Homework: Edible Flowers Festival; July garden care; nature lecture

| Friday, June 28, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Author to discuss nature vs. culture

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden will welcome horticulturalist, author and photographer Rick Darke to lecture on bridging the nature-culture divide at 7 p.m. July 11 at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott.

Darke has written several books, such as “The Wild Garden: Expanded Edition.” He has studied and photographed plants across North America for the past 30 years. Darke also has observed countless plants in their natural ecologies throughout the world.

The presentation will focus on how nature and culture intermix on a global scale, and he also will relate how homeowners can design beautiful, but livable, landscapes.

The cost of the presentation is $25. Details: 412-444-4464 or www.pittsburghbotanicgarden.org

Festival celebrates edible flowers

The 13th annual Edible Flowers Festival will be at 7 p.m. July 18 at the Buffalo Inn in South Park.

The highlighted plants for this year's festival are roses and lavender. Some of the dishes that will be offered include Spring Greens With Lavender-Blueberry Vinegar, Beef With Cherry-Rose Chutney and Russian Teacakes With Lavender. Several of the dishes are gluten-free.

The event is presented by Allegheny Parks and Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County.

Admission for the festival is $20. Payments are accepted by cash or check at the door, but reservations are required. Make reservations by calling 412-473-2540 or email sew19@psu.edu and include your name, daytime telephone number and number attending.

Buffalo Inn is at 1801 Brownsville Road, South Park.

July garden care

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Oakland has some gardening suggestions for the hot month of July.

• Water deeply and infrequently for best results. Most plants need one inch of water per week. Established trees and shrubs should be able to go for weeks without supplemental water, especially if they are mulched.

• Container plantings may need watered daily.

• Start broccoli seeds for a fall crop.

• Remove spent flowers to prolong blooming of most plants.

Author tackles challenging decor

Candice Olson knows all about the challenges that can come with decorating a room: ceilings that are too high or too low, spaces that are too big or too small, couples who have different tastes, families who have different needs.

Those are the kinds of obstacles she overcame in decorating the rooms in her newest book, “Candice Olson Favorite Design Challenges.”

Olson, who rose to fame as host of an HGTV show, shares the process of restyling 24 rooms, from a basement suite to an attic guest room. She includes swatches and samples, floor plans, photos of the rooms before her makeovers and plenty of “after” pictures.

Olson also explains how she solved the various challenges presented by each project and describes the style elements used in the room.

“Candice Olson Favorite Design Challenges” is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and sells for $19.99 in softcover.

Send Homework items to Features in care of Sue Jones, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; fax 412-320-7966; or email sjones@tribweb.com.

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