Print

#SettingTheSEEN: Life in the Fast Lane!

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Catch up with Sara and I as we check out all the fun at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix! #VroomVroom

Until next time...we'll be seeing you!

Keep up with #wheresNataliePG @NBSeen on Twitter and @NatalieBenci on Instagram.

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.
Print

Fallingwater's "secret garden" restored

Written by Doug Oster on .

Blog 20150714dofallingwater2Eric Kobal, 24, restored the Pottery Terrace Garden at Fallingwater. Photos by Doug Oster

MILL RUN -- Eric Kobal stretches across a lush planter to examine a brown leaf on a rhododendron he planted in this garden on the Pottery Terrace at Fallingwater. The sound of running water is never far away here, especially this year as Bear Run, the stream that runs under the famous property is flowing fast and high after a summer of plentiful rain.

blog 25 20150714dofallingwater5Ferns are just one of the native plants in the garden.For three years Mr. Kobal has been taking people on tours of the famous house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Pittsburgh’s Kaufmann department store family. In October he began a special project in this garden as a landscape volunteer.

The 5-square-foot Pottery Terrace planter is in an area that’s not on the guided tour. It’s where the Kaufmanns stored their pots on the terrace for the winter.

This “secret garden” was in bad shape after a recent construction project on the house. Workers had trampled some of the few plants that had managed to limp along over the last several years. “It was missing something,” Mr. Kobal said, “It had serious drainage issues.”

Nothing grew well there and when he took a close look at the planter all he saw was water, mud, soil and lots of large rocks. His goal was to bring the space back to its formal glory.

With the help of horticulture specialist Ann Talarek, the two combed the archives for pictures of the garden. “We knew there were rhododendron, moss and boulders, she said, but all the old photos were grainy and hard to see. It wasn’t a very prominent garden in any of the historic photos.”

Mr. Kobal created a plan, which included the two plants known to have been in the garden and added a list of native varieties to his drawings.

While excavating the planter, he was surprised by the large rocks found under the soil. “It was like a jigsaw puzzle, dozens of these boulders were up here and we don’t even know why.” Another unexpected find was the depth of the planter itself. The staff thought it was only a couple inches, but after taking everything out of the garden, he discovered it was 7 to 8 inches deep, with a deeper trench in the middle.

The trench was filled with aggregate for drainage and good soil was brought in from nearby Lower Bear Run.

Then the fun part.  Mr. Kobal was able to fulfill his plan by finding the native plants on the Fallingwater property. The small planter was packed with trillium, mayapple, rhododendron, native sedum, mosses, three species of violets, black cohash, eastern marginal wood ferns, partridge berry and Virginia creeper. The latter will hang over the edges when mature, greeting visitors who look up at the planter as they enter the house. In fall the vines will turn brilliant red to make the garden a focal point.

Some of the rocks stayed in the design to add texture. They are already being covered with green moss harvested from the woodlands.

“Not many people make it to the Pottery Terrace,” Mr. Kobal said. “They don’t even know they can come here.”

While it’s not the guided tour, he said visitors afterward can request to see the secret garden. “I think it just speaks to the site, he said, seeing this, they understand Fallingwater, they understand the grounds. it’s a microcosm of the site.”

His experience as a volunteer here also has inspired Mr. Kobal to become a landscape architect. He will head to Washington University in St. Louis for his master’s degree on a scholarship, partly due to what he’s accomplished at Fallingwater.

As soft light filters through the trees and across the planter, he looks out over the driveway at the beams which tie the hillside to the home, which was built between 1936 to 1939.

“I kind of see these as veins, he says. That hillside is the heart of the property, blood flows through these beams, these veins into the home here.”

Then while pointing down to the planter says, “This is an opening on top of one of those beams, this is where the site bleeds out and you can see what bleeds, it’s nature.”

Blog 20150714dofallingwater4The restored Pottery Terrace Garden is filled with lush growth.

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.
Print

Planting for pollinators

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog SCG BUTTERFLY72Bringing pollinators in to the garden is a good thing for many reasons. Photo by Doug Oster

This week's Pittsburgh Today Live show was all about urban agriculture and locally sourced foods. I showed lot of plants that are great for pollinators.

It's important for gardeners to lure pollinators to the garden as they will assure better blooms and more fruit.

Here's a link to the video.

I love bugs! There I said it. Did you know over 90 percent of the insects in the garden are either good or benign?
In my garden I’m growing a variety of plants to attract beneficial insects. They help me garden by pollinating flowers and vegetables and take care of lots of the bad bugs too.
The real key is to plant a variety of different flowering plants in the garden to bring in the good bugs.
Small flowering plants like thyme, oregano, thyme, sweet allysum and others all will bring in beneficials.
Here’s a list of the plants which are great for pollinators-
Coreopsis
Penta
Torenia
Agastache
Zinnia
Thyme
Dill
Cleome (spider flower)
Nicotiana (flowering tobacco)
Basil
Most importantly don’t spray the garden with chemicals, nature really does provide a wonderful balance when we stay out of things.

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.
Print

You, too, can be part of the New York Fashion Week: Men's finale

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

John Varvatos Mens Fashion Designer  Steven Kolb PresidentCEO CFDA

NEW YORK -- It's been quite a week! And tonight the first New York Fashion Week: Men's comes to an end with the John Varvatos (pictured above at left with CFDA CEO Steven Kolb) runway show, the first for the American contemporary menswear designer in New York City since 2008.

"From the time I started my brand in 2000, the timing between [New York Fashion Week] and the menswear calendar was never truly aligned," he told media earlier this year. "After eight years of showing in [New York], I moved my show to Milan and gained a global audience."

The runway show will be held tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the Skylight Clarkson Sq., home to New York City's men's week in west Soho. The public can take in the stylish sights from home (or wherever they happen to be!) at 8 p.m. Go to www.johnvarvatos.com/runwaylive to watch or view it in the video player below. Photo: Courtesy of the designer

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.
Print

Runway recap: The sights of New York Fashion Week Men's Day 2

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

NEW YORK -- You know you're in for an interesting day when it starts with a fashion show featuring models in a prison lineup.

From there, fashions during Day 2 of New York Fashion Week: Men's continued to capitalize on performance wear, monochrome palettes and occasional nods to tailored skinny suits.

See some of the sights for yourself in the video above!

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.