Archive for July, 2015

Colorful summer shrubs as seen on Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Choose the right hydrangea and enjoy the blooms for a lifetime.

Choose the right hydrangea and enjoy the blooms for a lifetime.


Summer blooming shrubs are a great addition to the garden. When I moved into my house the garden was filled with spring bloomers. It wasn’t long until I found shrubs which would continue to bloom through the summer and extend the interest in the garden.
Once things cool off a bit, they can be found on sale and planted in the garden.
I always like to add some compost to the soil and it’s important to keep these new planting watered until the ground freezes if we don’t get rain.
Hydrangeas are one of my favorite summer bloomers, but not the mopheads that are not reliable bloomers. When you go to the nursery look for other varieties which will bloom year after year.
There are variegated rose of Sharon which are beautiful year round, the flowers are a bonus.
The same is true for Japanese pieris.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw buttercup bush blooming in a dear friend’s garden during a July heat wave. The bright yellow flowers lasted until frost. The plant is indestructible and a perfect foundation planting out in sun.
Spend some time at the nursery and you might find a bargain that will provide beauty year after year.

Pollinator plants help the garden as seen on Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Dill is one of the best plants for attracting beneficial insects. Photo by Doug Oster

Dill is one of the best plants for attracting beneficial insects. Photo by Doug Oster


I love bugs! There I said it. Did you know over 90 percent of the insects in the garden are either good or benign?
In my garden I’m growing a variety of plants to attract beneficial insects. They help me garden by pollinating flowers and vegetables and take care of lots of the bad bugs too.
The real key is to plant a variety of different flowering plants in the garden to bring in the good bugs.
Small flowering plants like thyme, oregano, thyme, sweet allysum and others all will bring in beneficials.
Here’s a list of the plants I used on the show-
Coreopsis
Penta
Torenia
Agastache
Zinnia
Thyme
Dill
Cleome (spider flower)
Nicotiana (flowering tobacco)
Basil
Most importantly don’t spray the garden with chemicals, nature really does provide a wonderful balance when we stay out of things.

Bargains, bargains, bargains at the nurseries as seen on Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Tiny Tumbler tomato is a winner in a hanging basket. I found them at Hahn Nursery for $9.

Tiny Tumbler tomato is a winner in a hanging basket. I found them at Hahn Nursery for $9.


Around the Fourth of July nurseries and garden centers start putting all sorts of plants on sale. I’m cheap and love getting a bargain!
I wouldn’t buy a plant anywhere else at this time of the year, I know that the nurseries have kept the plants watered and that’s important.
Normally I buy my plants in flats to save money, but the bigger pots have been drastically reduced and I can try some really cool plants for next to nothing.
Since the plants are in big pots they offer instant color for a fraction of the price. The newest varieties and most interesting plants are often sold in three inch or bigger pots, so it’s also a good chance to try something different.
I also found nice pre-planted containers for only a few dollars. For the cost of the pot itself, you could get instant color that will last until the frost or beyond.
Perennials are also on sale, poke around in the back of the nursery to find four inch pots.
There’s still time to plant many vegetables too. Peppers and tomatoes filled with fruit will be harvested in a month or so.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for gardeners looking for bargains.
All the plants on the show were from Hahn Nursery in Ross.

See The Organic Gardeners at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden on Thursday July 9, 2015

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Join The Organic Gardeners next Thursday at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.

Join The Organic Gardeners next Thursday at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.


I’ll be joined by my amazing radio partner Jessica Walliser on Thursday July 9, 2015 at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden to present “How to Grow a Low Maintenance Perennial Garden Organically.
The botanic garden is officially open and work has begun to make it an amazing destination for visitors.
Here’s the schedule-
6 p.m. Welcome Reception
7 p.m. Lecture
8 p.m. Refreshments and Book Signing

Attendance is limited so advance registration is suggested. The registration fee is $15 for members, $25 for non-members. Register here or by calling 412-444-4464 x227.

Here are more details and an online registration area.

Hope to see you there.

Plants which help deter insects as seen on KDKA’s Pittsburgh Today Live

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Basil is one of the plants which is said to repel insects.

Basil is one of the plants which is said to repel insects.


There are plants which help repel insects, But know that simply including some of these plants in your won’t get rid of every pest.

As a matter of fact, the best thing you can do to battle mosquitoes is to remove standing water from the garden. I also use something called mosquito dunks. They are organic and are put into water to kill the larvae of the insects.

Plants with a high concentration of essential oils are usually avoided by insects, therefore, planting them should help in the battle against insects.

Basil repels house flies and mosquitoes. Since it’s so easy to grow, fill pots with the herb and put them around areas outside.

Lavender repels moths, fleas, flies and mosquitoes. Although people love the smell of lavender, mosquitoes, flies and other unwanted insects hate it. Grow it in a sunny location.

Lemongrass repels mosquitoes. Citronella is a natural oil found in lemongrass, an ornamental that can grow up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide in one season, it’s grown as an annual.

Mint and rosemary repel mosquitoes. Never plant mint in the garden, it will take over, always grow it in a pot. I always plug the drainage hole as the mint can escape that way too.

Rosemary has a wonderful perfume that helps keep mosquitoes away.

Dill repels aphids, squash bugs, spider mites, cabbage loopers and tomato hornworms. It also attracts good pollinators to the garden and once you have dill, you’ll always have dill as it reseeds prolifically.

Nasturtiums repel whiteflies, squash bugs, aphids, many beetles and cabbage loopers.

Science tell us these plants will help keep some of the bugs at bay, but no one knows to what extent. Enjoy the plants and hopefully they will battle the pests too.