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We're pleased to present dozens of garden columns written by Master Gardeners in western Pennsylvania. Gardening information found here covers a wide variety of garden, landscape and growing topics. The gardening column index has the newest columns at the top.

What is a Master Gardener?

Master gardeners are volunteers trained by the Penn State Extension. Once they complete their training, they help the Extension better serve the home gardening public by answering questions, speaking to groups, working with 4-H horticultural projects, participating in civic beautification, maintaining demonstration gardens, and teaching plant sciences and horticulture.

Master Gardeners are willing and able to educate individuals and groups on gardening topics such as plant selection, composting, soil improvement, pest control, vegetable and flower gardening, pruning, and more.

The Master Gardener program is active in 48 States, the District of Columbia and 3 Canadian provinces. Penn State Cooperative Extension adopted the Master Gardener program in 1982, and in 2012 there were 1,400 volunteers in 58 Pennsylvania counties. Articles on this page were written by Master Gardeners from Allegheny County, Pa.

Master Gardener Columns

Minor Bulbs
Interesting small bulbs for Spring blossoms
Gardens in the Parks 2016
Garden tours set for August 20th
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Botanical garden with a soul


Canna WOW
Cannas create drama in the landscape
Gardening Myths
Let's weed-out a few!
Straw Bale Gardening
Vegetable gardening without soil has benefits
Gold-colored perennials for shade
Deer-resistant plus they 'glow' in the shade
Gardening with Purpose
It's a beautiful time for gardening!
Star Magnolia
Starring tree of the Spring flower show
Plants with Winter Interest
Three Master Gardener favorites
Best Flowers of 2015
Demonstration garden results are in
Cybister Amaryllis
Strong stems with no flower flop!
Heirloom Tomatoes
Much more flavorful than store bought tomatoes
Sedums are the perfect plant for late summer
Fall is for New Lawns
The perfect time to plant a new lawn is in the Fall
Pickling the Harvest
Pickles, preserves & relishes
Summer long delight
Hummingbird flower favorites
Flowers hummingbirds like
Marigolds & Nasturtiums
Two old-fashioned charmers!
Best Bloomers
Winners of the 2014 Flower Trials
April 2015 Garden Symposium
Pittsburgh's premier horticultural event
Amaryllis Bulbs
Chase the winter blues away!
Garden Design
Winter provides an excellent opportunity for redesigning your landscape
Cheerful Cyclamen
Brightening the gray days of winter
Garden Favorites
Sharing the latest list of favorite plants
Dawn Redwood
Tree from the Dinosaur age!
The Spectacular Dahlia
The dahlia is queen of the fall
Fall gardening tasks
A few simple tasks will prepare your garden for spring
Limelight Hydrangeas
Limelight, Little Lime & Bobo are a triple delight
Don't plant purple loosestrife
There are much better perennial choices
Garden in the Parks
Annual event at South Park & North Park
Facade Greening
Green walls have multiple benefits
Tall Garden Plants
Vertical plants add to visual garden excitement
Niki Jabbour
Growing a highly productive veggie garden
Succulents in Flower Pots
Succulents are 'cool' and well suited to containers
Rhubarb Growing
Patience brings rewards when growing rhubarb
Rock Gardening
Introduce the grandeur of mountain terrain into your home garden
Garden Planning
Plan your garden with preserving vegetables in mind
Michael Dirr
Dr. Dirr shared his passion at the 2014 Garden & Landscape Symposium
Garden Symposium
Featuring prominent horticulturalists and garden designers
Top Rated Flowers
Top picks from the 2013 demonstration gardens
Witch Hazel
Perfect for fall and winter landscapes!
Garden Speak
Translating terminology for the uninitiated
Books for Gardeners
Gift ideas for your special gardener
Longing for Longwood
A garden that never sleeps!
Grapevine Soil Preparation
Grape growing tips
Groundcovers That Hold More Interest
More interesting groundcover and less bark mulch
Choice Shrubs
Maximizing the impact
Happy, Healthy Gardening
Tips for the heavy lifting in your garden
Help the Bees & Butterflies
Certify your pollinator friendly garden
Bramble Fruits
Save money growing your own Raspberries & Blackberries
Edible Flowers
Flowers used to enhance food flavors
Layered Landscapes
Using the layered garden approach
The practically perfect perennial
Perennials in Containers
Grow plants anywhere... porch, patio or deck!
Re-blooming Azaleas
Extending bloom time to three seasons of the year
Moon Gardens
White shines at night in the garden!
Queen of the Vines
Growing and pruning Clematis
Scented Geraniums
Includes a recipe for Rose Geranium Jelly
Roses for Realists
Plant roses in full sun
Winter Seed Sowing
Plastic milk jugs work great!
Creating terrariums open doors to gardening on a smaller scale
Outstanding Garden Plants of 2012
Demonstration garden results
Mistletoe & Holly
More about Christmas traditions
Deck the Halls with Plants from the Garden
Seasonal decorating with plants you already have
Indoor Gardening
Bring the garden indoors for winter


A gardener's garden
Gourds are utilitarian and decorative
High Line Park in Manhattan
An inspiration for all gardeners!
Fall vegetable gardening
Extend your gardening season with these tips
The groundcover you may have missed
Summer Gardening
Gardening during the dog days of summer
Cutting garden brings the outdoors in
Cutting gardens for the vase
Shakespeare Gardens & Flowers
Gardens, flowers play roles in Shakespeare plots
Efficient Garden Watering
Applying the concepts of xeriscaping
Roses in Renzie
Arboretum and public garden featuring roses!
Great new Hydrangeas
Reliable Hydrangea bloomers and re-bloomers
Pots with Panache
Design is important to successful container gardening.
Growing asparagus
Nothing like fresh asparagus from the garden!
Native early spring woodland species of 3's.
No-Fail Organic Vegetable Gardens - Really!
Having a vegetable garden pushes you to eat differently.
Rain Gardens Work
Rain gardens allow water to slowly percolate through the soil.
Noble Trees
You can probably think of several "noble" trees.
Choosing the Right Plant
Gardens with native plants are more stable.
The Christmas Rose
Hellebores bloom outdoors in February!
Growing Spuds
Can you dig it?
Seed Catalogs
Seed catalogs sow garden dreams.


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