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Upcoming Presentations

The following presentations are at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens:
Ayurvedic Medicinal Herbs – Sunday July 28, 2013 at  1:30 pm 
Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga. It is an ancient lifestyle including a healthy diet which incorporates some interesting herbs also utilized for medicinal uses. 
Magical Mystery Herbs – Sunday October 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm
Some of nature’s magical mystery herbs may suprise you!
Ayurvedic Medicinal Herbs – Sunday November 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm
Ayurvedic Medicinal Herbs – Sunday December 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Silver Maple, Garden Witch Photo

Upcoming Presentations

“    Busy Bees & Butterflies” – a Presentation on Pollinators and Gardens for PollinatorsBF4Sept05 202

Friday June 27, 2014

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Bednar’s Farm & Greenhouse  315 Coleman Road



Happy Earth Day

In case you have forgotten, your friendly neighborhood Garden Witch reminds you that today is Earth Day.

For those of you that have children, and even if you don’t have children, as an environmental educator, I feel strongly that environmental education is vital for everything from better environmental awareness and litter pick up to future environmental policy.

Please take one moment to share some sort of “Earth Awareness” with someone today.  I’m sure it will make you smile!



Successful Overwintering of Rosemary and Unplanted Perennials

Usually when I attempt to keep Rosemary (a tender perennial in this zone) alive, I bring it inside in the fall, and it dies before Christmas.  But every year, I persisted, thinking “this year, it would be different.”  This past fall, fate changed the way I handled things.  When I fractured a metatarsal in my foot the first week of November and ended up in a boot cast, it meant I was unable to finish up the last of my gardening for the year.  I had a few true perennials and three small blueberry shrubs that I had not gotten around to planting, along with a garden full of leaves that I was not able to rake.

Upcoming Presentations

Sat. Feb. 19, 2011     10:00 am – 11:00 am              Herbal Aromatherapy

Learn how to make soothing herbal aromatherapy bath salts.

Moon Township Library, 1700 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 100, Moon Twp, PA     412-269-0334

Sun. Feb. 20, 2011       1:30 pm       ChocoLOT!

Chocolate really does grow on trees – the history of chocolate will be discussed and tasted! Free with Phipps paid admission.

Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA        412-622-6914

Invasive Plants:

This class will discuss the problems that invasive plants cause, identification of invasive plants, their removal, and replacement with native plants.

Welcome Summer

The Summer Solstice arrived at 7:28 a.m. this morning, marking the official start of summer.

Garden Witch of Pittsburgh offers all apologies for being away so long. The winter of 2010 was not kind to many of us, and yours truly was one of those beset by post-snow shoveling maladies such as tendonitis and ulnar nerve damage (think of repeatedly hitting your funny bone and it becomes not so funny anymore) that hampered simple tasks such as typing on keyboards, gardening and the like.


 Go Native, Get a Violation

The first thing that I did when I bought my house in the City of Pittsburgh 15 years ago was tear out the hideous privet (Lingustrum vulgare) hedges and boring dandelion-choked “lawn” in front of my home. My neighbors were initially appalled. By summer when plants were in full bloom, they still thought I was a bit strange, but did have to admit that they did like the “pretty flowers” in my garden. They started to complement me on it, and began asking what particular flowers were in bloom.

My garden was a shocking contrast to the vacant lot next to it. It was the typical long-neglected lot, an eyesore that had been used as a middle of the night dumping ground for tires, shingles, concrete and miscellaneous debris, including being the spot for local dogs to drop their loads. It also was overgrown with invasive plants such as Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), Garlic Mustard (Allaria petiolata), Privet, and exotic bush honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.).

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The Autumnal Equinox

Garden Witch Photo

Garden Witch Photo

The Autumnal Equinox arrived yesterday at 5:18 p.m. Also known as the September Equinox, it is a myth that the day and night are equal on the equinox. Another myth is that on the fall equinox, you can stand an egg on its end. A related folk tale is that it can only be balanced this way within a few hours before or after the precise time of the equinox.

While there is still light and warmth, autumn is a time of preparation to go to earth, to enter dormancy for winter’s rest. Recalling Greek mythology, autumn signals the time for the goddess Persephone to return to the underworld to live with her husband Hades.

Mushrooming is Plenty of Fungi

Garden Witch Photo

Garden Witch Photo

In early June, I spent a day in the company of “some fungi,” three men that are members of the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club   I apologize for the bit of a pun, but I couldn’t help myself.  The fun guys, better known as Dick Dougall, Jim Tunney and John Stuart, taught an Introduction to Mushrooms class at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The morning consisted of a classroom session, followed by an afternoon hike in Schenley Park in search of mushrooms.  By the way, we did find 15 different types of mushrooms in  Schenley Park that afternoon, not too bad following a relatively dry few days.   

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Here Comes the Summer Solstice


Sunflower photo by the Garden Witch

Sunflower photo by the Garden Witch


Summer officially arrived at 1:45 am this morning. I apologize for being away from the site for so long. It has been a busy spring. Spring time is a busy time for all gardeners, and in addition to gardening, I have been teaching and taking classes (including an excellent Introduction to Mushroom Identification class), and presentations to some wonderful local herb and garden clubs.

I have many new photos to share, more features on various herbs, and will finally belatedly add photos to the basil herb article. Please stay tuned and thanks for your patience.