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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_text67315); 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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Garden chat with Doug at 12 noon today. Celebrate the first day of spring!

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog sc real tight blThe snow crocus is the harbinger of spring. Photo by Doug Oster

Let's celebrate the first day of spring by talking gardening. All you have to do is log in here.

I did a lot of these last year and we had fun. Ask questions, tell stories and complain about the endless winter!

I'll be chatting live at 12 noon on Thursday 3/20/14. Just click the link above.

Hope to see you there.

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Peas are sprouting, peas are sprouting outside! Here's how I did it.

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog germination peas2There's nothing better than seeing peas sprouting in March. The will be ready to pick in May...of maybe sooner? Photos by Doug Oster

Sometimes it all works out.

When cabin fever raged, I stormed out to the garden on a 64 degree day on March 11th. That's a full week before I would normally plant peas, but I was compelled to garden.

The next night temperatures dropped to eight degrees, but I still felt I had done the right thing by planting pea seeds along with seedlings of spinach, arugula and cilantro.

The greens all survived the cold but I wondered if the peas might rot in the cool, wet soil.

Today they showed signs of sprouting and once they do, the plants can take any amount of cold which is left.

Here's how it did it.

Even though air temperatures were in the 60's, most of the beds were still frozen. I had a few covered with plastic skylights which were in better shape. Still, there was no way to dig in that dirt, I would have destroyed the soil structure.

Being the first customer of the season at Hahn Nursery was quite an honor as I bought four (frozen) bags of compost. They were thawed out in my unheated greenhouse and then applied on top of a bed.

The 'Dwarf Gray Sugar' pea seeds were soaked overnight to help them germinate and then pressed down into the black compost. Then the bed was covered with the skylight to act as a greenhouse.

Here's a video detailing the operation.

This is the earliest I've ever been able to get peas to sprout and I'm thrilled to be back in the garden. You should be planting too! Don't dig yet, add compost and plant things that love cold weather.

blog peas germination3I've got a bunch of these plastic skylights and they work great as season extenders.

blog germination pea1This tiny little pea seed will make lots of tasty spring peas.

 

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