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"Setting the SEEN" Bring Out the Bridesmaids!

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

Sara and I had another fun-filled week! We had the opportunity to talk with Rebecca Whitlinger of the Cancer Caring Center. The Center is holding a Bridesmaids Walk this Sunday at the Waterfront to raise money for the local organization. We donned our best "ugly" bridesmaids' dresses and chatted with Ms. Whitlinger about the organization and her inspiration.

 

To learn more about the event click HERE

Follow Natalie on Twitter @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

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Making mums last

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog mums rule bOne trick to getting the most from your mums is to choose plants which haven't flowered yet. Photos by Doug Oster

blog making most mums 3The hazy world of "hardy mums" causes both confusion an consternation for gardeners. "Why don't they come back," I'm often asked.

First, lets talk hardy. Some mums sold as hardy mums aren't, others are. That's easy, right? I always buy mine from a good nursery where the good folks there will know the variety and if it's actually bred to overwinter in our climate.

Bet even though a mum is tough enough to make it through the winter, there's only a 50 percent chance it will.

Here's how mums are forced to bloom in the fall. Growers pinch back the buds at least two times so the plant will be filled with flowers now. Since the plant has used so much energy to produce all those flowers, it's usually just too tired to get established in the ground.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of your mums and attempt to get them to winter over.

Always buy from a place you trust. A good grower will never let the plants dry out and starting with a healthy plant makes all the difference in the world.

Pick plants that are still budded tight and not already flowering. You can usually get a good idea of what the color and flower type will be by looking and the plant tag and other blooming plants nearby.

Improve the soil with compost to make the plants happy. Buying a bag or two of good compost will go a long way to giving the mums everything they need.

Keep the plant watered and deadhead the first flush of blooms. When the mum has bloomed once, there should be more buds ready to bloom. Remove the spent flowers and the plant should bloom again.

At the end of the season, don't cut back the dying branches. There's research showing leaving the plant alone and cutting back in the spring is better for over wintering.

Mums are a big part of our fall gardens, enjoy the blooms now and cross your fingers for the plant to return in the spring.

 

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Garden ideas from Italy work here too

Written by Doug Oster on .

Blog scenes carlotta from insideA view of Villa Carlotta in Lake Como. Photo by Doug Oster

In this segment from Pittsburgh Today Live I show how to take some of the things I saw in Italy and use them back home. All gardens inspire, and I've got lots of ideas from my trip.

 

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The good, bad and ugly about the untended garden

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog sad begoniaThis 'Bonfire' begonia as going strong when I left 10 days ago, but without water it's looking pretty tired. A good drink and some fertilizer should bring it back to form. Photos by Doug Oster

blog dead toreniaI doubt there's any saving this torenia. Smaller hanging baskets took the hardest hit without a gardener to tend them.After a whirlwind 10 day trip exploring the gardens of Northern Italy, it was great to get back to my garden.

Looks like we didn't get much rain and the containers took a beating. My grown son was staying at the house while I was gone, he took care of the dogs, chickens and made sure the house was still here when I returned. I didn't expect him to water the containers, and thought the way this year was going, I'd luck out with Mother Nature taking over.

It was great to get a little rain last night and first thing this morning I soaked every pot. Now only time will tell how they respond. Looks like I lost a few for sure. I always say bigger is better when if comes to containers. That's certainly true in this case as the larger pots looked great, smaller hanging baskets took the hardest hit. Everything will get a drink of organic liquid fertilizer tonight too.

In the vegetable garden, the bamboo trellis supporting cucumbers and squash finally collapsed under the weight of the tall vines. I spent a few minutes picking through the carnage to pick another basket of fruit. My radio partner Jessica Walliser keeps offering to teach me how to make pickles, maybe I'll finally have to learn.

blog pretty cbig containerThis big container filled with caladium, sweet potato vine, creeping Jenny and a 'Gryphon' begonia did great without any help from a gardener.One thing my son did do was pick tomatoes, but the plants were still loaded. Not even the food in Italy can compare to a tomato picked fresh from the garden.

Red Malabar spinach has completely covered the garden windmill and will continue to grow until frost. I'm going to have to figure out other ways to use spinach in the kitchen. I love that plant. It's a tropical vine which isn't spinach at all, but tastes pretty close.

The coreopsis is blooming like crazy along with eight foot tall Mexican sunflowers and the purple blooms of anemone 'Queen Charlotte' are simply stunning.

No garden can go too long without a gardener, eventually reverting to what once was there. It's always interesting to see how things can change in only 10 days.

I'm looking forward to fall planting season. I've got a lot of ideas from my trip.

blog pretty charlotteAnemone 'Queen Charlotte' is filled with blooms.

blog collapes trellisNext year the plan calls for a more substantial trellis for cucumbers and squash.

blog invisible windmillRed Malabar spinach has hidden the windmill and huge Mexican sunflowers bloom in the background.

 

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Stylebook on KDKA-TV: New York Fashion Week trend wrap-up

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

Bauknecht KDKA

New York Fashion Week is over, but we're still talking about the trends that kept the fashion industry frantic last week!

Stylebook stopped by KDKA-TV's "Pittsburgh Today Live" this morning to dish on some of the looks that are predicted to be popular for next spring.

Watch the segment here or in the video box below.

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