Master gardener to offer advice in Jefferson Hills
Landscape design is easy if you start with what you want, what you like and what you need.
That's the advice of Martha Swiss, a master gardener since 2000. Swiss will visit Jefferson Hills Municipal Center on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. to offer information on garden design. Hers is the second of a four-part series.
Master gardeners are volunteers who take extensive training through the Penn State Cooperative Extension. Initially, there are 20 class sessions and 50 volunteer hours.
“They're a very dedicated group,” said Philip Bauerle, intern master gardener coordinator in Allegheny County. After becoming a master gardener, each member of the program volunteers 20 hours and takes 10 hours of continuing education classes every year.
About 160 master gardeners are in Western Pennsylvania, and there are about 1,500 across the state.
Swiss takes her expertise to local audiences frequently during the year. Her topics range from growing to pruning to fall cleanup.
Understanding how you want to use a landscape is key to planning the space, she said.
“If you have children or pets, you develop an area to suit your needs,” said Swiss, of Robinson. “Do you want the garden to be low maintenance, attract pollinators or be a space for entertaining?”
The same interior design principles can apply to an exterior space. The walls are the trees, shrubs and fences; the ceiling can be an arbor or a tree; and the floors, grass, gravel or a groundcover, she said.
She'll display pictures of colors, textures and patterns, and show how they bring beauty to a home.
“Perennials in pots or other containers are like the throw cushions,” she said, “once you get the basics down.”
Even the choice of a favorite flower can open the door to questions: “Where do I put it/them? How tall are they? Do I want them to screen the neighbor's trash or to see them when I get the mail?”
On drives through neighborhoods, she finds lots of landscaping errors.
In newer developments, there may be one tree and one flowering shrub on a property, but “no oasis of a garden.”
Swiss urges new residents to consider the value that thoughtful landscaping can bring to a home, and not just “decorate” for the short term.
“There is grace in an older landscape with mature trees,” she said.
But whether dealing with a barren new lot or a garden area full of tangles and wild growth, her caution is the same.
“Stop, look and consider,” she said, “and plant according to your vision.”
Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cultures unite for Thanksgiving celebration in Whitehall
- Obstetrics unit at Jefferson Hospital welcomes 1st arrivals
- Baldwin-Whitehall students get serious about playing games
- Whitehall property owners sound off on storm water fee
- Whitehall council votes to change borough’s alcohol policy
- Brentwood finds new use for old uniforms