Latest News

News for the home gardener from Penn State Extension Consumer Horticulture Educators and Master Gardeners.
Photo by Pamela T.  Hubbard
June 13, 2017

Fresh flowers on my dining table, kitchen counter, and desk brighten my home and make me smile. Bringing profuse bouquets into the house, however, means a limited show in the garden. You can solve this problem by creating a flower garden specifically for cutting. I will explain how to construct and care for a cutting garden using flowers most suitable for the Pennsylvania.

June 12, 2017

The dog days of summer can be tough on your vegetables. Even heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers might need a little extra care during a heat wave. Here is how you can to protect your garden – and harvest during a heat wave.

Lady's Mantle, Photo by Pamela T. Hubbard
May 16, 2017

Plant gorgeous vines and beautiful groundcovers to solve some common problems in your garden.

 Bleeding heart by Liz West / Muffet, License 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
May 15, 2017

Plants often spark memories for me. Bleeding heart has a special place in my garden and my heart.

May 15, 2017

Heirloom tomatoes come in almost every color of the rainbow, with subtle variations in color, texture, size, shape and flavors. Each variety of heirloom tomato carries with it a story, one of history and folklore.

May 15, 2017

Black walnut is one of the last trees to leaf out in the spring and one of the first to lose its leaves in the fall.

May 15, 2017

Lawns are the most grown crop in the U.S.—and they're not one that anyone can eat; their primary purpose is to make us look and feel good about ourselves.

May 15, 2017

Four-lined plant bugs, Poecilocapsus lineatus, are active in the Pittsburgh area now. They are one of the few pests that injure a wide variety of plants, including herbs that are rarely bothered by anything else.

Damage to a row of boxwoods from boxwood leafminer. Photo: T. Butzler, Penn State
May 15, 2017

Boxwoods have many positive qualities that make it one of the most popular shrubs in the landscape.

Proper mulching of the soils surrounding the tree is an important component of tree care. Photo: V. Cotrone, Penn State
May 9, 2017

Whether you just planted one tree or seventy five this spring, having a plan to care for them is key to their survival.

Daffodils are a deer-resistant bulb that can be planted in heavily browsed landscapes.
May 4, 2017

The deer population in Pennsylvania is on the rise. And as land development increases, deer are frequently found in areas densely populated by humans. Deer control is now one of the biggest challenges for home gardeners.

Cardinal Flower
May 3, 2017

Birds can be found everywhere – parks, lakes, forests, cities, even your own backyard; however, birds are finding our homes less and less appealing.

Make your gardens safe for your furry friends.
May 3, 2017

Here are some helpful hints on ways to make your garden a pet safe and beautiful space.

May 2, 2017

Hostas are a go-to plant for almost any gardener dealing with shade to part-shade in the garden. The one glaring exception is that hostas are deer favorites. If you live in deer country you know that plantings featuring tulips, hosta and daylilies are the equivalent of “all you can eat” buffets for Bambi.

USDA map showing where Buddleia is invasive
April 26, 2017

How could the ever popular butterfly bush possibly be a problem for pollinators when it attracts butterflies and is highly marketed as a “must-have” plant for butterfly gardens?

April 24, 2017

No matter how big or small your garden is, for successful vegetable gardening it is crucial to know the difference between cool-season and warm-season vegetables, as well as the approximate last frost date in the spring, and the first frost date in the late summer/early fall in your area.

Spring containers with a mix of flowers, herbs and vegetables
April 13, 2017

Spring fever has hit hard these past few weeks. A couple of weekends with sunshine and mild temperatures have hastened my ritual of pulling containers out from the shed and placing them in their normal spots on the terrace and deck in my garden. While clearing leaves from perennial beds and cutting spent stalks of perennials, my mind was busy plotting to make this season’s container display exceptional.

March 20, 2017

With spring on the doorstep, now is an excellent time to prune some of your shrubs and trees. Pruning manages the size and shape of a tree or shrub, and is used to remove dead, damaged and diseased branches, suckers and crossing branches that rub together.

Bird Feeder Composite
March 6, 2017

This past year I decided to attract birds to my yard using bird feeders. I tried different feeder styles, food, and locations. Some worked well and some, well, didn’t work.

Pussy Willow Photo: Teresa Alexander-Arab, CC BY-ND 2.0
March 6, 2017

The American Pussy Willow is a great example of how a native plant provides habitat and supports native wildlife.