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Beautiful hydrangea helps fight cancer

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog hydrange 062914The 'Invincibelle Spriit' hydrangea is a reliable bloomer, and procedes help fight breast cancer. Photos by Doug Oster

My garden is void of hydrangea blooms except for 'Annabelle' varieties. It's almost July and we're still seeing the effects from a tough winter.

blog wider hydrangea 0629This is my second season growing 'Invincibelle Spriit' hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens). It blooms reliably because the flowers are produced on this year's growth, as opposed to last season's wood.

A portion of the proceeds of each sale from this plant goes to breast cancer research. Gardeners love to use the to help others, and this is a great way to do it.

'Invincibelle Spirit' will tolerate a wide range of lighting and soil conditions. It's best grown with morning sun and afternoon shade in good garden soil. I've got plants which bloom in full shade though, they just put on smaller flowers.

The pink blooms started a few weeks ago and will continue until frost. They don't need to be deadheaded either.

I was counting on hydrangeas for summer blooms this season, I'm so glad I put more of the 'Annabelle' varieties in last fall to help mid-season garden. 

I'm going to continue to add these types of hydrangeas and others which bloom on this year's growth.

One more thing, they also make wonderful cut flowers too.

 

 

 

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I have a few 'House' tomato plants to giveaway

Written by Doug Oster on .

When I read about the 'House' tomato in the J.L. Hudson Seedsman seed catalog, I was intrigued.

Here's the official listing-

NEW—Tomato House Tomato. (50) VTOM-HS. Packet: $3.00
  Tomato House 3.jpg (110917 bytes)
The most unusual tomato we have grown, with small red cherry tomatoes produced on very compact plants. Early and perfect for containers and short-season areas. Very tasty flavor. It came to us from Curtis Androsoff, who says: "The House Tomato are heritage seed. I have two plants that are 12 years old, producing good fruit. I cut them down for new growth each year. If you leave them, some plants grow too high in the house over winter. New growth produces more fruit. First seeds came to Canada in 1893 with my grandmother from Tbilisi Russia on an old sail ship. My people settled in Saskatchewan." The plants are high-yielding and are grown outdoors in summer, and brought in by a sunny window in winter. Here they formed dwarf compact plants less than a foot tall grown outdoors, with thick, succulent, blue-green leaves.


Mine are growing in the straw bale garden and I've got 13 plants left.

I would love to get them into the hands of "regular" gardeners, so here's what I'd like to do. They still have plenty of time to put on tomatoes.

After the radio show on this Sunday morning (6/29/14), I'd like to give them away downtown in front of the Post-Gazette building at 8:30 a.m.

You can just send me an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let me know you'd like a plant and I'll put the first 13 on a list.

Since I think there will be way more than 13 people trying for the plants, here's the next deciding factor. Send your favorite garden memory. It doesn't have to be long, but it could be if you want. I'll try to put them all up on my blog and Facebook as long as you agree to let me use it.

Everyone who responds and can get downtown will get something, even if it's a packet of seeds.

Maybe only a few people will respond and you'll get a few tomato plants.

Send me an email if you want a plant and can pick it up downtown Sunday morning.

 

 

 

 

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Beautiful moth emerges

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog moth openThis beautiful cecropia moth just emerged. Photos by Doug Oster

One of the fun things about being a garden writer is interviewing all the interesting people. I've known June Bernard for many years and used her on a source for this story on monarch butterflies.

I was trying to get the timing right to photograph a monarch chrysalis opening, but we could never make it happen.

I did get a female to photograph and when I returned it to June's home, she gave me a big plastic container with a cecropia and luna moth cocoons inside.

Since I was leaving for a fishing trip in just a few days, I had to take it with me to be sure I didn't miss the moth emerging. Well, that didn't happen, so then  a couple weeks later, I had another trip and took it with me with no luck.

Then I went out on the sun porch to sit and there was the cecropia moth had begun to emerge.

It's North America's biggest moth, and I think it's beautiful.

Judy told me to take it outside at dusk and let it crawl on a screen until it's ready to go. That's the plan tonight.

I hope the luna emerges next.

blog moth backlit

blog moth antanea

blog moth side view

blog moth tight wing

 

 

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Thrillers, fillers and spillers; Container gardening basics

Written by Doug Oster on .

Thriller BlogHere are some easy tips for planting containers. Photo by Doug Oster

Today on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live, I planted a container with Kristine Sorensen. The trick is to put a tall "thriller" in the middle, then "fillers" around that and "spillers" to soften the edges.

This is a great time to plant containers, the plants are all on sale. These cool varieties were from Hahn Nursery.

 

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Oakmont Garden Tour Sunday 6/29/14

Written by Doug Oster on .

Blog Oakmont Garden TourThis is one of the gardens on the upcoming Oakmont Garden Tour.

In recognition of the 125th Anniversary of Oakmont, the Garden Club of

Oakmont is sponsoring The Oakmont Garden Tour on Sunday, June 29th from 11am-3pm, rain or shine.

Visitors will be treated to a variety of magnificent garden spaces and outdoor living areas. From the serenity of riverfront properties to the

"top of the hill" in a garden of one of the premier retirement communities in the area.

The self-guided tour features restful ponds, waterfalls, inviting dining and seating areas, vegetable gardens, perennial and annual flower gardens all

inspired by their owners.

Tickets may be purchased for $12 on the day of event from 10am -2pm at the Oakmont Clock Tower on Allegheny River Blvd., or the Train Station located

on Allegheny Avenue.

For additional information visit www.gardencluboakmont.org or call 724-331-3275.

Come and see ten unique gardens in Oakmont and spend a summer afternoon with

us!

Blog Oakmont Garden Tour 2The Oakmont Garden Tour is filled with inspirational gardens.

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