Demonstration Gardens

Flower garden tour 2016

By Karel Ulizio ©2016
Penn State Master Gardener

August is prime time for a garden’s bounty. Locally grown corn is fresh and sweet. Warm, ripe tomatoes beg to be plucked and eaten.

The Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County celebrate summer’s harvest at Garden in the Parks, an annual free event at North and South parks set for August 20th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Demonstration Garden sign

Activities at both sites include:

• Tomato, basil and garlic tasting.

• A garden marketplace featuring plant and vegetable sales.

• Children’s crafts and activities including a potato dig.

• Gardenline tables manned by Master Gardeners, ready to answer any garden questions.

• A deer deterrent table featuring strategies such as special plants and barriers to keep hungry deer at bay.

• Beekeepers along with their bees and honey.

• Master food preservers from Penn State with tips on safely preserving fruits and vegetables.

• Free cookies flavored with herbs, such as lavender and lemon verbena, all grown in the gardens and baked by Master Gardeners.

• Delicious and free Penn State Creamery ice cream cones. Arrive early as the ice cream always runs out!

If you have a special gardening interest or would like to learn about conservation, stop to speak with representatives from these organizations: Peters Creek and Nine Mile Run watersheds, Sakura Cherry Tree Project, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, Daffodil and Hosta Society, American Chestnut Society and Pittsburgh Mushroom Club.


South Park’s demonstration gardens will feature:

• An arbor planted with mini Tennessee dancing gourds used as spinning tops.

• A sensory garden with buzzing bees, bright colors, scented foliage and tasty flowers and herbs.

• A flower border filled with glowing silver and white plants that may inspire you to plant a moonlight garden.

• “Bed on a Budget,” a beautiful planting created by direct-sowing seeds or transplanting volunteer seedlings from previous plantings. Plants include poppies, dill, monarda, rudbeckia and cosmos. Another bed, featuring the same flowers but grown in a greenhouse, allows for comparison of the two techniques.

• Speakers: 9:15 a.m. Eric Norman, a Penn State graduate student in environmental sciences, on native plants; 10:15 a.m. Matt Hirsh of Trax Farms on lawn care; 11:15 a.m. Doug Oster of Tribune Review and KDKA on organic gardening; and 12:15 p.m. Andy Amrhein of Evey Hardware and KDKA on garden tools.

At North Park, programs will include:

• Trial gardens featuring 75 brand-new cultivars of popular annuals. Hershey Gardens is the only other site in the state to see these plants, which are not yet commercially available. The display was created in collaboration with the 155-acre Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center, part of Penn State University. Plants include the ‘Grandstand’ series of Salvia splendens and 'Crystal’ series of Euphorbia chamaesyce.

• Two new “recipe pots” near the monument and cannon filled with the herbs and flowers to make Herbs de Provence or a caper herb sauce.

• Labels on plants in the perennial gardens provided by the newest class of Allegheny County Master Gardeners.

Each of the parks will also have special programs.


Best Flowers of 2015

Best Bloomers in 2014

Top Rated Flowers in 2013

Outstanding Garden Plants of 2012


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