Botanic Garden fund-raiser has choice plants


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While the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden holds fundraisers that appeal to gardeners and non-gardeners alike, the plant sale is still unabashedly geared toward gardeners.

This year, the group has beefed up its Plant Sale & Celebration from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 12 at the Green Tree Fire Hall and Community Center.

In addition to picking up pre-orders from the catalog sale, participants can shop from a wide selection of plants, including annuals, trees, shrubs, perennials, organic herbs and vegetable plants.

Classes

Here are the 30-minute workshops that will be offered May 12 at the Green Tree Fire Hall and Community Center as part of the fundraiser for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden:

8:30 a.m.: "Testing Your Soil" (test kits available)

9 a.m.: "All About Rain Gardens"

9:30 a.m.: "Why Don't My Hydrangeas Bloom?"

10 a.m.: "Rain Barrels" (some will be available for purchase)

10:30 a.m.: "How to Divide Perennials"

11 a.m.: "Dealing With Deer"

11:30 a.m.: "Gardening With Native Plants"

Noon: "Composting 101"

12:30 p.m.: "Pruning Roses, Clematis and Forsythia"

"The focus of this sale is about great plants, plants we select and buy from expert growers. We try to get a nice selection of high-quality plants at a good size," says sale chair Martha Swiss.

In addition, soil test kits, pre-planted containers, garden art and accessories will be for sale. Children's activities are planned, food will be available, and there will also be a series of free 30-minute workshops.

"We are thrilled to be offering classes that will be taught by some of the area's premier horticulturists, landscape designers and master gardeners. We are especially happy to have John Totten on hand to talk about native plants," says Ms. Swiss.

But the bedrock of this event is the yearly catalog sale. Some, but not all, of the catalog offerings will be available the day of the sale. To be sure of getting those special plants, orders must be placed by April 16. To see what's available, go to www.pittsburghbotanicgarden.org or call 412-444-4464 for a print version.

It is well worth your time to make the effort. The plants in the catalog are outstanding, and they should be; a committee of 13, including horticulture professionals and master gardeners, compile a list that is winnowed down to 48 plants. Ms. Swiss says the final selection meeting can get heated.

In the end, the plants offered "are chosen carefully and vetted by the committee. ... They are worthy plants that might be new, or hard to find, or underused," says Ms. Swiss.

All will grow well in this area and some are deer-resistant.

Selections this year include 'Muskingham' gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa), 'Eden' climbing rose (Rosa x 'Eden') and 'Molly Schroeder' pink doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum). Also, of special note, 'Little Henry,' the perennial Rudbeckia on the cover of the catalog, is a smaller version of 'Henry Eilers' (Rudbeckia subhirtella), a popular plant that was offered in 2009. This little guy grows to 36 inches tall and blooms from midsummer through frost if placed in full sun. It is also deer- and drought-resistant and is a great cut flower.

While most all of the plants will grow here with little fuss once established, there is one plant that will require a little bit of TLC each winter. But the payoff is tasty. 'Chicago Hardy,' a hardy fig (Ficus carica), needs some winter protection here, but is not nearly as tender as other fig varieties.

"We don't make any claims about the hardy fig," says Ms. Swiss, "but if you follow the cultural directions, it should make it."

Classes

8:30 a.m.: "Testing Your Soil" (test kits available)

9 a.m.: "All About Rain Gardens"

9:30 a.m.: "Why Don't My Hydrangeas Bloom?"

10 a.m.: "Rain Barrels" (some will be available for purchase)

10:30 a.m.: "How to Divide Perennials"

11 a.m.: "Dealing With Deer"

11:30 a.m.: "Gardening With Native Plants"

Noon: "Composting 101"

12:20 p,m.: "Pruning Roses, Clematis and Forsythia"

While the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden holds fundraisers that appeal to gardeners and non-gardeners alike, the plant sale is still unabashedly geared toward gardeners.

This year, the group has beefed up its Plant Sale & Celebration from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 12 at the Green Tree Fire Hall and Community Center.

In addition to picking up pre-orders from the catalog sale, participants can shop from a wide selection of plants, including annuals, trees, shrubs, perennials, organic herbs and vegetable plants.

"The focus of this sale is about great plants, plants we select and buy from expert growers. We try to get a nice selection of high-quality plants at a good size," says sale chair Martha Swiss.

In addition, soil test kits, pre-planted containers, garden art and accessories will be for sale. Children's activities are planned, food will be available and there will be a series of free 30-minute workshops.

"We are thrilled to be offering classes that will be taught by some of the area's premier horticulturists, landscape designers and master gardeners. We are especially happy to have John Totten on hand to talk about native plants," says Ms. Swiss.

But the bedrock of this event is the yearly catalog sale. Some, but not all, of the catalog offerings will be available the day of the sale. To be sure of getting those special plants, orders must be placed by April 16. To see what's available, go to www.pittsburghbotanicgarden.org or call 412-444-4464 for a print version.

It is well worth your time to make the effort. The plants in the catalog are outstanding, and they should be; a committee of 13, including horticulture professionals and master gardeners, compile a list that is winnowed down to 48 plants. Ms. Swiss says the final selection meeting can get heated.

In the end, the plants offered "are chosen carefully and vetted by the committee. ... They are worthy plants that might be new, or hard to find, or underused," says Ms. Swiss.

All will grow well in this area and some are deer-resistant.

Selections this year include 'Muskingham' gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa), 'Eden' climbing rose (Rosa x 'Eden') and 'Molly Schroeder' pink doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum). Also, of special note, 'Little Henry,' the perennial Rudbeckia on the cover of the catalog, is a smaller version of 'Henry Eilers' (Rudbeckia subhirtella), a popular plant that was offered in 2009. This little guy grows to 36 inches tall and blooms from midsummer through frost if placed in full sun. It is also deer- and drought-resistant and is a great cut flower.

While most all of the plants will grow here with little fuss once established, there is one plant that will require a little bit of TLC each winter. But the payoff is tasty. 'Chicago Hardy,' a hardy fig (Ficus carica), needs some winter protection here, but it is not nearly as tender as other fig varieties.

"We don't make any claims about the hardy fig," says Ms. Swiss, "but if you follow the cultural directions, it should make it."

homes - garden

Garden editor Susan Banks can be reached at sbanks@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1516. Garden editor Susan Banks: sbanks@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1516.


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