Category: gardening

Ditching Gasoline Use in the Garden

Paying $20 a gallon for ‘special fuel’ was the last straw! While working as a landscape contractor, we used a wide variety of garden equipment powered by small engines. Some small engines used straight gasoline (4-cycle engines) while others used a combination of gasoline… Continue Reading “Ditching Gasoline Use in the Garden”

Solar Energy from Greenhouses

Considering all the greenhouses that have to use shade cloth to reduce the intensity of sunshine, semi-transparent solar modules would be a win-win! “Researchers at the University of Jaén in Spain have looked at the potential of agrivoltaics for greenhouses in areas with high crop cultivation in greenhouses. They have… Continue Reading “Solar Energy from Greenhouses”

Green to Halloween

Fall weather has both extended the life of potted flowers on our deck and muted a colorful fall foliage season. Yin and yang. As darkening days remind us that winter is just around the corner, it’s lovely to still see colorful and full-grown potted… Continue Reading “Green to Halloween”

First Frost

After years of observing the weather in our Pittsburgh area, October 10th became the average date for our first frost, marking the end of the growing season for frost-sensitive plants. It also marks the date to bring houseplants indoors. Recently, when I mentioned this… Continue Reading “First Frost”

Skunk Assist

In my battle against a yellowjacket nest that was dangerously close to our front sidewalk, a skunk (or raccoon) intervened to help clean-out the nest. I waited until well after dark the first night to spray the area under this ‘Little Gem’ Spruce with… Continue Reading “Skunk Assist”

Its the Beetles!

Along with Independence Day, Lightning Bugs, and the heat and humidity in western Pennsylvania, July brings back the Beetles! Not the singing type, more the chewing type. These buggers are primarily known for the lawn damage they cause, which seems especially noticeable on lawns… Continue Reading “Its the Beetles!”

Hardening Off

When we schedule outdoor plant maintenance activities, using certain annual holidays as reminders really helps. For the 4th of July, Independence Day holiday, two things come to mind. The first regards daffodils and narcissus Following the Spring blossoms of these hardy bulbs, gardeners are… Continue Reading “Hardening Off”

Nonfunctional Grass

In all my many years of landscaping and lawn maintenance, I had never heard the term “nonfunctional grass” until yesterday. That’s the term being used to describe certain turfgrass areas, actually 31 percent of the turf in the Las Vegas area, which can no… Continue Reading “Nonfunctional Grass”

Pittsburgh’s Best Kept Secret

Packed with beautiful annual flowers, perennials, trees, shrubs and vines, this roadside garden center in the South Hills has it all. Shrubs ‘n Stuf on Library Road (Route 88 in Bethel Park), just south of the entrance to South Park and the first McDonald’s… Continue Reading “Pittsburgh’s Best Kept Secret”

Deadheading Rhododendrons

Seeing the fantastic Spring blossoms on Rhododendrons, brings up the next question, to deadhead or not to deadhead? And probably then, what is deadheading? We’ve been noticing a large number of blossoms on Rhododendrons around western Pennsylvania this Spring, thinking that they are having… Continue Reading “Deadheading Rhododendrons”

Uncommon Beauty

Common shrubs often exhibit uncommon beauty, and Bridal Wreath Spirea is one of those shrubs. The moment to capture a good photo is often very fleeting, whether that timeframe is measured in minutes, days or weeks. With a sky shot, it can be minutes,… Continue Reading “Uncommon Beauty”

Moving Day

With our local weather lady forecasting July- like weather for this coming week around Pittsburgh, it’s time to move my office mates onto the front porch. Before we had all the crazy twists and turns of climate change, I always figured May 20th was… Continue Reading “Moving Day”

Ticked Off

As we go outside more often, onto the lawn and into the garden, health reminders about those tiny ticks who can spoil your fun. An April 18th newspaper story by JOE LoTEMPLIO sounded the Spring warning about ticks and Lyme disease. This can be… Continue Reading “Ticked Off”

Time to Seed

A more appropriate title would be “Not much time left to seed” if you have a lawn in Pennsylvania, New England, the Midwestern U.S. or Canada. There are basically two times a year that are best for lawn seeding: Spring and Fall. For multiple… Continue Reading “Time to Seed”

Wrong Tree

Wondering why your tree changed color? A friend recently mentioned that part of his tree was blooming in a different color from the tree he purchased. So what’s up with that? Freak of nature, evolution, or a new discovery perhaps?? Chances are, his case… Continue Reading “Wrong Tree”

Floppy Ornamental Grass

Out of several ornamental grasses we have, there’s one tall, variegated grass that likes to flop-over in August, right when it’s looking its best. There’s always one in the bunch. Well, in this case, three! This grouping of three ornamental grasses looks fantastic in… Continue Reading “Floppy Ornamental Grass”

Tree Growing Out Of Your Tree?

What to do when your Dwarf Alberta Spruce shows off its ‘wild side’ The Dwarf Alberta Spruce is very popular in home landscapes, due to its slow, compact, evergreen growth. They don’t require any trimming, are deer resistant, and extremely hardy — except when… Continue Reading “Tree Growing Out Of Your Tree?”

Sharpest Tool in the Shed

Digging is hard enough, so why make it even harder with a dull shovel? With the arrival of Spring and a sunny day, I noticed some ‘weekend warriors’ out working in their yards yesterday. Since digging was a big part of my professional life,… Continue Reading “Sharpest Tool in the Shed”

Spring Maintenance

Happy 1st day of Spring 2022 Winter seemed especially long and dark, so who isn’t eagerly awaiting the first blossoms of Spring? Longer days of sunlight, warming temperatures, and yes, some garden chores to get you out and about. If you left your ornamental… Continue Reading “Spring Maintenance”

Time to Cutback Shrubs

A YouTube viewer from the state of Indiana recently asked if this was a good time to cutback Burning Bushes that are overtaking his house. YES! Early spring is the best time of year for major cutbacks, since it allows ample growing time for… Continue Reading “Time to Cutback Shrubs”

Spring Flower Show

We toured the new Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens ‘CANOPY OF COLOR’ spring flower show on Saturday. Here’s a short video featuring some of the flowers, we really loved that yellow and black Pansy, as well as our all-time favorite: the garden railroad! More:… Continue Reading “Spring Flower Show”