Penn State master gardeners will host open house in Hempfield
A little over a year ago, master gardeners from the Penn State Extension in Hempfield planted a garden to test the truth of plants traditionally labeled as “deer-resistant.”
At this year’s Penn State master gardeners open house July 13, attendees will be able to see for themselves.
“There’s been a little bit of tasting on a few plants,” master gardener coordinator Linda Hyatt said as she looked at a small nibble on the leaves of a red prince weigela plant. “We attribute that to fawns, who will taste things that they wouldn’t typically eat.”
For a garden located relatively close to prime deer habitat, the deer-resistant plants such as the beautyberry, calycanthus, black lace elderberry and tor spirea are very much intact.
As in previous years, the open house will showcase the extension’s garden beds full of annuals as well as its herb garden.
New for 2019 will be a rock garden, which Hyatt and others were still planning.
“The county gave us a hand in taking out a couple feet of soil,” Hyatt said. “We put some stone in the bottom, got some coarse builder’s sand and we’ll mix about a yard of topsoil into that.”
Alpine plants such as monk’s hood, creeping Jenny, eryngium, pearlwort and saxifraga will go into the rock garden.
“They’ll get planted near the rocks, which will provide the heat they need,” Hyatt said. “The plants that go in there need to have good drainage.”
The open house will include the extension’s pollinator garden, a family of plants more important than ever particularly since the Bee Informed Partnership announced in late spring 38% of U.S. beekeepers’ colonies died between Oct. 2018 and April 2019, the worst year since 2012-13.
Hyatt said any plant that flowers will attract pollinators.
“Mountain mint is one of the types that did the best in trials across the state,” Hyatt said, noting the eryngium flowers in their garden are typically abuzz with bees throughout the day.
The open house is a chance for the public to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge master gardeners have to offer.
Home gardeners who are having difficulty with a particular plant can bring a sample or cutting for a master gardener to examine.
The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 13 at Donohoe Center, 214 Donohoe Road in Hempfield.
For more, see Extension.PSU.edu/westmoreland-county.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .