Seminars to address variety of gardening topics

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Westmoreland County master gardeners will hold six seminars starting in March, each addressing a different gardening topic.

"We try to come up with different topics to interest a variety of people," said Linda Hyatt, master gardener coordinator from Greensburg.

Each of the not-for-credit seminars will be held from 7:15 to 9:30 p.m. on six consecutive Tuesdays, beginning Tuesday in Room 112 in Commissioners Hall at Westmoreland County Community College, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood.

Here is the schedule of classes and instructors:

"Modern Plants for Modern Landscapes," March 11, by Bill Hendricks, owner of Klyn Nurseries of Ohio;

"The Ins and Outs of Water Gardening," March 18, by Amanda Marnell of North Hills Water Gardens;

"Organic Vegetable Gardening," March 25 by Jessica Walliser, horticulturist, author and co-host of "The Organic Gardeners" on KDKA Radio;

"Berries for Pennsylvania Gardens," April 1, by Eric Oesterling, retired Penn State Extension educator in Westmoreland County;

"A Year Round Succession of Bloom," April 8 by Leslie Kaplan, practicing landscape designer and Phipps Garden Center master gardener;

"Planting and Maintaining a Beautiful Lawn," April 15 by Xuri Zhang, professor of horticulture at Westmoreland County Community College.

Each seminar is offered independently. The cost for each  is $15 for Westmoreland County residents and $30 for nonresidents. Participants can register for as many sessions as they want to attend at 800-262-2103 , ext. 4204, or at wccc.edu.

"The seminar program started in the early 1990s but was not always held at WCCC until 1996," Mrs. Hyatt said. "Bill Hendricks usually leads a class every year. He’s an excellent speaker and knows a lot about woody plants and perennials. He owns a wholesale nursery in Ohio and has contacts with nursery owners in Westmoreland County."

This is the first year that Ms. Walliser, a former organic market grower, will participate. She will provide tips and techniques to create a high-yielding, beautiful vegetable garden without a lot of fuss.

"We wanted to do something with vegetables this year, and they are one of Jessica’s specialties," Mrs. Hyatt said.

Director of the horticulture program at WCCC, Mr. Zhang teaches turfgrass management classes at the college geared to those who want to work on golf courses, athletic fields and college campuses. In addition to awarding both an associate of arts and certificates in turfgrass management, the WCCC horticulture program awards degrees in flora culture and landscape design, installation and maintenance.

"In my class for the master gardeners, I’ll cover the basic things we cover in the credit courses, but it will be geared to homeowners," he said. "Topics will include how to water, fertilize, mow, aerify, dethatch and control lawn pests as well as the proper timing of these to ensure good lawn growth."

As a retired extension educator, Mr. Oesterling of New Alexandria has led seminars similar to the one he will lead on berries. .

"My talk will be geared to those who might want to add strawberries, blueberries raspberries and blackberries to the plants grown in their vegetable garden," he said. "Topics will include soil preparation, the types of soil appropriate for each berry, disease and pest management, and plant spacing. I’ll also suggest varieties that do well in our area. All these berries will do well if you give them the proper care."

Mrs. Hyatt will attend each session to distribute handouts, introduce the speakers and announce future master gardener programs and events, including the annual plant sale that will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 10 at the Penn State Extension Office, 214 Donohoe Road, Greensburg.


Dave Zuchowski, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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