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Homework: Mt. Lebanon garden events; Master Gardeners in Greenburg

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The Flanegin garden is part of the Mt. Lebanon Library garden tour in 2014.

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Friday, July 4, 2014, 6:33 p.m.
 

Mt. Lebanon garden events

Get caught up in the enchantment gardening brings at the 24th annual Mt. Lebanon Public Library Garden Party on July 12 and Garden Tour on July 13.

The tour, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature six gardens, complete with sophisticated landscaping, varieties of annuals and perennials and creative ideas for gardeners of all levels. All gardens are owned and managed by Mt. Lebanon residents.

Tourgoers also are invited to visit the Library Gardeners' Courtyard Garden, which is a certified wildlife habitat. There also will be a plant sale at the library.

The two-hour Garden Party kicks off the gardening fun the evening before the tour at 6 p.m. All proceeds from the party and tour benefit the Mt. Lebanon Public Library.

Tickets for the party are $30. Tour tickets are $20, $15 in advance.

Details: 412-531-1912

Growing herbs

If you want to add a little fresh mint to your dishes, Chef Odette Smith-Ransome, instructor of culinary arts at The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, has some tips for growing it.

Because it's a perennial herb, mint will come up each year. According to Smith-Ransome, “it is so easy to grow and so versatile.”

Tips for growing mint (and other herbs):

• Be sure to snap the top leaf off each branch to encourage growth.

• Many herbs do not like a lot of heat, so if you know it's going to be exceptionally sunny or hot, slide them in the shade and give a little extra water.

• Use potted herbs, rather than planting directly into the ground because herbs like mint and basil have invasive roots.

Master gardeners will take questions

The Penn State Master Gardeners of Westmoreland County will sponsor an informational open house July 19 where visitors can ask horticultural questions at the Donohoe Center grounds in Greensburg.

Visitors will see garden features like a dwarf conifer bed, more than 100 varieties of day lilies and examples of compost bins.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided, and admission is free.

Details: 724-837-1402

IKEA improves Billy bookcase

IKEA is updating its iconic Billy bookcases.

The company says the new bookcases will look the same, but have a more durable and scratch-resistant veneer, stronger shelves, rounded edges to be more kid-friendly and more customizable options, like glass shelves.

The new Billy bookcases, which come in a variety of sizes and prices, will be available starting in August in the United States.

— Staff and wire reports

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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