Archive for June, 2014

A Few Seats Open for Doug’s Trip to Italy

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
This garden is one we'll see on my trip to Northern Italy.

This garden is one we’ll see on my trip to Northern Italy.

Response has been overwhelming for my upcoming trip to Italy and recently we were able to add a few seats for the trip. If the trip is right for you, call Alice Steel today at (724) 266-5715 to make sure you’re registered to go.
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 signed up too. 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.

Still Time for a Veggie Garden as Seen on PTL

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Cherry tomatoes are a good choice to plant now. They will produce fruit quick and can be picked all summer.

Cherry tomatoes are a good choice to plant now. They will produce fruit quick and can be picked all summer.


There’s still plenty of time to plant. Lots of gardeners think if they didn’t get their vegetable garden planted by Memorial Day weekend, they have missed their opportunity.
In fact things like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, which love warm soil and air temperatures will thrive being planted now. If you’re somebody who didn’t get their garden in or would just like to spruce up what you’re growing.
This is bargain time at the nursery, so regardless of why you need to get plants, they will be cheaper.
Didn’t get a vegetable garden in? Buy some big tomato plants. I showed peppers on the show, with nice sized fruit already on the plants too. Lettuce, cilantro, mixed greens, arugula, beets, beans and lots of other things can be started from seed right now also. They will all grow now and will really flourish when the weather cools off.

What to do with Hydrangeas as seen on Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

It's time to remove the brown sticks from hydrangeas.

It’s time to remove the brown sticks from hydrangeas.


Gardening can be a bit frustrating after a killer winter like we just went through.

It’s June and I can’t believe we’re still talking about winter damage in the garden. Hydrangeas really took it on the chin. The most popular cultivar is probably hydrangea machrophylla, that’s the mop head hydrangea many gardeners grow.

Hopefully you’re hydrangeas have new growth from the bottom of the plant.Even in a good year they aren’t reliable bloomers in our zone 6 gardens.

If your plant hasn’t put on any growth on last year’s stems, it’s time to remove them, at least that’s what I’m doing in my garden. Most H.macrophylla bloom on old wood from last season. Removing those brown sticks means no blooms this season and that stinks.

Follow the stalks to the base of the plant and snip them just above the ground. Hopefully there’s new green growth from the bottom which will produce buds for next season.

I’ve planted a lot of hydrangeas in the last few years to get blooms in the garden well into summer. The garden I inherited 16 years ago was heavy on spring bloomers, it needed plant which bloom later too.

If you lost some hydrangeas (as I did), think about other types on the plant which bloom freely in our climate.

‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas are just one variety which blooms on this year’s stems. In my garden they look wonderful and are preparing to bloom.

There are a series of ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangeas which bloom on old and new growth. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, nurseries are loaded with reliable bloomers.

I won’t be planting any standard H.macrophylla, I’m looking for plants which bloom on old and new wood or just new growth.

It’s a better bet for our climate, and I long for summer color.

Tulip River Cruise with Doug will be Amazing. Book now before it sells out.

Wednesday, June 4th, 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!

Try a Fairy Garden as seen on KDKA’s Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Fairy gardens are fun and easy to plant.

Fairy gardens are fun and easy to plant.


Fairy gardens have become all the rage, and why not, they’re fun.
It’s a small garden for fairy’s, gnomes, trolls and more.
it can either be made in a outdoor space or a container.
Like any garden, starting with good compost will help.
Then the garden can be filled with small plants, moss, rocks and then small benches ect.
A fairy garden is only limited by your imagination.