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Video: Seed starting 101

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog seedling emerges cu aSeeing a little seed sprout and then reach fruition is one of the wonderful things about gardening. Photo by Doug Oster

Here's a video demonstrating how I start seeds indoors. We had a little help from the performers of Varekai Cirque du Soleil. Planting tomato seeds with my friend Kristine Sorensen.

 

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Timeless beauty of amaryllis not only for the holidays

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog amarillis long 032514'Minerva' is an amaryllis bulb offered by Longfield Gardens. Photos by Doug Oster

blog amarillis long 0325There's another bud coming!The giant blooms of amaryllis help me get though the last days of winter. I grow about 25 different bulbs, some bloom in December, some in February and I've got a nice in bloom right now.

This is 'Minerva' from Longfield Gardens, shipped to me in January in a cool looking zinc pot. I've grown a few different varieties from the company and as you can see, these flowers are just the first flush, there's more to come.

The bulbs seem to have a mind of their own after the first bloom, the next season they will bloom again when treated right, but often won't be at the same exact time.

Once they are done flowering, I remove the flower stalk and let the foliage stand. Once there's no chance of frost, the plants go outside in the shade. I fertilize them every few weeks to help the bulb build energy for next year's blossoms.

In August, they come inside and are put into dormancy by withholding water and fertilizer. The big, strapping leaves will die back and I keep the bulb down int he basement for six to eight weeks, then bring it back up to the windowsill.

Once the bulb is lightly watered, it should send up a flower stalk and start the cycle again.

I have about a 50-50 success rate on re-blooming annually. The bulbs always re bloom eventually, once they have stored the energy they need for flowering.

Don't think of amaryllis as just a holiday flower, they are beautiful whenever they bloom.

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Free gardening talk with Doug tonight. "The Gardens of London."

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog delphiniums and begoniasI couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into the Great Pavilion. Every plant you could ever imagine was displayed in its peak. From Delphiniums, to clematis to daffodils and everything in between. Photo by Doug Oster

I hope you'll join me tonight at the Whitehall Public Library 7 p.m. for a free garden talk about the gardens of London and the 100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show.

Last May I took 23 people from Pittsburgh to London to explore the city and many of the amazing public gardens. We were also treated to the 100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show, which was spectacular.

We visited Kew Gardens, Tower of London, Wisely Gardens, Hampton Court Palace and more.

I'll also have some free 'Limbaugh Legacy Potato Top' tomato seeds to give a way. For those interested, I'll also be selling and signing copies of my new book, The Steel City Garden.

You must register to attend this free event, call Debby Rampolla at 412-882-6622 or e-mail at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .'; document.write(''); document.write(addy_text39672); document.write('<\/a>'); //-->\n This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The library is located at 100 Borough Park Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15236.

See you tonight!

blog wisley heatherThe National Heather Collection is just one of the things which make Wisely Gardens my favorite. Tonight you can learn why I walked 20 minutes in the rain to see this part of the garden.

 

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Phipps Spring Flower Show rocks...literally

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog rainbow roomWelcome to the Rainbow Room in the East Conservatory. It think it's so cool that Phipps created these records for signage. Photos by Doug Oster

One of the joys of visiting the Spring Flower Show at Phipps is sitting on the bench inside the Palm Court as visitors enter. The sweet aroma of hyacinths and colorful blooms elicit wonderful reactions and certainly puts smiles on lots of faces. It's fun to listen to the reactions.

Every show offers a respite from winter, and I've never disliked one, but I love "Rhythm and Bulbs." It pairs music with plants in a perfect combination. It's just fun, that's what I felt walking through the show.

I never thought I'd hear B.B. King, Led Zeppelin or Chuck Berry at the conservatory, but I'm so glad I did. There are rooms offering classical, jazz and other genres too.

It's always the attention to detail which turns an ordinary show into something special. I enjoyed seeing Howlin' Wolf albums under blue lobelia, guitars and amplifiers surrounded by spring bloomers and listening to eclectic musical choices while strolling through the exhibit rooms.

This show takes chances and that's why it's magical.

Did I mention the fountain made of brass instrument? Brilliant!

blog primrose zebraPrimrose 'Zebra Blue' is planted all over this show.

blog ampsI was listening to Chuck Berry (nice and loud) when I shot this flower/amp combo.

blog spring show 5It's nice to see flowers like these after the winter we had.

blog flowering pianoTulips on the piano.

blog spring guitarCool Stella Harmony 12 string in the Sunken Garden.

blog jl hookerJohn Lee Hooker! Yes, they have John Lee Hooker in the conservatory.

blog spring show recordsVery cool blues area in the Sunken Garden room.

Blog its good to be kingIt's good to be king of Phipps...at least for a minute.

 

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Fascinating new varieties for spring planting

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog hip hop2'Hip Hop' violas are one of the new introductions this year. Violas love cold weather and can be planted soon.

I can't wait to get started in the garden. Every season breeders come up with some new varieties for us to plant.

Here's a segment from Pittsburgh Today Live which goes over just a few of the new introduction. They all came from Chapon's Greenhouse in Baldwin. Every garden center and nursery will have something new to try. Spend a Sunday with gardening friends exploring a place you don't usually go. It's a fun way to discover interesting plants.

 

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