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Harvesting paw paws, the forgotten native fruit (Indiana banana)

Written by Doug Oster on .

Blog paw pawPaw paws are native, tasty and easy to grow. Photo by Pam Panchak

Ever heard of the paw paw tree? It's a native fruit tree which produces green fruit which can weight up to a pound. Most of the fruit I harvest is much smaller than that.

The fruit was a favorite of Native Americans and early settlers. It's often called the Indiana banana because if it's creamy custard like, yellow flesh. I would say it tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango.

The fruit will turn a yellowish brown and get soft when ripe.

It's not the easiest to eat as paw paw seeds are big and they need to be removed. The seeds will retain some of the flesh, so I suck on them like candy.

Paw paw trees are easy to grow, but two are needed for pollination. it grows best as an understory tree reaching nearly 30 feet tall. They make suckers from the roots like crazy, but have a long tap root and are hard to transplant. My rule of thumb is to move five and assume three will not make it.

It blooms with insignificant purple flowers which are pollinated by flies not bees. Native Americans hung dead squirrels in the trees to attract pollinators. Although I don't use squirrels, I did put some older meat up near the trees this spring when the flowers started to open.

I've grown two trees for 10 years and the meat helped fruit production immensely. This was our best harvest.

I'm going to plant the seeds and see what happens. Check back, I might have a hundred or so seedlings to give a way. This week's Digging with Doug shows the trick to harvesting fruit which is way up in the tree.

If you're thinking of planting a cool fruit tree, think about paw paws. They are available at local nurseries and through online fruit tree catalogs.

Check out our harvest below.

blog paw paw harvest 1003Paw paws aren't pretty, but are a sweet treat from the garden.

 

 

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Celebrate Bucs by planting black and gold tulips

Written by Doug Oster on .

blgo bg tulips black'Queen of the Night'02-0501-M-1143142990'Big Smile'

Feeling proud of your Pirates? You can create a spring garden which will be in full bloom when they take the field next spring.

It's hard to find a commercial mix of black and yellow tulips, but you can make your own. It's fun to plant in team colors.

There are lots of black tulips, 'Queen of the Night' is probably the most popular and yellow tulips are easy to find . 'Big Smile' is just one of the many choices for yellow.

Take a bag of each color and plant one black, then on yellow until your done. The more you plant, the more spectacular the bed will be next spring.

Tulips need to be planted at least eight inches deep in good soil which drains well. The biggest mistake gardeners make is planting an annual over their tulips as the bulb foliage dies. All the water used to keep the annual thriving is drowning the bulbs below.

This post details basic bulb planting details.

Have fun creating a black and gold garden of tulips.

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Tips for easier bulb planting, here are my favorites too

Written by Doug Oster on .

Planting bulbs is a fall ritual which is essential to make spring even more wonderful. It's not instant gratification, but work done now will make you smile when the weather breaks.

blog Bulb Auger2A bulb auger makes planting easy.I've experimented with many ways to plant and I've settled on the bulb auger as the easiest tool to use.

It's just a giant drill bit and when attached to a drill it makes bulb planting pretty easy and fun. We all start with the short handled planter; I refer to it as "cruel and unusual punishment for gardeners. Plant ten bulbs with it and then wonder what you'll do with the other 90 from the box!

This essay shows the power that bulbs can have. It's about a little pocket of crocus my mother planted in the late 60's, and my last look at the flowers.

I'm adding 1000 bulbs every season, for a reason.

If you ever get a chance to watch Rick Sebak's Cemetery Special, there's a segment on Lake View that includes me explaining how the flowers affected me. It's where my grandparents are buried and they have a place there called Daffodil Hill. Viewing those flowers blooming on a sunny day in 1967 profoundly affected me. I've created my own daffodil hill in honor of my grandparents.

Here are a few of my favorite bulbs which increase the beauty and relief spring brings gardeners.

blog snowdrop bee 1001I've had snowdrops bloom as early at January 15th and as late as March 15th. They are such a welcome sight after a long, cold winter. Photos by Doug Oster

blog snowdrops 1001Planting snowdrops close to the house will get them to emerge earlier. Once they bloom, there's no turning back.

blog snow crocus 1001Snow crocus are the next to bloom and the honeybees can't resist.

blog pickwick tight 1001'Pickwick' was released in 1939, the same year my house was built. It's easy to find and beautiful.

blog shirley water 1001'Shirley' is a wonderful tulip which reminds me of a wonderful friend I used to work with.

blog horz sir winston 100113'Sir Winston Churchill' is a late blooming, long blooming, multi-flowering daffodil which smells like gardenias. What else do you need to know?

 

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Phipps' Native Plant and Sustainability Conference 10/26/13

Written by Doug Oster on .

The Annual Native Plant and Sustainability Conference will held at Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park brings together national experts for a one-day forum on plants, landscapes and our roles as environmental stewards.

To register, please call 412/441-4442, ext. 3925. The cost per person for this conference is $90 if you register before Oct. 5; after this date, the fee is $105. Price includes lunch.

Phipps Garden Center is located at 1059 Shady Ave., Pittsburgh, PA.

Questions? Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

This conference counts as a 3.25 hours elective credit for several Phipps certificate programs: Native Plant Landscapes, Sustainable Horticulture, and Landscape and Garden Design. CEU credits for PCH and ISA are pending; please inquire for more information.
 

Schedule

8:45 – 9:15 a.m.

Registration/Coffee

9:15 – 9:25 a.m.

Welcome

9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Wild Collecting in the 21st Century
with David Brandenburg

North America shares with parts of Europe and eastern Asia the distinction of hosting a remarkable and diverse array of temperate-zone plants. Ironically, only a relative handful of these North American native species are currently found in the average residential landscape. There are several advantages to cultivating native plants, and nurseries are beginning to make more of these species available. Did you ever wonder how these new offerings find their way into the market? Botanist David Brandenburg will give you a behind-the-scenes look at how native species are chosen, propagated and disseminated to passionate gardeners eager to expand their plant palettes.

11 a.m. – Noon

Nativars: Blending the Best of Both Worlds
with Maria Zampini

A nativar is a cultivar and/or hybrid of a native species and, according to Dr. Allan Armitage, “they should rule the garden” as they can provide the best of both worlds: a landscape improved by the ecological impact of natives and a way to address problems that usually plague certain native species. Join Maria as she introduces you to some of best new selected native cultivars.

Noon – 1 p.m.

Lunch, Book and Art Sale

1 – 2 p.m.

Growing Caterpillars:
A Tale of Birds, Plants and Conservation 
with Jim McCormac
There are about 2,500 species of moths in Ohio and roughly 150 butterfly species have been recorded. The conspicuous and often showy winged adults are but the short-lived finale of a four-stage life cycle: egg, pupa, caterpillar and adult. Caterpillars make much of the natural world go around and countless billions become food for other organisms. Without vegetation-eating caterpillars, most songbirds would go extinct, plant diversity would plummet, and our forests would fall silent. Learn more about these garden visitors from Jim as he explores their importance to our ecosystem.

2:10 – 2:40 p.m.

Panel Q & A           

2:40 – 2:45 p.m.

Concluding Remarks
           

Speakers

Dr. David Brandenburg, botanist at The Dawes Arboretum, began his career studying Midwest plant life and working as a field naturalist for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  His passion for botany ultimately led him on a decades-long flora quest culminating in the publication of the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America, a landmark guide offering an innovative approach to identifying and learning about wildflowers in Canada and the U.S.  

Jim McCormac works for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, specializing in nongame wildlife diversity issues.  He was inaugural president of the Ohio Ornithological Society and served for seven years as secretary of the Ohio Bird Records Committee. Jim was the 2009 recipient of the Ludlow Griscom Award and is the author of Birds of Ohio, The Great Lakes Nature Guide, Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage and a forthcoming book on wood-warblers.

Maria Zampini, a fourth generation nurseryman, was the first female president of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association. In 2009, Maria partnered with her father Jim Zampini to form UpShoot, a boutique horticulture marketing firm. In 2012, she was named director of plant development and ornamental program manager for the HGTV HOME Plant Collection. She writes regular columns in American Nurseryman, Horticulture and Garden Center magazines.  

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Pittsburgh Fashion Week closes with Fashion Hall of Fame inductions

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Another Pittsburgh Fashion Week has come and gone, and following in the footsteps of tradition it took its final bow with the inductions of the latest crop of Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame honorees at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown.

At a luncheon Sunday, the following professionals with ties to Pittsburgh were recognized for their contributions to the fashion and beauty industries:

Michael Barone, creative director of MODA Men’s Fashions; Jean Bryant, retired Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalist and founder of the Miss Black Teenage and Mr. African American programs; Tom Julian, style expert and author of “Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Style”; Debbie Norrell, lifestyle editor for the New Pittsburgh Courier; E.B. Pepper, owner of e.b. Pepper in Shadyside; and Marianne Skiba, Emmy Award-winning celebrity makeup artist. Honorees have at least 10 years of experience in the fashion or beauty industry and ties to Pittsburgh. 

For the first time, the hall of fame honored an up-and-coming member of Pittsburgh’s fashion and beauty scene, Jacqueline Capatolla, owner of JACQUELINE’s salon and author of “Shear Dreams.”

The afternoon also featured a performance by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School dancers. See photos from the event by Post-Gazette photographer Julia Rendleman below.

HOF5

Some of the Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame inductees from left are Tom Julian, Jacqueline Capatolla (Exceptional Artist Awardee), Jean Bryant and Debbie Norrell.


HOFMiyoshi

Pittsburgh Fashion Week founder Miyoshi Anderson emcees the event.


HOFDance

Beatriz Tosta and Kurtis Sprowls of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School perform.


HOFDance2

Graduate students from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School dance for luncheon guests.

 

 

 

Another Pittsburgh Fashion Week has come and gone, and following in the footsteps of tradition it took its final bow with the inductions of the latest crop of Pittsburgh Fashion Hall of Fame honorees at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown.

At a luncheon Sunday, the following professionals with ties to Pittsburgh were recognized for their contributions to the fashion and beauty industries:

Michael Barone, creative director of MODA Men’s Fashions; Jean Bryant, retired Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalist and founder of the Miss Black Teenage and Mr. African American programs; Tom Julian, style expert and author of “Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Style”; Debbie Norrell, lifestyle editor for the New Pittsburgh Courier; E.B. Pepper, owner of e.b. Pepper in Shadyside; and Marianne Skiba, Emmy Award-winning celebrity makeup artist. Honorees have at least 10 years of experience in the fashion or beauty industry and ties to Pittsburgh. 

For the first time, the hall of fame honored an up-and-coming member of Pittsburgh’s fashion and beauty scene, Jacqueline Capatolla, owner of JACQUELINE’s salon and author of “Shear Dreams.”

The afternoon also featured a performance by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School dancers. See photos from the event by Post-Gazette photographer Julia Rendleman below.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.