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Stylebook on TV: Plus-size style trends

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

The plus-size women's clothing category has long been criticized for poor fit, quality and style sense. But things are improving -- call it some stylish steps in the right direction!

These new options were spotlighted this morning on KDKA-TV's "Pittsburgh Today Live" show. Check it out here or in the video below, and read more about fresh looks for women with curves at post-gazette.com.

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Rose of Sharon brings back treasured memories

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog rose of sharon returnsIt's wonderful how plants can hold a special meaning for gardeners. Photo by Doug Oster

This rose of Sharon tree came with me when I moved to Pittsburgh in 1998. The tiny sapling was one of the last things I dug up and threw in the back of my truck while making the move. Even though the entire truck bed was filled with plants, this is the only one I can really remember as coming from my old garden.

I was leaving my first garden, for 15 years that landscape taught me many lessons and it was heartbreaking to let it go.

As I drove out, I took one last look at the garden where my kids grew up.

The rose of Sharon tree was the biggest I had ever seen and it was right behind the basketball hoop. I took one of its babies to remind me of all the good times we had there.

That tree shook off the countless years of abuse. Errant basketballs, climbing pre-teens and a brand new gardener who enjoyed the carefree plant but didn't have a clue.

16 years later it looks out into the garden and over an above ground pool.

Yesterday's humidity drove me into the water after working in the garden. When I looked up I saw my faithful friend covered in white blooms, I was overjoyed.

It flooded me with memories of what seems like a lifetime ago. My youngest is 25, oldest will be 30 this year. When they see the tree bloom, it's just another flower in dad's garden, but for me, it's so much more.

I understand why people hate rose of Sharon trees. They spread relentlessly from runners and seed and are a mess as they throw spent blooms to the ground.

A friend once told me he hated the tree because it bloomed in the middle of the summer instead of spring. But for me, that's just another bonus to this indestructible beauty.

I can still picture my two boys battling each other for supremacy on the gravel basketball court, and that's just one reason rose of Sharon has a special place in my garden.

 

 

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Summer lilies thrive, first calla, Stargazer and doubles too

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog stargazer horizontal 2a'Stargazer' is such a wonderful sight in the summer garden. Photos by Doug Oster

I don't know what the summer garden would be without lilies. 'Stargazer' is very common because it's so easy to grow and beautiful. This plant is just a few years old and grows where it doesn't get enough sun, but blooms like a champ. In my garden lilies need staked. It's a little too shady for them, so they get top heavy and flop over without support.

blog first callaI've always loved calla lilies since I first saw them in a catalog over 20 years ago. I'm glad I finally got around to growing some of the bulbs.

Above is my first calla lily ever! I've coveted them for over 20 years, just never got around to growing them. I picked up the bulbs for a song last winter, from a nursery who wanted to give them a good home. They were stored with my dahlia and begonia tubers all winter long in vermiculite and resurrected in early summer. I just planted the bulbs in my containers of annuals and now they are blooming strong. Nurseries are selling lily plants and bulbs at a discount right now, you could enjoy the blooms this season and for many more to come.

I'll save these calla bulbs at the end of the season and detail the process after the first frost.

Below are double lilies sent to me to trial from Longfield Gardens. This is their second season and the flowers are thriving. They don't produce pollen, so they aren't a mess as cut flowers, yet retain their fragrance. It's always fun to grow something before it's released, but there's responsibility too. I always hope the new varieties are worth the trouble, these flowers are winners. If they bloom like this in part shade, I can't imagine what they will look like in full sun. Since I love anything that flowers as a double, these lilies are for me.

blog double longfield liliesThese double lilies from Longfield Gardens are amazing.

blog longfield doubles tight

During warm, humid nights and mornings, these lilies release their magical aroma and it fills the garden. They make wonderful cut flowers, which brings the fragrance indoors for all to enjoy.

blog stargazer tightTight shot of a 'Stargazer.'

blog lily and cool green spiderIt was cool to see this fluorescent green spider on a lily bud.

 

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Free gardening seminar with Doug in Shaler Tuesday

Written by Doug Oster on .

I'll be presenting "Summer Garden Maintenance Tips" at the Shaler Library on Tuesday July 22, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. I'll be answering gardening questions and will have copies of all my books to sign.

This is the time of the season to look forward to the fall, planting things now will extend the harvest. I'll also have lots of plants to give away courtesy of Hahn Nursery. There's still lots of seeds which can still be planted too.

The event is sponsored by the Shaler Garden Club, I'm looking forward seeing every one and talking gardening.

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Reflections: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership 'Project Pop Up: Fashion'

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

FashionTrucks

In a couple months I'll have been in Pittsburgh for five years. As a fashion writer, during that time I've heard my fair share of snide remarks regarding the city's allegedly sour style sense.

While the Steel City is no Big Apple, its fashion community has been rebounding in recent years and is now home to fledgling designers, beauty brands, fashion degree programs, a style week, a fashion week and the list goes on. Those who are involved in the evolving scene can vouch for its growth. Otherwise, many of these talents typically remain under the radar of most Pittsburghers.

On Friday in Market Square, a snapshot of Pittsburgh's fashion community was on display at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's "Project Pop Up: Fashion" event. From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. passersby could browse accessories from Serendipity, vividly colored legwear by Identity Crisis, fine clothing from Larrimor's, graphic tees by DeadBuryDead and women's wear from Boutique la Passerelle, among other vendors. Three fashion trucks were parked at the spot, too.

A steady flow of foot traffic kept many vendors busy for the majority of the event. "It's great to meet you," "Where are you located?," "Can I have your business card?" and "So many cute things!" were among the phrases that filled the air. The energy was upbeat and inviting.

One of the common criticisms of the local fashion community is that it tends to be disjointed. What one group might be working on over here tends to go unnoticed by another group doing something similar in another part of the city. The pop-up fashion marketplace gave these vendors and designers a common place to meet -- and the public a chance to meet them. 

It was a fashionable Friday, indeed -- and Pittsburgh's fashion community, and the community at large, could benefit from more of them.

Boutique 400

Accessories, wigs and more from New York New York Fashion.


Boutique2 400

A dress and scarves from Boutique la Passerelle. T-shirts by DeadBuryDead in the background.


BBoutique3 400

Legwear by Identity Crisis.

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