegated lavender?

Breeders keep working on succulents as they become the hot item for small containers in the garden. The only thing that can kill them is kindness.

Try something new this season, you might discover a new favorite.
All the plants except the perpetual basil came from Hahn Nursery. The basil came from Best Feeds.

Tulip River Cruise with Doug in April, Book Now Before it Sells Out!

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Join me for a once and a lifetime tulip river cruise.

Join me for a once and a lifetime tulip river cruise.


First it was London, then Italy, now I’m taking gardeners to Holland and Belgium in April of 2015 to see amazing sites and spectacular fields of tulips. This trip needs to be booked by July to get the cabin you want. Both of my other trips sold out quickly, so if this one is for you get a deposit in. The next payment won’t be due until December and of course, as always there’s travel insurance. If anything prohibits you from being part of the trip, you don’t lose a dime.
This is a trip for gardeners and non-gardeners alike. We’ll be cruising on a cozy luxury boat which holds less than 200 people. The ship will be our home for the trip which takes us all over Holland and Belgium. There’s no packing or unpacking and we have wonderful local guide who know just about everything about our destinations.
The trip is nine days and includes 20 meals along with airfare and lodging on the ship.
Here are just some of the highlights-
Keukenhof is a kaleidoscope of color in bloom with SEVEN MILLION tulips.
Tour of Holland’s capital Amsterdam.
Bruges, one of Europe’s most perfectly preserved medieval cities.
Join a local expert exploring Antwerp’s historical sites including the “Liebfrauenkirche,” Belgium’s largest Gothic church; the legendary “Brabo” fountains; and Rubens’ house.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
These trips are set up to make traveling easy. I’ll be with you from beginning to end. The goal? To have fun of course!
Here are all the details and itinerary.
There are a few bulbs blooming where we're going!

There are a few bulbs blooming where we’re going!

12th Annual PG/Backyard Gardener Plant Swap and Giveaway on Sunday June 1, 2014 (CHANGE OF LOCATION)

Friday, May 9th, 2014

limbaugh tomato
This will be the 12th year I’ve held the Post-Gazette Backyard Gardener Plant Swap. Although there’s some dispute with participants about how many years this has been going on. The first couple seasons I actually held the event at my house. It quickly grew and that’s when we moved to North Park.

On Sunday June 1st, 2014 the event will be held in a new location in North Park across in the Swimming Pool parking lot from 12 noon until 2 p.m.

Bring divisions from your garden to trade with other gardeners. Be sure plants are labelled and please don’t bring anything invasive.

Thousands of gardeners attend every year and it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet like minded people.

I’ll also be giving away ‘Limbaugh Legacy Potato Top’ tomato plants. The Pittsburgh heirloom tomato was introduced to me by the late Fred Limbaugh, here’s the whole story. The plants produce large (1-2pound), pink and meaty tomatoes.

Usually they are the last fruit picked in the garden, so grow other varieties too. There are a limited supply of plants, they will be given away on a first come, first serve basis, one to a family please.

Mindy Schwartz of Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery in Wilkinsburg will have lots of plants to give-a-way too.

Here’s a video that captures the fun and camaraderie of the event from a couple years ago.

Hope to see you there!

Don’t miss May Market at Phipps, Doug is there both days

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

May Market is a place to find everything for the garden.

May Market is a place to find everything for the garden.


May Market at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a must for any gardener.
The event will be held this coming Friday May 9th and 10th. Friday 9:30 a.m. until 7:0 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m until 5 p.m.
May Market is filled with an amazing selection of plants to buy. Fill your garden with something wonderful and different.
I’ll appear both days from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m to answer your questions and sign books.
Since 1935 the Rockledge Garden Club has sold strawberries covered in fondant. The great tradition continues and they are to die for!
Here’s more information and a complete list of vendors.