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{ Category Archives } Look Out the Window


 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.

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.

Welcome, Spring

Photo by GW

Photo by GW

                          Spring finally arrived today at 7:44 a.m.

Looking Out the Window

Looking Out the Window in the Local Area:We finally have some spring bulbs making their early appearances:



On March 3, Snowdrops started blooming in the GW’s garden in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County

   Siberian Iris, Photo by Brian Dunst

On March 8, Siberian Iris began blooming in South Strabane, Washington County.  Thanks to Brian Dunst for contributing the photo.




Crocus, Photo by GW

On March 9, Crocus started blooming in Imperial, Allegheny County, and on March 12, they began blooming in the GW’s garden.

vwhbl1                                                       Vernal Witch hazel

February 13, 2009.       Always the first plant of the year to bloom in my garden, my Vernal Witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis ‘pallida’), also known as Chinese Witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘pallida’) gives me hope that winter will soon end and the promise of a new growing season will begin.

According to my garden journal, it has started blooming as early as January 18 and as late as February 25. It usually blooms for about a month. This year, it did something a bit unusual. Some branches began blooming on January 3, 2009 and the main bloom began on February 8th.


Look Out the Window


A garden witch wouldn’t be one without a garden.  People always ask what I grow in my garden and what is blooming, or what wildlife visitors I am seeing.  That is the genesis of “Look Out the Window.”  It will give me a way to share current happenings in my garden with anyone who is interested.